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"A Truly Unique Class": McCann Class of 2006By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, June 08, 2006
North Adams - By all accounts, the Charles H. McCann Technical High School Class of 2006 faced their four years at the school as a team.
"A Great Group Of Young People"
"A great group of young people," said Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District Superintendent James J. Brosnan."They've achieved much in their four years and they've worked as a team. It's the kind of mentoring that is great for the underclassmen."
"A very unique class, a really great group of kids," said school Principal Gary Rivers.
On June 7, between the dozens of hugs, the miles of smiles, the frequent tears and the raucous applause that greeted each and every graduate, 93 seniors became 93 McCann school alumni.
The graduation was held at the St. Anthony's Parish Center. Over 500 people attended the event. Diplomas were presented by school committee Chairman Daniel J. Maloney and Brosnan. Adams Selectwoman Myra Wilk presented a diploma to her nephew Nicholas Waltermire.
Class members were happy to talk about their future plans.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Carpentry graduate Brian Rando said that he is hoping to enter the building profession.
Class Salutatorian Erica Boucher
"I'm going to try to go into it, but it'd hard to get a job around here," he said.
Stephen Bednarczyk said that he has secured employment with the McClain Electric firm.
"I'm looking forward to life after high school," he said.
Computer Assisted Drafting program graduate Carissa Briggs said that she plans to attend Worcester State College.
"I'm going to study communications disorders," she said.
Class salutatorian Erica Boucher spoke about the comfort zone of McCann school.
Deja Vu, Four Years Later
"I remember coming to McCann as a freshman," she said. "I was eager, excited, and scared - mostly scared, which is an understatement. I was petrified. After the first couple of weeks, that overwhelming fear went away, and I started to get used to the place. Now I think I may have gotten a little too used to it, because I don't want to let it go."
As Boucher moved through the school year and passed the pre-graduation milestones such as beginning and completing a senior class project, the realization of a looming graduation and ultimate separation became real.
"This is really it!!" she said. "The last time I would go through this with the people I had become accustomed to, the ones that would always be there. Graduation was actually right around the corner. And I realized that I don't want this to be over. But now it's time for us to move on to our new lives and see what's out there in the 'real' world."
"We learned a lot here at McCann but the one thing they never taught us was how to say good-bye."
Boucher told the graduating class that the entire group have individual anecdotes of their McCann years that will live on in memory. Losses "have built character" and gains "have helped us build a solid foundation that will lead us to the next step toward our futures."
"Now, going out into the world, I'm eager, excited, and scared. Mostly scared, which is an understatement; I'm petrified," she said. "I just want to say congratulations to the Class of 2006. I will miss you all."
Valedictorian Melanie Neyland spoke after the diplomas were presented.
Class Valedictorian Melanie Neyland
Looks Like They Made It
"Tonight, my speech is going to be just like me, short," said Neyland.
Neyland noted that the words "I can't wait to graduate" were spoken frequently and by many between their freshmen and senior years.
"But now that it's here, it seems just like a dream," she said. "The time flew by so fast."
"It seems like just yesterday we were sitting in the cafeteria as freshmen, waiting to find out what class we will have first, hoping to be with our friends. Now, here we are, ready to move into the real world."
Neyland acknowledged Kim Vincenz, an international student from Breman, Germany, who spent the year as a McCann student and symbolically "graduated" with the class.
"This year, I think just about every senior made a new friend," Neyland said of Vincenz.
Vincenz plans to return to Germany over the upcoming weekend.
Neyland drew cheers when she noted the one thing that the class shared; something that can never be taken from them.
A jubilant moment
"We are the ones who made it," she said. "We are the Class of 2006."
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.