Valedictorian Adam Lemoine said McCann has set him on the path to an engineering degree. More photos here.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Four years ago, Adam Lemoine came to McCann Technical School with a fondness for math and science.
On Wednesday night, he left the school ready to take that passion to the next level.
Lemoine, of Adams, delivered the valedictory address at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Amsler Campus Center as McCann graduated 105 members of the class of 2012.
The next stop in his academic career is Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he plans to study mechanical engineering — a discipline he fell in love with while studying at McCann.
"I always liked math and science, and I liked the idea of the hands-on education you get at McCann," Lemoine said this week. "I'm glad I decided to come here because that's what convinced me I wanted to go into engineering."
Lemoine said he hopes to take advantage of WPI's five-year program to earn a bachelor's and master's degree and then pursue a doctorate while also working in the field.
To hear him talk, he cannot wait to put his skills to work in the real world.
"It's amazing to see an idea you have come to life and see it in front of you," said Lemoine, who mentioned his senior project as one of the highlights of his McCann career. "That you can solve a real-world problem like that is really amazing. The process is mind blowing."
On Wednesday evening, Lemoine and his classmates were reminded that the "process" and the unknown are what life is all about.
"Part of what makes life extraordinary is the process," School Committee Chairman Daniel Maloney told the graduates and crowd of well-wishers. "It is the not knowing that makes life special.
"You cannot always predict what will happen in the future, but you can prepare for it."
Maloney said he was confident that the graduates before him were well prepared. But he reminded them that learning does not end when the diplomas are handed out — whether a graduate planned to go directly to college or to enter the workforce.
"Regardless of your technical trade, there is one tool you all have in common — the most important tool, your skills," Maloney said.
Later, Lemoine echoed Maloney's encouragement to keep learning.
"Work hard at everything you do and give it your all … ask for help if you need it … and always take time to have fun," Lemoine said.
And fun the grads had, breaking out the bubbles and beach balls before the ceremony came to a close.
Wednesday was a night to not so much think of future problems to be solved as to celebrate past accomplishments.
Lemoine and salutatorian Alexander McKinney of Clarksburg each emphasized the class of 2012's achievements in their speeches.
Rebecca Daniels performed a song for her classmates.
"We did so many things this year, it would be difficult to recount them all in the time allotted," McKinney said.
A short list would almost certainly include the school's first appearance in the Western Massachusetts football Super Bowl last fall, and Lemoine had the biggest applause line of any speaker when he mentioned it. But he also talked at length about accomplishments like those of students who completed an Advance Placement calculus class or competed in SkillsUSA, where the school took 10 medals in state competition this spring.
"This work ethic and ambition will unite us in future endeavors, and we'll be able to meet all challenges ahead," Lemoine said.
The evening included solo performances by senior vocalist Rebecca Rose Daniels, a slide show depicting highlights from the class's years at McCann and a farewell to Principal Kathleen Millard, who is retiring after four years at the helm of the school.
It also featured some heartfelt words from Superintendent James Brosnan, who opened the ceremony with some parting words for the graduates.
"You made a lasting impression on all of us for your compassion to all, your service to the community and your loyalty to one another," Brosnan said.
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