Jamie Drennan, class of 1981, was presented with a lifetime achievement award in surgical technology by Drs. Michael DiSiena, left, Laurence Cohen, Jonah Marshall, Mark Sprague, and Kevin Mitts (not pictured). See more photos here.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Life got in the way of Erica Holman, but on Monday night she was back on track with a certificate in medical assisting and date with a national competition later this month.
"I've been wanting to do this for a long time," said Holman, as friends and families snapped pictures of her in her graduation getup, or grabbed a congratulatory hug. "It just took a little while, I was doing life ... and life gets in the way of things.
"But I eventually got into it and I pushed myself hard."
Holman was one of 31 graduating from the McCann Technical School postsecondary programs for 2012. The number of graduates may have been small, but the crowd gathered in the school gymnasium to watch them pinned and presented was outsized and cheering.
Graduates completing coursework in cosmetology, medical assisting, dental assisting and surgical technology received certificates from their instructors, Principal Kathleen Millard and School Committee Chairman Daniel J. Maloney Jr.
"We are extremely proud of these 31 young adults for the ongoing committment they have made to their careers by participating in one of our fine programs," said Millard. "These graudates take the traditions of McCann Technical School seriously and through their hard work and, your continued love and support, we are confident they are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century."
Maloney encouraged the graduates to be aware of what their patients, clients or residents are trying to tell them so they can better understand their needs.
"We hear thousands of sounds a day," he said. "Effective listening, by contrast, involves not only hearing but comprehending and understanding the message."
Holman, of North Adams, didn't complete high school, instead going to work full time for awhile. But she earned her General Educational Development diploma with high scores and entered the McCann program last fall.
"It was very intense, it was like a two-year course in a 10-month period," said the Clarksburg native, who adds she's got interviews lined up and resumes out. "You pretty much have to devote yourself to school."
Erica Holman gets her certificate in medical assisting from Chairman Daniel J. Maloney Jr.
She's done well. So well, that she earned a gold medal in SkillsUSA and will be attending the national competition in Kansas City, Mo. Also attending will be Josephine Deeley of Clarksburg who scored a gold medal in dental assisting.
The skills that she and her classmates have attained will give them pride, direction and define who they are, said keynote speaker Dr. Mark Sprague of Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates, and was one of two words he wanted to give them. The second: commitment.
"Regardless of which career you choose, commit yourself to excelling in your craft beyond your education," he said. McCann truly has fingerprints in every corner of Berkshire County and beyond, and through this continued committment you can make our community better."
He had a role model for them: Jamie Drennan of Pittsfield, a surgical technician at Berkshire Medical Center and 1981 graduate of the McCann program. Sprague, with four surgical colleagues Drs. Leonard Cohen, Jonah Marshall, Michael DiSiena and Kevin Mitts, presented Drennan with a lifetime achievement plaque for her dedication and professionalism.
"The only one thing absolutely certain about technology is it will change, no question," Sprague said. "No matter what you see now, it will be different 10 years from now.
"She had an unbelievable ability to adapt to new technology ... Every single day enjoy what you do and think of the people who came before you and their ability to adapt ... and her wonderful ability to have fun all the time regardless of what it was."
Marshall said she was a friend and colleague, and an outstanding teacher who "was lively and entertaining but a truly professional individual who helped me with my career."
A teary Drennan quipped that she had told her instructor nearly 40 years ago that she knew this job was a calling. "She said you need a sense of humor, and I said, 'well, I can keep them in stitches.'
"It's the best job I ever had."
Scholarships & Awards
Morgan Brittany Boucher, Cheshire
Jessie Ferdinando, Adams
Ashley Perkins, Drury
Shauna Lavigne, Monroe
Tammy Goodell, North Adams
Kacie Mills, North Adams
Billie Jeanne Philips, Pittsfield
Hannah Martin, Adams
Ashely WeatherWalks, Florida
Alison Borey, North Adams
Linnie Renee Ferrara, North Adams
Stephanie Guzman Alvarado, North Adams
Maryjean Haden,North Adams
Erica Holman, North Adams
Jennifer Martin, North Adams
Ramsey Scott, North Adams
Lynn Pinsonneault, Savoy
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