Makenna Arnold was presented the Outstanding Student Award by Superintendent James Brosnan.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann School Committee applauded a "shining star" of the technical school on Thursday night.
Senior Makenna Arnold is so dedicated to her classwork that after injuring both her ankles and missing more than a week of classes, she stayed after school to complete a lengthy lab assignment from her wheelchair to catch up.
It was that drive and her stellar academics that made her this year's recipient of the superintendent's award.
"Her teachers say she's a very unique student, she has a very strong work ethic, demonstrates a tremendous ability to adapt to new tasks, is not easily satisfied and strives for perfection in every thing she does," said Principal Justin Kratz, adding that one teacher described her as "the student every teacher wishes she had."
"She's definitely a shining star here at McCann and a wonderful student," he said.
Daughter of Christopher and Jackie Arnold of Savoy, she holds a 4.125 grade-point average and is in the Computer-Assisted Drawing program. She is a member of the National Honor Society and in the pilot Advanced Placement biology class.
Longtime School Committee member James Gazzaniga noted how much the CAD program had changed from its original drafting class and that this year, Makenna was part of a graduating class that had more women than men for the first time in the school's history.
He congratulated her for excelling in a demanding program and said her achievements and attitude were a reflection of her strong support system.
"You have also had the help and encouragement of many loving and caring supporters,and I rank your parents at the top of my list," said Gazzaniga. "I wish that she treasures the memory of her McCann experience."
The School Committee also had a presentation on the fall leadership conferences attended by officers of the school's chapters of Business Professionals of America and SkillsUSA. A number of students belong to both groups and those presenting did a "quick change" of jackets in between the presentations.
The students participated in training, workshops and networking opportunities; those attending SkillsUSA were also awarded medals. The school also has two state officers: Brian Dougherty is State Region III vice president for SkillsUSA and Andrea Leal is state secretary for BPA.
Adviser Pam Dorwin attended both conferences. She said the school excels at administrative and information technology at BPA and noted the change in the school's profile from its first entrance seven years ago.
Then no one knew McCann or where it was located, but after consistently racking up wins, "now it's 'Oh, McCann again,'" she said. At Skills, "it's amazing to see all these kids act so professionally and show what they could do."
"They put their hearts and souls into it and they take it very seriously," said Superintendent James Brosnan. "It perpetuates a culture of success with Skills and BPA."
Brosnan also read a letter from Hancock School Principal Tracey Tierney lauding the work of students from the electrical program in installing the switches for the school's chlorinating system.
"Our hope is that this will be the beginning of a great relationship between Hancock and McCann," read Brosnan.
Kratz reported that 104 eighth-graders in the region had signed up for the after-school exploratory programs this winter. The number was on track, he said, but he'd had indications that more than a few students had already decided to apply to McCann.
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