McCann graduated 103 students on Wednesday night. More photos can be found here.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School on Wednesday night handed out diplomas to a "mature and knowledgable" graduating class of 2014.
But not so mature that they couldn't take a few moments to celebrate the end of their four-year journey with hoots, horns and the spangle of ribbon poppers in the Amsler Campus Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
The class had much to celebrate, said Principal Justin Kratz. They had met deadlines, teamed together to get projects done and developed a strong work ethic that will do them well in the future.
"Be proud of your accomplishments," he said, applauding them on a senior prank played out earlier in which the students set all of their phone to go off at exactly 10 a.m. in their lockers — and forcing the principal to unlock and turn off each one.
"It was tasteful, it was appropriate and it was very clever," said Kratz, to the graduates' laughter.
While an example of the strong bonds between the class, now was the time for farewells, however bittersweet, said valedictorian Makenna Lindsey Arnold.
The word valedictorian means to say goodbye, she said. "I have been tasked to say farewell for you and to you."
She encouraged her classmates to continue to strive to achieve in all their endeavors, and to find success in happiness and in love of what they are doing.
"Struggle is the key of success, success is not a guaranteed element in life but is actually a choice," said Arnold. "It's a critical choice to strive for our achievements ... reach for dreams .. explore opportunities."
McCann would remain a reminder to be true to themselves and to their achievements.
"We need to be of value to others and we need to recognize the value in ourselves," Arnold said. "Now it is our time to step past the boundaries of comfort and enter the real world."
Arnold went out of her way to thank her teachers, friends and especially her parents for their guidance, echoing similar sentiments from salutatorian Jessica Sue-Ann Lesure.
"We will never travel far on the road to success without their guiding hands and encouraging words," said Lesure.
She thanked her teachers "for pushing me and teaching me valuable lessons inside and outside of the classroom."
The last four years have been struggle, said Lesure, and she congratulated the class on the "distinguished work" they had done.
"I like the rest of you have worked hard and tirelessly to get to this night and I strive to be exceptional ... to find myself here in front of you tonight and to earn this title is priviliged," she said.
Lesure challenged her classmates to expand themselves.
"You've already created a foundation of who you are," she said. "After tonight, you're job is to find out what makes you happy, what makes you you and what will help you create your legacy."
School Committee Chairman Thomas R. Mahar said they had the maturity and knowledge to succeed, noting 70 percent of the class planned to continue their education while four were entering the military.
Mahar, Kratz and Superintendent James Brosnan presented the diplomas, soldiering through a slight mixup in names. Breeana Lexus Rodriguez sang the national anthem to the keyboard accompaniment of Robert A. Davis. Class officers President Andrea Silva Leal, Vice President Brian Dougherty and Treasurer Emily Danielle Wilusz presented flowers and thanks to class advisers Lisa Collins and Sarah Hadley.
"The key thing to remember is perseverance, perseverance as students and as young men and women and the bonds and friendships you've formed over your four years at McCann," Brosnan told them, and the perseverance of family, friends, parents and teachers ... "who over the last four years have done everything they could to make sure you're ready to face the world and be successful."
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