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Program Coordinator Susan Watson 'lights' the candle of graduate Rebecca Adams at Monday's LPN pinning ceremony.
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Eight Graduate From McCann Practical Nursing Program

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Susan Watson is retiring after six years leading the program. See more photos from Monday's ceremony here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Monday night was bittersweet for the McCann Technical School community with the celebration of the latest class of nursing graduates also saying goodbye to the woman who has led the program for six years.

The eight students from the Licensed Practical Nursing Program bid goodbye to the school and to retiring Program Coordinator Susan Watson during the pinning ceremony.

"Throughout the year, all of you have reaffirmed why I love teaching, and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your enthusiasm and have many memorable moments," Watson said. "On the first day of class, I called you all novices. Today, I can proudly call you nurses, and I will truly miss this class."

She went on to say she is proud of her students for letting McCann "lead the dance."

"I said to all of you that if you want to be a nurse then let McCann lead the dance and you stuck with it. You followed our lead and you stayed in step," she said. "Tonight, all eight of you have completed your education journey and you have a wonderful future in health care."

Nursing Advisory Council member Billie Allard, who had been chief nursing officer at the former North Adams Regional Hospital, also congratulated the students and wished Watson a farewell.

"It has been inspiring to watch her dedication, her caring, her compassion and her ability to rise above whatever challenge was in front of her," Allard said. "Sue has been a star here and everywhere she has ever been and I really want you to revel in the success of your career and think about all of the lives that you have touched."

Superintendent James Brosnan said Watson was critical in keeping the program running smoothly when the North Adams Regional Hospital closed four years ago.

He also congratulated the students for all their hard work.

"The individuals to my right have worked harder than any other eight individuals not only in Berkshire County but in the entire Commonwealth in a very condensed and very rigorous program to become in a few minutes practical nurses," he said.

Before handing out awards clinical instructor Diane O'Neil asked the graduates to remember the "personal touches" they have developed and to remember where they came from.

She asked them to continue to follow their dreams.

"Becoming a nurse is now a reality for all of you. You have been held to the highest standards in your field and you have made it," she said. "Continue with your goals and ambitions and please follow your dreams … I can’t be prouder of where you are and I can now call you my colleges … but now that you have made it, the words 'never' and 'I can't' have officially been removed from your vocabulary."

Nicole Bak of Cheshire, Cara Moulton of North Adams, Tim Badu of Pittsfield, and Brianna Hayden of Savoy each received the Faye Ellen Fosser Memorial Scholarship.

The Fosser Memorial Scholarship is given in memory of Fosser who graduated from the LPN program, went on to earn her registered nursing degree, and worked as a nurse locally. Fosser died in 1984, at the age of 29.

Badu and Hayden also received the Highest Academic Award and Bak received the Perfect Attendance Award.

Rebecca Adams, of Williamstown, also received the Perfect Attendance Award as well as the Clinical Excellence Award.

Tammie DeWeever of Springfield, Brookelynne Ruopp of Pittsfield, Khadeejah Hassan of Pittsfield also graduated.

Tags: graduation 2018,   LPN,   McCann,   nursing education,   pinning,   

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COVID Outbreak Hits North Adams Nursing Home; Health Officials Urge Vaccination

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Health officials are trying to determine if a significant outbreak of COVID-19 at a local nursing home is the highly transmissible Delta variant. 
North Adams Commons reported three vaccinated residents with infections as of Friday morning. The total is now 20 residents and two staff members, said Lisa Gaudet, a spokesperson for Berkshire Healthcare that operates the nursing home. Only one of those is unvaccinated, she said. 
The 119-bed skilled nursing facility is now closed to visitors and new admissions as health officials track down the source of the infection and determine if it's a variant. Gaudet said all residents and staff were being tested so the numbers may change. 
"Clearly we're hearing in the national and local news about variants that are creating these breakthrough cases," Gaudet said. "We benefited from this vaccination when we saw all of our infections go down ... So this is something that is obviously concerning to us."
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