NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A change in career, a chance to do something interesting, a desire to follow a passion.
The 14 graduates of McCann Technical School's postsecondary program had a variety of reasons for entering the nearly yearlong program. And at Monday night pinning, they celebrated their successful completion in the fields of cosmetology, dental assisting, medical assisting and surgical assisting.
"I like working with people. I worked at the nursing home for eight years now. I really enjoyed it so I wanted to pursue something a little bit more involved," Kathleen Lyon of North Adams said. "So I chose to come in and do medical assisting."
She enjoyed the course but acknowledged it was easy.
"It was a lot of hard work, but I did it," she smiled.
Lyon is taking a couple weeks off but but Kenzie Oblisk of Pittsfield already has a job lined up next week with Dr. Natalya Yantovsky.
"I'm excited to start working for real," Oblisk said.
"I guess I always was interested in dental hygiene, but this is a much more local program for me," she continued. "One year was more doable when you have a little one."
Superintendent James Brosnan described the graduates as the "most persevering people that are know."
Monday was also a time to thank the family members, he said, because without them, the graduates could not have succeeded.
"There is no program out there that is condensed, is as difficult in a short period as ours," he said of the courses that run from September to June.
Gary Rivers, chairman of the McCann School Committee and the school's former principal, recalled during his college years how they'd ask each other how many "older" students were in their evening classes.
"We were talking about nontraditional students," he said. "And it was always the more nontraditional students that were taking evening classes at the university, then the tougher the course was, because you guys always threw the curve right up to the top, so that we had to be more attentive to our studies."
The people who continue their pursuit of knowledge later in life, Rivers continued, "are extremely motivated and focused."
"They have life experience and now know what they want in life," he said. "So I'm not surprised your sitting here tonight. ...
"Because of your drive and determination, you have succeeded and are now ready to reap the rewards of your hard work."
The graduates are:
Joelle Peterson of North Adams
Julia Cornwell of Dalton
Megan Cote of North Adams
Dominique Crews of Pittsfield
Alexandra Kowalczyk of Windsor
Kenzie Oblisk of Pittsfield
Anthony Carvalho of Williamstown
Kathleen Lyon of North Adams
Erica Prevey of North Adams
Jocelynne Smith of North Adams
Elizabeth Addington of Chester
Jessica Boulais of Pittsfield
Marley Brown of Adams
Stephanie Shatford of Adams
Skills USA State Leadership and Skills Conference Awards
Silver Medal Winner
Dental Assisting: Dominique Crews Gold Medal Winners
Dental Assisting: Kenzie Oblisk
Job Interview: Stephanie Shatford
Dominique Crews will be attending the annual Skills USA National Leadership & Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., later this month.
Scholarships and Awards
Berkshire District Dental Assistants Association Scholarship: Kenzie Oblisk
Sharon Ferguson Memorial Scholarship: Megan Cote
Jamie Sacchetti Drennan Memorial Scholarship: Stephanie Shatford
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The National Weather Service is forecasting excessive heat and humidity to begin this afternoon, peaking Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Daytime highs are forecast to be in the 90s to low 100s today through Sunday, with dew points in the low to mid 70s. Little cooling is expected to take place in the overnight hours, with lows in most areas only dropping to the mid 70s to near 80.
Heat index values are expected to reach 95 to 100 degrees this afternoon. Heat index values could reach 107 to 112 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon for most of Massachusetts, with values between 96 and 102 locally in the Berkshires.
This level of heat and humidity is dangerous and relatively rare for this part of the country. Prolonged exposure to heat and humidity will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.
"MEMA urges residents to take precautions during the upcoming extreme heat. Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle, find an air-conditioned public space, cooling center, or other cool spot for relief, and watch for heat-related illnesses," said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Samantha Phillips. "Please check on your family, friends, or neighbors to make sure they are safe during the extreme heat."
In preparation and response to the weather forecast and high heat advisory, the city of North Adams has announced that the following locations are available to residents seeking relief from the heat and humidity:
Heat index values are expected to reach 95 to 100 degrees this afternoon. Heat index values could reach 107 to 112 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon for most of Massachusetts, with values between 96 and 102 locally in the Berkshires. click for more
The city native was memorialized on Thursday with the unveiling of a bronze statue of two children reading a book set by the East Main Street entrance of the North Adams Public Library where she began her long career as a librarian.
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The library trustees plan to compile a building maintenance list to review with the city administration.
New Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo told the trustees Wednesday that she recently met with city officials to go over some of the maintenance issues that have been relayed to her over her... click for more