Some families stopped for a quick photo as the assembly fled the light rain that started as soon as the graduation.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School graduated 110 seniors on Wednesday night on the football field with the dramatic background of the mountains and a sea of umbrellas before them.
The gray skies let loose a steady rain that had the graduates eager to move things along — they applauded Superintendent James Brosnan for clipping his address and let go their party poppers a whole speech too early.
But Principal Justin Kratz said he understood what a tough year it had been.
"Don't get me wrong, the class of 2020 had it rough as well. But the class is 2021, and we're going to use COVID terms, they're the long haulers," he said. "They had a lot of stuff thrown at them."
Salutatorian Ciarra Kruzel said the four years seemed like a blur now but one event in her first CAD classes stood out when teacher Joshua Meczywor made a comment.
"It was something along the lines of the smartest person is the one who admits they know nothing, which I later found out with something Socrates said," she said. "From then on, I took that mindset and ran with it. And from this way of thinking, I grew. So not only did I learn lessons, academic lessons, you may or may not use in the future, but it also taught us about personal growth. We were taught how to change and become a better person."
She thanked all the teachers who helped them over the years and through the pandemic, even if they probably were upset with them.
"We greatly appreciate everything you've done to get us into school, even though it was just for two weeks, and any extra trouble or if you went through to educate us through the pandemic," Kruzel said.
Valedictorian Stephen Perrault asked what they wanted to achieve in life — but not as the start of a "long, drawn out" speech about how you can do anything if you try harder. But rather, he said, to consider what what success really meant to them.
"I had been reaching for the stars but doing so had made me less happy than before," he said. "Then one day when I was talking about the future with my dad, he told me do what makes you happy, enjoy life ... perhaps instead of expecting myself to change the world I should just do whatever I'm capable of doing in order to make a life for myself."
Perrault said he didn't want his classmates not too aim high. Instead, he encouraged them to take that motivation and funnel it in a direction that will be fulfilling.
"Aiming for what we really want to do so we're not spending our days and months and years in a job we hate so we can consider ourselves successful or getter a bigger paycheck," he said. "The point of life isn't to obtain wealth but rather to find true happiness."
Before handing out diplomas with Brosnan, School Committee Chairman Gary Rivers took the "dreaded word" COVID and found something positive in it. Taking the letters he found courage, optimism, viable, inspiration and dream — as in dream big.
Courage is the foundation to success, he said, and this pandemic provided an opportunity for students to endure, develop skills and maybe even find inspiration in new career paths.
"Dream big. If the world is going to get better, it's going to be up to you," he told the graduates. "With everything feeling like it's up for grabs, this is your time to seize the initiative.
"No one can tell you to wait your turn ... no one can tell you that this is how it's always been done. More than ever, this is your moment."
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition presented the Northern Berkshire Emergency Operations Center Team with the Hero Award at their 35th annual meeting.
"This goes to a group of individuals that came together as a team to make sure this community stayed connected, informed, and were supplied with the necessary resources," board President Jennifer Civello said Friday at the meeting that was held at Greylock Works. "All while ensuring the safety systems continued uninterrupted during the pandemic."
Every year at its annual meeting, NBCC presents the Hero Award to a group or individual who has made a difference in the region.
This year the choice was clear — the Northern Berkshire Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) Team, who quickly mobilized and reacted to a global pandemic that was firming its grip around Berkshire County.
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