Franklin County Technical School   82 Industrial Blvd.   Turners Falls, MA 413 . 863 . 9561

FCTS Shops Build Addition to Regional Animal Shelter

It looked like the beginning of an old fashioned barn-raising as Franklin County Technical School carpentry and plumbing and heating students and carpentry instructor Ken Vautrin stood shoulder to shoulder and raised the first wall of a new addition they’re building at the Athol Animal Shelter.

Athol Animal Control Officer Jennifer Arsenault said as she watched the wall go up, "I nearly started crying, this is so wonderful."

FCTS junior and senior carpentry, electrical and plumbing shops will construct the 45 by 29-square-foot addition that will essentially double the space at the Thrower Road shelter. The original animal shelter was built in 2003.

FCTS Shops Build Addition to Regional Animal Shelter

The Athol Animal Shelter recently became a regional facility serving Athol, Orange and Royalston, which has increased the number of dogs and cats being housed there. Once the shelter expansion is complete, Arsenault will be able to take in more dogs and cats, and the facility will include a quarantine room for sick animals, a reception and waiting area, a room for cats to roam freely, and other areas.

Arsenault said the shelter can currently take in 10 dogs, and that number will probably expand by seven with the new addition. The shelter can house up to 23 cats, but according to Arsenault that number probably won’t increase by much with the new space.

Kevin Kennedy, director of Community Development for Orange, said the money to build the addition is being partially funded by an $85,000 regionalization grant from the state. Arsenault estimates it will cost around $150,000 fund the entire project, including buying new equipment. Kennedy said a capital campaign will be organized to raise money to complete the project.

FCTS Shops Build Addition to Regional Animal Shelter

“We should have the shell of the addition done by summer,” he said. “Doing all of the finishes and when it can be occupied depends on more funding.”

Arsenault said hiring Franklin County Technical School to build the addition has been a major cost-saver.

“I love it because it gives the students a chance to work on a big construction project,” she said.

Jaime-Lyn Young, a senior carpentry student from Orange, said working on the project is invaluable to learning her trade.

“This is how we see what we’re learning,” she said. “We’re all about the hands on work, seeing the process of a building being built. We’re building toward something and getting a useful result.”

FCTS Students Capture Several Honors at Statewide Business Professionals of America Conference

Nine Franklin County Technical School students finished first in several competitions at the annual Business Professionals of America State Leadership Conference, and also captured a number of 2nd through 5th place and special recognition awards.

To the right is the list of winners, along with their hometowns and the BPA competitions they placed in:

First Place Winners

  • Emmett Boyd, Northfield – Computer Animation Team
  • Kyle Coulombe, West Halifax, VT – Computer Animation Team
  • Whitney Huber-Browning, Northfield – Web Site Design Team
  • Mark Pedercini, Orange – Computer Modeling
  • Chelsea Perras, Erving – Web Site Design Team
  • Andrew Renaud, Montague – Computer Animation Team
  • Brad Sawyer, Greenfield – Computer Animation Team
  • Colton Tarbox, Wendell – C++ Programming
  • Brandan Tarbox, Wendell – Parliamentary Procedure Concepts; Administration Support Concepts

Second Place Winners

  • Zachary Korpiewski, Whately – Pin Contest ($75 award)
  • Sarah Koshinsky, Orange – Management, Marketing and Human Resources
  • Brandan Tarbox, Wendell -- C++ Programming; Extemporaneous Speech

Third Place Winners

  • Hayley Hudson, West Halifax, VT – Presentation Management Individual
  • Tyler Millane, Turners Falls – Entrepreneurship

Fourth Place Winners

  • T.J. Burden, Greenfield – Web Site Design Team
  • Kyle Coulombe, West Halifax, VT -- Visual_Basic/C#
  • Matthew Dubino, Deerfield – Broadcast News Production Team
  • Emmett Friedrichs, Sunderland – C++ Programming
  • Aubrey Klerowski, Shelburne – Interview Skills
  • Zachary Korpiewski, Whately -- Web Site Design Team
  • Catherine Landers, Turners Falls – Broadcast News Production Team
  • Paige Parsons, Orange – Broadcast News Production Team
  • Sean Russell, Northfield – Web Site Design Team
  • MaKayla Smith, Greenfield – Broadcast News Production Team

Fifth Place Winners

  • Tyler Millane, Turners Falls – PC Servicing and Repair; Computer Security
  • Colton Tarbox, Wendell – Fundamental Web

The competition was held March 7-9, 2015 at the Sheraton Tara Hotel in Framingham and Blackstone Valley Regional Technical School in Upton. Twenty-six students from FCTS competed against 350 students in over 20 competitive events.

Students Emmett Boyd, Kyle Coulombe, Whitney Huber-Browning, Tyler Millane, Mark Pedercini, Chelsea Perras, Andrew Renaud, Brad Sawyer, Colton Tarbox and Brandan Tarbox are invited to attend the BPA’s National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, May 6-10, either through a first place result in a competition, or in meritorious service to community and to BPA.

Millane and Pedercini also won a number of honors in addition to their accomplishments in competitions. Millane won the Keystone Award for going above and beyond as an intern at the state conference. He was asked to co-coordinate the internship program as an alumnus of FCTS and BPA, along with FCTS alum Luke Fairman at the BPA National Leadership Conference in Boston in 2016. Millane received two Torch Awards for Community Service: Diplomat and Statesman, and just missed out on being designated Ambassador, the highest level. He was also named a Merit Scholar.

Pedercini received the Executive Torch Award for Community Service. Pedercini and Millane created a redesign of the Massachusetts Business Professionals of America website, and the two have been asked to present the project to the Massachusetts delegation at the National Leadership Conference.

Kathryn Koshinsky of Orange won the Intern Award. Huber-Browning and Perras each won a $1,000 scholarship to Johnson and Wales.

Business Professionals of America is the leading CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) for students pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields.

BPA has 43,000 members in over 2,300 chapters in 23 states. BPA is a co-curricular organization that supports business and information technology educators by offering co-curricular exercises based on national standards.

FCTS Players to Give Zombies and Superheroes a Comedic Spin

Catherine Landers, 16, of Erving, an actress with the Franklin County Technical School Players, is eager to take the stage to perform the theater company’s spring production.

“Acting is one of my favorite things to do,” she said during a break in a recent rehearsal. “It allows me to be creative and to be someone I’m not, even just for a little while. It’s also an outlet for my high energy. It’s just really fun.”

Landers and her fellow thespians will present “A Night of Theater with the FCTS Players.” The night of comedy will feature two shows, the first being “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse.” The FCTS Players will also perform “Super Heroes: With Great Power Comes Ordinary Responsibility.” Science teacher and FCTS Players advisor Daniel Prasol is the director.

The show will be held on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A in Turners Falls. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Tickets can be reserved by calling (413) 863-9561, ext. 233.

In “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,” the end of the world is at hand and hordes of rampaging zombies are about to kill every living being. What do you do? Try your hand at kung fu against the undead? Attempt to reason with creatures that would rather eat brains than use them? Turn to this handy and hilarious guide to survive the apocalypse.

The characters in “Super Heroes: With Great Power Comes Ordinary Responsibility,” find that the problems facing superheroes are more mundane, but no less hilarious. For superheroes, saving the world is tough, but the time spent away from work is tougher. The Hulk has to do taxes, a crime-fighting sidekick joins a support group, and Batman goes stir-crazy without enough criminals to take down. “Superheroes” is a funny, fast-paced series of vignettes that explores how the caped crusaders deal with life in street clothes.

In the superheroes portion of the evening, Landers, who is a senior in the FCTS programming and web development program, will play Jayne, one of the Wonder Twins.

“This play allows me to do one of my favorite things and that’s to dress up as a superhero,” she said.

Amelia Kendrick, a cosmetology student from Greenfield joined the FCTS Players two years ago when Prasol first formed the group. She was reluctant to join at first because the production “Little Shop of Horrors” is a musical and she was unsure of her singing abilities. Prasol and her music teacher convinced her to try out and she loved it. In fact, getting that part was a life-changing experience for the 17-year-old senior, who plans to move to California after high school and become an actress.

“I got up the courage to try out and I’m glad I did,” Kendrick said. “It was a lot of fun. Last year’s production was fun too, and this year is going to be great. I’m just sad that this year is going to be my last year doing it at the school.”

In the zombie play, Kendrick is narrator #2 and is an accountant named Mia in the superheroes production. According to Kendrick, the Franklin County Tech theater productions give audiences an alternative to the spring musicals performed by other schools.

“It’s our own thing,” she said. “The scripts are written by professionals and we chose them from a website and they were the funniest scripts. They’re both different than what other schools have done. That’s what the FCTS Players do; we want to give the audience something unique.”

Cassidy Shaida, a 17-year-old culinary student from Greenfield, joined the FCTS Players last year for their spring production and “had a great time.” The senior will play zombie #2 and Spiderman in the two segments.

“I love performing so I figured I’d do it again,” Shaida said. “I like Marvel Comics and I like how it’s two plays in one. It will be fun to play two completely different characters.”

For Adam McConachie, 18, a senior in the plumbing and heating program, joining the FCTS Players was a way to overcome stage fright and gain confidence. He’s also made lots of friends in the group. He’ll play zombie #1 and Zan of the Wonder Twins.

“Because I had stage fright, a lot of people told me that how much fun this was,” said the Bernardston resident. “Since I joined, I’ve gotten over all of my stage fright and it’s giving me the confidence to try other things.”

Hailey Perkins-McGraw, a cosmetology student from Ashfield, said because the FCTS Players are putting on two plays, there will likely be something for all members of the audience to enjoy.

“If the audience prefers one play over the other, that’s okay,” she said.

The 17-year-old junior will play a character named “Christie” in the zombie portion of the production that she describes as “ditzy.” She’s a character named “Nelly” in the superheroes segment, who she says is Superman’s boss.

“I have to break the news to Clark Kent that everyone knows he’s Superman,” Perkins-McGraw said.

Mark Pedercini, 18, from Orange, a senior in the FCTS programming and web development program, is playing narrator #1 in the zombie play and a super fan in the superhero production. He was in last spring’s show and found that it brought people together.

“I love how much that it feels like a family,” Pedercini said. “We mess up once in awhile in rehearsal, but we laugh and fix it. We pull together no matter what. My favorite part of it is how close we are and how much fun it is.”

Tech School Sends Its Love to Meals On Wheels Recipients

Franklin County Technical School students and faculty spread the love this Valentine’s Day by making more than 200 Valentine’s cards for recipients of the Meals On Wheels program of Franklin County Home Care Corp.

The effort, organized at the school by librarian Heather Richard, is part of the second annual Love Letters campaign, sponsored by, AARP Foundation’s Mentor Up, and the Meals On Wheels Association of America.

“With the restaurant here at the school, we see a lot of elderly people come in,” Heather said. “But, we want to do outreach to people who are not able to take advantage of the resources we have at the school. This is the first time the school has done the Valentine’s cards for Meals On Wheels. I liked that we could work between departments. I would totally do it again.”

Heather’s father Jerry Richard is a Meals On Wheels recipient, and said he enjoyed receiving the Valentine’s Day card. The former police officer in Leominster, Amherst and Nantucket created the Greenfield Community College daytime criminal justice program, and taught at the school for 26 years, retiring 18 years ago.

“Meals On Wheels is greatly appreciated,” Jerry said. “It’s worked out well for me. It’s worth it to me. I’ve enjoyed the meals.”

The FCTS Cosmetology program and Melissa Gerry’s current events class, as well as faculty, participated in the program. The school’s Pre-Employment program students and instructors Charles Choleva and Philip Foisy made several cards.

“The Pre-Employment kids were very excited about making the cards,” Heather said.

Cosmetology students also made 18 personalized Valentine’s cards for the residents at the GVNA in Greenfield, where they visit to do hand massages, paint nails and provide other cosmetic services.

Any student who made Valentine’s cards was eligible to win a $10,000 scholarship from

Jessica Riel, FCHCC media and communications manager, said although the effort was county-wide, FCTS made the most Valentine’s cards of any other organization or school. She picked up the cards from the school on February 12.

“A Meals On Wheels driver came with me to the school and talked about the program and how much it means for people to receive these Valentine’s cards,” Jessica said. “It seems like it’s a small thing, but it really is big in their lives. This kind of gesture makes a large impact on how recipients feel about themselves and how they feel about the community.”

Heather added, “It’s more than just delivering meals; it’s a wellness check. Also, they mentioned that if the walks are not shoveled, volunteers can’t get into the homes of people who need the meals, and meals can’t be delivered. They asked the kids to look out for elderly people who need their walks shoveled.”

The school library was packed with students and cake was served as Jessica and driver Charlie Shaw came to pick up the Valentine’s cards. Student Ralilah Culver won a drawing for a gift certificate to Cleary’s Jewelers. The gift certificate was donated by substitute teacher Jared Bowman, who won it in a raffle held by the Health Technology program.

Vanessa Cannon, a junior in the Cosmetology program from Orange, devoted a number of afterschool hours to making the cards.

“I just wanted to make the people who get Meals On Wheels smile and be happy, and have a better day,” she said. “It’s a good cause.”

Shauntel Ortiz, a freshman auto body student from Greenfield, said she got involved in making Valentine’s cards because she likes making art and thought it would be for worthy effort.

“I like making people happy and this would help make their day,” she said. “My grandmother used to get Meals On Wheels delivered to her. It meant a lot. She didn’t have to cook when she couldn’t and she got meals when she didn’t have money to buy food.”

Alix Barnett and Brittany Andrews admit they were nervous when they got up in front of the crowd at the Greenfield YMCA’s 9th Annual Girl’s Day Out event to do their cooking demonstration.

But, Alix and Brittany, both 11th graders, ended up having a great time creating and explaining how to make their delicious lemon-white wine risotto with pan-seared scallops. Sure, at times they needed a little assistance from Culinary Arts instructor Brenda Fortin, but Alix and Brittany seized the moment and cooked up a dish that was a huge hit among the Girls Day Out crowd.

“There were no leftovers, so that was a good sign,” Brittany said. “It was so much fun. We had a great time. Everyone had high energy and was super happy about being there.”

Added Alix, “everything fell into place nicely. As we were cooking, I had to say what I was doing, like what I was seasoning the scallops with, how long to cook them.”

This was the first time the school’s Culinary Arts program was invited to participate in Girls Day Out. Alix and Brittany said they would love to do it again next year.

“Brittany is a good teammate,” Alix said.

Brenda said the lemon-white wine risotto with pan-seared scallops is one of her favorite recipes, and a nice alternative to serving regular rice (the recipe is below).

“We try to keep the recipe healthy, but you can add cream, cheese and salt if you want to,” she said. “In the spirit of the YMCA, we kept our recipe healthy.”

Around 40 different vendors were on hand at this year’s Girls Day Out. Women of all ages enjoyed massages, Home Depot demonstrations, cooking demos and more.

The FCTS Cosmetology program also participated in the event. Cosmetology instructor Electra Manley, along with students Gabby Santucci, Amelia Kendrick, and Sarah Koschinsky were on hand to do hair and nails, as well as apply temporary tattoos.

“People at the Y were great,” Electra said. “It was a wonderful experience. I loved the camaraderie between women. It inspires great energy for improving oneself.”

Electra said Girls Day Out was an excellent opportunity to get the word out to the public about the Cosmetology program.

“We had a lot of response from people who wanted to get their hair done here at the program,” she said. “We promoted the business and handed out a lot of sheets. A lot of people didn’t know we had a salon at the school.”

Lemon-Vegetable Risotto with Pan-Seared Scallops

  • 8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
  • (8-ounce) zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • (8-ounce) yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons oil olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions or shallots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 white pepper
  • 4 oz. scallops
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add asparagus, summer squash, zucchini, and peas; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water (shock). Put aside. (You can substitute your favorite vegetables).

  2. Heat a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onions, celery, and carrots; cook for 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add chopped garlic
Volunteer for Ghana Overwhelmed by FCTS Toothbrush Collection

A friendly competition between shops at Franklin County Technical School to collect toothbrushes put a smile on the face of Heather Lonergan who will deliver them on her next trip to villagers in Ghana.

A dental hygienist who works for Dr. Timothy Fish, Lonergan was overwhelmed that FCTS students collected 1,533 toothbrushes during their Toothbrush Challenge for her next trip in August. She usually brings around 1,200 toothbrushes, the same number of tubes of toothpaste and packages of floss, and some preventative mouthwash.

“I had no idea the students would collect that many,” Lonergan said. “I thought they’d collect about 300-400. Franklin County Tech is the first school to collect and donate toothbrushes. It’s an amazing collection. It worked out so well, I’d like to see other schools do it.”

Lonergan works through the Volta Aid Foundation a volunteer-based nonprofit group that places volunteers from all over the world into schools, orphanages, clinics and medical centers. Volta is also the name of a region in Ghana. Lonergan and her efforts in Ghana were profiled last year in The Recorder. Her mother Joan Lonergan is a cook in the FCTS cafeteria.

Culinary Arts instructor Helen Woznakewicz, who headed up the effort at the school with co-class advisor Barbara Williams, said the idea began when class advisors decided they wanted to undertake a school-wide community service project. She said the school’s Pre-Employment program collected 962 toothbrushes and won the competition. They will get a fruit and cookie party, courtesy of the Culinary program, for their efforts.

“It’s unbelievable what they contributed,” Woznakewicz said. “It exceeded our expectations.”

Volunteer for Ghana Overwhelmed by FCTS Toothbrush Collection

The Business Technology (209 toothbrushes), and Collision Repair (113) shops came in second and third, respectively. They will receive cookies and fruit from the Culinary program. Woznakewicz said she would like to make the Toothbrush Challenge a yearly event.

Lonergan’s trip to Ghana in August will be her sixth overall. Besides toothbrushes, she will again bring toothpaste, dental floss and preventative mouth wash, which she distributes to children at five or six village schools.

“When I’m not at the village school, I open a free clinic so people can get free screenings and cleanings,” Lonergan said. “If someone needs an extraction, I refer them to the one dentist they have in the area.”

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