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

Stopping Girl-On-Girl Bullying and Violence Begins With Kindness

The Kind Campaign, a school program that brings awareness and healing to the negative impact of mean girl bullying, is coming to Franklin County Technical School on Wednesday, October 14 from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

A girls-only assembly of Franklin County Technical School students will view the documentary film “Finding Kind,” produced and directed by Lauren Parsekian, one of the founders, along with Molly Thompson, of the Kind Campaign. Following the documentary, Parsekian and Thompson will follow-up with workshops with the students.

The Kind Campaign is being brought to FCTS by Physical Education teacher Jenna Carme after she was contacted by a representative from another area school to see if the tech school wanted to participate. Carme is also a member of the Regional School Health Task Force, which is part of the Communities That Care Coalition.

Besides Franklin County Technical School, the Kind Campaign will visit a number of schools in the area next week.

“This campaign travels all over the country and schools can apply to host this free assembly,” she said. “A woman from Frontier Regional School reached out to us to ask if we would have the assembly. I applied and we were accepted.”

The Kind Campaign was founded by Parsekian and Thompson in 2009 as an extension of an idea for “Finding Kind” about girl-on-girl bullying and violence. As of this fall, Parsekian and Thompson have personally spoken in over 300 schools across North America. This month marks their tenth national tour across North America for National Anti-Bullying Month.

Carme said it will be important for FCTS female students to hear Parsekian and Thompson’s message of kindness and healing. Physical fighting, name-calling, threats, power struggles, competition, manipulation, secrets, rumors, and ostracizing other girls all fall under the category of girl-against-girl “crime.”

“Being a female and going through school myself, I understand the bullying culture that can be created by females and the importance of addressing such issues,” Carme said.

Dining to Donate to Help Fund Franklin County Tech Girls Soccer

Franklin County Technical School and Applebee’s restaurant in Greenfield will team up for the third time to present Dining to Donate

Click to download flyer

The fundraiser for the FCTS girls soccer team will be held on Wednesday, October 14 from 4-9 p.m. at Applebee’s, located at 141 Mohawk Trail.

Patrons who want to participate and help out the team can pick up a flyer at FCTS or download one from the school website, www.fcts.org. Take the flier to the restaurant on the night of the event and present it to your server for either dine-in or take-out meals and beverages and the team will receive 15 percent from the total bill.

Jenna Carme, FCTS girls soccer coach, thanked Applebee’s for its support of the soccer program.

“We truly appreciate the commitment and generosity of Applebee’s of Greenfield,” she said. “Their support is very important for our team.”

For more information, call Carme at 413-863-9561, ext. 280.

Participants and Spectators Say all is Cool at Tech School’s Cool Rides

Bob Mayer of Athol remembers the first time he drove his gleaming cranberry colored 1967 Pontiac Catalina when the car wasn’t even his yet.

Mayer went with a friend 15 years ago to buy the car in upstate New York. He said his friend was timid about driving it back to Massachusetts, so he asked Mayer if he would get behind the wheel.

“So, I was driving down the New York State Thruway and I said before I die I have to get a full size American convertible,” Mayer said. “A few years later my friend said he wanted me to buy it. Every time I get in it, it’s just as much fun as it was that day I was driving on the Thruway. This car loves the highway.”

Mayer was one of 210 participants that displayed their vehicles at Franklin County Technical School’s 6th Annual Cool Rides Car Show. The event, held again under bright autumn skies on the school grounds at 82 Industrial Boulevard, attracted approximately 1,300 spectators to view the wide range of cars, motorcycles, trucks, and farm tractors.

“I’m glad I came today,” Mayer said. “There’s a great variety of vehicles and it’s cool to see people my kids’ age here with their cars. I’ll definitely come back again.”

Participants and Spectators Say all is Cool at Tech School’s Cool Rides

The Cool Rides Car Show also featured children’s activities such as a petting zoo, face painting, and PEP Drag Way Race track. The FCTS Culinary program’s Taste of Tech was busy all day serving homemade food, including items made with ingredients from local farms.

Chef Benjamin Pike, an instructor in the Culinary Arts program, said his student Fallyn Adams of Gill, put together the culinary event s part of her senior Capstone project.

“She did a great job,” he said. “We emphasized a lot of local stuff, which we’re trying to incorporate more into our program. Local foods and sustainability are important. We’re also promoting our restaurant that the program has here at the school and that the kids produce these great foods. We’d love to see more people come to the restaurant.”

Car show organizers were extremely pleased with how the event unfolded from the amount of participants and spectators to the dedication of student, faculty and administrative volunteers from the school.

Participants and Spectators Say all is Cool at Tech School’s Cool Rides

“The show was a raving success,” said Thomas Specht, a FCTS Math teacher. “We had more school organizations participate. It was good to see so many teachers turn out. We had something for everyone. It was perfect.”

Philip Foisy, a FCTS instructor in the Pre-Employment Program, said he heard many positive comments while conducting an exit poll. He was pleased with the turnout and said all involved had “a lot of enthusiasm.”

“Show vehicle participants again loved parking on the grass and setting up chairs under the shade trees,” he said. “Event goers raved about the variety of children's activities, the addition of more displays by school clubs and organizations, handicapped parking, Mustang corral, the presence of the Montague Police Department with their K-9 dog Artie, and the Turners Falls Fire Department ladder truck. The Taste of Tech was a huge draw for all and the petting zoo, face painting art and PEP Drag Way Race track were big hits with the younger kids. The participants were impressed with the prizes, many of which were made by shop students. Participants loved the Top 25 Favorite Ride Awards and the Best of Show award which was a collection of engine parts welded together.”

Over at the petting zoo, Emily Dockery of Montague and her children Anthony, 7, and Valerie, 5, were enjoying feeding the animals. She said this was the first time she had been to the car show, and was really enjoying it.

“I heard about it through the Montague Police Department’s Facebook page,” she said. “I love it. I’ll come back next year as long as they keep promoting it and we find out about it.”

Cars were lined up five rows deep for the show, as spectators walked around stopping and talking to proud owners who were more than willing to tell the stories behind finding, buying and restoring their vehicles.

Participants and Spectators Say all is Cool at Tech School’s Cool Rides

Ed Gajewski of Granby bought his 1930 Ford Model A Sports Coupe that he named Clementine from an owner in Southampton 13 years ago. When he bought the car it was nothing but four wheels, a chassis, and steering column.

“The body was in the back of a trailer,” Gajewski said. “I did all the work on it. It took 13 years to put the whole thing together. I’ve had many classic cars, but this one is the oldest.”

Ken Jordan of Northfield said his1930 Ford still had its original body and fenders, and a 1932 frame. He updated it by adding disc brakes, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, and 350 Chevy engine. Jordan was happy to be back at the Franklin County Tech School event.

“I’ve been here every year since it started,” Jordan said of the Cool Rides Car Show. “You’ve got to support the vocational schools. I go to a lot of car shows and cruise nights and this car show is getting better all the time.”

 “Deadliest Catch” Crew Member’s Story Inspires Franklin County Tech Seniors to Reach Their Goals

Franklin County Technical School seniors sat rapt as Nicholas Z. Tokman of the Discovery documentary series “Deadliest Catch” regaled them recently with stories of his exploits as a crab fisherman in Alaska.

But, Tokman, 27, sought to do much more than to just entertain his audience. He also wanted to inspire them to seek their goals in life no matter the odds. A West Springfield native, Tokman described his determination to become a crab fisherman despite resistance from family, hardship, unemployment, and homelessness.

The effort eventually paid off, leading to his “dream job” as a crew member on a “Deadliest Catch” crab fishing boat. Tokman’s message to the students was to always strive for what they want in life despite setbacks. He said he knows many people who didn’t pursue their dreams and therefore did not live up to their potential.

“I want you to follow your heart, listen to it and push through whatever obstacles you may face,” Tokman said. “Don’t believe anyone that tries to bring you down. In turn, I believe you will be happy. If you don’t, the world will be deprived of the gifts you can offer.”

A fan of “Deadliest Catch,” Samantha Scopa, 17, of Greenfield, said seniors especially needed to hear Tokman’s message of perseverance and striving to realize their dreams. She said seniors “want to have an idea of where you want to go after high school.”

“It makes me believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” she said. “I didn’t believe it until I heard what he went through.”

Scopa, who is in the FCTS Plumbing and Heating program, said she hopes to go to college to become a registered nurse. Besides establishing a nursing career, she hopes to one day buy land and build her own post and beam house.

Nate Breen, 17, of Erving, said “most people don’t get to where they want to go after high school.” His goals are to join the U.S. Army and then go to Westfield State University for law enforcement.

“He pushed me more into what I want to do,” Breen said of Tokman’s talk. “He never gave up when everything got hard. I want to make it to my goals. It’s very important to me to show everyone I can do it.”

During the hour-long presentation at FCTS, Tokman described his journey from West Springfield, to college in Canada to deciding to quit school to become a fisherman in Alaska. He was enrolled at Concordia College in Montreal and “was down and out and wondering what I was doing” before making the decision to go to Alaska.

At the time, Tokman was also holding down three part-time jobs – selling suits, working as a night janitor and delivering pizza. Between school and work, he was burnt out and questioning why he was doing what he was doing. This personal crisis led him to leave college and head to Alaska despite the vehement objections of his family.

“I decided that I couldn’t live for my family; ultimately, I have to do what I want to do,” Tokman said. “This was my life and I have to make my own decisions. If I didn’t do it, 20 years down the road I’d regret it and be questioning myself, so I wouldn’t be living, I’d merely be existing.”

Once he got to Alaska, Tokman found landing a job was much tougher than he thought it would be. He walked the fishing boat docks day after day looking for work, to no avail. He ended up broke and had to sell a gold necklace his mother gave him. He slept at “random people’s houses,” camped in the woods and stayed at a homeless shelter.

Even when he did find work on a fishing boat, it didn’t last. There were instances when Tokman wasn’t paid for the work he did do.

“Every single day he walked up and down the boardwalk asking if anyone had a job,” Scopa said. “He never gave up. He heard 150 times a day “no.” I want to make “no” a motivational word for me. If people tell me “no” it makes me want to do it more to prove them wrong.”

Although he now touts the power of persistence, there were times when Tokman felt like giving up. But, he always overcame the urge, even when he hit rock bottom.

“I realized that it cannot get any worse than this,” Tokman said. “It cannot and right now I am living and breathing. But, if it cannot get any worse than this, then it can only get better.”

Through it all, Tokman was inspired by the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, and he gave a copy to Morgan Plante, 17, of Orange in the hopes that she would find inspiration in it and pass it along to someone else.

Plante took Tokman’s presentation to heart and days later enlisted in the National Guard, a goal she had set for herself.

“I learned not to let people stop you from reaching your goals,” she said. “I was on the fence about joining the National Guard. He made me want to do it and I enlisted. If he didn’t come to the school, I don’t think I would have signed up for the National Guard. I would have given up on my dream.”

Tokman eventually met Sig Hansen, captain of the crab fishing boat Northwestern, which is featured on “Deadliest Catch.” Hansen took a liking to Tokman and offered him a job, giving his story a happy ending.

Following the talk, Tokman said he hoped his message resonated with the students. He has plans to become a fulltime public speaker one day.

“I love public speaking, especially to young people,” he said. “I turned down a six figure job to do this. This is my calling.”

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