Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School

Annual Report for the Year Ending December 31, 1999

Superintendent-Director Stratos G. Dukakis is pleased to announce that the school’s expansion/modernization project---the first in the school’s history ---is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The project, of which 76 percent is being funded by the state, increases the total facility size by 75,000 square feet. Included are 11 new academic classrooms, five new science labs, a 1000-seat performing arts center, sports complex/physical education facility, new art studio, multi-purpose room, television studio, child care center and space for a new career program. In addition, a number of vocational-technical areas have been renovated and/or expanded. A dedication ceremony is being planned for next spring.

Monty Tech’s twenty-eighth annual Commencement Exercises were held June 10 in the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Physical Education Complex at Mount Wachusett Community College. A total of 171 members of the Class of 1999 received diplomas and certificates of vocational-technical proficiency. Next year’s graduation ceremony will be the first to be held at the school.

The graduates were recognized for their numerous achievements in the areas of academics, vocational-technical skills, athletics, student government and citizenship at the Annual Senior Award Program held June 8 at Mount Wachusett Community College.

Approximately 66 percent of the Class of 1999 went directly into the workforce following graduation; 27 percent went on to higher education, and five percent entered the military.

Monty Tech’s twenty-ninth school year commenced August 31.Despite the largest enrollment to date—1180 students in grades 9-12—and the fact that the school was in the midst of a major construction project, school officials reported the 1999-2000 school opening "went quite smoothly." To accommodate the larger enrollment, along with the recent establishment of a nine-period day, additional instructional and support staff was hired.

Monty Tech’s newly established post-secondary Practical Nursing Program held its first graduation and pinning ceremony June 30.A total of 25 participants from throughout the region received certificates and pins at the event held in the school cafetorium. The second year of this 10-month program got under way Aug. 31 with an enrollment of 31 students, both males and females.

This fall, the public was invited to tour the twenty-third house built in the Montachusett region through Monty Tech’s House Building Program. More than 300 visitors toured the raised ranch owned by Rene and Alice LeBlanc and located at 1745 Pleasant St., Athol. The program has been making the dream of home ownership a reality for residents of the School District since it was established in 1976.Students and instructors in the building trades are working on this year’s house currently under construction in Winchendon.

Last spring, Assistant Director/Principal John F. Dzerkacz established a new program designed to develop positive relationships between the school community and local police departments. Known as POLICE (Police Officers Leading In Community Education), this pro-active program serves as a model for the state. The program aims to expand the traditional role of the police in the school by encouraging the interaction of students and police on an informal, positive basis. This practice allows students and police to get to know each other and form relationships based on mutual respect. Some of the activities the program has sponsored to date include a field hockey game with Fitchburg Police Officers; school-wide demonstrations presented by the Canine Police Units of Fitchburg and Athol, and a series of discussions on the rules of the road presented by Templeton Police Chief Donald Sandos to Driver Education students.

Another program that continues to be successful is the "Bulldog Pride" program. Now in its fifth year, this student motivational incentive program continues to be effective in increasing school attendance, decreasing discipline problems and creating a better school atmosphere. This past year, many deserving students won valuable gifts and prizes, including televisions, VCRs, mountain bikes and cars, for their good efforts and achievement.

This year, school officials initiated programs designed to help students better prepare for the state-mandated MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) tests. They include a weekly silent reading program and an open-ended writing activity, similar to that used in the tests. Freshman summer camps, designed to improve reading, math and study skills, were held this past summer. The program, which was funded by a state Department of Education grant, was well attended.

Monty Tech is very proud of its long-standing tradition of helping charitable and civic organizations. Through the efforts of the National Honor Society, Student Council and VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America), numerous area organizations benefited. Some of the recipients included the Salvation Army, Our Father’s House, Montachusett Veterans’ Outreach Center in Gardner, Gardner Community Action Committee Inc., U.N.I.C.E.F., American Cancer Society, the state’s Adopt-A-Highway Program, and Heifer Project International.

Each year, communities in the School District look to Monty Tech to lend a helping hand with a wide variety of municipal projects. This partnership benefits all --- students are able to broaden their skills and gain some real work experience, while taxpayers save a considerable sum on labor costs. A sampling of some of the numerous municipal/community projects Monty Tech helped out with this past year include: Auto Body students refurbished, reconditioned and repainted a support vehicle for the Lunenburg Fire Department; Plumbing students installed new pipes at the Gardner City Hall; Industrial Technology students helped install new playground equipment at the Waterford Street School in Gardner and a ramp at the home of an elderly couple in Westminster; Cabinetmaking and House Carpentry students built and installed new benches at the Gardner District Court, and Drafting Technology students did the lettering on the new sign located outside the court house; Graphic Communications students printed forms for Hubbardston, and report cards for the Ashburnham-Westminster School System. Additionally, Automotive Technology students repaired two town vehicles, Graphic Communications students printed the town newsletter and various forms, and Industrial Tech students did construction work at the public library, all in Harvard.

Monty Tech’s chapter of the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America had another successful year with students winning medals and awards for trade and leadership skills at local, district and state competitions. A total of 64 medals were won at the local event; 18 at the district, and 12 at the state competition. Jason Farmer, an honor student from Ashburnham, won a gold medal in the Electronic Technology division at the 25th annual Massachusetts VICA State Leadership and Skills Conference held last spring. His win qualified him to represent Monty Tech and Massachusetts at the national competition held in Kansas City, Missouri.



Superintendent-Director Dukakis again sponsored a Legislative Breakfast where area school superintendents had the opportunity to meet with their state legislators to discuss pertinent issues. Topics of discussion included school reform, school building assistance and transportation funding issues.

Monty Tech’s Cooperative Education and Job Placement Program continued to provide invaluable work experience for over 75 qualified and skilled upperclassmen. Through the program, students gained practical, paid work experience, while enhancing their technical skills working for area businesses during their trade week. Many were hired for full-time, permanent employment upon graduation. The Lifetime Career Placement Program provided job opportunities for former graduates.

The Continuing Education Program provided low-cost, high-quality training through courses in practical arts, enrichment, trade preparation and advancement, and apprenticeship training. Course offerings were expanded to reflect recent trends in the region’s job market, particularly in the computer and medical fields.

Monty Tech’s Business Education Enrichment Fund Committee, better known as B.E.E.F., provided scholarships for higher education, interest-free loans for student business ownership, along with funding and support for career preparedness and enrichment programs. Founded in 1988, the group is comprised of area business and industry leaders who work tirelessly on behalf of Monty Tech and its students. In April, B.E.E.F., in conjunction with Superintendent-Director Dukakis, sponsored the 12th annual Superintendent’s Dinner. The school’s major fund-raising event, the dinner attracted close to 300 guests, many business and industry representatives from throughout the region. Highlight of the evening was a multi-course, gourmet dinner prepared and served by the school’s Culinary Arts department.

After a couple false starts due to inclement weather, including Hurricane Floyd, the fifth annual benefit Golf Tournament was held October 12 at the Westminster Country Club. Proceeds will fund scholarships and other student-related programs.




Close to 1,600 eighth graders from throughout the School District attended the annual Tour Day Program held Oct. 20 and Oct. 27.Prospective students toured the facilities, met faculty and learned firsthand what Monty Tech has to offer. Their parents and families were invited to visit the school at the annual Career Awareness Night held October 28.

A number of Monty Tech students were honored throughout the year for their accomplishments. Some include: Lisa M. LaFond of Fitchburg, Class of 1999, who was chosen as Monty Tech’s nominee for the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators’ 13th annual "Outstanding Vocational-Technical Student Award." She was also selected as nominee for the state Walter J. Markham Award, and the Massachusetts Vocational Association’s annual "Outstanding Vocational-Technical Student Award." Leeann Aubuchon of Westminster, Class of 1999, was selected as recipient of the 1998-99 Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ Certificate of Academic Excellence. Lisa M. Gamache of Fitchburg, Class of 2000, was recipient of the award for 1999-2000.Joseph M. Swick of Lunenburg, Class of 1999, and Lisa M. Gamache were selected by the Fitchburg Rotary Club as "Student of the Month." In addition, Waleska Torres of Fitchburg, president of the Class of 2000, was named Student Representative to the Monty Tech School Committee and Monty Tech’s nominee for the national Principal’s Leadership Award.

All of this would not have been accomplished without the support of the School Committee, staff, faculty, students, parents and guardians working together to advance Monty Tech and its goals and objectives. Ashby's representative to the School Committee, Warren Landry, has been very active in assuring that the vocational technical students at Monty Tech get the best education possible.

Lastly, the School Committee, administration and staff wish to extend their sincere appreciation for the support of the public officials and citizens of the Town of Ashby in making it possible for our students to receive the highest quality education available.