Assabet Valley Tech Class of 2020 receives welcome surprise

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Groups of lawn signs await pick up as 83 members of the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High staff volunteer to surprise 266 seniors in 16 towns with a personalized sign at their home.

By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer

Marlborough Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AVRTHS) has a graduating class of 266 seniors who live in 16 different area towns. Choosing to surprise each of them with a personalized graduation sign for their front lawn might have seemed like a very daunting task for one afternoon, but it turned out to be quite simple. The call went out to the staff and administrators, and with 83 volunteers, each car only had to pick up a few signs to place. The line of vehicles at the front entrance of the school stretched to the road and just kept coming for almost 45 minutes as a team of staff members loaded each one with a pre-packaged group of signs and a list of addresses. Abiding by social distancing rules, the drivers shouted greetings from behind their masks to friends they have not seen personally in months.

“We’ve been doing a lot of recognition by technical program on the school’s social sites, and decided it was time to take it on the road right to the students’ homes,” explained Mark Hollick, the school’s principal.

AVRTHS serves grades 9-12 students from seven member towns – Berlin, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Southborough, and Westborough.  Additionally, when space allows, students from Boylston, Cherry Valley, Clinton, Leicester, Rochdale, Shrewsbury, West Boylston, and Sudbury may apply, and a couple of families of the class of 2020 had recently moved to Worcester, so their signs were also delivered to their new homes.

Graduation is traditionally held at the DCU Center in Worcester in June, but no definitive plans have been made yet.

“We are considering a variety of options right now.  Celebrating our class of 2020 in an appropriate manner is at the top of our priority list. With federal, CDC, state and local guidelines evolving on almost a daily basis with regard to the COVID-19 crisis, we are being cautious in booking any venue or setting any firm dates until we feel sure we won’t have to disappoint anyone if things change.

“ We are keeping families in the loop through our website and virtual meetings, and of course parents are welcome to reach out to me. These kids deserve to be recognized for all their accomplishments, earning both a diploma and a certificate of proficiency in their chosen field, and this year, they had to do it in the middle of a pandemic,”  Hollick continued. “We will do everything we can to make it special for them.”

AVRTHS allows students to choose from 17 different technical programs during their freshman year, and offers a rigorous academic curriculum ranging from college preparatory to advanced placement offerings in all core subjects, plus a variety of electives. The students alternate between their technical and academic courses on a week to week basis. Graduates are prepared to further their education at colleges and universities across the country, enter the work force with a solid skill set, or join the military.  Additionally, there is a full slate of MIAA recognized sports and a plethora of extracurricular activities from Art Club to robotics. For more information, visit www.assabet.org.

Neil Mansfield, lead teacher in the Metal Fabrication program at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High, shows his list of students for sign-placement.