Assabet Valley retiring Principal Mark Hollick honored with surprise party

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Assabet Valley retiring Principal Mark Hollick honored with surprise party
Retiring Principal Mark Hollick, center, pauses for a family photo with, left to right, his mother and brother, Pauline and Erik Hollick, wife, Jodi, daughter Megan and son, Mason, at a recent surprise celebration in his honor.

REGION – When contemplating how to genuinely surprise retiring Principal Mark Hollick and get him to his own retirement party, the organizers had to dig deep into what motivates him and use that to their advantage.

After 32 years at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High, his devotion to doing what’s best for his students at every opportunity was legendary, so the plan was cast. At a little after 3 p.m. on the day after school was over for the summer, Hollick was approached by another administrator and told that a student had not yet accepted a scholarship and that it would go to the next student in line if she didn’t immediately respond.

Luckily, her graduation party was being held at 3:30 p.m. at the Hudson Elks, but someone had to get the envelope to her. Hollick bought the story and was quick to offer his assistance, shut down his computer, lock his office and drive over to the Elks.

As he rushed in, manila envelope clutched in his hands, he was taken aback to see his wife, Jodi, and daughter, Megan, inside the door. Did they know the student? It was when he turned and saw his mother, Pauline, who had come up from Florida with his brother, Erik, to surprise him, that he began to catch on that there was no student in need and that the room full of people standing and cheering and clapping were actually there to honor him.

He was moved to tears, as were so many of the partygoers.

Former Superintendent Mary Jo Nawrocki, who had Hollick as a student back in the 1980s, was asked to speak.

She detailed his rise through the ranks at the school, from student-athlete to substitute teacher, paraprofessional, Physical Education and Health teacher, coach, Curriculum Coordinator and finally, for the last 16 years, principal. He met his wife at Assabet, his brother had attended Assabet, his mother was an aide in the classrooms, and both of his children are Assabet alumni.

“Mark truly bleeds blue and gold. He has always put the students first and knows and remembers their names and what technical program they were in years after they’ve graduated,” she said.

Hollick spearheaded an English and Math Across the Curriculum program, lifting Assabet to new heights. He wrote a manual on the preparation new teachers must follow to advance and receive state certification and made that a priority.

She continued, “He has thanked me for believing in him and hiring him as principal at only 38, but I have to say that he has made me so proud of the work he has done and his dedication to Assabet. We all wish him well as he moves forward!”

The standing ovation lasted for several minutes, as friends, family, and colleagues attempted to convey their appreciation and admiration for a job well done to a man who put his heart and soul into his work.

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