Athol Daily News – Record grant funds, technology updates and Veterinary Clinic opening mark new school year

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FITCHBURG — With a record amount of grant monies funding major technology and classroom updates, along with the much-anticipated opening of the school’s on-site Veterinary Clinic, Monty Tech is poised for an exciting 2019-2020 school year, according to school officials.

School officials announced the plans for the new year at the annual staff orientation day held recently.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was on hand for the event, along with State Rep. Stephan Hay (Democrat-Third Worcester District) and Fitchburg Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale. 

Polito told the gathering that the Baker Administration remains a major supporter of the state’s vocational-technical system. To date, the administration has awarded more than $65 million dollars in Skills Cabinet grant funds, of which Monty Tech has received close to $1.5 million.

“We are huge supporters, and we believe in what you are doing here,” she told faculty and staff members.

She thanked school officials and teachers for taking their knowledge and skills and making the choice to transfer them to help educate the state’s future workforce. “You clearly have had an impact in making Massachusetts the leader in education in the country. You are creating opportunities for students that are real, relevant and important to the future of the Commonwealth. You are preparing students for jobs that haven’t been created yet,” she stressed.

She noted that the school’s 400 professional business partners, co-op and internship opportunities, along with advances in technology and STEM initiatives, serve as bridges to real-world job opportunities for students.  “You are transferring what is going on in your classrooms and trade programs to what is happening in the state’s workforce. What you are doing is helping to keep the talent here in the state. We are growing more jobs than we currently have workers for,” she said.

Superintendent-Director Dr. Sheila M. Harrity announced that as a result of a 2018 Skills Cabinet Grant, the school will formerly open this fall the new Automation-Robotics-Mechatronics (A.R.M.) lab in conjunction with the school’s Electrical and Engineering programs.

In addition, a 2019 Mass. Skills Grant, valued at $384,000, is allowing the school to develop a new diagnostic lab in the Automotive Technology program, and to provide for major updates in equipment, technology and furnishings in the Health Occupations program, one of the school’s most popular career fields.

This summer the school was awarded an $80,000 Safer Schools & Communities grant that will be used to purchase updated exterior doors, locks and security cameras, bringing the security system into a complete digital format, according to Katy Whitaker, grant writer and Development Coordinator.

The second phase in the three-year Chromebook lease initiative commences this year, with all students receiving new, updated models.  Upperclassmen may keep their current models for personal use for a fee of $1.

Dr. Harrity announced that she was reaching out to staff and faculty to establish a wellness committee to plan and organize school-wide well-being initiatives. 

The much-anticipated opening to the public of the new Veterinary Center’s clinic will be held Monday, Sept. 16. Residents who meet income eligibility requirements will be able to bring their pets to the clinic for care and services. 

Monty Tech is partnering with VCA in this endeavor, which is funding the clinic director’s salary.  Formerly known as Veterinary Centers of America, VCA operates nearly 800 animal hospitals and 60 diagnostic labs in the U.S. and Canada. 

For information about eligibility and services provided, visit the clinic’s website at

Constructed by teachers and students in the school’s building trades, the on-site center was opened last fall for classroom use for students in the Veterinary Science Program, the school’s 21st career program.

This summer, school maintenance and custodial staffs, with assistance from construction trade teachers, were busy completing a number of building repair and renovating projects, including painting the building exterior and installing epoxy on the floor in the Auto Body shop.  The driveway and parking lot were paved, and inmates, provided by the Sheriff’s department, painted one of the gyms.

A new sandwich/salad area in the cafeteria was also installed, along with new coolers in the café kitchen and a new oven in the Culinary Art’s bakery area.

Staff members receiving service pins include: 25 years: Brian Bean (Graphic Communications teacher) and Michael Bourque (maintenance); 20 years: Elizabeth Flanagan (science teacher), Karen Hebert (Vocational administrative assistant), Diane Kelley (cosmetology teacher), Ellen Kelly (cafeteria staff); 15 years: Nicholas Bailey (cabinetmaking teacher), John Bozicas (Special Education team leader), Jeffrey Briggs (plumbing teacher), Andrew Caouette (English teacher), John Darling (health occupations teacher), Peter Gallant (automotive body: collision repair teacher), Elba Guzman (business technology teacher), Emile Pellerin (maintenance), Denise Pelletier (Practical Nursing program teacher), Victoria Zarozinski (Director of Student Support Services); 10 years: Roger Bellerose (Information Technology teacher), Jane Case (Practical Nursing program director), Genevieve Castillo (CAD/Drafting & Design teacher), Michelle June (cafeteria staff) Amanda Kelly (social studies teacher), David Lelievre (auto body: collision repair teacher), Sean Lowe (cafeteria manager), Samantha McGuane (English teacher), Ryan McMullen (English teacher), Christina Sauer (Special Education teacher). 

A total of 14 new staff members were hired, including two for the new vet clinic.  

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