NORTH ADAMS -- Daniel Maloney, chairman of the McCann School Committee, spoke no illusions to 96 graduating McCann Technical School students about the "real world" and what it'd be like.
At the ceremony Wednesday night in the Amsler Campus Center gymnasium at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, he cited global competition, technology, automation and other challenging factors facing the workforce in today's economy.
"If you're not wealthy like Bill Gates or gifted like Einstein, how will you make it through?" he asked.
His answer. "Work harder and smarter than everyone else."
Maloney said the students would make mistakes, but advised them away from wishing for a "What if?" iPhone app to come out.
"Life is about experiences good and bad," Maloney said. "We learn from our mistakes, and this knowledge becomes part of our experience and knowledge."
He added, channeling Einstein: "The only source of knowledge is experience."
The ceremony saw plenty of noisiness from an elated class of 2013, and the audience, and music from graduating senior Joshua Allen Superneau.
Some students were headed for two- and four-year colleges, others for the workforce, a few for the military.
Salutatorian Michael Aron Gancarz stopped his speech and encouraged rounds of applause for both parents and teachers.
"Quite frankly, we can barely put up with ourselves sometimes," he said.
The future, he said, promised another rebirth, and continued progress -- with the aid of the "toolbox of skills" students had received from the school alluded to by Maloney.
"You will make a difference in the world, one way or another," he told his classmates.
Though it was "a little much at times," Superintendent James Brosnan praised the class for its humor, and told them to carry forward their sense of camaraderie.
"You spent for years at McCann, and you're leaving with all new friends," he said. "Remember that bond that keeps you close and you'll always succeed."
Before leading the class in moving their tassels from right to left, Valedictorian Marinna Ann Burzimati told her classmates to remember their day-to-day interactions.
"What matters most are the things we say to each other on a daily basis and the kinds of encounters we've had," she said. "Those are the things we'll remember."
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