Byline: George Barnes
GARDNER - Completing his commencement address, state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, offered graduates of Mount Wachusett Community College a real-world example of what he encouraged them to do in his speech.
"I have to take this (cap and gown) off, get back in my car and go to the Statehouse," he said as he walked off the stage. "We have more votes to make."
In his speech at the college's 47th commencement, Mr. Brewer told the graduates receiving more than 700 degrees and certificates, "I don't know what your destiny will be, but I know that the only ones among you who will really be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
Mr. Brewer, who has been many years in state government, said he has found a career that is rewarding and meaningful.
"A job in public service is one way to serve others and contribute positively to society and to your community, but it is not the only way," he said.
Mr. Brewer said he believes that sometimes there is enormous pressure from society for a person to find a job and enter a career that will guarantee financial success, but such a job can foster a spirit of self-interest.
"That kind of attitude is part of the reason our nation found itself in a deep recession," he said.
Mr. Brewer told the graduates they would be better off trying to help others.
"It was once said the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others," he said. "I think that can be a guiding theme for us all, especially during this period of our nation's history."
At the graduation, the college presented two awards to community members. The first was the Service above Self award, given to Douglas A. Starrett, president of L.S. Starrett Co. in Athol. In accepting the award, Mr. Starrett offered a tribute to the man who inspires him.
"They say you measure a man by the length of his shadow," he said. "Laroy Starrett, my great-great-grandfather and founder of our company, was one of those men."
Mr. Starrett said his great-great-grandfather set a high standard of civic engagement and giving back to the community.
"His leadership in this area fostered an awareness of the importance of civic involvement that has motivated me and many of our personnel to give back to the community in a variety of ways," he said.
The Alumnus of the Year award was given to former Leominster Fire Chief Alfred E. Leblanc, a 1980 fire science graduate of the college. He encouraged graduates to gather skills in their toolbox as they move forward in their lives.
"It is a proven fact that the more education you have, the more you will succeed," he said. "Doors opened for me that I didn't know were there until I had the education."
Area graduates are:
Ashburnham: Associate: Christopher W. Aubuchon, Hannah A. Bakanowsky, Jennifer R. Brennan, Jaclyn Brown, Deborah A. Duteau, Raeanne J. Gage, Brandy Y. Goulkin, Gary A. Guertin, Christina A. Halfkenny, Christin Johansson, Christina M. Labowicz, Rachel M. Letourneau, David R. Liming, Kimberly K. McGowan, Sara J. Mitchell, Benjamin Perrett, Ryan S. Sansossio, Patricia R. Woodliff
Certificate: Robert S. Bean, Jean L. Camerer, Thomasina M. Comeau, Megan L. Farley, Michael V. Hamel, Janice A. Hopkins, Sylvie M. Osborne, Carissa A. Raposa, Justin G. Richard
Ashby: Associate: Amanda L. Boudreau, Kathleen T. Juliano, Julie L. Lutz, Jade M. Salvatore, Kerrin J.K. Tammik
Athol: Associate: Hanka Brauer-Chagnon, Trevor J. Burgess, Ethan E. Doiron-LaRue, Joyell L. Eaton, Andrea B. Gendron, Pamela A. Harris, Jonathan N. Hurd, Rodney E...