A longtime Franklin County Technical School faculty member and a senior in the Plumbing/Heating program are due to receive prestigious honors for their outstanding hard work and dedication:
Daniel J. Prasol, biology, yearbook and bio-ethics teacher, has been chosen as a winner of the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award for 2013-2014.
Thirty five school communities in the Pioneer Valley annually honor outstanding teachers for their tremendous commitment and impact on students in their schools. Dan, along with the other Hampshire-Franklin Counties award winners, will be honored at a banquet at the Log Cabin and Meeting House in Holyoke on Tuesday, May 6 at 6 p.m.
Dan has spent his entire 10 year career as a teacher at FCTS. A native of Turners Falls, he is a 1997 graduate of Turners Falls High School, where his mother Mary Jane is a math teacher. Besides his teaching duties, Dan is junior varsity baseball coach, Drama Club advisor, and director of the school’s theater program.
Dan started his teaching career at FCTS as a part-time substitute teacher, and soon found out that “the school had so much to offer and the kids were awesome.”
He continued, “Franklin County Technical School seemed like a natural fit for me. The kids are eager, driven and determined to succeed. They come in already motivated and that makes your job as a teacher easy.”
Last school year, Dan organized and directed the first ever formal theater program at FCTS. The group’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” won rave reviews and drew an enthusiastic audience. The group’s second production, “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” will be held March 15 at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls.
Dan said he was surprised and humbled by the award.
“It’s a real honor to be recognized by Mr. Laverty, Mr. Martin, and my peers” he said. “I wouldn’t have gotten this honor if it weren’t for the support of the faculty, staff and students at the school. It’s a real testament to the school.”2
Senior Julia Lingwall, the daughter of Todd and Julia Lingwall, will receive the Outstanding Vocational Student Award from the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and the Massachusetts Vocational Association. One student from each technical/vocational school and other schools with Chapter 74 programs in the state receives the award.
Julia and the other winners will be honored at the 28th Annual Outstanding Vocational Technical Student Banquet at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on April 10.
The FCTS administration nominated Julia for the award based on her excellence in academic and vocational programs, as well as being actively involved in school and community activities and service.
FCTS Vocational Curriculum Director Jocelyn Croft said Julia “has exemplified the very best in a vocational-technical student. She is hardworking, helpful, conscientious and motivated. Julia is a great employee in her co-op job and is motivated to work in the field.”
Julia is active outside of her school life as a Junior Member of the Williamsburg Lions Club, and participates in the organization’s Eye Mobile events that conduct free glaucoma and other eye tests for area residents. She trained over a year and a half ago to operate the eye scanning photography machines, and her work is sent for evaluation to Boston hospitals where eyesight saving diagnosis occurs.
Along with her fellow Plumbing/Heating students, Julia assisted in the building of a house for Habitat for Humanity and major expansion work for the Buddhist monks at their Peace Pagoda in Leverett. Julia says that she lives a faith based life, and working for the benefit of others is fulfilling.
Julia is the president of both the National Honor Society and SkillsUSA Chapters for FCTS. While competing as a sophomore in SkillsUSA in the Job Interview event, she earned a silver medal and a $1,500 scholarship to the New England Institute of Technology.
Additionally, Julia has earned the John and Abigail Adams scholarship, and she is in the top 5% of her class.
For her senior school year, Julia is taking part in cooperative education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in a part-time position as the departmental assistant for the HVAC facility division.
Just recently Julia was included in UMass departmental HVAC training conducted by Johnson Controls, and has been certified as a technician. She is considering joining the Air National Guard because Johnson Controls is partnered with the Air Force and she has expertise that is in demand. Julia is hoping to one day work at Johnson Controls as a JCI Technician.3
Franklin County Technical School recently submitted a statement of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority to be considered for its accelerated repair program which addresses the replacement, renovation and modernization of school facilities. We are looking to replace the school roof, and possibly, the windows.
We are hoping to receive notice of approval for the project by April.
This project is vital to the structural integrity of the school. The original roof was torn off and replaced in 1995 with a new Sarnifil membrane roof with a 15 year warranty. The approximately $1 million project was completed without any state aid or additional assessments to our towns.
Now that the current roof is approaching 19 years old, it is showing signs of cracking and leaking.
In considering this project, we looked at three options, (1) continue to patch the roof and hope for state funding to become available, (2) repair the current roof membrane with an Astec-Ply system at an estimated cost of $725,000, and (3), similar to the 1995 project, remove and replace the existing roof. The cost of the project is currently unknown, but it would come with a 15 year warranty, and is eligible for state reimbursement. Option 2 does not qualify for state reimbursement.
FCTS has embarked on a number of capital improvements in recent years. One of the most notable was the replacement of old rooftop HVAC units. We entered into an energy performance contract with Siemens to replace all boilers and convert from oil to gas heat. We also installed energy efficient lighting with an energy management system that controls when the lights go on and off.
The $5.1 million project was completed with no state aid or additional assessments to our member towns. Energy savings will pay for the improvements and I’m pleased to report that we are meeting our energy conservation goals.
A Siemens energy performance assurance report recently stated that reduced energy use by FCTS has significantly lowered the amount of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Replacing the school’s HVAC system, converting from oil to gas heat, and installing energy efficient lighting has been a great investment on a couple of levels. The project has saved the school money as well as helped the environment.