Kristin Slowinski Named 2018 FCTS Outstanding Voc Tech Student
TURNERS FALLS, MA – Winning the prestigious Outstanding Vocational Technical Student Award seems to run in Kristin Slowinski’s family.
Five years ago, her brother Robert won the award and Slowinski was recently named Franklin County Technical School’s 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Vocational Technical Student Award.
Asked how her brother reacted when he heard she won the award, Slowinski smiled and said, “he was excited for me.”
The award is sponsored annually by the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA), which represents the interests of vocational technical educators and administrators from public high schools throughout the Commonwealth, and Massachusetts Vocational Association (MVA).
The Outstanding Vocational Technical Student Award ceremony was held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester where students from 52 vocational and technical schools across Massachusetts were honored for their outstanding academic careers and involvement in their schools and communities.
To be chosen for the award, a student must meet several criteria. Superintendent Richard Martin conducted the interview with Slowinski, during which her GPA, vocational aptitude, school attendance, leadership qualities, vocational-related work experience, work ethic, community involvement, extracurricular activities and more were all considered.
“Kristin Slowinski has demonstrated expertise in all of the criteria,” Martin said. “Therefore she was the unanimous choice for this prestigious award.”
Surprised that she was named Outstanding Vocational Technical Student, Slowinski said she is “still in awe.”
“I’m so honored to have won the award,” she said. “There are so many students in my class that could have won. I thought ‘maybe I’ll get it, maybe I won’t get it.’ When Superintendent Martin told me I got the award, he said I was the student he was looking for.”
A senior, Slowinski lives in Colrain with her parents James and Nicole. She is in the Health Technology program at FCTS, and with a 3.9 GPA, is the number one ranked student in her class. Slowinski is also dual-enrolled at Greenfeld Community College, where she has a full academic schedule.
As a participant in Franklin County Technical School’s cooperative education program, Slowinski works in Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s intensive care unit. In addition to her cooperative education job, she works part-time at Buckley Healthcare Center as a dietary aide.
Slowinski also volunteers with her local youth group and in the Greenfield Visiting Nurse Association’s Adult Day Program.
Known as a leader at Franklin County Tech, Slowinski is class treasurer, National Honor Society member, and president of the school’s chapter of SkillsUSA. She is also an athlete who participates in varsity field hockey and track.
Slowinski is planning to attend UMass-Dartmouth in the fall and major in biology in the Honors program. She hopes to one day become a doctor specializing in gastroenterology.
Superintendent Martin accompanied Slowinski to the ceremony, as did her parents, brother Robert, Principal Shawn Rickan, Health Technology instructor Gretchen Werle, Vocational Curriculum Director Jocelyn Croft, Cooperative Education Coordinator Raye Young, and Guidance Counselor Stephen Richter.
Slowinski said being a student at FCTS is a unique and empowering experience.
“They teach more to being an individual and succeeding in the workforce, rather than just going to college,” she said. “All of the teachers are fantastic. They’ll meet you halfway. They know exactly who you are and what you want to do and they’ll help you get there.”
According to Werle, Slowinski is not only an outstanding student and unselfish volunteer, but she is also well-liked.
“She always has a smile on her face; she’s a good natured kid,” she said. “She’s a top student who has done everything she could to get ahead, and she’s done it with an even keel and in a nice way.”
As a junior, Slowinski was accepted into Baystate Franklin’s Student Ambassador Program. The program introduces students to health care careers, including nursing, radiology, cardiopulmonary, oncology, family practice, wound care, neurology, clinical engineering, nutrition, rehabilitation, pharmacy, endoscopy, and surgery.
The six week program pairs each student with a mentor who guides them through a day at Baystate Franklin. Students can be assigned to participate in up to six different departments through the course of the program, as well as observe a surgical procedure.
The program, as well as Slowinski’s willingness to take on new challenges, had a profound impact on her life.
“Kristin has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the Student Ambassador Program,” Werle said. “It changed her career focus. She was interested in physical therapy. During the program, her career pathway changed to medicine. She’s open minded about the direction she’s going in. I have no doubt that she’ll take full advantage of her education and be successful at whatever career she chooses.”