Coggin is among the Westfield Tech faculty who plan to attend the first Westfield Technical Academy alumni picnic, slated Oct. 6 at the school on Smith Avenue.
“Westfield Tech’s programs prepare students to enter the workforce and hit the ground running,” said Coggin during a recent meeting of committee organizers in the school’s library. “We owe it to the school to attend the picnic for what the school did for us. Attending the picnic is a way to recognize and support the school.”
Jesse Barrows, an electrical wiring instructor at the school who graduated in 1999, concurs.
“I got a lot out of Westfield Tech and owe a lot to the school,” said Barrows.
The two alumni, who are on the planning committee, are also looking forward to attending the event.
Jack Prince, a 1961 graduate, noted the Westfield Trade High School was located on Bartlett Street when he graduated and is now St. Mary’s High School. Prince had concentrated his time in the machine shop and found those skills immeasurable as he went on to work for Digital in the city for 25 years and then to Medsource Technology in East Longmeadow before he retired.
“I also enjoyed baseball and was on the student council,” said Prince. “Attending the picnic will be a great chance to see old friends.”
Paul Carbonneau was a 1965 graduate who concentrated his studies in machine drafting. After also attending an electronics school in Hartford, Conn., and being drafted, he too found employment at Digital for 23 years, and then spent 16 years in the Springfield Public Schools in its IT Department before he retired six years ago.
“The picnic will be a social event,” said Carbonneau. “We had a very spirited class and I hope others will also want to reconnect with their fellow classmates.”
Stephanie Morris of the English Department and Rob Ollari, student services coordinator, are spearheading the committee and are working closely with chef Philip Mucciarone of the Culinary Department on the cookout buffet. Tours of the school will also be available and led by teachers and administrators.
“We will also have a table set up for anyone wishing to join the newly formed Alumni Association,” said Morris, noting the school was established in 1911. “Alumni will be able to join at different levels, including a single membership for $20 or a lifetime membership at $100.”
Morris added that a selection of yearbooks dating back to 1953 will be available for sale at a cost of $10 each at the event.
There is no cost for alumni to attend the 6 to 8 p.m. picnic, however, tickets for one’s guests and family members are $5 per person. For persons planning on attending, contact Morris by email at [email protected] or call her at (413) 579-6441 by Sept. 26, including the alumnus name, shop and graduation year, if possible, and number of guests, as well as a phone number for return calls.
Joe Langone, the new principal at Westfield Technical Academy, is also looking forward to meeting alumni.
“I understand in a very real way how critical the work we do here is for the students and for the growth of a skilled workforce,” said Langone. “We are filling a critical need and with a 100 percent graduation rate, we will continue to play a key role for the city and region.”