November 13, 2015
FITCHBURG – Grace Kirrane, 15, a sophomore in the Health Occupations program at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, has become the only freshman to have served on SkillsUSA-Massachusetts State Executive Council.
“I heard a lot about SkillsUSA from friends, and I wanted to see what it was all about,” she said. After being elected chapter vice president for Monty Tech last year, she attended the organization’s annual fall leadership conference and was very impressed by a state officer’s speech. “I felt she was speaking to me when she told us that it is our job to paint our own future. … I started researching the duties and responsibilities of being a state officer, and decided that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.
After qualifying to run for election as a state officer, she put together a campaign to win a spot at the SkillsUSA-Massachusetts annual State Skills and Leadership Conference held last spring. During the three-day conference, she, and a couple voting delegates, put up posters and passed out beach balls, candy bags and notepads printed with “Check the space for Grace.” She also attended meet and greets, participated in interviews, and conducted a Q and A session. Speaking to a group of more than 200 voting delegates was particularly stressful, but she loved it, she said.
“I wasn’t expecting to win. I was only a freshman, and I just wanted the experience. When my name was called, I was shocked and over joyed. I was shaking so much, my friend had to tell me to go up to the stage.”
Winning was great, but what was better, she said, was being only a freshman and getting so much support from my school. It’s nice to come into a new school and make so many great friends,” she said.
As state officer-elect, she attended SkillsUSA’s national conference held this past summer in Louisville, Kentucky. Serving as a national voting delegate, she worked on the campaign to elect a Massachusetts student a national officer. The student won the election.
It was back to Massachusetts to participate, along with other state officers-elect, at an intensive five-day training seminar held in Marlboro. There she was appointed Region 3 vice president. In that capacity, she serves as liaison between 17 Skills chapters and the State Executive Council.
She attended Washington Leadership Training Institute in Washington, D.C., recently. She and other state officers met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, where the discussion focused on education funding and career and technical education.
At Monty Tech, Grace last year served as vice president of Monty Tech’s SkillsUSA Chapter, freshman class treasurer, and a member of the Drama Club, Student Council and Media Club. She plays varsity field hockey and softball.
She has been very active in Girls Scout for the past 10 years, receiving such honors as the prestigious Prudential Spirit of Community award for her community service project. She made fleece blankets and donated them to the Fitchburg Police and Fire Departments for local needy children. She was the only middle-school student in the state to receive the award. She served for five years on the Girl Scout Leadership Board for Central and Western Massachusetts, of which she was a founding member.
In addition, she served as vice president of the Fitchburg-Leominster Boys & Girls Club’s Torch Club, a youth leadership group, and as a member of their Keystone Club, a teen leadership group.
She has performed in musical theater at Mount Wachusett Community College since she was 6.