Haverhill Senior Earns Whittier Tech’s Outstanding Vocational Technical Student Award

Whittier Tech student Briana Jackson (courtesy photo)

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School senior Briana Jackson was awarded the school’s Outstanding Vocational Technical Student award earlier this month at an awards ceremony that recognized 25 students from across Massachusetts. (courtesy photo)

Haverhill’s Briana Jackson is this year’s recipient of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Outstanding Vocational Technical Student award.

The annual award is sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and recognizes students who excel scholastically and in their technical area of study. Students are honored for making significant contributions to their school district and in turn, vocational technical education as a whole in the state.

After four years at Whittier, Jackson has an A+ average and is ranked second in her class of 302 students. Following graduation, she will attend the University of Massachusetts, Lowell where she will major in biology/pre-med. Her plan is to be a trauma surgeon.

Superintendent Maureen Lynch said “Briana is extremely deserving of this recognition. She has excelled at Whittier, both academically and in her extracurricular activities. She has a genuine passion for helping others, which you can see in both her career choice and how she spends her time outside of school.”

Jackson is a member of the National Technical Honor Society and has earned her Certified Nursing Assistant license as well as certifications in CPR/First Aid, OSHA, and Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia training. She has won gold, silver and bronze medals in SkillsUSA competitions, and has been employed as a CNA since the end of her junior year at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital through Whittier’s co-op program. The role has helped her grow and be more confident in the field.

“I work in a hospital so I have to talk to people who may be crying and have chronic illnesses, and some of them are young,” Jackson said in a statement. “It was hard to talk to patients at first and now I can walk right up and start talking and they remember me, which is nice.”

Jackson is also president of the Key Club, whose members are focused on completing acts of service, volunteerism and leadership, and has led several projects to help others. In June 2017, she organized a teddy bear drive where students distributed the stuffed animals to local police officers so they could have them on hand to give to children experiencing trauma. Additionally, she represents the student body on Whittier’s School Committee and is the recipient of the Bright Promise Scholarship and the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award.

“Key Club at Whittier is what made me more confident,” Jackson said, who has worked her way up in the group to become president this year. “Doing community service helps you see what other people’s lives are like. It made me have more understanding and respect for others. I realized I should not take stuff for granted.”

MAVA members recognized Jackson and 24 of her peers from vocational-technical high schools in Massachusetts during an awards dinner on April 12 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.