DANVERS, MA — Essex Tech raised more than $16,000 during its remote Homecoming Gala on the night the school honored Salem High alumnus Brian Cranney as its 2020 Larkin Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
Superintendent Heidi Riccio said 144 people attended the virtual celebration on Dec. 18, which raised $16,200 for the Catherine Larking Memorial Cottage project. The gala raised $4,434.45 through ticket sales and an additional $11,780 through an auction featuring items Essex Tech students created as well as direct donations.
"We are so thankful to everyone who joined us on Friday for the gala," Riccio said. "The Catherine Larkin Memorial Cottage project is near and dear to the hearts of many in our school community, and will be a tremendous resource to students, staff, alumni and the community once it is completed."
The is the second year of the gala, which was held virtually this year because of the coronavirus.
"It was special to celebrate this initiative with so many new and old friends," Riccio said.
Essex Tech honored Cranney with the lifetime achievement award that recognizes members of the school community and its past iterations who have "demonstrated a commitment to and achievement within the local vocational and or agricultural industries."
Cranney is the president of the Danvers-based Cranney Home Services, which works as a co-op for Essex Tech students and employs several alumni. He helped found the electrical program at the school and was a building committee member during the merger of Essex Agricultural and North Shore Technical School.
State Sen. Joan Lovely gave the opening remarks and Essex Tech Principal Shannon Donnelly delivered a tribute to retiring State Rep. Ted Speliotis for his support of the school's facility during its building and opening in 2014.
"As one of the most effective legislators in the House, Rep. Speliotis ensured that every student on the North Shore would have access to high quality agricultural and vocational education through the creation of a new state of the art facility," Principal Donnelly said. "While working on this legislation, Rep. Speliotis always kept cognizant of the rich history of the Essex Agricultural School, never letting it be lost or forgotten. We sincerely thank you, Rep. Speliotis, for your commitment to all of the students in the Commonwealth who have directly benefited from your support of Agricultural and Career Technical Education."
Lt. Catherine Larkin was an alumni of the Essex County Agricultural School and World War II nurse who died in a plane crash in 1945. The Larkin Memorial Cottage, which is being rebuilt into a multi-use facility, including a historical museum, service kitchen, office space, an exhibit hall, a learning lab and function space.
It was originally built and named after Larkin in 1950.
More Patch Coverage: Salem Native Earns Essex North Shore Lifetime Achievement Award