Julie Canuto-Depina, a senior in Medical Assisting, has won the Outstanding Vocational Student Award for 2021.

Southeastern students always notably exceed expectations and excel in a variety of skills and fields. Each year though, one student is chosen who goes even further above and beyond. The Outstanding Vocational Student Award is an annual award given to a student who has continually excelled in their vocation, showcased the necessary skills to dominate any profession, and who has shown nothing less than courage, dedication, passion, determination, strength, and grit. This year, the winner is Medical Assisting senior from Brockton, Julie Canuto-Depina. In an interview with Canuto-Depina, she describes her experience, what the award means to her, and she offered some advice on how to excel in your vocational program at Southeastern.

In an interview with the recipient of the Outstanding Vocational Student Award, Julie Canuto-Depina, she described what the award is: “To my understanding, [the award] is given to a vocational student that stands out not just in their shop but in their trade. I think Ms. Maguire told me that they choose one student out of the whole building, and, to me, it’s [about] getting recognition for all that you’ve done within your program, the skills that you’ve shown, the commitment to your trade, the passion for your trade…”

When asked what the award meant to her personally, she responded by saying, “To me, it definitely means that I’ve done more than expected in my vocational program and it’s like a validation of all of my hard work and recognition for it. It makes me feel proud to be selected as a vocational student of the year, but also I’m very thankful…these last four years I’ve been working hard, trying my best, learning new skills, and even when learning some of the skills gets hard…it was definitely worth all that time, all that effort, and all that energy. To be able to be recognized for that and chosen for this award is definitely something that I’m honored [to receive].”

In spite of her excellence in Medical Assisting, Canuto-Depina originally came to Southeastern Regional to be in the Early Education program, but after the Exposure and the Exploratory, she fell in love with the Medical Assisting vocation. She went on to describe why she went into Medical Assisting and how she continues to feel about and appreciate the program after four years: “I ended up choosing Medical because when I explored it, I really liked the hands-on and the direct patient care contact…and I really like people contact….It’s very rewarding and I really like the teamwork part of it…. In order for us to get better at our skills, we need to practice [with] one another…. At the end of the day, there is not one person who deserves all the credit, we all work together as a medical team, and each of our skills are very important, so it’s a field where no matter what position you have it’s vital to the patient and I feel like the teamwork aspect is what I like most about it.”

At the end of the interview, when asked if she had words of wisdom and inspiration for other students, she responded by saying, “You’re really going to have to love what you do….and to be willing to put in the time, the effort, and the energy into learning that trade…Don’t feel like it’s work or a job that you really have to do, but something you come into school looking forward to… [and] finding new opportunities to grow within that field….Another [piece of] advice I would say is…just get involved within the school community… in every way that you can. Even if the opportunity is small, just take advantage of it and get involved within the school community, and even outside the school community…getting involved definitely is one big aspect of what has led to a lot of great things that I received in the past few months…”

Interestingly, several teachers in this building had been awarded the Outstanding Vocational Student Award when they were in High School. Chef Peterson was presented with the prestigious award when she was a student at Southeastern. Ms. Mulcahy was presented with the Outstanding Vocational Student Award when she was at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical High School. Ms. Maguire was presented with the award when she was a student at South Shore Vocational Technical High School.

About the Outstanding Vocational Student Award
The Outstanding Vocational Student Award is an annually awarded to a Senior student who embodies all that we stand for in vocational education. It is truly an honor to be selected as the student. The student needs to be in the top of the class, involved in the school community and found ways to bring awareness of vocational education to the community. The student is selected by a committee each year. One student from each vocational school is selected each year.

About Southeastern
At Southeastern, students choose from 20 career majors in preparation for life’s challenges and opportunities. Our school combines a rigorous academic curriculum with state of the art vocational and technical studies to help students realize their full learning potential. The schedule is designed to have students alternate between academic and technical coursework. This process promotes the integration of studies and helps bridge the gap between theoretical and practical experience. The hands-on approach to learning helps connect students to education and provides the basis for life-long learning – an essential skill in today’s highly competitive global market. Upon graduation, students have the choice of furthering their education in any two or four-year institution or going directly into the workforce.

The Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School District consists of a four-year public high school and a post-secondary technical institute. The high school offers 20 career majors to students from Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxboro, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton and West Bridgewater.

To learn more about Southeastern, please visit

Contact:  Ms. Maguire, Director of Career Pathways at Southeastern, can be reached at  The Medical Assisting teachers can be reached at and

Written by André Arzeno, Legal & Protective Services, Brockton