Julie Canuto-Depina, Medical Assisting, Brockton, Class of 2021

When Julie Canuto-Depina first came to Southeastern, she did not know that she would select the Medical Assisting Program. Nor did she know she would become the 2021 Outstanding Vocational Student at Southeastern as well as a U.S. Presidential Scholar recipient. Her achievements have been plentiful while at Southeastern, and the school is incredibly proud of all of Julie’s accomplishments.

Julie is the student representative on the School Committee, a representative on the Student Athletic Advisory Board, the Student Leadership Team, Community Service Group, and the School Council, a member of the National Honor Society and of the track team. She commented that her favorite is being a student representative on the School Committee because she enjoys hearing the concerns of the students, especially during a challenging year like no other, and being able to communicate them to the School Committee. She also commented that it feels nice to know that she is representing the voices of all the students and taking initiative to relay these important concerns to the School Committee. This year, the track team was a great escape for her as it has enabled her to push beyond her limits and, in her words, begin to “get back into the swing of things.”

Julie has also shown great resilience, as she has not only had to balance each club, team, and committee, but also maintains a job at a grocery store. Outside of Southeastern, Julie is a member of the Afro Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), and the Brockton Branch of the NAACP. There, she competed in the oratory competition. After much hesitancy, she was encouraged to write her very own speech, and chose to craft a persuasive speech regarding an issue that she was very passionate about: police brutality. She not only won the competition at the Brockton branch, but she received a gold medal and qualified for the national competition, which will take place in July.

When Julie came to Southeastern, she originally sought to become a teacher, so she was interested in the Early Education field. However, she fell in love with the Medical Assisting field after exploring it in the Freshman Exposure and Exploratory phase. Being a sister to four brothers, she always had a passion for working with children, and she saw the Medical Assisting field as an opportunity to become a pediatrician. In her own words, “The healthcare system has one of the most amazing, determined, strong-willed, humble, skillful, attentive, selfless, hardworking, and passionate group of workers, and I strongly feel as though it is with this group of individuals that I see myself working with in the future, making a change in others’ lives.”

Julie recounts that the Medical Assisting program has given her so many skills, knowledge, and ideas of what she wants to do in the future, which she is very thankful for. In Medical Assisting, she had the opportunity to practice the skills she learned, including obtaining vital signs, documenting chief complaints, performing point of care diagnostics, performing EKGs, learning about body systems, medical terminology, and so much more. She also had the opportunity to go out on clinical, where she was able to apply these skills to a real-life setting. She is thankful that she will be able to leave Southeastern with certification as a Clinical-Medical Assistant, and that the employability skills and technical skills she gained at Southeastern will accompany her throughout her future studies and her lifelong career.

One vocational assignment she was particularly proud of was being able to present to her brother’s 5th grade class about nutrition. She talked about what nutrition is, why it is important, what kids can do to maintain a balanced diet, and many more health-related topics. She was very proud that the students were attentive and engaged, and she felt good knowing that she was able to share the knowledge she had gained from Medical Assisting to help others make better decisions. She was also proud of performing an intramuscular injection on her vocational teacher, Mrs. Madden. Mrs. Madden strongly believed that Julie had enough practice and skill to perform the procedure on a person instead of a mannequin. Finally, she was also proud of having been granted the 2021 Southeastern Outstanding Vocational Student, which served to remind her of all the hard work and effort she put into her vocational program and studies.

After graduating from Southeastern, Julie will attend Boston College to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. After that, she plans to obtain her Registered Nurse license, and get some hands-on experience in a pediatric setting. Further into the future, she plans to obtain her Master of Science in Nursing, and Specialization in Pediatric Care, where she will become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and ultimately fulfill her goal of working with children.

When asked what advice she would give to her freshman self, she stated that she would tell her freshman self to stand up for herself and others who may not feel like speaking up. She would tell her freshman self to motivate and encourage others to push themselves beyond their limits and to accomplish their goals. She also said that she would tell her freshman self to take every opportunity that comes her way, stay focused on her studies, and make a difference in her community and others’ lives. “Most of all,” she added, “to strive to be the best version of yourself possible.”

About Southeastern

At Southeastern, students choose from twenty career majors in preparation for life’s challenges and opportunities. The 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

Written by André Arzeno, Legal & Protective Services, Brockton