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Shawsheen Tech Teacher Wins Community CHOPPS Award For Education

Jun 05, 2018 06:50AM ● By Theresa Gilman

Williams with Wounded Warrior representative Christian Lanman

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by Shawsheen Valley Technical High School.)

For Joe Williams, accepting the 2018 Chopps Champion Award for Education at the Boston Marriot Burlington on May 17 felt like coming home.

The Billerica resident, who has taught for 25 years at Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical School, cooked at the area hotel after graduating from the Culinary Arts program at the same school where he teaches.

“Before the kitchen was even built we were making food in a makeshift kitchen in the ballroom for events they had in this hotel. It’s kind of full circle that I am back at the Marriott receiving an award and the manager of the Marriot is one of my students from 2001,” Williams said.

Williams was selected by the community as a 2018 CHOPPS Champion in the education category. In addition to public recognition, he was given a $1,000 check to donate to his charity of choice, which is the Wounded Warrior Project.  

Chopps Champion is an annual online community-wide content to recognize and salute local heroes in business, community, education, first responders/military, healthcare and technology. The annual awards are given to community members who have demonstrated excellence in their field through leadership, achievement and volunteerism.

Tim Broadrick, Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical and Vocational School superintendent, said no one was more deserving of this award than Williams.

“As a student, Joe was a national medalist in SkillsUSA competition, placing him among the top three Culinary Arts students in the United States.” Broadrick said. “As an educator, he has inspired and mentored countless young people who have gone on to careers in the hospitality industry. He has also remained active in SkillsUSA as a coach and advisor. He is the consummate mentor.”

Williams is the lead teacher of Shawsheen Tech’s Culinary Arts Shop and Bakery. The school is a family tradition. He graduated in 1984. His eldest son graduated last year from the Electrical Program and his middle son is a 10th grader in the Internet Program. “My youngest is in seventh grade, hoping to go to Shawsheen when he enters ninth grade, also to learn electrical. Shawsheen Tech runs in my family,” Williams said.

In addition to teaching and advising in SkillsUSA, Williams is also a scout master for Troop 30, which meets at the Billerica Lodge of Elks. As with his work, he volunteers to give back.

“I’ve had mentors my whole life. When I first started teaching, my teachers were now my coworkers, they have retired since but they were working with me when I first started for years and they were just great role models. They taught me how to get the job done,” Williams said. “I think I can teach anyone how to cook or bake or make something with food, but much of what I teach is employability skills: come to work every day, be on time, be ready to go and have a good attitude. I tell the kids even though they might not end up in the culinary arts for the rest of their lives, they still need those skills to succeed.”

Williams was surprised and honored to be named a Chopps Champion. “You can win an award, but when you win an award for teaching it means that people see what you do and they appreciate what you do.”

The Wounded Warriors Project Williams’ designated charity for the $1,000 prize given by the Boston Marriott Burlington. The organization’s mission to help wounded service members stuck a chord as his late father was in the Army and his son recently finished Navy boot camp.

“I just want to say thank you to Mr. Broadrick, the staff, the teachers and the students who voted for me, I really appreciate it and hopefully anyone who wants to donate any money can look up Christian, ,with the Wounded Warriors so we can keep it going through Shawsheen Tech,” Williams said.


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