By Jim Fenton, Brockton Enterprise
BOURNE – Meaghan Brain has become friendly with numerous fellow students during her nearly four years at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
There is one student on campus, though, who needed no introduction to the 2013 Whitman-Hanson Regional High School graduate.
That would be her 47-year-old father, David Brain, who joined her daughter at Mass. Maritime as a freshman during her sophomore year in 2014-15.
“I think unique is a good word for it,″ said David Brain, now a junior. “It’s fun and we like it.″
“It’s nice,″ said Meaghan Brain, a Hanson resident who graduates on June 17 with a degree in marine engineering. “We even took a humanities class together my junior year and we sat next to each other. A lot of people ask me about it and it’s nice. I don’t see him all the time, but it’s nice to have that support here.″
Meaghan had been interested in attending Mass. Maritime since going on a field trip to the school, located near the Cape Cod Canal, while in seventh grade.
When the time came to find a college, Mass. Maritime was at the top of her list.
Brain’s father became more and more intrigued as he listened to her talk about the school during her freshman year. David Brain, a 1987 Whitman-Hanson graduate who now lives in Plymouth, joined the Air Force right out of high school.
“When I told him about the school my freshman year, he was like, ‘Wow, I wish I knew about that when I was coming out of high school,’” said Meaghan. “He said, ‘I would have gone there instead going into the military.’”
“I said, ‘You should do it.’ He took it serious, looked into it, asked me if I was OK with it and I was like, ‘Of course,’ and he got in.″
David Brain, who works overnight at Brewster Ambulance, was immediately drawn to Mass. Maritime as he watched Meaghan go through the process of applying while in high school.
“I had it in the back of my head when she said Mass. Maritime,″ said David. “I was sitting back thinking, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ When she got accepted, after the initial excitement of her being ready to go and wanting to go that way I said, ‘I should do that.’
“I half-expected her to say, ‘No way, not while I’m going there.’ She surprised me by saying, ’Yeah, you should, so I did. Within two weeks, I had an appointment, and the rest is history.″
In addition to taking a class together last year, father and daughter were both on the school’s training trip aboard the T.S. Kennedy from Jan. 8-Feb. 19.
Meaghan was a four-year member of the Buccaneers’ volleyball team, serving as a tri-captain last fall when she had 55 kills, 85 digs and 20 blocks.
She is also on the track & field team and set the school record in the javelin as a freshman while qualifying for the New England Division 3 Championships.
Her father has been there in the stands, rooting not only for his college but for his daughter as well.
For Meaghan, Mass. Maritime is the place she was intrigued about as a seventh-grader and fulfilled her expectations.
“It was just different from the other colleges I was looking at and the opportunities it gave,″ she said. “When I graduate, I’ll be able to ship out and live a completely different lifestyle.
“It’s a regimented lifestyle. We’re in uniforms all the time. It’s busy and a lot different than other colleges, but I enjoy it.″
Her father, 30 years after graduating from high school, is enjoying his time in college.
“I had wanted to go to school for quite some time,″ he said. “After I got out of the Air Force, I worked on an aircraft for a little while and then got a job in the car business. Ever since then, I was making good money.
“I got divorced (from Meaghan’s mother, Diana). I took another job with less money,” he said. “Timing’s everything. Meaghan came here and here I am.
“It’s really cool. I like it a lot. At first, I didn’t know what to expect, but 90-plus percent of the people treat me really, really well. Everybody knows Mr. Brain. I get along with everybody.
“The thing that surprised me the most about the whole thing is walking through campus, I’ll see Meaghan and her friends and I’ll be like, I don’t want to cramp her style,′ and I’ll keep walking. But we’ll talk or have lunch together. It’s awesome. The kids are really good.″
Said Meaghan: “My friends love it. They love him. They always joke around about it. It’s a great atmosphere.″