PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Youth Leadership Program, a program of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the class of 2012 with a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, for 30 high school juniors who successfully completed the 10-month program.
With the completion of its second year, the Youth Leadership Program seeks to develop young individuals as the next generation of community leaders; preparing them for constructive and responsible involvement in community affairs, while also encouraging serious thought about career pathways in Berkshire County.
The program began last August with a two-night kick-off retreat at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Conducted by professional facilitators, the retreat included training in all aspects of leadership and problem-solving techniques.
Following the retreat, participants attended nine four-hour afternoon sessions focusing on specific topic areas such as government, economic development, creative economy, education, health care, and leadership, among others. The sessions were held each once a month from September through May.
Throughout the program, participants are asked to conduct a class project. The class of 2012 held a winter clothing drive this past January to benefit the Department of Children and Families. During Tuesday's graduation ceremony at the Country Club of Pittsfield, the students presented information about their class project.
The following students are the graduates of the class of 2012:
Nicole Allen, Berkshire Arts & TecnCharter Public School
Molly Barbarotta, Taconic High School
Christianna Berti, BART Charter Public School
Julia Burdick, Hoosac Valley High School
Molly Carson, Mount Greylock Regional School
Alexandra Chabot, St. Joseph's High School
Brielle Collings, Pittsfield High School
Oscar Courchaine, Lee Middle and High School
Peter Desrosiers, Pittsfield High School
Cameron Evon, Taconic High School
Liam Gennari, Lenox Memorial High School
Paul Green, Taconic High School
Justin Hopkins, Pittsfield High School
Amy Kane, Lenox Memorial High School
Christian Kelly, St. Joseph's High School
Jacob Matthews, Pittsfield High School
Kristen Miller, Pittsfield High School
Abigail Moon, Taconic High School
Calli Morrison, Wahconah Regional High School
Deanna Nesti, Pittsfield High School
Aidan Russell, Lenox Memorial High School
Jeel Shah, Lenox Memorial High School
Heather Szklasz, Wahconah Regional High School
Emily Tarjick, Hoosac Valley High School
Victoria Torres, Pittsfield High School
Miranda Tremblay, Taconic High School
Bailey van Lingen, Lenox Memorial High School
Kristina Walser, Taconic High School
Lindsey Wick, Mount Greylock Regional School
Mary Zabian, Wahconah Regional High School
They join the 24 graduates from the class of 2011 as alumni of the chamber's Youth Leadership Program.
Each year, up to 30 high school juniors will be provided with the opportunity to participate. Selection is based on a written application, essay, letters of recommendation, and an interview with the selection committee. Students apply during their sophomore year, and the selection committee is currently reviewing the applicants to the 2013 program.
The Youth Leadership Program is sponsored by the Berkshire Bank Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union and Berkshire Regional Employment Board Inc. For additional information, visit www.berkshirechamber.com/ylp or call the chamber at 413-499-4000, Ext. 126.
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