Adams Scholars are applauded at Saturday morning's reception at MCLA.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Nearly two dozen seniors from Berkshire County high schools got some advice on Saturday about taking opportunities as they come.
Go with the flow, advised Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts junior Joshua Mclean. "Just take the opportunities as they come to you."
The students and their parents were guests at the annual reception given by MCLA to recognize the seniors academic achievements in earning John and Abigail Adams Scholarships.
"I remember sitting in the exact same seats three years ago," Mclean, now an environmental studies major, told those who had traveled that snowy morning to Murdock Hall.
The college began the annual receptions several years ago both the recognize the student achievement and to encourage local students to consider the state's higher education systme.
Adams Scholars must score advanced and proficient on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests and be in the top 25 percent of their graduating class. Tuition is waved for up to four years at state schools for Adams Scholars.
Harvard have a fancy name, said state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, "but you can get just as good an education in our college system."
The Lenox Democrat, dean of the Berkshire delegation, was joined by Reps. Gailanne Cariddi of North Adams and Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield, and Mayor Richard Alcombright in congratulating the those students in attendance.
Some 320 seniors in Berkshire County qualified for the Adams Scholarships.
Proud parents snapped photos as the seniors posed with the school and state officials.
"I'm very proud of her," said Anna Berti of her daughter Christianna, currently a student at Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter School. "She worked very hard to get that award."
The Bertis were on their way to a workshop on financial aid being offered by the college. Christianna Berti was't sure where she was going yet but she knew — or was at least pretty sure at this point — that she wanted to work in costume design.
"I'm going in undecided," she said. "I'll do two years of general studies and get those classes out of the way. ... Then I'll decide."
Aliza Ahlen of Taconic High School knew she was going to take advantage of the scholarship by attending the University of Massachusett's equine and farm programs with the goal of becoming a large animal veterinarian.
"Every little bit helps when you have to go to school for the next eight years," said the 4-Her.
"We're very proud of her, she's worked very hard," said her mother, Koren Ahlen.
More students weren't quite sure of the educational paths yet, with only scattering of hands going up indicating they had applied to colleges.
College President Mary Grant told them they couldn't go wrong with a liberal arts education.
"It really helps to shape your future because we don't know what the future may hold."
The students who had RSVP'd the reception were presented with small certificates acknowledging their scholarships. Not all the students listed attended.
Aliza Ahlen, Taconic High School; Jaclyn Aubin, Drury High School; Katherine Bernal, Pittsfield High School; Christianna Berti, Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter School; Timonty Brames, McCann Technical School; Marinna Burzimati, McCann Tech; Kaitiin Cook, Wahconah regional High School; Dean Covert, BArT; Naomi Day, Mount Greylock Regional High School; Makala Dean, Mount Greylock; Emily Eastman, Drury; Emma Gregory, Drury; Jared Grise, Pittsfield; Molly Howe, Drury; Skyler Jones, Mount Greylock; Micayla Kolis, Hoosac Valley High School; Ian Kuttner, Mount Greylock; John LeClair, McCann; Joshua Majunder, Mount Greylock; Nathan Majunder, Mount Greylock; Casey McKeever, BArT; Courtney McKeever, BArT; Brooke Moore, Pittsfield; Matthew Nesti, Pittsfield; Deanna Nesti, Pittsfield; Helen Overstreet, Mount Greylock; Amanda Ramsdell, Drury; Sarah Royal, Drury; Victoria Torres, Pittsfield; Monica Vogel, Pittsfield; Rachel Ward, Taconic; Jake McNicol, BArT; and Shannon Moon, Taconic.
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