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Local Third-Graders Experience College at MCLA

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff
05:06PM / Tuesday, December 04, 2012
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Lab technician Jeremy Smith shows Greylock pupils a chemical reaction. For more photos of the trip, click here to see the slideshow.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Third-grade pupils from Brayton, Greylock and Sullivan schools visited Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to experience the college life Tuesday morning.

About 100 children, split into four groups, were led by MCLA admission officers to learn about four different programs at the college as part of Berkshire Compact's "Passport to College" program.
"Every two to three years, these kids are exposed to college," said Joshua Mendel, the associate director of admission. Mendel said as the local public college, it's important for MCLA to encourage young students to think about enrolling into higher education, whether it’s at MCLA or anywhere else.
The four groups each participated in four 20-minute sessions learning about television production, athletic training, chemistry and performing arts.
Lab technician Jeremy Smith showed students various chemistry experiments, leaving the students in awe and wanting more. A group of Brayton pupils during the final session begged to see more. Smith offered a compromise though over a pinky-promise.
"You also swear you'll do all your homework, you'll do extra credit, do what your parents and teachers ask you the first time," Smith said. "You'll clean your rooms ... so you can go to college and do chemistry experiments."
Over at the television production studio in Mark Hopkins Hall, senior Sam Boyden had one question for the pupils.
"Are we ready for some TV production?"

Senior Sam Boyden showed pupils the basics of television production.

The Brayton pupils split up into two groups — one in front of the camera and one behind the scenes to work with Peter Gentile, the studio's technician.
The pupils also visited the school's Black Box Theater and participated in acting drills, such as walking in various roles and situations — as a movie star and a squirrel, a prince or princess, in a bowl of pudding, or in lava. The Greylock pupils took the lava quite literally and released ear-piercing screams.
Head Athletic Trainer Matt Boillat and Amanda Beckwith, volleyball coach and assistant athletic trainer, told Sullivan pupils to work with their interests. Boillat, a Drury High School graduate, explained how a knee injury from Blue Devils football game and the following surgery led to him going to college and how studying athletic training kept him involved in his interest of sports. He also shared that he even got an opportunity in graduate school at San Jose (Calif.) State University to work with the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks.
After his final session, Smith said these programs help expose young pupils to more interesting things that they normally wouldn't learn about.
"It's a blast. I love watching the third graders become amazed... It gives them perspective on what to do after high school."

Tags: Berkshire Compact,   Brayton School,   Greylock School,   MCLA,   Passport to College,   Sullivan School,   

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