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BArT 'Harvests' Hundredth Graduate

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The "A" in BArT stands for "Arts."
But for a few moments at Saturday morning's commencement exercises, it sounded like the charter public school was an aggie school.
Assistant Principal and science teacher Miles Wheat picked just the right metaphor for the day.
"Gardening," Wheat said to the crowd gathered in the gymnasium at Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School. "There is something magical to me about watching a garden grow. I never get over the wonder of the harvest. It amazes me and humbles me every time."
Even though, as a biology teacher, he can explain to his students how plants bear fruit, as a human being, he stands in awe of the process, he said.
"Teaching is a lot like that," Wheat said. "The essence of gardening and teaching for me is watching unfold a process we don't fully understand. … Sometimes, you see success at times when, as a teacher, you made all the wrong moves.
"As I stand before you today, I feel like a gardener with a bumper crop."
The crop, or class of 2016, includes 23 of BArT's newest alumni. All have plans to continue their formal education — at schools ranging geographically from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts up the road in North Adams to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Each of the 23 students took their turn upon the stage to be recognized in front of friends and family in a ceremony that featured, among other things, the 100th graduate in the history of BArT.
That honor came early in the diploma ceremony, when David Matthew Carlos, the second graduate in alphabetical order, was singled out as the recipient of the milestone sheepskin. Carlos, an honors student who did his required internship at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, is bound for Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., in the fall.
Five students and three faculty members had a chance to express their thoughts to the grads.
In his senior reflection, high honors student Noah Clayton Chicoine, took the opportunity to boast about the quality of a BArT education.
"BArT's senior class is better than every other senior class in Berkshire County," Cichoine said, adding an apology to his friends who attend other high schools.
"I'm confident that each one of us will be the student who stands out above the rest in our seminar classes in college. … Lastly, there is no other senior in Berkshire County going to college as prepared for the workplace as a BArT student."
Chicoine, who will attend Clarkson University, completed his BArT internship at Studio North Dance Arts in North Adams.
"Miss [Stephanie] Maselli tells me about how proud she is of BArT's unique requirement to have its seniors complete an 80-hour internship," Chicoine said. "She tells me that we're the only school around that does such a thing.
"All I can say is, I'm sure other students will wish they had gone to BArT when they realize how much more qualified that BArT student was for that job that they wanted."
That preparation for the real world did not come easily, BArT Executive Director Julia Bowen reminded the grads. She took for her metaphor a Chinese proverb that reads, "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."
Grads Epiphany Love Thomas (Marlboro College) and Courtney Margaret Munson (MCLA) later picked up on that theme in a poem and a speech, respectively.
"As we all know, BArT is a school where there's a lot expected from you," Munson said. "As seniors, we are expected to have completed an 80-hour internship, a college class and multiple gateway portfolio presentations. This type of environment can have different effects on a group of students.
"There's a lot of work that goes into your senior year, but I confidently say that BArT has prepared me for whatever comes my way in college."
The graduates are:
Chiquita Destinee Victoria Behanzin
David Matthew Carlos
Shannon Baptiste Charbonneau
Noah Clayton Chicoine
Lauren Ashley Cornell
Hayden Robert Daugherty
Katilyn Beth DeMarsico
Jesse Xavier DeSanty
Ethan Noah Dubreuil
Christian Matthew Ellsworth
Jamie Angelina Gaston
Raja Marcine King
Briana Pauline Mongeon
Anthony Michael Monteleone
James David Morandi
Courtney Margaret Munson
Irish Kathleen Noel
Zainab Raza
Alexis Jada Rice
Cassidy Rose Salvatore
Christine Star Schnopp
BriAnna Lynn Solarz
Ephiphany Love Thomas.
More photos from this graduation to come.

Tags: BArT,   graduation 2016,   

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Suffrage Centennial Committee Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Cassandra Peltier as Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, a prominent figure in the suffrage movement.
ADAMS, Mass. — About 75 people filled The Manor on Saturday afternoon for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
The event at St. John Paul II Parish's Italianate mansion was organized by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee. The committee serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen. 
Anthony was born in Adams and was a social reformer best known for spearheading the women's suffrage movement. She was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, collecting signatures for petitions as a teen, the temperance (prohibition of alcohol) movement, and women's financial rights.
Retired school teacher Mary Whitman, committee member and host for the day, shared why Anthony's work was so important. 
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