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As is tradition at Lee High School, following the recession the students gathered on the lawn and tossed their caps into the air in celebration.

Lee Graduates Look Forward to Great Accomplishments

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Class speaker Shane Cloutier delivered a speech that was both humorous and inspiring.  More photos from the graduation can be found here.
LENOX, Mass. — Lee High School graduate Shane Cloutier is not looking forward to that day, 20 years from now, when he sees one of his high school classmates in the dairy aisle of the grocery store and holds that awkward conversation catching up. Nor is he looking forward to his next dentist appointment.
He is looking forward to the mornings when he wakes up one morning and reads the news about one of his classmates heroically landed a crashing plane. Or, another classmate inventing new technology. He is looking forward to watching documentaries on his classmates solving criminal cases.
"I look forward to any day that I will be able to witness you guys use the tremendous potential that I know you all have," Cloutier said, after linking individual names of the graduating 2018 class to great accomplishments they can make in the future.
He is warning people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the entire United States government to watch out, because the Lee High School Class of 2018 is coming.
The class speaker was chosen by his fellow students to provide an address to the seniors Saturday afternoon at Tanglewood during Lee High School's 141st graduation ceremony. Forty-seven students strolled across the Tanglewood lawn in a uniform line on the bright sunny day, circled the Shed, and then made their way to the stage.
It was a moment salutatorian Lydia Morawiec said they've been waiting for. She said much of what they've done until this point has been waiting, waiting for the next assignment, waiting for the end of the school day before moving onto the sports game, and then waiting for real life to begin. The students had been bouncing from one thing to the next, all in preparation for the next stage in their lives.
"We've spent a lot of time busy and in a hurry. Whether it be the pressures of the present, the short-term obligations, the tasks we are told must be completed to secure our future. We never seem to stand still and enjoy the moment. Now, we need to stop," Morawiec said.
It all led up to Saturday's event when they crossed the stage and received their diplomas from representatives from the School Committee and school officials. Morawiec urged her classmates as they move on to the next stage in their lives to craft their own character because everything they do has an impact on those around them.
"True character surfaces when we forge it ourselves. It is through not only experiences but on how we express our passions, react to challenges, show our empathy, and ultimately establish our place in the world. We need to play an active part in every moment of our lives. It is up to us to mold ourselves into the people we become," Morawiec said.
Superintendent Jake Eberwein gave the students some advice, those he jokingly prefaced it by asking the students not to trust the advice from people they don't know well and he had only recently joined the district and laughed when his advice was to "don't go" into the rest of the world. He then delivered a message of perseverance.

The class received their diplomas from an array of school officials.
"You always have a place to call home and a group of people who always have your back, no questions asked. And yes, you do have to go because we need you to take care of us in the coming years."
Valedictorian Will McKeon, meanwhile, reflected on the current state of the world. He told the story of a white supremacist who was later changed. He was changed because he met, talked with, and started to understand the perspective of the people he was told to hate. And now that man works on trying to fight white supremacy by providing the same perspective to others. 
McKeon said that is reflective of a person hearing only a "single story." And now, he said the irony is that as more and more information is available through technology, more people are using it to reinforce their own perspective. He advised his classmates to intentionally look for a second story on any issue.
"We have every piece of information at our fingertips and rather than enlighten ourselves, we search out whatever we can in order to prove what we already believe. We willingly descend into a single story," McKeon said. "Always look for that second story. Don't always seek to confirm your point of view because you only see things from one perspective."
Principal Gregg Brighenti echoed that sentiment somewhat when he told the students to "go beyond these quiet hills and into the noisy world. Meet new people and make sure that many of them are very different from you." 
As the graduates now move to the next stage of their lives, intelligent, strong, and full of determination, Cloutier also wants them to have fun.
"We only have a limited amount of time and with it, we should choose to live happily. Class of 2018, have fun. Don't let the mundanities of life bring you down and always look for a new adventure," the class speaker said.
The ceremony featured the Lee High School graduation band, a musical selection performed by Iris Courchaine and Joshua Topham, and an Ivy Oration in which 2018 graduate Cassidy Crawford passed on an ivy to the class of 2017 representative Ibrahim Zia.

Tags: graduation 2018,   Lee High,   

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Berkshires Beat: CATA Artists 'Making Waves' at Good Purpose Gallery

Mike Fazos's 'Sun Tornado' is part of the 'Making Waves' display at the Good Purpose Gallery in Lee.

'Making Waves'

Community Access to the Arts presents "Making Waves," an exhibit of artwork by CATA artists with disabilities at the Good Purpose Gallery in Lee. The exhibit opens Feb. 27 and features paintings by CATA artists who use the innovative Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) technique to create their work. A free, public art opening will be held on Feb. 28 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with many of the artists in attendance.

Artistic Realization Technologies is an adaptive painting technique developed by artist Tim Lefens that gives full artistic control to people with profound physical disabilities. Through this technique, artists use a laser pointer and the aid of a trained art "tracker" to create stunning, original works of art. Since 2005, CATA has provided hundreds of A.R.T. workshops, allowing dozens of artists to transcend their physical limitations and reveal their creative spirits.

"Making Waves" runs from Feb. 27 through April 16 at Good Purpose Gallery at 40 Main St. in Lee. The exhibit includes work by 13 CATA artists with disabilities from Berkshire County Arc (BCArc), Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR), and Columbia County Arc (Coarc). The paintings, each in acrylic on canvas, range widely in stylistic expression and scale of size.

All works in the exhibit are professionally matted, framed and available for sale, with proceeds supporting commissions for individual artists. This event is part of CATA's "Art on Tour" program, where original works of art created by CATA artists travel throughout the year to museums, galleries, community centers, and other venues in Berkshire County.


Art sought

Tyler Lab @ 730 community room is a blank canvas.

The City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development, in collaboration with the Transformative Development Initiative, is looking for art to support the Tyler Street Lab @730 Pop-up Lab, a four-month pop-up that creates a community space out of an underutilized storefront. The Tyler Lab @ 730 is led by a group of core collaborators who facilitate new programs and services to the neighborhood through a variety of programs. Find out more on the Facebook page.

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