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First-graders from April Mazzeo's class at Hoosac Valley Elementary School receive a check from Big Y at the North Adams store on Thursday with Mazzeo, tech specialist Geoffrey Kondel and Principal Michelle Colvin.

Hoosac Valley Elementary Gets Robotics Lab 'Holiday Wish'

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Hoosac Valley Elementary School children got a big gift on Thursday that will help make their robotics dreams come true. 
 
April Mazzeo's first-grade class traveled to the Big Y Supermarket in North Adams on Thursday morning to receive a "big check" of $5,000 to fund a robotics lab at the Commercial Street school. 
 
Mazzeo and Adams-Cheshire Regional School District's technology integration specialist Geoffrey Kondel worked with the children on a video application to Big Y's Holiday Wish program last December for schools in its area. 
 
"Our Holiday Wish was for a science lab at our school," explained Principal Michelle Colvin. "So we did not win the grand prize, but because all of these children did such a fantastic job in their video, in Big Y's words, our children 'touched their hearts' and they're giving us $5,000 toward the creation of our science lab."
 
Morgan Spencer, manager of marketing services at Big Y World Class Markets, said the Holiday Wish was part of the company's Education Express Program. Since 1993, the company has awarded more than $14 million to schools in its customer areas through the educational program that runs every few years. 
 
Schools were encouraged late last fall to apply for a grant for specific items by submitting a letter or video detailing what their holiday wish for their school was. 
 
"We were able to fill nearly every wish," Spencer said. Including the two grand-prize winners, nearly 40 schools were presented with grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Only two schools in Berkshire County were recipients — Hoosac Valley Elementary and its neighbor across the street, Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School. 
 
Hoosac Valley's wish was for a science lab, particularly for robotics and the Lego educational series, although Mazzeo said it will be used for other science, technology, engineering, art and math activities. 
 
"I think we're going to start programming robots," said first-grader Chloe Dimitropolis. Her classmate Elias is ready, too. "I want to make robots and make it walk and talk," he declared.
 
Colvin said the logistics of where the lab would be located in the school still had to be worked out. 

Tags: big y,   education grant,   little hoosac,   robotics,   

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Rascal's Picked For Cigar Lounge And Humidor

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

John Sheerin explains his plans for a cigar lounge to the Board of Health.
ADAMS, Mass. — The former Rascal’s Lounge is being eyed for a cigar lounge and humidor. 
 
John Sheerin introduced himself to the Board of Health last week to present his plans for the North Summer Street building that he hopes will be a destination for cigar enthusiasts.
 
"For hundreds of years, local cigar lounges have served as a meeting place and common ground for both white-collar and blue-collar people to come together and spend a few hours together engaging in conversations and taking part in the time-honored tradition of smoking a fine cigar," Sheerin said told the board on Wednesday. 
 
Sheerin said cigar smokers are often banished to basements or back porches and there are no local establishments where enthusiasts can enjoy their hobby. 
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