Wahconah Names Top Students for 2011

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Elaina C. Pullano
 Erin C. Caffrey

DALTON, Mass. — Elaina C. Pullano, daughter of Mark and Michelle Pullano of Apple Tree Lane, and Erin C. Caffrey, daughter of James and Katherine Caffrey of Mountain View Terrace, have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for the 2011 graduating class at Wahconah Regional High School.

Both students spoke at the graduation ceremonies on Sunday, June 5, at the school.

Pullano is a member the National Honor Society, Student Council, Peer Mediation and the Mentoring program. She participated in four years of varsity girls soccr and track and was captain of the track team this spring. Within the community, she has been active as a member of the Interact Club, CRA Leaders Club and participated in her church by teaching Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. She also was an award-winning vocalist in chorus and was selected Girls' State.

Pullano received the Mount Holyoke College Book Award and plans on attending Williams College in the fall.

Caffrey is a member and treasurer of the National Honor Society, Peer Mediation and Academic Decathlon. She participated in volleyball, softball and four years of swimming, of which she was captain this past season. Her community involvement included Splash, the school's special-needs swim program, and assisting in an afterschool chemistry program at the elementary school.

Caffrey received the Cornell Club Junior Award, the Harvard Prize Book Award, the St. Michael's College Award and plans on attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the fall.

Tags: graduation,   Wahconah,   

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Dalton Fifth-Grader Embraces School Project to Aid Children's Hospital

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff

DALTON, Mass. — When Kalen Spratt was just 18 months old, he had to have surgery at Boston Children's Hospital.

So now that he's a healthy 10-year-old at Craneville Elementary School, it's only natural that he chose Boston Children's as the recipient of a fundraising project sparked by a unique classroom assignment from his fifth-grade teacher, Teresa Bills.

"I was scared, but the doctors and nurses made me feel so much better," Kalen said in a letter his mother, Shana, helped him write and circulate seeking donations. "If you could find it in your heart to donate to me, I would be forever grateful."

For more than 15 years, Bills has been giving her fifth-graders $5 each. Her students are encouraged to take that money and turn it into more money for a good cause, doing research on the organization they choose and preparing a presentation about their choice.

"I want them to add to that five dollars," Bills said. "The $120 I give, they all turn it into thousands."

Over the years, students have given to many different causes and organizations, including places like Moments House and Berkshire County Kids Place. They raise money in all sorts of ways, she said, from doing chores around the house to selling cookies or bracelets they make. One student even sold pieces of duct tape to other students, who then got to stick all the tape to a wall of the school.

"Never done that before," Bills said with a laugh.

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