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Clarksburg Board-Gaming Event to Benefit Soldier On

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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A Red Sox baseball signed by Mitch Moreland will be raffled off on Saturday. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Clarksburg School's gym will be filled on Saturday with tables full of gaming enthusiasts trying to win their way through numerous board games. 
The second annual "Soldiers, Dice, & Dragon" event hopes to match or succeed last year's benefit for homeless veterans that netted $2,500.
The event begins at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school on West Cross Road. Admission is free. 
"We're trying to raise awareness of the issue of homeless veterans in Berkshire County," said teacher Michael Little who helping organize the student community service event. We just thought that this would be a great way to do that since we have local veterans right here in Berkshire County ...
"Last year, we had 70 to 80 participants. All the tables in the gym were completely filled."
Last year's event was led by the Grade 6 boys who are continuing their participation. Little said it's more like "Grade 7 and friends" this year. 
The gaming will benefit Soldier On, a regional initiative that works with U.S. Veterans Affairs to ensure veterans have a home, support services and job training. It's first permanent housing cooperative opened in Pittsfield in 2010. 
"Originally this was going to be a project with my boys for Wounded Warriors but we don't have a close local connection, where with Soldier On we do," he said. "My boys have met some of the veterans. We know it's going to go to Pittsfield so that's why we chose this group."
Little teaches English language arts but has a background in history. He's studied wars and coordinated the school's groundbreaking Holocaust studies program. One aspect of community service learning projects at Clarksburg is to find national issues that can be addressed locally. 
He's spoken to veterans who they feel like they're not remembered. "They feel forgotten, people don't understand the struggles they go through."
In addition to playing Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games, there will be a bake sale and raffles to raise funds. Among the donated items is a Red Sox Mitch Moreland-signed baseball, numerous games and books and related items and local gift certificates. One table will have $1,200 worth of merchandise. See the group's Facebook page for more information.
Little said the sponsors were very generous this year and he believes there are more items donated than last year.
Little anticipates at least the same number of participants this year and encourages the community to stop by as well. Even if they're not into gaming, they can watch their friends and relatives, buy some baked goods and take a chance at the raffles. Some who don't think they're interested might find themselves throwing dice.
"There's a lot of camaraderie that goes on. They might be watching a game and think that's something I want to try and then they're sitting at a table ... It's as much social event as any convention," he said. 
Those attending can also bring in new items that will go to veterans at Soldier On: Gifts cards of $20 or less to local stores, pillows and pillow protectors, twin sheets and blankets, twin comforters, personal hygiene items for men and women; women's sneakers sizes 7-10, women's clothing S-2X, men's T-shirts all sizes, insulated cups and mugs. 
This year's sponsor are the Boston Red Sox; Purple Dragon Games; Christo's Famous Pizza; Wise Guy Snacks; North Adams Movieplex 8; Williams Bookstore; Persnickety Toys; Where'd You Get That!?; Off The Wall Games; Greenfield Games; Game King; Goodman Games; Blackblade Publishing; Gongfarmer's Local 282; Academy Games; Arc Dream Publishing; North Wind Adventures (Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea).

Tags: Clarksburg School,   community service,   fundraiser,   gaming,   Soldier On,   veterans,   

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Clarksburg School Preparing for Reopening Scenarios

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The new security doors can be seen in the school lobby. The doors are one of several updates at the school, including a public address system and an accessible bathroom. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Principal Tara Barnes is working on a "nice puzzle challenge" in figuring how students will be situated within the elementary school come fall to comply with public health guidelines for the pandemic.
The state guidelines, so far, are requiring social distancing as well as masking for students in Grades 2 and up. Schools will also require a separated space for children who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19.
"I feel from most of our classrooms, about 15 students is the max of what we're able to get in there," she told the School Committee on Thursday. Further guidance from the state in regard to desks and dividers could mean a few more, but, she said, "I don't want at any point to compromise the safety of students or staff when I'm looking at these spaces."
Barnes said she's reviewing the use of "overflow" spaces such as the gym and rethinking uses of non-classroom areas and how that might affect special education teaching and splitting up classes to keep the numbers down. 
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