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E3 Academy students Jason Bunt, LaShay Darkins, Raechel Morin, Dakota Freeman, Matt Bess, Rayvin West, Tiara Myers and Tyler Caron prepare to read from their book at Mass MoCA.
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E3 Academy Students Debut Book of North Adams Recollections

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Students at the E3 Academy have focused their larger projects over the years to aspects of the community: a line of merchandise celebrating the city, a food pantry, teaching younger kids about healthy food, researching social and civil rights in the area. 
 
On Saturday, the alternative high school program put forth perhaps its most ambitious project: a series of interviews with residents collected into the book "The City Before You."
 
"Stories, smiles, laughter and an occasional doughnut were shared as students formed friendships with these local historians," read Rayven West on Saturday before an appreciative crowd in the Hunter Gallery at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 
 
Each student, in turn, read snippets from the book and presented a copy each to the North Adams Historical Society and the North Adams Public Library.
 
The stories of 17 people are in the book: how Fritz Spooner was rejected by the Army so came home to join the National Guard; how Dick Dassatti hitch-hiked around the country but came to realize nothing was as beautiful as his hometown; Bernice "Red" Alcombright told them about running a machine with 80 bobbins in the mill; Justyna Carlson recalled the old hangouts like Rice's Drugstore and going to the Drury-St. Joe games. 
 
Jason Bunt said he liked learning the history of the area.
 
"I liked to talk to the old people and have coffee with them and sitting there with the inteviews and   understanding about their life and what it was like back then," he said. "It's nice to know about it."
 
Bunt interviewed Alfred "buzz" Dickinson and his friend spoke with Buzz's wife of 60 years, Betty.
 
LaShay Darkins interviewed Alcombright, the former mayor's mother. 
 
"She was nice to me," she said. She really enjoyed "the experience of being in Mass MoCA and seeing everybody here enjoying our show."
 
The students' show was interrupted regularly as people walked by the presentation in the gallery, a connector space that features Spencer Finch "Cosmic Latte" lighting installation. It was free day at the museum and it was packed with people. In addition to the E3 Academy, the Historical Society and the history department at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts were holding a "history harvest" to digitize photos and objects from the former mill and city's history. 
 
For the E3 history harvest, school counselor Abby Reifsnyder had contacted the Spitzer Center and North Adams Commons looking for people willing to be interviewed, then the adults brainstormed to come up with some more, like Fritz Spooner. 
 
"We got some of the best stories from him," she smiled. 
 
Among the interviewees was Joe Manning, the Florence resident who has become an integral part of the North Adams community. Manning's written his own books on the city based on interviews and said it was kind of weird to be the subject this time. 
 
"It was kind of fun being on the other end of an interview," he said. Though it was tough at first to answer the questions "because I'm thinking more academically as a historian." But he realized it was about sharing experiences. 
 
"I just opened up and said exactly how I felt," he said. "It's fun to be interviewed."
 
Reifsnyder said the students were really pushed with this project. They did followup interviews, wrote up summaries and quotes, and did numerous revisions to create the content. Then they printed out the folios and sewed the books together. 
 
"They really did the whole thing but we ran out of time," she said. Only a few books were completed for presentation by Saturday. "Next week, they'll each make another one for themselves and for each one they interviewed. We're really happy with how it came out."
 
The project also connected the academy, located in the Armory, to the Spitzer Senior Center just down the street. 
 
"What was really sweet at the Spitzer Center, we went one week and then we went the following week so the kids could ask some follow-up questions, and now we have an ongoing relationship," Reifsnyder said. "Last Wednesday, we presented them with a copy of the book and all the people who we interviewed were there and they were so excited."

Tags: E3 Academy,   local history,   mass moca,   

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North Adams Happenings: Oct. 23-29

SAVE THE DATE
NOVEMBER 2nd - Masquerade at Greylock WORKS
On November 2nd, three weeks before FESTIVE, come to gWorks to dance in disguise at our MASQUERADE Halloween costume party! Doors open at 8pm !
Celebrate your costume ingenuity with DJ BFG spinning seamless upbeat dance music within immersive theatrical lighting choreographed by LJ McZawa.
Whether you're coming out in a dramatic mask + your favorite party clothes or a full-body transformation, our local friends are joining in on the fun to motivate your creativity with Costume Themes and PRIZES.
https://www.facebook.com/events/406993753316580/
Wednesday 10/23
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Parenting Workshop: Surviving your Adolescents nbCC Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213, (413) 663-7588 More information.  


11:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Little Wonders Baby Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information. 

4:00 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Family Literacy Night Series The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Educator Open House North Adams Public Library, 64 Church Street, More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 10/24
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Kids Safety of America: Child Abuse and Neglect nbCC’s Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213 More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), TUTORING, After School Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Spaghetti Supper with Tom Bernard North Adams American Legion, 91 American Legion Drive More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Dad and Family Time- Bowling and Pizza Night Valley Park Bowling, Curran Highway More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Octoberfest in The Airport Rooms TOURISTS Welcome, 915 State Road More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, Halloween West End Bike Around Greylock School, 100 Phelps Ave More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), OPEN MIC, OPEN MIC The Parlor Cafe, 303 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), INFORMATIONAL, Milton Hershey School Family Event: North Adams, MA Freight Yard Pub & Restaurant, 1 Furnace Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), WRITING, Fiction Writing Workshop [open house] Common Folk, 85 Main Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), BINGO, Musical Bingo at Mingo's Sports Bar and Grill 41 Roberts Drive More information.

8:00 P.M. ($15), COMEDY, Comedy Night w/ Andy Sandford HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Friday 10/25
10:30 A.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Coffee with a Cop MCLA Campus Center, 375 Church Street More information.

10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Ages and Stages The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

7:00 P.M. (FREE), MOVIES, Halloween cartoon movie night MCLA Freel Library, Blackinton Street More information.

7:00 P.M. (By Donation), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

7:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Gregory Douglass LIVE at HiLo North Adams HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 10/26
9:00 A.M. (FREE), CLOTHING DRIVE, Winter Clothing Drive First Baptist Church of North Adams, 131 Main Street More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), GARDENING, Gardening Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

12:30 P.M. (Child $5, Adults $8, Family $25), FUNDRAISER, AYJ Fund Children's Princess Concert MCLA Church St Center, 375 Church Street More information.

3:00 P.M. (Cost of Admission), ART, Opening Reception: Sarah Oppenheimer, Jenny Holzer, and ERRE MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Fall Foliage Sunset Serenade - Jessica Gregory Wilson Wigwam Western Summit, 2350 Mohawk Trail More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

8:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Misty Blues HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices Vary, see link for details), CONCERT, Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller’s Parlour Game MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Sunday 10/27
2:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($20 adv, $25 day of), CONCERT, Jeffrey Foucault HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Monday 10/28
5:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, ROOTS Volunteer Training ROOTS Teen Center, 43 Eagle Street More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, nbCC Bike Collective The Armory, 206 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Communications Career Panel Bowman Hall - MCLA, 375 Church Street More information.
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