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Alexander Currie and Emily Mazzeo pose with Superintendent Jason McCandless and School Committee Chairwoman Katherine Yon after presented the Superintendent's Award.

Pittsfield Students Receive Superintendent Award

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Emily Mazzeo and Alexander Currie have received the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendent's Award.
Superintendent Jason McCandless began Wednesday's School Committee with a presentation honoring two of the highest achieving students in the school system. 
"This is one of my personal favorite things of the entire school year and these awards," he said. "We have a remarkable run here in Pittsfield of not only recognizing unbelievable distinguished intellects but unbelievable work ethics." 
McCandless first brought Mazzeo, who attends Pittsfield High School, to the podium and read a letter from one of her teachers.
"Emily is an amazing young woman she is intelligent, humble, and caring," McCandless read. "Emily is a brilliant young woman who has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come her way, and made a few of her own," 
He went on to read Mazzeo's accolades and said she is already taking math courses at Williams College and wants to become a physician.
He read that in 2018, Mazzeo was a delegate to the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Congress and that this year she attended the Future Docs Abroad International Medical Internship through the Academy of Future Physicians, and was able to go to Vadodara, India. There she observed surgery, worked in an anatomy lab and shadowed physicians for two weeks. 
McCandless said Mazzeo is a tutor coordinator through the National Honor Society at the high school and volunteered as a Link Leader helping freshman transition from middle school to high school.
Mazzeo was awarded the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award and the Harvard Prize Book Award, and she won third place in the 2019 IEEE STEM Research Challenge and is an AP Scholar of Distinction.
McCandless then asked Currie to come to the podium and read a letter from Currie's chemistry teacher at Taconic High School, Jacqueline Ziemek.
"With his passion for science and math, Alex plans to attend a four-year college to study engineering," he read. "Thank you for this opportunity to honor Alexander James Currie. He is extremely deserving of this award."
McCandless said Currie ranks first in his class with a cumulative grade average of 102.6 and received the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship for scoring advanced on all Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams required for graduation.
Currie has received various awards including the Rochester Polytechnic Institute Medal and was also inducted into the National Honor Society. He is president of the Chemistry Club and is also an Eagle Scout. To gain this rank, he boxed up and removed all of the old books from the previous Taconic library.
He is a member of the Science and Engineering Academy and has completed AP English Language, AP Chemistry, and AP U.S. History. McCandless added that Currie is taking even more AP courses this year.
Currie also gained a spot in the 2018 State Science and Engineering Fair held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. His project was building an alarm clock that randomizes noise making it more difficult to get used to an alarm and sleep through it.
McCandless again congratulated both students before asking for a brief break in the meeting to take photos and meet with the families.
"We are recognizing hard work in academics and accomplishments but they also happen to be two of the very finest human beings in the city of Pittsfield," the superintendent said. "It is my pleasure to recognize these amazing young people tonight."

Tags: academic award,   PHS,   Taconic High,   

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Pittsfield COVID-19 Cases Trending Down

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — COVID-19 cases in Pittsfield are trending downward to rates that have not been seen since the middle of March.
Mayor Linda Tyer said during her regular update Friday on Pittsfield Community Television that the city's positivity rate has dropped to 0.44 percent in the past 14 days.
"This is certainly excellent news, and it reflects our effort in keeping each other safe," Tyer said. "Although we think we may have conquered COVID, we know better. We cannot let our guard down and reverse course."
In Tyer's last address earlier this month, she said rates were increasing toward levels seen in early August. 
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