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Wahconah's Unified athletes pose in the lobby of the school on Friday.
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Kathy Lutz of Special Olympics Massachusetts addresses the pep rally at Wahconah Regional High School on Friday.

Wahconah Unveils Banner Marking National Unified Sports Honor

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- Over the next year, the Wahconah Regional School District will work on building a new high school.
 
The community that has been built at Wahconah was on full display Friday afternoon.
 
The school's annual pep rally put its Unified Sports programs front and center as Wahconah unveiled a banner celebrating its recognition by Special Olympics as a National Unified Champion School.
 
"This isn't just about Unified athletics," Principal Aaron Robb told the student body gathered in Ed Ladley Gymnasium. "When we applied for this ... they want to know what we're doing in the classrooms. They want to know what we're doing in the hallways. They want to know what we're doing in the community.
 
"So this isn't just about Unified athletics. This is about Best Buddies. It's about what some of you do on Sundays at Pine Grove Park. It's what some of you do during the winter with swimming at the CRA.
 
"It isn't just about Wahconah. It's about the entire Central Berkshire community."
 
Unified Sports, an initiative of Special Olympics, allows students of all abilities to compete side-by-side wearing their school's colors. Special education students join forces with other members of the student body to compete in sports like track and field and basketball.
 
In Berkshire County, Wahconah was a trailblazer with the first Unified track and field team two years ago. Last year, Mount Greylock started a Unified basketball team and Hoosac Valley added Unified track.
 
In spring of 2019, Wahconah's Unified track and field team earned a state championship. And just this week, it battled against Mount Greylock in a thrilling basketball game that came down to overtime.
 
Special Olympics Massachusetts Unified Sports Manager Kathy Lutz was on hand Friday to talk about the community Wahconah has fostered.
 
"I'm proud and excited to be here with you all today for what Wahconah is doing for inclusion," Lutz said. "You didn't just come in at a baseline level. You didn't do the bare minimum to get by. You guys brought it to the next level.
 
"And what that means is you have two Unified sports. That means you have more youth inclusive leadership. And what I see out here from the amazing tweets and coverage of your games is you're bringing cheer and cheer tunnels and excitement to your games. The whole school is part of this."
 
On Friday, it truly was. The Wahconah student body cheered as hard and as loud for its members playing a Unified basketball scrimmage as it possibly could Friday night at the Homecoming football game.
 
It is the kind of enthusiasm that made Wahconah one of just 16 schools in the commonwealth and 173 schools nationwide to be named a National Unified Champion.
 
Lutz said she hopes that spirit will help keep the Special Olympics movement to expand.
 
"We applaud your efforts," she said. "And we know that this work here that you are doing and this experience that you are sharing here today -- that work is not yet done.
 
"We're going to grow in the Berkshires. You're going to influence your neighbors to join Unified Sports. And you are going to be the Unified generation. We expect your enthusiasm and excitement to lead this movement forward."

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BMM Officer Earns Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional Designation

DALTON, Mass. – Jayne Bills, a compliance officer with Berkshire Money Management, has earned the National Regulatory Service's Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional designation.

The IACCP is a comprehensive program that formalizes and standardizes the knowledge, skills and ethical commitment of investment advisory compliance professionals. Accordingly, designees are charged with helping to both maintain an ethical compliance culture in their firm and advance compliance as a profession.

"Registered Investment Advisors are the most regulated group in the financial services industry.  And we love that because people know they won’t get ripped off by annuities, 'free' American Funds, or the stock of the day," said BMM Founder and CEO Allen Harris. "But that also means we have a tremendous and ever-changing compliance workload. You know how a lot of doctors are forced to spend more and more time on paperwork and less and less time with their patients?  Well, Jayne has fixed our version of that problem. She handles the heavy lifting so that our six advisors can focus solely on our clients, as opposed to tracking and documenting data."

Exhaustive certification and course development, together with expert instructors and facilitators from the compliance, legal, regulatory, financial industry, and academic sectors, help ensure that individuals earning the IACCP designation have been trained, tested and certified to meet high industry professional standards.

Coursework for this certification is comprised of 20 two-hour courses that cover topics like the Advisers Act (the predominant law governing Advisers), Ethics, Trading Compliance and more. In addition to this rigorous work, Bills completed an Ethics commitment and assessment paper, and studied various applicable Laws and Rules, SEC Guidance and Interpretations (and various other kinds of SEC publications) in order to pass a three-hour culminating exam. She also completed two years of required IA Compliance experience. In order to maintain her IACCP designation, Bills must complete 12 hours of continuing education each year.

 

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