WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Like high school seniors across the country, Mount Greylock's class of 2020 finds itself locked out of its school at a time when it should be gathering in the gym to celebrate its accomplishments inside that building.
But graduation speaker Toby Foehl on Friday reminded his classmates that, especially for this class, the bricks and mortar do not define them.
"Because the new school building was finished right in the middle of our four years, it is difficult to call either building a 'home' for the class of 2020," Foehl said. "At least it is hard to say that we had a physical home for our four years.
"Be that as it may, I once heard a saying that goes like this, 'Home is not a place, it is a feeling.' Although we may have been lacking a physical home, I always felt at home when I was spending time with my classmates. I felt at home when we went to Gettysburg as a class before high school even started. I felt at home in the stands watching my friends compete in the sports that they love. Most of all I felt at home when we were all together in the bleachers for our senior pep rally this year."
Foehl was one of three speakers who participated in Friday's virtual opening to Mount Greylock's two-day graduation festivities. On Saturday morning, the members of the Class of 2020 will receive their diplomas in the school's parking lot in a drive-through ceremony that will end with well-wishers cheering on the graduates as they make their way home along Routes 7, 43 and 2.
Foehl, who was chosen by Mount Greylock's faculty as one of two student speakers, shared a typical assortment of memories and inside jokes and mentioned some of the rites of passage that were denied to this year's seniors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"However, I believe that when I think back on my years of high school, I will not remember all the things we were sad about not being able to experience," he said. "Instead, I will remember all the smiles, laughs, and people that made my high school experience as great as it was."
He noted that among the things that this year's grads were denied was the chance to say proper goodbyes — not to the building itself but to the people who shared that space.
"I look forward to getting a chance to say my proper 'so longs' and thank yous to everyone that made my experience as memorable as it was," Foehl said. "For now though, as I wrap up this speech, I would like to say some broader thank yous to everyone in the school community. To all the administration and staff, thank you for all of the work that you do to ensure that our experience is as great as it can be. To all the teachers, thank you for your guidance, your humor, and probably most of all, your patience. You are the reason that this school perfectly cultivates an environment of fun while learning.
"Lastly, I would like to thank my classmates. There is sincerely nobody I would have rather gone through high school with. Every single day, getting to see you guys would make having to get up at 6:30 in the morning just a little bit more worth it."
Foehl was joined on the dais by classmate Nicole Overbaugh, who was chosen by members of the class to speak at graduation.
Overbaugh noted that her four years of experience on the Yearbook Committee helped her to frame her remarks. The experience gave her a "stockpile" of old photos that reminded her of forgotten memories.
"As we drive off our beloved, newly renovated campus in 2020, I'm sure we are all eager-eyed with trepidation," Overbaugh said. "The future is uncertain. But, as I flipped through my photos recently, I recognized just how much we've changed as individuals. I see how passionate we've grown into our personal abilities, interests and talents and just how we will be able to take that forward in our future endeavors.
"We are the class that creates change, and we are the class that adapts to change. We've never cowered away from change either. From small changes, like being the class that advocated for microwaves in the cafeteria, to larger changes, such as voicing opinions on our new school and construction noise. We have learned to adapt, in both school and life, to the changes COVID-19 presents, while still being able to articulate our desires for the remainder of our education."
As part of Friday's virtual ceremony, Mount Greylock announced the recipients of several year-end awards and honors. Assistant Principal and Principal-to-be Jake Schutz announced the following academic award winners during Friday's ceremony: English, Madeline Zoe Art and Owen Alexander Tucker-Smith; history, Mitchell Peter Jezouit; mathematics, Madeline Zoe Art; science, Charlotte Elizabeth Rauscher; foreign language, Tarryn Shea Gaherty; Latin, Madeline Zoe Art; art, Julia Marie Donati; music, Max Schutzman Rhie; business technology, Samantha Marie Pierce; wellness, Brandi Grace Gill and Max Schutzman Rhie; John B. Clark Scholar, Madeline Zoe Art, Miriam Camille Bakija, Charlotte Elizabeth Rauscher, Grace Lyn Sanchez and Owen Alexander Tucker-Smith.
Class officers Anna Welch and Gabriella Alvarez presented a pair of awards. English teacher Kellie Houle was named Mount Greylock's 2020 Teacher of the Year. The Staff Member of the Year Award went to custodian Ryan Skrocki, a repeat winner of the honor.
Principal Mary MacDonald, who graduates her last class Saturday after seven years in the corner office, Friday congratulated the seniors for all of those accomplishments and many more they have achieved at Mount Greylock. And she said the school is ready to send the grads out into the world, no matter how uncertain that world may appear.
For inspiration, MacDonald turned to Indian writer and political activist Arundhati Roy, who published a piece in the Financial Times in April.
"Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew," Roy wrote. "This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it."
MacDonald told the 2020 graduates that they, "have the capacity and the talent to imagine a new world."
And she implored them to tap that capacity.
"Gather your courage, fortify yourself, build alliances and take responsibility to make your world — our world — a more just, equal, kind, livable place," MacDonald said. "We need your energy and your ideas. I trust all 84 of you have much to contribute to the betterment of our world."
Mount Greylock Regional School Class of 2020:
Mallory Marie Alden, Patrick James Aliberti, Gabriella Martha Alvarez, Chase Edward Angelini, Madeline Zoe Art, Miriam Camille Bakija, Alexis Skyleena Barzousky, Brody Owen Baumgartner, Anthony Michael Bossana, Liam Thomas Brady, James Patrick Brannan, Marleigh Rose Briggs, John Robertson Bryan, Julia May Butler, Tyler Matthew Canata, Clara-Ann Dorothy Cazavelan, Barry Chhuon, Taylor Colleen Cornell, Octavia Rush Crowell, Owen Charles Rush Crowell, Nima Keea Darafshi, Jordan Rose Degere, Elizabeth Marie DeGraff, Khushi Shrikant Devre, Julia Marie Donati, Lily Janet Edge, Sarah Mylene Egan, Ashtyn Nichole Faas, Brandon Scott Fahlenkamp, Alexander Addison Falk, Cole Eamon Filson, Toby Brooks Foehl, Lucas Maxwell Forman, Evelyn Kacie Fuls, Tarryn Shea Gaherty, Brandi Grace Gill, Dominick Russell Golin, Brendon Tyler Goss, Logan Brewer Gould, Noah Garrity Greenfield, Gable Dean Hartman, James Foster Hetherington, Molly Amelia Howard, Julia Frances Jammalo, Stella Cecile Jayko, Mitchell Peter Jezouit, Hannah Bissett Jones, Joseph Daniel Jones, Jonah Martin Kelly-Whitney, Saville Nicole Keyes, Nashoa-Takoda Anthony Klingenbeck, Cassidy Elizabeth Kiernan, Carter James Lemaire, Natalia Love LeRoux, Aaron John McKeon, Alexander William Morin, Amelia Margaret Murphy, Eva Marjorie Myers, Ryan Burgess Narey, Nicole Kathryn Overbaugh, Olivia Ray Pallos, Brook Alvera Phelps, Samantha Marie Pierce, Cairra Nicole Ramos, Charlotte Elizabeth Rauscher, Max Schutzman Rhie, Paul Anthony Roeder, Madison Rae Ross, Kayo Cunha Rosse, Grace Lyn Sanchez, Ciera Helen Schwarzer, Anna Miriam Scott, Lucy Rae Shepard, Malcolm James Rutledge Skinner, Brayden Bullett Smith, Emanuel Ciprian Soza-Foias, Owen Alexander Tucker-Smith, Jaimey Nicole Vallieres, Xavier Vicente Vilaubi, Stormy Lynn Wade, Anna Elizabeth Welch, Finnian Charles Welch, Alexis Abigail Yarter and Spencer Zheng.
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Williamstown to Try Outdoor Dining on Spring Street Again Saturday
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Despite the vagaries of Mother Nature and the voices of those who raised concerns about the plan, the town plans to temporarily close Spring Street to vehicles the next two Saturday evenings to allow outdoor dining.
The initiative to help downtown restaurants that do not otherwise have outdoor space to set up tables was first tried on June 27.
Although the weather did not entirely cooperate that night, people who did have a chance to take advantage of the opportunity reacted positively on social media.
Organizers also got positive reactions, according to Jane Patton, the chair of the town's Select Board and vice president of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce.
Despite the vagaries of Mother Nature and the voices of those who raised concerns about the plan, the town plans to temporarily close Spring Street to vehicles the next two Saturday evenings to allow outdoor dining. click for more
People in Western Massachusetts, and the Berkshires in particular, frequently complain the region is being ignored by a state government headquartered at the other end of the commonwealth. click for more
If there was any consolation at all, it is that unlike years past, Brookner knows she will have an active and important role to play in the academic lives of those rising seventh-graders.
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