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Posters at the entrance to Drury High were about as close as the class of 2020 could get earlier this spring because of the pandemic. The school is planning an outdoors ceremony this week that will bring the class together or at least within 6 feet of each other.

Drury High Sets Graduation Celebration at Joe Wolfe

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School will celebrate the class of 2020 on Friday at 5 p.m. at Joe Wolfe Field. (Date change because of rain.)
 
The school had held a "car parade" graduation on June 11, during which families were able to drive up to the front of the high school so the seniors could receive their diplomas and awards and pose for photos. 
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard, chairman of the School Committee, had said the June graduation was to ensure that the entire class was able to participate rather than waiting until the pandemic controls were eased later in the summer. Since Phase 3 of the state's reopening a couple weeks ago, Wahconah, Hoosac Valley and, this week, McCann Technical have been able to hold their graduations outside. 
 
This Wednesday, a similar ceremony will take place on the ballfield and attending graduates will be able to walk across a stage. 
 
Members of the class of 2020 will be able to bring up to four family members to the event, all of whom have already registered in advance through the high school. Teachers and North Adams Public Schools staff members will also register in advance for the event and only registered guests and family members may attend. 
 
Because of health and safety restrictions, the event is not open to the public but will be live streamed through the North Adams Public Schools Facebook page. The event will follow all social distancing protocols and all attendees will be required to wear masks.
 
"The class of 2020 is a wonderful group of students who have been role models and leaders at the school over the past four years," said Drury Principal Timothy Callahan, adding that he looks forward to seeing them again at the celebration.
 
With the possibility of rain — Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to drop heavy rain beginning Tuesday night as it heads north — the celebration will be held Friday, Aug. 7.
 
Normally the school district presents the Marion B. Kelley Teacher of the Year Award in the spring. That didn't happen this year because of the closures of schools in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
 
The award, named in honor of the former North Adams teacher and principal, is presented to teachers in recognition of their dedicated, skillful teaching, understanding of children, and exemplification of the "ideal" teacher. Kelley taught in the North Adams school system from 1929 until 1936 when she married and had to leave the school system because state law prohibited married women from teaching.  She rejoined the school system as a teacher in 1945 and retired in 1978 as principal of Haskins and Johnson schools.
 
This year the recipient of the Marion B. Kelley award cannot be any one individual, according to a statement from the school district, because it was a collective effort that brought everyone together in teaching and learning this past spring as the schools were force to use remote learning.
 
With a unanimous vote of the district leadership team to honor the efforts of all involved with remote learning, the principals and superintendent are granting this year's award to all of the teachers, parents, guardians, and families in the North Adams Public Schools.
 
Superintendent Barbara Malkas said it has been a unique year, a challenging and difficult time, yet one that highlights the creativity and dedication of all the people who worked to educate our children both in person and during our remote learning time.
 
Teachers spend their days and nights considering how to present content to each child, how to reach everyone and capitalize on their strengths while working to close learning gaps. We are accustomed to in-person connections, teachers working side-by-side with students and other adults in support of learning, and we value being able to give immediate verbal feedback. Those traditional aspects of teaching and learning were taken away from us this year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than giving up, teachers doubled their efforts. They trained, collaborated, solved problems with their colleagues, and transitioned online with their students. 
 
Everything — content, questions, celebrations, and Band-Aids — were delivered remotely. They had lunches together, completed treasure hunts, sang, acted, learned, and laughed remotely. The staff had honest conversations about how hard all of this was and supported the families, students, community, and each other.
 
Malkas noted that teachers weren't alone — hundreds of family members stepped into supportive roles in educating their children and becase teachers, principals, adjustment counselors, and parents all in one  
 
"Through all of this, families persevered," according to statement announcing the award. "They worked alongside us as educators to provide the best education we could during one the most challenging times we have faced as a community."
 
Teachers, parents, guardians, and families are being recognized with a congratulatory banner to be issued by Bernard and Malkas during the
celebration.

Tags: Drury High,   graduation 2020,   

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North Adams McDonald's Being Renovated

Staff ReportsiBerkshires

Plans presented to the Planning Board in 2018.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McDonald's on Union Street is in the process of being renovated inside and out with a more contemporary look. 
 
The plans were approved in November 2018 by the Planning Board and include the removal of the mansard roof and construction of a new patio area in the front. 
 
The fast-food burger chain launched the new look two years ago with plans to invest $6 billion to renovate most of its 14,000 locations by the end of 2020.
 
Changes include modernized dining areas with new furniture and "globally and locally inspired décor," according the release announcing the building overhauls in 2018. 
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