BCC Student Named to All-USA Academic Team

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Monica Bliss, a student at Berkshire Community College, is one of 20 college students across the country named to the All-USA Academic Team. 
 
The award is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). 
 
Bliss, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average, will receive a $5,000 scholarship to continue her education. She will be recognized at an AACC virtual convention on May 13, 2021.
 
"This is well-deserved recognition," said BCC Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Geoffrey Tabor, who nominated Bliss for the award. "Students like Monica come along once in a lifetime."
 
More than 2,000 students were nominated for the merit-based award, widely recognized as the highest academic honor for students attending associate degree-granting institutions. Nominees are judged on criteria including academic excellence and intellectual rigor; leadership and service; and the ways in which the student has extended his or her education beyond the classroom to benefit society.
 
The All-USA Academic Team is sponsored by Cengage, an education technology company, with additional support provided by Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges.
 
 Many community college students have had to forgo or delay their education because of financial or other challenges presented by the pandemic, explained Fernando Bleichmar, an executive vice president and general manager at Cengage. 
 
"Community colleges have a critical role in reskilling the millions of unemployed Americans and opening up opportunity for those who have the most to gain from post-secondary education," he said. "We're honored to help these incredible students further their education by supporting the All-USA Scholarship."
 
As a result of Bliss's score on the All-USA Academic Team competition — the highest score in the state — she was also selected as a New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar, earning her a $2,250 scholarship. Like the All-USA award, New Century awards are selected based on academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and extension of intellectual talents beyond the classroom. More than 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country, with only one New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar selected from each state.

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Dalton Man Gets Year in Jail For Burning Political Sign

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Dalton man who set fire to a political sign made of hay bales last fall has been sentenced to a year in jail.
 
Judge Mark Pasquariello sentenced 50-year-old Lonnie Durfee on Thursday to one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction on a single count of burning personal property.
 
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office secured the maximum jail sentence as part of a plea deal.
 
Durfee set ablaze 20 plastic-covered hay bales that were near the roadway at Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton on Friday, Oct. 9. The bales had spelled out support for the Biden/Harris presidential ticket.
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