Two Pittsfield Seniors Recognized with Superintendents Award
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two seniors, one from each of the city's high schools, were honored for their high reaching academics and community involvement at Wednesday's school committee meeting.
William Garrity of Taconic High School and Elodie Theriault of Pittsfield High School received the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Certificate of Academic Excellence.
The awards are given out annually to high school students who have distinguished themselves in the pursuit of academic excellence and have achieved the highest grade average at their school.
Garrity ranks first in the Taconic class of 2022 with a cumulative grade of 103.9.
Along with having an impressive record of extracurricular activities, he used his skills in technology to create a website that centralized information about the remote hybrid learning schedule that was used by teachers and students.
"Year after year, William continually challenges himself through his devotion for learning by taking a rigorous course load that includes a combination of honors, and advanced placement classes at Taconic while simultaneously completing early college, dual enrollment courses through [Berkshire Community College] and [Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts]," Superintendent Joseph Curtis read from a statement provided by Garrity's student counselor Joseph Marshall.
He also received the first-place award and the 2021 General Dynamics High School competition and was inducted into the National Honor Society.
Garrity is a valued member of the school's community, Marshall wrote, and is involved with multiple threads woven into the foundational fabric of what it means to be a student who takes responsibility, has respect, and strives for excellence.
Garrity has served as the co-chair of the Taconic mascots steering committee, participates as a member of the Green and Gold Club, Class Council, and Italian club, and was selected to join the Massachusetts State Student Advisory Council.
He has successfully completed challenging courses such as Advanced Placement statistics, and in AP U.S. history and English language, he received a four out of five on each exam in these two courses.
This year, Garrity is enrolled in AP calculus, AP computer science principles, and two dual enrollment college courses at BCC in order to successfully complete his certification in computer programming.
During Christmas break last year, he created the now closed website, abcd.wgarrity.com, that outlined, organized, and projected the remote hybrid learning schedule with real-time updates, course and school day starting and end times, holiday breaks, and weekly rotations.
This gave teachers staff and students across the Pittsfield public schools a go-to resource for their modified learning schedule.
Curtis said he used the website himself.
Additionally, Garrity built the high school's club programs web page that is currently on the high school's website. This offers information on the clubs and extracurricular activities offered at Taconic for interested students.
These projects earned him districtwide recognition.
He also volunteered for the Pittsfield School Committee and was a participant in the BCC STEM starter Academy this past summer.
Garrity plans to attend Berkshire Community College to major in computer networking and cybersecurity and/or computer science then transfer to a four-year college or university for a bachelor's degree.
"The Merriam-Webster dictionary states the word 'learn,' a transitive verb, is defined as the ability to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction or experience, to come to be able to come to realize and come to know," Marshall wrote. "Since his start as a freshman, William has applied his ability to gain an understanding of knowledge and skill both inside and outside the classroom."
Theriault is ranked No. 1 out of the 172 students in the Pittsfield High class of 2022 with a grade average 103.2.
She is said to be well respected by PHS staff for her dedication to both academics and extracurricular activities.
"She has chosen to complete challenging classes throughout our four years at PHS, all in the honors and Advanced Placement levels," PHS Counselor Ann Marie Mutz wrote. "[Theriault] is a talented, disciplined and extremely bright young woman. She challenges herself to the fullest degree in any learning environment, and has always reached the highest level of success."
Theriault will have completed eight AP courses in her time at PHS.
She was given the AP Capstone diploma that is granted to a student who has taken both AP Seminar and AP research and receive a specific AP score.
The program's goal is to equip students with independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills. Theriault's research topic was "narcissism and Instagram."
She also participated in a civics project at PHS that was connected to a demographic knowledge project sponsored by Harvard University. Professors were impressed by her project and asked if it could be sent to various locations throughout the country to be used as a model.
Theriault is a member of the National Honors Society, cross country and track and field teams, the class council, and the mural club.
She has studied cello for six years, piano for 10 years, and has danced for seven years at the Cantarella School of Dance.
In addition to that, she volunteers at Berkshire Theatre Group and Berkshire Humane Society and works at Ayelada.
Curtis acknowledged that the frozen yogurt shop is a favorite in the room.
She also volunteers at Berkshire Theatre Group and Berkshire Humane Society.
"[Theriault] is mature beyond her years, and has set high expectations for herself," Mutz wrote. "Teachers have stated that she is an asset to their classroom and brings a true understanding of the course content and is willing to assist others within the class in a very respectful manner."
Theriault wants to study science in areas such as biochemistry neurology, research, or attending medical school and is applying to Harvard, Smith College, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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