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Over the course of about a month, Hoosac Valley High School students wrote letters to all 360 students at the elementary school. These letters were delivered on Wednesday, the last school day before the holiday break.

Hoosac Valley High Students Deliver Holiday Letters to Elementary School

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Hoosac Valley Elementary School's 360 pupils were brought holiday cheer on Wednesday when 20 Hoosac Valley High School students delivered every child a handwritten letter for the holidays. 

"We had a group of high school students reach out to us and ask if they could handwrite letters to every single student from pre-K to third grade," said Erin Beaulac, principal of Hoosac Valley Elementary. "They wanted to wish them well for the holidays and to send some happy notes to all of our students here at the school." 
The high school students delivered the letters Wednesday morning, the last school day before the holiday break. Kaylea Nocher, a teacher at the high school, said writing the letters allowed the students to bring the elementary school kids kindness during the holiday season.
"I think a small act of kindness can go a really long way," she said. "I think all of these high schoolers, not just the seniors but everyone involved, they were able to see how kindness is spread without an incentive." 
Nocher said there were no awards for writing letters or delivering them. The reward, she said, was bringing happiness and holiday greetings to the children at the elementary school. 
"They're not doing this for a pizza party or a free class period," she said. "They really just did it from the kindness of their hearts."
It took about a month for the high school students to write the 360 letters. Natalie Pompi, one of the 20 students who delivered letters on Wednesday, said they would write letters whenever they had a chance to. 
"Whenever we had free time, Kaylea would be walking around, all the teachers had copies of the paper," she said. "And it said for 'This year for the holidays, I wish for you,' and then we drew them a little picture and a note. And then whenever we had free time or a free period, we'd grab one, make one and then it just piled up like that." 
Another high school student, Lucas Waterman, said all of the kids, none of whom knew they were getting letters that day, were overjoyed.
"They loved it," he said. "some of their faces, you could see this just made their whole Christmas. It was pretty nice to see." 
The event, Pompi said, brought holiday cheer to the high school students just as much as it did to the elementary school students. 
"Walking in and giving them a letter and then having them be so comfortable to just come up to you be like, 'This is my name, this is what I have,'" she said. "That's just really special, especially in the holiday times." 
After the high school students reached out to her about the letters, Beaulac said they worked with Colleen Byrd, principal of Hoosac Valley High School to help organize the delivery. All three of the district's schools, Beaulac explained, have been trying to work more closely with one another, which helped to make this event possible. 
"We're really trying to unify all the schools," she said. "And an activity like this, while it seems small, is really powerful."
Beaulac said everyone at the elementary school, students and faculty alike, were grateful for the letters.  
"The teachers were coming up to me saying how appreciative they were for all of you for making these cards individually and how the students were reacting to them," she said. "They were really feeling loved and it’s just that extra something this holiday season. So you all made a difference."

Tags: holiday story,   HVRSD,   

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Adams Selectmen, Finance Committee OK 2022 Town Meeting Warrant

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee have approved the 26 warrant articles to be put forward at the June 21 annual town meeting. 

Two articles are related to the development of the Greylock Glen and another would update the town's cannabis bylaws. 


Article 22 would appropriate $80,000 from the Economic Development Fund to hire a consultant for the Greylock Glen Foundation. This consultant will establish the foundation, fundraise from the private sector and work on other projects. 


Article 24 would authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase property along Gould Road for $100,000. The 1.2-acre plot of land, according to Town Administrator Jay Green, will benefit the town's future development plans if voters approve the purchase. 


"We just realized that that's a parcel that's a key entryway to the area that we're spending a lot of time, resources and energy on, and it's something that we should probably take control of," he said.


The Greylock Glen Outdoor Center, for which the town just received another $2.9 million in state aid, is expected to begin construction in late June. 


Articles 5, 6 and 7 cover sections of the town's $17 million budget, including operational, capital and free-cash expenses. Articles 8 and 9 are the budgets for the Hoosac Valley and Northern Berkshire Vocational school regional school districts. 


Article 25 would authorize the sale of 20 East St., the former Community Center, to Robert Hinton of CMV Construction for $25,000. CMV, the lone bidder on a request for proposals for the property, plans to turn the building into apartments


Article 21, if approved, would appropriate $5,000 from the Quaker Meeting House fund to perform repairs and inspection. The current balance of the fund is $10,602.70


Article 23, if approved by a majority vote, will establish an enterprise fund for the town's sewer system. 


"This is not a sewer user fee. I just want to make that very clear," Green said. "It is simply accepting the provisions to use an enterprise fund, it'd still be funded via tax levy. Over the next year, I think we as a community will be having a conversation about how we fund the enterprise fund,"


Article 10 proposes the town put $250,000 of free cash toward lowering the tax rate. Green said this is part of the town's internal fiscal policy but is something he hopes to change in the future, noting this money could instead go toward road and building maintenance. 


"So all the work that we've talked about: roads and buildings and every other thing that seems to fall apart around here; that would have been another 250,000. That would have been half a million dollars worth of capital programming that could have been done," he said. 


Article 11, if approved, will add $62,000 to the town's stabilization fund. 


Article 20 would update the town's marijuana bylaw to allow cannabis businesses to offer courier services. Selectwoman Christine Hoyt thanked the Planning Board and others involved with updating the bylaw. 


Articles 1 through 4 are annual articles that handle filling town officer vacancies, hearing reports from town officers and fixing compensation. Article 19 would amend the town compensation plan, giving town employees a 2 percent increase over fiscal 2022. 


Selectman Joseph Nowak said he would like to see compensation for the Board of Selectmen and other town boards to be raised. 


"I think people who are willing to serve should get something worth their time. Perhaps that's maybe a small reason why we don't see people running for elected positions in this community and in other places," he said. 


Hoyt said the town lowered the stipends during the 2020 budget cycle to save money. Board Chair John Duval said he would be willing to discuss changing compensation. 


Article 16, if approved, will allow the town to accept $7,200 in perpetual care funds received in 2021 for the care and maintenance of cemetery lots. The town treasurer will manage these funds. 


Article 12, another annual article, will establish a $175,000 reserve fund if approved. This fund, which only the Finance Committee can access, would be used in emergencies for unforeseen expenses. 


Article 14 would allow the Board of Selectmen to apply for Community Development Block Grants. Similarly, Article 15 authorizes the board to apply for Community Facilities Grants. 


Article 17 authorizes the town treasurer to borrow with Board of Selectmen approval if there is a revenue shortfall; Article 18 establishes the spending limits for the town's revolving fund accounts and Article 13 would allow the town to pay any unpaid bills from the current or prior fiscal years. Adams currently has no outstanding bills. 


Article 26 will allow the town to conduct any business that may legally come before the meeting. 

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