DALTON, Mass. — The importance of educators echoed during a Teacher Signing on Friday in the Wahconah Regional High School auditorium.
This type of ceremony has been held to celebrate student-athletes signing to play a particular sport in college but the State Department of Education realized students committing themselves to become educators deserve just as much if not more "fanfare," Wahconah Principal Aaron Robb said.
Amber Brown, Emma Blazick, Abigail Cobb, Holden Kotelnicki and Emily O'Neill signed letters of intent to pursue the field of education at their respective colleges.
Several state officials attended the event, including state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who now represents Dalton in the Third Berkshire District.
Pignatelli said he comes from a long line of teachers -- his grandmother was the first woman hired by Springfield College and his sister was a longtime educator.
When he watched his sister retire after 37 years of teaching, he saw the sadness in the students' faces because of their loss of such a "classic" teacher who empowered them, he said.
Not only has his family affected future generations through teaching but he also felt the impact when his daughter's teacher instilled in her a love for school and set her on the path to success.
"I owe so much of it to those couple of teachers in high school that gave her that opportunity, that believed in her, and encouraged her to do great things," Pignatelli said.
"That's what you folks are going to be able to do. So don't ever take for granted the power of a teacher. The impact that you can make and the difference you're going to make in people's lives."
There are still things that lawmakers are working on to make the lives of educators better and encourage people to enter into this important career, he said.
State Sen. Paul Mark echoed this adding that educators are not paid or as valued as much as mainstream celebrities like Tom Brady or Madonna despite the importance of the profession.
"What students in the future will learn from you will inspire them, will shape who they become, and their children and grandchildren as well," Mark said.
"It's amazing to have that impact. To have the ability to answer a question for someone, to connect with them, to have someone tell you afterwards, and you're going to experience it someday, 'Thank you. What you taught me was amazing and helped me' is so much more valuable than I think any football game or any rock concert."
The impact educators have on future generations is extensive. Many years after graduating students will remember the teachers that inspired students and got them excited to learn, state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton said. "So, you're not only signing up to be teachers, you're signing up to be mentors, to be shapeshifters, and to really inspire a whole new generation. So thank you for that."
Central Berkshire Regional School District Superintendent Leslie Blake-Davis said the students' commitment to the teaching profession inspires hope.
An educator's dedication to their work is driven by the students through their passions, hopes, and dreams, Blake-Davis said. "I can think of no better calling than to know you are working toward the betterment of all through the education of society's youngest learners. ...
"Teaching is a craft. It is a lifelong commitment to serving humanity and working toward a world where we all feel like we belong."
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Pittsfield ZBA Grants Casella Permit for Waste Transfer Facility
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals calls Casella's planned redevelopment of the former trash incinerator an improvement to the site.
Last week, the panel approved a special permit to allow a waste transfer facility at the site on 500 Hubbard Ave. Casella Waste Management purchased the waste transfer facility on Hubbard Avenue from Community Eco Power LLC, which filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and has demolished it for redevelopment into a waste transfer station.
The owners say the trash will be brought to the facility and transferred away daily. Concerns that were voiced about the project include odor and impacts to the surrounding area but Casella says the new operation will be less of an impact than the former.
"I think this is going to be a vast improvement based upon the facility that was there previously. I know that sometimes you would get a sight of the other one, they used to dump the waste and it was laying like a floating pond," board member John Fitzgerald said.
"And since the trash is not going to be there, it's going to be in and out, I think the odor will be reduced and I think the vermin will be reduced."
It was also pointed out that the site has handled trash for 40 years.
"I think a lot of the odor before was related to burning," board member Esther Anderson "And there's not going to be burning so it it's going to be greatly reducing the amount of odor and if it's not sitting there is no place for vermin to be."
The former incinerator, including a 118-foot tall stack, has already been demolished a fabric structure is being used temporarily for waste handling.
Fixed in front of the Pittsfield Police Station, the statue honors thirteen former K9s dating back to 1976. Blue roses were placed for each pup next to the bronze Shepard that sits proudly on top.
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Growing up in upper Manhattan in New York City, he attended and graduated from what was then All Hallows Institute, a private boy's prep school. He did his basic training at Fort Riley, Kan.
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