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Morris Elementary Students got hyped up before the start of their Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) during a pep rally hosted by staff. (Photo Courtesy Lenox Public Schools)
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Principal Kelley eats a new "nasty" ingredient laid on the table during the "Nasty Nachos Game." (Photo Courtesy Lenox Public Schools)
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Students and staff participate in a hula hoop contest as part of the pep rally. (Photo Courtesy Lenox Public Schools)

Morris Elementary School Holds Pep Rally to Ready Students for MCAS

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Students and staff participate in a hula hoop contest as part of the pep rally. (Photo Courtesy Lenox Public Schools)
LENOX, Mass. — Morris Elementary students got hyped up before the start of their Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) during a pep rally hosted by staff. 
 
On Thursday, March 28, students in Pre-K through Grade 2 were called to the gymnasium to await their older peers as part of the pep rally.
 
Students in Grades 3-5 were called down next. Each classroom pre-selected a walk-in song for their entrance. Songs included "The Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, "High Hopes" by Panic! At the Disco, "Roar" by Katy Perry, "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, and more. Upon their entry, each student was given a pair of sunglasses to wear and take home.
 
Younger students cheered them on as they entered, presenting "Good Luck Tiger!" signs to their buddies to wish them luck on their testing before heading back to class for the remainder of the afternoon.
 
To kick off the festivities, students participated in a hula hoop contest and played musical chairs. The winners of each competition won a book machine token to be used at the school's vending machine, which only dispenses books.
 
Students then played and laughed along as Principal Brenda Kelley participated in the "Nasty Nachos Game."
 
Six multiple-choice trivia questions surrounding MCAS testing were displayed on the big screen for students to answer. Questions covered what to do the night before testing, what to do when answering a multiple-choice question, what to do if you don't understand a question, how to answer text questions about story characters, and more. 
 
For each question answered correctly, Principal Kelley had to eat a new "nasty" ingredient laid on the table. 
 
Kelley ate items including dirt from the playground (crushed Oreos), old Morris mustard (butterscotch syrup), mothballs from the supply closet (marshmallows), "Teddy's Treats" (mint chocolate balls), and rocks from the front garden (frosting balls). 
 
To end the event, Morris staff surprised students with a "glow dance party," where they were given glow sticks and danced.
 
"We hold this pep rally each year for our Morris students," said Principal Kelley. "They work hard each day learning the curriculum. It is nice to honor their hard work and build excitement for the upcoming test."

Tags: MCAS,   pep rally,   

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Ventfort Hall Masonry Repair Project Underway

LENOX, Mass. — Ventfort Hall announced they have reached their funding goal and work has begun on their masonry restoration project through multiple sources.
 
This project will address urgently needed masonry work to rebuild and restore four chimneys on the east and west sides of the roof ridge. The four massive chimneys each contain multiple conjoined fireplace flues and are ornamented with brick corbelling (staggering) and custom profiled bricks for architectural detail.
 
Many of the bricks on the chimneys have lost their mortar and have begun to dislodge and are currently being caught by temporary netting to prevent falling bricks from causing severe harm to the roof or to patrons on the ground. Should a chimney collapse completely, there is not adequate documentation to replicate the ornate brick details and corbelling to recreate the chimneys.
 
The work will entail disassembling each of the four chimneys down to sound underlying material, rebuilding the bricks to match the historic design and detailing, providing new custom brick to replace units that are too deteriorated for re-use, and fabricating and reinstalling the metal chimney caps.
 
Pittsfield masonry contractor H.A. O'Neil was chosen to complete the restoration. They were chosen for their experience working with historic masonry restoration projects and methods. Hill-Engineers, Architects, Planners Inc. is providing oversight for the project. Work began on April 26.
 
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