Yoga practitioner Susan Shook on the south veranda of Ventfort Hall in Lenox, where she leads a weekly yoga class through Saturday, Sept. 5. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Bits & Bytes: Drop-in yoga; graphic novel workshop; Young Writers’ Contest winners; BCC dean’s list

The contest was open to writers in grades nine through 12 attending schools or homeschooled in Columbia County as well as Berkshire County in Massachusetts.

Ventfort Hall hosts drop-in yoga classes

Lenox — On Saturdays from 8 to 9 a.m., Ventfort Hall hosts an all-level yoga class with yoga practitioner Susan Shook on its south veranda or south lawn.

Shook has been a yoga practitioner for over 16 years, receiving certification as a yoga instructor in 2018 and graduating from the Yoga Institute of the Berkshires. She is also a member of the Yoga Alliance. When not on the mat teaching or practicing yoga, Shook can be found beautifying a client’s landscape, running or hiking in the woods with her Labradors. She is a native of the Berkshires; a business owner/partner; and an avid yoga practitioner and teacher, sharing her practice and teaching at Lenox Yoga.

The cost is $15 per session, cash or check payable that day. The cost includes a donation to Ventfort Hall. Masks are required and social distancing is practiced. There is outside access only. Space is limited. The sessions will continue through at least Saturday, Sept. 5. For more information, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or


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Scoville Memorial Library to present graphic novel workshop for tweens and teens

Barbara Slate. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Salisbury, Conn. — The Scoville Memorial Library will present “You Can Do a Graphic Novel,” an online workshop with Barbara Slate geared toward youth ages 9-18, from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday, July 6, and continuing on consecutive Mondays through July 27.

Among the points Slate will teach during the workshop:

  • Tapping into the creative process;
  • Creating memorable characters;
  • Developing the plot (using a method of color-coded notes);
  • How to come up with compelling dialogue; and
  • Laying out a successful graphic novel page.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is required due to limited space. Attendance at all workshops is strongly encouraged. For more information or to register, contact


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Spencertown Academy announces winners of Young Writers’ Contest

Spencertown, N.Y. — Spencertown Academy Arts Center has announced the winners of its fifth annual Young Writers’ Contest. Held in conjunction with the Academy’s Festival of Books, the contest was open to writers in grades nine through 12 attending schools or homeschooled in Columbia County as well as Berkshire County in Massachusetts.

“While this was a difficult year for students everywhere, we received 30 fiction and nonfiction entries from both public and private high schools. There was wonderful diversity among authors and subject matter. The Young Writers’ Contest has no required themes, which allows students room to explore what’s important to them,” said contest coordinator Kelly Kynion.

The contest was judged by authors and publishing professionals, including Jamie Cat Callan, Alan Gelb, David Highfill, Daphne Kalotay and Wendy Schmalz. The top three winners in each category received cash prizes of $250, $150 and $100. The first-place winning story and essay are now published on the Academy’s website.

Taconic High School freshman Taibat Ahmed. photo courtesy Spencertown Academy Arts Center

Fiction/Short Story
First place: Taibat Ahmed, Taconic High School freshman, “The Boy in the Clouds
Second place: Piper Nayowith, Hudson High School senior, “Malnoia”
Third place: Malina Jackson, Berkshire Waldorf High School senior, “A Part of Something Bigger”

Chatham High School freshman Alyssa Mowris. Photo courtesy Spencertown Academy Arts Center

Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir
First place: Alyssa Mowris, Chatham High School freshman, “If Walls Could Talk
Second place: Anthony Smith, Germantown Central School senior, “How to Properly Waste Your Summer”
Third place: Rida Farsanza, Hudson High School senior, “Borsa”


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BCC announces spring 2020 dean’s list

Pittsfield — Berkshire Community College has announced its spring 2020 dean’s list.

According to Jennifer Berne, vice president for academic affairs, to be eligible for the list, full-time students must have declared a major; completed a minimum of 12 non-repeated, traditionally graded credit hours during the spring semester; and achieved a 3.250 to 3.749 grade point average for honors, or a 3.750 to 4.000 grade point average for high honors. Part-time students are eligible for the list if they meet the same requirements, except that their credit hours may have been completed during the fall and spring semesters of one academic year.

The following 138 students qualified for high honors:

CONNECTICUTCanaan: Kaitlynn Huften, Emily Deming; Vernon: Sylwia Danowski. MASSACHUSETTSAdams: David Lennon, Madeline Zelazo, Loretta Francoeur, Darlene Howe, Carrie Piaggi, Samantha Rodriguez, Rissa Sawyer. Becket: Peggy Avalle. Berkshire: Grace Kelley. Cheshire: Kia Yang, Victoria Hunt, Kayla Noyes. Chester: Branden Favre. Clarksburg: Morgan Goodell. Cummington: Meghan Griffith. Dalton: Robert Dean, Alyssa Dunham, Colleen Moran, Alicia Robert, Nichole Fletcher, David Hamm, Shaunna Lasher, Theresa Quagliano. East Otis: Viviane Komenda-Scherer. Glendale: Rebecca Burcher. Great Barrington: Kaylee Bishop, Alexander Kinstle, Sheila Francisco, Meagan Sheridan, Maria Taliercio. Housatonic: William Vansant. Lanesborough: Savanah Brown, Patricia Hubbard, Leigh Nilsen, Jonathan Saldo. Lee: Beatrice Blais, Geraldine Lalli, Charlene Bona, Shane Cloutier, Taylor Fera, Jonathan Marotta. Lenox: Marybelle Burns, Molly McKenna, Clara Patterson. Mill River: Nicole Kotsos, Kristen Sparhawk. New Marlborough: Kendall Chase. North Adams: Meghan Hartlage, Craig Williams, Marcelle Coe, Timothy Duncan, Samantha Hayes. Otis: Amanda Gadaire. Pittsfield: Dario Arace, Savannah Berkeley, Christopher Bradley, Rebecca Carberry, Danielle Collette, Eric Dupont Jr, Stephany Feliciano, Jared Gerard, Riana Gittens, Celeste Gravel, Grace Greene, Alexis Hamel, Amy Hunt, Summer Jadallah, Madison Kittle, Ama Koblan Epse Ngoran, Evan Mayotte, Alexis Mazzeo, Mariana Melo, Heather Morawski, Damien Rivenburg, Kimberly Sawyer-Wheeler, Candice Smith, Miranda Stracuzzi, Molly Trainor, Amanda Wass, Rachel Williams, Emily Wood, Dzidefo Amesimeku, Marguerite Atwood, Carol Bennett, Ashley Broderick, Samantha Brown, Laura Burgess, Brittney Collins, Lisa Curley, Lindsay Curry, Stephen Dalton, Jonathan Daly, Kierra Ellery, Stacey Ellery, Rachael Fenn, Colleen Garrity, Robert Graham, Danielle Harriott, Brittany Isabelle, Julia Kalinowsky, Julia Kaplan, Elizabeth Kwaw, Shawn Leary, Diana Leibinger, Heather Marsh, Robyn McCabe, Evelyn Musacchio, Lisa Orazio, Shelby Reynolds, Nataliia Riva, Joanna Rivera, Misty Roberson, Elizabeth Russell, Colleen Sullivan, Roslyn Vega. Sheffield: Rossi Johnston. South Lee: Kyle DeSantis. Stockbridge: Theresa Kelly, Wenying Yi, Pamela Hawley. Washington: Devan Robbins. West Stockbridge: Elisabeth Jones. Williamstown: Karen Fahlenkamp, Maryblessing Nnodim. Windsor: Molly Gingras, Jack Markowitz. NEW YORKCanaan: Angelica Sanchez. Cherry Plain: Joseph Wehle. Copake Falls: Jessica Platt. Hillsdale: Jeffrey Decaro, Trevor New. Nassau: Mary Wilson. New Lebanon: Monica Bliss, Judy Sabri. VERMONTPeru: Joalina Chicana Cacya.

The following 139 students qualified for honors:

MASSACHUSETTSAdams: Samantha Andrews, Allison Armata, Kristina Chilson, Nathan Lapine, Kelsy Nixon, Eric Simmons, Amanda Shea. Ashley Falls: Grace James, Hannah Race. Becket: Bridget Benoit. Cheshire: Tonya Burns, Nolan Christen, Shelby Glasier, Si-Yuan Hsiao, Hayley Simard Gina Zsido. Dalton: Kyle Betit, Courtney Corbett, Zoe Danzy, Kaylin Davis, Dona Fresia, Amanda Nefreres, Samantha Miller, Aryana Rock, Renee Saville, Elijah Suriner, Shaina Weber. Great Barrington: Olivia Conforti, Martha Escobar, George Fiadjoe, Joshua Ranson. Hawley: Theodore Barnhart. Hinsdale: Kelsea Hinton, Casey Hopkins, Chelsea Mason-Basiliere, Austin O’Brien, Patricia O’Brien. Holyoke: Jonathan Stiles. Housatonic: Amanda Clark, Roberta Hayes. Lanesborough: Holli Byrnes, Benjamin McColgan. Lee: Michele Belliveau, Sophia Burnell, Lucian Decker, Xiomara Hernandez, Nicholas Pow, Aaron Leon Sandoval, Ian Stakland, Maria Toledo. Leeds: Cheyenne Robair. Lenox: Cassandra Byrnes, Suzanne Cotton Makenna Packard. Lenox Dale: Nora Powers. New Marlborough: Jordan Chretien. North Adams: MacKenzie Boucher, Kaitlyn George-Sanchez, Ronald Sage. Peru: Jessica Burdick, Kyle Gallup, Peter Loboda. Pittsfield: Marcus Anoh, Theresa Atwood, Norah Barber, Audrey Barbour, Maribel Bednarski, Destiny Bigelow, Kortney Boos, Benjamin Broverman, Tyra Cannady, Rosemary Carnes, Nicole Carnevale, Kenyarda Dickerson, Marcus DuRant, Sarah Engle, Arianna Evans, Grace Ezan, Sanya Foster, Victor Fred, Selina Godbout, Hannah Gold, Arianna Gregory, Marisa Gregory, Shane Hall, Adrienne Hanson, Jennifer Hickey, Tyana Jacobs-Aloyo, Tara Jones-Nutting, Thomas Kassmieh, Conner Kearns, Chase Klemansky, Dylan Klose, Gabriel Kotski, Morgan La Douceur, Daniel Letourneau, Lily Lobovits, Seth Lobovits, Daivon Mantey, Kyle Marquis, Joseph Martel, Angelica Matos, Colin Meaney, Abigail Mooney, Elizabeth O’Brien, Shaun Osoro, Jacqueline Polynice, Nadja Ramos, Kara Rench, Ernestina Sackey, Namasaran Samassi-Fofana, Jazmine Seay, Viral Shah, Dane Shiner, Nicholas Simonds, Ezakeil Stone, Zachary Turner, Shila Vallencourt, Jeffrey Wilker, Marquita Yager. Richmond: Sinaia Smith. Sandisfield: Fox Riiska. Savoy: Crystal Harrington, Caleb Keels, James Najimy. Southwick: Leah Bartholomew. Springfield: Elizabeth Twum-Barima. West Stockbridge: Liuba Kurtyn-D’herlugnan, America Lopez. Williamsburg: Cierra Thompson. Windsor: Jonathan Bailey, Ethan Fusini, Ethan Tuck. Worthington: Fawn Mougin. NEW YORKAlbany: David Oehl. Berlin: Richard Bombardier. Hudson: Anna Carnahan. Millerton: Jonathan Wolfe. Stephentown: Natalie Emery.