Monday, July 15, 2024

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Bits & Bytes: VIM chosen as award finalist; increased enrollment for Richmond Consolidated School; Darrow student wins art competition; dairy farmer becomes veterinarian

Richmond Consolidated School Principal Monica Zanin works with her teachers to implement the latest research in student learning and to provide rich professional development.

VIM chosen as finalist for award

Clockwise, from left: VIM Berkshires staffers Gladys Rave, Margot Rockefeller, Ilana Steinhauer and Marleny McCauley. Photo: Tricia Bevan
Clockwise, from left: VIM Berkshires staffers Gladys Rave, Margot Rockefeller, Ilana Steinhauer and Marleny McCauley. Photo: Tricia Bevan

Great Barrington — Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires has been selected as one of the national finalists for the second annual Henry Schein Cares Medal, an award bestowed on nonprofit organizations “that demonstrate excellence in expanding access to care for the uninsured.”

VIM is one of three finalists selected in the medical category. A gold, silver, and bronze medalist will be chosen in each category by an independent panel of judges made up of experts in the fields of medicine, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and business. Winners will be announced later this year at the company’s national sales meeting for each respective business unit. Each medalist will receive a cash award: $15,000 for the gold medal, $10,000 for silver and $5,000 for bronze. In addition to the cash awards, each finalist will receive $10,000 worth of medical supplies from Henry Schein Cares.

–E.E.

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Richmond Consolidated School enjoys increased enrollment

Richmond — Enrollment is booming at Richmond Consolidated School, which serves children in grades K–8. This year, Richmond’s preschool class is full with 12 preschoolers who all live right in town, compared with six Richmond resident preschool students only three years ago. The school has seen similar trends in other grades. Consequently, Richmond School is now largely closed to new school choice students.

The increase in the numbers of families moving into Richmond is due to families moving to town from within Berkshire County, as well as families moving to town from outside of the county. Parents are initially attracted to Richmond School’s top scores on standardized tests. “Richmond School has maintained continued academic excellence over the past several years at a level that has not been matched by any other school in the county as measured by standardized test scores,” according to Superintendent Peter Dillon.

For Principal Monica Zanin, stellar test scores are just one measure of student achievement and are a reflection of the small school’s holistic approach to education. Zanin works with her teachers to implement the latest research in student learning and to provide rich professional development. For the 2015-2016 school year, Zanin’s particular focus was on science and technology as the school looked ahead to next-generation science standards.

Richmond’s experiential learning focus in science and technology has paid off in terms of high test scores. Seventy-one percent of the students in Grade 5 tested as proficient or advanced in science and technology compared with 47 percent of test takers statewide who tested as proficient or advanced. Similarly, 60 percent of Grade 8 students at Richmond school tested as proficient in science and technology whereas 41 percent of Grade 8 students statewide tested as proficient or advanced.

As people across Berkshire County begin to take a hard look at new strategies for providing quality public education in light of population decline, the supporters of Richmond Consolidated see their little school as playing an important role in the future of Berkshire County’s education system and in the County’s push for economic development. In addition to Zanin’s leadership around curriculum and professional development, the town has embraced new approaches to conserving administrative costs and is in the first year of sharing Superintendent Dillon with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District.

–E.E.

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Darrow junior wins first place in CGCC art competition

Darrow School junior Sam LaPell and his artwork.
Darrow School junior Sam LaPell and his artwork.

New Lebanon, N.Y. — Darrow School junior Sam LaPell has been named a first-place winner in the 21st annual juried art show at Columbia-Greene Community College in Greenport. The competition is open to students from 14 area high schools and awards a first, second and third prize in addition to several honorable mentions. The exhibition will be on display in the CGCC Arts Center’s Foundation Gallery through Friday, Feb. 24.

LaPell was named the first-place winner for his untitled work, a series of three-dimensional monochromatic acrylic paintings on cardboard, and received a $150 prize at the awards ceremony held at the college on January 26.

“The three paintings form a set, all done in acrylic paints, black and ivory white, on paper intended for charcoal,” LaPell said. “The pieces are of landscapes based on my own photos of the currents I saw in Canada, a winter day, and a field around my house. They differ from my typical usage of graphite and pen, and I was interested in shifting mediums after becoming accustomed to charcoal, which, while still being a dry tool, is moved around and layered similar to paint. The three pieces were merely experiments that drew together aspects of dimensions, book making, drawing, and tiredness.”

–E.E.

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Rhett Proctor, surrounded by his parents, Egremont residents Charles and Ellen Proctor, and his sister, Marcia Proctor Alves, who all traveled to Miami last year to attend his graduation ceremony from veterinary school (see item below).
Rhett Proctor, surrounded by his parents, Egremont residents Charles and Ellen Proctor, and his sister, Marcia Proctor Alves, who all traveled to Miami last year to attend his graduation ceremony from veterinary school (see item below).

Egremont dairy farmer becomes veterinarian

South Egremont — A little over three years after starting veterinary school, Rhett Proctor, who grew up in Egremont and helped run his family’s dairy farm at the top of Baldwin Hill for over 20 years, began his new career as a practicing veterinarian near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Wednesday, Feb. 8, will mark the one-year anniversary of that first day of work as a veterinarian.

Proctor started his veterinary studies at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in September 2012, after completing two years of prerequisites at Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Proctor completed his academic studies at Ross University in December of 2015 followed by a year of clinical rotations at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison, which he finished in January of this year. Proctor passed the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination in April 2015 while completing his clinical year, which enabled him to secure his job with the Gap Veterinary Associates before he graduated in January.

Proctor credits the combination of his academic veterinary training and his many years as a dairy farmer with nationally top-ranked herds for enabling him to transition so smoothly into practicing veterinary medicine. He notes that his practical dairy experience was a strong foundation for the new medical knowledge, and that it helps in being able to better relate to the farmers who are his clients.

Proctor hopes one day to be able to return to the area to practice large-animal medicine. His parents, Charles and Ellen Proctor, still live on the farm.

–E.E.

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