Tuesday, June 25, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

HomeNewsIn the aftermath...

In the aftermath of tragedy, Monument reaches out to Southern Berkshire

Valerie Zantay, who taught previously at Mount Everett Regional School, collected some delicious edibles along with handwritten notes signed by dozens of Monument staff expressing solidarity and sympathy for their colleagues in Sheffield.

Sheffield — It is perhaps an understatement to say that, in the last 30 days, the town of Sheffield and the Southern Berkshire Regional School District have been in a state of shock and grief. Violent death has gripped this Berkshire County town of 3,200 people like few before it.

Twenty-four-year-old Samya Stumo, who grew up in Sheffield and was a 2010 graduate of Mount Everett Regional School, was one of 157 people who died March 10 as a result of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 near the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia. A few days later, a family of five was found dead inside their new house on Home Road. Authorities are investigating the ghastly incident as a murder-suicide. In addition, on Feb. 28, Jesus A. Santos, 19, and a Mount Everett graduate living in Lakeville, Connecticut, died in a single-car crash on Berkshire School Road. 

Sheffield residents bow their heads in prayer during a healing service Saturday at the Old Parish Church. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Last Saturday, about 75 people gathered at the Old Parish Church on Main Street to participate in a interfaith prayer service as part of the healing process. 

It goes without saying that these kinds of traumatic events can have a profound effect on children. But they also have deep implications for the well-being of the adults who care for and educate our children. With that in mind, Valerie Zantay, who teaches Spanish at Monument Mountain Regional High School, had an idea: Why not do something to let the faculty and staff at Southern Berkshire know that their efforts are appreciated and that Monument’s teachers stand with those in the neighboring district? 

Zantay, who taught previously at Mount Everett Regional School, collected some delicious edibles along with handwritten notes signed by dozens of Monument staff expressing solidarity and sympathy for their colleagues in Sheffield.

Monument Mountain Regional High School Spanish Teacher Valerie Zantay

“I know we must remain stoic and resilient in front of our students,” Zantay said in an interview. “I just thought, ‘These poor teachers. If teachers can’t support teachers, then who can?'” The response among her colleagues at Monument, Zantay said, was “overwhelming.”

On Friday morning, dispatched to the campus in Sheffield were two large trays of bagels from the Great Barrington Bagel Company, along with an assortment of chocolates and fruit. The goodies were split between the Mount Everett and Undermountain central offices. 

“It’s a lovely and much appreciated gesture,” Southern Berkshire Superintendent Beth Regulbuto told The Edge. “We also received flowers and thoughts from the Dedham Public Schools, who wanted to let us know they are thinking of us during this difficult time.”

“It was a big lift for everyone,” added Mount Everett Principal Glenn Devoti.

It would be hard to find anyone who understands tragedy better than Zantay. She lost her 20-year-old son, David Ibanez, to suicide almost two years ago. Only a couple of weeks earlier, one of David’s best friends, Kenny Krom, had died as a result of a high-speed car crash on Hewins Street. 

Handwritten notes of comfort and solidarity to the administration, faculty at staff of Southern Berkshire from Monument Mountain Regional High School. Photo courtesy Southern Berkshire Regional School District

A Monterey resident, Zantay lives in the Southern Berkshire district and also taught at Mount Everett and Berkshire School before moving to Monument. Since losing David, she has been active in suicide prevention and has walked in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Berkshire County Walk. Click here to read an Edge profile of Zantay and her efforts.

“We just wanted to support them,” Zantay said of her colleagues in Sheffield. “I think the teachers get overlooked in these situations.”

The two school districts have much in common and cooperate on a number of levels. Monument and Mount Everett have a combined football team, for example, and their bands often have joint concerts.

“The community support and outreach has been truly amazing,” Regulbuto said of teachers and staff at Monument and beyond. “We are grateful, and I know SBRSD will be there for our colleagues if and when they need us.”

spot_img

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.

Continue reading

Thanks to a middle schooler, there is plenty for Pittsfield residents to read this summer

BB’s Book Nook, a Little Free Library, opens to offer free books to the community.

‘Unique in Nature’ art exhibit comes to Center for Peace Through Culture

“We’re finding ways to connect with our communities,” Center Executive Director Melanie McCarthy told The Berkshire Edge. “Having an open call for an art exhibit is a way to bring in new audiences, but also to support developing artists."

Stockbridge set to open new Farmer’s Market next month with organic food vendors

The Select Board also appointed Katie Szwyd as the director of the town’s Council on Aging.

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.