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Friday, Jun 24, 2011

Another highly successful year at Berkshire Union Free School!

Recognition and Graduation Ceremony with proud students and families

Canaan, NY -- Recent rain and thunderstorms gave way on Friday to let the sun shine on graduation ceremonies at Berkshire Union Free School District on the campus of Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth in Canaan. Berkshire is celebrating 125 years of “changing lives and creating futures” for children and families throughout New York State.

Procession at ceremony openingThroughout the year, the school saw 18 students complete their high school education successfully, including the nearly dozen who, accompanied by proud family members, were all smiles at the June 25th ceremony. Ronnie A., Michael P., and Alex S. received Regents diplomas. Patrick H. received a high school diploma. Seven students earned G.E.D. certificates, including Scott L., Marquise P., Tyler P., Andrew Y., Joshua D., Raymond H., and Jesse P. In addition, Vanessa H., Linzi J., and Jason I., residents of various group homes operated by Berkshire Farm Center, graduated at other regional schools.

BUFSD- 2011 GraduatesMany of the graduates, as well as dozens of other Berkshire students received an array of awards and scholarships. Speaking at the ceremony were a number of school administrators and students, including Jordan W. and Moises M., who had inspirational stories about how their lives have changed while at Berkshire Farm Center. Entertaining the hundreds of students, family, and friends, the dance troupe Diata Diata performed several impressive numbers.

More than a dozen different awards were then given to 20 different students for a variety of accomplishments, including academic achievement, community service, and sportsmanship.

“We are extremely proud of the success our students have achieved,” said school Superintendent Bruce Potter. “The school district staff work very hard at creating a therapeutic environment while maintaining academic rigor.”

Twelve students received financial help with their college expenses from the Mott Family Scholarship Fund, which is now in its second year at Berkshire. Students who meet certain criteria, including community service, making the honor roll and high honor roll, and passing regents exams, receive monetary awards based on their accomplishments. This year, these awards ranged from nearly $1,000 to more than $6,000. School faculty members see these awards as great incentives for the students, many of whom are going on to college in the fall. An extra incentive was a complete surprise for each of the graduates, who received a brand new laptop computer after the ceremony.

“We want to help ensure their success as they continue their education,” said Timothy Giacchetta, Berkshire Farm Center’s President and CEO and President of Berkshire Union Free School District’s Board of Education. “We’re very pleased that so many awards are being given to our students for not only their academic achievements, but for their community involvement and citizenship,” he added.

The Berkshire Jr./Sr. High School has been ranked by the New York State Education Department as among the top special act schools in the State. The mission of the Berkshire Union Free School District is "to provide a diversified and quality educational program, which will prepare each student to graduate from high school and return to his community as a contributing and successful member of society."

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