Photo Gallery | 2014 BART Graduation
NORTH ADAMS -- Thirteen graduates of the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, proudly self-described as "anything but typical," received their high school diplomas on Saturday.
Though relatively small in size, the 2014 BART commencement ceremony at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Church Street Center wasn't without plenty of spirit both from students and faculty.
The graduates and school staff embraced their uniqueness, creativity, and intelligence, while also remembering that graduating high school is just the first accomplishment in the face of many challenges to come.
"Dare to explore, dare to make mistakes, and dare to live," said graduating senior Audrey Aka, who added she was confident that all of her classmates are "destined to change the world."
Principal April West reminded students that, though they are celebrating a great accomplishment today, there will be times in the students lives when they fail -- whether it be a college class or at an open mic night. Graduate Olivia Case echoed those sentiments, asking each of her classmates to always maintain their resiliance.
"It's proven negative memories are more easily stored in the brain," Case said. "And it takes this prositive resiliance to cherish each happy moment."
Each BART graduate must complete a rigorous set of requirements in order to graduate, including an internship and college class on top of the standard common core requirements. Every gradating senior in 2014 was accepted into a college.
"This is a milestone that is not easily achieved," said BART Director Julia Bowen. "Our requirements to earn a diploma are not for the feint of heart."
The thirteen graduates, who barely accounted for more than a row of seating at the Church Street Center, were celebrated for the family they have become.
"Another 14 years from now, you won't remember who I am, or remember any of the words I say here today. But you will remember each other," said commencement speaker Jenn Smith, Berkshire Eagle community engagement education reporter.
Aka also spoke of the importance of the Class of 2014's unity.
"Together we have grown, together we have loved, and together we have succeeded," Aka said.
Though students were congratulated, they also took a moment to recognize the staff who helped them through the difficult four years of high school.
"Without our teachers, we wouldn't have decided to keep on going when things got hard," said senior Joseph King, "Without our teachers, we would not have learned about British imperialism. Without our teachers we wouldn't have learned that greatness isn't judged by the color of your skin, or how to solve an algebraic equation, or write a five-page essay and not freak out about it."
Because of the school's internship and college course requirements, West said she was proud of what her students have already accomplished.
"You have already transitioned into the broader community," West said.
All of the student and faculty speakers on Saturday agreed on one thing: For these 13 BART students, graduation is only the beginning of a long story that has yet to be written.
"We've reached a huge milestone, graduating from high school. But there is so much more to come. With each great step forward, I encourage you to have faith that the next step will be better," Case said.
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BART Class of 2014
Audrey Aka, Jacob Bristol, Olivia Case, Matthew Daniels, Sarah Fisk, Jonathan Harford, Gabrielle Harrington, Jamie Kaczowski, Joseph King, Caitlin Moriarty, Michael Perkins, Maximilian Poirot, Christopher Tetlow.
BART Awards & Scholarships
John & Abigail Adams Scholarship: Audrey Aka, Jacob Bristol, Olivia Case, Jonathan Harford, Caitlin Moriarty, Michael Perkins, Maximilian Poirot.
ACPHS Microbiology Science Award: Audrey Aka.
Daughters of the American Revolution: Caitlin Moriarty.
Lassell Achievement Award: Olivia Case.
Lassell Presidential Scholarship: Olivia Case.
Marlboro College Admissions Grant: Jacob Bristol.
St. Anselm OBS Scholarship: Olivia Case.
Sterling College Academic Achievement Scholarship: Matthew Daniels.
Szawlowski Farms Agricultural Foundation Scholarship: Caitlin Moriarty.
UVM Sugar Maple Scholarship: Olivia Case.
Wheaton Community Scholar: Audrey Aka.
WNE Success Grant: Christopher Tetlow.