Friday June 8, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Mount Greylock Regional High School student Naomi LaChance has won the 2012 Daniel Pearl Berkshire Scholarship.

The award was presented at the school’s awards convocation Thursday evening by Daniel Bellow, a scholarship committee member and friend of Daniel Pearl.

LaChance is the daughter of David LaChance and Roan Rubel. She is a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, National Honor Society member, class secretary and has been involved in the Youth Environmental Squad and the Gay Straight Alliance. She served as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and assisted with class yearbook, and she has interned at Shakespeare & Company.

In her essay, as part of the scholarship application, she wrote, "Journalism makes my heart race. Š I want to be like Daniel Pearl, traveling the world for the sake of truth and knowledge, for humanity and for freedom."

When in Washington, D.C., last summer to attend the Al Neuharth Journalism Conference, she wrote, she visited the Newseum "where Daniel Pearl’s laptop, Persian phrasebook and passport are on display. I spent a long time staring at these objects, amazed at their simplicity and the profundity of the cause they represent."

The award is given annually to a Berkshire-area student who intends to follow one of Daniel Pearl’s twin passions, music and journalism.


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LaChance plans to major in written arts, with a concentration in human rights, at Bard College.

Pearl, a former reporter for the North Adams Transcript and The Berk shire Eagle, was the south Asia news bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal in 2002. He was pursuing a news story when he was kidnapped on Jan. 23, 2002, by Pakistani terrorists. He was murdered six days later, and his body was found in May 2002.

At the time of his death, Pearl, 38, was expecting a child with his wife, Mariane. Mariane Pearl’s 2003 book about the ordeal, "A Mighty Heart," was turned into a movie starring Angelina Jolie, released in 2007. A collection of Pearl’s writings, "At Home in the World," was published in 2002.

The Daniel Pearl Foun dation was established by Pearl’s family and friends to continue his life work by promoting cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music and dialogue. For more information, visit www.danielpearl.org.

The Daniel Pearl Berk shire Scholarship was established in 2003 with contributions from the Transcript, The Eagle, and friends of Pearl. This year’s award, in the amount of $1,000, is the 10th annual, and the second awarded to a Mount Greylock student.

Judges for the scholarship competition were journalists Ruth Bass, a former Eagle editor; William Sexton, a retired international correspondent; Daniel Bellow, a former Eagle reporter; and Deb DiMassimo, a former Eagle editor and current real estate broker. Co ordinator for the program is Martin Langeveld, former publisher of The Eagle and the Transcript.