Bailey Stokes, valedictorian
Bailey Stokes, valedictorian (Photo courtesy Judy Dias)

PITTSFIELD -- Principal John Vosburgh has announced that Taconic High School will hold its 44th commencement exercises at 1 p.m. Sunday, in the gymnasium.

Bailey Christine Stokes, daughter of Austin and Jennifer Stokes of Pittsfield, has been named valedictorian with a grade point average of 101.9. Lucas Bernard Benjamin, son of Bernadette Kennedy and Joseph Benjamin, both of Pittsfield, has been named salutatorian with a GPA of 101.8.

Stokes received the Superintendents' Award for Academic Excellence, and was an academic award recipient for excellence in English, biology, physics, geometry, algebra 2, pre-calculus, history, Spanish, advanced placement psychology, scientific research, and physical education.

She scored advanced on all three MCAS exams required for graduation, earning perfect scores on the English language arts and science exams.

Stokes received the Williams College Book Award, the Service Above Self Award, and is a member of the National Honor Society. She was a member of the Student Council, Spanish Club, Quiz Team, Berkshire Youth United, and was president of Students Against Destructive Decisions. In addition, she participated on the cross country running, track and field, and softball teams at Taconic.

She also volunteered at Berkshire Medical Center and works at Forthill Farm Stand.

In the fall, Stokes will attend the University of Vermont as a pre-medical student.

Benjamin was recognized with the Superintendents' Award for Academic Excellence, served on the Student Advisory Council to the School Committee, was a participant in the 2012 National Youth Leadership Forum on Collegiate Success, and was named "2013 Massachusetts High School Hero" by Boston Sports Radio and Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp.

He was captain of Taconic's swim team and a certified lifeguard, member and vice president of National Honor Society, senior mentor at D.A.R.E. Camp, recipient of the Dartmouth Book Award, and an AP Scholar with Honor for achieving multiple top scores on AP exams.

Benjamin served as student delegate to the 2012 Mass. State Democratic Convention, and was campaign assistant in presidential, senatorial, and congressional campaigns. He has excelled in Latin studies, commended with the National Latin Exam Gold Summa Cum Laude Award every year of high school, and serving as president, then parliamentarian of the Taconic Chapter of the Massachusetts Junior Classical League.

Benjamin has worked as a lifeguard, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and as a peer tutor.

He will attend Brown University in the fall, in programs of study to further his demonstrated interest in government/political science and the classics.