A Mount Everett graduate skips away from the rain.
A Mount Everett graduate skips away from the rain. (Stephanie Zollshan Berkshire Eagle Staff)
Sunday June 3, 2012

LENOX -- While the sun may not have shown itself at Tanglewood during Mount Everett Regional School's 2012 graduation ceremony on Sat urday, there was plenty of warmth to go around, from the smiles of the 68 graduates on stage to the bright yellow flowers each held in their hands to a choral rendition of their class song, Omnio Sol, which speaks of the sun's warmth and the winter turning to spring.

"There's a lot more about to day than perfect weather," said Gabriella Makuc, during her Valedictorian speech that centered on the theme of water.

"Water is both yielding and incredibly strong ... I challenge you to be both at once," she told her fellow graduates. While they should "embrace wisdom from others just as a stream is open to new waters" they also need to find the strength to face new challenges like the "rushing torrents of water" that created the Grand Canyon, she said.

Glenn R. Devoti, the school's principal, and Michael J. Singleton, superintendent for the Southern Berkshire Region al School District, told the graduates to remember where they came from and also spoke to the audience, telling them the im portant role they played in the lives of the students.

"You gave the roots for the students to grow," Singleton told those in attendance, "and now they can spread their branches wide."

Devoti admonished the graduates not to forget where they come from -- a community where they both challenge and support one another.


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He said that without the community's support they would not be where they are today. This idea of mentorship was continued in the speech of Salutatorian Samantha Swartz.

"Each of us has stumbled or fallen along the way, and thanks to your love and support, each of us has gotten back up and continued on," she told the audience. "Many of you may not even realize how influential you have been."

Swartz said that each of the graduates had a story of how they ended up on the stage that day and all of those stories contained role models and mentors, "people who we looked up to and people who helped us succeed."

Her story, she said, concerned her move from the visual arts to science when she was in the fourth grade through the encouragement of the founder of a local summer arts program.

Swartz, who had an image of a computer circuit board adorning the top of her graduation cap, was just awarded one of only 10 Generation Google scholarships given out in the country and will be attending Worcester Polytech nic Insti tute this fall for Robot ics Engineering.

She thanked the community and those in attendance for being mentors and role models.

"You are our support system and we could not have come this far without you," she said.

After receiving their diplomas and moving the tassels on their caps from the right to the left, the graduates filed off the stage and into the next phase of their lives.

One of those graduates was Justin Altamirano, who said he plans on going to Berkshire Community College.

"I'm excited," said the 18-year-old from Ashley Falls. "We're finally done."