Greylock grads leave big final impression

Sunday June 10, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Mount Greylock Class of 2012 broke a rule Saturday.

They were supposed to elect a teacher as teacher of the year.

Instead they chose outgoing principal Timothy Payne, who is heading to the Bennington school system next year.

It was a parting shot from a class described by Rose Ellis, superintendent of Williamstown and Lanesborough Public Schools, as known for going its own way.

During her speech at the graduation ceremony Saturday in the school gymnasium, she gave an example of that pioneering spirit -- for the traditional senior prank, the Class of 2012 staged a Bring Your Pet to School Day.

With more than 100 seniors in the class, there were plenty of dogs, cats, and chickens, as well as a couple of frogs, a tarantula and somebody's little sister dressed as a cat parading through the halls when the school day began.

During his speech to the graduation assembly, Payne described his reaction when he came upon the fur-bearing throng in the halls: "Well. That's something new."

Payne's plan for dealing with the unusual prank was indicative of the relationship he built with his students. School staff allowed the seniors to have their laugh, cleaned up the mess, and set the school back on course for the remainder of the day.

Two students addressed the graduation assembly.

Chosen by students to speak was Nick Carson.

"No matter how much I say I hate it, there will always a some part of me that smiles when I think of Friday night games under the lights, or bring a pet to school day," Carson said. "The beautiful thing is that each of us will remember things differently, but we will all remember that we did it together."

Chosen by the faculty to speak was Rebekeh Packer.

Packer said she is proud to have shared the "wonders and terrors" of high school with her classmates. She recalled bringing her chicken, Aphrodite, to school with the other pets, and her anxiety over all the things that could go wrong in that scenario.

"But when that sea of felines and canines and arachnids funneled into the front door and poured down the hallway," she said, "I was struck by the feeling that the Class of 2012 was completely qualified to take over the world."


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