BART grads chart course for future

Sunday June 9, 2013

ADAMS -- A diploma just wouldn’t suffice.

Garbed in graduation black, senior Dalton Lampro knew data and charts projected on a screen were essential to show he was indeed ready to graduate from BART Charter Public School at the MCLA Church Street Center in Adams.

Lampro, and 17 other graduates, knowingly applauded and laughed as they gathered together for the last time before many go off to college in the fall.

"Everyone at BART has grown to love data," Lampro said as he dedicated the presentation to data-driven Principal Benjaim Klompus, who sat nearby on stage.

An overcast sky outside didn’t dampen the mood during the graduation ceremony. Along with celebrating the largest class to ever graduate from the school, the ceremony included many words of thanks and well-wishes to Klompus, who is leaving the school to pursue a doctorate degree at Harvard University.

The college prep charter school founded in 2004 serves students beginning in sixth grade.

Lampro described an education that was "safe, motivational and prepatorial for what’s ahead of us." In the fall, Lampro will be attending the University of Massachusetts, ready to tackle new challenges.

Lampro and his classmates had been preparing for this day since they first enrolled in BART. Each senior must attend a college-level course and take SAT tests.

The graduates also had to serve an 18-week internship. The seniors enrolled in internships with the Williamstown Police Department, North Adams Library, the Northern Berkshire Community Television Corporation and many others as they prepared for their futures.

Klompus urged them to be studious because the world needs them.

"We need minds to stare at complex challenges in the face .... [such as] generational poverty, systemic inequality, environmental degradation,."

But first he recalled on a lesson he’s learned in the 20 years since he graduated.

"Search until you find [your passion]," Klompus said. "Travel, get out of town and go somewhere you don’t know the language and try to learn as much as you can. Once you find that thing ... It can also be the thing that allows you to make a dent in the world."

In his speech, Howard Eberwein, dean of graduate and continuing education at MCLA -- where a significant number of the students will attend -- urged the students to create joy around them, fail and pick themselves up, and find ways to create in a creative economy. He also urged them to take on new challenges.

"Be proud as you accept your diploma today," Eberwein said.

Reflecting on his tenure at BART, senior Bradley Pandell said he wouldn’t remember his time in periods, semesters or years.

He’d measure his time by the "friendships we made and the time we spent together."


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