North Adams School Board recognizes winners and honors outgoing members /

Elli Miles, the daughter of Maria Bartini and Ronald Miles of Clarksburg, was named this year’s recipient of the Certificate of Academic Excellence from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.
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Superintendent Barbara Malkas presents Elli Miles with the Certificate of Excellence.
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Malkas reads the story of outgoing members, Mayor Thomas Bernard, Ian Bergeron, Heather Boulger (top right) and James Holmes (not pictured).

Mayor Thomas Bernard displays an engraved clock given to him at the end of his term on the school committee. Heather Boulger, James Holmes and Ian Bergeron also received clocks.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Board recognized the academic achievements of several Drury High students while bidding farewell to several of its own members.

Elli Miles, the daughter of Maria Bartini and Ronald Miles of Clarksburg, was named this year’s recipient of the Certificate of Academic Excellence from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. This honor is given annually to the highest high school in the district that has distinguished itself in the pursuit of excellence.

Superintendent Barbara Malkas described Miles as “dedicated, disciplined and always striving for excellence”.

Miles completed high school in three years taking honors courses, seven advanced level courses and one college course. She is valedictorian for the class of 2022 and is currently taking classes at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

She was inducted into the Nu Sigma Honor Society and received the Mathematics Department Award and Principal’s Award, given to the top five students in the class. She started playing for the football team in eighth grade and was a captain in her junior and senior years. This year, she also completed 100 points in soccer and has been playing for the local Black Rock Football Club since 2017.

Miles has been a student council member for three years and has served as an ambassador for Project 351. She plans to major in art and has previously created illustrations for a small company developing a children’s book, and receives design requests from individuals.

“It has not been an easy time for anyone to focus and succeed, with, I am sure, challenges, obstacles and adjustments,” said Mayor Thomas Bernard, chairman of the school committee. “You deserve to be proud of yourself. I know your parents are proud of you. I really wish you the best for the future.”

Other committee members also expressed their pride and congratulations for Miles’ efforts.

“Elli is a leader, a role model and an example to others of what can be achieved through planning, hard work and self-motivation,” Malkas said.

Faith Christian, Zachary Davignon, Heaven Mazza and Madeline Nesbit, as well as Miles, for being named John and Abigail Adams Scholars, were also recognized for their academic work.

Malkas pointed out that students weren’t required to take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests in 2020 due to the pandemic, but took it another year to qualify for the scholarship.

Principal Timothy Callahan said those students were spending much of their time remotely and needed to achieve exceptional results in English and math to qualify.

“They came of their own volition because they wanted the opportunity to qualify for the John and Abigail Adams scholarship. … They were the only five juniors who came,” he said. “We are extremely proud of them. We are proud of their effort to come when they didn’t have to, to challenge their abilities and prove they had what it takes to qualify as scholarship recipients.”

The scholarships provide credit for public school tuition to students who achieve high levels in the 10th grade MCAS.

The committee took the time to say goodbye to the members who were attending their last meeting. Bernard, Heather Boulger, Ian Bergeron and James Holmes did not stand for another term and will be replaced by newly elected mayor Jennifer Macksey, Richard Alcombright, Joshua Vallieres and David Sookey. Vallières will complete the final two years of an unexpired term currently held by Emily Daunis, who won a full four-year term in November.

“I’ve said it before, we’ve done a good job, we’ve done a meaningful job, we’ve done a tough job over the past two years,” Bernard said. “And we’ve always done that with our students, our educators, and the future of this community in mind and in heart.”

He also thanked Malkas for his time over the past four years. “I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, guide and co-chair in my time,” he said.

“It has been the privilege of my life to have served as chairman of the district school committee where my parents devoted so many years of service.”

Boulger is the longest-serving member, having first been elected in 1998, and has served as vice-president “for as long as anyone can remember.”

“She served uninterruptedly for six four-year terms representing three mayors and three superintendents. She was also appointed as the North Adams Public Schools representative on the McCann School Committee for eight years,” Malkas said. “She sat on all of the sub-committees of the School Committee, with the exception of the Bargaining Sub-Committee for Professional Staff, as she was limited in her ability to participate in that particular committee due to family ties.”

It has been a privilege to serve for 24 years, said Boulger, “and I wish the current committee and the new committee the best for the future. It’s all about the children, the students, the administrators and the faculty.”

Both Bergeron and Holmes were elected in 2017, with Holmes joining the committee upon his retirement as a school system teacher.

The reunion was a hybrid, with Malkas and Bernard at City Hall to present Miles and his parents with his certificate. Outgoing members of the committee received clocks engraved with their terms and thanks which Bernard showed to attendees virtually.

Keywords: academic award,