WILLIAMSTOWN -- The 81 graduates of the Mount Greylock Regional High School class of 2013 were honored for their service to the community and academic success during a ceremony June 8.
"Your four years represent an extraordinary time at Mount Greylock, one of change, reflection and renewal," Superintendent Rose Ellis said as she addressed the students. "And you, as graduating seniors, have set a very fine example for all who follow you."
Ellis noted the graduates had performed 625 hours of community service during their senior year. Some of that public service even reached the other side of the world, she said, with students committing time to assist the Surkh Abat all-girls high school in the Logar province of Afghanistan.
The school was founded by community members Don and Sally Goodrich and dedicated to their son Peter, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Thirteen large and precious boxes, brimming with science lessons, were shipped from Mount Greylock all the way to Afghanistan last fall," Ellis said.
The school is now graduating its first class of 17 students, she added.
Ellis also expressed her appreciation of the senior class prank, in which the students camped out overnight at the entrance of the school, sang songs, played games, and wrote chalk messages on the sidewalk.
The class is also academically gifted, she said, with 18 students - 22 percent of the class - inducted into the National Honors Society.
Hank Barrett, a graduating senior chosen to speak by his classmates, explained the same group of students was viewed less positively several years before.
"By the end of middle school, our class had gained a reputation by some as one of the worst behaved classes ever to come through Mount Greylock," he said, explaining fights and reports of bullying were just two things that reflected poorly on the class.
Barrett continued that the class made huge strides in maturity during their time at the school.
"[The class] has put on incredible theatrical performances," he said. "We have dominated the county in almost every single sport, as well as winning multiple Western Mass and state championships ... We have managed to continuously hold a high standard both in the classroom and in the community."
Acting principal Christopher Barnes, explained that in his two years at the school he has seen graduates demonstrate the principles of "The Greylock Way." The principles were adopted last year and are represented in the acronym ARISE, he said, which stands for accountability, respect, integrity, stewardship and excellence.
"I've spent a lot of time in every classroom. I've been to dozens and dozens of sporting events," Barnes said. "Everywhere, in all of these places, I've seen ‘The Greylock Way.' It's more than just an acronym, it's a philosophy of living."
The ceremony also featured music by the Mount Greylock Concert Band and two songs performed by the Senior High Chorus. In addition, the class honored math teacher Robert Thistle as the school's teacher of the year.