Since MCLA was established as the North Adams Normal School in 1894, the campus has educated a myriad of dedicated and talented teachers. Fast forward 116 years later, and freshman Tyson Luneau '13 of Amesbury, Mass., is yet another student in pursuit of his dream of becoming an educator.
Luneau came to MCLA because the College's education program was a perfect fit for his needs. An aspiring high school teacher, he is majoring in history and secondary education, with a minor in Canadian studies.
"The history department, along with everyone in admissions, welcomed me with open arms before I even committed to the idea of attending MCLA," he explained. "It's been said a thousand times before, but the personal connection that I felt with everyone at MCLA was the biggest factor in my decision to attend."
His studies, he said, have been enlightening.
"It has made me even more excited to become a teacher and be able to make a difference in someone's life. My history classes have transformed my perspective on a lot of things, and have also strengthened my interest in the subject," Luneau said. "Nearly all of my professors have been very accessible people. In the history department, every professor I've encountered has gone above and beyond.
"Right now, I am learning a great deal of educational philosophy and theory that will greatly assist me in my classroom experiences," he continued. "I think the emphasis on both seeing and doing with regard to educational and career experience is crucial and is very recognized by professors and faculty here at MCLA."
Luneau's MCLA experience began even before he arrived on campus.
"I was writing my high school senior thesis paper on 'Quebec Nationalism' and had met Professor Robert Bence at an Accepted Students Day event during my senior year," Luneau explained. "I actually conducted an e-mail interview with him that I used as a source for my paper. He has continually been a knowledgeable and helpful source, and convinced me to add a minor in Canadian studies."
A photographer and a musician, Luneau also serves as the public relations director of WJJW, MCLA's student-run radio station.
"I can take the marketing skills I've learned from being in a touring band, as well as being a show promoter, and put them to even more use," Luneau said. "I like the do-it-yourself approach that is emphasized at MCLA."
If MCLA students want to make something happen, he said, they do it themselves, providing valuable experience for the real world.
"Life is not full of hand-outs and free rides. From several popular new clubs on campus to student activism and community service, MCLA students take upon themselves to make their own college experience," Luneau said.
He also serves as a peer advisor and as an admissions ambassador.
"We have something special here at MCLA. To be able to share that with people was something I was very interested in," he said. "The small-school setting of MCLA has numerous benefits. The ability to become involved in anything has given me, as well as many other students, a greater sense of motivation.
"Furthermore, the recognition of students as people rather than numbers ties into my educational experience, and I feel that I will be less likely to submit to the pretentious opposite of that idea when I myself am leading a classroom."