Sixth Graders to Visit MCLA for 'Berkshire County Goes to College Day'


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. -Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has announced that approximately 1,200 local sixth grade students will visit college campuses across the Berkshires, April 8-11, for "Berkshire County Goes to College Day," an annual event held by The Berkshire Compact for Education and MCLA.

In addition to MCLA, students will visit Bard College at Simon's Rock, Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Williams College.

The "Berkshire County Goes to College" initiative is part of the Passport to College - a plan to help improve access to a college education.  It provides the opportunity for every sixth-grade student in the County to visit a local college campus in April. It is part of an effort to raise awareness of college in Berkshire County residents at an early age.

On Monday, April 8, students from Reid Middle School will visit Berkshire Community College (BCC), from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, April 9, students from Farmington River, Lenox Memorial and Richmond Consolidated schools will visit Bard College at Simon's Rock, from 9 a.m. to noon.  Students will tour a first year residence hall, learn about study abroad opportunities, see a science experiment and enjoy lunch and a performance by the college's jazz band. 

On Wednesday, April 10, students from Herberg Middle School and Lee Elementary School will visit MCLA.

During 20-minute sessions held throughout the MCLA campus from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the students will tour a residence hall, learn how to use the equipment in the television studio, see new chemistry experiments in the lab, see a planetarium demonstration, see how MCLA journalism students put together the Beacon newspaper, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the fine and performing arts theater, enjoy lunch and a performance by MCLA's a cappella choir, the Allegrettos.

Also on Wednesday, April 10, students from Undermountain, Williamstown and Hancock elementary schools, as well as Hoosac Valley High School, will visit BCC, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. 

Students at the April 8 and April 10 visits to BCC each will attend four workshops on topics such as criminal justice, science, green initiatives and physical fitness. They also will enjoy a lunch in the cafeteria. 

On Thursday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., students from Clarksburg, Lanesborough, Greylock and Sullivan elementary schools and the Berkshire Arts and Technology School (BArT) will visit MCLA.

On this day at MCLA, they will tour a residence hall, learn how to use equipment in the TV studio, learn the importance of soil conservation, watch physics and planetarium demonstrations, go on an interactive tour of the training room, watch chemistry experiments, and get a behind-the-scenes-view of the theater. They then will gather for lunch and enjoy a performance by MCLA's a cappella choir, the Allegrettos.

Also on April 11, students from Abbott Memorial School, Brayton Elementary School and Nessacus Regional Middle School will visit Williams College, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  This visit will include workshops on architecture, fitness and nutrition, and environmental science, as well as lunch in a Williams College dining hall. 

"This Berkshire Compact initiative continues to be a milestone in the path toward higher education for our youth," according to Denise Richardello, vice president of enrollment and external relations at MCLA. "By opening up our local college campuses to the area's sixth-grade students, this annual event keeps Berkshire County youth on track on the path to college. We hope they will continue to explore their educational options for the future."

The Berkshire Compact for Education was developed to address the education needs of Berkshire County residents and employers. The Compact is comprised of members from key area employment sectors, including cultural institutions, finance, healthcare and specialty manufacturing, along with school superintendents, college administrators and faculty, municipal officials and representatives of nonprofit organizations.

Funding for "Berkshire County Goes to College" comes from the Berkshire United Way.

For more information about "Berkshire County Goes to College Day," contact Mary Nash, project coordinator, Berkshire Compact for Education,