NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 50 Berkshire students were recognized at the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship reception at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
"I am really quite pleased to be able to welcome you and to be able to congratulate you on earning this scholarship," MCLA President James Birge told the recipients Tuesday at the Church Street Center. "It is a rigorous award to win and you have demonstrated your abilities to do that through your grades, standardized test performances ... and all of the things that help you round out your education."
The Adams Scholarship is a merit-based award that provides a tuition waiver for up to eight semesters of undergraduate education at a Massachusetts state college or university. Less than 300 students throughout the county received the award that is given to those who scored highly on their 10th grade Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test.
MCLA has been recognizing the scholars' achievements annually for more than a decade.
Birge took a moment to welcome the students to MCLA and tout the school as a possible option for the honored students. He rolled out some new programs and lauded the school's efforts to be an affordable liberal arts college that integrates service with academic study.
"It is not surprising to me ... that most students go to school within 100 miles of their home," he said. "It seems more and more talk about going farther away but research points out that students like to stay local so as you think about your college career ... I hope you consider MCLA."
Next to speak was MCLA student Tessa Langsdale of the class of 2021. Langsdale noted that just last year, before graduating from the Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter School, she sat in the same seat as the county seniors did Tuesday night.
Langsdale first provided the seniors with some advice: fall madly in love with your education.
"When you fall in love with education you will find yourself on a path of boundless success ... the way books affected me is the way any branch of education can affect you," she said. "Your education is the gateway in which we not only become better humans, but we find ways to better other humans and this is something I hope you remember as you enter college because it should fuel you re desire to be there."
Langsdale said her love for literature inspired her to peruse a career as a high school English teacher, a journey she recently started at MCLA.
"I am using my love of learning to get the most out of the journey, and I chose to come to MCLA because I knew it would be a fulfilling part of the journey," she said. "Coming to MCLA is a choice that I will never regret. It creates an environment for my learning and growing as a person but above all, it acts as a home to me and many students just like me."
Before the students were given certificates, Director of Admission Gina Puc congratulated them and wished them luck in their future no matter which school they choose.
"It is truly with pride that we honor you this evening and that you are already leaders in your classrooms, in your schools and in your communities," she said. "We hope this scholarship will open doors for your future academic success whether it is here at MCLA or at the institution that you love."
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