By JULIAN MENDOZA
Published: 12/3/2021 4:51:02 PM
TURNERS FALLS — Franklin County Technical School hosted the annual Franklin County Area Superintendents’ Association awards dinner to celebrate the achievements of local high schools’ shining stars Thursday evening.
This year’s ceremony celebrated seven seniors: Paige Sulda of Turners Falls High School; Sienna Moore of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange; Lucy Koester of Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield; Sean O’Dea of Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland; Rory Cronen-Townsend of Greenfield High School; Lauren Ross of Franklin County Technical School; and Srichakrika Gudimella of Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Skyleigh D’Ambrosia of Athol High School was also recognized on the program, but word was received at the dinner that the school would not be attending the event.
“Please try to keep the names of these students in mind,” Gill-Montague Regional School District Superintendent Brian Beck prefaced the award ceremony with. “These are the students who are going to be our leaders.”
Top left: Rory Cronen-Townsend.
Photo by Paul Franz.
Greenfield High School
Superintendent Christine DeBarge said Cronen-Townsend is “motivated, charismatic, polite and respected,” and “can truly be described as brilliant.” DeBarge praised the “wonderful diversity” in Cronen-Townsend’s course load and recognized her participation in the National Honor Society, volleyball team, theater and “Spectrum” LGBTQ+ advocacy group.
“This diversity shows her ability to excel in a wide variety of academics,” DeBarge said.
Cronen-Townsend made it a point to be honest, calling the ceremony “a lot of attention” for her.
“It feels weird,” she said. “I don’t really know what to think about it.”
She looks forward to connecting her diverse array of interests by studying sociology at a liberal arts college.
“I’m looking for a school where I can support my many interests,” she said, “and that’s important to me.”
Franklin County Technical School
Superintendent Richard Martin emphasized the excellence of Ross’ 3.96 grade point average, while also recognizing how she “stood out with her enthusiasm” in vocational studies. He also praised her for being a “standout student athlete” and being an All-Western Massachusetts softball player, as well as for her volunteerism with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County.
“That’s one thing you can never tell Lauren: that she can’t accomplish something,” Martin said.
Ross displayed a confident hunger to accompany her “astonishing feeling” of gratitude.
“I really just want to leave this school better than I found it and I feel that’s what I did,” she said, adding that her work isn’t finished. “I’m not done yet. … This is an honor, but I didn’t work this hard just to get this award.”
To close out the ceremony, Martin expressed that the tradition of having an awards dinner reminds him how much talent Franklin County has to offer the world.
“I am absolutely, every single year, blown away by the accomplishments in this room,” he said.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.