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Greenfield Public Schools

GHS council wins awards at state conference

GREENFIELD — After plunging into the frigid Atlantic Ocean last week, the Greenfield High School Student Council went on to collect several awards at the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils’ annual conference.

The Special Olympics awarded Greenfield High School with the Silver Spirit Award, although the official presentation will happen at an upcoming school assembly. The award is given to a school that raises money and holds a schoolwide event for the charity and participates in the “Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign,” an attempt to remove “the R-word,” referring to the insult for mentally handicapped individuals, from common vocabulary.

The council has been working on the effort for the past two years. It started a bocce tournament, which pairs student council members and Special Olympics athletes onto teams, and raised $1,552 for the organization this past month. During a pep rally, the council showed videos from the Special Olympics website and asked the school to pledge to stop using the R-word.

“Our efforts over the past two years have been tremendous steps forward in unifying and including our entire student body both inside and out of school,” said Angela Mass, a high school teacher and student council adviser.

“Personally, the bocce tournaments have been the projects that I am the most proud of overseeing,” she said. “The friendships formed between my student council leaders and their unified partners have been authentic and lasting relationships.”

Sophomore Claire Abelson brought $360 to the conference for Special Olympics and was honored as the second highest fundraiser in the state.

Senior Courtney Kimball received the “Unsung Hero” award for the western Massachusetts region. Kimball led a can and bottle drive last year to raise money for Newtown, Conn., in the wake of a mass shooting at an elementary school.

Junior Lily Richards earned the gold council award for creating a binder that tracked the high school’s student council accomplishments last year.

Sophomore Leah Wallner won a scholarship to attend the state association’s summer conference in July at Worcester State University.

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