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‘Lyonnaise’ celebration set for Sunday

SHELBURNE FALLS —The Mary Lyon Foundation is celebrating its 23rd year as well as this year’s educational accomplishments with it annual Lyonnaise gala Sunday, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center, 53 Main St.

Elizabeth McGowan, a 1979 Mohawk graduate who won a Pulitizer Prize for national reporting for “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of,” which ran in Inside Climate News, will be there to be presented with Mary Lyon’s “Outstanding Alumni Award” on Sunday.

Other award recipients will include: Ruth Black, for her continuing committeement to music through the Mohawk Trail Concerts; Mike McCusker, for his leadership with the Bridge of Flowers Race and the recently established Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon; and a business award to The Optician, for support of the Mary Lyon Student Assistance Fund.

The event will include music, refreshments and a dramatic student presentation, directed by Mohawk drama coach Jonathan Diamond.

The Mary Lyon Foundation was founded to raise money for educational programs for West County children, and this year, the foundation is celebrating the following achievements:

■ Raising $7,000 through the annual Mary Lyon Community Spelling Bee.

■ Distributing the schools’ annual gift catalog — a wish list of classroom supplies for schools. About $4,000 in cash and in-kind donations reached staff in all schools, with Keystone Market and Goodnow’s Chip ‘n Putt as primary sponsors.

■ Establishing a Vanguard brokerage account to accept gifts of stock.

■ Beginning a new web site (www.marylyon.org).

■ Awarding two rounds of mini-grants to staff in local schools.

■ Purchasing items for schools.

■ Enlisting at least 60 volunteers to support projects and programs.

■ Holding the first Hilltowns History Conference and Fair last fall, at Colrain Central School. Funding included a $5,000 grant from MassHumanities and $600 from local cultural councils.

This year, Mary Lyon is trying to raise $50,000 by Sept. 1 to continue on-going programs, mini-grants and educational events in the nine towns it serves. Contributions are tax-exempt.

To attend this free event, make reservations by calling 625-2555.

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