Monday shorts: Honoring special books, events and declarations

  • Turners Falls resident Terri Cappucci with her high school yearbook and other items that were damaged when her studio/office flooded in her basement. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 2/9/2020 5:03:18 PM

Here are brief thoughts about recent happenings in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region.

Tackling the climate crisis

A full day dedicated to raising awareness about climate change is coming to Deerfield.

Christopher Curtis, a Deerfield resident and consultant with Conservation Works, is working with the town to organize “Climate Resiliency: Deerfield 2030” on Feb. 29 at Frontier Regional School. More than 20 speakers are set to present from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We want to reach out to the public and really engage people in this effort,” Curtis said of organizers’ motivation. “(Climate change) is an existential crisis for the globe. It’s very real and it’s happening now.”

We commend the event’s organizers for viewing climate change as an issue that must be remedied sooner rather than later, and for taking matters into their own hands to bring people together to talk achievable solutions.

Grads galore

The Literacy Project is making a huge difference in the lives of adult students seeking to obtain their HiSET (High School Equivalency Test), if the news announced last week is any indication.

According to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, The Literacy Project had the highest number of high-school equivalency graduates of any Adult Basic Education program in Massachusetts last year, of which there are 85. Last year, 215 adults attended class at the five Literacy Project locations — in Greenfield, Orange, Northampton, Amherst and Ware — and 43 students attained their high-school equivalency diploma.

The Literacy Project Executive Director Judith Roberts said not only is she thrilled that The Literacy Project received top honors for 2018 to 2019, but she is proud of her staff and all of the students.

“We are so proud of the courageous, hardworking adults who come to our program to make a better life for themselves and their families,” she said. “And we are so proud of our committed and diligent teaching staff who, every day, make a difference in our students’ lives.”

And we’re proud to be able to say The Literacy Project is a part of our community. Having more high-school equivalency graduates than the other 84 programs across the state is a big accomplishment, and makes the difference for that many more graduates seeking to better themselves. Congratulations.

An unexpected find

We love heartwarming stories that involve people being reconnected with something from their past, whether it’s the diamond from a wedding ring that ended up in the trash (this happened to Greenfield resident Theresa Boyle in 2017) or a Purple Heart belonging to a late relative (like that of Private First Class Emile Chevalier, of Greenfield, which was given to his niece last October).

In a story from last week, that special item was a Pioneer Valley Regional School Class of 1984 yearbook, discovered by Turners Falls resident Terri Cappucci at Bookends in Florence.

It turns out that the yearbook had belonged to Cappucci’s former social studies teacher, Janet Jones, who had saved newspaper cut-outs of Cappucci’s photojournalism in South Africa. From 1993 to 2014, Cappucci had visited South Africa for a long-term documentary project, where she focused on social changes in rural areas of the country during the period after apartheid ended.

“Out of all the things to be in a yearbook, it was only my stuff, and I was the one buying it,” Cappucci said.

What made the find even greater was that Cappucci had long been disappointed because her own yearbook suffered from water damage after accidentally being left outside. Though it’s not totally ruined, the pages are crinkled and many of the messages friends had written to her are smudged.

We can’t say why such serendipitous events happen, but we’re certainly glad they do, to the benefit of our residents.

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