9 students from 8 schools win superintendents’ awards

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Staff Photo/Dan Little Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little Name hereStaff Photo/Dan Little

  • The Franklin County Area Superintendents' Association held its annual Awards Dinner Thursday night at Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls, Dec. 6, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 12/6/2018 11:22:55 PM

TURNERS FALLS – Best friends Meghan Davis and Lily Wickland Shearer have shared a lot of good times and a lot of classes.

Now, they share the distinction of being the Mohawk Trail Regional High School recipients of the 2018-19 Franklin County Area Superintendents’ Association awards.

School Superintendent Michael Buoniconti said it is rare for two students to win the honors, but both deserved it. He said this is the first time there have been dual winners in his 14 years on the job.

“It’s just the right thing to do for these two girls,” he said at the association’s awards dinner at Franklin County Technical School on Thursday.

The pair and their counterparts from other public high schools in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region were feted during the awards event shared with their friends and family.


Leah Fuess achieved her cumulative GPA of 3.99 while finding time for the school band, the National Honor Society, student council, rowing club and a stint as captain of the girls varsity soccer team.

Fuess has applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. She aspires to earn a degree in some type of engineering.

“When I was younger, I got really interested in (military service) from this book I read. It was called ‘Flygirl,’” she said. “It introduced me to it.”

Leah said she is scheduled to meet with the staff of U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday for an interview to try to earn a required congressional nomination.


Senior John “Jack” Putala, the lone boy to receive a Franklin County Area Superintendents’ Association award this year, is currently ranked third in his class at Turners Falls High School. He also volunteers for community projects, including at his church, Our Lady of Peace.

He is the president of his class, the student representative to the Gill-Montague Education Fund, and a member of the swim team. He was also a captain of the football team, though the season was cut short due to an injury.

“But it was still special. It’s a great sport – teaches you a lot of life lessons,” he said.

Franklin Tech

Reagan Fiske is in the health technology program at the Tech School and completed her certified nurses aid training and certification portion of the program. She is now on her way to becoming a certified home health aide. She has worked at Comprehensive Home Care Co. for the past year and a half and helps the elderly clients with their daily needs, including bathing, exercising and getting around.

She plans to attend Greenfield Community College next year to study accounting before moving on to a four-year school.

“My stepmom actually works as an accountant and I’ve talked with her for a little while about it. And just what she says about it really gets my interest going,” Reagan said. “And so I want to just learn more about it and get a degree.”

She is a four-year starter on the girls volleyball team and has been captain for the past three.

Mohawk Trail

Davis and Wickland Shearer met about six years ago and got especially close in the past four. Both said they are thrilled to share the award with their best friend.

Davis serves as president of her student council and is a student representative to the Mohawk school committee. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and vice president of the Key Club. She also participates in cross country and indoor and outdoor track. She is applying to colleges in the Boston area and is interested in biomedical engineering and stem cell research.

Wickland Shearer is president of Mohawk’s chapter of the National Honor Society and is Student Council secretary and senior class treasurer. She also captains the girls soccer and track teams and is a member of the Key Club and the select chorus.

She said plans to explore neuroscience in college.

“I’ve kind of always loved puzzles and, to me, the brain is like this giant puzzle,” she said. “And I’m afraid of a lot of things. The ocean is kind of the final frontier. That’s scary. Space – terrifying. But the brain, I feel I could get a good handle on that.”


Emily Laus has maintained a 4.50 GPA and serves as president of the student government.

She is also involved in cross country and track and various school bands. She has also received the University of Rochester Book Award and Kodak’s George Eastman Young Leaders Award.

Laus has applied to Harvard, Brown, Tufts, Boston University, the University of Rochester, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is interested in studying physics, saying it “satisfies my curiosity of how the world works.”


Molly Divoll plans to attend a four-year college or university. She is undecided on a major, but she has a passion for helping people.

She has been a member of a Best Buddies program, serving as a mentor for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the Athol High School PRIDE Crew, which pairs upperclassmen with incoming freshmen to help ease the transition to high school.

“I feel like it’s really helpful to introduce people so that they can make friends, have someone to lean on when they have struggles,” she said.

She currently has a 4.3 GPA.


Morghan Blanchard currently ranks second in her class of 84 students, with a 4.44 GPA.

She has also participated in five years of varsity cross country, four years of winter track and four years of varsity softball. All this time in sports has come with injuries, which has sparked Morghan’s interest in physical therapy, which she thinks she will explore in college.

“I’ve been injured a lot,” she said. “It was great working with those kinds of people because they knew so much and I want to know about the human body like they do.”

Morghan has participated in the marching band, jazz band and concert chorus as well as the drama club, French club and Key Club. She has also organized a yearly prom dress drive the past four years.


Michelle Moulton has taken advanced placement courses in history, calculus, English literature, biology and environmental science. She hopes to study psychology at Smith College and become a child psychologist, like her cousin.

She has been active in Key Club, where she has raised money, prepared community meals, and gathered and distributed groceries. She has also played field hockey for Mahar since eighth grade.

Moulton won the Mahar Science Fair, learning how to conduct a qualitative study on bitterness in the coffee brewing process. She said adding salt to coffee before it is brewed can make it less bitter – if done properly.

“The people that we had taste it, they’re faces were priceless,” she said.

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