News From Mohawk


News from Mohawk: May 20, 2017

Greetings Mohawk Community,

The graduating Class of 2017 will celebrate commencement on Sunday, June 4 at 1:00 pm.  Our graduation ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m., outside on the football field weather permitting, or inside in the gymnasium if it is wet.  District Court Judge William Mazanec III (a Mohawk graduate) will be our commencement speaker.  All are welcome to attend.

On Thursday, June 1 we recognize the many achievements of the Class of 2017 at Senior Awards Night in the auditorium, beginning at 6:00 pm.  We will announce scholarship awards totalling more than $100,000 at this evening event.  Please join us!

This edition of News from Mohawk features information about our expanded Step Up Day programming on June 2. On this date students in all grades will participate in community-building activities and learning experiences designed to prepare them for the transition to the next level in their educational careers.  

Read about the exciting work our Mohawk Supported Classrooms (MSC) students are doing with their garden project, the well-attended activities the Mohawk Equality Alliance (MEA) has organized in recent weeks, the vibrant artwork created by students in Rachel Silverman’s visual arts classes, and much more in the sections below.

If you visit our school in the coming days we hope you’ll pause in the Front Foyer to enjoy the display of Tiny Houses designed by our 8th grade students in their STEM course taught by Travis Minnick.  

It’s a beautiful day to come out and cheer Mohawk’s track and field athletes at the Division II Track and Field Championships on our lovely campus today, beginning at 9:00 am.


Co-Principals Lynn R. Dole and Marisa Mendonsa

Inside this Issue:

  • Upcoming Events

  • Step Up Day 2017 on Friday, June 2 is for all students

  • News from Student Services

  • The Course Scheduling Process for Next Year’s Classes

  • News from the Athletic Field

  • The Arts at Mohawk

  • News from the Mohawk Equality Alliance

  • Mohawk Supported Classrooms (MSC) Garden Project

  • Learn about 2019 Trip to Europe on May 23

  • National Honor Society Induction held on May 15

  • Spring Testing Continues with 8th grade STEM and High School Biology MCAS

  • Schedule of Events for the Senior Class

  • News from the Middle School

  • News from the Library

  • News from Special Education

  • Two Ways to Engage about Health and Substance Abuse Prevention

  • Other Opportunities of Potential Interest

Upcoming Events

Saturday, May 20

Division II Track and Field Championship at Mohawk beginning at 9 am

Come out and cheer our student-athletes and competitors from throughout the region!

Monday, May 22

Quarter 4 Progress Reports will be distributed to students

Tuesday, May 23

Information session about 2019 Trip to Europe at 6:30 pm

Mohawk educators Lisa Camarda and Darcy Rathbun are organizing a trip to Europe in 2019.  Come learn about the trip to London, Paris, and Italy in an information session on Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 pm.  Here’s a link to the slide show about the trip.

Wednesday, May 24

Professional Learning Release Day; students released at 12:50.

Friday, May 26

8th Grade Semi-Formal, 6:30-9:30 pm in the cafeteria

Monday, May 29

Memorial Day Holiday

No School

Thursday, June 1

Senior Awards Night at 6:00 pm

Friday, June 2

Step Up Day for students in all grades.

This is a regular day of school for our current middle school students.  Learn more about the day’s activities in the Step Up Day 2017 section below.

Sunday, June 4

Commencement Ceremony for Mohawk’s Class of 2017 at 1:00 pm  

Monday, June 5

Mohawk Athletic Association monthly meeting at 6:30 pm in the cafeteria

Wednesday, June 7

Professional Learning Release Day; students released at 12:50.

Friday, June 16

Underclass Awards during the school day

Thursday, June 22

8th Grade Ice Cream Social and Completion Ceremony, 6:30 pm

Friday, June 23

Last day of school for students

Step Up Day 2017 on Friday, June 2 is for all students

On Friday, June 2 we celebrate stepping up to the next level for all our students.  Traditionally Step Up Day has been specifically for incoming 7th graders as we hosted 6th grade students for a day.  This year we have planned activities for students in all grades to focus on the next step.  (Please note that this is a regular day of school for our current middle school students.)

We will host 6th grade students from all our elementary schools as they learn about our 7th grade program and the many learning opportunities here at Mohawk both within and beyond the classroom.  Current 6th grade students will travel to Mohawk with their elementary school teachers.

Our current 7th grade students will have an introduction to the 8th grade, followed by a field day organized by our Middle School Student Council.

Our current 8th grade students will spend part of the day in the high school, learning about the 9th grade experience, and then they will join in the field day organized by the Middle School Student Council.

Our current 9th and 10th grade students will be visiting colleges on this Step Up Day!  Most Mohawk students continue their education at the college level upon graduation and this day is an opportunity for students to visit a local college campus.  In class meetings on Monday, May 22 students will receive permission slips and information about the day; we have arranged visits to UMass Amherst, Westfield State University, Williams College, and MCLA (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and students will visit one of these colleges, based on their interest.  Speakers from Greenfield Community College will be sharing information about programs and opportunities at GCC in the afternoon.

Our current juniors will spend the day preparing for their Senior Capstone experience.  The Senior Capstone team of educators will be introducing them to the Capstone program so that they can begin preparing for a fruitful and personalized Senior Capstone learning experience.

We are excited about this expanded Step Up Day program which recognizes and celebrates the transitions that students are making as they prepare for the future at all grade levels.

News from Student Services

Save the Date!  8th Grade Ice Cream Social and Completion Ceremony

The 8th grade will be holding an Ice Cream Social and Completion Ceremony on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 PM.  Formal invitations for students and their families will be sent home with students this week.  Questions?  Contact Taffy Ruggeri, Guidance Counselor at (413) 625-9811, X1304 or

College Planning

As your child hears back from college with acceptances, please let Student Services know, so we may celebrate with you and your family, beginning the next steps of leaving Mohawk. Additionally, letting Catherine Lemelin know, as she has paper pennants we are hanging up in a display case in the front hallway.

Selective Service

Virtually all male U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and male immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, residing in the United States, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.  For more information on Selective Service or to register online, go to:  (You can also see Mrs. Strong for a registration card.)

Registering for the SAT

There is still time to sign up for the June 3 SAT while avoiding a late fee. If this time is not convenient, the College Board has announced that this summer is the first time available August administration of the SAT. It will be held on August 27, which gives your student time to (ideally) study over the course of the summer and cruise into their Senior year with the SAT behind them. Please reach out to Mr. Storey ( with questions. Fee waivers available in Student Services for those on Free/Reduced Lunch.

The Course Scheduling Process for Next Year’s Classes

It’s always exciting to begin planning for next year’s classes.  Beginning this week we will be providing students with information to inform their course selection process.  During ELO on Tuesday and Friday this week, students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will learn about course offerings for next year.  The Program of Studies will be available online this week (and hard copies will be available in the Front Office, the Library, and Student Services) for students and families to consider the diverse course offerings available at the high school.  In the coming weeks our guidance staff will meet with students to help them make course selections for next year.  On Tuesday afternoon our current 8th grade students will learn about elective options available in the 9th grade, and their guidance counselor Ms. Ruggeri will begin meeting with them individually to plan their 9th grade schedule.  Families can expect an email update when the course catalog becomes available; your involvement in helping your student make informed academic choices is important.  If you have questions, please contact your student’s guidance counselor:  Bobby Storey ( works with students in grades 10-12 and Taffy Ruggeri ( works with students in grades 7-9.

News from the Athletic Field

Come cheer our track and field athletes at the Division II Track and Field Championships at Mohawk on Saturday, May 20 beginning at 9:00 am.  It promises to be a great day of competition and accomplishment.

The spring sports program is entering its final week.  Our girls’ tennis team has a record of 6 and 6, and could make the postseason by winning two out of three of their remaining matches.  The girls’ track team are league champions and are hoping to perform well this Saturday during the D2 Championships to be held here at Mohawk starting at 9:00. The boys’ team finished second in the league, and are also expecting to have a strong finish in the D2’s here on Saturday.

Our softball and baseball programs are both doing very well.  Both the varsity softball and varsity baseball teams have qualified for the post season.  Next week on Wednesday, the 24th, the girls’ will have their Senior Day at 3:30 against Mahar, here at Mohawk.  Followed by the boys’ Senior Day on the 25th, at 3:30 here at Mohawk against Mahar.

It’s been a great spring season for our athletes and we wish them all the best in the postseason.

Mohawk Athletic Association (MAA) News

The MAA meetings are held on the first Monday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Cafeteria, all athletes, coaches and families are welcome to attend. It only costs $1 per year to be a voting member!  We have snacks and door prizes at our meetings!  

The Arts at Mohawk

Greetings from the Art Studio!

With the end of the year approaching and all of our Spring community and school art exhibits down, it is time for all 2016-17 art students to come pick up their art! Come to the art room where I have your work saved, so you can bring it home!

Art Class Updates:

Issues in Contemporary Art students have completed an in depth exploration of “migration, mapping, borders and bridges”, combining research with studio practice.  These students are working on a community-based project in collaboration with Double Edge Theatre.  We visited the theatre to learn about the ambitious Ashfield Town Spectacle Project set to occur on June 4-5th. We were able to assist in creating a giant puppet and returned back to Mohawk with a mission to create a banner mural that will appear in the parades held that weekend. Below is process work by Nyah F. and Andrew H. as they work on altering maps to express ideas about borders and Emma G.’s charcoal hands work based on migration. Also, a sneak peak into our mural banner project!



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Intermediate Art students have been working on understanding value through reproductions of images of hero/ines or places that have impacted their lives. The work was truly impressive! We are now studying the work of Color Field painters and developing our own explorations of color theory and painting. Below are portraits of Michelle Obama by Nyah F., Emma G.’s portrait of her brother, and Brandon R.’s image of a sailboat and lake.




Foundations of Art and Design 2 students, who focus on sculpture, have completed hand-castings in plaster and are now exploring found-object art and upcycling in an altered book project.  Students are incorporating various sculpture strategies for altering the form of their books while working on expressing a thematic design. Below are a sample of in-process books, and collaborative hand castings from Grace P. and Ashley R. and another from Jasmine E, as well as David H.’s combination of his hand and book projects.





Mohawk Drama

English Language Arts teacher Leanne Blaszak and senior Christina Tiberii are working with a group of students to develop monologues that will be performed in June.  The students meet on Monday and Tuesday afternoons for writing sessions.  Stay tuned for details about the performances that are coming in mid-June.

News from the Mohawk Equality Alliance

On Friday, April 28th, the Middle School Mohawk Equality Alliance held its first movie night fundraiser. Students and their family members enjoyed a showing of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” as well as a variety of Harry Potter-inspired treats. Fun was had by all!

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On Saturday, May 6th, Mohawk Equality Alliance members from the middle and high schools marched in the Northampton Pride Parade, accompanied by members of the Mohawk community and their families. Despite a rainy start, we enjoyed an unpredictably sunny walk through town. An estimated 35,000 people were in attendance.


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Mohawk Supported Classrooms (MSC) Garden Project

Students in both the Middle and High School MSC programs, as well as various other programs, have been working together on a garden project. This garden project, which is being built on the footprint of the old greenhouse, was funded by the agricultural planning grant, The Mary Lyon Foundation, and a grant from the Greenfield Garden Club.

Phase 1 of the project involved creating a mini-greenhouse in the MS-MSC classroom, growing seedlings from seeds, and planning the design of the raised beds and garden shed with the assistance of Mr. Biagini.

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Phase 2 involved transferring the seedlings to alternative locations in which to care for them (thank you High School MSC program and Mr. Jetzon), adjusting the mini-greenhouse for the remaining seeds, and picking up building materials from Home Depot.

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Phase 3, the building phase, is currently taking place. Students have worked with Mr. Biagini to build a raised garden bed, and to start building the shed. In the garden bed they have planted cucumbers, squash, kale, tomatoes, spinach, and beans.  We hope to complete the shed by the beginning of June.

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Phase 4 of the project will involve continued maintenance of the garden, and harvesting the produce, some of which will be done by students participating in the summer program, as well as potentially building a partial greenhouse off of the side of the shed. Many thanks to all of the people that have helped with this project.

Learn about 2019 Trip to Europe on May 23

Mohawk educators Lisa Camarda and Darcy Rathbun are organizing a trip to Europe in 2019.  Come learn about the trip to London, Paris, and Italy in an information session on Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 pm.  Here’s a link to the slide show about the trip.

National Honor Society Induction held on May 15

The following students have joined the National Honor Society:

Seniors: Maximilian Carr and Hannah Poplawski

Juniors: Chloe Doyle, Rosalie Kinsey, Lilly Seaver, and Matthew Taylor

Sophomores:  Ella de Beauport, Mason Biagini, Bennett Boucias, Meghan Davis, Grace Gokey, William Guyette, Jackson Hicks, Tori Jarvis, Erin Laffond, Samuel Nelson, Clarissa Pollard, Jordan Rice, Mae Rice-Lesure, Gabbie Shean, Shelby Sinistore, Daniel White, and Lily Wickland-Shearer.

These new inductees join the following NHS members:

Seniors: Ada Jacobson-Carroll, Mahalia Dean, Hunter Gibson, Christina Lively, Tyler Rice, Aidan Sandvik, Rebecca Scranton, Torsten Sloan-Anderson, Daniel Szafran, Angela Szewczyk, and Benjamin White.

Juniors: Mikayla Bompastore, Dawson Clark, Brianne Cousineau, Noah Cunningham, Ady Harris-Fried, Mary Monohon, Emma Poplawski, Violet Rawlings, Dominic Rachmaciej, Luke Viens, Lilliana Wells, and Morgan Young.

Keynote speaker for the 2017 Induction Ceremony was Social Studies teacher Nina Kunimoto.  The National Honor Society Advisor is Julia White.

Spring Testing Continues with 8th grade STEM and High School Biology MCAS

After a busy season of MCAS and AP testing, we have two remaining sessions of MCAS testing.

We share this information so that you and your family can plan accordingly.  Please try to avoid scheduling appointments on days when your student is going to be involved in testing.  Please help your student prepare for testing by getting a good night’s sleep and starting the day with breakfast.  Breakfast is provided at Mohawk free of charge for students who are testing on the day of MCAS tests.






May 22

8th Grade STE


8th grade STE


PL Day-early release



May 29





June 1

June 2






PL Day-early release



Schedule of events for the Senior Class

The Class of 2017 had a lovely prom on Friday, May 19 at Look Park in Northampton.  A shout out to the prom committee and Class Advisor Fred Redeker for a well-organized event.  We received compliments about what a responsible, respectful group of young people our senior class is.   

As the school year draws to a close, here’s the schedule of activities for our graduating seniors:

Friday, May 26  Last day of classes for seniors

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Senior exams in the morning

Math exams 7:45-9:45

Science exams 10:00-12:00

MANDATORY Graduation rehearsal for seniors:  12:30 - 2:30

Wednesday, May 31

Senior exams in the morning

Social Studies, etc. exams  7:45-9:45

MANDATORY Graduation rehearsal for seniors:  12:30-2:00

Thursday, June 1

Senior Awards Night at 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 4

Graduation Ceremony at 1:00 pm.

Our graduation ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m., outside on the football field weather permitting, or inside in the gymnasium if it is wet.  District Court Judge William Mazanec III (a Mohawk graduate) will be our commencement speaker.  All are welcome to attend.

News from the Middle School

Save the Date!  8th Grade Ice Cream Social and Completion Ceremony

The 8th grade will be holding an Ice Cream Social and Completion Ceremony on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 PM.  Formal invitations for students and their families will be sent home with students this week.  Questions?  Contact Taffy Ruggeri, Guidance Counselor at (413) 625-9811, X1304 or

Also, the 8th grade semi-formal will happen on the evening of May 26, 2017.

Looking forward to Step-Up Day on Friday, June 2

On Friday, June 2 Mohawk welcomes incoming 7th graders who will come and spend the day experiencing 7th grade classes.  On that date our current 7th graders will attend classes in the 8th grade and our current 8th graders will visit the high school and meet with their 9th grade team of teachers.  Please note that Friday, June 2 is a regular school day for our current middle school students.  

Middle School Art News

All students should come to the art room to pick up artwork!

7th Grade Art: Our final rotation has begun, and I am excited to get to know these students as we develop our artistic habits and skills.  We have created sketchbooks to capture ideas and practice and we are now working on creating Agamographs-- an art form that merges multiple images that morph as one walks past-- as we think about the idea of “transformation”. Here is an example in process from Kyle H. in our last rotation


8th grade Art: We are finishing up of grid enlargement portraits and a unit based on learning about value and mark making strategies.  Soon we will begin printmaking and watercolor explorations! Below is an example of watercolor and printmaking projects from earlier this year.


7th Grade News

Class of 2022 Field Trip!

June 9, 2017

Our itinerary for the day:

9:00 am - Arrive at Amherst College  Beneski Museum of Natural History & Planetarium

11:30 am – Depart Amherst College for Hampshire Mall

12:00pm -Arrive at Interskate 91/Hampshire Mall

3:15 pm – Depart Interskate 91 Hampshire Mall

4:00 pm – Arrive at Mohawk for Pick Up

Please note the arrival time back at Mohawk and  plan accordingly for picking up your student. Also, we strongly encourage students to only carry what they absolutely need for the day.   Students will be provided with a pizza lunch, but they should bring snacks and a water bottle.  

Please return this permission slip and the cost indicated on the back by Friday, May 25th.

8th Grade News

Field trips: Permission slips will go home Monday for four day trips the 8th grade will be taking from June 12 to June 15. This is while part of the class will be in Washington. Permission slips and payment for these day excursions are due May __. We are excited to be going on these adventures with students!

Movie:  This is the text of a letter that went home with 8th graders on Friday:

On Wednesday, May 24, the 8th grade team will be showing the movie The Queen of Katwe to the 8th grade students.

This movie is based on a book about a Ugandan girl whose life changed dramatically after she began playing chess. Students will be watching the movie in stages and writing responses to what they see. The movie is rated PG, and we feel it is highly educational and inspirational.

Please let us know if you have questions or concerns about your child viewing this film. Email Travis Minnick at

Course Registration for 9th Grade:  On Tuesday, 8th grade students will participate in an assembly about elective offerings in high school.  Ms. Ruggeri will hold individual meetings with students to register for 9th grade courses beginning in late May.

ELA: Students have finished their persuasive essays, which were very strong. Students worked on using anecdotes or scenarios for leads, connecting their conclusions to their leads and using counterclaims and rebuttals. We are now beginning our exploration of Shakespeare, with particular emphasis on Hamlet.

STEM:  The Tiny Houses projects are on display in the Front Foyer.  We hope you’ll stop by and check them out.

News from the Mohawk Library

On May 12th, the Fantasy Book Club had our end-of-year party in the library.  We watched “Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (the first book club book that we read) and enjoyed a pizza and grinder lunch from Berkshire Pizza.  We will miss our senior leaders!  Also, all library materials need to be returned by May 31st!

News From Special Education

Summer Program

If your student is eligible for summer program you will be receiving a letter this week with dates and times.  

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding your student's IEP.

Leann Loomis

413-625-0192 x1025

Two Ways to Engage about Health and Substance Abuse Prevention

The following events are part of community-wide initiatives to address substance abuse and support healthy choices for all.   

Opioid Task Force Forum at the Shelburne Senior Center on Tuesday, May 23

On May 18, May 23, June 1, and June 8 the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region is hosting community forums to listen and learn about your ideas and experiences to address the opioid epidemic.

Our May 23rd Forum will take place at the Shelburne Senior Center from 6 - 8 PM (flyer attached). The listening panel will consist of:

  • Register John Merrigan, OTF Co-Chair

  • Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, OTF Co-Chair

  • Phoebe Walker, Franklin Regional Council of Governments

  • Robert Pura, Greenfield Community College

  • Bette Babinski, Franklin County Probation Department

  • Sandy Sayers, United Way of Franklin County

All community members (regardless of what town they live in) are welcome and encouraged to attend and share their stories. Please share this information with your school district. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me. Registration is requested, but not required:

Information about Marijuana and the Developing Teen Brain

The Communities that Care Coalition has prepared this material to encourage family communication about risks:

The brain is developing quickly during the teen years, changing in ways that will last a lifetime. That means alcohol, marijuana and other drugs are more harmful to young people than they are to adults. Talk with your kids about the risks.

Teens are shaping their brains – and who they will become as adults – through their actions and experiences.

Did you know:  

  • The younger people are when they begin drinking or using other drugs, the more at risk they are for addiction.  

  • Marijuana can make it harder for young people to pay attention, remember, learn new things, and do well in school.

Learn more and talk with your kids about the risks. Some helpful FREE resources for parents:

The “Talk. They Hear You.” Campaign

You can download the free talk kit and find other related resources.

Other Opportunities of Potential Interest
Mohawk Trail Regional School District does not endorse these events or activities, but they are some of the many opportunities that are available that we share with students through posters and announcements within the school building.

18th Annual Shelburne Falls Great Strides - Taking Steps to Cure Cystic Fibrosis

Buckland Shelburne Elementary School - May 21, 2017

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2016 Group Photo

The 18th Annual Great Strides walkathon steps off on 5/21/17 at Buckland Shelburne Elementary School. Check-in is at 1:00 pm and walk begins around 1:30 p.m. Two routes are available: 5K (3.1 miles) and shorter 2.5K (1.5 miles). Both routes travel over the Bridge of Flowers, which is a sight to see in May! We walk in honor of Audrey Clark of Shelburne Center, who received a 2nd bilateral lung transplant on 9/24/09. She is currently experiencing chronic rejection and is back on oxygen 24/7. This is why it is so important for us to keep funding research to find a cure for CF.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and

  • obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Please help us continue to fund this vital research. Free T-Shirt to anyone who registers and fundraises at least $100. To find out more call Sandy Gaffey 413-625-0227 or Janet Veaudry 413-522-9102 or copy and paste the website address below to log on to the Shelburne Falls Great Strides page:

Thank you for your continued support.

Westfield State University’s 2017 Teen U Summer Residential Program

Teen U offers high school students between 14-17 years old the opportunity to live on a college campus for one week over the summer and attend classes relating to a certain topic.  This summer, they are offering three different programs: Westfield CSI, H.E.L.P., and Video Game Design.  Student Services has a limited number of brochures with information.  Students and families can also contact Westfield State to receive an application packet with more detailed information about each program and the cost involved.  If you have questions, please contact Brandon Fredette at (413) 572-8033 or  You can also visit the website at


Poetry, Music, Art, Writings, Readings, Presentations and Rants

The Second Monday of Every Month at 7:30 pm

At the Ashfield Lake House, 141 Buckland Road, Ashfield


This event is organized in part by Mohawk students.

Community Clothes Closet