The Bears' Den 4.13.24 A newsletter designed to keep our Berkshire community connected and engaged.

Spring has sprung! We're looking forward to welcoming families to campus for Spring Family Weekend April 26-27!

All-School Presidents

Congratulations to Stella Demmert ’25 and Michkael McKenzie ’25, the All-School Presidents for the 2024-25 school year! Stella and Michkael were elected from a very strong slate of seven candidates from the Class of 2025, who each presented their platforms at a school assembly last week.

My vision for Berkshire is to create a school spirit that embodies, supports, and inspires inclusivity and unity. Together, let's make Berkshire not just a school but a home where every student flourishes.”–Stella Demmert ’25
I am driven by the belief that this role represents a unique opportunity to amplify student voices, lead impactful initiatives, and deepen the connection within our community as a whole.” –Michkael McKenzie ’25


Academic Award Winners & Honor Roll

Students with the highest trimester GPAs

Congratulations to our students who earned Academic Awards and made the Honor Roll for the winter trimester! 📚👏

Solar Eclipse 2024

Looking Up

The solar eclipse began on campus at 2:12 pm, just before the last class period of the day. Those with D period free grabbed a pair of eclipse glasses, went out into the bright sunshine, and looked skyward. “It’s happening!” could be heard on the steps of Berkshire Hall, as students looked up and saw the wedge-like gap in the lower right hand portion of the sun. Later on, as the moon edged toward totality and, unfortunately, clouds began to creep into the scene, some students brought their glasses to afternoon practices and rehearsals, hoping to catch a glimpse of 94% maximum coverage at 3:26 pm.

Ms. Rywalt and Ms. Mahoney handing out eclipse glasses and moon pies

In the Zone

Meanwhile, students in Advanced Math/Science Research and the astronomy club traveled with Dr. Burch, Mr. Meehan, and Mr. Dahari to Lyndon, Vermont to view the eclipse from the zone of totality. Astronomy club member Charli Nisi ’26 shared this report:

Photo by Mr. Dahari

"The sky had already been turning darker, the air getting colder too, but as soon as the eclipse reached totality, it was like the color was sucked out of the sky. We could see the sun’s corona with our own eyes, and it was incredible. For two minutes we just stood there and looked up, taking some awesome photos, too. Once the eclipse moved out of totality, it was like it never happened. I had the craziest sensation of looking around and wondering, ‘Was that really real?’ It was just so extraordinary.”–Charli Nisi ’26

More Thoughts on Totality

“The anticipation leading up to totality left us with darkening skies, colder air, and animals awakening—it felt surreal. Once totality came, the atmosphere and landscape had an incredible sunset hue. The clear vision of certain planets and stars in the solar system left everyone in awe. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to check off a bucket list item alongside my fellow Bears!”–Layla Pallone ’25

“There's something profoundly stirring about seeing the day plunge into darkness at 2 pm, an experience that words can hardly capture. Initially, I underestimated the difference that being in Vermont, in the path of totality, would make compared to being on campus. The complete darkness and the direct observation of the eclipse without glasses was amazing.”–Sam Forouzan ’25

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Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair

Advanced Math/Science Research students Maggie Ding ’25 and Richard Zhu ’25 traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. last week for the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair. The fair is the showcase and the celebration of both the scientific journey and completion of thousands of student research projects in the state. Maggie’s work focused on the KRAS protein involved in cancers, and Richard's project examined ChatGPT-generated code.

Second Place Award

“Three-Pronged Approach to Investigating the Development of Novel Inhibitors Targeting KRAS G12C in Lung Cancer” by Maggie Ding

Honorable Mention

“Secure Code Generation with Large Language Models” by Richard Zhu

Congratulations Maggie and Richard!

Accomplishments in Music

From left: Trevor Sullivan Weinstein, Angella Ma, Sophie Benjamin, Toby Huang

Congratulations to four students who performed at the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Concert at Boston’s Symphony Hall! Sophie Benjamin ’26, alto; Angella Ma ’24, alto; Toby Huang ’25, violin; and Trevor Sullivan Weinstein ’25, tenor; were selected from hundreds of talented musicians across the state through two rigorous rounds of auditions. Bravo Bears! 🎶

“Being a part of a 250-person chorus in such an ornate, majestic space is an experience I will never forget. As we sang the final note for our last piece and the audience rose to their feet, I could see my future in the arts right before me.”–Trevor Sullivan Weinstein ’25

“The process reminded me of the power of live music. Just sitting in rehearsal listening to other people sing, I was really moved by how everyone's voices came together and blended so well to create beautiful music.”–Angella Ma ’24

“The biggest takeaway from MMEA as a whole would be not to underestimate the time and effort it takes to accomplish these things, and that I should be proud of myself. None of it was easy, but it was all worth it in the end.”–Sophie Benjamin ’26

2024 Scholastic Art Award Winners

Art students had an exceptionally successful showing in the 2024 Regional Scholastic Art Awards. The Bears received a record number of citations, with a total of six Gold Keys, 14 Silver Keys, and 24 Honorable Mentions.

Senior Selfies

First sign of spring? Senior Selfies hanging in The Warren Family Gallery! The exhibit, an annual rite of passage for the sixth form, kicks off the many traditions that honor and celebrate the senior class.


Winter Athletic Awards

Congratulations to all Bears recognized for their accomplishments on the courts, the ice, and the slopes!🐻👏

And a big shout-out to Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Jeff Depelteau!

Coach Depelteau brought and instilled a competitive drive and spirit in the Boys Varsity Basketball program. His tireless efforts on the field and in recruiting have been outstanding and he leaves our program in excellent shape.”–Athletic Director Dan Driscoll

It's Game Day!

Come cheer on our Bears! For the athletic schedule, click here. And, don’t forget to follow @BerkshireSchoolAthletics on Instagram and Threads for athletic scores, news, and more!


News from the College Office

College Fair | April 17th

The College Office will host its Spring College Fair on Wednesday, April 17th, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in the Jack. We’ll be welcoming admissions representatives from over 60 colleges and universities, including Bates, Bucknell, Syracuse, Trinity, the University of Chicago, and Vanderbilt.

The Counseling Office is pleased to share an event led by Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., a leading expert in technology and teens. Join Dr. Heitner for the virtual talk, “Growing Up in Public: Milestones of Growing Up in the Digital Age.” The webinar will cover how to help children navigate the digital world and recognize how social media affects their mood and mental health, and how to support them as they grow up “in public” on social media apps.

Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 – 8 pm

117th Commencement

Class of 2024

Friday, May 24th at 11:30 am

We are thrilled to be celebrating the Class of 2024 at Berkshire's 117th Commencement ceremony held at the Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center. Following the event, graduates and their families are invited to a special luncheon under the tent.

Photographers from Highpoint Pictures will be on campus to capture Commencement. They will be taking photos of the graduates before the ceremony, images of them with their diplomas, and family photos on the lawn afterwards.

Winter Bulletin

A special Reunion edition of the Berkshire Bulletin was published in March, featuring a Reunion 2023 recap, photos from receptions across the country, Class Notes, news from the alums below, and more.

Inclusion and Belonging at Berkshire: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Wil Smith

Wil Smith and daughter, Olivia

Join a panel of alumni, faculty, and friends to celebrate the life and lasting influence of Wilbur Smith, Berkshire’s first dean of community and multicultural affairs. Wil Smith joined Berkshire in 2010 and immediately made the community more kind with his presence. He was a powerful role model and mentor for both students and adults alike until his untimely death of cancer at age 46 in 2015. Smith's impact spanned every corner of campus and his legacy of inclusion and community live on to this day.

As Varsity Girls Basketball Coach, Smith demanded so much of his players and received even more in return, leading the team to some of its most successful seasons. “Keep working” was his message to his teams and to our school, urging everyone, regardless of circumstances, to make effort the truest measure of success.

Tune in for this next Collective Voices webinar event hosted by Berkshire’s DEI Alumni Council and moderated by Kelly Price Noble ‘82.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 | 8:00 PM (EST)

A Message from the Admission Office

This year has marked another banner year in admissions, with over 1,400 students submitting applications to Berkshire and with 130 spaces available for new Bears. Hailing from 20 states and 13 countries, our cohort of new Bears represent a group that is as diverse, dynamic, talented, and curious as our admission team could have imagined."—Allison Letourneau '07, Director of Admission

Mark Your Calendar!

Every April, members of the Berkshire community come together to impact the lives of our students, faculty, and staff by participating in One Day for Berkshire. Save the date to join alumni, students, parents, and friends in making this year's One Day for Berkshire a success.

We hope you'll join us in this community-wide event and help us make every minute count!

#ODFB #MakeEveryMinuteCount

Maple Syrup Season

Bears in Environmental Science and the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program learned the ins and outs of the maple sugaring process with Mr. Sayler. Students learned how to tap the campus maple trees, collect the sap, boil it, and bottle it. All of their hard work paid off when they enjoyed delicious fresh maple syrup on pancakes in the Sugar House! 🍁

Interested in a taste of the Berkshires? Pick up a bottle of campus-crafted syrup at the Bookstore link below!