The Bears' Den | 1.20.24 A semi-monthly newsletter designed to keep our Berkshire community connected and engaged.

Classroom Spotlight

Aviation Science with Michael Lee

Michael Lee

Over the past decade, Michael Lee has revitalized Berkshire’s “Education With Wings” program from the 1940s with the introduction of Aviation Science to the curriculum. With weekend trips to the nearby Great Barrington airport and access to an FAA-approved flight simulator, Bears are getting hands-on experience and gaining significant progress towards earning their pilot’s licenses.

Melissa Schuermann '24 on the Redbird Flight Simulator
Last summer, I had the opportunity to take a couple flying lessons in Cooperstown, even doing a flight down the Hudson River and around the Statue of Liberty. I felt pure joy, like the ‘physically-could-not-stop-myself-from-smiling’ kind of joy. From that day, I knew flying was something I was meant to do.”–Melissa Schuermann ’24
Haedyn Darling Hill '24 and Kyron Stevenson '24 reviewing weather fonts and systems.


Bears in the Air

Leo Caan '25 with flight instructor, Jason Archer
Aviation students at the Great Barrington Airport for their first flight on January 13. Despite some gusty winds and cold temperatures, they were all smiling by the end of the morning and looking forward to more wonderful experiences in the air.
Haedyn Darling Hill '24 in flight


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the community gathered together for a "day on" to reflect on his legacy. Ms. Edgerton opened our All-School Meeting, asking the community to ground our day in our core values of inclusion, respect, and curiosity. She then welcomed Gina Taliaferro from Canamac Productions, who presented their film, “Just Cause,” a depiction of an arbitration case between two parties moderated by a judge. Students and adults served as the “jury,” deliberating over the case’s themes of race, gender, power, and social justice, and then broke into advisory groups for discussion. At the end of the program, everyone came back together to share ideas in a community-wide discussion.

Earlier, the chamber ensemble performed a beautiful piece, “At The Purchaser’s Option with Variations” by Rhiannon Giddens. Watch a clip from the performance below.

Alum Returns for Gallery Exhibit

Alex Barnosky with Arts Department Chair Paul Banevicius and Head of School Pieter Mulder

Alex Barnosky returned to campus last week for the opening reception for his current exhibit, Beyond Berkshire: Photographs by Alex Barnosky '19.

Since Berkshire, where he was a two-year AP art student, Barnosky has continued his exploration of photography, both at Hobart & William Smith, where he graduated from in 2023, and in his travels around the country and in Wales and Italy. The exhibit will be on display through March 2.

Fifth Form College Program

Families of fifth-formers are invited to campus for the Fifth Form College Program at the end of the month. We’re excited to welcome representatives from Bucknell University, Davidson College, and the University of South Carolina to share their insights at a panel discussion on Wednesday, Jan. 31. They’ll be joined by a representative from Skidmore College for the mock application review on Thursday morning.

We’re excited to formally kick off the college process with the Class of 2025!

Berkshire Joins DECA

Under the club sponsorship of Angela Pham ’25 and with the help of faculty advisor, CFO Robert Boyd, Berkshire joined the nonprofit organization DECA this year as a new Chapter in Massachusetts, with 11 students. The nationwide organization prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

In this first year, two of Berkshire’s members, Pham and Jacob Lee ’26, competed in the Western Massachusetts District 7 event in Worcester, Mass. Among many other competing high school students, Pham and Lee placed 4th and 13th, respectively, in the Personal Financial Literacy event, a competition designed to measure a student's ability to apply reliable information and systematic decision-making to personal financial decisions, across a variety of scenarios. Those who place in the top 7 go on to the state-level event in Boston to compete for a spot in the Nationals.

Angela Pham '25 and Jacob Lee ’26 competed in the DECA Western Massachusetts District 7 event in Worcester, Mass.
We're very excited by this first step in our journey with DECA, and look forward to even greater participation next year.”—Robert Boyd, CFO and advisor to Berkshire’s Chapter of DECA

It's Game Day!

For Berkshire's athletic schedule, click here. Don't forget to follow us @BerkshireSchoolAthletics on Instagram and Threads for athletic scores, news, and more!


For more athletic photos, please visit Berkshire's SmugMug here.
Last Saturday night was the Green and Gray Ball, a cherished Berkshire tradition. The semi-formal dance brought students together to enjoy music, dancing, and delicious food in the decked-out dining hall in the Jack.

With the arrival of 2024, the countdown to Commencement has officially begun! For your planning purposes, this year’s ceremony will be held on Friday, May 24th at 11:30 a.m. Please note this is 30 minutes later than in past years. Additionally, area lodging fills up quickly, so if you haven’t already made arrangements, please see below for a list of local accommodations.

Alumni Spotlight

Dalisa Espinosa ’10

Espinosa with her husband, Javier Paulino

As she sat in Mr. Dalton’s biology class freshman year, Dalisa Espinosa ’10 never imagined she’d pursue a career in the sciences. Today, as a project manager at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, she’s performing clinical research trials on treatments for patients with leukemia. Read more about her research, her thoughts about honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and her memories of Berkshire, including her favorite dorm snack, below!

MLK Day is a reminder that change can start small; even if you are one person, you can promote positive change within your community.”—Dalisa Espinosa ’10

New DEI Alumni Council Co-Chair Named

Shawn Ingram ’85

A fundraiser and nonprofit exec with three decades of experience, Shawn Ingram recently launched Relationship Strategies Group, a consulting firm utilizing community-centric practices and incorporating DEI principles in every aspect of the work. Ingram is bringing that approach to the DEI Alumni Council as its new Co-Chair. Read about how he fosters more dynamic and inclusive organizations and how he developed a strong sense of self at Berkshire.

Kevan Miller ’07 Models Giving Back

Berkshire hosted the Boston Bruins Alumni team last week as they took on Berkshire County Law Enforcement in front of a packed crowd at the Jack. The game was organized by Robin McGraw '70 and served as a fundraiser for both our local Berkshire County Law Enforcement’s new mental health and wellness initiative and the Warrior for Life Fund®, a cause near and dear to the heart of alum and former Boston Bruin Kevan Miller ’07.

The Warrior For Life Fund® supports active duty, veterans, and families of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW or Navy Seals) community through sport and fellowship as they navigate the challenges of combat deployments and life after service. It also provides leadership to adult and youth hockey programs that serve the NSW and greater military community.

Remembering, recognizing, and highlighting these service members is something Iʼve taken on as both a passion and responsibility; it's one that I hope can inspire some of you to get behind.”—Kevan Miller, in a letter shared with the community before the game

❄️ Winter Time ❄️

Snow has been hard to come by this winter, but recent storms have finally left a blanket of white on campus. For some perspective, enjoy this excerpt taken from a 1949 newsletter to Berkshire alumni:

"The old-fashioned winter of deep snow and thick ice seems to be something of the past. For the last two years, nature has not been kind to the skiers or the skaters all through January. After our one snowstorm before Christmas vacation, hardly a flake fell until the middle of February."