NORTH ADAMS -- Just as the 18 seniors from Berkshire Art and Technology Public Charter School's (BART) class of 2013 are departing for other opportunities, so is their principal, Benjamin Klompus. Purchase Photos
Klompus and students were honored during Saturday's graduation ceremony at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Church Street Center, the sixth since BART's opening in 2004.
"There's no doubt in my mind that [students'] education was deeply shaped by Mr. Klompus, a truly gifted leader, advisor, colleague and friend," BART Executive Director Julia Bowen said during the ceremony.
Klompus, who arrived at the school in 2006 as the dean of students and has served as principal since 2008, will be leaving to pursue a doctorate in education from Harvard University.
Graduating senior Dalton Lampro introduced Klompus by honoring him with a slideshow featuring several humorous charts, a reference to the principal's love of data.
"Everyone at BART has grown to love data," Lampro said of Klopmus' influence. One of the charts he showed demonstrated students' dislike of standardized tests.
While addressing graduates, Klompus urged the students to search until they find out what drives them.
"Once you find that it, get someone to pay you to do it," he said. "If you can manage to make it your work and get paid for it, that can not only provide you the means to spend most of your waking life doing something you like to do, it can also be the thing that allows you to make a dent in the world."
Bowen noted the graduating seniors' many accomplishments.
Each student passed at least one college course and completed an 18-week internship, including working with the local police departments, non-profit organizations and an engineering firm. Each student was accepted into a two or four year college, she said, and aspire to have careers in many fields, including law enforcement, the military and animation.
Commencement speaker Howard Eberwein, dean of graduate and continuing education at MCLA, compared graduates' continuing education to writing a book. Receiving their high school diploma is only the first chapter, he explained.
"What draws us to you today ... are the blanks pages that dominate this thick book," he said. "On those pages, you will continue to compose the story of your life, a story with unpredictable and unbound potential."
Graduating senior Nicole Allen left her fellow students with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"The purpose of life is not to be happy," Allen quoted. "It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."
Each graduate presented a red rose to a teacher or administrator for acting in the way Emerson described, Allen explained,
The ceremony also featured the presentation of the senior class video, directed by Dean Covert, and an original poem by John Adams.
In her closing remarks, Bowen thanked Klompus for his dedication to the school, presenting him with his own "diploma" and a red rose.
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