NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has announced that approximately 1,300 local sixth grade students will visit college campuses across the Berkshires, April 11-14, for “Berkshire County Goes to College Day,” an annual event held by The Berkshire Compact for Education and MCLA.

In addition to MCLA, students will visit Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Williams College.

On Monday, April 11, students from Hoosac Valley, Brayton, Clarksburg and Monument Valley schools will visit MCLA. In addition, MCLA will welcome students from BART, Colegrove Park, Abbott Memorial, Williamstown, Lee and Greylock schools on Tuesday, April 12.

During 20-minute sessions held from 9:45 a.m. to noon on the MCLA campus, the students will engage in a wide variety of activities, which will include a tour of a residence hall, learning how to use equipment in the television studio, learning about world cultures, watching physics and planetarium demonstrations, going on an interactive tour of the training room and observing chemistry experiments.

“We are proud to be celebrating our 10-year anniversary of the sixth grade visits as part of the Berkshire Compacts efforts to raise the aspirations of all our county students to pursue 16 years of education or training. This initiative continues to be a milestone experience as our youth remain on the path toward higher education,” said Denise Richardello, executive vice president at MCLA.

“By exposing these students to college life in the sixth grade, we are helping them to understand the steps they need to take to attend college. We hope they will continue to explore their educational options for the future,” Richardello said.

In addition to the MCLA visits, on Wednesday, April 13, students from Herberg and Lanesborough will visit Berkshire Community College (BCC), from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Also on April 13, students from Farmington River, Lenox, Nessacus and Richmond schools will visit Bard College at Simon’s Rock, from 9 a.m. to noon. On Thursday, April 14, students from Hancock and Reid middle schoolswill visit Williams College, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The “Berkshire County Goes to College” initiative is part of the Berkshire Higher Education Passport – a plan to help improve access to a college education.  It provides the opportunity for every sixth-grade student in the County to visit a local college campus in April. It is part of an effort to raise awareness and aspiration of college in Berkshire County residents at an early age.

These sixth grade college visits are funded through a grant from Berkshire United Way.

The Berkshire Compact for Education was developed to address the higher education needs of Berkshire County residents and employers. The Compact is comprised of members from key area employment sectors, including cultural institutions, finance, healthcare and specialty manufacturing, along with school superintendents, college administrators and faculty, municipal officials and representatives of nonprofit organizations.

For more information about “Berkshire County Goes to College Day,” contact Sue Doucette, project coordinator, Berkshire Compact for Education,

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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