On December 21st, 22nd and January 11th, a new series called Greylock Returns entertained the high school directed studies with the stories of recent alumni of Mt. Greylock. Principal Mary MacDonald began the series to show the students the different paths they can take after high school. MacDonald noticed the success and popularity of Greylock Talks, a series of mini lectures ranging from science to interacting with others, and Greylock Plays, a way to showcase student or teacher talents. Harris MacDonald (‘09) and Ben Gaffe (‘03) talked about their experiences after Mt. Greylock on December 21st and December 22nd, respectively. They talked about their uncommon choice of becoming performing artists and the struggles that come with that path. Cole Jackson and Archer Greenhalgh (‘14) took a gap year between high school and college to travel in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. MacDonald says that only a handful of students take a gap year each year and most of the time “stumble upon it.” Jackson and Greenhalgh talked about their thought process leading up to their decisions, the financial problems, and challenges surrounding the year. Greenhalgh recently finished a semester at Bucknell University and Jackson at Trinity University. Greenhalgh has combined his interest in web design with images from his travels by creating Alpine Arrow, a web design firm which uses his own experiences to showcase the services his team offers.
MacDonald already has future talks lined up, but it depends on when alumni are back in town. She ran into a recent graduate who is majoring in Film Production, a less common college path. MacDonald’s goals are to “open the shutters” for students and present them with multiple options, “I think part of my job is opening doors and opening windows so students can see what’s beyond Mt. Greylock.” She also wants to expose students to cultures not found in the Berkshires, “as a student going to school in New York City is going to be much more vast [culturally] than here.” MacDonald also noticed that Greylock Talks focused heavily on science topics and she wanted to focus on different interests of the school. She frequently asks teachers and the student council what they hear to “get the pulse” of the school.
Only a dozen students went to the first of the Greylock Returns, but MacDonald thinks that is due to the inopportune time of the talks, right before break and during midterms. The middle school, noticing the popularity of the Greylock Talks and Plays, are looking into creating their own talks and might focus their Greylock Returns on high school students.