The Berkshire School is a co-ed boarding and day college preparatory school for students in grades nine to 12 and post-graduates. The 400-acre campus is tucked away at the heart of the Berkshire Hills —stationed at the base of Mount Everett in Sheffield, MA. The area is a popular tourist destination for world-renowned arts and culture, health and wellness retreats, antiquing and spectacular nature, including the Appalachian Trail, which is a short hike from campus. For one week every winter, Berkshire students participate in two unique intensive courses of their choosing, taught by faculty, staff, parents, alumni, friends and other students. “The Pro Vita Winter Session is focused on the “Make. Perform. Do. Solve. Serve.” model, in which students explore courses within the areas of art and design, sustainability, philanthropy, diversity and sense of place,” according to a statement from the school. As a way to give back to his alma mater, Buddy Ontra of Ontra Stone Concepts in Bridgeport, CT, partnered with Kurt Bartzsch of Rock Solid Marble & Granite in Sheffield, MA, last year to teach several students how to fabricate a new stone countertop for their student lounge.
According to the Berkshire School, the goal of the Pro Vita program is for students to have the opportunity to explore the larger world around them and to embrace the school motto: Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus, “Learning — not just for school but for life.” Pro Vita offers more than 50 courses, a lunchtime workshop series, several site-based excursions and various guest speakers, which allow students to uncover new talents and discover lifelong pursuits. Donald Anselmi is the director of Pro Vita, while Su-Lin DelGuercio was the faculty advisor to Ontra and the “Stone Fabrication 101” course.