Mahar superintendent recognizes student achievement


Staff Writer
Published: 3/4/2021 1:43:45 PM
Modified: 3/4/2021 1:43:42 PM


Pandemics are no longer just something today’s students learn about in history or science class.

The COVID-19 public health crisis has upended normalcy around the world and thrown a monkey wrench into the routines and plans of high school students. Winners of Superintendent’s Awards typically have the recognition commemorated with a banquet dinner, but large gatherings are a no-no until the novel coronavirus is under control. Instead, the seniors selected for 2020 received their certificates from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents in different, less ceremonial settings.

But, as Ralph C. Mahar Regional School Superintendent Elizabeth Teahan-Zielinski said, “Different doesn’t mean better or worse.”

Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District

The Superintendent’s Award for the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District went to Astrid Conrod, the top-ranked student in the senior class.

“I would like to say that I am truly honored to have received this award. Although this past year has been difficult, I still tried to keep my head up and try my best in my academics,” Conrod said. “When I received the award, it motivated me to keep working in these difficult times.”

Conrod, of Orange, said she has not yet decided where she will attend college but has applied to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston University, New York University and Columbia University. She plans to study sociology but would like to explore other subjects and decide on the right career path for her.

Guidance counselor Caitlin McKenna wrote in a biography about the 17-year-old that Conrod is “a compassionate, thoughtful and open-minded young woman who excels in her coursework across the academic curriculum.”

“Astrid’s excellent academic skills have earned her a consistent place on the high honor roll every year,” McKenna said. “She was selected to receive the Smith College Book Award in junior year.”

Conrod is president of Student Council and previously served as a representative to the Student Council as well as the School Committee. She also started high school athletics by trying out for field hockey, but “found her true home on the cheering team for the next three years.”

She has also worked to improve school culture through Training Active Bystanders, working with middle-school students to address social aggression.

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