Reporter Diane Broncaccio on her life in journalism

DIANE BRONCACCIO says getting out where people are discussing issues they care about, and checking notices at town halls, gives her lots of news and feature story leads. She said she’s written thousands of articles in her career and loves meeting people — many of whom become her friends.
DIANE BRONCACCIO says getting out where people are discussing issues they care about, and checking notices at town halls, gives her lots of news and feature story leads. She said she’s written thousands of articles in her career and loves meeting people — many of whom become her friends.

OCTAVIA LOGOSHELBURNE FALLS—I read the lead of Diane Broncaccio’s story and I was like, Whoah! My mom read me the pros and cons and I really liked them.

This article is about a story Diane wrote for The Boston Globe called “Location, Location, Location: Shelburne Falls.” It was in the real estate section on Sept. 14. There is a big picture of the Bridge of Flowers, and there are other pictures as well. [The Glacial Potholes, people shopping, and a colorful train car at the depot.]

The lead of the story is the first sentence. This one says, “This tale is all too familiar to people living in Shelburne Falls: Someone came here just for a visit and never wanted to leave.”

I met Diane at Mocha Maya’s before school one day recently and asked her about the story. She said it is her story, too, because she visited here and didn’t want to leave.

“I found a lot of people who feel that way, so that’s where I said I felt I really knew this town for all my years here. That emboldened me to make that leap because a lot of people told me that, and it happened to me too,” she said.

She said she has a Facebook friend who works at the Globe “who needed somebody in Franklin County who knew the towns to write these articles for the real estate section about different towns of Franklin County, and the first one she assigned me was Shelburne Falls, because I’ve lived here 25 years as well. I felt I knew what this town is like. It’s probably the easiest article for the Globe I’ll ever write.”

Diane also gave me a reporter’s notebook as a present. I’ve since used it to write a Halloween story.

She is a reporter at the Greenfield Recorder. She reports on nine towns around us. She does not work for real for the Boston Globe. This was an extra piece she wrote as a freelance writer.

She said she has been a reporter at the Recorder for 25 years. She writes articles every day.

“We have to write at least one article a day. Sometimes I’ve even written three a day, taking notes the day before. I cover nine towns out in the West County area so I’m very used to writing,” she said.

Her first job when she moved to Boston in 1980 was as a Boston Globe Santa elf typing up messages from readers. She said she earned $200 a week.

She said her favorite shop is Mocha Maya’s.

She said, “I come here almost every day. I get a lot of my news here. People from all my nine towns who don’t have access to the Internet come here to use the Internet, so I run into them. I get to be friends over time and I hear interesting story ideas from them.”

“Location, Location, Location: Shelburne Falls” takes up two big pages but I read the story on my mom’s iPhone.

There is a story, then a list of numbers [facts about the village, such as 1906, the year that Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley opened its doors for candlepin bowling, and 32,052, the number of visitors who signed the Bridge of Flowers guest book last year.]

There are pictures of houses and how much they cost. The most expensive one is $349,900.

The list of pros and cons has three pros and two cons. The pros are that Shelburne Falls is “a highly walkable area with river views everywhere and plenty of benches, if you feel like resting.”

The first con is about taking your trash to the dump.

Pros also include festivals and the Iron Bridge Dinner. Also there is no McDonald’s here. You have to go to Greenfield for that.

The furthest Diane has traveled has been to California.

She says she knows shorthand for many words and uses a notebook and not a tape recorder. We used a tape recorder.

She said that at 10 I am starting out [in journalism] four years earlier than she did.

I thought her article gave a lot of information.

Coaches sought for rec basketball at Cowell Gym

GOT GAME? Or sort of? Coaches are sought for the Shelburne Recreation Committee’s youth basketball program at Cowell Gym.
Emily Shonk Schoelzel, who serves on the town’s rec committee, says the program starts the first week of December. Volunteer coaches are needed to teach basketball to kindergartners and first-graders once a week.

“It is ideal to have a couple of adults teaching to help corral and work with those little munchkins. If you’re interested in coaching, let us know,” Schoelzel wrote recently on the B.S.E. Parents and Community group on Facebook.

According to Cowell Gym Director Emily Stone Crehan, the basketball schedule is set but can be tweaked as coaches prefer:

• Monday — Girls in grades 4-6.
• Tuesday — Coed grades K-1.
• Wednesday — Coed grades 2-3.
• Thursday — Boys in grades 4-6.

Serving with Crehan and Schoelzel on the rec committee are Julie Dubreuil, Doug Martin, Diana Hardina, and Norman Beebe.

Drop-in adult basketball underway

Tuesday and Thursday night adult drop-in basketball runs weekly at 6:30. The fee is $5 per person.

Cowell Gym is at 51 Maple St., Shelburne Falls. Learn more at

Peer mediators trained to help students settle disputes

Flow staffer Brooke Looman assisted story author Catherine Fahy-Green with quote collection.IF YOU HAVE a problem with another student in school there may be an easy solution.

I volunteer in BSE’s mediation program, which helps people work out their difficulties with each other constructively.

To find out more about the mediation program, I interviewed Jana  Standish, the school’s adjustment counselor, in the counseling room. This is part of our interview.

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Brooke: How did the mediation program get started?

Ms. Standish: I took it over 21 years ago and have been running it ever since. For me, mediation seems like such an important part of schools. For kids to be able to work out conflicts without adults seems like a really great way for kids to learn how to deal with conflicts.

Training lasts for 14 hours over two days. It ran Sept. 9 and 19; it’s all-day training for specially selected fifth- and sixth-graders.

Brooke: How many schools come to the training?

Ms. Standish: Three: Buckland-Shelburne Elementary, Colrain Elementary School, and Pearl Rhodes School in Leyden.

Brooke: How does mediation work?

Ms. Standish: You bring two people together who have had a conflict — a misunderstanding about something. There always are two mediators and two people in the conflict. We never do more than two because more would be too confusing. It’s too imbalanced.

And each person in the conflict gets to say what happened and how he or she felt.  They take turns. And each of the disputants, or people in the conflict, has to repeat what they heard the other person say. Everything is confidential.

Brooke: What kind of problems does mediation solve?

StandishMs. Standish: Mediators solve problems about misunderstandings, maybe some name-calling. Mediators might solve problems about turn-taking (like who’s in line first), hurt feelings, conflicts about games: whose turn it was or who is out, those kind of things. Who was up; who won the game; who had the insect on them first.

We’ve had neighborhood conflicts and I’ve worked on those. So mediators are working on those conflicts that are a little easier to handle. They are not working on conflicts about home, so it’s only about conflicts in school. […] Adults handle conflicts around bullying. We don’t have our mediators deal with that.

Brooke: Where do people go for mediation?

Ms. Standish: They usually go into the library, but sometimes they use the counseling room. There’s a special form that the mediators fill out so that they can record what the conflict was.

The door is always kept open just to make sure that if students are in here alone with disputants they can be heard. In the library there is usually somebody in there to help make sure that the mediation is going well and that it’s going the way it needs to go to resolve the conflict.

Sometimes kids need a little extra time if they’re not sure of what’s happening or if they’re getting a little silly during the mediation. They might need a little more time to make sure that they’re really ready for the mediation.

Brooke: Does it always work?

Ms. Standish: It does not always work. But the idea that a student says what happens and how they felt is about 95 percent of the process. To be able to say how you feel about a situation is a very powerful thing.

Whether or not two people can come up with a solution to fix it is a great thing, but to be able to say what happened and how they felt is to me a very important part of mediation. And that two people are even willing to talk about it, it’s huge.

Brooke: What else do mediators do?

Ms. Standish: The mediators also help with assemblies; they are ambassadors of our school. They might be asked to help out with kindergarten registration; we’ve done plays to show how we can get along better in our school and on the planet.

Like soccer? Meet your Wildcats!

Ainsley Wildcats 2 cropped
Coach Julie Dubreuil and the under-10 Wildcats. Kids left to right (rear): Eliza, William, Jaxon, Eve, Bronson, Trevor, Jayden; (front) Phineas, Tony, Jesse, and Oleander. (Schuyler Bogel photo)

BUCKLAND—I think more people should know about the Wildcats, two competitive soccer teams composed of kids from BSE and other schools.  The teams have nine players each. There are the U12s and the U10s.

They also have participated in West County Soccer on Saturdays.
The Wildcats are having a good season. I’ve been to all five games, which they play at Northfield Mount Hermon School, and the U10s are playing really well. Even though they lost their first four games, some of them have been really close.

Fortunately they won their last game, against Northfield, and celebrated with ice cream at Hager’s.

The Wildcats’ coaches are Julie Dubreuil, Chris Macek, and Emily and Dylan Schoelzel. Vanessa Mills ordered the uniforms.

According to Julie, speaking in the backfield before practice one recent afternoon, they started two years ago when a previous Shelburne team was no longer offered and players were left without a coach or team.

“Emily and I are both on the Shelburne Recreation Committee, which organizes fun sports for kids, and we wanted to organize a soccer program. So we hosted a camp in the summer and Saturday programs for K-6 and the competitive teams,” she said.

Julie said she wanted to start a soccer program because “I have loved soccer since I was little and I wanted to give my kids that same love of the sport.”

One player, Bronson Schoelzel, said, “I really like it. I think we’re a good team; I think we’ve been doing really well these past few games and I think we’ve had a great start for this year. I think my teammates are feeling good with how well we’ve done the last few games, and I think they’re proud of the team.”

One of the newer players, Eve Macek, said she has loved soccer her whole life.

“I really like this team especially.  I think next year I’ll do it again. I like soccer and this is a good opportunity,” she added.

With three games left in the season, and then the tournament, Eve says she is excited for the new year:

“I think we’re actually doing pretty well and our team is kind of coming together.”

For more information on Wildcats soccer, visit


Flow staffer Ainsley Bogel enters her story notes into the computer. From there, revising and loading to the page are a snap!
Flow staffer Ainsley Bogel enters her story notes into the computer. From there, revising and loading to the page are a snap!
Ainsley revises this story with additional information and more attention to the story structure.
Ainsley revises this story with additional research, a more direct “lead,”  and more attention to the story structure.

Class notes! Science, reading, haiku rule 5th grade

BSE—Mrs. Eklund’s fifth-grade science unit recently studied materials and objects and mailed their Pringles chips to Florida. (This is an engineering project to test different materials, trying  to safely mail a single chip.)

Fifth grade also is a big year for fractions. Mrs. Eklund says, “So far we have talked about different ways to compare fractions. We’ll practice with our math facts more because they are so important for everything we’ll do in fifth-grade math.”

The class also has been reading the novel “Loser” (2002) by Jerry Spinelli aloud after lunch. The book is written in the present tense.
Poetry Wizards’ riddles

We are a group of fourth- and fifth-graders called The Poetry Wizards who work every day with Mrs. Perlman, who teaches sixth grade. We have learned diamante and haiku poems. Please view our diamante poems in the school lobby.

Haiku follows a syllable pattern: five, seven, then five syllables. This beautiful style of poetry most often describes nature and animals.
Can you figure out what we’re describing in these haiku?

Creeping, sneaking fluff
Chasing mice, rolling around
Snuggles on my lap.

Rain-forest dweller
Soaring, then rest on branches
Colorful, huge beak!

— Submitted by Ainsley, Alex, Bennett, Brooke, Gabe, Grace,  Hannah C., Jules, Lily, and Tove

Quiet reading and subtraction

Kindergartners are practicing how to read quietly to themselves for five minutes and are practicing the letters M and N. Ms. Moon and Ms. Bridge introduced “The Action of Subtraction.”

First-graders are also practicing subtraction and are working on diagraphs for PH, CH, SH, TH, WH, and CK.

Government and the scientific method

Mrs. Perlman’s sixth-graders are studying United States government, Earth science, and the scientific method. In math they’re learning algebra skills.

Follow that pattern!

Mrs. Tomlinson’s kindergartners are working on AB, ABB, AAB, and ABC patterns and a goldfish project. Ms. Schoellkopf’s kindergarteners are working on a butterfly chrysalis and plant science.

Class notes are gathered and edited by BSE Flow staff. To submit notes for your class, leave your notes in the Flow’s mailbox in BSE’s main office.