Around Amherst: High school junior recognized for top editorial cartoon

  • Helen Dalton won “best in category” honors in Massachusetts from the Herb Block Foundation for this editorial cartoon.

Staff Writer
Monday, February 22, 2021

AMHERST — An Amherst Regional High School student who drew an editorial cartoon focused on the Black Lives Matter movement is earning recognition.

Helen Dalton, a junior, recently received “best in category” honors in Massachusetts from the Herb Block Foundation, which honors the famed 20th century political cartoonist.

The black-and-white cartoon, completed as an assignment on Black Lives Matter for her remote learning class Art of Comics, shows Black Lives Matter participants on one side, wearing masks while peacefully holding signs, with agitated unmasked counterprotesters on the other side holding signs reading “COVID is a hoax” and a rifle. The sides are separated by police officers.

Dalton’s work was judged best in the state after receiving a Gold Key from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The award comes with a $200 cash prize and she is now competing for national recognition.

Cuppa Joe

A virtual Cuppa Joe with Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Finance Director Sean Mangano takes place at 8 a.m. Friday.

The hourlong session will focus on the methods for financing coming building projects, including a renovated and expanded Jones Library, a new elementary school, a fire station in South Amherst and a new Department of Public Works headquarters.

People should go to amherstma.zoom.us/j/93952241687 to participate. People can also call 312-626-6799 and use the ID# 939 5224 1687.

Questions or comments in advance, with Cuppa Joe written in the subject line, can be sent to info@amherstma.gov.

Artists at ValleyBike stations

Photos of artists with their works will be displayed at ValleyBike Share stations this spring.

ValleyBike Share, Rise Dispensary and Common Wealth Murals are teaming up to celebrate these visual artists.

During April and May, 40 of the ValleyBike kiosks will be converted to display the photographs, with the same picture used in two communities.

To apply, visit: commonwealthmurals.org/artistcall. Applications are due Monday, with the name, discipline and either website or social media feed for each artist to be included in the display.

Short videos of each artist talking about their work will be filmed at the photo shoots and displayed on a website and YouTube page associated with the project.

Fifty languages

Superintendent Michael Morris told the Regional School Committee that English Language Learners Coordinator Katie Richardson identified 50 languages being spoken by students in the Amherst public schools.

While Morris said that he has no historical record of the number of primary languages among students, it’s impressive to have so many in an area that is not urban.

“It’s the largest number I’ve ever heard and shows the linguistic diversity of our students,” Morris said.

In 2013, the schools identified students speaking 42 languages.

Pelham representative Sarahbess Kenney said the number of languages shows the region’s diversity and values of inclusion.

Morris said the district has long accepted the challenge of working with students whose primary language is not English and focuses on ensuring those children will be able to communicate with their peers.


MONDAY: Amherst Public Art Commission, noon, and Town Council, 6:30 p.m., both via Zoom.

TUESDAY: Public Shade Tree Committee, noon, site visit for removal of seven trees on Bay Road.