In The People's Blog

Last summer, two remarkable interns – high school students Lila Nields-Duffy and Jasper Graham – hit the road to photograph and celebrate the places in our district that you told us were the most beautiful, that brought you the most joy, and that embodied the best of your community.

In 2023, our district will grow to be 25 of the most extraordinary cities and towns in the Commonwealth. We’ll use your written reflections and the photos – that Jasper and Lila took and that you shared with us – to tell the story of our district here at home and to colleagues in Boston. Please watch Lila and Jasper’s beautiful, short video here.

Here’s what Lila had to say about her work on the project:

“Working on this project has been an inspiring experience. It was truly moving to have people describe this beautiful place we all live in with so much love and thoughtfulness. Then to be able to drive all around and see these places was breathtaking. I visited places that I’d never been, and got a deeper sense of the natural beauty and community even in places as familiar to me as Northampton, where I’ve lived my whole life. Too often western Massachusetts is viewed as a monolith, but I’ve come to see that we are a patchwork of unique and diverse communities. It is vital that leadership across the Commonwealth recognizes this in order to really understand this area and the people who live here.”

Here’s what Jasper had to say about his participation,

“There was so much that I loved about the Beauty in our District project and its process, but connecting with members of the community was especially memorable. I loved hearing what they treasured about their homes and their towns. About the stream near their house, the importance of their century-old family farm, or the view of the Quabbin after a rejuvinating hike. Their words painted as good a picture of western Massachusetts as the photos that we ultimately took to go alongside them. My favorite piece of this wonderful project was seeing a lovingly described place with my own eyes, pairing the description of a location with it’s visual beauty.”

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