From North Adams Transcript
June 11, 2004

Pittsfield teen awarded Daniel Pearl Scholarship
By Susan Bush
Special to the Transcript

 

PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield High School senior Luke C. Massery, 18, of 23 Euclid Avenue was presented the 2004 Daniel Pearl Berkshire Scholarship award during Tuesday’s Class Night.

 

And for Massery, the award means far more than financial assistance.

 

“For me, this scholarship is not about monetary value,” Massery said Wednesday evening. “I applied because of the name Daniel Pearl. He followed his art, which was journalism, as I have followed mine. He followed his dream into dangerous territory, and followed his beliefs. He had courage.”

 

As south Asia news bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, Pearl was pursuing a news story when he was kidnapped on Jan. 23, 2002, by Pakistani terrorists, who executed him six days later. His body was recovered in May 2002. At the time of his death Pearl was 38 years old and expecting a child with his wife Mariane. The horror of Pearl’s death drew world-wide reaction.

 

The Massery family is able to understand the Pearl family grief from a personal perspective, according to Massery.

 

The family has a Lebanese ancestry, and two of Massery’s great aunts and one great uncle, who were Christians living in their native Lebanon, were murdered by Muslim terrorists in the early 1980s, Massery said.

 

“We are able to feel a connection to the Pearl family and there’s an understanding of what they must have endured,” Massery said.

 

His own family tragedy and the story of Pearl have influenced Massery and his life, he said.

 

“I realize that I am lucky to be an American and able to pursue my music, my dream,” he said. “I am truly glad to be an American.”

 

Massery’s father James Massery said that the family is deeply honored by their son’s scholarship.

 

“I did tell my son that of all the awards presented during Class Night, the Pearl scholarship is, to my mind, the most prestigious,” he said. “This scholarship honors all that Daniel Pearl was and what he went through. My son has a responsibility to that young man [Pearl] and what he represented to the world.”

 

Massery is accepted at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and plans a major in music and piano performance. A National Honor Society member, Massery is a gifted musician whose academic achievements include capturing a silver medal for his entry to the Real Woman’s Essay contest, and the University of Rochester Humanities and Social Sciences award.

 

Massery is a member of the Pittsfield High School Chamber Orchestra, the Chamber Music Ensemble, and offers private piano instruction. Massery has studied music at the Tanglewood Summer Institute in Lenox and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Maine. He has served as a class officer and is also a member of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of the Berkshires Executive Board.

 

He spent three years as a volunteer with the St. Mark’s Parish music ministry, and is a past recipient of the St. Mark’s Parish Family Life Service Award as well as the Beverly Pularo Award for dedication to the United Cerebral Palsy organization. Massery has captured top honors after competing in a Berkshire Lyric Theater’s Young Artists Competition and a county-wide talent show sponsored by the First Baptist Church.

 

The Pearl Berkshire Scholarship was launched by the Eagle, the Transcript, and Pearl’s many friends in 2003, after Pearl’s death. Pearl was a journalist at the North Adams Transcript and the Berkshire Eagle before accepting a job at the Wall Street Journal.