Many of the images were bleak: sunburned soldiers sprawled over their cots in the crushing desert heat; deep drifts of sand with boot tracks leading to three green Port-o-johns; an Afghan solider in a doorway below an ominous mound of sandbags with a transistor radio pressed to his ear.
Then there was an American soldier standing in a lush field, exhaustion written all over his face. The temperatures had reached 120 degrees that day, and the men had been carrying 100 pounds of gear through dense, humid fields.
Photographer Ben Brody took a long look at the picture, projected onto a screen in the Dodge Room, Reed Campus Center, where he was presenting the last seminar in the 2014 Photographer Lecture Series.
“He was killed six weeks after I took this photo,” Mr. Brody explained of the solider whose portrait he had taken.
“If you don’t have a dream, how you gon’ have a dream come true?”
As the sounds of the 173rd Commencement processional faded on the Quad, Commencement speaker (and former faculty member) Barry Moser conjured those words from the musical South Pacific, in his speech on dreams, work, and action.
Mr. Moser noted that despite being discouraged, forcefully, early on—by a father who said he couldn’t make a living that way, by the military school teachers who beat him when he was caught sketching—he never stopped drawing, or dreaming.
“And today I make a comfortable living. I live with my wonderful wife in a big house in the woods that’s full of life and love and art and music and poetry and literature and books,” Mr. Moser said.
On a soggy Saturday under the tent, Head of School Robert W. Hill III commended students for their “dedication, commitment, hard work, persistence” over the past year.
“Each of us holds these latent potentials,” he told the assembled students and teachers at the annual Academic Award ceremony on May 24. “And so it is this morning, as we recognize truly remarkable academic performance, that I am reminded of the collective whole, that all of us under this tent make each one of us better”
Whenever a student is enrolled at Williston Northampton for a defined period or program which does not qualify him or her for a diploma, and that period or program is completed successfully, the school presents an equivalent certificate of academic achievement. Seniors will be recognized at graduation. The following underclassmen are awarded that certificate:
Editor’s note: The following guest post by Sylvia Skerry ’14 is based on her senior directed study. Ms. Skerry also presented the following video on May 21 during an Upper School assembly.
By Sylvia Skerry ’14
This fall, when I took Women and Gender Studies, our class worked on a project called “Who needs feminism?” I first saw this project on Facebook and realized it was present in many communities across the country. Our Women and Gender Studies class decided we wanted to bring it to Williston to help our community create and understand a modern definition of feminism.
This spring I wanted to do a directed study and decided to finish the project that my class had started. In the most basic sense, the project is supposed to make people realize that the answer to the question “Who needs feminism?” is everyone. Usually the project is simply pictures of people holding up signs that say “I need feminism because…” and then writing a reason they need feminism. For my project, I decided to do a variation of that. In addition to pictures, I took videos of faculty and staff in our community answering questions like “Why is feminism important for you?”, “Why is feminism important in the Williston community?” and “What is your definition of feminism?”
Editor’s note: The following guest post was written by Christian Knapp ’14, president and co-founder of the The Williston Political Awareness Club, one of the most successful student-run clubs on campus this year. The club regularly had more than 30 students in attendance and hosted debates on such topics as welfare reform, fracking, and inequality in public education. On Monday, May 19, Mr. Knapp presented his senior project, “The Next Big Thing for Clubs at Williston: The Unveiling of a New Resource that will Help Clubs for Decades to Come.”
By Christian Knapp ’14
According to political scientist Robert D. Putnam, the participation of American adults in civic organizations has been declining for decades. I believe civil society in high schools has faced a similar decline over the past few decades. We have no shortage of capable leaders and capable participants for student organizations. However, we do have a shortage of information to help students form and operate clubs. I have been unable to find a single book in the eight million volume Five College library system that provides thorough guidance for students who wish to run a student organization. To help fill this information gap, I completed a senior project over this past trimester that included a series of workshops on running student organizations at Williston. Additionally, I wrote a handbook titled How to Run a Successful Club.
For my workshops and my handbook, I drew upon my experience as the freshman class president, political club president, and founder and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper at my previous high school. As many Williston students will recognize when they read the handbook, I included many of the methods I used to make The Williston Political Awareness Club successful. I made countless mistakes in each of these organizations. It is my hope that this document will help student leaders avoid making the same mistakes that I made. In addition to my leadership experience, I conducted 17 interviews of students, faculty, and administration about their involvement with student organizations. Finally, I completed research in 22 books and scholarly articles, on topics ranging from leadership to marketing.