Stories and updates from around campus

Academic Awards 2015

Photo by Josh Seamon

Students and faculty assembled on the Quad on Saturday afternoon to celebrate what Head of School Robert W. Hill III described as “the essence of our lives at Williston: academic accomplishments” during the annual Academic Awards Ceremony.

“Hard work, persistence, resilience, determination, integrity—whether in the classroom or in an extra-curricular pursuit—are traits that should always be praised and will take you far in life,” Mr. Hill said during his opening remarks. “This year teemed with incredible intellectual and creative accomplishments generated by students all year long—often outside of the public gaze.”

The academic awards ceremony began with Peter Valine, Williston’s Dean of Faculty, recognize and sharing thoughts about the departing faculty. Mr. Hill III noted, “Each year there are faculty that move on from Williston and we are diminished by that.” He commended the school’s teachers, who he described as  “unique in my experience in the ends to which they go to advise, mentor, listen, and support their students.”

Read the full text of Mr. Hill’s speech here.

Awards Quick List

Visual and Performing Arts
Additional Awards
School Awards

Spring Athletic Awards (presented May 22, 2014)
Cum Laude Inductees (presented January 16, 2015 and May 24, 2015)

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Writer and Performer Brad Hall ’75 to Deliver Commencement Keynote

One of television’s creative powerhouses—who has been involved in such shows as Frasier, Curb Your Enthusiasm, SNL, and Parks and Recreation, among others—will deliver the keynote at Williston Northampton’s 174th Commencement on Sunday, May 24, 2015.

Brad Hall ’75 describes his career as having achieved “the weird distinction of having done just about every creative job in television.” He has written, performed in, composed music for, produced, and developed theatre productions, television shows, and motion pictures. He is an award-winning actor, writer, and director, having received such accolades as a Peabody Award and a Golden Globe.

Mr. Hall, a California native, describes his senior year at the Williston Northampton School as a “blissful” one. After majoring in theater at Northwestern University, he attended the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and Drama Studio in London. Brad was a co-founder and artistic director of the Practical Theatre Co. in Chicago where he was a performer, writer, composer, and director of new plays and improvisational comedy revues. After writing and performing on NBCʼs Saturday Night Live, he was involved with numerous successful TV shows, including Brooklyn Bridge, the Single Guy, and Watching Ellie. NBCʼs The Sing Off a cappella reality show is loosely based on a feature film Mr. Hall wrote for Columbia Pictures.

Mr. Hall has recently written and directed two award-winning short films, “Picture Paris,” a dark comedy starring his wife, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a documentary about an art collection that becomes an education for African American kids in Harlem, “Generosity of Eye.”

Cade Zawacki, who will be attending Carnegie Mellon in the fall, will also speak at Commencement, having been selected by his peers to be the senior class speaker. In his introduction, Mr. Zawacki noted, “I want this speech to be different so that it sticks in your brain and cements with you all of the wonderful memories that you have made here at Williston.”

The Commencement ceremony will take place under a tent in front of the Reed Campus Center, starting at 9:30 a.m., and will include the graduation of 139 members of the Class of 2015. The Reed Campus Center is located at 40 Park Street, Easthampton.


On a Special Pen, the Fine Print, and an Extended Family

Four outstanding Williston athletes commit to their next steps

IMG_2173a (1)There was a lot of lighthearted banter in the Grubbs Gallery on Monday afternoon as four of Williston Northampton School’s top athletes gathered for ceremonies to highlight their college commitments.

Andrew Liu, Ryan Richmond, and John “Marshall” Rizutto signed National Letters of Intent with Assumption College, Bentley University, and Edinboro University, respectively. George “Curt” McLeod was also recognized for committing to Cornell University.

“Read the fine print—make sure!” yelled one teammate as Mr. McLeod inked his name. The football player grinned; the paper he was using was a prop for the ceremony.

Mr. Rizutto, a fellow football star, also got a ribbed, with teammates reminding him not to lose the ceremonial signing pen.

“It’s your special pen, Marshall!” “Marshall, don’t lose that pen!” they called.

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Gold Runs in the Family

Courtesy of Abbie Foster
Courtesy of Abbie Foster

Gold is starting to be a tradition in the Foster family.

In 2013, Olivia Foster ’14 received a gold medal for completing the national Congressional Award program, a four-year process that involved extensively documenting her work in public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration. As a result of her commitment, she was awarded the program’s highest honor at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

The benefits of going through such a long and rigorous process—that it created someone well rounded, instilled self-confidence, and was extremely rewarding—did not go unnoticed by Ms. Foster’s younger sister, Abbie.

Three years ago, as the younger Foster was starting her own Congressional Award process, she asked her sister Olivia for advice.

“She said, ‘Even if some days you don’t feel like doing it, or don’t know the reason you’re doing it, don’t give up and then it will be worth it,” Abbie Foster ’16 recalled. “And it definitely was.”

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Paying Attention to The Heart

Marcus Ware and Jordan Sansone '17 team up to bring awareness to Williston for Heart Health Month
Photo by Dennis Crommett
Photo by Dennis Crommett

On January 20, the text alerts started pouring into Marcus Ware’s cell phone.

There was a shooter at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He had entered the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center on the second floor. Shots had been fired at a doctor there. The gunman had turned the gun on himself. Police were at the hospital and had secured the scene.

The news was devastating, and incredibly personal for Dr. Ware, he explained to Williston Northampton School students and faculty during an assembly on February 18.

“You see, I paused for a bit because I am a patient at Brigham and Women’s and have been so for the past 10 years,” he said. “Given that I’ve had high familiarity with the hospital due to the number of visits and procedures that I have had done over the years, these text alerts made me stop in my tracks and pray that all was okay.”

Dr. Ware, a former Williston faculty member, had returned to campus to speak about his own experiences for Heart Health Month. The event was organized by Jordan Sansone ’17, her advisor Ann Pickrell, and Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Athletic Trainer Melissa Brousseau. Later that afternoon, Ms. Sansone also offered a screenings and a confidential six-point questionnaire for students in the Athletic Center during a girls basketball game.

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Stories and updates from around campus