Stories and updates from around campus

Alumna Shares Story of Hope after Brain Injury

Lindsey Bannish ’11

Lindsey Bannish ’11 returned to campus January 3 to describe to students an “invisible disability” she carries with her always: a traumatic brain injury caused by repeated concussions. Bannish, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and a Rehabilitation Counselor Master’s student at Springfield College, advocates for awareness about head injuries.

She shared her story with students, outlining the challenges she faced after an injury on the ski slopes that caused one of 10 diagnosed concussions, and how persistent migraines, memory impairment, mood swings, sleep disruption, and impulsiveness temporarily derailed her progress through high school. Previously, she had been a high achiever, always cheerfully taking on new responsibilities.

“I became miserable,” she said. “I didn’t want to be here anymore.”

Because of support from her Williston peers and teachers, she made it through after taking a month off of school. But the injury remained, and remains a problem as she moves through her adult life today. Instead of becoming a surgeon, which had been her dream, she will study neuroscience and teach others about the brain.

She encouraged students to take the time to recover and to get help if they are injured. “The last thing a high achiever wants to do is admit vulnerability,” she said. However that’s what’s needed to prevent serious consequences.

“I wish I didn’t have an invisible disability that I could have prevented,” she said.

David Holt Brought the Mountains to Williston

Holt on the washboard and Goforth on the fiddle

Musician and music historian David Holt inspired a chapelful of Williston students to try hamboning. The traditional African percussive art, brought to the American South by enslaved people, consists of rhythmically slapping parts of the body: legs, arms, chest, different parts of the hand, and, as seen in the two-second video clip that downloads when you click here, cheeks. “This is what people used to do before they had cable,” Holt quipped. Continue reading

Williston Welcomes Dr. Cherie Holmes ’75 as Cum Laude Speaker

Dr. Cherie Holmes ’75

The Williston Northampton School is pleased to welcome former trustee Dr. Cherie Holmes ’75 as this year’s speaker at its Cum Laude inducation ceremony on January 5, 2018. Dr. Holmes is a practicing orthopedic surgeon who serves as Medical Director for Acute Care Services at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, NH.

Dr. Holmes received her B.A. in English Language and Literature from Dartmouth College. After earning her M.D. at Georgetown University School of Medicine, she completed her residency in Orthopedic Surgery at the Harvard Combined Orthopedic Program.

She completed further fellowship training in both Orthopedic Traumatology and Sports Medicine and practiced for four years with the U.S. Navy, including seven months in the Persian Gulf during the first Gulf War, as well as in private practice and in Keene. More recently she earned her M.S. in Healthcare Management from the Harvard School of Public Health. Continue reading

McCann Explores the Power of Storytelling

Colum McCann in English class

Students in Sarah Sawyer’s Writers’ Workshop English class have good taste in literature. When acclaimed Irish-born writer Colum McCann visited last week, he asked them to name their favorite books. They listed an impressive array of titles, from J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; from Sherman Alexie’s Flight to Homer’s Odyssey.

“You’re reading in healthy, agile ways,” McCann said. “That’s good.” Continue reading

“World’s Strongest Gay” Speaks about Living Authentically

Williston’s Head Athletic Trainer Rob Kearney stands out in a crowd. He sports a lizard-like Mohawk haircut and a bright pink tie. He exudes confidence and strength. And that’s because he’s strong. He’s one of the world’s strongest men, having appeared on televised “World’s Strongest Man” competitions and having pulled busses and airplanes and having deadlifted 925 pounds. Here’s his WSM profile.

During an all-school assembly on Oct. 18, Kearney told the Williston community his story with insight and good humor. In high school, he was an athlete and a weight-lifter. He was in a band. He was a really good cheerleader (he was even recruited by Division I schools for his cheerleading abilities). He dated girls. It seemed the perfect high school existence. But something was not right. Continue reading

Stories and updates from around campus