A Williston Northampton blog dedicated to all things alumni related.

Williston Northampton Alumni Share Holiday Cheer

We were delighted to see hundreds of alumni dressed in their festive best at holiday receptions in New York and Boston on December 7 and 13. We hope you enjoyed catching up with classmates and friends, networking with alumni and hearing from Head of School, Robert W. Hill III, about all that has been happening on campus. For those of you who weren’t able to join us this time, here is some of the news from campus that Bob Hill, and faculty and staff in attendance, shared with our guests:

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Trustees, and Williston Northampton Fund co-chairs, Clay ’79 and Claire ’78  Hardon welcomed guests to the New York Yacht Club and  celebrated the success of last year’s fundraising efforts: Thanks to you, the 2015-2016 Williston Northampton Fund raised over $1.7 million–a new milestone– from more than 2,500 donors, providing resources that have an immediate impact on Williston’s highest priorities and most important initiatives! Among the notable accomplishments was the 6 percent increase in alumni participation. We are grateful for your investment each and every year in Williston Northampton students, faculty, and our beautiful campus.

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Head of School, Bob Hill spoke about the Williston Northampton community and our commitment in key areas, including: preparing our faculty and students for 21st century teaching and learning with continued innovations in classroom technology; having a responsive curriculum to meet the evolving needs of today’s students, including the Williston Scholars program.

Guests were welcomed by representatives of the Board of Trustees, including Board Chairman John Hazen White ’76, Mary Alcock ’84, Reid Sterrett ’89, Clay Hardon ’78, Claire Hardon ’79,  Dan Decelles ’89, Richard Monopoli ’89, and William Fogg.  Making the six-hour round trip from campus (on a school night!) were faculty members Sarah and Matt Sawyer, Peter Gunn, Jen Fulcher, and Kathryn Hill.  Lee Greener ’03, Chris Dietrich, and Ann Pickrell represented the admission office.

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For more photos of the New York City holiday party, visit the Williston Northampton Flickr Gallery!

One week (and one snowstorm) later, and we were back on the road…

On Tuesday, December 13, alumni from the classes of 1945 to 2016 joined us high above Boston at the Downtown Harvard Club in Boston’s Financial District . A special surprise visit by the student a capella group, The Wild Chords, and student pianist Yana Pyryalina ’18 (introduced by new performing arts faculty member and director of choirs, Steve Berlanga), showcased our talented students who welcomed guests with music and song. Their performance was a fitting tribute to how the newly funded “Grum Project” supports the arts on campus. Thanks to a generous NSFG  alumna, our entire community experiences and learns from visiting artists who spend time on campus as “artists in residence.”

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e-tata-mel-394a3187Trustee, parent and Williston Northampton Parents Fund co-chair Brad Foster welcomed guests and stressed the importance of participating in the Williston Northampton Fund as a way of honoring your Williston Northampton experience, while ensuring future generations of students are able to have an exceptional living and learning experience. Brad then introduced Head of School, Bob Hill who welcomed former Board of Trustees Chairman, and current Board Secretary, Fred Allardyce ’59 and  recognized  the faculty and staff present, including Greg Tuleja, Peter Gunn, Mark and Monique Conroy, Kathryn Hill, Ann Pickrell, Lee Greener ’03,  Jen Fulcher, and faculty emereti Jay and Betsy Grant. Commenting on the strong connections between faculty and students that persist long after graduation,  Bob stressed Williston Northampton’s commitment to attracting and retaining an exceptional faculty, with significant resources directed toward faculty professional development.

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From William D. Williams ’45, to Abbie Foster ’16, to our current students, the Williston Northampton School spirit was joyful and strong. Lingering after the party’s end, guests seemed to agree: celebrating their connections through and across the years was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season! To see more photos, visit the Williston Northampton Flickr Gallery.

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Williston heads West

Sunshine, warm weather and enthusiastic alumni welcomed Williston Northampton to the west coast for events on November 10 in San Francisco and November 13 in Los Angeles. Thank you to all who joined us. We hope you enjoyed catching up with classmates and friends, networking with alumni and hearing from Head of School, Robert W. Hill III, about all that has been happening on campus. For those of you who weren’t able to join us this time, here’s some of the news that was shared:

  • Williston’s designation as a Microsoft Innovation School, recognizing our commitment to being in the forefront of classroom technology for students and faculty
  • Changes in curriculum to meet the evolving needs of today’s students, including the Williston Scholars program. This initiative combines dedicated faculty oversight with resources available from the Five College consortium, encouraging Williston students to deeply explore a particular subject or passion
  • Our ongoing commitment to attracting and retaining an exceptional faculty, with significant resources directed toward faculty professional development
  • Updates on implementing priorities identified in the 2014 Strategic Plan 
  • The inaugural visiting artist made possible through the Grum Project, funded by a generous five-year grant from an NSFG ’65 alumna
  • The success of last year’s fundraising efforts: Thanks to you, the Williston Northampton Fund raised over $1.7 million from more than 2,500 donors, providing resources that have an immediate impact on Williston’s highest priorities and most important initiatives! Your investment each and every year really makes a difference for Williston students.

In San Fraimg_0785ncisco, the Weinstein Gallery provided a beautiful venue for an evening of fine art, exceptional wine, and excellent company. Host David Connolly ’83 provided a selection of some of his favorite wines from Northern California vineyards which alumni from the classes of 2003 to 1957 enjoyed with a delicious menu from Hugh Groman Catering.

Hugh’s father, Phil Groman ’57, attended the event. And classmate John Houghton was also on hand to represent ’57 as they head into their 60th reunion year!

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Alex Teece ’06, who has founded a charter school in Hawaii, slated to open in September 2018, happened to be in San Francisco for the month and caught up with Elizabeth Litwin ’06, Meg Litwin ’04, Joe Cavallaro ’03, Ben Minkowsky ’02, and Limmy Lee ’01.file3

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  Other alumni attending included: Lisa Bodine ’77, Julius Pryor ’73, Yiao-Tee Hsia ’71 and Charles Johnson ’68. The ’80s made a good showing as Merry Ross ’82, Jessica Herbold ’81 and (prom dates!) Ben Carlson ’81 and Virginia Barrett ’81 reminisced about their experiences in theater.

Bidding farewell to the beautiful city by the bay, Williston headed south to Los Angeles and The Viceroy Santa Monica, where host Cliff Selbert ’73 welcomed a group of alumni from the classes of 1947 to 2012 — and even a future wildcat!

Alumni working in the entertainment industry, design, finance, medicine and technology caught up over mimosas, coffee, and brunch. Frances “Bunny” Feurer ’47 compared notes with Carol Boyd ’69, who brought yearbooks and photos from her years at NFSG. Pat Bone ’65 and her husband Steve also attended. It was good to see Brian Studwell ’59 who runs a lawn bowling club (@SantaMonicaLawnBowling on Facebook) and Ben Haller ’61.

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Other guests included classmates Michael Hirsch and Andrew Wooden, both class of ’73, Cedric Evans ’81,  Valli Thornton ’82,  Gary Goldman ’83, and Brooks Fleming ’89.

Sisters Serra ’00 and Belis ’97 Aladag reminisced about being at Williston together, and caught up with east coast expat Steve Porter ’97. Michael Bowles ’99 and Sheree Shu ’98 rounded out the crowd from the ’90s.

The decade of the ’00s was well represented with Raffy Cortina ’09, who is working in film and writing a screenplay. Mickey Meyer ’03 and Ceanna Ellner ’04 who also work in the world of entertainment (Hey, it’s LA, after all!) Ellen Messer ’07 won the prize for best effort to attend; she had just flown in from a conference in DC that morning and stopped by on her way home from the airport! The most recent Williston grad, Adrian Mendoza ’12 is finishing his last semester at USC and plans to go into the video game industry.

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We had a wonderful time with all of you! And we hope you had a great time reconnecting and making new connections. We look forward to seeing even more west coast Willistonians at our next event! In the meantime, keep up with alumni news by liking The Williston Northampton Alumni Facebook page, joining The Williston Northampton School Alumni LinkedIn page and visiting our alumni events home page. Upcoming events are scheduled for NYC (12/7) and Boston (12/13), So if you happen to be traveling to a city where we are hosting an event, we’d love to see you. Simply let us know you are planning to attend by sending a message to RSVP@williston.com.

 

 

 

 

Alumna Shares Memories of NSFG Days

Guest blog post by Eleanor Gamarsh, Northampton School for Girls, Class of 1952

I’d like to walk down Memory Lane with my classmates at NSFG. While we were classmates in ’52, I think of us as a family sharing in our home away from home, no matter how any of us came to be there. Like members of any family, each one was closer to some than others. We discussed plans for projects, had our disagreements and worked them out. Some of us sang in the Chorus, fought a good fight on the soccer field (when it was dry), and joined Williston Academy to produce The Mikado. We each had our moments with Miss Whitaker and Miss Bement. Remember the Old English Christmas Dinner at Wiggins Tavern? And how about the Senior Prom; the Mistresses had to approve our gowns (no hint of being strapless). We were giddy about inviting our own male escort (did they have to pass inspection, too?). My remembrances may be a bit askew, but after all, it’s been 64 years. I suspect each of us has a story to tell about any one of these experiences.

The day we received our diplomas was the “rite of passage” moment for each of us to go on our separate ways. Beyond Graduation Day, maybe some relationships lasted. From the letters I have received, I know a few traveled away from New England for their college education, while others stayed close to home. Perhaps you went to a Reunion at our old school before the merger with Williston Academy. I have been to Reunions since them when a few of the girls came. Being the age we are now, going to a reunion is more difficult for all of us. My hope is that all of you have some special joy each day for the rest of your life.

Please see this post for Eleanor Gamarsh’s remembrance of the eight members of the NSFG Class of 1952 who have passed away.

Alumni Award: Jay and Betsy Grant

Photo by Joanna Chattman
Photo by Joanna Chattman

Natalie Aquadro ’17 presented Jay and Betsy Grant the Distinguished Service Award during a ceremony at the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 14, 2016.

The Distinguished Service Award is the preeminent service award the school can give. Since its inception in 1959, the Distinguished Service Award has been given to the person who has shown through his or her actions an exceptional measure of devotion to The Williston Northampton School. That clearly applies to Jay and Betsy.

On June 8, 2016, Jay and Betsy Grant will officially retire after 38 years and 37 years respectively at Williston Northampton. Since his arrival in 1978, Jay has filled many roles: the school’s first full-time athletic trainer, dorm parent living in Memorial Hall, then with Betsy in Willy Cottage (now known as Conant), Manchester House and Gilbert House before moving off campus. He coached the boys ice hockey team for four years, including the 1985-86 New England Championship team. He has seen the construction of the Athletic Center in 1990, been the faithful keeper of athletic records, taught Middle School PE, and wrapped thousands upon thousands of ankles.

Betsy arrived on campus in 1979 where she coached sailing for two years, advised the yearbook and taught all levels of Spanish in both the Middle and Upper School.

Betsy and Jay got married in the Williston chapel in July 1981 with Reverend Roger Barnett presiding over the ceremony, Al Shaler playing the organ, Armand Davy doing the catering, and Bob Couch ’50, taking the photos. Together, they raised two children, Sam Grant ’08 and Jill Grant ’11, both of whom attended the Middle and Upper Schools and are faithful alumni.

Congratulations to Jay and Betsy, and best of luck in your future endeavors!

Alumni Award: John Booth ’83

Photo by Joanna Chattman
Photo by Joanna Chattman

John Booth ’83 received the Founders’ Award during a Reunion award ceremony in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 14, 2016. Nate Gordon ’16 presented the award.

The Founders’ Award, created by the merger of the Whitaker-Bement Award and the Samuel & Emily Williston Award, honors the founders and principals of The Northampton School for Girls and Williston Academy. It is awarded annually to an alumnus or alumna whose loyalty, devotion and service to The Williston Northampton School has been outstanding.

Booth, a current trustee of the Williston Northampton School, was awarded the Class of 1941 Scholarship at graduation for outstanding service to the school and community. He was the head student representative on the Student/Faculty Discipline Committee and played varsity soccer; ice hockey, where he was a two-time captain; lacrosse; and golf. His favorite memories of Williston include Ann Vanderburgh’s Precalculus class and racing to ring the Victory Bell after hockey wins. After graduation, he earned a B.A. in history from Williams College in 1987 where he was a Herbert H. Lehman Scholar, and a Master’s degree in American history from Fordham University in 1994.

Booth is the upper school academic dean at Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT, having joined the school in 1991. Before being academic dean, he was chairman of the History/Social Sciences Department from 2000-2013. His first teaching assignment was in Tokyo, Japan, where he worked for two years at the Overseas Training Corporation (OTC).

Booth’s local community efforts include serving on the Greenwich Town Board of Social Services from 2003-2006, including a year as chairman of the Board. He currently serves as a Justice of the Peace and is also a member of the Greenwich 9th District Veterans Association.

He is married to Laura Booth and they have two children, Julia and Aimee.

Congratulations, John!