All posts by jillstern

Spring Break Adventures in Florida

Doug and Betsy Elder

Why should students be the only ones to enjoy spring break? Williston Head of School Bob Hill and staff from the alumni office headed south for an epic road trip as we visited with alumni in Florida.

Sunny skies greeted us in West Palm Beach as Board Chair John Hazen White, Jr. ’76 hosted a reception at the Palm Beach Yacht Club. Alumni ranging from the class of ’16 to the class of ’54, joined parents and friends to socialize on the dock before heading inside to listen as

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Bob Hill shared news from campus. And there was plenty to talk about: from the girls varsity swim team’s 2nd consecutive championship win, to the We The People constitutional debate team’s third trip to the nationals, to the inspiring response to our Founders Day challenge, the momentum and enthusiasm at Williston Northampton is undeniable.

The next morning we were in the car and off to Miami Beach, where Trustee Mijanou Spurdle ’86 and Craig Spurdle ’86 hosted a wine tasting at La Gorce Country Club.IMG_0135 Sommelier Fabio Trapputi led us through a tasting of Italian wines. Even the notorious Miami Beach traffic didn’t deter determined alumni. Special shout-out to Andrew Salguero ’96 for braving a 2-hour-plus trip. We are certain the wines and the company were worth it! With a smaller group, everyone had time for one-on-one conversations with Bob Hill, with conversations covering the range of colleges accepting our class of ’17 graduates (Boston College, Carleton, Dartmouth, Kenyon, Georgetown, Middlebury, NYU, Pomona, Rice, University of Pennsylvania, Vassar, Wellesley and Wesleyan to name a few!) to opportunities for alumni to come back to connect with students.

IMG_0141After some strong Cuban coffees, we left Miami Beach to make the scenic drive through “alligator alley” up to Sarasota for a Saturday brunch at the Sarasota Yacht Club, hosted by Betsy and Doug Elder ’54, GP ’05, ’08, and Kathy Krohn ’75. We were especially delighted to welcome several former faculty, including George Dunnington, Ray Brown and Cathleen Robinson, and Jay and Betsy Grant. NSFGIMG_0153IMG_0143  alumnae Sandi Mesics ’55 and Anne Cluett ’55 were thrilled with a spontaneous and unexpected reunion! Sarasota alumni gave a warm “welcome to the neighborhood” to Mary Nicotra ’85 who was enjoying the weather after relocating from Chicago. Guests lingered long after brunch was over to enjoy touring the club with Doug and Betsy.

What would spring break be without spring training? It was back into the car and back across the state to Vero Beach, to cheer for the Boys Varsity Baseball team as they faced off against the Ontario Blue Jays. Sun alternated with clouds and light showers as Williston alumni, families, faculty, staff, and friends got a sneak preview of Wildcat skills on the diamond. All that cheering can make a person hungry, so after the game it was off to Mulligan’s on the Beach for a late lunch and final good-byes.

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It was great to spend time and have conversation with our alumni based in Florida (and our alumni who travel to Florida!) Thank you for all you do to support and sustain your alma mater. We’re looking forward to seeing you again next year!

P.S. If you wondered how things were going back at campus while we were soaking up the sun…well, let’s just say the golf courses in Florida were a lot greener!

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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.