All posts by Rachael Hanley

The Bulletin Wins Gold (Again)

For the second year in a row, Williston Northampton’s alumni magazine has won gold in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) District 1 Circle of Excellence Awards.

The Bulletin beat out publications from Tufts University and Brown University to take the gold medal in the “magazines with circulations under 50,000” category. The magazine also received a separate bronze medal in the independent school magazine category.

The awards will be presented at the CASE D1 Circle of Excellence luncheon on January 28, during the association’s annual conference in Boston.

CASE receives more than 3,000 entries in nearly 100 categories for the annual Circle of Excellence Awards, with results announced each January. Winners are selected based on impact, overall quality, innovation, and use of resources. The awards are open to colleges, universities, independent schools, and nonprofits.

The school also received three other honors: a silver medal for the “Why Williston?” web page in the admission websites category; a bronze medal for “The Williston Yield Package” in the independent school viewbook and admissions packages category; and a bronze medal for “The Williston 175th Anniversary Celebration” in the new alumni relations programs category. Williston was the only independent school to win more than two awards.

See the online version of The Bulletin here.

Williston’s We the People Team Heads to Boston

Update, February 1: On Saturday, Williston’s We the People team won the Massachusetts State Championship, earning them the right to represent Massachusetts in the We the People National Finals in April at the University of Maryland.


They have prepared all trimester, studying the U.S. Constitution, debating in teams, and preparing for surprise questions from the judges. On January 30, students in AP U.S. government classes will once again head to Boston for the Massachusetts State We the People competition to test their knowledge and their debating prowess.

Led by faculty advisor Peter Gunn, the We the People program at the Williston Northampton School has been a long and successful one. Williston students have studied the curriculum since 1991 and participated in the state competition since 1998. In 2000 and again in 2013, Williston students went all the way to the national finals in Washington, DC, after winning and placing second in at the state-level, respectively.

“This is a central part of our learning in AP U.S. government,” noted Mr. Gunn in an email. “The students are hard at work on this exciting intellectual endeavor.”

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Gamer to Gamers: It’s An Evolving Field

Jesse Crafts-Finch ’01, owner of Gorilla Tactics, told students about careers in the video game field
Photo by Jeff Pilgrim

The focus of Kim Evelti’s class in video game programming and design is to not only teach students about programming, but to also encourage their creativity and enthusiasm for game play.

To that end, hearing from an alumnus who creates video games for a living was the perfect way for Williston Northampton students get a practical sense about what a career in the field is really like.

During his talk on January 14, Jesse Crafts-Finch ’01, owner of Gorilla Tactics, a video game design and development company, gave students tips on designing (“start small, then make it smaller!”), career paths (major in something that has marketability beyond just game design), and networking (send out 100 resumes, and the one call you’ll get is from the person who knew your college roommate).

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Social Justice Scholar Marcella Runell Hall to Present MLK Day Keynote

The Mount Holyoke dean will talk about social justice storytelling
Courtesy of
Courtesy of

A social justice scholar and noted author will present the keynote address at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day assembly at the Williston Northampton School on Monday, January 18.

Marcella Runell Hall, the dean of students at Mount Holyoke College, will present “Storytelling for Social Justice,” which will encourage students to define the term “ally,” explore what it means to have multiple social identities, and practice the power of storytelling.

Dr. Hall is the author of three award-winning books: “The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook: Volume 1,” with Martha Diaz; “Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip-Hop Fiction to Incite Social Change;” and “Love, Race, and Liberation: ‘Til the White Day Is Done” with Jennifer “JLove” Calderon.

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Kate Nocera ’01 Presents Cum Laude Keynote

The former political reporter offered advice on the dos and don'ts of a successful career

23855136824_b5fee16222_zThere was a point during Kate Nocera’s time at the Williston Northampton School when it was doubtful that she would even graduate.

In her keynote address for this year’s Cum Laude Ceremony, Ms. Nocera, a former political journalist, talked about how she went from a fixture in the Dean of Student’s Office, to accepting her diploma with Cum Laude honors.

“My actual favorite memory from Williston was being at graduation and hearing them calling the names of the Cum Laude inductees, and hearing my name among them,” Ms. Nocera recalled.

The Cum Laude ceremony, which honors 12 seniors who have excelled academically, was held on Friday, January 16, at 8:30 a.m. in the Phillips Stevens Chapel.

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