Category Archives: Academics

A Lesson on Vessels and the Art of Celebration

Robbie Heidinger Visit 1If there are trophies for athletics, why not have one for art as well?

That was the premise of a recent hands-on workshop by ceramic artist Robbie Heidinger P ’14 in the Grubbs Gallery. During her May 7 visit, she worked with two dozen students from Williston Northampton School’s Arts Intensive Program to craft just such a vessel.

In her own work, which was on display in Grubbs through mid-May, Ms. Heidiger said she has been inspired by the shape, colors, and textures of plants. She began her recent visit to Williston by passing around a vase of spring flowers and urging students to examine the shapes.

“There are really no rules,” Ms. Heidinger told them. “I just want you to start thinking about structure.”

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Shabana Basij-Rasikh and the Crime of Educating Girls

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Photography by Chattman Photography

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Williston Northampton welcomed Shabana Basij-Rasikh, an Afghan education activist and co-founder and president of the School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA) to campus on Monday, January 20.

Ms. Basij-Rasikh spoke to the student body about growing up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, when girls were forbidden to attend school. “I have extremely amazing parents,” she said. “They could not stand the idea of us, especially the four sisters in my family, growing up uneducated.”

Rather than flee, her family decided to stay in Afghanistan and educate their four daughters secretly, illegally. For the next five years, Ms. Basij-Rasikh dressed in boy’s clothing and took her older sister to a secret school in the home of one of their neighbors. More than 100 young girls attended classes in this tiny makeshift school. Ms. Basij-Rasikh remembers constantly fearing that the Taliban would discover the school and kill everyone inside.

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Williston Cum Laude Society to Induct 13 New Members

Farnham-BlogTim Farnham ’84, Mount Holyoke College Associate Professor and Director of the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Cum Laude induction ceremony on Friday, January 17.

Mr. Farnham, who has taught at Mount Holyoke College since 2009, is a nationally-recognized environmental studies scholar. He received his B.A. from Williams College and an M.S. in Natural Resources with a concentration in Forest Policy and Management from the University of Michigan. Mr. Farnham received his Ph.D. from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

He has published articles in scientific journals on topics including biological diversity and timber management and presented at the 2005 and 2007 International Symposiums on Technology and Society and at both the Yale University Art Gallery and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Doctoral Research Conference.

Mr. Farnham was inducted into the Williston Cum Laude society in his senior year and was the valedictorian of the Class of 1984.

Queen GodIs ’97, who was originally scheduled to speak at the 2014 ceremony, said recently that she was no longer able to attend.

The following students were inducted into Williston Northampton’s Cum Laude Society:
Elizabeth Calderone of Whately, MA
Matthew Carney of Wilton, CT
Matthew Cavanaugh of South Hadley, MA
Zhi Jie (Percy) Chen of Shanghai, China
Nan Ding of Shanghai, China
Olivia Foster of Longmeadow, MA
Brendan Hellweg of Holyoke, MA
Tory Kolbjornsen of Haydenville, MA
Shiyuan (Matt) Mei of Beijing, China
Giovanna Parker of Amherst, MA
Abigail Rogers-Berner of New York, NY
Madeleine Stern of Northampton, MA
Persis Ticknor-Swanson of Easthampton, MA

Inducted students and their parents will be invited to attend a reception immediately following the 8:30 a.m. assembly at the home of Head of School Bob and Kathryn Hill.

The Cum Laude Society, founded in 1906 and modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, honors scholastic achievement in secondary scholars. The society has over 350 chapters, the majority of which are in independent schools. In 1921, Williston Academy became a member of the society, followed by Northampton School for Girls in 1951. In 1971, a new charter was created for the Williston Northampton School.

Four Faculty Honored for Their Passion and Leadership

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Describing the recipients as leaders, thinkers, and positive forces in their community, Dean of Faculty Peter Valine named four new instructorships during Upper School Assembly on October 9. The members of the teaching faculty—Susanna White, Tom Johnson, Lynn Magovern, and Betsy Grant—were all honored for their efforts both in and out of the classroom.

The following are from Mr. Valine’s remarks during assembly:

George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship

Susanna White received the George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship, which recognizes the initiatives of a young faculty member of the fine arts.

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16th Annual Writers’ Workshop

From October 3 to November 11, the Williston Northampton School will host the 16th Annual Writers’ Workshop Series. This year the series features award-winning authors Rebecca Makkai, Patricia McCormick, Elinor Lipman, and Mary Jo Salter. Lectures are free and open to the public and begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center.

Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower, will visit campus on Thursday, October 3 to speak about her short stories and upcoming novel, The Hundred-Year House. Williston will welcome National Book Award finalist, Patricia McCormick author of Sold and Purple Heart on Monday, October 7. Elinor Lipman, parent of a Williston alumnus and author of such novels as The View from Penthouse B and Then She Found Me, will return to campus on Tuesday, November 5. Poet and former Mount Holyoke College professor Mary Jo Salter will conclude the series with her talk on Monday, November 11.

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