Category Archives: Academics

Williston Inducts 12 into Cum Laude Society

Photo by Joanna Chattman
Photo by Joanna Chattman

The Williston Northampton School chapter of the Cum Laude Society inducted 12 members from the Class of 2016 during its Commencement ceremony on May 29, 2016.

The Cum Laude Society, founded in 1906 and modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, honors scholastic achievement in secondary schools.  The society has more than 350 chapters, with the majority 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.

The following students were inducted during the ceremony under a tent on the Quad:

Yuwei Cao
Alexander Fay
Beatrice Fogleman
Justin Frometa
Zongzhe Li  (Kevin)
Ysabella Luikart
Jasmin Movassaghi
Dimitra Sierros
Tara Sullivan
Isabelle Tegtmeyer
Ta-Lian Tin (Vivian)
Sofia Triana


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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A Cochlear Lesson for AP Psych

The Walters family provides a hands-on component to a unit on sensation and perception
Photo by Dennis Crommett

Four-year-old Jackson walked patiently around the AP psychology class, holding one of the devices that makes him so special and letting the Williston Northampton School students gently touch his head.

On the floor, his two-year-old brother, Chase, played with stuffed toys, while at the front of the room, his mother, Corinne Walters, explained to the class the process both boys had gone through while learning to use their cochlear implants.

“When it first got activated, he was in tears for days,” Ms. Walters said of Jackson. “Shoes walking on the floor were freaking him out. Silverware freaked out Chase.”

On Friday afternoon, Ms. Walters and her sons, both of whom were born deaf and have been gradually adjusting to life with implants, were in class to provide a hands-on component to a unit on sensation and perception.

Photo by Dennis Crommett

Students in the psychology class leaned over their desks to ask questions about the implants as the boys played and doodled on the white board.

The visit was a serendipitous one. Since Williston Northampton science teachers Amber Rodgers and Christina Berghoff share a classroom, when Ms. Rodgers left the words “cochlear implant” on the white board after her lesson, Ms. Berghoff spotted the note and mentioned that she had both previously worked with deaf students and was still helping to assist the Walters family.

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Academically Outstanding Students Honored

Three dozen academically outstanding students were honored at the Williston Northampton Upper School assembly on October 7. Academic Dean Greg Tuleja presented kudos and certificates to the students, who achieved distinction on either advanced placement or National Merit Scholarship qualifying tests.

AP exams, which test students’ ability to take the equivalent of an introductory-level college course, take place in May and are graded on a scale of 1 (no recommendation) to 5 (extremely well qualified). The AP scholars were recognized for their performance on all such tests they’ve taken previously at Williston. Senior Tanmay Khale achieved the highest award, National AP Scholar, for scoring 4 and higher on more than eight exams.

The following students were recognized during the assembly:

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Commencement 2015: Senior Awards

On May 24, during the 174th Commencement ceremonies, Associate Head of School Jeffrey W. Ketcham recognized outstanding members of the senior class for their athletic and academic achievements.

“We have had an exciting week as we have celebrated many student accomplishments and appreciated the results of the passion and creativity of their endeavors during the school year,” Mr. Ketcham said. “While we could not possibly recount every awesome outcome of this very talented student body, I am honored to share with you the most notable of those accomplishments and recognize overall distinction among the class of 2015.”

Seniors had been honored during the annual Athletic Awards Assembly on Friday, May 22. Mr. Ketcham asked these incredibly talented athletes to again stand and be recognized. First, he called upon the 24 seniors who received the Blanket Award, which recognizes seniors who have participated on a team every season during their junior and senior year (or students who missed only one season during either their freshman or sophomore year, if they been at Williston for more than two years).

Mr. Ketcham also recognized the two Senior Athletic Awards, given to the outstanding young man and young woman for “general excellence in athletics, with emphasis on good sportsmanship, and helpful spirit.”

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