Williston’s New Faculty Form Tight Bond

When the 13 new faculty members arrived on campus this year, Dean of Faculty Peter Valine was pleased to see how quickly the group came together. Not only were they highly educated (six have master’s degrees), and dedicated (nine will live on campus to work with the residential program), but they got along. In fact, they established a rapport right from the start, he said.

“Through their orientation process they created an exceptionally tight bond,” Mr. Valine said.  “They supported each other through the orientation program, and really seemed to enjoy each other’s company.”

In a group “distinguished by a true passion for education,” Mr. Valine said he expected the math department to particularly benefit. Three of the new faculty members will be math teachers, including Josh Seamon, the new math department head.

Meet the new faculty for 2013-14:

Carey Baldwin (Math) – Ms. Baldwin joins Williston—and returns to the Pioneer Valley—after teaching and tutoring for the last 10 years in California, and most recently Washington state. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with a BA in Physics and Environmental Science. Ms. Baldwin will teach math, and will also be a coach and advisor. Ms. Baldwin and her husband, Brent Visser, will live on campus with their sons Quinn and Sam.

Kate Biddiscombe (English) – Ms. Biddiscombe joins Williston after completing a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also has a master’s in English Literature from the Breadloaf School of English, and she is a graduate of Colby College with a BA in English and American Studies. Ms. Biddiscombe worked for five years at Choate Rosemary Hall. She will teach English, coach, advise, and live on campus.

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173rd Convocation at the Williston Northampton School

The Williston Northampton School will ring in its 173rd year with a Convocation ceremony on Monday, September 16 at 5:00 p.m. This year’s distinguished speaker, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan will address the crowd of honored guests, students, faculty and staff, community members, and friends of the school. Mr. Sullivan is the parent of two Williston graduates.

Mr. Sullivan was elected to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office in November 2010 and began his term in January of the following year. He has been an attorney for more than 25 years, serving 17 years as a trial attorney and advocate. He has handled thousands of criminal and civil cases and tried cases in Superior, District, Juvenile, and Military courts.

In 2008, Mr. Sullivan was one of two Massachusetts lawyers chosen to receive the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s President’s Award for “extraordinary volunteerism, leadership, and commitment to increasing access to justice in Massachusetts.”

Following Mr. Sullivan’s speech, the student body president, Madeleine Stern ’14, will speak and then lead everyone in the singing of the alma mater, “O Williston.”

The event will be held on the quad in front of Reed Campus Center. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Athletic Center.

Watch the event live at www.williston.com/live.
The annual Senior Dinner will be held after the ceremony in the Birch Dining Commons where guest speaker Sara Delano Collins ’98 will address the senior class and faculty. Ms. Collins graduated from the University of Denver and is now a Senior Product Management Consultant at File & ServeXpress, a division of LexisNexis.

An All-American in Every Way: Karly Simpson ’13

“We were tied with less than a minute left and I had a free position shot,” recalled Karly Simpson ’13 of a home game against Suffield she played in as a seventh grader. “At the time I didn’t think it was a lot of pressure, but I did my little bounce shot, and it went in and it was crazy.”

The South Hadley native has been playing lacrosse since third grade and this is still Ms. Simpson’s favorite lacrosse memory. She was a member of the varsity team at the time, a very rare achievement for a seventh grader. “Karly was one of the best skilled kids out there right from the start…and grew to be one of our top players pretty quickly,” explained Jen Fulcher, the head girls varsity lacrosse coach.

This year Ms. Simpson co-captained the girls varsity lacrosse team to an undefeated season (15-0), Ms. Simpson was named both All-American and Academic All-American by U.S. Lacrosse. In addition, with her fellow co-captain, Amanda Cronin ’13, Ms. Simpson was awarded the Alumnae Bowl, a Williston Northampton award for the highest achieving female athlete. Continue reading

Academic Awards 2013

“The achievements we honor today are not measured in hundredths of seconds or in won loss records,” Head of School Robert W. Hill III told students and teachers during the annual Academic Awards Ceremony on May 25. Read the full text of Mr. Hill’s welcome here.

“But they do have in common with their athletic counterparts, Purpose and Passion and Integrity,” he said. “It takes really hard work to be good at something—doing good well is not easy no matter what the venue.”

Watch the full ceremony or see the list of award winners below.

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Cortina ’09 wins Student Academy Award

Production still courtesy of "Bottled Up"

When he first read the email last week, Rafael “Raffy” Cortina ’09 thought it was a prank. He had submitted his senior project, a short film entitled “Bottled Up,” to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but wasn’t expecting to hear back so quickly.

“The announcement came a week early and caught me off guard,” Mr. Cortina said.

What the email announced was that Mr. Cortina’s senior project for Occidental College, a short film called “Bottled Up,” had won a 2013 Student Academy Award—the first such prize for either an Occidental student or Williston Northampton alumnus.

Mr. Cortina was among 16 student winners in five different categories. The filmmakers will find out how they placed during a ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on June 8, when they will be awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals.

Created for his senior comprehensive project, Mr. Cortina’s film had a $3,000 budget, a 14-minute running time, and 15 shots that involved green screens. Despite his financial limitations and a tight, two-day shooting schedule, Mr. Cortina said the whole production went “relatively smoothly.”

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