Category Archives: Academics

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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Academic Awards 2015

Photo by Josh Seamon

Students and faculty assembled on the Quad on Saturday afternoon to celebrate what Head of School Robert W. Hill III described as “the essence of our lives at Williston: academic accomplishments” during the annual Academic Awards Ceremony.

“Hard work, persistence, resilience, determination, integrity—whether in the classroom or in an extra-curricular pursuit—are traits that should always be praised and will take you far in life,” Mr. Hill said during his opening remarks. “This year teemed with incredible intellectual and creative accomplishments generated by students all year long—often outside of the public gaze.”

The academic awards ceremony began with Peter Valine, Williston’s Dean of Faculty, recognize and sharing thoughts about the departing faculty. Mr. Hill III noted, “Each year there are faculty that move on from Williston and we are diminished by that.” He commended the school’s teachers, who he described as  “unique in my experience in the ends to which they go to advise, mentor, listen, and support their students.”

Read the full text of Mr. Hill’s speech here.

Awards Quick List

Visual and Performing Arts
Additional Awards
School Awards

Spring Athletic Awards (presented May 22, 2014)
Cum Laude Inductees (presented January 16, 2015 and May 24, 2015)

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Two Williston Students Named National Merit Finalists

Emily R. Peirent and Callum S. Poulin were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation
Photo by Dennis Crommett

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced this week that two Williston Northampton School seniors have been selected as National Merit finalists.

Emily R. Peirent and Callum S. Poulin had been named semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program in September. The finalist designation means that they are now eligible for a merit scholarship, which will be announced this spring.

Mr. Poulin has received awards in boys junior varsity skiing and Latin; Ms. Peirent received the Asahel Lyman Williston prize in English last year, a commendation for her work on The Log, and was inducted into the Cum Laude Society this fall.

For receiving the finalist designation, Ms. Peirent and Mr. Poulin will be honored during an Upper School assembly on February 18 and will be presented with certificates of merit.

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Mark Franczyk ’00 to Speak at Cum Laude Ceremony

Photo - Franczyk, MarkAn alumnus who decided to pursue his passion in dramatic fashion will be the guest speaker at the school’s Cum Laude induction ceremony on Friday, January 16, at 8:30 a.m. in the Phillips Stevens Chapel.

Mark Franczyk ’00 spent a decade working as a banker with the financial powerhouse J.P. Morgan. After taking a job as an internal consultant, Mr. Franczyk quickly rose to assistant vice president in the company’s Treasury & Securities Services and then as an analyst in the Investment Banking Division.

While Mr. Franczyk was involved in what he described as “a multitude of M&A and capital-raising transactions, including the largest U.S. equity deal in history,” he also had decided that the banking industry was not a good fit. According to his biography, he “began to more aggressively pursue his interests in the culinary world—interests that had always been simmering during his time as a banker.”

By 2014, Mr. Franczyk had enrolled in culinary school, started a food blog (, and began interning in some of the top kitchens in the country. He now works as a pastry cook for the Alta Marea Group, Chef Michael White’s Michelin Star winning group of restaurants, which include Marea, Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini and Costata.

The following are the names of the 14 inductees—all seniors who have excelled academically:

Lena Gandevia
Margaret Glick
Emily Grussing
Cameron Hill
Umi Keezing
Dong Ho Kim
Katelin Murray
Emily Peirent
Loren Po
Mackenzie Possee
Matthew Steinberg
Cade Zawacki
Yiting Zhang

The Cum Laude Society, founded in 1906 and modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, honors scholastic achievement in secondary schools. The society has 382 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.

New Faculty Bring New Sense of Community

Williston welcomes 12 newcomers to campus

10557428463_4385727194_zThe dozen members of the incoming faculty are not only joining a thriving community at the Williston Northampton School, they’re bringing an even stronger sense of community with them. Some of the new faculty members have spouses already at Williston; others are coming with their families to live and work at the school.

“It’s a fairly diverse group, but there are common themes,” said Dean of Faculty Peter Valine of the 12 new faculty members. “One thing that’s common to all of them, and this doesn’t always happen with each rookie class, is that they’ll all be living on campus.”

Mr. Valine said that having the new faculty both work and live at the school will create deep community connections—especially since so many of the faculty have had experience at other independent schools.

“All of them bring enthusiasm and excitement,” he said. “It’s like this infusion of energy and ideas that I think is incredibly exciting for the school.”

Meet the new faculty for 2014-15:

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