Williston’s Head Athletic Trainer Rob Kearney stands out in a crowd. He sports a lizard-like Mohawk haircut and a bright pink tie. He exudes confidence and strength. And that’s because he’s strong. He’s one of the world’s strongest men, having appeared on televised “World’s Strongest Man” competitions and having pulled busses and airplanes and having deadlifted 925 pounds. Here’s his WSM profile.
During an all-school assembly on Oct. 18, Kearney told the Williston community his story with insight and good humor. In high school, he was an athlete and a weight-lifter. He was in a band. He was a really good cheerleader (he was even recruited by Division I schools for his cheerleading abilities). He dated girls. It seemed the perfect high school existence. But something was not right. Continue reading →
On a cool evening on September 15, students, faculty, and guests gathered on the quad to formally kick off Williston’s 177th year.
Keynote speaker Dr. Beverly Tatum, a former trustee and parent of Williston graduates from the classes of 2000 and 2004, initiated a conversation about the uncomfortable history of race in this country that she argued must be faced and fixed. The author of the much-studied and recently rereleased book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race,” Dr. Tatum also has led Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college in Atlanta, and Mount Holyoke College. The text of her speech is here. Continue reading →
Dena Simmons had some hard-earned advice for teachers: consider the backstory of each student in your class. From her childhood in the Bronx, NY, to boarding school in Connecticut, to a successful career in higher education, Simmons, who leads the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, brought her personal narrative to a recent faculty meeting. She shared difficult boarding school memories: a teacher publicly correcting her diction; walking into a dorm room and seeing the resident guarding valuables in Simmons’ presence; and being asked, “Where are you from? No, where are you from from?” She said she didn’t fit in at school but eventually absorbed the cultural rules.
On April 21, 2017, Williston will take part in a nationally recognized event called DayofSilence. According to GLSEN, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights in K-12 schools, DayofSilence is a student-led national event organized in thousands of schools, bringing awareness to the silencing effects ofanti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ.
Set aside the descriptors—gay, black, southern, Christian, preacher—and Reverend Erik Taylor Doctor’s message is one of simple and pure inclusion: we are all different, but we all share common bonds.
However, those undeniable identifiers of his character are exactly what brought the Williston community together during his Why Not Speak? Day February 22 assembly, and helped make his message—a sound, sweet one—resonate so strongly.