Category Archives: Student Life

Rebecca Makkai: The Distance Needed to Write a Story

RM-Blog-2“Fiction becomes interesting when a line is crossed,” said author Rebecca Makkai during the first public lecture of the 16th Annual Writers’ Workshop on October 3.

In her lecture Ms. Makkai addressed how she came up with the idea for her award-winning first novel, The Borrower, which is centered on the relationship between rebellious librarian Lucy Hall and 10-year-old book lover Ian Drake, whose parents are forcing him to attend weekly anti-gay classes. Kidnapping, followed by a road trip from Missouri to Vermont, and references to classic children’s texts are all facets of the plot in Ms. Makkai’s novel. Continue reading

Green Team Brings Composting to Campus

Kevin Martin pushed back the lid on the giant blue dumpster and stepped aside, letting a handful of students peer at a small mound of lemon rinds, lettuce leaves, broken eggshells, and brown paper bags.

“All of this is generated from the dining hall. It doesn’t come from anywhere else on campus,” said Martin, The Williston Northampton School’s director of dining services.

“Wow! That’s great!” exclaimed one of the students.

The students, members of the school’s Sustainable Life Club, were touring the school’s new compost system, which included the dumpster—a large example of the reduce, reuse, recycle motto they try to embody.

Although school officials have considered composting the waste from the dining hall for several years, it took a final push from these students to make the effort a reality. The new compost bin was installed in early January; on a cold Monday, club members admired the squishy results of their hard work.

The idea of collecting compost on a larger scale first occurred to Nick Pattison ’14 while he was working with the school’s community garden last year. The garden has two compost bins, which garden club members fill with prep scraps from the dining hall.

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Bend it Like…Parker?

Bend it Like…Parker?

She’s been called the traffic controller, the distributor, a worker bee, and the cog of the girls varsity soccer team wheel.

(C) Matthew Cavanaugh

A junior from Amherst, MA, Gia Parker has been playing the game since she was five.  Parker, who has worked very hard to improve her game over the past two seasons, says the trait that has stuck with her throughout the years, and countless practices, is discipline.

“I take good care of my body, I eat well and I have learned good habits,” she said.  “It’s something that I’ve worked really hard at. It didn’t always come easily.“

Monique Conroy is Parker’s advisor, Algebra II teacher, and coach, and has enjoyed watching her advisee develop, both on and off the field.

“Gia came in as a freshman and became a starter at the key position on the field,” said Conroy, adding that that was true even though an older player played ahead of Parker.

In subsequent years, explained Conroy, Parker continued to improve her game, her physical strength, and her endurance.

“She is the fittest girl on the team; nobody will ever question that,” said Conroy.

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On Being A Car Headlight: Backstage at Rumors


Emily Sillars ’15 doesn’t have the most glamorous job in the Rumors cast. If she’s very good at it, no one in the audience will even know she’s there—her small part will simply weave another thread in the magic cloth of the play.

When stage manager Minh Do ’13 tells her the cue through a headset—cue five, or six, or 12—Sillars tips a giant light mounted on a pole and spins it toward the stage windows.

“To me, it just looks like this,” says the soft-spoken Sillars, and she spins the light toward the windows. During the show, the beam plays across the interior of a sophisticated New York mansion. Or at least that’s what it looks like to the audience. From Sillars’ perch backstage, all she can see is an unfinished wall, full of exposed joists and beams.

“I can’t tell what it looks like at all,” Sillars says, adding with a gesture at the room beyond, “It all works together and makes this place.”

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Blue Flag, Green Flag

Photo by Paul Schaittacher

Every Sunday around noon, shortly after he starts his shift, security officer Bob Carey climb up a step ladder outside of Reed and changes a brightly colored flag from blue to green or back again.

There are no symbols on the flag, no images or words, but for students and faculty at The Williston Northampton School, the block of color that flies from the Reed Campus Center is an important reminder of the week ahead.

“I haven’t heard anyone say that it has saved them yet, but that’s the hope,” said Associate Head of School Jeff Ketcham. “Whether it will solve anything I don’t know, but it’s got to help.”

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