Category Archives: Student Life

Student Short Story Garners Scholastic Praise

Sophia Schaefer’s Sailing Tale Earns an Honorable Mention in Boston Globe Scholastic Contest
Photo courtesy of Sophia Schaefer
Photo courtesy of Sophia Schaefer

“’Up from the meadows rich with corn, clear in the cool September morn, the clustered spires of Frederick stand, green walled by the hills of Maryland.’ My grandfather muttered this as the race horn sounded.”

So begins ninth grader Sophia Schaefer’s tale of wind and weather, of relationships that run as deep as an ocean current, and of charting your own course—even if no one (or everyone) is following you.

Originally created as an assignment for her Williston Northampton humanities class last spring, Ms. Schaefer’s short story, “Great Day for a Race,” was recently recognized by the Boston Globe Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, where it received an honorable mention. The Boston contest is the regional division of a national program that recognizes creative middle and high school students.

Ms. Schaefer’s fictional story, which was based on an interview with her grandmother, was among 20,000 submissions, including 1,750 written pieces, from more than 8,000 students, according to the Boston Globe.

English teacher Doug Niedzwecki said Ms. Schaefer’s story had stood out for its balance of detail and authentic voice.

“I do recall clearly how well Sophia integrated the emotional feeling of how memorable and meaningful the past can be as seen through another’s eyes,” he wrote in an email. “’Great Day For a Race’ is an exceptional short story, and I am especially happy that Sophia enjoyed the writing process so much.”

Read “Great Day for a Race” here.

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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