On a cool gray Sunday, as the rain held off, 124 students graduated from the Williston Northampton School during its 176th Commencement exercises. Graduates, their classmates, faculty, families, trustees, and special guests gathered on May 28, 2017, under a white tent on the Quad to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2017. (See the video here.) (See photos here.)
Head of School Robert W. Hill III presided over the event by comparing graduating high school to a much-watched YouTube video of a sea lion pulling a toddler into the sea (the toddler, and her dad, who rescued her, were fine). (Read his amusing—and poignant—remarks here.) Mr. Hill also introduced his mentor from his Middlebury College days, keynote speaker John McCardell Jr., the vice-chancellor of The University of the South and president emeritus of Middlebury College. Continue reading →
In the next few days seniors and underclassmen alike will gather for annual ceremonies in which people march around in strange clothes, ring bells, and so on. Some of what we do is easily explained. We process to Highland bagpipes because back in the 1950s, Headmaster Phillips Stevens liked pipe bands. Some is less obvious, but believe it or not, there is meaning to all of this.
There are two main events: Baccalaureate and Commencement. Baccalaureate – the name has nothing to do with the Roman god Bacchus; rather it is from the same root as the word “bachelor,” from medieval times when young men, on the evening before they became knights, kept an all-night prayer vigil in church. So the Baccalaureate service, while not especially religious here at secular Williston, is a serious event concerning our seniors’ transition to adulthood. I’ve been asked why graduation, the final moment of the school year, is called “Commencement.” There was a popular cliché in the seventies that actually applies here. Seniors: Sunday will be the first day of the rest of your lives.Continue reading →
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.
You may have noticed some new faces in the Dining Commons recently. Joining Assistant Food Service Director Chris Couchon is a friendly and experienced new leadership team that will be making sure all our meals and functions on campus are terrific.
Food Service Director Jim Grimaldi has been in management and operations for 33 years, including at Springfield College. He’s an avid cyclist, riding more than 1,100 miles last summer! And he loves pan seared scallops. Can you blame him? Continue reading →
Hold on to your Samuel Williston top hats! This year’s Founders Day is shaping up to be even bigger and better than last year’s: If 500 donors make a gift to the Williston Northampton Fund or Parents’ Fund on February 22, a group of anonymous donors is going to give the school $50,000.
The day, which is a way to honor the founding of Williston Academy by Samuel and Emily Williston, as well as the Northampton School for Girls by Sarah Whitaker and Dorothy Bement, kicked off last year to celebrate the school’s 175th anniversary.