Category Archives: Williston Northampton News

Williston Welcomes Three to Food Service Team

Jim Grimaldi, food service director
Jim Grimaldi, Food Service Director

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?

Patrick Shannon
Patrick Shannon, Executive Chef

Executive Chef Patrick Shannon has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. He was chef manager at Mount Holyoke College and enjoys golf, photography, and hiking. Cooking short ribs is right up his alley.

Rebecca Chace
Rebecca Chace, Assistant Food Service Director, Catering

Rebecca Chace, assistant food service director/catering, has worked at Elms College and Western New England University. As an executive meeting manager, she planned and executed company meetings for hotels. She enjoys gardening, and is a fan of pizza.

Assistant Food Service Director Chris Couchon
Assistant Food Service Director Chris Couchon

And let’s not forget Chef Chris, who many regard as a rock star (and they’d be right!), who has spent 20 years in the food industry, including a few years spent on the road as a “carny” operating an independent food concession stand, and working for three years under Chef Casey Douglas of Galaxy at the now-closed but wonderful Apollo Grill. He was hired as a cook for Williston in 2004 and has been here ever since, working his way out of his chef whites and into a shirt and tie.

Go team!

Founders Day Challenge: 500 Donations in 24 Hours

founders-2017-video (1)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.

During the challenge, alumni throughout the world will be asked to consider what they “found” during their time at Williston. A love of football? A best friend? The best teacher they ever had? The perfect slice of pizza at Antonio’s? Whatever they choose, alumni can then print out this sign, fill it in, and take a selfie to post on social media, tagging #FoundersDay1841.

Last year, the challenge was a dramatic success. “Over the course of 24 hours, 528 donors contributed a total of $150,000 to Williston Northampton School,” says Director of Advancement, Patrick J. Burke. “We know we can top last year’s participation in this day of giving.”

To find out more about the Founders Day challenge, check out our website at And on February 22, stay tuned to social media and follow our progress!

Athletes LOVE to Read

Williston student athletes discuss literature with an elementary school student.
Ana Weed and Cody Cavanagh discuss literature with an Maple Elementary School student.

Easthampton’s Maple Elementary School was abuzz with the sounds of stories Wednesday night when athletes from high schools and colleges around the Valley gathered to read to school-age children.

Students read the classics, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Olivia, and Ferdinand, as well as more recent titles and nonfiction (Trucks).

For the past six years, Williston student athletes have participated in Easthampton’s Athletes LOVE to Read program at Maple Elementary. The program, organized by the Easthampton Public Schools, reinforces the idea that reading is an important part of living and learning, and that it is available to all. Matthew Sawyer, English teacher and baseball coach, organizes Williston’s participation in the program, and said the students who participated represented the school well. They are:

Fiona Bundy ’18
Chris Espinal’ 17
Cody Cavanagh ’17
Madison Fulcher-Melendy ‘18
Gabriela Jones ’18
Ian Ostberg ’17
Ana Weed ’18

Why Not Speak? Day Is Williston’s Day of Reflection

Why-Not-Speak-posterOn February 22, Williston will host its first Why Not Speak? (or WNS) Day. The community will gather to speak about our differences and similarities through the lens of varying perspectives, lifestyles, races, ethnicities, familial backgrounds, religions, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, cultures, gender identities, etc.

“It is a day to speak truthfully, listen intently, learn modestly, and engage respectfully,” according to Erin Davey, director of inclusion, who organized the event.

This year’s theme is “Changing the Narrative.” Assembly speaker Rev. Eric Taylor Doctor, author of the book Unapologetically ME: Living Truth, will kick off the day. We will then host about 30 workshops, ranging from body image to sexual assault to racism. We’ll also welcome teen book author Lisa Papademetriou, author of Discover Yourself–and Others–in a Good Book (or Fifty), who will speak about the importance of diverse books in schools; a local all-male theater troupe called Phallacies, who will speak to our male identified students about sexual abuse; and Sydney Satchell, who will run a workshop called Celebrate your Journey.

Coverage of 2017 Cum Laude Society Induction

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

The Williston Northampton School inducted 12 students into the Cum Laude Society on January 6 in a ceremony in the Phillips Stevens Chapel. Corporate litigator Ann Laupheimer Sonnenfeld ’75 gave the keynote address.

Read about Ms. Sonnenfeld and see the names of the 12 inductees here.

Read Ms. Sonnenfeld’s address here.

See photos of the event here.

See a video of the ceremony here.

Read a story in Springfield’s online newspaper, MassLive, about local inductees here.

Congratulations to the 12 inductees!