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.
Ann Blair Laupheimer Sonnenfeld ’75, a corporate litigator, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Cum Laude induction ceremony on Friday, January 6.
Ms. Sonnenfeld attended Williston for two years as a boarding student, earning induction into Cum Laude in her senior year. After graduating from Williston, she earned a BA from Princeton University in 1979, and a JD summa cum laude from University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1984.
Ms. Sonnenfeld has gone on to a distinguished career in corporate and commercial litigation as a partner at Blank Rome LLP in Philadelphia. For the past six years, Ms. Sonnenfeld has been chair of the Board of Trustees of Agnes Irwin School, an all-girls independent school in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. She has served as chair of the Federal Courts Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and was appointed by U.S. Senators Toomey and Casey to serve on the judicial selection committee to fill six vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The following members of the Class of 2017 will be inducted into Williston Northampton’s Cum Laude Society:
Sima Gandevia of Hadley, MA
Zi Dong Gao of Beijing, China
Jin Young Lee of Seoul, Korea
Soma Mizobuchi of Kobe, Japan
Tomasz Paluchowski of Springfield, MA
Zachary Robbins of Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
Jordan Sansone of Hanover, NH
Shengfu Shen of Tianjin, China
Jiaying Tang of Shanghai, China
Anna Wilinsky of Florence, MA
Emily Yeager of Easthampton, MA
Molly Zawacki of Easthampton, MA
Inducted students and their parents will be invited to attend a reception immediately following the 8:30 a.m. assembly at the home of Head of School Bob and Kathryn Hill.
The Cum Laude Society, founded in 1906 and modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, honors scholastic achievement in secondary scholars. The society has over 350 chapters, the majority of which are in independent schools. In 1921, Williston Academy became a member of the society, followed by Northampton School for Girls in 1951. In 1971, a new charter was created for the Williston Northampton School.
In the bleak midwinter there’s something uplifting about coming together to sing and play music. And that’s just what will happen in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on Friday, January 20, at 7 p.m. when Williston brings back a tradition of an evening of song for the Winter Warmer Concert.
Student singing groups, instrumental groups, and solo musicians will present traditional and contemporary tunes for the extended Easthampton community. All are welcome, and admission is by donation. Proceeds will be used to buy cots and blankets for the Easthampton Community Center. See the Facebook event here.
Williston Northampton School donated bedding to the Easthampton Community Center last week, a donation that, according to the center’s executive director Robin Bialecki, will impact many local families.
“We serve around 1,100 families, so around 3,500 people use our services each week,” she said. “Everyone’s trying to keep the heat down, so having an extra blanket really helps.”
Ann Truehart and Loretta Gougeon of the Williston Advancement Office packed and delivered four SUV-loads of 144 pillows, 117 blankets, and 55 bedspreads to the center. “They were gratefully received. We can’t thank Williston enough for thinking of us,” Bialecki said.
Bialecki said she was able to send eight sets of pillows and blankets to the cot shelter at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Easthampton. She’s also been offering one set to each family who visits the center, and predicted she will run out by the end of the week. “It’s delightful to see this donation affecting so many,” she said.
When eight members of the Williston Community Service Club recently volunteered to prepare and serve meals for those in need at Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke, one student learned something deeper about what it means to lack resources. Emily Yeager ’17 has been a member of the club since her freshman year and co-president since her sophomore year. “At Kate’s Kitchen, they are busiest at the end of the month,” she said. “People are typically paid early in the month and don’t come into the kitchen until the end of the month when the remainder of their paycheck can’t provide for them.”
As the day progressed and the simmering began, she also learned, “Sugar is a good addition to tomato sauce!”
Kate’s Kitchen is branch of Providence Ministries Network, whose mission is to feed, clothe, and house the poor of the Holyoke community. Its volunteers have served approximately one million meals since it was founded in 1980. Holyoke’s citizens face poverty at nearly three times the rate as those in the rest of the Commonwealth.
Kathleen M. Burke, director of community development, described Williston’s students as a “kind, selfless, energetic crew,” adding that they represented their school with flying colors.
Along with Emily, these students volunteered: Rachel Goodman ’20, Sahnet Ramirez ’20, Keyu Lu ’20, Jake Goodman ’19, Simon Kim ’19, Sarah Markey ’22, and Grace Quisenberry ’17.
The Community Service Club has more activities planned for the remainder of the year, according to Yeager. Between Thanksgiving and winter vacations, it will host its third annual food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. It will be running the food drive as a competition among grades, and the winning team will receive a dress-down day, a coveted prize at Williston.
“Once we return from winter break, the Community Service Club will volunteer in the local community,” Yeager said. “Typical volunteer trips are to the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, Riverside Industries in Easthampton, Habitat for Humanity, and the Easthampton Community Center.”
In the spring it will be running its second blood drive on the heels of a recent drive that drew 40 donors, enough to save 120 lives. “We are hoping to bring more opportunities to give back to the Williston community this year,” Yeager said.