As he stepped to the podium for Williston Northampton School’s 173rd Convocation, Head of School Robert W. Hill III pulled a cell phone from his pocket. With the school community looking forward to a year of new technology, it was only appropriate that Mr. Hill kick off the ceremonial beginning with what he described as a “reverse selfie.”
Mr. Hill turned his phone toward his audience and took a quick panorama of the assembled students in their formal jackets and dresses. The students waved and smiled.
In thinking about the upcoming year, Mr. Hill said he was reminded of another modern wonder: the Panama Canal. Mr. Hill said there was a metaphor in the human ingenuity, colossal machines, and transnational cooperation that each canal passage required.
As an eighth grader, Olivia Foster was looking for a challenge. Then she came across the Congressional Award online—a national program where students can earn medals for completing tasks in areas such as public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration—and her path became clear. Now a junior, Ms. Foster will be awarded the highest youth award in the program, the gold medal, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in June.
Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to “recognize initiative, achievement, and service in young people,” the Congressional Medal program is open to American citizens aged 14 to 23 years old. Participants can earn bronze, silver, and gold certificates, or bronze, silver, and gold medals.
In order to qualify for the award, participants must complete a number of hours in four areas: Personal Development, Volunteer Public Service, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
He repositioned his feet in front of the camera, adjusted the button in his three-piece suit, and after a couple deep breaths raised his eyes to the camera and spoke.
“Bonsoir a vous, messieurs, mesdames et diplomes…”
(Read his full speech here.)
On Saturday, October 13, 2012 Gabriel Archambault ’14 was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving the highest GPA in his class at Collège Saint-Paul de Varennes in Varennes, Québec. Since Archambault was at Williston at the time the prize was awarded he recorded a video of his acceptance speech and sent it to Collège Saint-Paul de Varennes.