The all-school community life program held on Tuesday featured a clear and distinct message: take care of others in the community and also take time out for oneself. No doubt the middle of February at a boarding school in New England is the right time for such a message—the once white snow banks have been replaced by a palette of browns and grays, and single digit temperatures in the morning test even the halest among us. So it was inspiring to see students and faculty participating in workshops (called play shops for this occasion) aimed at having some fun: from yoga, to hip hop, to coffee tasting, our students joined with faculty for a morning break in class day routine. As I consider the rhythms of the calendar year, these last few weeks prior to spring recess call on our inner reserves, but the magic of Williston’s community is that we are here for one another.
Participating in my first Diversity Conference at Williston was a thrilling experience and made me feel extraordinarily proud of our community. “Be the Change You Want to See in the World”—the theme for the all school event on January 27—featured guest presenters as well as leaders from our own ranks of students, faculty, and staff. We were treated to an opening speech from John Kawie (Class of 1968) who elicited laughter and awe as he recounted his personal journey to the heights of the NYC stand-up comedy scene. Overcoming a traumatic stroke, Mr. Kawie’s determination and courage allowed him to continue with his passion of comedic performance.
The myriad seminars hosted by teachers, staff, students, alumni, and a broad array of talented visitors were enthusiastically attended and unquestionably effective—we were all jolted or cajoled into seeing the world a bit differently. Ask any attendee what she thought of the final dance performance by world-acclaimed Ghanaian dancer Nani Kwashi Agbeli of Woezo and you will surely get a vivid reply. For those wanting to see more of this day, walk through the Reed Campus Center and see the portraits of our community produced by Ed Hing’s photography students or view photos of the workshops, keynote, and closing performance on Flickr.