Stories and updates from around campus

Williston Cum Laude Society to Induct 12 New Students

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.

Ann (Blair) Laupheimer Sonnenb
Ann Blair Laupheimer Sonnenfeld ’75

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.

Winter Warmer Concert Revives Williston Tradition

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-11-09-44-amIn 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 Donates Rescue Boat to City of Easthampton

Fire Chief Mottor, Williston CFO Charles McCullagh, Easthampton Mayor Karen Cadieux, Williston Head of School Robert W. Hill III, and Police Chief Robert Alberti
Fire Chief David Mottor, Williston CFO Charles McCullagh, Easthampton Mayor Karen Cadieux, Williston Head of School Robert W. Hill III, and Police Chief Robert Alberti

The City of Easthampton is scheduled to accept a gift of a rescue boat from the Williston Northampton School at a Dec. 21 City Council meeting. The equipment replaces an aluminum boat that dated to before 1953, according to Fire Chief David Mottor.

Mayor Karen Cadieux said she and representatives from Williston had been in discussions about a capital gift to the city that the school could make. “This is the perfect item. It serves the police department, the fire department, Williston, and the entire city of Easthampton,” she said. “We’re thrilled to see our community working together.”

The new craft is a 14-foot Defender 430 Zodiac-style inflatable with a 25-horsepower outboard motor and a hard hull. The design makes rescuing much easier, Mottor said. The older boat, which was not designed as a rescue vehicle, has high sides, making it difficult to pull people out of the water, and increasing the risk of injury to the rescuer, Mottor said.

The old aluminum boat and its newer replacement
The pre-1953 aluminum boat and its replacement

“The new boat has a lower profile, it’s lighter, and it can be brought to the water’s edge anywhere. We don’t have to use the boat launch, which will reduce our response time,” he said. The police and fire departments undertake rescue, enforcement, and spill-response activities in Nashawannuck Pond, in the Oxbow of the Connecticut River, and on the Manhan River. Mottor said the new boat with a bigger motor will allow a crew to pull oil spill response equipment, such as booms, through a stronger current.

Police Chief Robert Alberti said the boat fills a need when the department engages in enforcement and rescue activities. “We’ve had to ask to borrow a boat to render services,” he said, adding. “We look forward to using the boat for the betterment of the community.”

Williston Chief Financial Officer Charles McCullagh, who, along with Head of School Robert W. Hill III, worked with the city to identify a donation that would best serve the community, delivered the craft to the fire department on the morning of Dec. 20. McCullagh, Hill, Mayor Cadieux, Chief Mottor, and Chief Alberti posed for photos next to the old and new boats.

“Our public safety professionals need quality equipment to do their jobs well, and we are proud to support their efforts,” Hill said.

McCullagh added, “Williston works to be a good partner for the town of Easthampton, and we are happy to support its rescue operations by providing this equipment.”

Donation of Bedding Helps Easthampton Needy Families

Williston's Ann Truehart and Easthampton Community Center Executive Director Robin Bialecki with a lot of bedding
Williston’s Ann Truehart and Easthampton Community Center Executive Director Robin Bialecki with the bedding donation

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.

Williston Student Presents $2,750 Donation to Riverside Industries

Nisa Zalta and Char Gentes of Riverside Industries address a student assembly
Nisa Zalta and Char Gentes of Riverside Industries address a school-wide assembly

At an assembly on November 29, student council president Natalie Aquadro ’17 presented a donation of $2,750 to two representatives of Riverside Industries. Students then got to hear about an organization based near the school’s campus in Easthampton that for 48 years has been working for adults with developmental disabilities.

Char Gentes, president and CEO, and Nisa Zalta, director of community relations, projected a series of photographs of clients at their jobs, and enjoying programming including music, art, farming, and yoga. They spoke to students about how adults of all abilities have the right to work, volunteer, learn, and play.

“When each of us can be ourselves, we all live a more rich and full life,” Zalta said.

The donation represented 5 percent of the proceeds earned at the student café, the StuBop, in the 2015-16 school year. Each year, the student council votes to donate those proceeds to a charity, and last year, the council chose Riverside.

The organization provides individualized services combining life-skills development, rehabilitation, and employment options for more than 230 adults living with developmental disabilities from 33 towns in Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin counties.

As she introduced Gentes and Zalta and handed them a check, Aquadro, who is from Northampton, said, “Thank you for all the great work you are doing in our region.”

Williston has had a working relationship with Riverside for many years. At various times, the school has employed clients for housekeeping, dining services, and grounds positions. Recently, Riverside held a Windows of Opportunity Campaign and Williston contributed $15,000 over a three-year period.

“The work Riverside Industries is doing benefits the community on multiple levels,” said Head of School Robert W. Hill III. “Williston is delighted to support this organization.”

Stories and updates from around campus