Editor’s note: The Mesics Instructorship was presented to Melissa Brousseau during Upper School Assembly in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on September 17, 2014
“The Sandra Bashore ’55 and Joseph C. Mesics Instructorship was established in 2001 to recognize a young faculty member’s initiatives in and out of the classroom.”
The new recipient of the Mesics Instructorship is very deserving of this distinction as she has made a significant imprint on the Williston community in each of the three areas of boarding school life: academics, the afternoon program, and residential life.
In her classroom, whether it be the gymnasium teaching Physical Education to Middle Schoolers or a laboratory teaching Anatomy and Physiology to high school students, she is well prepared and enthusiastic. Her success as an educator is built on the foundation of creating clear expectations, demonstrating expertise in the subject area, and providing positive reinforcement. She creates a constructive learning environment in which her students freely share their understandings and opinions. Her thoughtful lesson planning makes the curriculum engaging and relevant arousing the curiosity and interest of her students. Last year a student in her Anatomy and Physiology class wrote, “She is always calling on us, keeping us on our toes, but she is also eager to help us along. It is clear that she wants us all to succeed.”
Welcome to convocation. This speech is divided into three sections—the three S’s if you will—Socrates, “Success,” and Summing Up.
Part One: Socrates
Since it’s the start of another academic year, it’s probably appropriate that we engage with the big Socratic question right off the bat. That is: What course of life is best? A question that Socrates directed toward Calacles, a sophist – a person not in pursuit of virtue — in Plato’s masterpiece, “The Republic.”
From my humble perspective, the answer to that existential question — What course of life is best? — is that we acknowledge the convergence between our own personal pursuits and the moral obligations that we owe to others for our privileged positions as members of the Williston community. That convergence between our personal and moral obligations is, at least for me, where the answer to the question – What course of life is best? — lies. In addition, our answer to the essential Socratic question inculcates us with — as Mr. Hill likes to remind us — purpose, passion, and integrity.
Editor’s note: Dean of Faculty Peter Valine presented the Hagedorn Chair to Sue Michalski during Convocation on September 12, 2014. The Hagedorn Chair was established in 2006 by Robert Hagedorn ’76, and his wife, Meladi, who are the parents of Gregory Hagedorn ’06.
Good afternoon. It is my privilege today to award the Hagedorn Chair to a member of the Williston faculty.
This year’s recipient of the Hagedorn Chair is a passionate teacher whose dynamic and effective teaching style has been consistently on display since her arrival on campus in 1999. Her approach to teaching is characterized by her commitment to a philosophy of language acquisition that emphasizes the use of relevant, real-life situations encountered fully in the target language. Her classroom is always a hive of energy as her students are immersed in rapid-paced, imaginative, and purposeful activities.
Firstly, a huge shout out to the best Class Dean and Cross Country coach in the land—Ms. Talbot a.k.a Mrs. Talbot-Syfu. a.k.a Ms. Talfu. a.k.a Sybot
Frankly, it’s surreal to be chatting at a dinner without my mouth full of food, but I guess my mom finally got her way in terms of my learning something about etiquette. Anyway, I feel as if my convocation speech was a tad on the Darth Vader side of the force —Socrates, Success, Summing Up, etc. That’s why I now feel this neurotic compulsion to venture away from my dark side in an attempt to bring some balance to the universe. Fortunately, I didn’t actually sound like old, wheezy Darth earlier today, which, by the way, sounds a lot like Sameer’s snoring.