Editor’s note: The following Award Ceremony Welcome was presented by Robert W. Hill III on May 23, 2014.
Good afternoon and a special welcome to parents, families, guests, and to all of our students gathered to celebrate the essence of our lives at Williston: academic accomplishments. I enjoy the last two weeks of the year—even as I live in mortal terror for seniors as they get closer to Commencement—since the last two weeks bring us together numerous times to honor our students. Hard work, persistence, resilience, determination, integrity—whether in the classroom or in an extra-curricular pursuit—are traits that should always be praised and will take you far in life.
What a year it has been for Williston! Yesterday we celebrated the many athletic achievements at both the individual and team level for the spring term. Sports are always in the public eye and I confess to tweeting out scores or great plays as I see them (I do that, too, when I visit classrooms). I’ve always wondered what it must be like to dunk a basketball, or play on an undefeated hockey team, or be like Gabby and never see the back of another runner for six consecutive years. That was what crossed my mind yesterday.
But today, I think of the academic sphere. We witnessed acclaimed performances in the arts this year—recently our Teller Chorus, Cats, and Widdigers set a new high mark with “Frostiana.” Those of you who saw or performed in As You Like It know very well, the Williston Theatre is second to none. And the senior projects were amazing, whether you saw Gabe’s cool light show last night or Nick and Matt’s staging of “The Clean House,” or the Grubb’s Gallery exhibitions, or the integrated science presentations, the list goes on and on. This year teemed with incredible intellectual and creative accomplishments generated by students all year long—often outside of the public gaze.
But just as students, some of whom we will publicly recognize here this morning, work deep into the night, or spend countless hours perfecting a paper, a math proof, a lab assignment, so too do your teachers. You are supported every step of the way. Williston’s teachers are unique in my experience in the ends to which they go to advise, mentor, listen, and support their students. Last second extra help? No problem. Another draft of a college essay? No problem. Inspiring you with a desire to learn for the life long quest of becoming an informed, thoughtful, and relevant member of society? No problem. Your teachers sacrifice for you all the time, and never make you feel guilty about it the way we parents do. Please join me in thanking the Williston faculty who are arrayed behind me.
As I emcee today’s ceremony, I ask that you pay attention to the citations that are read and attached to names from Williston’s history. It’s good to remember, that what we celebrate today connects us to Williston’s past.
See the full list of academic award winners.