Category Archives: Friday Assembly

You’ll Move the Earth: Cum Laude Speech by Allison Arbib ’03

2013 Allison Arbib at Williston Northampton's Cum Laude Ceremony
Allison Arbib '03

Thank you, Headmaster Hill. Welcome parents, faculty, staff, and guests. Thank you for inviting me. It is an honor to be here.

You worked hard to get here. You worked hard for brilliant and kind teachers who demanded it of you.  You spent freezing, dark Tuesday nights in December, going from sports practice to play rehearsal, staying up until 2 am studying for your Spanish test the next day, only to wake up at 6:00 to do you calculus homework.

Maybe after that Spanish test you scrawled notes  on Emily Dickinson’s poems for your AP English class before racing across the quad to the Schoolhouse. If you were lucky,  you were just fast enough to avoid the unit.

Or maybe your homework is always done early. Maybe you would never be caught  dashing something off at the last minute—I don’t know your life. Just mine.  But what I do know is that by achieving Cum Laude, you have achieved academic excellence.

Congratulations again. This is a big achievement, and you’ve worked hard for it, every day, in big ways and small. I may not know you personally, but I’m lucky enough to know the people who sat in those front rows in the class of 2003 (10 years ago!) and if you’re anything like them, you haven’t just excelled academically; you’ve excelled in sports, music, theater, the arts, and leadership. I admire you. And I know too that there is brilliance all around this Williston community gathered here today.

I wanted to make this speech special for you all, to mark this lofty achievement. It will, if all works out, include: neuroscience, marriage equality, the end of modern day slavery, … and bears. Grizzly bears, to be specific.

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Cum Laude Remarks by Peter Gunn

Editor’s Note: Peter Gunn, history and global studies teacher, presented the following during the Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony on Friday, January 11.

Good Morning

We gather this morning to honor ten seniors who we will induct into the Cum Laude Society.  We celebrate their academic accomplishment and, in so doing, the fundamental mission of the Williston Northampton School.  Think of this as the academic counterpart to the Athletic Awards – only for the best of the best.

The Cum Laude Society is a national Honor Society modeled on Phi Beta Kappa. Williston Academy joined the society in 1921. The Northampton School for Girls received its charter in 1951.  In 1971 the society granted the merged Williston Northampton School a new charter.  Membership into the Cum Laude Society is the highest academic award that Williston Northampton can bestow.

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