Baccalaureate Speech on June 1, 2012 by Glenn Swanson
We gather here this evening to participate in a traditional ceremony that dates to the Middle Ages when institutions were formed to pursue academic learning under the guidance of the Christian church in Europe. It was called a Baccalaureate Service. Tomorrow we have what we have traditionally called a Commencement. Many of us who work in schools are fascinated, to varying degrees, with words. Commencement, meaning a beginning, is actually our closing ceremony, but seniors– you understand even now that while it will be an ending of this segment of your life it is merely a transition to a new segment. It is more of a joyous occasion, a celebration with speeches, diplomas, hugs and tears that all signify a good-bye.
But tonight is really a solemn occasion, a reflection on the past, befitting the end of one era and the realization that tomorrow is really appropriately a commencement of a new era. These two events are bookends of a very brief period of time, perhaps 16 hours, but there is certainly at least one more bookend on the beginning of this shelf of experiences, whether you started as a 7th grader or a 12th grader. A few of you seniors, but also including most others in the audience, and my colleagues in attendance, have already had a commencement at the end of your high school career, but I think you will find, if not now then later, that this one will have at least as much meaning as the previous one.
Award Ceremony Welcome by Bob Hill on May 29, 2012.
Good evening Williston Northampton School and welcome to the annual Academic Awards Ceremony. As I was thinking about this evening, my first thoughts turned to the weather and the August heat we are having in May, but that only makes sense given that our January snow storm fell on Halloween. (Please take your jackets off if you have not done so already.)
Next, I was thinking of all of the talent, spirit, and determination arrayed before me and was pondering the number of projects, papers, recitals, home work assignments, and labs that are represented by all of you sitting here.
I was thinking it would interesting to try and total that amount of work—like the cool “by the numbers” section at the beginning of Time Magazine: average number of texts made by teens in a day, 111; average number of times students make an excuse for late work; number of times that excuse is that your computer ate the paper.
Students and teachers working together and inspiring one another is what makes Williston’s experience so transformative—and it is an experience that should not be taken for granted when you consider how lucky we are to be here together.
You students work incredibly hard to achieve illustrious results, and so do your teachers. Consider this: a typical teacher at Williston who teaches four classes spends 23,380 minutes in class each year. Multiply that by the average number of students and you get 1,356,040 contact minutes with students. That’s a big number.
As we begin this evening’s program I want to thank all of you students for striving to reach your full potential, and I want to publicly thank Mr. Tuleja, Mr. Ketcham, and Mrs. McMullen for organizing this program. Mrs. McMullen painstakingly wrapped the over 100 prizes you see here.
By Sarah Wilkie ’12
Originally presented during Tuesday Assembly on May 15, 2012.
The Williston experience is unforgettable. Like high school itself, it is youth, it is abandon, it is friendship, and it is possibility. Those who have been fortunate to call Williston home carry its memories long past the corners of this campus. For one of our own, however, it was more—more than any teen, any sister, any child should have to endure.
On September 19, 2011, the Williston class of 2012 lost one of its own, when Jacqueline Desai lost her battle to cancer.
While Jacqui’s time on campus was limited to less than a year, her influence here was vast. She touched many, and her legacy continues.
by Nan Ding ’14
Originally presented during all-school assembly on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.
Hey, guys. I’m Nan. And I’m an Asian.
Suppose all of you guys don’t know me yet, but you know I’m from the old and mysterious Eastern hemisphere.
So, you guys may think, well….
Good at science
A brilliant math student
Not very athletic
Well, yeah. Most of them are true for me. But those are just the stereotypes of Asian people.
Recently, I went to the Asian American conference and many Asians sort of reached an agreement that—Americans are kind of weird.
By Kyle Hanford, English Teacher
Originally presented during Senior Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Good evening. To begin, I want to thank Mr. Hill, Ms. Sage, Mr. Martin, the dining staff, and the wait staff for tonight’s meal. Nothing was left to chance, and it was excellent.
To the senior class, I want to say that I am both humbled and honored that you have chosen me to speak to you this evening. I think all educators go through moments in their careers when they wonder if they are making a difference, if they are reaching students, if they matter. And to be honest, when you are new to a school, all you are trying to do is to not screw up bad enough so they tell you that you can’t come back.
And since I’m being honest tonight, I can tell you that of those of you in the audience who had me the first day of classes this year, I was just trying to get through the day without too many eye rolls, groans, and “Where’d they get THIS guy?” comments. Think of it from my position: you are returning to a school that you went to for one year as a post graduate. It’s been 15 years since you’ve left and you are facing a group of confident and bright seniors, some of whom have been at the school for six years, about to teach them about “the essay.” Of my two senior classes in the fall, I can only come to three conclusions: one: You really liked me; two: you are SUPERB liars, or three: I completely duped you.