The Cum Laude Society honors the achievements of students who have excelled academically, so it was fitting that the speaker for this year’s induction ceremony was the valedictorian of the first co-ed class at The Williston Northampton School.
On Tuesday, January 31, Sheila Fisher of Trinity College was the guest speaker at a ceremony to induct 11 seniors into the Williston Northampton’s Cum Laude chapter. The event was webcast live and will be archived on the school’s webcast page.
Fisher attended the Northampton School for Girls from 1968-1971. She graduated from the Williston Northampton School in 1972, before earning a B.A. at Smith College and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in English from Yale University.
Fisher is a member of the English Department at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where she is associate academic dean. Her most recent publication is The Selected Canterbury Tales: A New Verse Translation (2011), which will be reissued in paperback this coming April.
“I’ll come back some other time to talk about Chaucer, but today I want to talk about you,” Fisher told the assembled students, families and guests.
“It wasn’t just brains that earned you this honor, it was your relationship to work,” she said. “You have worked really, really hard to get here.”
Fisher described her own experience at Williston Northampton as a time of transition and growth, of girls getting used to having a pool and a glee club, and of a merged faculty creating a formidable academic force.
“There were giants in the earth in those days,” Fisher said.
As she had once done, Fisher urged Williston students to embrace their newly crafted work ethic, not to become workaholics, but to bring focus to whatever avenue they chose to pursue, from music and sculpture to physics and mathematics.
“One of the most important things you’ve learned at this school is how to build this love affair with work,” Fisher said, “And how to make it last a lifetime.”
The following students were inducted into the Cum Laude Society:
Katherine T. Cavanaugh, South Hadley, MA
Alexander J. Cervone, Dalton, MA
Addison Maria M. Coley, South Deerfield, MA
Kevin L. Conroy, Easthampton, MA
Adam B. Curtis, Ashfield, MA
Jonathan P. Deaton, Longmeadow, MA
Alex S. Garcia, Easthampton, MA
Elizabeth A. de Ubl, Hadley, MA
Samuel E. Slezek, Hatfield, MA
Midori Tagawa, Japan
Hansen Yang, People’s Republic of China