Academic Awards 2015

Photo by Josh Seamon

Students and faculty assembled on the Quad on Saturday afternoon to celebrate what Head of School Robert W. Hill III described as “the essence of our lives at Williston: academic accomplishments” during the annual Academic Awards Ceremony.

“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,” Mr. Hill said during his opening remarks. “This year teemed with incredible intellectual and creative accomplishments generated by students all year long—often outside of the public gaze.”

The academic awards ceremony began with Peter Valine, Williston’s Dean of Faculty, recognize and sharing thoughts about the departing faculty. Mr. Hill III noted, “Each year there are faculty that move on from Williston and we are diminished by that.” He commended the school’s teachers, who he described as  “unique in my experience in the ends to which they go to advise, mentor, listen, and support their students.”

Read the full text of Mr. Hill’s speech here.

Awards Quick List

Visual and Performing Arts
Additional Awards
School Awards

Spring Athletic Awards (presented May 22, 2014)
Cum Laude Inductees (presented January 16, 2015 and May 24, 2015)


The A. L. Hepworth Prize, honoring a legendary history teacher, Dean of Students, and tennis coach, 1926-1973, is awarded to those students who have done excellent work in the United States History course:

For improvement: Ryan Richmond
For accomplishment: Caroline Borden

The Hervey L. Smith, Jr., Prize, established by a member of the faculty from 1939 to 1946, is awarded annually for the highest achievement in the Modern European History course:

Anna Wilinsky

The Edward M. Lawton Jr. Prizes are awarded for superior work in elective courses in the History and Social Science Department. Ed Lawton taught history from 1947 to 1983, and was the first to teach Asian History and Economics at Williston.

World Civilization: Anna Harvey
European History: Shengfu Shen
AP Microeconomics: Molly Zawacki
 Economics: Yuwei Cao
International Relations: Jeremy Levine
Immigration: Ahley Fitch
AP Comparative Government and Politics: Katelin Murray
The Soviet Union and Contemporary Russia: Chak Fung “Anthony” Leung
 Hitler and Nazi Germany –   Alex Bickerstaff
 Classical Greece – Noam Saul
Women and Gender Studies – Dorothy “Annika” Smith
 Western Religions – Cody Cavanagh
Existentialism – Katelin Murray
Eastern Religions – James “Noah” Jackson
Introduction to Philosophy – Benjamin Greeman
 Ethics and Society – Tomasz Paluchowski
Islam and the Middle East – Stephen Goldsmith

The Edward L. O’Brien ’16 Prize is awarded to a student who has achieved high standing in social studies courses and displayed an active interest in American Law and Politics:

Theodore Wolfe

The Dag Hammarskjöld History Prize, given by an alumnus of the Class of 1955 in honor of the Nobel Laureate and Secretary General of the United Nations, 1953-1961, is awarded to that student who has written the best lengthy research paper on some phase of international relations or diplomatic history:

Emma Kaisla

The Martin Tananbaum Prize, honoring the father of Minnie Tananbaum Lomeo, Class of 1966, is awarded to that student who has combined an appreciation for the study of religion, philosophy, or ethics with responsible social activities within and beyond the Williston community.

Hannah King

The George and Frank Carew Debating Prize was established by brothers, members of the class of 1882, and is awarded for excellence in debate. Originally the prize was given to the winners of the annual Adelphi vs. Gamma Sigma debate.

Cade Zawacki
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Prizes honoring  Asahel Lyman Williston, Class of 1852, trustee, and nephew of the founder, are offered for excellence in English.

Grade 9 : Eden Swasey
Grade 10 : Ava McElhone Yates
Grade 11: Caroline Borden
Grade 12: Umi Keezing

A prize honoring Gilbert F. Kennedy, Class of 1891 and Williston trustee, for the best junior term paper.

Sofia Triana

The Hazeldine Prize, in memory of Myrtle Elizabeth Hazeldine and her husband, Harry Newton Hazeldine ’21, is awarded each year to the student who has consistently improved the caliber of his or her written work both in English classes and for the student newspaper, The Willistonian.

MacKenzie Possee

The Sidney Nelson Morse Prize, in memory of a member of the Class of 1886 who taught at Williston from 1890 to 1928, are awarded each year to the two students recording the best work in senior English.

Emily Grussing

Cade Zawacki

The The Bard College Prize for Critical Writing is offered to that student “who wrote the outstanding paper or essay during his or her senior year.”

Emma Kaisla

The Antonio Giacomini, Class of 1931 Writing Prize is awarded to that freshman who has demonstrated consistent excellence in his or her written work over the course of the entire year:

Sophia Schaefer

The H. Thomas Wood, Class of 1924 Prize is awarded “to the graduating student who has shown the most promise in the field of journalism during his or her undergraduate days at the school”:

This year’s prize honors the students who have contributed the most to The Willistonian’s print and online publication​s.

For the online publication:      Cameron Hill
For the print publication: Katelin Murray

Arete, Class of 1985, established four prizes to be given for the student in each of the four grades who has, by record of achievement and faculty recommendation, made the most improvement in the study of English for the academic year.

Grade 9: Liangyi “Emily” Wu
Grade 10: Samuel Greeman    
Grade 11: Isaiah Fontaine
Grade 12: Brandon Bork

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Visual and Performing Arts

Visual Arts

Drawing, for outstanding effort and excellence:

Brendan Shaeffer

Painting Award, for inventiveness and chance-taking and for excellence in pursuing the visual language expressively: 

Lu Zheng

Most Improvement in Painting:

Ysabella “Bella” Luikart

The Antonio Giacomini, Class of 1931 Photography Prize is awarded each year for excellent work in Photography:

Loren Po

Dance Awards

The Choreography Award is presented to that student who has demonstrated his or her commitment to excellence in the art of dance composition by engaging in collaborative projects, inviting personal growth, and presenting impactful dance pieces for the Williston stage. This year’s recipient of the Choreography Award is:

Marie Innarelli

The Dance Performance Award is presented to the student who has consistently demonstrated excellence, enthusiasm, and leadership in the dance program, both in the studio and on the stage. The recipient of this award demands of him or herself the highest level of physical and intellectual effort, attention to detail, and a dynamic quality of movement that inspires connection, communicates emotion, and delivers a powerful audience experience. This year’s recipient of the Dance Performance Award is:

Calvin Ticknor-Swanson

Music Awards

The Stella Mae Hepworth Memorial Prize is awarded to a senior who contributes significantly to the arts, particularly music. Mrs. Hepworth taught piano to four decades of Williston students, beginning in the 1920s.

Sonia Berghoff

The Barbara K. Ansbacher Award, established by Henry Ansbacher, Class of 1988, in memory of his mother, is awarded to a member of the graduating class who has maintained a high level of academic achievement and who has made a significant contribution to the music program. 

Yiting “Tina” Zhang

 The Music Department Prize is given in honor of Richard Gregory, who taught music, theater, art history, and English at Williston from 1961 to 2004, in testimony to his life-long love for and involvement with music as a composer, performer and teacher and in recognition of his limitless contributions to musical life at Williston.

Elie Small

Williston Theatre Awards

The Peter Edgerton, Class of 1974 Memorial Award is given for outstanding service rendered to the Williston Theatre.

Matthew Steinberg   

The Williston Theatre Prize is awarded to a member of the Williston Theatre who has unselfishly given time and energy in the service of the theater:

James “Noah” Jackson

The Marquis F. Dickinson Prizes, honoring a member of the Class of 1858, former trustee, and son-in-law of Samuel and Emily Williston, are awarded for each year’s best male and female dramatic performances. Winning this year:

Melissa Falcone for As You Like It
Harrison “Harry” Shea for All My Sons

 The Howard G. Boardman Prizes honor the distinguished founder and director of The Williston Theatre for 40 years. “Boardy” also taught French and served as alumni secretary from 1921 to 1961.

To the male and female actors for outstanding performances in supporting roles 2015.

Sonia Berghoff for All My Sons
Nicholas “Nick” Dalzell for As You Like It

To that member of the Williston Theatre who has demonstrated the greatest improvement as an actor during the course of a single year:

John Kay 

The Chester Monroe Merrick ‘65 Memorial Prize: awarded to that student who has contributed in technical areas to the excellence of the theater at Williston: 

Emily Sillars 

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The Psychology Award is presented to that student who has shown the greatest promise in the field of psychology.

Harrison “Harry” Shea

Prizes provided by the will of Benjamin W. B. Brown, class of 1887, are awarded for the best essays written or achievement in the study of biological sciences.

Biology: Emily Yeager
Most Improved in Biology: Grace McMeekin
For excellence in AP Biology: Lena Gandevia

Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award The University of Rochester and Bausch & Lomb, Inc. of Rochester, New York, offers an honorary Science award medal to a junior who has made the greatest progress in science during his secondary school years. The student receiving this award is eligible to compete for a science scholarship.

Tanmay Khale

The Alumni Association of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offers a medal to an eleventh grader who has achieved excellence in mathematics and science. (Note: If student applies and enrolls, the official Rensselaer Medal will be presented during honors convocation in the fall of the first year at Rensselaer.)

Ye Jun Jeon

The Yves Couderc Physics Prizes honor a teacher of science and music, 1961-1979.

For greatest achievement in physics: Hanzhang “Derrick” Zhao
For greatest improvement in physics:  Eleanor “Ellie” Scott
For greatest achievement in advanced physics: Tanmay Khale
For greatest improvement in advanced physics: Serena Chen

The Class of 1891 offers two prizes for excellence in chemistry, honoring Professor Frank Adrian Leach, who taught chemistry and biology and served as Director of Athletics, 1892-1902.

Chemistry:  Caroline Borden
AP Chemistry: Tanmay Khale

The Earl Nelson Johnston Prize, established by the Class of 1953, is awarded annually for the best improvement in chemistry. Mr. Johnston taught science from 1918 to 1954, and at times conducted the choir and advised The Willistonian and The Log: 

Parker Sweet

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The Mathematical Association of America holds a series of contests each year to determine the strongest mathematical students in the country. The winners of these year-long competitions represent the United States in an International Olympiad. The first of these contests is called the American Mathematics Contest. The student who scores highest at each participating school is named the winner at that school. This prize was awarded earlier this year though we would like to have him stand and be recognized for this achievement. This year the winner was:

Tanmay Khale 

The George Parsons Tibbets Prizes, honoring a legendary teacher of mathematics from 1890 to 1926, are awarded each year for best work in:

Calculus:  Caroline Borden
Multivariable Calculus:  Umi Keezing
Algebra 2: Emily Yeager
 Algebra 1:  Oliver Lawrence                                 

A prize is awarded in memory of the late Judge David Kennedy, Class of 1892, for the best work in geometry:  

Robert “Robby” Hill

The Melvin Jesse Cook Award for achievement in precalculus was established to honor Mr. Cook, Head of the Math Department, who retired in 1952 after 41 years, and was made an honorary member of that graduating class:

Tomaz Paluchowski

The Math Department Award for best work in discrete mathematics:

Cade Zawacki

The Math Department Award for best work in statistics:

Margaret “Maisy” Glick

The Computer Programming Prize for outstanding performance in the computer programming courses is awarded to:

Gleb Pashchenko

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Earlier this year, several of our students studying Chinese participated in the 11th National Chinese Essay Contest. Six Williston students won awards and three students were inducted into the National Honor Society.

As a result of their performance, the following students were inducted into the National Honors Society:

Seung Bum “Bryan” Hong
Dong Ho “Ray” Kim
Emmett O’Malley

Eleventh National Essay contest winners:

Alexander Li,  silver award in the intermediate category for heritage students in grades 9-12.
Serena Chen, golden award in the advanced category for heritage students in grades 9-12.
Seung Bum “Bryan” Hong, silver award in the intermediate category for regular students in grades 9-12.
Emmett O’Malley, silver award in the intermediate category for regular students in grades 9-12.
Dong Ho “Ray” Kim, golden award in the advanced category for regular students in grades 9-12.
Jia Lun “Vivien” Shao, golden award in the advanced category for regular students    in grades 9-12.

The following prizes are awarded to those students who have made the greatest achievement as students of Chinese during the academic year.

Chinese I: Samuel Canney
Chinese II: Sarah Lee
Chinese III: Matthew Nguyen
Chinese IV:  Emmett O’Malley
AP Chinese: Alexander Li

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In February, 90,913 students nationwide participated in the Le Grand Concours National French Contest. This evening we will recognize those students who placed at the national level and chapter level. When I call your name please come forward to receive your prize.

Level 1A (French I)

Andres Barrera Jamie and Sofia Flores: 10th place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont

Level 2A (French II and II Honors) 

Emily LeRolland: second place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont, 7th in nation
ZiDong “Jerry” Gao: seventh place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Anna Harvey: eighth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Anabelle Farnham: 10th place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont

Level 2B (French II Honors, has one French-speaking parent) : 

Natalie Romain: seventh place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Jesse Cassuto: eighth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont

Level 3A (French III and III Honors): 

Harrison “Harry” Shea: sixth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Jordan Sansone, Anna “Trixie” Willems:  seventh place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Anna Wilinsky: eighth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Alara Akisik: tenth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont

Level 4A (French V Honors)

Caroline Borden: second place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Margaret “Maggie” White: third place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Josephine “Pinky” King and Emma Kaisla: fourth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont
Leeanna Albanese, fifth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont

Level 5A (AP French Language)

Umi Keezing,  sixth place in Western Massachusetts & Vermont

The Howard G. Boardman Prizes are for excellence in French. These prizes were established to honor Howard G. Boardman, head of the French Department for many years and Senior Master of the School until his retirement in 1961. They come from a fund established by Professor and Mrs. J. Henry Korson:

French I: Wangchen “Shirley” Zhou
French II: ZiDong “Jerry” Gao
French III: Anna Wilinsky
Honors French 5: Caroline Borden
AP French: Umi Keezing

The B. Hoff Knight Award, in memory of a faculty member, 1967-1968, is awarded to that student who displays an active interest in the study of French and plans further study of the language:

Harrison “Harry” Shea

The Henry E. Donais, Jr. French Prize is given “in memory of Henry E. Donais, Jr., Class of 1959 and former member of the French Department at Williston,” 1966-1969, for best fluency in French by a non-native speaker:

Ryan Richmond

The Susan Caroline Ferguson Memorial Scholarship was established by the family and friends of Susan Ferguson of the Class of 1980. The award is made in alternate years to the member of the junior class who attains the highest grades in English or French. It is awarded this year for achievement in French:

Caroline Borden

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The following students are receiving awards in honor of their success on the National Latin Exam.  One hundred and fifty-three thousand (153,000) students from 50 states and 20 other countries took this exam. At each level of study, the highest scores were awarded certificates of ‘cum laude,’ ‘magna cum laude,’ and ‘maxima cum laude,’ with a silver medal.

Certificate of Cum Laude:
Anabelle Farnham
Isabelle Tegtmeyer

Certificate of Magna Cum Laude:
Chi Anh (Ann) Hoang
Rida Kareem
Parker Sweet

Silver Medal:
Sima Gandevia
Molly Zawacki

The Lincoln D. Granniss Prizes established by the Class of 1953, are awarded for scholastic achievement and earnest, intelligent participation in the Latin courses. The class hopes that the prize, honoring a teacher of Latin from 1910 to 1953, will be respected, as “it is the living symbol of a man who has instilled in all a pleasure in being and learning.”

Latin I:  Triniti Slaughter
Latin II: Anabelle Farnham
Latin III: Sima Gandevia
Latin IV: Gabriella “Gabbie” Foderaro
AP Latin:  Emily Grussing        

The Charles A. Buffum Prize, honoring a teacher of Latin and Greek from 1878 to 1922, is for excellence in sight translation in Latin:

Maitri Dalal

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The David H. Thomas Spanish Prizes are awarded to those students who have made the greatest achievement as students of Spanish during the academic year. David H. Thomas was elected to the Williston faculty in 1929 and, after 42 years of service as teacher and department head, retired in 1971.

Spanish I:  A’Kayla Williams
Spanish II: Madison Fulcher-Melendy
Spanish III: Soma Mizobuchi
Honors Spanish V:  Tomasz Paluchowski       
AP Spanish:  Cameron Hill

Additional Awards                                                

The following awards are for student involvement in tutoring and publications:


Arete, Class of 1985, established a prize to honor that outstanding student tutor who has made a conscientious effort to help fellow students academically. This year the officers of Arete voted the most outstanding tutor to be:

Yuet Ching “Fiona” Li


The  Janus  award goes to:

Sabaat Kareem

The Log

Certificates of participation:

Yuet Ching “Fiona” Li
Gabriella “Gabby” Mercier
Jung Yeon “Jessie” Park
Emily Peirent
 Loren Po
Pun Shusang
Liangyi “Emily” Wu
Emily Yeager

For her exceptional dedication, enthusiasm, and hard work on the yearbook:

Hyo Bin “Hannah” Lee

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Overall School Prizes

National Merit Scholarship Program

In recognition of academic promise and distinguished performance in the competition, the National Merit Scholarship is awarded to:

Emily Peirent

The first general school awards are given as part of the Williston Scholars Program.   These awards are given for exemplary work within a Williston Scholars Course. Seniors receiving distinction for Williston Scholars courses will be recognized at tomorrow’s graduation ceremony. Sophomore or junior award winners received  certificates from the Director of the Williston Scholars Program, Kim Evelti.

For her work in Contemporary Art and Culture:

Ava McElhone Yates

The final group of prizes is voted on by the faculty for the top performance in each grade.

There are two ninth grade prizes.

The Yale College Book Prize is awarded to a ninth grader who excels in scholarship and has made a significant contribution to the life of the school:

Caroline Channell

The Bowdoin College Book Prize is presented annually to the outstanding ninth grader in scholarship, citizenship, and character:

Anabelle Farnham

There are two 10th grade prizes:

The Smith College Book Award is presented to a tenth grader who exhibits consistent all-around excellence:

Molly Zawacki

The Williams College Book Prize is awarded by The Williams Alumni Association to the outstanding tenth grader in scholarship, citizenship, and character:                          

Emily Yeager

There are four 11th grade prizes:

The Lincoln D. Granniss Yale University Scholarship is awarded to that member of Williston Northampton’s upcoming senior class who is qualified by virtue of academic and extracurricular excellence to be a strong candidate for admission to Yale University. Lincoln Granniss taught Latin at Williston, 1910-1953, and was a member of the Yale classes of 1906 and 1925.

Haley McCreary

The Holy Cross Book Prize is awarded to a student in the top ten percent of the eleventh grade who gives evidence of a strong concern for school and community:

Samuel Canney

The Dartmouth Book Prize is awarded to an 11th grader who ably combines leadership potential with excellence in achievement both in the classroom and in non-academic activities:

Calvin Ticknor-Swanson 

The Harvard Book Prize is awarded to the outstanding eleventh grader in scholarship, citizenship, and character.

Caroline Borden

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