All posts by Rachael Hanley

The College Nine to Tackle Post-Williston Questions

For those still in high school—particularly those facing the dread college application process—it can be comforting hear from fellow students who have tackled application time and have done so successfully.

Enter “The College Nine,” a panel discussion created through a collaboration between the Alumni and College Counseling Offices.

On Saturday, January 9 at 12:30 p.m., nine young alumni will return to campus for a panel discussion and Q&A session with their fellow Wildcats. All Williston Northampton students are welcome to attend the event, which will be held in the Parents Association room.

“We are hoping that current students will have a few takeaways: their alumni peers went through the same process and ended up okay, happy, healthy, etc.” explained Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement and panel coordinator Brittany Weiss in an email. She added that “The College Nine” would also explore “making the tough choice regarding what school to go to if you have a difficult decision to make. What happens if you don’t get into your first choice. What happens if you do.”

Representing the alumni side of the equation will be Cameron Hill ’15 (Yale University), Brendan Hellweg ’14 (Yale University), Elyssa Katz ’15 (Davidson College), Loren Po ’15 (Northeastern University), Marie Innarelli ’15 (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), Jenna Phelan ’15 (Boston College), Henry Lombino ’14 (Wesleyan University), Brittany Collins ’14 (Smith College), and Hannah King ’15 (Connecticut College).

The panel will take place following Saturday classes, with Williston students encouraged to grab bag lunches and join the discussion.

How to Create an Animated TV Pilot

Award-winning Director Chris Perry Will Talk to Williston Students About His Newest Show
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

An award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer—who created CG fire for Pixar and won a technical Oscar for animation software behind “Life of Pi”—will talk about his creative process with students at the Williston Northampton School on Monday, December 14.

Chris Perry, a former Williston parent, will walk students through a show that’s currently in development. The yet-to-be-named animated adventure, set on a future Earth where evolution has gone bananas, was created with help from the Williston Theatre program. (Mr. Perry notes that some of animated characters are voiced by Williston students.)

Mr. Perry and members of his crew will share how they’ve taken the show from a fledgling concept to a fully realized test. The presentation will touch upon writing, voice acting, design, film, animation, and the business of producing a TV series. A Q&A will follow.

“I hope our students get some insight into how a TV pilot (in this can an animated one) gets produced, shopped around, etc.,” noted Director of the Williston Theatre Emily Ditkovski in an email. “Looks like it will be really fun.”

Mr. Perry is a professor at Hampshire College and the founder of Bit Films, an independent studio in Western Massachusetts. He has over 20 years of film experience, including as a programmer and generalist technical director in VFX and feature animation. Mr. Perry has an M.S. degree from the MIT Media Laboratory and an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Any Williston students and interested Williston parents are welcome to attend this presentation, which will take place in the Williston Theatre. Please contact Ms. Ditkovski with questions.

Never Let Them See You Sweat

Three of Coach Fulcher's Top Lacrosse Players Sign with D1 Teams
Photo by Mark Mantegna
Photo by Mark Mantegna

Coach Jen Fulcher can’t walk into a room without spreading some of her infectious enthusiasm. Imagine her excitement, then, when three of her top lacrosse players made commitments to top Division 1 programs this week.

On Wednesday, for a pre-signing ceremony with one of her athletes, Coach Fulcher was running around giving everyone high fives.

When that athlete returned to make her formal commitment with two teammates during a ceremony on Saturday morning, Coach Fulcher was in the Cox Room cheering them on and dispensing hugs.

Since 2008, Coach Fulcher has guided the lacrosse team to three undefeated seasons. Last year, the team finished with a 12-2 record, missing only three goals over the course of the season.

It’s no wonder that seniors Meg Szawlowski, Chloe Harris, and Rylee Leonard all cited their coach—and her enthusiastic one-liners, such as “solve the problem” and “never let them see you sweat”—as a driving influence in their athletic success. Coach Fulcher, they said, is a major reason they will spend next year playing at Central Connecticut State University, University of Louisville, and the University of New Hampshire, respectively.

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For That One Inch

A close trio of hockey players make NCAA commitments
Photo by Mark Mantegna
Photo by Mark Mantegna

In the six minutes before every game, the Williston Northampton girls varsity hockey team sits in darkness. Upstairs, the Zamboni circles the ice. Downstairs, the team is listening to words. The same words every time.

“The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game. Every minute. Every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us to pieces for that inch.”

It’s Al Pacino speaking—and he’s speaking to a roomful of male football players in “Any Given Sunday”—but his words resonate: words of strength, grit, and most of all, unity.

The last point in particular is one the hockey players have taken to heart, and one that’s helped propel them to a record 20 wins, one loss, and four ties over the course of the last season.

On Friday evening, the team came together to celebrate another victory when a trio of players—forward Delaney Belinskas ’16, defender Rachel Rockwell ’16, and goalie Morgan Fischer ’16—signed national letters of intent to play with Boston College, Providence College, and the University of Connecticut,  respectively.

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Writers’ Workshop Presents John Katzenbach

The master of psychological suspense will delve into dark issues
John Katzenbach. Photo by Nancy Doherty
John Katzenbach. Photo by Nancy Doherty

Justice. Obsession. Revenge.

Author John Katzenbach will delve into these and other deliciously dark themes when he returns to the Williston Northampton campus on November 9 for the final installment of the 2015 Writers’ Workshop Series.

During the free and public lecture, Mr. Katzenbach will speak about his forthcoming book, The Dead Student, which includes a character he describes as “one of the most interesting bad guys I’ve ever created.”

“He’s a killer with a plan, and a belief that everything he’s done is totally, utterly justified,” Mr. Katzenbach notes on his website. “And not a bad guy, except that he seems to kill people.”

Originally a criminal court reporter for the Miami Herald and Miami News, Mr. Katzenbach published his first novel, In The Heat of Summer, in 1982. Since then, he’s published 12 other novels, including The Traveler, Day of Reckoning, What Comes Next, and Red 1-2-3.

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