All posts by Rachael Hanley

The Sharks Won’t Kill You, But the Vending Machine Might

Melissa Dore '86 Shares Fun Marine Facts, Memories During Williston Visit
Photo by Dennis Crommett

When the special visitor walked into Matt Spearing’s AP Environmental Sciences classroom on Friday, she had to pause for a moment. The room, with its lab tables, late afternoon light filtering through the windows, and fish swimming in a small tank, felt very familiar.

This was the same Scott Hall room was where Melissa Dore ’86—who now works at the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography in Florida—first began her journey into biology.

“Thirty-four years ago, this is where I sat,” said Ms. Dore, the director of academic support and administration at Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College. “I did my first shark dissection in that classroom. And a lamprey eel.”

Photo by Dennis Crommett

On Friday, Ms. Dore returned to Scott to talk to AP Environmental Sciences class about sea turtles. She then headed over to Elizabeth Kay’s biology class for a marine animal version of “what am I?”

Along the way, Ms. Dore shared quick facts about turtle eggs (oil will kill them), sting rays (can’t see what they eat), the gulf stream (it’s fast), and sharks (you have a better chance of being squished by a soda machine than eaten by one).

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A Cochlear Lesson for AP Psych

The Walters family provides a hands-on component to a unit on sensation and perception
Photo by Dennis Crommett

Four-year-old Jackson walked patiently around the AP psychology class, holding one of the devices that makes him so special and letting the Williston Northampton School students gently touch his head.

On the floor, his two-year-old brother, Chase, played with stuffed toys, while at the front of the room, his mother, Corinne Walters, explained to the class the process both boys had gone through while learning to use their cochlear implants.

“When it first got activated, he was in tears for days,” Ms. Walters said of Jackson. “Shoes walking on the floor were freaking him out. Silverware freaked out Chase.”

On Friday afternoon, Ms. Walters and her sons, both of whom were born deaf and have been gradually adjusting to life with implants, were in class to provide a hands-on component to a unit on sensation and perception.

Photo by Dennis Crommett

Students in the psychology class leaned over their desks to ask questions about the implants as the boys played and doodled on the white board.

The visit was a serendipitous one. Since Williston Northampton science teachers Amber Rodgers and Christina Berghoff share a classroom, when Ms. Rodgers left the words “cochlear implant” on the white board after her lesson, Ms. Berghoff spotted the note and mentioned that she had both previously worked with deaf students and was still helping to assist the Walters family.

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Photographers’ Lecture Series Presents Scott Barrow

Tanglewood Nation.  A view of the lawn at Tanglewood just before a concert. Scott Barrow
Tanglewood Nation. A view of the lawn at Tanglewood just before a concert. Scott Barrow

The first visitor in Williston Northampton School’s annual Photographer Lecture Series can trace his love of photography all the way back through his family tree—some 150 years.

Scott Barrow notes that his family began taking fun photos in the 1860s, when such a playful attitude toward the medium was still relatively rare. In his biography, Mr. Barrow adds that he spent childhood nights in the basement darkroom with his father and that those sessions sparked his own love of photography.

Scott Barrow
Scott Barrow

A decision to spend his last $150 on a Canon SLR and five rolls of Kodachrome in 1972 seems to have paid off handsomely: Mr. Barrow’s hundreds of assignments have been for clients across the range of advertising, travel, editorial, and corporate spheres. These include American Express, Charles Schwab, Citibank, Procter & Gamble, Tylenol, The Wall Street Journal, British Airways, Northwestern University, Williams College, Disney, National Geographic, NY Times Travel Publications, Scientific American, and U.S. News and World Report.

Mr. Barrow has been awarded the Communication Arts Photography Award of Excellence, Graphis Photography Annual Award, New York Art Director’s Club Award of Excellence, and PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris, among other accolades.

Scott Barrow
Scott Barrow

“I take beautiful photographs for a living and I enjoy it,” Mr. Barrow notes in his bio. “The bigger challenge for me as an artist is to go beyond beauty and find my connection to the scene, to become part of it in the moment that I release the shutter. It is only then that I can truly share what I saw and felt with you, the viewer.”

Mr. Barrow will present the first in the 2015-16 Photographer Lecture Series on November 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Dodge Room, Reed Campus Center. All lectures in the series are free and open to the public.

Writers’ Workshop Presents Debra Monroe

Debra Monroe
Debra Monroe

During her last visit to the Williston Northampton School in 2010, Debra Monroe talked about her moving memoir, On the Outskirts of Normal, the unsentimental story about a white woman who adopts a black baby in small town Texas.

Ms. Monroe’s latest memoir finds her reaching even farther back into her history for a tale that’s both arresting and full of wit and poise. On November 3, she returns to Williston for the 2015 Writers Workshop Series, where she will discuss My Unsentimental Education, the story of her journey from the working class in Spooner, Wisconsin to the professional class in Austin, Texas.

As with all lectures in the series, Ms. Monroe’s talk is free and open to the public and will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Dodge Room, Reed Campus Center.

Ms. Monroe, who teaches at Texas State University, has written The Source of Trouble, which won the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; A Wild, Cold State, a book of stories; and the novels Newfangled and Shambles. In 2010, she published her first memoir, which focused on her experiences with her daughter in a small Texas town.

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A Master Class in Unusual Song Styles

Caterwaulers and Widdigers Learn Two Traditional Forms from Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth

Mastering Inuit throat signing is a tricky business, and has a tendency to produce a lot of laughter. Thankfully, messing it up is part of the point.

As Brad Wells, artistic director and founder of Roomful of Teeth, explained to the Caterwaulers and Widdigers during a recent master class, the technique is deceptively simple, and yet wonderfully complex.

To do it right, the breathy, guttural, and rhythmic style—traditionally part of a one-upmanship game played between two Inuit women—needs to be staggered by a half second between a pair of singers.

“Normally, this game is meant to break down,” Mr. Wells explained. “So the leader is trying to trick the follower by changing the pattern. The follower is trying to keep up and eventually one of them laughs and one of them loses their breath or gets out of the pattern.”

Laugh the students did, as two by two they attempted to keep up the rhythms—and discovered just how difficult the style really was. When Gabby Record ’17 and Sam Madden ‘17 maintained the pattern for a long, impressive minute, other students burst into applause, and Mr. Wells declared them both winners.

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