Category Archives: Student Life

Williston Celebrates Founders Day

On Monday, February 22, the Williston Northampton School celebrates Founders Day, which celebrates the school’s founding 175 years ago. The event kicks off on Sunday night, February 21, with a screening of the film 1 Revolution about paralympian Chris Waddell. In addition, Mr. Waddell will speak the next morning at Assembly.

The entire school will come together Monday to celebrate with a program of community-building exercises. After the all-school Assembly, students will break into different workshops and advisory groups throughout the day. Founders Day will conclude with a birthday dinner at which a new Williston-themed ice cream flavor, whipped up for the occasion by Mt. Tom’s Homemade Ice Cream, will make its debut.

In celebration of the school’s 175th birthday, Williston asks that you consider making a Founders Day gift to the Williston Northampton Fund or the Parents’ Fund. Our goal is to inspire 175 alumni, parents, and friends to come together and pledge their support during the course of 24 hours; if we reach that goal, an anonymous donor will give $25,000 to Williston! The challenge kicks off at midnight and runs until 11:59 p.m. on February 22 (for more details, check out this video, and this page on our website). Watch our Facebook page and our website for updates throughout the day. We thank you for your generosity! Questions may be directed to Traci Wolfe in the Advancement office.

Two Students Get a Behind-the-Scenes on National Security

Jack Phelan ‘18 and Tim Fay ‘18 head to Washington D.C. for the National Youth Leadership Forum
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Courtesy of Karen Phelan

Two Williston Northampton School students are headed to the nation’s capital this week to learn about a prominent topic in the news today: national security.

Jack Phelan ‘18 and Tim Fay ‘18 are headed to Washington D.C. to participate in the “National Youth Leadership Forum: National Security—Diplomacy, Intelligence, and Defense.” The program is run by the for-profit company Envision Experience, based in the capital.

Over the course of the six-day program, Mr. Fay and Mr. Phelan will meet with policy makers, military leaders, and other experts for a “behind-the-scenes view of national security in action,” according to an Envision press release.

The boys, and some 300 other students from across U.S., will be visiting historic and notable sites such as the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War memorials. They will also stop at the Smithsonian and the National Mall. Their group will take part in the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Courtesy of Karen Phelan

Mr. Fay, who was on his way to Washington D.C. on Tuesday, wrote via email that he’s most looking forward to a talk by former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He noted that he hopes the program helps him meet new people and “gain a full understanding of what makes a good leader and apply that to myself.”

“I am most looking forward to going to memorials and the Arlington National Cemetery and honoring the noble people that came before me,” added Mr. Phelan. “I hope to meet new people and enhance my leadership skills on the national stage.”

Student Short Story Garners Scholastic Praise

Sophia Schaefer’s Sailing Tale Earns an Honorable Mention in Boston Globe Scholastic Contest
Photo courtesy of Sophia Schaefer
Photo courtesy of Sophia Schaefer

“’Up from the meadows rich with corn, clear in the cool September morn, the clustered spires of Frederick stand, green walled by the hills of Maryland.’ My grandfather muttered this as the race horn sounded.”

So begins ninth grader Sophia Schaefer’s tale of wind and weather, of relationships that run as deep as an ocean current, and of charting your own course—even if no one (or everyone) is following you.

Originally created as an assignment for her Williston Northampton humanities class last spring, Ms. Schaefer’s short story, “Great Day for a Race,” was recently recognized by the Boston Globe Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, where it received an honorable mention. The Boston contest is the regional division of a national program that recognizes creative middle and high school students.

Ms. Schaefer’s fictional story, which was based on an interview with her grandmother, was among 20,000 submissions, including 1,750 written pieces, from more than 8,000 students, according to the Boston Globe.

English teacher Doug Niedzwecki said Ms. Schaefer’s story had stood out for its balance of detail and authentic voice.

“I do recall clearly how well Sophia integrated the emotional feeling of how memorable and meaningful the past can be as seen through another’s eyes,” he wrote in an email. “’Great Day For a Race’ is an exceptional short story, and I am especially happy that Sophia enjoyed the writing process so much.”

Read “Great Day for a Race” here.

Rebecca Makkai: The Distance Needed to Write a Story

RM-Blog-2“Fiction becomes interesting when a line is crossed,” said author Rebecca Makkai during the first public lecture of the 16th Annual Writers’ Workshop on October 3.

In her lecture Ms. Makkai addressed how she came up with the idea for her award-winning first novel, The Borrower, which is centered on the relationship between rebellious librarian Lucy Hall and 10-year-old book lover Ian Drake, whose parents are forcing him to attend weekly anti-gay classes. Kidnapping, followed by a road trip from Missouri to Vermont, and references to classic children’s texts are all facets of the plot in Ms. Makkai’s novel. Continue reading

Green Team Brings Composting to Campus

Kevin Martin pushed back the lid on the giant blue dumpster and stepped aside, letting a handful of students peer at a small mound of lemon rinds, lettuce leaves, broken eggshells, and brown paper bags.

“All of this is generated from the dining hall. It doesn’t come from anywhere else on campus,” said Martin, The Williston Northampton School’s director of dining services.

“Wow! That’s great!” exclaimed one of the students.

The students, members of the school’s Sustainable Life Club, were touring the school’s new compost system, which included the dumpster—a large example of the reduce, reuse, recycle motto they try to embody.

Although school officials have considered composting the waste from the dining hall for several years, it took a final push from these students to make the effort a reality. The new compost bin was installed in early January; on a cold Monday, club members admired the squishy results of their hard work.

The idea of collecting compost on a larger scale first occurred to Nick Pattison ’14 while he was working with the school’s community garden last year. The garden has two compost bins, which garden club members fill with prep scraps from the dining hall.

Continue reading