After a record-breaking application season, the Williston Northampton School offered admission to 270 students from places as far ranging as Ecuador, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden, and as nearby as Easthampton and Amherst.
“I’m excited about the academic strength of the group, the diversity of their interests, and the interesting perspectives they bring to the community,” said Director of Admission Chris Dietrich. “We had a historically large number of applications, and I’m very excited about the group that was accepted.”
These 270 students will have a chance to take a fresh look at the campus during the Admitted Student Days today, March 29, and again on April 5 and 6.
Among the students offered admission were some outstanding athletes, Mr. Dietrich said. They included a 13-year-old triathlete, several national champions in soccer and field hockey, an award-winning competitive figure skater, and a ninth grader who was recently invited to a national development camp for hockey, which grooms prospective Olympians.
Other prospective Willistonians show a passion for academics and the arts. A boy from Haiti has performed with his family at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. An incoming ninth-grade girl was first chair clarinet for all of her school ensembles and performed solos in a winter music festival.
One incoming sophomore from New Jersey became so enthralled with Cirque du Soleil as a child that he had devoted himself to circus arts. He is now an aerial silks artist and hopes to work with SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton while attending Williston.
Among the newcomers is a Middle Schooler who has shown particular ingenuity in science, winning his school’s fifth grade science fair with an experiment that tested which light spectrum was most attractive to insects. A 10th grade girl from Ohio showed equal skill by winning the creative problem-solving program Destination Imagination in her district three times.
But Mr. Dietrich said he was particularly impressed with an incoming ninth grader from Pakistan who first learned about boarding schools in the United States while watching the History Channel. He was so taken with the idea that he sought out Williston. In his application, the student wrote about his own experiences with diversity. Befriending a student from China, he said, had taught him “that our world is filled with people of all races, religions, and customs…I believe that diversity is a strong learning tool also, allowing one to learn from another and build friendships in the process. I, like everyone else, have experienced diversity and I chose to embrace it.”
Find out more about the Williston experience on our blogs, including The Willistonian student newspaper, junior Brendan Hellweg’s Beyond the Binder, and the Sustainable Community by the Sustainable Life Club.