Those parents able to attend Williston’s Fall Family Weekend were not only treated to the marvelous work of our theater program—they also witnessed the return of the Francis-Kinne Cup to Williston as our teams bested Suffield Academy by a margin of 9 wins to 5 losses. As I watched the varsity football game with my Suffield counterpart, Charlie Cahn, I quipped that it was a nice way for me, as a new head of school, to be introduced to the good-natured rivalry that our two schools share in this annual event (for those who do not know, our two schools meet head-to-head in every sports contest during Fall Family Weekend, and the school with the greatest number of wins claims the cup).
But the highlight of the weekend for parents as well as faculty were the individual teacher meetings that hearken back to an earlier time in schools. Not only do parents have the chance to sit in with their children on any class in their child’s schedule, but Williston students sign up in advance of the weekend so that their parents have dedicated time with each teacher with whom they may wish to connect. If building communities in an age of social media and networking depends upon face-to-face interactions, then our Fall Family Weekend serves a pivotal function. Despite the fast pace and full schedule of the weekend, teachers enjoy hearing directly from parents about their children’s backgrounds and aspirations; our college counselors meet with the parents of seniors; and advisors complete the cycle by visiting with the parents of their advisees. How does this all happen? Well, to acknowledge the dedicated faculty with whom I work, I witnessed more than one conversation taking place on the sidelines of a game, or late into the afternoon, or even after dinner. Clearly, the value of building connections and relationships is alive and well at Williston.