Category Archives: Uncategorized

Under the Big Tent

What happens when Reunion Weekend at Williston is held during the school year? Alumni meet students, students meet alumni, and countless conversations occur in both directions. Surely one of the most memorable moments came when Rachel Rockwell, Class of 2016, met the woman whose track record she has been chasing for the past four years. Even better was that Rachel beat the old record, held by new Hall of Fame inductee Catherine St. Louis, Class of 1991.  And reunioners were watching and cheering Rachel on!  Such inter-generational moments are priceless and certainly leave alumni with a much better understanding of Williston as it is today. Thanks to all for their participation on a historic weekend.

One hundred and seventy five years and One Revolution

One RevolutionWhat a birthday party for Williston in celebrating our 175th year, and what a message from Chris Waddell: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.” His inspirational address to Williston students and faculty was captivating and provided the perfect backdrop for our work as a community on identities.  I like the term Senator Cory Booker uses, “courageous empathy,” in talking about the need to walk in someone else’s shoes. We need more “courageous empathy” in this world, but if Williston students are any indication, we are taking steps in the right direction.

Remembering Sherrie

SherrieThe news of Sherrie Gordon, Class of 2000, having passed away this week has left me with a feeling of loss and absence—and there’s too much of that in this world right now.

At the same time, it is hard not to smile when thinking of Sherrie and all that she stood for, accomplished, and inspired in her short life. I first met Sherrie while interviewing for the head’s job some six years ago and have remained email friends with her since. When she told me that she was sick last year and would not be able to accept the Whitaker-Bement Award (bestowed for loyalty, service and devotion to the school) in person, she was typical in her “no worries” response and gratitude.

What an example of a life well lived in the service of others.

I know that her family and friends will miss her terribly, and Williston has sustained the loss of such a talented, young, and vibrant spirit who had unbounded horizons of achievement ahead. We are deeply appreciative of all she gave back to Williston and to all of those who were lucky to have been touched by her.

Editor’s note: Fellow alumnus and friend Pierce Freelon ’02 is crowd-sourcing a music video to the music “Doin’ What I Love” in honor of Sherrie. Find more details here or use the hashtag #DoinWhatILove and mention @thebeastmusic to participate.

When Last Is First

The photo of Christa Talbot Syfu and Greg Tuleja captures two coaches with reputations for producing winning teams.  Not shown on the score card is the attention they pay to the character development of their runners.

Last week, one of Williston Northampton School’s junior varsity cross country members, competing in his final race as a Wildcat with schools from around New England in attendance, made a statement.

When JJ Celentano ’16 stopped in the middle of the course to escort an injured runner from a visiting team, he gave up his attempt for a personal record or “PR,” and showed that character counts, and that “doing good well” is more than just a slogan at Williston.

Photo of JJ Celentano at Shaler Invitational by Ben Chmielewski '16
Photo of JJ Celentano at Shaler Invitational by Ben Chmielewski ’16

Not many people know of this selfless act—JJ is not the type to promote a story about himself—but he was the last to cross the finish line with an injured competitor at his side. His actions make us all proud of him and our school.


Captains America

It’s not every day or every school that gets to welcome home a captain of a one-loss varsity hockey team from 1936. But Williston did just that when Mr. Craig Campbell ’36 visited his alma mater to take in a period of hockey and have an impromptu visit with the boys between periods. His presence attracted a crowd of players from both the boys and girls varsity teams who share a love of hockey and the life lessons that come from team play. Pictured here are Captains Rourke Ferguson, Tyler Scroggins, and Mr. Craig Campbell.

Mr. Campbell and captainsMr. Campbell went on to an illustrious business career after serving his country in the US Army during World War II in the Pacific.  Two of his sons also attended Williston.  While Mr. Campbell said it was a thrill to return to the locker room and to the school, I can assure him that all who met him were equally thrilled by the experience.