Academic Award Ceremony

Award Ceremony Welcome by Bob Hill on May 29, 2012.

Good evening Williston Northampton School and welcome to the annual Academic Awards Ceremony. As I was thinking about this evening, my first thoughts turned to the weather and the August heat we are having in May, but that only makes sense given that our January snow storm fell on Halloween. (Please take your jackets off if you have not done so already.)

Next, I was thinking of all of the talent, spirit, and determination arrayed before me and was pondering the number of projects, papers, recitals, home work assignments, and labs that are represented by all of you sitting here.

I was thinking it would interesting to try and total that amount of work—like the cool “by the numbers” section at the beginning of Time Magazine: average number of texts made by teens in a day, 111; average number of times students make an excuse for late work; number of times that excuse is that your computer ate the paper.

Students and teachers working together and inspiring one another is what makes Williston’s experience so transformative—and it is an experience that should not be taken for granted when you consider how lucky we are to be here together.

You students work incredibly hard to achieve illustrious results, and so do your teachers. Consider this: a typical teacher at Williston who teaches four classes spends 23,380 minutes in class each year. Multiply that by the average number of students and you get 1,356,040 contact minutes with students. That’s a big number.

As we begin this evening’s program I want to thank all of you students for striving to reach your full potential, and I want to publicly thank Mr. Tuleja, Mr. Ketcham, and Mrs. McMullen for organizing this program. Mrs. McMullen painstakingly wrapped the over 100 prizes you see here.

In Memory of Jacqui

By Sarah Wilkie ’12

Originally presented during Tuesday Assembly on May 15, 2012.

The Williston experience is unforgettable. Like high school itself, it is youth, it is abandon, it is friendship, and it is possibility. Those who have been fortunate to call Williston home carry its memories long past the corners of this campus. For one of our own, however, it was more—more than any teen, any sister, any child should have to endure.

On September 19, 2011, the Williston class of 2012 lost one of its own, when Jacqueline Desai lost her battle to cancer.

While Jacqui’s time on campus was limited to less than a year, her influence here was vast. She touched many, and her legacy continues.

Continue reading

Tuesday Assembly: I’m an Asian

by Nan Ding ’14

Originally presented during all-school assembly on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

Hey, guys. I’m Nan. And I’m an Asian.

Suppose all of you guys don’t know me yet, but you know I’m from the old and mysterious Eastern hemisphere.

So, you guys may think, well….

I’m quiet
Good at science
A brilliant math student
Not very athletic
Wearing glasses

Well, yeah. Most of them are true for me. But those are just the stereotypes of Asian people.

Recently, I went to the Asian American conference and many Asians sort of reached an agreement that—Americans are kind of weird.

Continue reading

Senior Dinner 2012

By Kyle Hanford, English Teacher

Originally presented during Senior Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

Good evening.  To begin, I want to thank Mr. Hill, Ms. Sage, Mr. Martin, the dining staff, and the wait staff for tonight’s meal.  Nothing was left to chance, and it was excellent.

To the senior class, I want to say that I am both humbled and honored that you have chosen me to speak to you this evening.  I think all educators go through moments in their careers when they wonder if they are making a difference, if they are reaching students, if they matter.  And to be honest, when you are new to a school, all you are trying to do is to not screw up bad enough so they tell you that you can’t come back.

And since I’m being honest tonight, I can tell you that of those of you in the audience who had me the first day of classes this year, I was just trying to get through the day without too many eye rolls, groans, and “Where’d they get THIS guy?” comments.  Think of it from my position: you are returning to a school that you went to for one year as a post graduate.  It’s been 15 years since you’ve left and you are facing a group of confident and bright seniors, some of whom have been at the school for six years, about to teach them about “the essay.”  Of my two senior classes in the fall, I can only come to three conclusions: one: You really liked me; two: you are SUPERB liars, or three: I completely duped you.

Continue reading

CID: Erin Davey

Presented by Erin Davey during a Cultural Identity Event on January 13, 2012 in Williston Northampton School’s Cox Room.

No Difference
by Shel Silverstein

Small as a peanut
Big as a giant,
We’re all the same size
When we turn off the light.
Red black or orange,
Yellow or white
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!

A favorite writer and philosopher of mine and so many others, Shel Silverstein, had his priorities aligned in such a fashion that one may not recognize where and when his most important life lessons were staring you in the face. On one page he speaks of a “Flying Festoon” while on another he speaks of a little boy and an old man conversing over their common troubles. How and when are we to understand or recognize when some of life’s most influential teachings are searching for us to find their meaning?

While lacking a persuasive religious analysis to Silverstein’s poem, No Difference, I can certainly speak to its ability to hold true in my life and even yours. While we are consistently faced with cultural conformity and societal norms, we are more often presented with difference. The only problem lies within our own abilities to not just acknowledge them but to appreciate them. I was once victim to such naivety.

Continue reading