On Diversity: All-School Assembly

Presented by Director of Diversity and International Student Coordinator Bridget Choo on September 14, 2012 during Friday All-School Assembly.

I am Bridget Choo, the diversity director and international student coordinator here at The Williston Northampton School. So what? What does that mean?

I would use the word kuleana to describe it. When Mr. Choo and I lived in Hawaii, we used this word because we both believed in a life of service. In Hawaiian, this word is used to describe your responsibility to the world. In Williston’s words, it is my purpose and my passion.

This goes way back for me—before South America, before Asia, or New York—all the way back to a remote land called South Hadley. When I was in third grade, my family’s home was condemned, determined unsuitable to live. We did not live in our own house again until I was in high school.

Telling my story was hard for a lot of reasons. It still is. Simply put, my job is to empower and invite you all to tell your story. Your story, which is part of the Williston story.

Our story.

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Governor General’s Academic Medal Acceptance Speech

The following speech was presented by Gabriel Archambault in French as an acceptance speech for the Governor General’s Academic Medal ceremony on Saturday, October 13, 2012.

English (translation)

Good evening ladies, gentlemen, and graduates.

I would have liked to be with you this evening.  I’m not there in person right now because I’m studying at Williston Northampton in Massachusetts.  When you see this video, I’ll be playing in a soccer match.  I hope we’re winning.

I would like to thank at my teachers at Saint-Paul who taught me a great deal  I would also like to thank my friends who added to my great experience at school. In addition, I thank my parents, brother, and friends who encourage me from afar.

I knew that we were going to receive our high school diplomas.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was the recipient of the Governor General’s medal. I am truly honored by this recognition.

To all the graduates: Good luck for the start of the CEGEP term. I’ll be thinking of you.

To my friends, I’ll be in Québec for 10 days in November to celebrate American Thanksgiving.

See you soon; I’m thinking of you fondly.

French (original)

Bonsoir a vous, messieurs, mesdames et diplomes

J’aurais beaucoup aime etre parmi vous ce soir.  Si je ne suis pas physiquement avec vous c’est parce que j’etudie au prep school Williston Northampton dans l’etat du Massachusetts.  Lorsque vous verrez ce video, je serai en train de jouer un match de football.  J’espere qu’on est en train gagner.

J’aimerais remercier tous les professeurs du College Saint-Paul qui m’ont permis d’acquerrir un grand bagage de connaissances.  J’aimerais remercier aussi mes amis qui ont contribue a ce que l’atmosphere au College soit si agreable pour moi.  Je remercie aussi mes parents, mon frere et ma blonde qui m’encouragent peu importe la distance.

Je savais que nous allions recevoir notre diplome d’etudes secondaires.  J’ai ete agreablement surpris d’apprendre que je recevais aussi la medaille de gouverneur general.  Je suis vraiment tres honore de cette marque de reconnaissance.

A tous les diplomes; Bonne chance pour votre session de CEGEP qui debute.  Je pense a vous.

A mes amis, je serai au Quebec en novembre pour 10 jours pour feter la thanksgiving americaine.

A Bienttot, vous etes dans mon couer.


On Faculty Development by Lynn Magovern

Natalie Goldberg didn’t like the looks of us. Adrienne Mantegna and I, along with a hundred or so others, sat like dutiful attendees at a lecture, upright and attentive with notebooks and pens, in chairs neatly lined up in rows.

Like a firm Zen master, Natalie commanded, “I want you to crack open structure!” and pried open her empty hands as if she were breaking the spine of a book. So our massive group in Kripalu’s cavernous hall—formerly a chapel—spent the first few minutes of our weekend writing workshop dragging our chairs around the carpet, moving them out of the pattern, finding a proper space to breathe and do our work.

In the short introduction that followed, Natalie zeroed in on the physical act of writing: hand holding pen loosely, hand connected to arm, to heart, to head. We needed to write more with our bodies and hearts and less with our minds, Natalie emphasized, especially working to ignore the critic in our heads she termed “monkey mind.” This “monkey mind” simply distracts us from our writing practice and diminishes our true voice. With our physical space now improved—chairs rearranged, structure cracked open—and our tools ready, we could begin. “The only tools a writer needs,” she said, “are pen, paper, and the human mind.”

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