Coming Full Circle by Sarah Williams Carlan ’92

The feelings of love and belonging are essential to the human experience. We need them as much as we need food, water, and shelter. For the past 20 years I have studied this human need, in text books, through research, and finally, with my clients and their families. The first time I felt love and belonging, outside of my family and close friends, was at Williston.

I came to the Williston Middle School after two years of feeling like a player without a playbook. For those two years I came to school feeling like everyone else knew the rules to the game and I was in the dark. I had difficulty making friends and could not seem to cram the spelling words and math facts into my head as fast as the teachers wanted me to. My sense of isolation grew like tumor in my chest, leaving me feeling empty and alone.

When my parents generously gave me the opportunity to apply to Williston, I was elated. I felt like I had been pardoned by the governor. I could finally get out of this place! I had no idea what I was stepping into.

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