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Senior Dinner Moment of Silence by Dean of Students Kathy Noble

As we gather together on this beautiful evening to celebrate the seniors for the first time, the great Class of 2016, I’d ask that we take a moment to remember and honor those that have come before us through the Williston gates, as they have passed onto us a wonderful legacy. May we admire their sacrifices and triumphs and appreciate their efforts on our behalves.

And looking forward, may we take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the good will, many friendships, and strong bonds that exists among so many of us in the room this evening, faculty and students alike of the Williston community. With optimistic enthusiasm, it is our hope that each of us will continue to cultivate these ties and develop many new ones during the school year ahead.

As we prepare to share a wonderful meal together, may we take a moment to reflect and express our appreciation for the many opportunities that are available to each of us at Williston and all that is good in our daily lives.

Moment of Reflection by Dean of Students Kathy Noble

We have Convocation every fall to mark the official start of school. This year is a particularly special one; as you may have noticed from all the banners around the Quad and on the Chapel, the school is celebrating its 175th year.

That’s a long history—one of the longest of all the other boarding schools in this area.

So, for my reflection today, I’d like to ask us all to think about our school history, about our own history, and to also think about how the future is simply a history that hasn’t happened yet.

Yes, we may think we know what this year will bring. We will have favorite classes and ones where we have to work a bit. We will win athletic games and loose some. We will study for finals, rest during the breaks, and eventually, celebrate with the Class of 2016 and our alumni next spring.

But although we think we know what the future brings, here’s something to remember:

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Commencement Address by Brad Hall ’75

Photo by Matthew CavanaughHeadmaster Hill, members of the board, alumni, teachers, staff, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, friends of the school, that guy who just wandered in thinking this was a wedding with an open bar, and of course graduating students of the class of 2015; it’s an honor to speak to you all on this auspicious day, a day that I have been dreading since Headmaster Hill invited me to speak.

Being asked by the Headmaster of your high school to do what’s basically an oral report is a nightmare for me—and I mean that literally. For DECADES I’ve had a recurring nightmare about returning to Williston to give a report and nobody tells me what it’s supposed to be about. So, thanks for making my most horrible dream come true. At least I am wearing clothes, because in the nightmare I am often naked — though sometimes I am dressed as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader. Oh, God—I AM dressed like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, so perhaps the nightmare is coming true; which is good news for you, because that means you’ll all get to meet Sofia Vergara in a minute, and believe me, SHE won’t be dressed like Ruth Bader Ginsberg…

So, you did it, class of 2015! You are graduating! You have been looking forward to this day, your High School graduation day, for at least 13 years. That’s how long you’ve been going to school. Can you believe that? Thirteen years, for nine months a year, five days a week—or in some cruel, barbaric institutions six days a week.

Well, now it’s over. You are through with school forever. Congratulations. You will never again have to attend another class, read another book, or write another paper ot get up before noon.

Oh—wait a second. That’s right. You’re just graduating from high school. Now you’ve got to go to college. And then graduate school. And then post-graduate school. And then prison, which is seven days a week unless you get one of these cool ankle bracelets…

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Hall of Fame Remarks by Coach Sue Barnett

18091569823_2b0de7c3f6_zEditor’s note: Sue Curry Barnett was inducted into the Williston Northampton Athletic Hall of Fame on June 6, 2015. Sue Barnett’s award was presented to her by the Rev. Mary Conant ’74. 

This is one’s worst nightmare, having to follow a preacher,
especially for this aged out, former Physical Ed teacher,
a coach who dreaded awards assembly talks
like I dreaded missed free-throws and giving up walks.

Thank you, Mary, for the history of girls’ and women’s sports,
and thanks for your generous comments, ignoring my warts.
Something you’ve learned that we all need to heed,
being kind to each other helps us all to succeed.

One piece of unfinished business from the earlier event honoring Couchie as it translates to this event, to Williston Northampton athletics and to me personally. Thanks Couchie and Janet for three girls who at times made up three-11ths of the starting line-up of soccer teams and one-third of the starting line-up of softball teams.

For the past five months, I have been in touch with dozens of alumnae and have spent some time in the school archives, primarily in search of information for Mary. I kept nothing: not yearbooks, no score books, not records. In all the resonse I received, only two of you passed along information about records—and that information was limited. All of you passed along stories; memories of your playing days and reflections on what you learned beyond skills and tactics. Some would say we failed Mary. We did, I guess.

But you didn’t fail me.

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Baccalaureate Remarks by Head of School Bob Hill

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

Good evening and welcome to parents, faculty, guests, and especially the Class of 2015.

As most of you know, the tradition of the Baccalaureate Service dates back to the Middle Ages where it signified a student’s attainment of his religious orders. For the Class of 2015, I have seen the list where you are headed to college next year and as best I can tell none of you has listed a monastery or convent, though there might be parents in the audience who think that’s not such a bad idea.

Given the historical roots of this ceremony, which retains all of the symbolism and meaning of a significant rite of passage, I’ve been searching for the right speech, should it be a homily, a sermon, a lecture. Whatever I decided, I knew that I must find a theme that befits the occasion, words that are fittingly solemn, maybe even filled with wisdom.

So I’ve decided to talk to you, Class of 2015, about household pets. Specifically, I want to talk to you about dogs and cats. In a show of hands how many of you have had one of these wonderful animals living under your roof at home. Some of you may even permit that beloved pet to sleep in your room, on your bed, or perhaps even in your bed with you.

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