Category Archives: 2012-13 Assembies

Cum Laude Remarks by Peter Gunn

Editor’s Note: Peter Gunn, history and global studies teacher, presented the following during the Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony on Friday, January 11.

Good Morning

We gather this morning to honor ten seniors who we will induct into the Cum Laude Society.  We celebrate their academic accomplishment and, in so doing, the fundamental mission of the Williston Northampton School.  Think of this as the academic counterpart to the Athletic Awards – only for the best of the best.

The Cum Laude Society is a national Honor Society modeled on Phi Beta Kappa. Williston Academy joined the society in 1921. The Northampton School for Girls received its charter in 1951.  In 1971 the society granted the merged Williston Northampton School a new charter.  Membership into the Cum Laude Society is the highest academic award that Williston Northampton can bestow.

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Safety is the Priority: All-School Assembly

by Head of School Robert W. Hill III. Originally presented during all-school assembly on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

I wanted to welcome everyone back, but also to extend a warm Williston welcome to a new member of the class of 2015, Fiona Li, who joins us from Hong Kong and will be living in John Wright.

Also, I want to welcome the latest member of the Athas family, Avery Elizabeth Athas, who was born two days after you left for the holidays.

The holiday banquet seems a long way off already and much has happened in our world.  It is appropriate—as an elementary school about 90 minutes away near Newtown, CT reconvenes today—to commit ourselves to all that is good in the world.  Events like Sandy Hook, and the transcendence of such tremendous loss, bring our own lives into perspective. That is a paradox of human nature I suppose.  When events broke, we acknowledged the tragedy with a moment of silence at the faculty and staff dinner, by words spoken by Mr. Conroy at the girls basketball tournament, my letter home to families, our alumni office reaching out to those Williston graduates living In Newtown, and most visibly perhaps, by our flags flying at half-mast.

Your safety and the safety of everyone at Williston is always our top priority—and while you students may sometimes get annoyed by us nagging parents saying to pause for cars, tell us when you are leaving campus, or avoid getting into dangerous situations, we say these things because we care about you. Williston is a large family.  We had an all school safety drill last fall and there will be others.  I don’t know if some of you listening have lingering questions or fears about Sandy Hook, but if you do, counseling services, advisers, and mentors are here for you.

Let’s make 2013 a memorable and safe year at Williston and it’s great to have you all back.

Moment of Silence by Mark Conroy

Editor’s Note: Mark Conroy, director of athletics, presented the following during Upper School Assembly on November 28, 2012.

Good morning everyone.

The primary purpose of our assembly this morning is to review our fall athletic season. Before doing so I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge a beloved member of our community, Al Lavalle, who passed away earlier this week.

Many of you know that Al worked at Williston for the past 13 years. While he was on the athletic grounds staff the past three years, for the previous 10, Al ran our Cage at the Athletic Center.

Al had an incredibly profound impact on everyone who knew him. With all due respect to all of us who work with students on a regular basis here, no one in our community impacted more students than Al during those ten years.

The 2007 yearbook was dedicated to Al. I wanted to share a couple of words from this dedication “Al is the second Dad we all wish we had. Never condescending, always funny, he is the person at Williston we go to for advice – Al is a true teacher in every sense of the word.” “Please and Thank You—two simple words that Al constantly reminded us to say—the lessons we learned from Al at the cage will stick with us for life.”

I would like to ask all of us to observe a few moments of silence in Al LaValle’s memory.

Go to the full list of Fall Team Highlights and Individual Honors.

A Moment of Reflection by Peter Gunn

Presented by history and global studies teacher Peter Gunn during The Williston Northampton School’s all-school meeting on September 19, 2012.

Good morning. A few of you have already heard what I am about to share, but I believe the two anniversaries of this week deserve a wider audience—and a moment of silent reflection and appreciation in our community.

On September 17th, 1787 thirty-seven American delegates signed the US Constitution and sent it to the states for ratification by convention. Rarely are countries born out of and built upon a set of ideas. The United States is one such country. While less familiar to our ear than Thomas Jefferson’s affirmation in the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal”, the preamble written by James Madison includes a sweeping expression of American ideals:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Over the past 225 years this document has served our nation well and contributed to positive political developments around the world.

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