Category Archives: Convocation Address

Two Faculty Recognized for 25 Years of Service

Director of the Middle School Jen Fulcher

Ed note: During Convocation on September 15, 2017, Head of School Robert W. Hill III made the following remarks recognizing 25 years of service of two faculty members.

It has been our tradition at convocation to honor teachers who have committed 25 years of their lives to Williston by presenting them with a Williston chair. This year we have two recipients. Jen Fulcher began her career at Williston back in 1989, and she has been a psychology teacher, civics teacher, dorm parent, and coach. Her career here was interrupted by a stint coaching women’s soccer at Middlebury College, only to return Williston after a handful of years. Currently, she serves as the director of the Middle School and is well known for her phenomenal record as the varsity coach of girls lacrosse and soccer. Ms. Fulcher is, as everyone who knows her will agree, a Coca­-cola-fueled force of unparalleled energy—and I know that she’s always been this way, since I did some digging before writing these remarks. With that boundless energy comes an equal focus on student achievement, on her students and players being better every day, whether on the playing fields or in the classrooms. If anyone doubts her competitiveness, then just watch Ms. Fulcher in the Middle School volleyball tournament. Jen, if you ever run for Congress, you have a ready-made slogan. Thanks for setting the bar so high and for all you have done for Williston.

Director of Middle School Admission Allison Marsland

Allison Marsland has been an admission officer at Williston for 25 years and currently serves as Director of Middle School Admission and Senior Associate Director of Admission—so she and Ms. Fulcher are joined at the hip when it comes to our 7th and 8th grade students. Moreover, every student who joined Williston as a ninth grader also knows Ms. Marsland as co-founder and director of the 9th grade CORE. If you remember your first day at Williston, you will recall Ms. Marsland moving among the pews of the chapel taking pictures of everyone
smiling—she even invented the selfie before that was a thing. Ms. Marsland insistence that smiling makes you feel better and invites others to engage you forms the basis of friendship and community. Those who have seen Ms. Marsland in action, whether coaching soft ball or heading 194 Main Street, know that she practices what she preaches. Allison, please accept our thanks for your 25 years of community building and modeling Williston’s mission.

Sarah Klumpp Receives the Richard C. Gregory Faculty Chair

Sarah Klumpp receives the Gregory Chair.

Ed. note: History and Global Studies Chair Sarah Klumpp received the Richard C. Gregory Chair during Convocation on September 15, 2017. Dean of Faculty Peter Valine presented the chair and delivered this address.

The new recipient of the Gregory Chair arrived on our campus in the fall of 2001. As an independent school graduate who had also taught for three years in boarding school before coming to Williston, she rapidly immersed herself in all areas of school life.

In the classroom, her energy, enthusiasm, and exceptional organization allow her to successfully transmit her passion for history and teaching. She brings history alive through her student-centered pedagogy. She encourages students to find their own voice through discussions and to challenge their understandings through debate. She asks probing questions about historical issues, and creates engaging projects that require her students to adopt the roles of discoverers and historians. She uses clearly articulated goals and objectives that assist the process of discovery, and then prods her students to apply the knowledge and skills that they gained. Her students feel well supported by her frequent and constructive feedback, her availability for extra help, and her positive reinforcement and praise when their work is well done. Continue reading

Anabelle Farnham ’18 Convocation Speech

Anabelle Farnham ’18

Students, faculty, staff, class of 2018, welcome to Convocation!

I was terrified. Excited, but terrified. No, I am not talking about when I sat down to write this speech. I’m talking about when I was first accepted to Williston the spring before freshman year. I was afraid that I wouldn’t dress the right way; that I wouldn’t be smart enough; that I would fail in athletics; that I wouldn’t know how to be “preppy”; and before the year had even started, I somehow already felt behind. Luckily, that summer I met one girl from Williston that would change all of that. Continue reading

The Importance of Perspective and Learning the History We Don’t Know

Dr. Beverly Tatum

Williston Northampton Convocation Speech
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
September 15, 2017

A long time ago I read a disturbing story that had a powerful effect on me and I want to begin my talk today by telling it to all of you.  Unfortunately I no longer remember where I first read it, but I believe it comes from the Buddhist tradition.  It is a story about a king who wanted to create a large bell that could be heard across the country side, one that would be astonishingly beautiful in tone.  He commissioned the most highly skilled bell maker he could find, and the bell maker worked diligently to produce a wonderful bell.  The first bell he made was good, but not great.  The sound quality just wasn’t what the king was looking for.  A second bell was cast, and still despite the bell maker’s best efforts, it wasn’t good enough for the king.  Finally in frustration, the bell maker told the king that the only way to get the beautiful tone he was looking for would be to sacrifice a young maiden in the casting of the bell.  And so the king ordered his soldiers to find a suitable candidate.  In a nearby village they found a poor woman with a young daughter, and snatched her away from her pleading mother.  She was sacrificed for the bell, and indeed the bell that resulted was both beautiful to see and had an astonishingly pure and lovely tone.  All who heard it marveled at the sound, but the poor mother who knew firsthand its terrible history cried with grief each time the bell rang. There was injustice literally baked into that bell, but those who did not know that history never had to think about that injustice.  They simply enjoyed its sound. Continue reading

Natalie Aquadro ’17 on the ‘Williston Magic’

Natalie Aquadro '17
Natalie Aquadro ’17

Five years ago when I came to Williston, 2017 seemed like generations away, and now it’s just around the corner. Five years ago I was 12 years old, it was 2011, and I was only about 2 inches shorter. Five years ago I never thought that I would be on this side of the stage. I hardly even had the courage to stand up and present in front of a class, and now here I am talking to the entire school. But that’s just what happens at Williston: you become someone that you only ever dreamed of being. Whether you’re in seventh grade, ninth grade, a PG, or anywhere in between, I guarantee that at some point in your time at Williston, you will feel the Williston magic. Williston is what I believe to be the friendliest place on earth. If you haven’t noticed it yet, I’m sure you will in just a matter of time. I’m somewhat convinced that to be enrolled in Williston you have to constantly be smiling, and I think that might be the first thing the admissions office checks when you come to visit campus. Continue reading