Category Archives: Faculty Speaker

Laughter Followed Him

Allison Evans remembers Brian Crockett

Editor’s note: To honor the anniversary of faculty member Brian Crockett’s passing, his friend and fellow teacher, Allison Evans, wrote the following remembrance.

2014 Evans Brian CrockettAs first year teachers, Mr. Harper, Ms. Schneider, Mr. Crockett, and I attended NENTS (New England New Teacher Seminar) at Pomfret in August of 2013. Part of the application process was to write one fact about yourself that made you unique. Mr. Harper was home-schooled until senior year of high school; Ms. Schneider has 45 cousins; and I have been horseback riding for as long as I can remember.

When it was Mr. Crockett’s turn to share his fact, Ms. Schneider and I laughed in disbelief. No way could it be true. His fact was simple, “I am the funniest person you will ever meet.” Little did we know at the time, that it was true. His larger-than-life personality was present from day one. By the end of the week, the three of us were convinced of this fact and could see that no matter what, a positive energy filled with laughter followed Mr. Crockett everywhere he went.

In no time, we were fast friends. Mr. Crockett lit up any room. Even with his annoying phrases (Ms. Chambers…) or his “real” buffalo chicken dip (because there is fake chicken, right, Mr. McKillop?), Mr. Crockett always found a way to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

There are so many lessons in life that I have learned from knowing Mr. Crockett, but there is one that stands out each and every day: To never give up. Stay true to yourself and your passions. Do what you love because you can. Smile. Laugh. Each and every day. Cherish these moments because you never know when they’ll be gone. People might not remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Mr. Crockett impacted so many lives—more than I think he realized. We are so blessed to have known him. Today, take a moment to remember Mr. Crockett. There is no way a few paragraphs and some words on paper can truly describe the incredible person that Mr. Crockett was. But today I challenge you to take the time to make someone smile today, as he always did, each and every day.

Today, to also mark this one-year anniversary of their coach’s passing, Sam Atkins and Curt Mcleod invite the community to visit Sawyer Field at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 to remember the great man. They remind everyone that this will be a safe place to talk and ask that people bring flowers, a note, a shirt, a good story, or just a listening ear.

Read on:
Honoring Brian Crockett
by Head of School Bob Hill
In Honor of My Man Brian Crockett by Donnie McKillop

On Women’s Education by Ellie B. Rothman

Editor’s note: Former faculty member Ellie B. Rothman, Director Emerita of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program at Smith College, was the keynote speaker during the Northampton School for Girls’ 90th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 17.

It’s my pleasure to welcome you all here this morning, for what looks like an interesting series of talks and opportunities to talk with your fellow alumnae from a spread of classes. Jeff Pilgrim and Penny Molyneaux (and perhaps a few others) are to be congratulated on putting it all together. I want to make sure that you all realize, appearances perhaps to the contrary, that I was not around at the time that NSFG was founded.

It’s a happy occasion, and I’m delighted to have been asked to speak to you. I’m going to try to say something meaningful about women’s education, though to do so in 15 minutes is daunting, to say the least.

First, I have a question: How many of you attended a women’s college? ….. We’ll come back to that.

I plan to tell you a bit about my own experience, leaving some time for questions so that I can respond to what you really want to know.

I’m not going to say anything about why Miss Whitaker and Miss Bement decided to found a school for girls in Northampton, MA in 1924. Perhaps Rick Teller will talk about that this afternoon. You all are probably pretty glad that they appreciated the importance of women’s EDC or you wouldn’t be here to celebrate your alma mater.

Continue reading

Button Speech: Northampton School at 90

Editor’s note: This annual speech by Williston Archivist Rick Teller ’70 takes its name from the manufacturing business school founders Samuel and Emily Williston (although buttons themselves are not usually the focus). This year, Mr. Teller spoke during Upper School assembly on October 1, 2014.

Good morning. We call this the button speech. For those of you who are new to us, it is an annual presentation concerning some aspect of Williston Northampton history. For those of you who are not new, there is absolutely no truth to the story that it’s the same every year. Let me add that the only reference to buttons that you will hear this morning has already happened.

OK, a caveat. A few of you seniors heard a portion of today’s talk back in freshman year. I suspect that fewer of you remember, so I’m not especially worried. And it seems important this year to talk about Northampton School for Girls, since this fall is the 90th anniversary of their founding.

Northampton School for Girls is the “Northampton” in our name. They merged with Williston Academy in 1971. Their history, their legacy is an integral part of who we, meaning you, are, here in 2014.

So let’s go back to 1920. Northampton School history really begins with the Capen School for Girls. Capen was a small but highly regarded school located next to Smith College in Northampton. (In fact, those of you who attended the Smith College Campus School are intimately familiar with the former Capen property.)

The Capen School did not survive the death of Miss Bessie Capen, its headmistress and owner — talk about a private school! Capen was one of a great many girls’ academies that have since vanished from the educational map. Early in the 20th century girls could not make the assumptions about education and careers that you do now. If a woman attended college at all, she might go to a state normal school, and prepare for a career as a schoolteacher. Most private colleges were male enclaves, but there were a number of fine women’s colleges, either associated with men’s schools, like Radcliffe or Barnard, or independent colleges: Wellesley, Smith, Vassar, Mount Holyoke — whose mission was to provide women an education equal in rigor to that offered to men at Yale and Amherst. An ambitious young woman might attend one of these colleges, although there was certainly no guarantee, or even encouragement, that she continue a professional life after college.

Continue reading

Mesics Instructorship Presentation by Peter Valine

Melissa Brousseau honored for her work at Williston

Editor’s note: The Mesics Instructorship was presented to Melissa Brousseau during Upper School Assembly in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on September 17, 2014

Ms. Brousseau at work in the training room. Photo by R.J. Sakai
Ms. Brousseau at work in the training room. Photo by R.J. Sakai

“The Sandra Bashore ’55 and Joseph C. Mesics Instructorship was established in 2001 to recognize a young faculty member’s initiatives in and out of the classroom.”

The new recipient of the Mesics Instructorship is very deserving of this distinction as she has made a significant imprint on the Williston community in each of the three areas of boarding school life: academics, the afternoon program, and residential life.

In her classroom, whether it be the gymnasium teaching Physical Education to Middle Schoolers or a laboratory teaching Anatomy and Physiology to high school students, she is well prepared and enthusiastic. Her success as an educator is built on the foundation of creating clear expectations, demonstrating expertise in the subject area, and providing positive reinforcement. She creates a constructive learning environment in which her students freely share their understandings and opinions. Her thoughtful lesson planning makes the curriculum engaging and relevant arousing the curiosity and interest of her students. Last year a student in her Anatomy and Physiology class wrote, “She is always calling on us, keeping us on our toes, but she is also eager to help us along. It is clear that she wants us all to succeed.”

Continue reading

Hagedorn Chair Presentation by Peter Valine

Photo by Matt Cavanaugh
Photo by Matt Cavanaugh

Editor’s note: Dean of Faculty Peter Valine presented the Hagedorn Chair to Sue Michalski during Convocation on September 12, 2014. The Hagedorn Chair was established in 2006 by Robert Hagedorn ’76, and his wife, Meladi, who are the parents of Gregory Hagedorn ’06.

Good afternoon. It is my privilege today to award the Hagedorn Chair to a member of the Williston faculty.

This year’s recipient of the Hagedorn Chair is a passionate teacher whose dynamic and effective teaching style has been consistently on display since her arrival on campus in 1999. Her approach to teaching is characterized by her commitment to a philosophy of language acquisition that emphasizes the use of relevant, real-life situations encountered fully in the target language. Her classroom is always a hive of energy as her students are immersed in rapid-paced, imaginative, and purposeful activities.

Continue reading