Good evening faculty, staff, honored guests, and most importantly Williston Class of 2014. Thank you for having me as part of your senior dinner. It is truly an honor to be here and be back on campus. Believe it or not, when I come back I feel like I was just here yesterday. Campus always has this wonderfully familiar feel, like putting on your favorite pair of jeans.
When Mr. Pilgrim asked me to speak at the Senior Dinner, I said, “Of course.” And then immediately thought what could I possibly have to say to any of you 18-year-olds that you would need or even want to hear about.
I mentioned to my mother that I was deciding what I would share with you and she asked me who spoke at my senior dinner. What were their remarks and what did I think of them?
So I’ve already spoken to you a bunch, and as soon as I realized how much I would be I had a somewhat frightening realization. There was absolutely no way I could come up with three or four life-changing, inspirational speeches, in fact I’d be lucky to come up with half of one. But after a couple stressful, caffeine-fueled 2 a.m. writing sessions, I finally understood something: Just as every speech can’t be life changing, not everyday at Williston is going to be the best.
There will be some days when getting up at 7 a.m. to finish the physics problem set seems impossible and when you don’t think you could possibly write one more supplemental essay. We’ve been here anywhere from 18 years to two weeks, but that’s not important, that’s not what defines us. We are all seniors.
Editor’s note: These remarks were delivered at the Williston Northampton School’s Senior Dinner on May 10, 2013, by history and global studies teacher Peter Gunn.
I am grateful to be part of a community defined by the devotion of Robert Ward, the kindness of Dan and Jane Carpenter and by the goodness of the Class of 2013. While I never knew Bob Ward personally, his conviction that people can do good well compels me as much as Abraham Lincoln’s faith in government by the people and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s belief that all women and men are created equal. We don’t need to know someone to share their vision—great ideas can bridge and bind generations.
Editor’s note: These remarks were delivered at the Williston Northampton School’s Senior Dinner on May 10, 2013, by Matthew Freire ’13, senior class president.
Good Evening Everyone,
During our first Senior Dinner we had just come back from summer vacation. We were excited to see our friends, and brag about how awesome each of our breaks was. We were also excited to meet new students, and excited about simply being seniors, being the leaders of our school. At the same time, we were anxious about applying to college and waiting countless days to hear back from them. And now that we’ve been through all that, we can finally take a deep breath and say “We did it.”
And so here we are, months later, at our last Senior Dinner. We only have a couple weeks until graduation, and many of us can’t wait to embark on the next phase our lives. But, at the same time many of us will also miss the treasured memories that we’ve had during our high school careers. The close games we’ve won, the lifelong friends that we have made from around the US and the world, and the unique connections we’ve had with our teachers are all memories that will be embedded in our minds for years to come.
Remarks delivered at The Williston Northampton School’s Senior Dinner on September 14, 2012, by Tim Murphy, Director of Placement at The Fessenden School.
Thank you Mr. Hill, Elizabeth D’Amour, faculty, and members of the Class of 2013. It is hard to express, after spending 13 years of my life at Williston, what it means to me to be invited to speak to you today. I don’t think I’ve been this nervous since my freshman English class in 1992, when I addressed the assembled school community in the Chapel about Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas!
When I told my dad in passing a few weeks ago that I’d be speaking at Williston, he became quiet and looked out the car window for a few moments. He then recalled dropping me off outside the Williston Middle School on my first day of 7th grade in 1990. As I walked, apprehensively, away from the safety of his car and towards that front door, I stopped, briefly, turned back, and shot him a nervous smile, feigning confidence and enthusiasm. My dad, not believing my face for a second, prayed that I would survive. “That you would thrive,” he told me later, “didn’t even occur to me. I only wanted you to survive.” Survive I did. And if you will indulge me a brief trip down memory lane, I’ll give you some background.
The Director of the Middle School, with whom I immediately connected, was a kind man from Zimbabwe named Desmond Pullen. My math teacher was the ever-patient, always positive, Mimi King. My English teacher, who pushed me hard to become a good writer and forever eradicated the word “um” from my vocabulary, was Paul Sonerson. Sitting in the classrooms of these dynamic teachers, I soon forgot about my unhappy elementary school experience in a rigid parochial school, and reveled in a school environment where teachers sought my opinions, joined me at my lunch table if I needed extra help, and delighted in my quirky sense of humor. I was hooked. My life would never be the same again.