CHANGE AGENTS WITH CREATIVITY AND PASSION, THESE ALUMNI ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD P. 35
Jonathan Leidich ’92 set out to find a place on the planet beyond the reach of civilization.
12 | THE SCOOP ON THE WILLISTONIAN Continually published for 137 years, the school’s newspaper recently received a $250,000 endowment that lets its historic run continue.
28 | A PLACE OFF THE MAP
FACEBOOK.COM/WILLISTONNORTHAMPTON TWITTER.COM/WILLISTONNS INSTAGRAM.COM/WILLISTONNS FLICKR.COM/WILLISTONNORTHAMPTON YOUTUBE.COM/WILLISTONNORTHAMPTON FOR WEB LINKS TO THE STORIES IN THIS ISSUE, GO TO WILLISTON.COM/BULLETIN.
After a 33-hour journey to campus for Reunion, Jonathan Leidich ’92 sat down to talk about his life and work in one of the most remote places on Earth.
35 | AGENTS OF GOOD These mission-driven alumni are using their skills and talents to make the world a better place.
CONTENTS | VOLUME 103, NUMBER 2
Molly Lieberman ’06 started Loop It Up Savanah, an arts program that now reaches 5,000 kids.
Rosie Wiggins ’09 created a hub for healthy food and café life at her Petaluma, California, bistro.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY, EMMA K. MORRIS, AND SIOBHAN EGAN
AROUND THE QUAD
5 | CAMPUS NEWS Listening to students’ stories, spotlighting academic success, launching the class of 2017, and building a better Williston
16 | THE WILLILIST A by-the-numbers look at recent school highlights
18 | WHEN IN ROME Latin students’ visual scrapbook from a school trip to sunny Italy ALUMNI NEWS
19 | WILDCAT STORIES From winning an Emmy to building a roller coaster, alumni are up to amazing things!
23 | IN THEIR OWN WORDS A moving origin story from Hall of Fame inductee David Felsen ’62
26 | WILLISTUFF A roundup of intriguing products made by Wildcat entrepreneurs and artists
27 | CATCHING UP WITH… Actor, director, producer, and funnyman Brad Hall ’75
32 | ASK A WILDCAT Through multicultural dance parties, Sara Skolnick ’04 builds community
49 | REUNION ROUNDUP Photos, activities, and other fun from under the big tent and around campus
54 | ALUMNI AWARDS Athletic Hall of Fame winners, plus four alumni award recipients
58 | WHEN GIL MET TRILI Five couples who met way back when at Williston
60 | ALL IN THE FAMILY Ten new graduates from legacy families IN EVERY ISSUE
2 | HEAD’S LETTER 4 | IN BOX 59| CLASS NOTES The latest news from alums
87| IN MEMORY Remembering those we have lost
Head of School ROBERT W. HILL III P’15, ’19 Chief Advancement Officer ERIC YATES P’17, ’21 Director of Alumni Engagement JILL STERN P’14, ’19 Director of Communications ANN HALLOCK P’20, ’22 Design Director ARUNA GOLDSTEIN Assistant Director of Communications DENNIS CROMMETT Communications Writer and Coordinator KATE SNYDER
Head’s Letter WELCOME, TRUSTEES
Two new trustees visited campus for the October ground-breaking of the new dorm. We offer them a warm welcome, and appreciate their willingness to serve Williston!
JESSE EATON ’90
Trustees and members of the girls cross-country team (who stopped by, mid-practice) gather for the ground-breaking of the new dormitory in October. Read more on page 8.
THE BIG STORY FROM CAMPUS THIS FALL IS UNFOLDING EVEN AS YOU READ THIS:
Just across Park Street, behind the Phillips Stevens Chapel, two former faculty homes and French House have been removed to make way for a new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient dormitory that next fall will house 40 students, along with four faculty families in attached homes. You can read about the ground-breaking ceremony and see renderings of the new dorm on page 8. And you can watch the work progress on our construction webcam, at williston.com/willistonbuilds. The new dorm is the first phase of a larger plan to transform the area into a new residential quadrangle. And it’s just one part of a broader campus improvement program we’re calling “Williston Builds,” a phrase we appreciate for its interconnection of meaning. Williston is building all over campus: a new crosscountry trail, new sidewalks in front of Memorial Hall, new technology for the Williston Theatre, and so on. But, as you’ll read in this issue, Williston also builds in other, more personal ways: It builds citizens and leaders. The feature story “Agents of Good” (page 35), about alumni who are creatively taking on pressing social problems, offers six inspiring examples. And Williston builds purpose and passion, as you’ll hear from Emmy award winner Ann Dowd ’74, now starring in Hulu’s award-winning dystopian drama, The Handmaid’s Tale. Highly acclaimed for her work in film, on television, and on the stage, Ann says her love of theater and acting all began at Williston, where she studied with Ellis Baker and Dick Gregory. Read her story on page 19.
Follow Robert Hill on Twitter at @hill3williston.
2 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
Managing Director of Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, Jesse is responsible for cash-management trade selection and portfolio compliance, as well as client strategy and reporting coordination. He has three daughters and divides his time between Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and New York City.
ANN LAUPHEIMER SONNENFELD ’75
Ann is a partner at Blank Rome, LLP, where she concentrates her practice on corporate litigation. She recently served on the Board of Trustees of the Agnes Irwin School. She and her husband, Marc Sonnenfeld, live in Haverford, Pennsylvania. She has three children.
I N B OX
Worth Repeating “Be kind. Be funny. Listen to new perspectives. Treat people with respect. Recognize your privilege. Be grateful for what you have.”
“I feel forever in debt to the faculty at Williston. At Williston, I felt like I never had to be that cookie-cutter type of person, and any goals I set were supported. I want to thank the faculty of Williston because they made me into the teammate my coach can count on, the student who engages in class, and an individual who can handle adversity.”
Class President Anabelle Farnham ’18, during Convocation
“Yes, in my lifetime, there has been progress. Martin Luther King Jr. once said the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. And in my lifetime, I have seen it bend. But lately it seems that the arc is stuck.”
Kelly O’Donnell ’13, recent graduate of Skidmore College, in a letter to Head of School Robert W. Hill III
PORTRAITS BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY AND MATTHEW CAVANAUGH
Convocation keynote speaker Dr. Beverly Tatum P’00, ’04, researcher, author, former president of Spelman College, and former Williston trustee
“Williston helped me build my independent spirit and voice. I’ve never been a shy person, but Williston provided lots of opportunities for me to lead, and learn how to lead. Amber Hamilton ’94 (see Agents of Good, page 35)
“Ms. Motyka is, without question, exactly the friendly and helpful person that we all need to see first thing in the morning.” Yearbook dedication to Student Services Coordinator Jenna Motyka, in The Log
ON THE MEANING OF
“This is the beauty of Wilder’s work. Presented without props and with a minimal set, Our Town asks the actors and audience to participate in the storytelling. Revolutionary when it was first produced in 1938, the play became an American classic. While set in a very particular time and place (turn-of-thecentury small-town New England), this quickly ceases to matter.” Theater director Emily Ditkovski * The fall play performed by Williston students October 19-21
“Keep your distance and your soul from the madding crowd and current fashion. Choose your own course, and choose it wisely.” Commencement keynote speaker John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College and vice-chancellor of Sewanee: The University of the South
Please send letters to the editor, class notes, obituaries, and changes of address to: The Williston Northampton School Advancement Office 19 Payson Avenue Easthampton, MA 01027 email: email@example.com
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 3
I N B OX
IN BOX @WILLISTON 3
the national anthem at Springfield’s Puerto Rican Parade; and 5) faculty Christa Talbot Syfu ’98, Alex Tancrell-Fontaine, and Amber Rodgers on a break from rollerblading.
CHECK INSTAGRAM If you’re seeking a snapshot of life at Williston, take a look at our Instagram feed, @Willistonns. Among the best-loved recent posts: 1) Ian Ostberg ’17 with the Frank Boyden trophy; 2) The lion, decked out for the Day of Silence honoring LGBT students; 3) History and Global Studies Department Head Sarah Klumpp receiving the prestigious Richard C. Gregory Chair at Convocation; 4) Tori Zingarelli ’18 singing
“I like taking kids who think they can’t do anything artistic and showing them that almost everybody can be creative. Anybody can take a picture. Click of a button.” — Ed Hing ’77, speaking to Willistonian writer Oskar Lee ’18, on Hing’s 20 years of teaching photography at Williston
GET MORE WILLISTON
Facebook Join us and you’ll be smiling like Dean of Students Kathy Noble on last summer’s eclipse day. 4 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
Social media is a great way to stay connected to Williston! See what’s new on campus, follow fellow alumni, and learn about gatherings in your area! Seek us out at the platforms below.
Williston Blogs Read the latest on girls soccer, campus news, academics, arts, travel, and more at willistonblogs.com.
Alumni Facebook Keep up with alumni events, like the November 10 gathering hosted by Shawn Amos ’86.
AROUND THE QUAD
PORTRAIT BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Dressed in their finest and adorned with flowers (and, in the case of Eniola Ikuku â€™17 of Nigeria, a traditional kente stole), 124 graduates received their diplomas on May 28. The rain held off and the air stayed cool as students accepted their awards, listened to speakers, and walked the arc of faculty, who greeted the graduates with a final hug. There were gifts, there were tears, there were good-byes. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 5
AROUND THE QUAD
HELPING ALL STUDENTS THRIVE
A Yale researcher advises teachers to tune into the cultural backstories of students of color
ena Simmons had some hardearned advice for teachers: Consider the backstory of each student in your class. From her childhood in the Bronx, NY, to boarding school in Connecticut, to a successful career in higher education, Simmons, who leads the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, brought her personal narrative to a recent faculty meeting. She shared difficult boarding school memories: a teacher publicly correcting her
diction; walking into a dorm room and seeing the resident guarding valuables in Simmons’ presence; and being asked, “Where are you from? No, where are you from from?” She said she didn’t fit in at school but eventually absorbed the cultural rules. “I learned to erase myself to survive,” said Simmons, who is biracial. “There is damage done when people cannot be who they are.” Simmons said that teachers can use emotional intelligence while taking the time to learn about a
student’s unique cultural background and experiences. This approach helps classroom leaders take into account the fact that students start with baggage that may not be obvious or visible. This also gives teachers insights into the array of positive attributes that students may be shielding from view. “What matters most is to support the rich strengths of our students,” she said. “We want our students to thrive, because we want to prevent [the racial violence inflicted in] Charlottesville, Missouri, Charleston.”
Wildcat achievers took their talents on the road last spring, notching a win in international debating, solving for x (and other feats of mathleticism), and honing their skills at a workshop for young writers. Josh Calianos ’18 received “Best Delegate” and several Williston teammates received accolades at a Model UN conference on nuclear vulnerability held at Choate Rosemary Hall. Mathletes headed to Yale University for the Math Majors of America Tournament for High Schools, where phenom Steven Wang ’20 came in third among a field of 140 competitors. And Harrison Winrow ’18 and Sophia Schaefer ’18 attended the prestigious New England Young Writers Conference at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College. Williston has sent students to the program, described as “excellent—and selective,” every year since 2010.
OTLIGHT ACADEMIC SP
6 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
POTTERY AS POLITICS Visual and Performing Arts Department Head Natania Hume has long been interested in the often hidden ways that mass-produced items influence the lives of people around the globe. How, for example, that $12 sweater from Old Navy impacted the life of the factory worker who made it. In her own work as a ceramics artist, Natania is deliberately artisanal, drawing inspiration from the slow-food movement. “Objects (and foods) made too quickly lack flavor and integrity,” she explains on her website, Slow Studio. “In an effort to employ a process that is environmentally and socially sustainable, I handmake my modern tableware in small batches.” This past summer, Natania had a chance to meet with other educators and artists who see crafting as a statement of larger values. She traveled to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, on Deer Isle, Maine, for a weeklong conference entitled The Thing That Makes the Thing: Crafts and Community. “It was
about how craft people can work for social justice through their craft practices,” says Natania, whose trip was funded by Williston’s professional development program. “That’s not something that people usually think of in terms of crafts—that a maker of crafts can make things that influence politics or people’s lives in profound ways.” The presenters’ stories—of bringing mobile design studios called Fab Labs into underserved neighborhoods to introduce kids to design, or setting up a bicycle-powered sewing machine outside a GAP store to call attention to the work that goes into making clothes—were both inspiring and validating for Natania. In her own teaching, she also emphasizes the transformative power of art. “Helping kids learn how to be creative and make things is empowering them with a kind of superpower,” she explains. “Because you create something that wasn’t there before, and it’s now in the world. Things do shift a bit, even in tiny ways.”
THE 2017 COLLEGE LIST Recent Williston graduates headed off to college this fall to an impressive array of schools. A selection: • Bates College • Boston College • Boston University • Brandeis University • Bucknell University • Carleton College • Claremont McKenna College • Colgate University • Colorado College • Connecticut College • Cornell University • Dartmouth College • Emory University
PHOTOGRAPHS THIS PAGE BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY, OPPOSTIE PAGE BY JULIE BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY
• Franklin & Marshall College • Georgetown University • Hamilton College • Indiana University at Bloomington • Kenyon College • Middlebury College • Mount Holyoke College • New York University • Northeastern University • Pomona College • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute • Rice University • Trinity College • Tulane University • Union College • University of Massachusetts, Amherst • University of Pennsylvania • Vassar College • Washington and Lee University • Wellesley College • Williams College
To learn more about Natania’s work, such as the bowl above, see her website, slow-studio.com.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 7
AROUND THE QUAD
Watch construction on the new dorm via our webcam at williston.com/willistonbuilds
NEW DORM CONSTUCTION BEGINS Williston begins development of a new residential quad, breaking ground on a state-of-the-art, 40-student residence hall slated to open in 2018 —BY JONATHAN ADOLPH Work began this fall on an ambitious construction project that will eventually transform a previously underused area of the Williston campus into a green and welcoming social hub. The eight-bed French House dorm was torn down in September, along with two former faculty homes behind the Phillips Stevens Chapel, to make way for a state-of-the-art residence hall that will be home to 40 students beginning next fall. The new dorm represents the first stage in the development of a residential quadrangle on the site, which will allow more students and faculty to live closer to campus and provide open space and community areas for gatherings. 8 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
“This is a great day for the school,” announced Board of Trustees Chair John Hazen White ’76, shovel in hand, at the October 6 ground-breaking ceremony. He was flanked by trustees, school administrators, and members of the girls cross-country team (who stopped by the event, mid-practice). The construction project aligns with Williston’s 2014 Strategic and Campus Master Plans, whose goals include furthering the school’s boarding school culture and its residential community. “Not only will this expand the living and studying spaces for students and faculty, but it will also enhance the strong sense of community that is already so much at the heart of Williston,” noted
Head of School Robert W. Hill III. The new dormitory is the latest in a broader initiative of capital improvements throughout campus (see opposite page). The dorm will feature large common areas for studying and socializing, geothermal heating and cooling, high-efficiency fixtures, and solarheated hot water systems. Four faculty homes will be attached, and the building will open onto a renovated green for outdoor gatherings. The $8 million project, supported by alumni donations, was designed by Flansburgh Architects of Boston, the firm that also designed the 194 Main Street residence hall in 2008.
BUILDING A BETTER WILLISTON Thanks to donations from alumni and parents, Williston has upgraded its facilities to improve the student experience across campus. Recently completed projects include: CROSS-COUNTRY COURSE
The 3.1-mile course, completed this year, is entirely on Williston-owned property, and takes runners through the lush woods behind campus.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
ROBERT A. CHILDS ’65 TENNIS PAVILIONS
Two new pavilions constructed beside the tennis courts in 2016 now provide shade and shelter for both players and spectators. Funds for the pavilions were donated by Alice Childs in memory of her son, Robert A. Childs ’65, a tennis team captain. WILLISTON THEATRE IMPROVEMENTS
In 2016, Williston’s 288-seat performance space was upgraded with new lighting, sound (including wireless microphones), and projection systems, thanks to generous donations from parents of seniors.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 9
Returning students show a new schoolmate and her dad around campus during Welcome Days in September. A little drizzle couldnâ€™t dampen the excitement of greeting old friends and meeting new ones. To see more campus photos, check us out at flickr.com/ willistonnorthampton.
10 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
RAINY DAY WELCOME
AROUND THE QUAD
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 11
AROUND THE QUAD
THE SCOOP ON THE WIL A $250,000 gift from a Northampton School for Girls alumna lets The Willistonian continue its run as the country’s oldest high school newspaper —BY KEVIN MARKEY
“I wish to recommend to those who are undecided where to go to college to think favorably of Harvard,” wrote a correspondent to The Willistonian in 1881. “I feel certain that no one will regret making a choice of Cambridge as his home for the next four years.” While it’s unclear how many students took up the Crimson scribe’s advice, his words proved momentous in at least one way. Appearing in the very first article in the first-ever edition of The Willistonian, they launched a journalistic tradition that continues to this day. More than 137 years after its formation, the paper has yet to miss a beat. Along the way, it has witnessed history, shaped opinion, and earned distinction as the oldest continually published high school newspaper in America. Now a benefactor has ensured that the streak will continue for many years to come. With a gift of $250,000, a Northampton School for Girls alumna this past spring endowed a fund that will underwrite The Willistonian’s annual operating expenses, including photography, printing, supplies, and technology. “The truth has to get out there,” says the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. “And it has to get there from people who understand how to write it and how to ask questions.” Her commitment to truth-telling would have resonated deeply with
The Willistonian’s founding editors. The newspaper came into being as a joint venture between a pair of eminent campus debate societies, the Adelphi and Gamma Sigma. The clubs existed for the express purpose of examining the day’s thorniest questions, and The Willistonian was to be their organ. From the start, no issue was too big for its pages. Student journalists over the years have covered the deaths of presidents and the cataclysms of world war, often highlighting local angles that brought national stories home to campus. A brief survey of the paper’s witness to history could begin in 1896 with women’s suffrage. “The chapel was crowded, the ladies being especially numerous,” reads the paper’s account of a debate between Adelphi and Gamma Sigma on the topic. “Why then shall women not be enfranchised?” asks a student named Swan, arguing in favor of extending the vote. “They form a class which constitutes onehalf of our population, a class subject to the same laws, tried in the same courts, taxed to the same percentage as men, a class mentally, morally, and physically able to execute suffrage. They ought to have it. Justice demands it, common sense counsels it, prejudice opposes it.” This a full 34 years before the states ratified the 19th Amendment,
12 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
guaranteeing all American women the right to vote. You can practically hear the cheers along Main Street. Flash forward to January 10, 1918. War engulfs Europe, and “Letter from a Williston Boy in France” takes readers to the battle, where a classmate tries hard to appear nonchalant. “By the time you receive this, Gardie, Dink, and Scoop will be in Ordnance with me. Believe me, we will make the fur fly then… Yes, we are some explosive crew. Sometime we will mount a trench mortar out on the campus, or better in Room 6 North Hall, and show the inhabitants how they do it in this land of mud and rain. “Yours in Williston, Paul D. Jones, Ordnance Field Force, 1st Regiment, U.S. Engineers, France.” In the paper’s very next issue, a more somber missive arrives from the front: “Writing on the Death of Malcolm Gifford, Jr. ’15.” Forwarded to The Willistonian by Gifford’s grieving father, the letter was written by a chaplain who witnessed the slaughter at Passchendaele, where a half million soldiers lost their lives. “Long ere this you will have been advised of the death of your gallant boy,” writes the chaplain. “To have been in such a fight was well worth any young man’s while, and to die in such a struggle was to crown a life with glory.” Fifty years later, different conti-
AROUND THE QUAD
LISTONIAN ELLIE WOLFE ’19, CO-EDITOR IN CHIEF Writing for The Willistonian has instilled a sense of tradition and pride in me. I’m excited to help give students a voice, and to know that our opinions and our experiences will be documented and will help people in the future remember and learn about our time at Williston.
NATE GORDON ’16, KENYON COLLEGE Writing for The Willistonian shaped my appreciation for the school community. I particularly enjoyed interviewing different community members, learning about their contributions to the school, and telling their stories…. With the help of archivist Rick Teller ’70, I also had the opportunity to learn about school history through past editions of The Willistonian. As an editor, I felt a responsibility to continue that tradition for future members of the Williston community.
BRENDAN HELLWEG ’14, YALE UNIVERSITY My senior year, The Willistonian was a larger time commitment than any of my classes or sports. Announcing our need for new submissions at morning assemblies built my confidence in public speaking, and serving as editor in chief was one of my first real leadership experiences.
MICHAEL HOEY-LUKAKIS ’96, NEWS ANCHOR AND PRODUCER, NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Ten years ago, I was unexpectedly promoted to news director of the television station where I was working at the time. It was helpful to have had to make content decisions [at The Willistonian] and manage how those content decisions were carried out. I was glad to have had at least a small taste of responsibility.
LAURA CLAWSON ’94, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, THE DAILY KOS It could have been hard to spend weekend days on [The Willistonian], but it was great feeling. We had a purpose, and we were going to have a clear product to show for it. We benefited from the stellar leadership of faculty advisor Kate Crupi. I’m glad I was doing The Willistonian—and going to high school overall!—before social media. It has to be challenging to know that if you screw up, there’s a chance it’ll get a huge audience. On the other hand, while missteps may be more widely available, so is the good work students now do.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 13
AROUND THE QUAD
headlines, but the measure of any newspaper is how well it covers the local stuff. The Willistonian has excelled. Witness the 19th-century editor who, finger to the wind, predicts that the new game of lacrosse “is likely to become a prominent feature of Williston sports.” Amid college notes (“Spencer, of Yale, was here Wednesday, soliciting men for the Gamma Nu Society”) and ads for gentlemen’s fashions (“A.H. Stocker & Co. Have a Nobby line of Spring Hats”), he notes that a lax club “of some 20 members has already been formed and when the requisite number is complete, the sticks will be sent for without delay” (April 30, 1881). Campus hasn’t been the same since. Some stories are personal—“Paul H. ‘Pit’ Johnson, Author of ‘Sammy’, is Dead in 61st Year” (January 30, 1942)—while the significance of others only can be appreciated in hindsight: “Wildcats Chosen as Williston Nickname” (December 14,
4 REASONS JOURNALISM MATTERS Willistonian Faculty Advisor Matt Liebowitz makes the case for the value of journalism Before coming to Williston in 2015 to teach English and journalism, Matt Liebowitz was a staff reporter for California’s Carmel Valley News, The Del Mar Village Voice, and The Rancho Santa Fe Review. He has also written for The Saratogian in Saratoga Springs, NY, The Berkeley Daily Planet in Berkeley, CA, and The Colorado Daily in Boulder.
14 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
Journalism teaches students to cut through unnecessary distractions and get to the heart of an issue.
1939). In the best boarding-school tradition, a few commentaries are facetious by design, such as when editors in the 1930s surveyed Northampton School girls on their opinions of Williston boys. Asserts one source, “There are three types: 1. The kind that are nice at first but lemons after, 2. The smoothies—oh, yes, a few have been known at Williston, and 3. The plain, ordinary ones.” Counters a Williston representative, “Persons residing in fragile, transparent domiciles should not hurl extraneous inorganic matter through the atmosphere.” Whether he was of the lemony, smooth, or plain variety has been lost to time. By turns earnest and wry, global in outlook and inward-gazing, The Willistonian has steadfastly reflected the interests and values of generations of students. More important still, it has exerted a lasting influence on them, helping them grow as writers, thinkers, and leaders. “Being editor in chief of The
Being a reporter is first being a listener. It’s integral to the success of The Willistonian that students learn and value the art of listening without interrupting. People want to talk. People have stories. It’s up to reporters to get these stories out.
Willistonian was one of the great pleasures and adventures of my life,” says Bruce Marshall ’68, now a commercial real estate advisor. “It taught me about responsibility and the importance of deadlines. It taught me about learning to develop people upon whom we could depend. It introduced me to people who had wonderful God-given aptitudes such as Paul Wainwright’s ’68 photography or the dependability of our sports editor, Danny Carpenter ’68 and so many others, including Reeve Chudd ’69, the following year’s Willistonian editor in chief. At the end of the day, it gave me a deeper appreciation for our school and for the many wonderful people there, including professors, coaches, and students. What a grand privilege it was to be involved with the school paper.” With its new endowment, The Willistonian will carry its mission into the future, shaping the student experience for years to come.
There is a lot of noise in the world. Taking a journalism class requires students to engage fully with one subject and see it through until the whole story is told. They spend the class talking to people, collecting information, and working it into a story.
Working for The Willistonian keeps students on a tight deadline and teaches them the importance of gathering facts and relaying them concisely, directly, and without bias.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
nent, different war. The Willistonian again bears witness. On November 10, 1967, the entire front page is given over to a debate on Vietnam, with teacher Edward Lawton taking up the Johnson administration’s case and teacher Henry Teller arguing against American involvement. “I think that people have a right to their views and a right to protest,” writes Mr. Teller. “I am very annoyed by statements that those who protest are unpatriotic.” Meanwhile, student John Olander ’68 files a report from the front lines of the culture clashes in Northampton, where an angry mob has attacked anti-war demonstrators as police officers stand by and watch. “A Smith College drama instructor who was leading the demonstration was knocked to the ground,” writes Olander. He goes on to quote James Faulkner, head of the Northampton draft board: “Too bad they didn’t break his damn neck.” Big, global causes make great
THEN AND NOW
Gentlemen of the Press: The Willistonian’s founding editors turned out a paper that was both a reflection of campus culture and a driver of it. The combination endures.
When The Willistonian began its run back in 1881, the lightbulb was a new invention, the U.S. population had just cracked 50 million, Wild West gunslingers were about to shoot up the OK Corral —and you could have read about it all in a newspaper. Through unimaginable cultural developments, the value of a free and independent press has remained constant to this day. “If you want to be an informed citizen of your community,” says the alumna who recently endowed The Willistonian, “you really have to read your local paper.”
First Edition: After debuting as a weekly publication in March 1881, the paper has followed different schedules over the years without ever missing a beat.
Newsmakers: Styles may have changed, but the editorial team’s commitment to good journalism has not. From left: current leaders Shirley Zhou ’18 and Ellie Wolfe ’19.
Media Darling: At Volume 138 and counting, America’s oldest high school newspaper continues to thrive deep into its second century. Read the latest issue at willistonian.org.
AROUND THE QUAD
The WilliList A by-the-numbers look at recent school highlights —BY DENNIS CROMMETT
Pounds of pancake mix used by the director of student activities to make late night pancakes on the griddle: 20 in the fall, 20 in the spring.
Academic awards and certificates given out in May. Among them: the Stella Mae Hepworth Memorial Prize, awarded to a senior who contributes significantly to the arts, particularly music. Mrs. Hepworth taught piano to four decades of Williston students, beginning in the 1920s. In May 2017, the recipient was senior Gabrielle “Gabby” Record, now at Berklee College of Music.
Eighth-graders who visited Williston in July as part of the Wight Foundation’s Scholars Training and Enrichment Program, which is designed to strengthen critical academic skills while exposing underserved students to advanced levels of learning.
Distance of javelin throw by Alexis Ryan ’17, now at Middlebury College, who for the third year in a row won a NEPSAC individual throwing championship in May.
25+ 40 Student clubs now on campus, including Mountain Biking Club (in its first year), Music Production Club, and Film Club. 16 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
Schools that attended Williston’s largest college fair of the year, held in the gym on September 15.
Distance in kilometers between campus and the Singapore home of Dominic Liu ’21, who travels the farthest to attend Williston. Some 20 percent of Upper School students are international, hailing from countries as varied as Bhutan, Russia, and the Netherlands.
Plastic bottles not used for events on campus in September. Williston continues to reduce bottle use by providing drinking stations and water in containers along with compostable cups.
760’ Total length of the fence around the construction site for the new dorm (see page 8).
Number of times David Fitch ’17, now at Kenyon College, was named a NEPSAC champion in six years.
The round that Erik Ostberg ’14 was picked by the Tampa Bay Rays in the MLB draft (see page 21).
Spring 2017 batting average of Cleary Division Player of the Year Ian Ostberg ’17.
Strikeouts in 14 games by softball pitcher Jordan Strum ’18.
Record-breaking total of water polo goals scored last season by Abbie Coscia ’19.
Record-breaking career total of water polo goals scored by Abbie Coscia ’19.
Record-breaking number of saves by water polo goalie Dylan Fulcher-Melendy ’21.
Record-breaking number of matches won by boys varsity golf team in spring 2017.
Average score per nine holes by boys varsity golf team in spring 2017.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 17
WHEN IN ROME This past summer, a group of 17 Latin students, two parents, and three Williston teachers took an epic journey to sunny Italy. The group explored the site of a dormant volcano, toured Roman ruins, viewed extravagantly gorgeous art, and got a taste of la dolce vita! —BY KATE SNYDER
VATICAN CITY Sunbeams shine through the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, a highlight of the group’s tour of Vatican City, the papal enclave in Rome. The massive Renaissance church was designed in part by Michelangelo.
PAESTUM Sisters Anabelle Farnham ’18 and Julia Farnham ’20 flank their mother and trip chaperone, Ellen Alvord, in Paestum, site of ancient temples and other impressive Greek ruins on Italy’s southern coast.
CAPITOLINE HILL, ROME Jamie O’Malley ’20 sketches the bust of an imperial woman in Rome’s Capitoline Museum, founded in 1471 and home to art and archaeological treasures dating back centuries.
POMPEII At lunch near Pompeii, Nikki Foster ’20 and Abby Hunter ’20 are serenaded by a traditional Neapolitan singer. The group toured the ancient city, buried in the year 79 by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
CUMAE Students walk through the “mouths” of the Sibyl’s Cave in Cumae, near Naples. The Sibyl, a prophet of Apollo, was said to predict the future. She appears in Virgil’s sixth book of The Aeneid.
TREVI FOUNTAIN, ROME Julia Farnham ’20 and Jason Albanese ’20 pose after throwing three coins into Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain, ensuring, says the legend, their eventual return to the Eternal City.
18 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
On September 17 in Los Angeles, Ann Dowd ’74 won the supporting actress Emmy for her work as Aunt Lydia in Hulu’s acclaimed dystopian drama, The Handmaid’s Tale. To hear how her time at Williston influenced her remarkable career, turn the page.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Emmy winner Ann Dowd ’74 traces her love of acting to her days at Williston —BY JONATHAN ADOLPH
Ann Dowd ’74 as the brutal instructor Aunt Lydia in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale
20 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
Just to get this out of the way, Ann Dowd ’74 assures us that no teacher at Williston served as the inspiration for Aunt Lydia, the brutal re-education instructor in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a role for which Ann won the supporting actress Emmy this past September. “No, no,” she says with a laugh. “You’ll be happy to know. No one at Williston.” As for the Catholic school nuns that taught her in Holyoke prior to her enrollment at Williston in her junior year, that’s another matter. “None of them, of course, resembled Lydia in her extreme views or in her cruelty,” Ann is quick to note. “However, what I did learn from them, which transferred easily to Lydia, was a sense of purpose and commitment, and that when you have a job or a task that has been assigned to you, you stop when the job is complete, and not before.” It’s a lesson in persistence that Ann herself has applied outside of the dystopian world of The Handmaid’s Tale in a film, television, and stage career that has spanned more than 30 years and earned her countless accolades. The Huffington Post recently called her “peak TV’s greatest secret weapon,” noting that she “seems to bottle all the necessary elements of prestige entertainment into one body.” Indeed, she had been nominated for two Emmys last fall, the second for guest actress in the HBO drama The Leftovers. And it all began at Williston. “That’s where I really fell in love with theater,” she says. “I will never forget that experience there, and what that did for me. It was Ellis Baker ’51 and Dick Gregory, and the INVISION/AP summer theater there, all of it.” Ann ticks off the shows she did: Tea and Sympathy, Guys and Dolls, She Stoops to Conquer, A View from the Bridge... “It was fabulous. I said to my mother—we were just talking about Williston—they were hands-down two of the most important years of my education.” Ann’s father had died in her senior year, and she had told him that after Williston she would study to be a doctor. In her large Irish Catholic family, she recalls, “theater was loved and respected, but surely not as a choice of one’s life’s work. No question there.” But forgetting theater was not so easy. “I went to Holy Cross College and was in pre-med for four years, and the first thing I signed up for was an acting class, to be perfectly honest. Because I just couldn’t let that go. The feelings that developed were too deep at Williston, and I will be forever grateful for that kind of training.” After college, Ann put off medical school to pursue her MFA in acting at DePaul University’s Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. There she met her husband, writer and actor Lawrence Arancio. They were married in 1984, have three children, and now live in New York City. Ann received her first television part in 1985 and has not looked back, appearing in more than 30 films, 40 television programs, and numerous stage productions in Chicago and on Broadway. We suspect even Aunt Lydia would be impressed.
MAKING HIS RUN
PHOTOGRAPH THIS PAGE PROVIDED BY PIERCE FREELON/PHOTOGRAPHS OPPOSITE PAGE BY INVISION/AP
After falling short in his bid for mayor of Durham, North Carolina, musician and activist Pierce Freelon ’02 looks to the future It has been a busy summer for musician, professor, entrepreneur, and community organizer Pierce Freelon ’02. In April, he announced his candidacy for mayor of Durham, North Carolina, a city of 267,000 in the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area. While the region gets high marks for livability and quality of life, Durham’s children of color face a poverty rate of 40 percent, Freelon notes. The area is also grappling with income inequality, unemployment, the rising cost of housing, and gentrification. Freelon, 33, saw an opportunity to make things better in his hometown. “I’m raising kids in this community where the city is rapidly changing,” he explained in a campaign video. “I want to make sure as the city continues to develop and grow that all young people in Durham have equal access to opportunity…. How do we create spaces for all members of our community to have a voice, to have a seat at the table?” Freelon, who will be Williston’s Commencement speaker in May, was one of five candidates to seek the seat. The top two vote-getters during the nonpartisan municipal primary on October 10 went on to a general election in November. Freelon came in third, with just under 16 percent of the vote. “We ran a smart, principled campaign focused on the moral issue of poverty, and were unapologetic in articulating bold solutions,” he
FROM WILDCAT TO RAY DRAFTED BY THE TAMPA BAY RAYS, ERIK OSTBERG ’14 IS NAVIGATING THE FARM SYSTEM WITH HIS EYE ON THE BIG LEAGUES
posted on Instagram after the election. “We stand by our values, and in the legacy of our ancestors, when we say: another world is possible. Growing Durham does not have to mean growing poverty. This message resonated with thousands of Durham residents.” Freelon’s jazz-hip-hop band The Beast played for fans and supporters on the roof of the Durham Hotel in a celebration of the campaign. Music and politics infiltrate other areas of Freelon’s multifaceted professional life. He founded Blackspace, a digital maker space in Durham where young people learn about music, film, and coding. He co-founded Beat Making Lab, an Emmy-winning PBS web series and social entrepreneurship program. He has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill in the departments of music and African, African-American, and diaspora studies. And he has served on the boards of the North Carolina Arts Council, the Durham Library Foundation, and the Nasher Museum of Art. In response to the electoral loss, Freelon urged his supporters to continue their efforts. “We will return to the principles that launched this campaign; return to the communities we rallied for social and economic justice; return to the work of innovation and transformation that Durham is known for,” he wrote. “There is work to be done, and we can’t do it alone.” —BY KATE SNYDER
For Erik Ostberg ’14, who dreamed of playing professional baseball since he was a kid, being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays had the feel of an out-of-body experience. When he heard his name called, he cried and felt “just an overwhelming feeling of pride, where your chest is tight, and it’s almost hard to breathe. It’s very hard to describe the feeling of something you’ve thought about literally every day for your whole life.” A crackerjack catcher for the University of Hartford Hawks, Ostberg had injured his knee earlier in the season. Fortunately, it didn’t require surgery, and he had a good resume on the diamond leading into the draft, he said. The Rays took him in the 13th round. After playing in the rookie Gulf Coast League this past summer, he says he plans to come to spring training ready to “make an impact.”
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 21
YOUNG ALUMNAE ON THE MOVE BRITTANY COLLINS ’14
Brittany Collins ’14, editor in chief of the women’s writing and art magazine Voices & Visions, was interviewed in the June 2017 issue of Ms., the nation’s first feminist magazine. “Wider exposure allowed us to share contributors’ works with readers in over 111 countries, and it was thrilling to have a chance to share their words and images with the world,” said Brittany, who has been at the helm of Voices & Visions for about two years. “Williston is with me in all that I do; I credit all of my accomplishments to the ‘Green and Blue.’”
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL SCREAM Creative dad Will Miceli ’93 constructed a full-on roller coaster for his kids in their Seattle backyard —BY KATE SNYDER
The backyard of the Seattle home of Will Miceli ’93 is just 40 feet by 15 feet. So when his 11-year-old son, Parker, suggested they build a roller coaster there, he initially thought the idea was too wacky, even for him. “But a few months later,” Will confesses, “we decided to just do it.” How do you build a backyard roller coaster? Will and his family watched YouTube videos to see how other people had done it. Then they designed and built a track, using wood and PVC pipe, that launches from an elevated platform beside their deck, hurtles downward, banks 90 degrees around the garage, and slopes upward to slow and finally stop the custom-made wooden cart. Two playground balls serve as the bumper at the end of the run. Total cost? About $500. “Screws were the most expensive part,” Will noted. It’s no Cyclone, but on the YouTube video that Will posted (watch it at williston. com/bulletin), the ride still elicits screams of delight from Parker. Will is a stay-at-home dad now. He’s started a film production company, Fremont Films, and does corporate videos and “fun/goofy” projects, he said. Before leaving the corporate world, he started a health care software company and worked as a business consultant. Asked how his Williston education impacted his life, including his interest in constructing elaborate and potentially dangerous DIY projects, Will answered, “I had to work pretty independently at Williston on my class work, sports, and other activities. I’d say getting skills to work independently was super helpful. In fact, I did more school work at Williston than I did in college.” What’s next for the Miceli family? One project getting serious consideration: a parkour park. 22 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
GIA PARKER ’14
Gia Parker ’14 continues to be a standout on the soccer field. During her junior year at Dartmouth College, Gia received the Wally Bell Award for the player who represents the true meaning of being a teammate on and off the field. Her recognition does not surprise those who knew her at Williston. Said her former coach, Erin Davey, “I’ve never met a more dedicated worker than Gia Parker.” MACKENZIE POSSEE ’15
Even as she oversees some 500 staffers as the new editor in chief of the Daily Bruin, the award-winning daily paper of the University of California at Los Angeles, Mackenzie Possee ’15 says she still tries to find time for the occasional photo shoot. “I found my passion for sports photography at Williston and it’s been incredible to be able to photograph UCLA football from the sidelines of the Rose Bowl,” says Mackenzie, who was appointed to her position in June. “I applied to the Daily Bruin with the portfolio I built while photographing games at Williston!”
IN THEIR OWN WORDS At his induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame, teacher and coach David Felsen ’62 recounts how Williston shaped him and nurtured his love of sports
PORTRAIT THIS PAGE BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY/PHOTOGRAPH OPPOSITE PAGE SUBMITTED BY WILL MICELI
t is a great honor to be inducted into the Williston Northampton Hall of Fame, especially in the company of my daughter, Kate, and son, David; my classmates from the class of ’62, celebrating our 55th Reunion; and my coaches, Ray Brown and Rick Francis. I have to say right away that returning to Williston Northampton and to my hometown evokes a flood of memories. Therefore, I’ve written out these remarks to keep myself within a certain time limit. I grew up in this town and lived just down the road, at 10 Park Street, across from the town library. When I was nine, my father, who was a doctor—a general practitioner—in this town, took me by the hand and walked with me to the Williston Junior School for my entrance exam. One month later, he died very suddenly. My mother, Agnes Macdonald, faced a difficult decision: whether to stay and raise my sisters and me in Easthampton or return to Scotland, her homeland, where she had lots of family and support. Right at that critical time, Phillips Stevens, headmaster of Williston, visited my mother and offered a full scholarship for me. He also went to the headmistresses of Northampton School for Girls, Miss Whitaker and Miss Bement, to arrange scholarships for my sisters, Jill and Heather. I like to say, “My mother was not a Scot for nothing!” She cared deeply
about education, and she knew its value. Thus, we stayed in Easthampton, and I came to Williston. My passion for sport was boundless—and a little crazy! When I was a boy, I played all the time with my friends Dicky Shepardson, Dave Stevens, Chuck Vernon, Tom Zavorski, and others. Most often we played on this campus, which we considered our personal playground. But I even took my games indoors: dribbled a basketball in the basement of our house, up the stairs, into the kitchen, faked left, drove right past my mother! One night, practicing my baseball swing in the living room, I took a cut at a low outside pitch and smashed to smithereens my mother’s favorite majolica flower vase, which just happened to be sitting on the coffee table. My mother was concerned. She would often sit me down and read to me the latest editorials of James Reston and Walter Lippmann. I don’t know how much I absorbed then, but the lesson of balance, mind and body, stayed with me. I was fortunate that Williston had a strong athletic program, and that I grew up with so many great guys and teammates. I was just as lucky to find here teacher/coaches who took an interest in me and helped me develop confidence in myself. Their care and encouragement of me, as a boy growing up without a father, meant more than I can express. I owe so much to Charlie Duggan,
David in his senior year at Williston
TO READ DAVID FELSEN’S FULL ADDRESS, GO TO WILLISTON.COM/ BULLETIN.
a fabulous teacher/coach in Junior School; Dan Carpenter, my algebra teacher, baseball coach, and evercheerful next door neighbor; Rick Francis, my basketball coach, who also arranged a summer job for me as a camp counselor on the Cape, at Camp Monomoy; and Ray Brown, who spent countless hours after practice kicking soccer balls at me to make me a better goalkeeper. Just as important, he also spent countless hours patiently listening to whatever was on my mind. Finally, I was most fortunate in my choice of professions: teaching, coaching, and administration. That choice was profoundly affected by my experience growing up here, and going to this school in my hometown. I am ever grateful.
As soccer co-captain his senior year, David held eight teams scoreless, allowing just 10 goals over the 13-game season.
As a boy, David dribbled basketballs in his house. At Williston, he protected the house.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 23
The Café Life Creative local food and drink draw fans to the California café launched by Rosie Wiggins ’09 In her dazzlingly warm and welcoming café, The Drawing Board, Rosie Wiggins ’09 presides over an eclectic menu shaped by the seasons and the availability of local produce. “We’re here to marry wholesome and delicious food with a sustainable, community-driven ethos,” proclaims the Petaluma, California, restaurant, which opened in January 2017. Rosie’s journey to create The Drawing Board began, oddly enough, with a writing exercise. After spending several years in her teens and 20s struggling with health issues, she came to some firm conclusions about what eating and dining meant for her—and, in a larger way, for society. In the essay, “I talked about the dinner table as a catalyst for connection and community,” she says, “a place where we can (and should) take off the armor that we wear on a dayto-day basis, and simply enjoy the company of one another. I talked about the lost art of dining together, how in our busy lives we forget to take that time for ourselves. I also talked about physical nourishment and about food that can fuel us, not just fill us.” 24 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
Rosie’s approach, as outlined in her essay, developed into a business plan for a restaurant where the dining is thoughtful and deliberate, quality ingredients are artfully assembled, and the cocktails go far beyond the ordinary. Local, regional, and national media have taken notice, creating a buzz around The Drawing Board. One menu item that consistently draws attention is The Drawing Board’s carrot lox, served with vegetable cashew cream cheese on a long-fermented toasted senora levain. “It’s the dish that people come in for,” says Rosie. “It’s what we get media attention for, and it’s definitely our most Instagrammed menu item.” As well it should be. “We treat the carrots like you would classic salmon lox, smoking them whole over applewood chips until that smoky flavor is really infused into the veggie,” Rosie explains. “Then we roll the carrots in olive oil, toasted nori seaweed, and smoked sea salt, and we bake them low and slow until they are soft and slice just like lox. The seaweed and sea salt come together to create a very ocean-y flavor. People often think it’s salmon.” With that commitment to detail, it’s no wonder The Drawing Board has developed a following. While at Williston, Rosie’s college counselor suggested a career in hospitality. Instead, she pursued a different tack, studying sociology and anthropology, and in so doing, explored how and why people gather to share food and drink. “Restaurants and cafés aren’t simply a place to go and eat, they are a place to connect with one another, and oftentimes they deeply embed themselves into the lives of their guests. I’ve always loved being a part of that.” —BY KATE SNYDER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY EMMA K. MORRIS
Dishes that emphasize local food and healthy eating shape The Drawing Board menu (see it at tdbpetaluma.com) Facing page: From the well-stocked bar come Bone Broth Bloody Marys, Strawberry Rhubarb Sparklers, and other concoctions. Inset: Rosie (center) with her restaurant managers.
1 / LAX LOVE
A passion for the game inspired former Wildcat MVP Jen Machanic ’85 and her daughter to found Vermontbased Liv Lax, which sells sporty bracelets, key chains, and other accessories handcrafted from lacrosse strings. Order them in your favorite colors (the Green and Blue, of course!). $10; livlax.com
WilliStuff! A roundup of intriguing products made by Wildcat entrepreneurs and artists
2 / PET PROJECT
Cats and dogs may be wonderful companions, but they are decidedly messy housemates. The CleanFeed pet bowl holder, made in Boston by Joe Wold ’06, helps tidy up pet eating areas by supporting water and food bowls off the ground on a hinged fold-up tray. Best of all, each painted-wood holder is custom cut to match your pet’s profile (you just send Joe a photo). Shown: pit bull feeder, $50, cleanfeed.us
3 / SOUND SCULPTURE
The Los Angeles-based fusion trio King Llama, featuring guitarist Ryan Tanner Bailey ’97, describes its high-energy sound as “progressive music for progressive minds.” The band members, one critic noted, “draw from an impressive range of musical styles to forge their own brand of acid-jazz and prog-rock.” Hear the music for yourself on the group’s debut album, Return to Ox, released last year on all formats including vinyl LP. $16.99 (vinyl), $9.99 (CD), kingllama.com
4 / FEATS OF CLAY
Guillermo Cuellar ’70 creates his stoneware in Minnesota, but the inspiration comes all the way from his native Venezuela (he left Caracas as a teen to attend Williston, then studied ceramics at Cornell College). And while his work has been shown in museums and galleries, he strives for functional simplicity and affordability in his artfully crafted plates, pitchers, serving dishes, crocks, and other kitchenware. Shown: stoneware cup, or yunomi, $28, guillermopottery.com
Do you know a Williston alum who is making interesting stuff? Let us know! Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CATCHING UP WITH
BRAD HALL ’75
Actor, writer, director (and 2015 Commencement speaker) Brad Hall was in Massachusetts this summer, starring in The Gloucester Stage Company’s production of Lucy Prebble’s The Effect, about two people who fall in love during a drug trial and don’t know if their feelings are real or chemically induced. We caught up with him afterward. WILLISTON: Your stage career start-
ed here at Williston, when you starred as Hamlet. What was it like to see Ellis Baker in the crowd as you performed as an adult in The Effect? BRAD: I simply couldn’t have been happier to have EB and his fantastic wife, Barbara, in the house. Mr. Baker had a huge influence on me, of course, and on so many others in his many years at Williston. He’s one of those “most-important-mentor-inmy-life” type of guys. He’s changed remarkably little since those days— he’s still the smartest guy in the room, funny, warm, and a pleasure to hang out with. WILLISTON: What drew you to your
character in The Effect?
PHOTOGRAPH SUBMITTED BY GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY
BRAD: I was drawn more to the no-
tion of doing a play than to the specific character. The amazing director of the show, Sam Weisman, and I have done about a half billion TV shows and movies together, and we have always kidded each other about the theater being our first love and how we’re gonna go back and do plays and leave Hollywood behind— and then we never do. At least I never did. Whenever I would have the opportunity to do a play, something would always pop up to make it impossible—some professional conflict, a manned moon mission, or a government assignment that I can’t say much more about. This time, however, I had no excuse, the timing was perfect, the stars aligned, all other actors being considered for the role mysteriously perished, and Sam threatened to expose some of my most lurid secrets, so I polished
my tap shoes and showed up for rehearsal. The character was fun— he’s a drug-research psychiatrist who thinks he’s just so great, but is actually a pretty unpleasant egomaniac. Villains are always more fun to play than good guys. WILLISTON: How was it to spend a
few weeks at the New England seashore in early summer? Did you get to take a swim in the cold Atlantic? BRAD: Gloucester is fabulous. I mean, it’s absolutely an undiscovered little paradise. And, yes, I did go into the chilly Atlantic (which isn’t much colder than the cold Pacific, to tell you the truth, though both are warming up rapidly, thank you very much Global Climate Change). Gloucester is kind of the ideal spot, I think. It has a lot of fishing history, and I have of course written several history-of-fishing books, poems, hymns, and ballets, so it’s right up my alley in that regard. It’s also a really important place in American art—both Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer, my fave artists, painted extensively in Gloucester, as any art nerd knows.
New England’s second best amateur saddle bronc riding—what’s better than the Massachusetts seashore in summer? I also loved the other actors in the play. Lindsay Crouse and I had worked together a million years ago both on stage in New York and in a movie, and we used to be neighbors when she lived in Los Angeles, so it was fun to work with her again.
WILLISTON: What are you working
on now, if you can say? BRAD: I’m directing HBO’s Veep [Brad’s wife is Julia Louis-Dreyfus], I’m writing and producing a TV show that will shoot soon (mostly in France), and I’m directing a movie in the spring, so it’s an embarrassment of riches—for the moment, anyway. As I say this, I am knocking on wood all around my office.
WILLISTON: What was the best part
of being in Massachusetts? BRAD: Reconnecting with EB and
a couple of other Williston folks, including the ghost of Samuel Williston, who turned out to be haunting my Airbnb (what were the chances of that?!) I also hung out with some Massachusetts surfers (a hardy breed) and some insane bicyclists, which was tremendous fun. Incredible beaches, quaint-as-hell little towns, big-time cycling, sailing, and FALL 2017 BULLETIN 27
For the past 20 years, Jonathan Leidich ’92 has run an environmental tour company in one of the planet’s most remote regions, Chile’s Northern Patagonian Ice Fields.
ONE MAN’S SEARCH FOR
A PLACE OFF THE MAP
T PORTRAITS BY CHATTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
BY KATE SNYDER
hirty-three hours before Jonathan Leidich ’92 arrived at Reunion last May, he set off on foot from his ranch at the end of the earth. Leaving behind the mountainous terrain in southern Chile where he runs Patagonia Adventure Expeditions, he walked for an hour to the banks of the Colonia River. He rowed across in a 12-foot aluminum boat and made two more river crossings on foot through knee-deep water, before he reached his all-wheel-drive Mercedes Unimog—a truck that can handle Chile’s mud bogs and pitted dirt roads. From there, he drove for 10 hours to the Balmaceda Airport outside Coyhaique, flew to Santiago, caught a 10-hour flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport, flew to Boston’s Logan, and drove a rental car the final two and a half hours to the Williston campus. Over those 33 hours, across more than 6,000 miles, his world transformed from an ecosystem of glacial ice fields, old-growth forest, high alpine shrub-land, and marshes—all in the peak of the Southern Hemisphere’s autumn—to New England’s temperate spring. For the 1992 graduate, the trip was a way to “close old circles, and open new ones.” Leidich’s return to the States approximately traced a trek that he made 24 years earlier in the opposite direction. At age 19, fresh out of Williston, he left Santa Fe, New Mexico, and hitchhiked alone to Chile, on a quest to “find a place on the globe where humanity’s expansion over the planet ended, and where wilderness—unadulterated wilderness—began.” He convinced a fellow Williston classmate and accomplished climber, the late Bean Bowers ’91, to meet him in Santiago, Chile, and the two of them made their way to the Colonia Valley, where they attempted to scale summits of near-Everest height, which dwarfed those they had climbed back home. Humbled by the sheer scale of the landscape, they made their way back to the U.S. “with our tails between our legs.” Leidich tried college (Colby and the University
of Colorado, Boulder) but found his classes unengaging. At age 23, a lightbulb went off. He realized his life’s purpose dwelled in Chile’s challenging landscape. He said to himself, “This is my mountain.” And so he thumbed back down to South America, to the place where civilization ends. For the past two decades, Leidich has made his home in that vast, sparsely populated region of Aysén, in the Andes range, inland from the Pacific Ocean. He started out as an outfitter offering rafting trips on the Rio Baker, Chile’s most voluminous river, stopping cars on the highway to make his pitch. He eventually bought his 2,500-acre ranch from a local couple who Leidich says were the first humans to hold a title to that land. His seven-million-acre backyard is studded with mountain peaks, many topping 14,000 feet. Out on the ice sheet, white and blue glaciers feed pure, cold rivers. Pumas and foxes prowl the forests, and locals travel on horseback. Here, within the bounds of Chile’s Laguna San Rafael National Park, stands the second-largest mass of ice outside the poles, a remnant of the massive Patagonian Ice Sheet, now split into the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. The area has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Leidich stands trim and tall, hands rough from climbing and ranch work, his pale-blue eyes intense but friendly below cropped, greying hair. At 19, he had an independent streak partly fueled by an ambition to be on the cover of Climbing magazine and the desire to conquer peaks and rivers. Now, at age 43, his perspective has shifted. He focuses inward, on creating “competence” to provide something seemingly simple for himself, his staff, and his guests: three meals a day drawn from the ranch’s resources (with occasional 22-hour roundtrip treks to the grocery store). At Rancho Sol de Mayo, Spanish for “Sun of May,” Leidich hosts about 20 travelers per year, ages 7 to 76, for excursions that last between 10 and 90 days. His team of local workers and transplanted employees guide visitors along a 100-kilometer trail that the team cleared, connecting 10 camps they built. Groups prepare meals from scratch around a fire: filet mignon from cows raised at the ranch; potatoes, pumpkins, and fava beans grown on his farm; charcuteria and cheeses; FALL 2017 BULLETIN 29
smoked pork ribs and Columbian corn bread. When not hiking and feasting, Leidich and his guests monitor and study the glaciers and local hydrology, sending data about the ice fields to universities around the world—the University of Kyoto, MIT, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Colorado, and the University of Chile, among them. For Leidich, this scientific research is what takes his business beyond traditional tourism and toward higher goals: education, wisdom, and even spiritual discovery. As his company’s website says, “We are not your typical outfitting service. Our trips are symphonies of sight and sound, science and art, physical challenge and spiritual release.” Guests have described the trips as “life changing,” and Outside magazine named one of Leidich’s trips a “Best Winter Adventure.” We caught up with Leidich at the Wildcat Lounge, under the Reunion Tent, and asked him to tell us more. What follows is an edited version of our conversation.
30 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
How did you end up choosing Chile as your destination? Following a childhood dream that I had since I was 12 years old, when my mother gave me a map that she found in a trash can outside the school she taught in—a geopolitical map, beautiful, of South America. On the map, Chile had the most space with a natural environment—including the world’s third-largest continental ice sheet— that had the fewest number of human names on it. I needed to get to a place where there were no footprints, where there were no thumbprints, where there was the least amount of human history. Did you speak Spanish? Beer and bathroom, that’s about it. That wasn’t my strong suit when I was studying at Williston. And the reason I was attracted to this area was because when I went to the library, or anywhere I would research, I could find nothing on it, and that was the sign that it was for me.
Describe the people who come to your ranch. Are they hard-core mountaineers? It’s not for hard cores. Guests are in incredible shape mentally. It’s more of a mental conditioning and a willingness to try than it is a physical reality. Do the guests do some of the scientific work? Oh yeah. Everyone does. They love it. We change out our time-lapse camera cards so we have timelapse imagery of glacial movements and glacial dynamics and weather. We have GPS devices installed on the glaciers measuring vertical velocities and losses, ablations, and horizontal sliding and movements. We need to change out the batteries, we need to reprogram the computer, we need to download the data loggers. On our treks that we do with visitors, we’re going to get more utility out of it because they’re paying our bills, but we’re also adding to science and creating deeper knowledge, and we can invest in students so they can understand their world better.
PHOTOGRAPHS SUBMITTED BY JONATHAN LEIDICH
Are you concerned that by showing people this place you will inadvertently ruin it? You take people, dress them in Gore-Tex, put them in a jet airplane and fly them around the globe, and then give them everything all the time. If I explode that in terms of mass and scale, I will end up ruining what I’m trying to preserve. That’s where the other oxymoron of “wilderness management” comes in — “guide to adventure.” How can you be a “guide to adventure” if adventure intrinsically has to have in it the unknown? As soon as there’s a guide, you’ve ruined the adventure. The human history of the valley in which I live is 100 years old. So 100 years ago, the first human walked into the valley. For the first 75 years that I wasn’t around, a total of 47 people ever went there. So you can see how little human impact there has been on this valley. Since I’ve been there I’ve taken about 579 people there in 25 years. About 20 people a year. It’s by invite only. This is not a product you can buy.
Really? You screen people? I’ve got a natural filter. I’m really hard to find. And if it’s word of mouth, and we meet, and it’s the right trip for you at the right time, and the right thing, it’s good. And it has to be the same for me. I’m trying to get out of that economic paradigm of more, more, more, and say no, enough is enough. It’s really challenged me to define what enough is, and be really sensitive, because what I’m trying to do is get rid of the word ownership in human language and exchange it for responsibility. I don’t care who owns what. I care who’s responsible for what. That’s my view of how I can be a steward to the ranch: how well I concentrate on the quality of the relationships of everything in my world, rather than the quantity of things in my world. Tourism is necessary because it’s an economic motor and it generates jobs. It puts beans in the pot. And in order to make change, we have to be able to create jobs. But tourism is not a be-all end-all. Science comes in because I wanted to give
empirical value through knowledge of the place. Knowledge is absolutely worthless if it’s not useful. As soon as there’s a utility added to knowledge, that becomes wisdom. And it’s the wisdom that I’m ultimately after. It sounds as if there’s an element of spirituality in your work. Yeah. It’s 100 percent spiritual and it’s zero percent spiritual. It’s 100 percent intellectual and it’s zero percent intellectual. It’s 100 percent physical and it’s zero percent physical. And it’s all of those all the time. Let me put it this way—where I live, some of the mountains don’t have names. A lot of them haven’t even been mapped. And I love the fact that I don’t have to name them, and that they exist. Just them existing takes me back to my religious studies course at Williston on the third floor of the Schoolhouse, and the one thing that stuck with me was that the highest level of Taoistic existence is the uncarved block.
Far left: A climber crosses fissures in the Colonia Glacier, part of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. Left: Often called “the swiming pool,” Lago Cachet Dos, a glacial lake, plays a key role in monitoring global climate shifts. Right: Leidich programs a GPS for studying glacial movements along the Aysén Glacier Trail on Colonia Glacier. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 31
ASK A WILDCAT
Remixing Music, Shining a Light Through multicultural dance parties and remixes, Sara Skolnick â€™04 celebrates musicians from around the globe, building community in the process â€”BY MEGAN TADY
For Sara Skolnick ’04, aka DJ Riobamba, remixing music is a social cause. She uses her place behind the turntable—actually a high-tech CDJ set-up that mixes and manipulates digital music—to amplify and celebrate immigrant voices. Skolnick, who is Lithuanian-Ecuadorian, began performing in 2010 in Boston as Riobamba—named for the city in Ecuador near her mother’s birthplace. She also co-created Picó Picante, a recurring club night and dance party that wound its way through Boston’s various neighborhoods. In 2013, Skolnick received a Fulbright-mtvU grant to study the intersection of digital music and communities in Bogotá, Colombia, and how the democratization of music production and distribution transcends politics. Now living in New York City, Skolnick recently launched her own record label and creative agency, Apocalipsis. In October, the label will release its first album, Anta, by Ecuador-based artist amaF alaM. The label’s slogan, “ní de aquí/ní de allá,” translates to “neither from here nor there” and speaks to the heart of Skolnick’s mission: to promote artists from diverse backgrounds and cultures who are often subverted and underrepresented in mainstream music. How did you discover your passion for remixing music?
PHOTOGRAPHS SUBMITTED BY SARA SKOLNICK
I found a community of DJs and producers remixing Latin American and diaspora music, which woke up some part of me that identified as a thirdculture person, meaning that I grew up somewhere else away from my parents’ homeland. Then I started looking for remixed culture online, and I found clubs and parties where the music was appearing in real time. I felt like I found my people. Why is it important for you to amplify immigrant voices?
I think it’s essential work now, more than ever. Especially with this current administration and the DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] program being pulled recently. It’s time to step up and really consider what it means to be an ally. And at the heart of our work is, in the most basic way, affirming the right for people to live and thrive here. As far as music, for me it’s about affirming the right not only to exist, but also to be visible, to take up space. And to remind people that associations with the word immigrant shouldn’t imply crime or poverty.
“Williston gave me the confidence to know that an artistic discipline can have equal parts of seriousness and playfulness to it.”
Tell us about Picó Picante.
We said, “We’re gonna have a traveling dance party, and there will be a sound system up on bicycles.” What kind of spontaneous interactions and opportunities for joy would come out of that? We had people that were jumping on the bikes with us, and riding through other neighborhoods, or just stopping in the park and starting dance parties. This project opened up other questions about segregation in Boston, and the geographical distance between communities. This was our dance-party-based solution to cutting through some of that to create spontaneous points of interaction. What’s it like for you as a DJ when you have everyone dancing?
DJing is actually really meditative. I feel like I’m in my body, and being present, and sort of channeling the energy in the room, and I’m responding to that. When I play music specific to certain cultures and regions, it’s the best feeling when someone recognizes the song and they feel really seen and represented in that moment. What inspired you to launch a label?
I want to see a broader scope of representation in the music industry. When it comes to Latin music, at least in the United States, the vast majority of representation tends to be male and
light skinned. We can do much better. I really want to shine a light, and rep for those of us that exist between multiple cultures and identities at once, and to celebrate the richness of that experience. How did your time at Williston contribute to your path in music?
Williston showed me that creativity and collaboration doesn’t have to follow a traditional path. It can be nonlinear, interdisciplinary, self determined for whatever that career path means to you. I think Williston gave me the confidence to know that an artistic discipline can have equal parts of seriousness and playfulness to it. I was also in an environment that valued diversity and social justice, and since day one those have been really essential values to my practice. What are you listening to?
There’s a remix that just came out from Afro House producer Jose Marquez of a Ray Barretto song called “Indestructible.” It was originally recorded in 1973, and this new remix, via the label Sonia, is a comeback song. It’s about triumphing through heartbreak and the challenges in life, but also the strength that’s shining through. I’ve been thinking a lot about the DACA Dreamers. It’s just something I have on repeat and probably will have on repeat for the foreseeable future. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 33
Every weekday at Twitter’s New York offices, top chefs prepare a luxurious breakfast and lunch for the company’s 350 employees, using the highest-quality local ingredients. So please, says Amelia Ekus ’07, who manages the tech giant’s dining service, don’t call this a cafeteria. “I hate the word,” she recently told the online magazine Eater. “I don’t let anyone say it—it’s banned from the lexicon here.” Hired to run Twitter’s, um, café last year, Ekus is the daughter of a cookbook agent who grew up surrounded by famous chefs. When Emeril Lagasse or Julia Child would come by, she would arrange the napkins, or set out a bouquet. “That’s where my love for the front of the house and hospitality comes from,” she explained. After studying “food activism,” her selfdesigned major, at NYU’s Gallitin School, Ekus 34 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
worked in New York restaurants before being recruited by food service management company Guckenheimer, which runs Twitter’s café. Twitter, like many big tech firms, offers highend meals as an employee perk. The company’s budget, she notes, allows her to effect positive change in the food chain. “We have an initiative to source as much as possible from within 100 miles of the café,” she says. “We also work with many minority-owned and small businesses and use our buying power and relationships to help them grow their businesses.” To build excitement among Twitter’s employees (or Tweeps, as she calls them), Ekus tweets a photo of the day’s offerings each morning. It’s always something new: In their first year, her chefs did not repeat a single dish. —KATE SNYDER
PORTRAIT BY JENNY ZHANG AND ZOË FRANÇOIS
Amelia Ekus ’07 serves up gourmet meals to New York City’s Twitter workforce
s t n e g A d o o G of PORTRAIT BY DOUG LEVY
BY JONATHAN ADOLPH
WITH CREATIVITY AND PASSION, WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON ALUMS ARE HELPING SOLVE SOCIAL ISSUES AS CHALLENGING AS HUNGER AND DISEASE AND AS COMPLICATED AS EDUCATION AND INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISM. HERE ARE THEIR STORIES.
helping prevent Lyme disease HEATHER CARLTON HEARST ’90
NAME Heather Carlton Hearst HOME Camden, Maine WORK Founder of Project Lyme, a nonprofit advocacy group that educates the public about the prevention and early detection of tick-borne diseases TO LEARN MORE projectlyme.org
HEATHER HEARST KNOWS ALL TOO WELL THE MISERY LYME DISEASE CAN BRING. The summer before
her freshman year at Williston, in 1986, she was bitten by a tick at her home on the Connecticut shore, just a few miles from the town that gives the disease its name. “I was so sick,” she recalls. “I had a heart murmur, no reflexes, Bell’s palsy. I
was completely bedridden. And it was just weeks before school started. The school, the doctors, my parents [her father is Merritt Carlton ’60], everyone really didn’t want me to go to Williston, but I begged and pleaded.” The school granted her permission to start late, and she suffered through what she calls “one of the most depressing times of my life. I was homesick. I was miserable. I had no friends. I couldn’t read out loud because I had trouble pronouncing words. But I was not going to give up.” Early antibiotic treatment and time helped Heather recover, although minor health issues would linger. By that spring she would be back to her old self, and she tried to put the experience behind her. For a while, she could: After graduating from the University of Denver, she worked for software companies in San Francisco, earned her master’s degree in career development, and became an art consultant. But then she got married, had kids, and moved to Maine, and now Lyme disease was in the news, and back in her life.
36 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
“I’d read these stories and get emotional and tear up, and I was surprised that I was even having that reaction, because I had had Lyme disease and thought I had moved on,” she recalls. “All of a sudden, I’m a mom living in Maine, and every time my kids would run into the woods, to me it felt like they were running into traffic.” As she began to research the issue, she was disturbed to discover that a preventable disease that had afflicted her 30 years ago was still causing so much pain. And so, in 2015, she decided to do something about it. She founded Project Lyme, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to educating the public on the importance of prevention and early detection of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Her group uses advertising and social media to share prevention tips, stories from survivors, and the latest news about the disease, which affects an estimated 300,000 people a year in the United States and is the most common illness spread by ticks in the Northern Hemisphere. “The scary thing is that, here in New England, we are fairly aware
of Lyme disease and ticks,” Heather notes. “But it’s spreading west and north and south, and those places aren’t aware. People are getting really sick and not getting diagnosed in time. It’s a big problem.” Many groups are already actively involved in other aspects of the Lyme disease issue, she notes, from patient advocates, to those seeking more funding for research, to those pushing for better treatments and wider recognition of the disease’s often confusing symptoms. “It’s one of these health problems that exemplifies all the problems in the medical world,” she explains. “Insurance companies don’t want to deal with it, there’s not a really good drug so pharma is not involved yet. It’s a mess.” Given that, Heather has kept the focus of Project Lyme on education, branding, and awareness, areas that she knows well from her days in high tech. “There wasn’t really good messaging around it. People didn’t know the simple steps that you can take to prevent tick bites, and the early signs and symptoms so they could get to their physician. So I thought, well, that’s a place where I have some
experience, and I like that kind of work. So that’s where I thought I could make a difference.” She has spent the past two years building her team, raising money, and developing her messaging and materials. More recently, the group has held awareness events at the Mall of America in Minnesota and in Pennsylvania (a Lyme disease hot spot), and created educational materials for schools. After initial funding by Heather herself, the group this year raised enough money through donations and grants to be self-supporting. Heather continues to develop partnerships with other Lyme organizations and advocates, add new members to her board, and build her network.
PORTRAIT BY CIG HARVEY
“People are getting really sick and not getting diagnosed in time. It’s a big problem.” “There are a lot of great groups doing a lot of different things,” she notes. “But we really need to unify as a community and work together to clarify the message so it’s more credible and people will hear it. That’s what I’m focusing on: bringing people together.” FALL 2017 BULLETIN 37
growing food for the hungry JOE RIGALI â€™70
38 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
NAME Joe Rigali HOME Concord, Massachusetts WORK Board president of Gaining Ground, a nonprofit that grows organic vegetables for hunger relief in eastern Massachusetts TO LEARN MORE gainingground.org
WRITING IN HIS JOURNAL IN THE
PORTRAIT BY DOUG LEVY
SPRING OF 1852, Henry David Tho-
reau made an observation that Joe Rigali ’70 would surely second. “The farmer,” Thoreau wrote, “increases the extent of habitable earth. He makes soil. That is an honorable occupation.” Through Gaining Ground, a nonprofit in Thoreau’s hometown of Concord that grows farm-fresh organic produce for hunger relief in eastern Massachusetts, Joe has found a way to make that occupation even more honorable. Begun in 1991 as a small garden in a local woman’s front yard, Gaining Ground now manages three and a half acres of farmland at three sites that provide produce and maple syrup to 13 food organizations from Boston to Lowell. The group is sup-
ported by grants and private contributions, with an annual budget of $350,000. As its volunteer board president since 2011 (and acting executive director until this year), Joe has helped the organization reach new levels of productivity and community engagement. “Six years ago, we grew about 25,000 pounds of food and we had maybe 1,500 volunteers,” he notes. “This year we’re going to hit 70,000 pounds on the same land, with close to 3,000 volunteers.” The group estimates that some 650 people receive its produce each week. Joe’s involvement in Gaining Ground dates back to 2006; his wife, Tracy Winn, was on the board of directors, and he volunteered to lend a hand with various carpentry projects around the farm. The group’s mission soon drew him in. “I really like the idea that there’s a role for an organization that can, as I say, bring Whole Foods to the food pantry,” says Joe, a lawyer who is now retired from his career in financial consulting. “We’re not just delivering food, we’re delivering a statement to people who use the food pantries that they too can have the best produce available.” As it happens, agriculture was in Joe’s blood. He grew up in Holyoke, in an Italian immigrant family of avid gardeners that raised animals and tended grape vines. His parents saw in their son a student who needed the structure a school
like Williston could provide. “I was a local kid who was getting into some difficulties, as young men do. My parents were smart enough to know there were other avenues that could be taken in life. Williston was a major cost. But I boarded there, and now suddenly there was a new world, with new intellectual rigor and aspirations, and that led to my going to Wesleyan University, and from there having the intellectual confidence to do many different things.” And his aspirations have a new outlet at Gaining Ground. Under Joe’s leadership, the group has dug a new well for irrigation, built hoop houses to extend the growing season, and put up deer fencing to cut losses. In May of 2016, needing a new barn, the group opted to try a community barn raising, which Joe notes was “an insane thing to do, but a perfect fit for us.” After a hired builder cut all the timbers, “we had
building the barn, or all the other volunteers, one of the attractions is getting people behind a great common cause, and people working together,” he says. “If you have the right mission and the right cause, in this fractious world we live in, that’s one way to get people behind a common purpose.” The next question for Gaining Ground is whether its compelling mission has appeal beyond Concord. Could other communities use it as a model to address hunger issues? “That’s one of the things we are looking at for our next phase of growth,” Joe says. “It could be a useful way in a lot of communities to bring disparate groups together.” Concord is an unusual community, Joe acknowledges, both for its affluence as well as for its long tradition of independent thinkers. But he still thinks the Gaining Ground concept has the potential to be replicated.
“We’re not just delivering food, we’re delivering a statement.” 220 volunteers, and raised the barn frame in a day. I’m not sure that happens in a lot of other places.” Experiencing that sense of community has been particularly rewarding for Joe. “Whether it’s the board of directors, or the people
Already a number of other communities have reached out to him at Gaining Ground’s main office in Concord. It just happens to be in the very farmhouse where, 200 years ago, Henry David Thoreau was born. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 39
engaging kids through music AMBER HAMILTON ’94
NAME Amber Hamilton HOME Memphis, Tennessee WORK Chief operating and strategy officer for the Memphis Music Initiative, a youth engagement organization TO LEARN MORE memphismusicinitiative.org
THE DISPARITY DID NOT SIT WELL WITH AMBER HAMILTON.
In Memphis, Tennessee—a city with a rich musical heritage, home to such legendary artists as Elvis Presley, Al Green, and Aretha Franklin—many kids had little exposure to music in school. At the same time, some 20 percent of the young people in poor and underserved neighborhoods were what social scientists
characterize as disconnected: not in school, not working, and not involved in anything meaningful. And so this year, Amber, a seasoned manager of nonprofits, took over as chief operating and strategy officer for the recently launched Memphis Music Initiative, a local group that is leveraging the power of music to take on both problems by bringing working musicians into classrooms, funding music education for students, and providing grants to organizations working on youth engagement and development. “The studies have shown over and over again that music is a great way to keep kids focused and get them comfortable with the idea of practicing something,” notes Amber, who started with the Initiative as a consultant in 2016. “And the idea of practice as a discipline has an impact on their reading and math, and all those great outcomes that we are trying to get to.” As beneficial as music can be, however, kids in Memphis were facing barriers. “They can’t afford instruments, can’t pay for their own lessons. That was
40 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
a real gap. So the Memphis Music Initiative was created to address that gap and make sure young people, no matter what part of the city they are from, have access to in-school and after-school music programs.” Founded in 2014 with money from an anonymous donor, the Initiative now has 16 full-time staff and employs 40 music fellows— songwriters, hip-hop artists, studio musicians, symphony players, and others—who work 20 hours a week in the classrooms. The program is “enormously popular,” notes Amber. “It’s cool for young people to be working with real gigging musicians. We have students where the music class is really the main reason they come to school. They love it that much. So this program has been an opportunity to engage not only the young people who are part of the program, but also the teachers and the administrators, to make a case for arts education and for the importance of creative youth development.” Amber’s journey from Williston to Memphis reflects her increas-
ing professional focus on working for social change. Earning her B.A. in political science from Howard University, a master’s degree in executive leadership from Georgetown University, and a certification in executive coaching from Georgetown, she started her career as assistant director of player development for the National Football League, then worked with Fannie Mae in the office of community giving. After moving to Memphis, she consulted for and served as interim CEO of the Soulsville Foundation, which operates a museum, music school, and charter school on the former site of the Stax Records studio. All of this, she says, prepared her for her current work. “My background in the sports business, especially starting out as a young woman in that business, really made me tough. You have to fight to be heard, you have to fight to be taken seriously, and you will be tested a lot. It helped me develop executive presence and develop my voice, all of these very important skills that I would need later. When
PORTRAITSBY PORTRAIT BYPHILLIP JESSESINGER JEFF BURKE PARKER
“We have students where the music class is really the main reason they come to school. They love it that much.”
I was at Fannie Mae, it helped give me that corporate background that helps me on the business end of what I do today. Every stop along the way taught me something important.” Her time at Williston also taught her vital lessons, she adds. She and several other students started the first African American affinity group at the school, advocating for more diversity in faculty and protesting what they saw as racial profiling by certain Easthampton stores. “Williston helped me build my independent spirit and voice. I’ve never been a shy person, but Williston provided lots of opportunities for me to lead, and learn how to lead. I had to figure out, how do I make my persuasive argument? How do I make people who have not lived this understand what it feels like and why it’s problematic, and why I need them to join me as an ally in this fight? Developing all those things early on became the foundation of what would become my social justice point of view.” It’s a point of view she is now putting to music. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 41
making art just happen MOLLY LIEBERMAN ’06
NAME Molly Lieberman HOME Savannah, Georgia WORK Founder and director of Loop It Up Savannah, a community arts nonprofit TO LEARN MORE loopitupsavannah.com
NOT LONG AFTER MOLLY LIEBERMAN LAUNCHED HER INNOVATIVE
community arts program, Loop It Up Savannah, she had a conversation that helped her see her work as being about far more than just crafts. “I was outside with some kids and we witnessed a shooting,” she explains. “And as we were walking back inside, one of the little boys said to me, ‘Well, that’s what happens. Sometimes you get shot.’ And I was so shocked because, in my world, that is not just what happens.” The 42 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
PORTRAITS BY SIOBHAN EGAN
boy’s comment stuck with Molly, and she began thinking about how best to respond. She realized that tragic things do happen in our communities, and around the world, and that she can’t prevent them. “But what I can do is make sure there are other things that ‘just happen’ that are going to be good. And they are going to happen every single day, with as much consistency, and it’s going to be as believable and real as the really scary things that exist in the world.” And so, with ingenuity and determination, she has set about making that vision a reality. From the program’s modest beginnings in 2008, when she was asked to teach a small knitting class in a local YMCA, she has built Loop it Up Savannah into a citywide institution that now provides arts and crafts instruction to some 5,000 kids at dozens of schools, community centers, and local events. Under her leadership, the group became an independent nonprofit in 2015, focusing much of its efforts on after-school programs and in-school residency programs. “We have some real challenges in our school district,” Molly explains. “A lot of kids are not reading at grade level, so it’s
important for nonprofits to support schools and teachers to make sure kids are entering the world with a full toolbox. Art is a great way to do that. In the kid’s mind, they are just doing art projects and having fun, but they are having to apply their math skills, their reading skills, and their comprehension skills.” A favorite Loop It Up classroom project, the Book Box Library, offers an example. The group provides each student with a crate, which the students then decorate with images of their favorite characters from books. “Then we fill up the crate with books and they get to take it home as their own personal library,” says Molly. The benefits are twofold, she notes. “We are sending books to homes where there may not be many,” she says, “but the project also pushes the student’s comprehension, because when they are decorating, they are reading descriptive passages from books that inform how they paint that character. So it’s a real creative way to extend some of the enthusiasm about art to reading.” Not surprisingly, Savannah has taken on Loop It Up as “one of its beloved organizations,” says Molly. The
group receives funding from private donors and grants, and has contracts with the city to do arts programming at community centers. The group also holds an annual fundraising campaign that culminates in Soup it Up for Loop It Up, a cooking event featuring local chefs. Along with the support, no small amount of love flows Molly’s way. “This city won the lottery when she moved here,” noted one Facebook fan. “She is authentic, inspiring, and energizing. Thank God for Loop It Up Savannah!” For her part, Molly says she felt the
me, and the way that I view art as part of the rest of life,” she says. At Williston, she continued to immerse herself in art, but also discovered the joys of the theater, the technical side in particular. “I actually think that stage managing is what gave me the best skills for what I’m doing now,” she says with a laugh. “I sort of feel like I’m continuously stage managing!” In addition to the management skills, she found that theater introduced her to the satisfaction of achieving an ambitious goal with others. “That rush of
“Stage managing is what gave me the best skills for what I’m doing now.” appeal of Savannah from her first visit, when she arrived for classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She had grown up in Northampton, attending Williston as a day student, and traces her interest in art back to her elementary school days at the Smith College Campus School. “That really had a humongous impact on
pulling off something colossal, that’s something you get hooked on. And while it’s a very different medium that I’m working in now, it’s that same feeling: We’re all going to work hard to achieve these big things, because we want that feeling.” Call it the feeling of making goodness just happen. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 43
healing a child s life JOHN REINISCH ’62
NAME John Reinisch, M.D. HOME Los Angeles, California WORK Surgeon for the Small Wonders Foundation and Director of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at CedarsSinai Medical Group TO LEARN MORE smallwondersfoundation.org
NEARLY THREE DECADES AGO, PEDIATRIC PLASTIC SURGEON JOHN
Reinisch ’62 developed a revolutionary way to repair the congenital disorder known as microtia, a condition where a child is missing one or both ears. The traditional approach at the time was to fashion a new ear from a piece of the child’s rib cartilage, a procedure that required several pain-
ful surgeries and could be done only on children older than 10, to avoid deforming their chest. John’s technique used a synthetic material— porous polyethylene—and could be done in a single outpatient surgery on children as young as three, sparing them a childhood of shame and self-consciousness. The operation, like the others John performs to repair cleft lips and remove disfiguring birthmarks, is life changing (he and his colleagues also repair the ear canal, if needed, allowing patients to hear unaided for the first time). Over the years, hundreds of children from around the world have been treated by John at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles, where he is director of craniofacial and pediatric Plastic Surgery. Among those are more than two dozen children from nine countries who could not afford the $40,000 operation, but were treated nonetheless, through the support of the Small Wonders Foundation, a nonprofit started in 2005 by some of John’s former patients. For these children, John provides
44 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
his services for free. “It’s very hard to see parents and children who can’t get care,” John explained to a local television reporter. “And I don’t find it work. I enjoy doing it.” Which explains, perhaps, his remarkable energy. “My wife will tell you, I work all the time,” John said recently, as he drove in Los Angeles with his wife, Nancy. “And I’m 73. I operate every day, and I like it. On Wednesday, I’m going to Australia to see patients. We give talks to parents on Saturday, and see patients on Sunday, and come home. On the following Friday night, I’m going to Vietnam to see patients, lecture, and operate as well.” “What you might assess from what John is saying,” added Nancy, “is that he is still operating in high gear. The idea that work can take a toll? I don’t think that paradigm works for John. I think it really energizes him.” “I love teaching,” John continued. “We have residents and lots of visitors from other countries. It really makes life rich. And Nan is a social worker on the team and connects
with a lot of these families.” John has contributed more than 100 articles and book chapters to his field’s medical literature, and received numerous awards and honors from professional organizations. But the most heartfelt praise comes from the patients he has helped over the years. “Thanks to Small Wonders Foundation, to Dr. Reinisch…and to each one of you who contributed to make my dream come true,” wrote Diego, a patient and gymnast from Mexico who had both ears reconstructed. “I am able to walk around without having people staring at me. I feel the most confident ever. I can go to parties and competitions feeling proud of my ears. I enjoy feeling sounds, hearing noises—the water, the wind, everything that you all consider ‘normal.’” “Dr. John Reinisch truly changes the lives of children and their families,” says Small Wonders Board President Thelma Waxman. “It is not an overstatement to say he is a miracle worker.” What inspires John, in part, is that he can relate to being different as a
child. “My father died when I was five,” he explains. “My mother, who was from Europe and didn’t speak English very well, had a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a one-year-old. We never felt like a regular American family. I think we always felt a little different, maybe not because of a deformity but because of our circumstances, and I think that I had some desire to make people whole in that sense.”
PORTRAITS BY TREVOR TRAYNOR
“It’s very hard to see parents and children who can’t get care.” John’s father and mother were both doctors, and to give young John “some male influence” after his father died, his mother sent him to Williston. “I think the headmaster, Phil Stevens, liked my mother and was fairly compassionate in allowing me to get into the school. She was a single parent. She always had wonderful things to say about him. And I don’t think I was a great student. I had to go to summer school to take some remedial classes before I started.” From Williston, John went on to earn degrees at Dartmouth University and Harvard Medical School. After his residency, in 1983, he was hired by the University of Southern California to start the Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He is still a professor of surgery there, and his department is one of the busiest of its kind in the world. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 45
“If we don’t have mutual trust with North Korea, how can we expect to talk with them about more difficult subjects?”
46 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
helping save the cranes NAME Hall Healy HOME Glencoe, Illinois WORK Emeritus chairman of the Wisconsin-based International Crane Foundation and past president of the nonprofit DMZ Forum TO LEARN MORE savingcranes.org
THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE—THE
PORTRAIT BY HAAS AND HAAS PHOTOGRAPHY
that has separated North and South Korea since 1953—has long been a symbol of war’s divisive power. But for the past 16 years, Hall Healy has been working with others to give the DMZ a new meaning: as a place where people have come together to help save some of the planet’s endangered creatures. Hall, emeritus chairman of the Wisconsin-based International Crane Foundation (ICF) and past president of the nonprofit DMZ Forum, has been helping to protect cranes, the family of majestic migratory birds that includes the whoop-
ing crane, which inspired some of the United States’ first species protection laws. Of the world’s 15 species of cranes, 11 are threatened or endangered, largely as a result of poaching, human development, and habitat loss. One vital habitat, and a key focus of Hall’s work over the years, is the estuary of Korea’s Han River, which overlaps with the DMZ near the Yellow, or West, Sea. The area’s mud flats and wetlands are home to numerous endangered bird species and provide critical wintering habitat for cranes that spend summers in Russia, Mongolia, and China. A professional environmental facilitator who has worked with watershed-conservation organizations and other groups in his native Illinois, Hall has made numerous trips to Asia with the ICF’s founder, George Archibald, where they meet with local scientists, farmers, and others to introduce or improve conservation efforts. In Cambodia, for example, where local basket makers use wetland reeds that cranes also use for nesting, the ICF helped the weavers develop higher-quality baskets that use fewer reeds. “The baskets are sold in places like Japan, earning more money for the local people,” notes Hall. “So the habitat wins and so do the people.” This strategy of taking into account the needs of the local popula-
tion has been a key to the group’s success, and nowhere more so than in North Korea, where from 2008 to 2015 the ICF collaborated with farmers to improve their agricultural methods and, in turn, help the cranes. “We know that the people there need more food to eat,” Hall says, “so our project was to help the farmers grow more food, which also happens to be the same food, i.e., rice, that the cranes eat. If there is more food for people then there’s also more food for cranes.” Hall’s appreciation for birds and environmental causes began when he was a child growing up in the Chicago area. “My parents would take us out on bird-watching trips, and later in my career I made a switch to get into the environmental engineering business, not as an engineer but as someone interested in conservation.” In his professional life, he focused on marketing and business development, while in his personal life he began serving on boards of various conservation organizations, including the Illinois chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. “It was really hand in glove for vocation and avocation,” he explains. As a post-graduate student at Williston, he discovered another passion. “I took a summer school course in French under Howard Boardman.
HALL HEALY ’60
I’ll never forget it. Then, during the postgraduate year, I took French II from him. I would say that was one of the most formative parts of my life. I still speak French. I took it at Colgate University. I was in the Air Force in Vietnam during the war and spoke it there, and I’ve now become active in my local Alliance Française. I also have presented a talk on our Korea work in French. So studying French at Williston led to a real joy of my life.” This year, the political tensions have effectively shut down the ICF’s efforts in North Korea, at least for now, but Hall remains optimistic. As a member of the Washington, D.C.based National Committee on North Korea, he has been “working with others to find ways of enhancing the dialogue between our two countries,” he explains. “The crane conservation work is one of those ways. If our two countries, along with South Korea and others, could agree to protect the unique global treasure of the DMZ, then in the process we would get to know each other better and develop more trust.” And that is crucial, he adds, whether the shared goal is saving cranes—or our own species. “If we don’t have mutual trust with North Korea, how can we expect to talk with them about more difficult subjects?”
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 47
*FEAR OF MISSING OUT
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE GREAT ALUMNI EVENTS IN YOUR AREA! NOVEMBER 30 New York Holiday Party DECEMBER 6 Boston Holiday Party DECEMBER 13 Easthampton Holiday Party JANUARY 6 Alumni Basketball Game JANUARY 20 Alumni Hockey Game MARCH* Florida Receptions APRIL* Washington, D.C., Reception MAY 11-13 Reunion Weekend *Date(s) TBD. Check williston.com/alumnievents for details. For more information about times and locations for these events, visit the alumni events page at williston.com. Check the website often to learn more about special “pop-up” events for alumni, parents, and friends in 2017-18.
PH OTO G R A PH BY C H AT T M AN P H OTOG R A PH Y
On a rainy Reunion afternoon, campus felt a bit like the Left Bank as alumni packed the art studio and put paintbrush to canvas, wine by their sides. Read on for more coverage of alumni gatherings near and far.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 49
48 HOURS OF FUN
ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME Inductee Al Shaler, a cross-country and track legend possessed of a razor-sharp wit, struck an emotional chord as he recalled the students he coached and mentored.
NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL FOR GIRLS DINNER Catching up and reminiscing were the order of the day as alumnae gathered at the Hotel Northampton. The best part? Posing for photos with their besties.
5K FUN RUN Among the first to try out the new cross-country course were the plucky bunch who woke up early Saturday morning to hit the trail, which loops for 3.1 miles through the woods behind campus.
RECONNECT WITH FACULTY Nick Nocera ’07 and Rick Teller
ALUMNI RECEPTION These alumnae were ready to celebrate, and
ALUMNI AWARDS Alumni from near and far (honoree Richard
others shared their enthusiasm over the course of the evening’s festivities: dinner, drinks, dancing, and conversation under the big tent.
Brown ’72, pictured here, traveled the furthest—from Tanzania) were recognized for their contributions to Williston and to the larger community.
50 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
’70 were two of many who found a smiling face from the past.
PH OTO G R A PH S BY C H AT TM A N PH OTO G R A P H Y
WILLISTON ACADEMY GATHERING Several Williston Academy classes mixed and mingled beneath the tent on the Head of School’s lawn. It’s true what they say: Seeing old friends is good for the soul.
ALL CLASSES GATHERING AT TANDEM BAGEL Trustee John Booth ’83 and Matt Roberts ’87 catch up and enjoy great food and drinks at Tandem Bagel housed in Williston’s old train depot.
SIP ’N’ PAINT What’s more satisfying than squeezing out oil paint, mixing colors, and transforming a blank canvas into a work of art you’re proud of? Doing it all with friends—and a glass of chardonnay!
MIXOLOGY CLASS Williston cultivates a love of learning, and few subjects are as enjoyable to study as the science of cocktails. Here, alums trade pointers on the art of the drink.
CLASS PHOTOS We made 19 groups of classmates pose for us, and
DANCE PARTY SCHMOOZEFEST For those who love the
you all rolled with it. You squeezed in and you smiled big, and we thank you for it! You look mah-velous.
nightlife and had to boogie, our DJ had something for everyone, spinning songs spanning from the olden days to today. FALL 2017 BULLETIN 51
ALUMNI EVENTS 1
WILDCAT LOUNGE Lights! Camera! Smile! These alumni and their
guests visited the photo booth at the Wildcat Lounge during Reunion. 1) Hope Nawada ’92, Sarah Williams Carlan ’92, and Alexas Kelly ’92 2) Alan Yeung ’97, wife Vicky Lee, and their children Andrew and Kaela 3) Liz Zieminski ’97 and husband Frank LaFrazia 4) James Ferguson ’72, Tony Spagnola ’72, and Richard Lucchesi ’72 5) Phoebe, daughter of Jennie Dunham ’87 6) Jen Sklar ’07 and Liz Sklar ’07 7) Alexander Milne ’07 and Max Ziskin ’07 8) Nicole Smith McRae ’97 and Jennifer Rivers ’97 9) Ginny Weeks ’82 and Kyle Tornow 10) Yoko Ogawa and husband Charles Ferguson ’67 11) Kelly Coffey ’07, Samantha Teece ’07, and Lindsay Bridge ’07
52 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
PH OTO G R A PH S BY C H AT TM A N PH OTOG RA P H Y
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 53
The undefeated 1981 varsity football team
Alumni who brought athletic glory to Williston were recognized for their achievements at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Before a Reunion audience of the entire school community, current student athletes introduced inductees, noting their extraordinary contributions to the record books and to the long and continuing legacy of Wildcat pride.
ABIGAIL OUIMET KATUSKA ’99
Coach Shaler was part of the fabric of Williston athletics for more than 37 years. He founded the cross-country program in 1963 and coached the sport through 1999. A runner himself, he received four varsity letters in both crosscountry and track at Hamilton College. Coach Shaler is a parent of three Williston alumni; the inspiration for Williston’s Shaler Invitational cross-country race; and a tireless advocate for the new cross-country course at Williston.
A multisport athlete, Abby earned 16 varsity letters in four sports (basketball, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse) at Williston, notching a record 1,404 total career points in basketball. At Amherst College, she was a two-time regional All-American and All-NESCAC in field hockey. In lacrosse, she is the college’s all-time leading point scorer, career assists leader, and a three-time All-American who led her team to the 2003 NCAA Division III national championship.
54 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
PH OTO G R A PH S BY C H AT TM A N PH OTO G R A P H Y
1981 VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAM
Head football coach Rick Francis, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, led the 1981 team to an undefeated season along with assistant coaches Steve Purington, Jay Readinger, Robert Shaw ’76, and Pat Archbald. That fall, the team outscored opponents 217-61, including two shutouts. Cocaptains Steve Kaye ’82 and Steve Okun ’82 led the team to average game scores of 30.9–7.6. For these Wildcats, the defense proved impenetrable: they allowed no touchdown passes and limited opponents to an average of just two yards per rushing attempt. Inducted into the Hall of Fame were the following members of the class of 1982: John Bolton, Adam Brown, Mike Conran, Colman Crowther, Mike Doetsch, Scott Estes, John Hexamer, Randy Hoyt, Steve Kaye, Phil Korn, Bill Koski, Steve Okun, Jim Scheckter, and J.B. Shank. Team members who graduated in 1983 were Hank Baer, Mike Barry, Brian Bergfield, Joey Boynton, Mark Browning, John Bruce, Chris Canney, Todd Francis, Al Gindoff, John McNamara, Dave Monroe, Dan Nicoli, Juan Salichs, Ted Stanton, Steve Sullivan, Joe Tarantino, and Chris Walsh. And from the class of 1984, inductees were Will Egbers, Craig Ferri, Rodney Moore, Bill Okun, and Dave Rogers. Manager Michele Hurst Burton ’83 was also inducted.
DAVID “WHITEY” FELSEN ’62
STEPHEN P. WHITE ’77
COLLEEN HESSION THOM ’02
A soccer, basketball, and baseball player, David was a corecipient (with Charles Vernon) of the Denman Award, recognizing the best allaround athlete, his senior year. David notes, “Having attended Williston allowed me to be the great beneficiary of the coaching and encouragement of Ray Brown, Rick Francis, Dan Carpenter, and Charles Duggan.” He attended Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania, serving as co-captain of Haverford’s soccer team and later as its coach, leading the squad to a league championship and two NCAA top-16 appearances. David continued to support youth athletics throughout his career as a teacher and headmaster at Friends’ Central School.
Stephen was an MVP defensive back in football and played attack for the undefeated lacrosse team his junior and senior years. But of all his sports, Stephen’s passion was for wrestling. He was the captain of the varsity wrestling team his junior and senior years. As a 115-pound junior, his record was 13-0-0, earning him both State Champion and New England Champion honors, and ranking him third nationally. His senior year, he moved up to the 130-pound class and continued his undefeated streak with a 13-0-0 record, earning him All-American status and New England and State Champion titles.
Colleen was a key component of the 1998 Williston girls basketball team, whose record for wins in a single season (20) still stands today. She is the school’s all-time scoring leader with 2,096 points over six seasons, and ranks third in school history for per-game point average, at 15.3. She holds nine of the top 21 records for points in a single game; and three of the top six records for points in a season. Colleen was recognized three times as team MVP and selected three times for All-New England. She was field hockey goalie for four years, serving as captain for two. For her Williams College basketball team, she set a school record with 233 career three-pointers and was named to the All-NESCAC and AllNew England teams.
SEE VIDEO OF THE CEREMONY OR NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE 2018 HALL OF FAME AT WILLISTON.COM/HALLOFFAME.
FALL 2017 BULLETIN 55
Honoring founders, trailblazers, and those who’ve supported the Williston Northampton School and other worthy causes, our Alumni Awards shine a spotlight on those embodying our mission to live with purpose, passion, and integrity
“You can’t take it with you. So you have to give back and set an example.” FOUNDERS AWARD: HENRY ZACHS ’52
Henry’s encyclopedic knowledge of his class, deep connection to his classmates, tireless service to the school, and generous philanthropic commitment demonstrate his love for his school and those who help carry forward its mission. The Founders Award recognizes loyalty, devotion, and service to Williston, and Henry clearly exemplifies these. He’s been a class agent, a reunion volunteer, and a caller for and longstanding consecutive donor to the Williston Northampton Fund. A former trustee, he is a member of the Silver Cup Society. He has endowed the Zachs Faculty Chairs and was honored for his investment in the campus with the naming of the Zachs Admission Center. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2002 in honor of his 50th Reunion. 56 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
ALUMNI TRAILBLAZER AWARD: JENNIFER DUBOIS ’02
Jennifer’s Williston Northampton career started as a seventh grader, and we’d like to think that her six years at Williston helped make her the successful novelist she is today. After graduating from Tufts University, she went on to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and completed a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her two novels, A Partial History of Lost Causes and Cartwheel, have won numerous awards, and her writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Salon. Jennifer teaches fiction writing in the MFA program at Texas State University. The Trailblazer Award is given to an under-40 alum demonstrating professional achievement.
WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON AWARD: RICHARD BROWN ’72
A Williston exchange student, Richard returned to the United Kingdom to attend the University of Bristol and work as a civil engineer. In 1997, he began using his expertise to aid in postconflict recovery. He has worked in Kosovo, East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan, rebuilding railway networks and power and water infrastructure. He was twice awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for his work in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan. In 2005, he received the United States’ Bronze Star Medal for his work in Iraq. Richard is now working on a major railway construction project in Tanzania. He received the Williston Northampton Award, recognizing humanitarian service and volunteerism.
SIMPLE ACTION. BIG IMPACT. That’s what happens when you become a SUSTAINING DONOR to the Williston Northampton School. You will find it is: Easy. Set up your gift once, and you’re done.
PH OTO G R A PH S BY C H AT TM A N PH OTO G R A P H Y A N D TI M K L E I N
Economical. Give regular amounts that fit your budget. Green. Once your gift is in place, you won’t receive any other solicitations. DANIEL AND JANE CARPENTER AWARD: DAVID TEECE ’72
David has been a member of the Reunion gift committee and an Annual Fund volunteer. In 1995, he became a Williston Northampton parent as well, when his daughter Erica ’99 enrolled. Alex ’04 and Samantha ’07 (shown here accepting the award) soon followed, and David’s commitment grew stronger as a member of the Parent Executive Committee and a volunteer with the Admission office. David has been a leading contributor to the Annual Fund for 41 consecutive years, and his generous gifts to the school’s Physical Plant have helped make our community a more comfortable place to live and study. The Carpenter Award recognizes those who support the school through effort and energy, and also financially.
Meaningful. Make the future brighter for Williston students.
LEARN MORE AT WILLISTON.COM/ SUSTAINING AND MAKE YOUR GIFT AT
WHEN GIL MET TRILI Among the many couples who came to Reunion this spring were these five whose love stories have their roots at Williston —BY MEGAN TADY
GIL MET TRILI The play was the thing when it came to falling in love, at least for Trili Goodrich ’72 and Gil Timm ’72. The two first met as juniors—Gil was at Williston, Trili at Northampton School for Girls—when they both performed in As You Like It. They reconnected again as seniors at the Halloween dance. “We were pretty much inseparable after that, much to all the well-intentioned teachers’ chagrin,” Trili says. Gil explains that he was drawn to Trili’s smile and honesty. “She’s sanded down a lot of my rough edges over the years and I know I’m a better man because she is a part of my life,” Gil says. The key to making a marriage last? Trili says it’s part desire, commitment, love, and “good old-fashioned luck.” For those short on luck but long on love, Gil has advice: “Remember that relationships are a creative process; they are active rather than static.”
58 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
AND ROBERT MET JANET It’s fair to say that Janet LeBeau ’67 and Rob Hill ’67, who married in the Williston Chapel, met in mid-air. That is, they met jumping on a big trampoline on the Williston campus in 1963. But the romance blossomed one year later, in ninth grade, when Rob waited outside the Teller’s house until Janet emerged from her babysitting gig. He asked if he could walk her home. “That was it,” Janet says. “We’ve been together ever since.” Asked if his move was strategic, Rob laughs and says, “My recollection is a little sparse.” They were so mad for each other that Janet once hid on the bus taking Rob to his football game in Deerfield. When Coach Bob Couch walked down the bus aisle and said, “Rob, where’s your girl?” Rob responded, “Well, she’s right here.” Janet tumbled out from under the football equipment. The couple celebrate that date every year with a cake and a chuckle. “Every single day is a re-commitment,” Janet says. “We’ve certainly had ups and downs that would have broken other couples, but which didn’t break us.”
AND JACK MET LAURI
PO RT R A I TS BY C H ATT M A N PH OTOG R A PH Y
Jack Heflin ’64 and Lauri Fischer ’67 were in each other’s orbit for years. Their families had summer cottages near each other in Madison, WI, and an old Polaroid of Laurie’s family captured Jack playing in the background. While Jack attended Williston, Laurie—three years younger—went to Northampton School for Girls, where she nurtured a strong crush on him. “I would go to the Williston football games so I could spot Jack,” Laurie says. “Not that he knew who I was. But I remember every time I met him.” Jack wouldn’t get the hint until they met again in their early 30s. “He happened to visit our cottage, I was the only one home, and I looked good that day for a change,” Laurie laughs. The key to their marriage: “We’re really best friends, and we have a lot in common.” Together, the couple have traveled the world, and they’re off on another adventure to the Galapagos Islands in March.
AND ELLIS MET BARBARA When Ellis Baker ’51 first began teaching English at Williston in 1954, Barbara Curtis ’61 was just a “kid on the block.” After she graduated from Northampton School for Girls, her family moved to Pennsylvania, and Ellis set off for a life in the theater in Washington, D.C. Fast forward 10 years, and Ellis— recently separated with two children—was back teaching at Williston when he heard a knock on his door. It was that same kid from the block, only, as Ellis says, “She had grown up and looked pretty darn good to me.” Barbara was in town for a wedding, and coincidentally, she was Ellis’s son’s teacher in Wheaton, Maryland. Ellis told another faculty member: “‘See that girl walking down the street? I’m going to marry her.’ And I did.” The couple wed at the Williston Chapel and were a faculty family for more than 40 years. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, they hosted a dance party. “We danced from our first date to our 50th anniversary,” Ellis says.
AND BILL MET SHAWN Williston introduced Shawn Benoliel ’78 and Bill Lawrence ’77 as students, and then brought them back together again as colleagues in 1982. The pair first became friends during Winter Term Shawn’s senior year, when Bill was a post-grad student. After Williston, they moved on with life until they both began working at the school in the early ’80s. “When you’re friends with somebody for so long, and then you see each other again, you pick right back up where you were,” Shawn says. “The rest is history.” A true sports family—both Shawn and Bill played sports at the college level—the couple celebrated their 20th anniversary attending their daughter’s soccer game at the College of Wooster. What’s their advice for making it two decades, and beyond? “I coined the phrase, ‘Marriage is always under construction,’” Shawn says. “It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.” FALL 2017 BULLETIN 59
ALL IN THE FAMILY For 10 members of the class of 2017, Williston is a family tradition. Pictured from top left: 1) Grace Quisenberry ’17 and her father, John Quisenberry ’69 2) Justin Park ’17 and his father, Alex Park ’81 3) Jake Prossner ’17 and his father, Ross Prossner ’66 4) Billy Ashenden ’17, with (from left) his grandmother, Bess Stowell, mother Pamela Oddy ’65, mother Candi Ashenden, and sister Christina Ashenden 5) Jordan Sansone ’17 and her mother, Mary Stevens, daughter of Joseph Stevens ’49 6) Devin DeVerry ’17 and his mother, Harriet Tatro DeVerry ’81 60 WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
7) Molly Zawacki ’17, with (from left) her father, Chris Zawacki ’87, brothers Cade Zawacki ’15 and Cameron Zawacki ’13, and mother, Andrea Zawacki 8) Cameron Ward ’17, with (from left) his father, Sean Ward, sister Megan Ward ’21, and mother, Molly Couch Ward ’82 9) Emma Reynolds ’17 and her father, Timothy Reynolds ’84 10) Tyler Greenwood ’17, with (from left) his mother, Shannon Shaughnessy Greenwood ’83, sister Devon Greenwood ’13, brother Aidan Greenwood ’15, and father, Brian Greenwood
Parents: If this issue is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify the Alumni Office of the correct new
19 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, ma 01027 williston.com
mailing address by contacting us
Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID The Williston Northampton School
at email@example.com or (800) 469-4559. Thank you.
Change Service Requested
PACK YOUR BAGS JOIN US FOR REUNION MAY 11-13, 2018 HOTEL AND REUNION INFORMATION AT WILLISTON.COM/REUNION