Issuu on Google+

T h e

The Williston Northampton School 19 Payson Avenue Easthampton, MA 01027 (413) 529-3000 www.williston.com

Parents: If this issue is addressed to your son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify the Alumni Office of the correct new mailing address by contacting us at alumni@williston.com or (800) 469-4559. Thank you.

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID The Williston Northampton School

W i l l i s t o n

N o r t h a m p t o n

S c h o o l

BU L L ETIN S P R I N G 2 011

Change service requested

Eudora Welty: Photographs of the 30s and 40s During the 1930s, in her spare time as a junior publicist for the WPA, Eudora Welty captured rural Mississippi with her camera. Her images convey an honest curiosity toward people affected by their Southern surroundings during the Depression, and an engaging interest in the people and places that would later flourish in her stories. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author would later write, “Making pictures of people in all sorts of situations, I learned that every feeling waits upon its gesture; and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it.” Welty’s photographs have been exhibited in the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Museum of the City of New York, and now in the Grubbs Gallery in the Reed Campus Center. In conjunction with the Photographers’ Lecture Series, a selection of Welty’s silver gelatin prints were on view this spring, loaned from the collections of John and Melody Maxey and Barry Moser and Emily Crowe. Ephemera and audio narratives of people who met the author reounded out the exhibition, including a story by illustrator and former faculty member Barry Moser.

John Hazen White ’76: Savings and Sustainability Mr. Blanchette Says Farewell Science Education, Then and Now


Please send class notes, obituaries, and changes of address to: The Williston Northampton School Alumni Office 19 Payson Avenue Easthampton, MA 01027 t(413) 529-3301 f(413) 529-3427 alumni@williston.com

C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S AND

T H A N K YO U TO T H E

50TH REUNION CLASS

Send letters to the editor and other correspondence to the Communications Office at the address above, or send email to info@williston.com. CHIEF ADVANCEMENT OFFICER

Eric Yates

1961

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING

Andrew Shelffo

CLASS OF 1961 ELM TREE ASSOCIATES





A Class of Distinction

Richard Adelmann

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

Kathleen Unruh COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE

Burns Maxey COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE

Kathryn Good-Schiff

A

t this year’s Reunion, a special group of alumni will gather in Easthampton to share laughter and memories. These people are special not just because they’ll be celebrating their 50th reunion, but because they are all members of the Elm Tree Society. The Class of ’61 has more Elm Tree Society members than any other class. The 12 people listed here have chosen to demonstrate their commitment to the long-term success of the school by remembering Williston Northampton in their estate planning, thereby ensuring that tomorrow’s students will receive the exceptional college preparatory experience that they did.

Originally issued in 1915, the Bulletin is published by the Advancement Office for the benefit of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the school.

There was plenty to celebrate this spring for these seniors, each of whom signed a National Letter of Intent to play NCAA athletics: Kay Samples-Smart of Bogota, NJ (top), will play basketball at BethuneCookman University. Hannah Oleksak of Blandford, MA, (right) will swim at Pace University. Alexis Speliotis of Westford, MA, (right, with her parents) will join the University of Louisville’s crew team. Read about other seniors who have plans to play college athletics, including Meghann Treacy (ice hockey, University of Maine) at: www.williston.com/CollegeAthletes

Athletes Sign National Letters of Intent

Anonymous Barbara Curtis Baker Nancy Blish (DEC) Faith Barrington Jim DeAngelis Carl Farrington Jim Hamilton Joan Montgomery Mihalakos Dave Shaw Patrick Sheehan Martha Goman Wemett


VOLUME 97, NUMBER 2

F E AT U R E S

10

New Things on Campus A review of notable new things that have been spotted around campus lately.

12

Winter Sports Review Williston Athletics highlights

14

John Hazen White ’76 Has Something to Say John Hazen White talks about energy efficiency and giving back.

16

Seeds of Change Filmmaker brothers Matt ’99 and Loren ’01 Feinstein promote an empowering message.

16

Connecting to the Environment Environmental awareness spreads through the curriculum.

20 D E PA R T M E N T S 2

From the Head of School

3

Campus News

27

Class Notes

Science Teaching, Then and Now A look at Williston’s science curriculum over the years.

22

Campus Master Plan Guides Development The plan outlines long-range projects.

24

Mr. Blanchette Listens to the Little Voice Bob Blanchette is retiring.

61

In Memoriam 26

64

From the Archives

Cover Photograph by Mark Lutch

Not a Coda, but an Intro Music teacher Deb Sherr moves on to her next challenge.

S

pring is the time of year when our thoughts turn to all things green. Here at Williston we think—and act—green yearround, in ways visible and not. In this issue of the Bulletin you’ll learn about some of the ways we’re making sure we’re always green.


The Williston Community Responds to Japan’s Tragedy

FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL

by Robert W. Hill III P’15

he terrible news of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan reached Easthampton in the early morning of March 11. We’d gone to bed the night before thinking of spring break and a well-deserved rest. Most of our students were already gone, classes having finished the day before, and the rest of us had some grading and meetings to get through, and then we would be free, too. That all changed when we heard the news, and our thoughts turned immediately to our Japanese students, families, and alumni. Because Williston has a long history of welcoming students from Asia into its community, we have strong ties to that part of the world. We also have nine Japanese students currently attending Williston. This was not a situation where we could mourn from afar—we had to do something right away to help our students. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with this type of a situation while at Williston, and I have to report just how amazed and impressed I was with this community’s professional, caring, and compassionate response to the tragedy. The first order of business was to make sure that our students made contact with their families in Japan. Bridget Choo, our international student coordinator, opened her office and helped students as they tried over and over again to reach their families, using every means they could think of: cell phone, email, Skype, text, Facebook. Thankfully, everyone learned that their family members were okay. But then the issue of travel came up: because it was spring break, these students were all scheduled to fly home, but travel to Japan was limited in the aftermath of the earthquake. At Williston, we are a family; so many people here went above and beyond to help out in this situation, from our dining services staff to our health services staff, dorm parents, the Parents’ Association— the list goes on and on. We all know the thousands of little things that have to get done to keep everyone safe and happy: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, care, support. When our Japanese students returned to campus after spring break, I had them and Bridget Choo over to my house for tea. It was remarkable to see the close bonds that these students formed with each other, and with the Williston community as a whole. They hadn’t seen each other since that day in Bridget’s office, and they spent some time discussing their experiences in Japan.Very quickly, though, they turned their attention to what they could do to help disaster victims back home in Japan. They came up with several creative ideas with which to fundraise for the Red Cross in Japan, including a Willy Wears Red and White Day, a night of fine Asian dining at the Hills’ house, and a 1000th crane ceremony at the school’s Peace Pole, which was erected in the fall. The fundraising impulse even extended to some of the youngest members of our community, as faculty children made paper cranes to support the victims. I can tell you that cranes have been seen flying all over Easthampton. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami triggered a national disaster that is almost beyond comprehension, and the Japanese will undoubtedly be dealing with its effects for years to come. What often helps most in times of crisis, when we all can feel so helpless, is knowing that you are part of a community that cares and is always willing to help. Williston is that kind of community, and I am proud to be a member. www.williston.com/Japan

Hiroshi Yoshida (Japanese, 1876-1950), Calm Waters of the Northern Sea - Mt. Rishiri (detail), woodcut, colored inks on paper, 1938. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; gift of Dorothy L. Blair (Class of 1914). Photograph Laura Weston. Reproduced with permission.

2

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


Change to Trimesters Allows Greater Depth, Breadth of Study ver the course of the 2010-11 school year, the Williston+ Program has expanded its reach significantly; nearly every student in both the Upper School and the Middle School has participated in one of its offerings, many students more than once. At its core, the Williston+ Program is about the benefits of collaboration in education and matching students’ interests with the right resources so that they can achieve academically. Both students and teachers can tap into the rich intellectual exchange that occurs between Williston and the colleges in our community in order to realize the benefits of collaboration. Beginning next year, students and teachers will also have the benefit of a new schedule that will allow the Williston+ Program to grow even more. Recently Head of School Bob Hill announced that next year the Upper School will operate on a trimester schedule instead of the current semester schedule. This new schedule promises a number of benefits, including bringing the Upper School schedule into alignment with the Middle School and eliminating the imbalance in the number of class days that had developed between the fall and spring semesters. Most importantly, a trimester schedule will give faculty and students more time to take advantage of the collaborative opportunities available through Williston+. The switch to trimesters will also provide additional opportunities for students who choose to work toward becoming a Williston Scholar, a new program that consists of a one trimester course taught by a Williston faculty member working closely with a colleague at one of the area colleges, and then a one trimester independent study. At the end of the independent study, the student’s project will be judged by a committee comprised of Williston and college faculty. The school will offer this program beginning in 2011-12; the first two courses will be The 18th Century in the Connecticut River Valley and Contemporary Art and Culture.

O

College Counseling Road Trip n a rainy day in March, every member of the junior class boarded a bus and headed off to one of the Five Colleges—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts— for campus tours and information sessions with admission officers. The purpose of this trip, according to Director of College Counseling Tim Cheney, was “to provide students with early exposure to the variety of options available to them at different colleges and universities.” The day, Tim says, provided “a primer for students, to heighten their awareness and refine their thinking in advance of going out on their first Students visited the Williston Library on their tour of Mount Holyoke College. actual tours with parents.” Many times juniors will take some time during spring break to visit a few colleges that they might be interested in. By visiting college campuses with Williston college counselors, and then meeting admission officers at those campuses, Williston students will be better prepared to get the most out of tours they do on their own. Each junior chose which campus he or she would visit on this trip, which was organized by the Office of College Counseling, with assistance from Kim Evelti, curriculum specialist for Five College resources. Student and parent feedback on the outing has been positive, and plans are underway to make it an annual event, another way that Williston helps prepare students for the college admission process.

© Janine Norton

O

www.williston.com/collegecounseling

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

3


Photographers’ Lecture Series

© Michael Itkoff

2011

Capturing the Moment Since its inception in 2000, the Photographers’ Lecture Series at Williston has continued to offer advanced photography students opportunities to work with internationally acclaimed photographers. Through a network of recommendations provided by previous visiting photographers, the caliber of lecturing photographers grows each year, many of whom take note of the exceptional photography program that Williston offers.

Michael Itkoff Michael Itkoff is a photographer and a founding editor of Daylight Magazine, a photography publication dedicated to publishing in-depth photographic essays on important issues. In his photography, Itkoff captures his subjects in a documentary style by investigating topics ranging from demolition derbies to portrait studies. In 2009, Charta Books published Street Portraits, Itkoff’s exploration of the artifice of portraiture. Itkoff’s photographs are in public and private collections in the United States, and he has been a recipient of the Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism, a Creative Artists Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Arts Council, and a Puffin Foundation Grant. In 2010, Itkoff received an MFA from the ICP-Bard program. Vince Cianni Vincent Cianni’s documentary photography explores community and memory, the human condition, and the use of image and text. His photographic project and book We Skate Hardcore, published by NYU Press and the Center for Documentary Studies, was an eight-year study of urban Latino youth in New York City. The photographs from We Skate Hardcore have been widely published in magazines and journals including Double Take, Aperture, The New Yorker, and La Fotografia. Cianni’s new documentary project, ‘Gays in the Military: How America Thanked Me,’ explores how the lives of many gay and lesbian service members have been affected by homophobia in the military and by the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. His photographs have been exhibited in many museums, including LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), MFAH (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cianni teaches photography at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

© Janine Norton

The free public lecture series that follows the class instruction has also become a favorite among area photographers in the Pioneer Valley. This year proved to be no exception in providing another excellent year of programming.

Visiting photographer Michael Itkoff critiques student work

4

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


Ken Sklute Ken Sklute has been passionate about photographing both people and drag racing for 32 years. His images have been published in National Dragster Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine. He has received numerous awards, including Drag Racing Photographer of the Year from CompetitionPlus.com, Wedding Photographer of the Year and Photojournalist of the Year from the Professional Photographers of California, as well as 13 Kodak Gallery awards and 14 Fuji Masterpiece Awards. He was also awarded Photographer of the Year and Best in Show from the Western States Regional Print Competition. Ken spends much of his time teaching and lecturing both nationally and internationally and has been honored as one of Canon’s Explorers of Light, a designation shared by only 48 photographers worldwide.

© Vince Cianni

Michael Lesy Dr. Michael Lesy is a writer and professor of literary journalism at Hampshire College. His books, which combine historical photographs with his own writing, include Wisconsin Death Trip; Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures; Bearing Witness: A Photographic Chronicle of American Life; and Dreamland: America at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. He was recently interviewed by BBC Radio on the

Great Depression and his books have been reviewed in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Guardian. In his book Long Time Coming, Lesy gathered a collection of 400 photographs by searching more than 150,000 photographs in the Farm Security Administration’s Documentary Photography Program archives at the Library of Congress. Thatcher Cook Documentary photographer Thatcher Cook works for social change and human rights by capturing the human condition in over 60 countries. His clients are primarily humanitarian aid and development organizations that work with refugees and other people affected by war, economic upheaval, and natural disasters. He has a particular interest in photographing forced human migration and nomadic life that he hopes will bring awareness to the world’s most vulnerable populations. When he is not on assignment for international aid organizations, Cook teaches workshops at the Maine Media Workshops and around the globe. He is a co-founder of Pictographers, an organization committed to creating and teaching social change through written and photographic documentation. He also published A Guide to Field Techniques for Documentary Photographers, a guidebook on how to produce, prepare for, and realize long-term documentary projects.

© Thatcher Cook

© Ken Sklute

© Michael Itkoff

Michael Lesy © Janine Norton

www.williston.com/photographers

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

5


Students Create Law Website

S

Director of Dining Services Kevin Martin and Director of the Physical Plant Jeff Tannatt P’98, ‘00 accepted the symbolic tools of their trades at an all-school assembly.

isters Olivia ’14 and Abbie Foster ’16 recently started their own website, TeenJury.com, which aims to educate teens about how law and the judicial system affect them. Abbie, who is interested in graphic design, takes care of the site’s look and feel, while Olivia researches and writes the articles, which address cases that range from alleged discrimination against religious organizations to alleged price fixing of music downloads. The site has already received thousands of visits from readers in over 50 countries. Olivia conceived of the website after hearing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer speak in Springfield. When she met the justice after his talk, he invited Olivia and her father to sit in on Supreme Court arguments when they visited Washington, DC, last November. “We saw two totally different cases,” Olivia says. “That’s what I love about law. Lawyers and courts work on so many different things.” She decided that a website would be the best way to spread the word about how laws affect teens, since not everyone can travel to the Supreme Court. “I wanted a way to both use my knowledge and to spread knowledge,” she says. www.teenjury.com © 2011 The Republican Company. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Golden Shovel, Golden Spoon Awarded In an all-school assembly on March 1, Williston’s Physical Plant and Dining Services staff members were awarded the Golden Shovel and the Golden Spoon, respectively. These awards recognized the outstanding efforts of staff members who kept the campus going during an exceptionally tough winter. Upon receipt of their awards, the staff members received a standing ovation from faculty and students.

Schools Collaborate on Competition Preparation

6

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


campus news

Applications Reach Record High Over 700 students applied to Williston this year, setting a new record. 85 students had their photo taken with the Wildcat during Second Visit Days. 1,357 people “like” the school’s Facebook page, and that number grows every day.

Dongyang “Don” Cheng ’11 following his induction into the Cum Laude Society in February

8 hours after receiving her acceptance email, one student purchased her first Williston sweatshirt online.

Senior Don Cheng’s Olympic Achievements

Photos © Janine Norton

D

ongyang “Don” Cheng ’11 has qualified as a semifinalist for the 2011 U.S. Physics Olympics Team, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) announced recently. Don was one of approximately 3,000 students who participated in the first phase of the selection process by taking the “Fnet=ma Exam” in January. One of only 400 semifinalists nationwide, Don took a second exam in March, the results of which will be used as the basis for selection as a member of the 20-member U.S. Physics Team. Further adding to his achievements, Don qualified for the USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) based upon his work in two previous competitions. For the Olympiad, Don will compete on a nine-hour exam. In this highly selective competition, approximately 250 students are chosen out of the several hundred thousand who competed in the first round.

Willy the Wildcat and Head of School Bob Hill were among those welcoming applicants to campus during Second Visit Days in April.

www.williston.com/congratulations

E

very year since 1998, Peter Gunn’s U.S. History students prepare for the statewide We the People academic competition by investigating the philosophy and development of the U.S. government. Working in small groups, they prepare remarks and practice responding without notes to questions from a panel of judges. This year, Mr. Gunn collaborated with colleagues at Easthampton High School and organized a public showcase for both school’s teams. Judges and special guests at the event included State Senator Michael Knapik, State Representative John Scibak, Superintendent of Easthampton Schools Nancy Follansbee P’04,

and Easthampton City Council members Andrea Burns, Salem Derby, Daniel Hagan, and Joy Winnie. On January 29, our students competed in Boston and tied for sixth place. Among the judges for the competition were Williston alumni Emma Freeman ’05, who is in her first year at Harvard Law School, and attorneys Jamie Gass ’87 and Sasha Kopf ’98. Williston has finished in the top three places four times, including winning the honor of representing Massachusetts in the national finals in 2000. This year was the first time that Easthampton High School participated. read more

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

7


mpus news

Faculty Awards In February at the weekly Upper School assembly in the Phillips Stevens Chapel, Head of School Bob Hill awarded faculty chairs and instructorships to five deserving faculty members. Faculty chairs are awarded for a period of five years and carry with them stipends that can be used for professional development or in support of the recipients’ department or the school as a whole. Latin and English teacher Emily Vezina was awarded the Charles Gardner Granniss ’29 and Eugenie Williams Granniss Faculty Chair, and math teacher Kurt Whipple was awarded the Dennis H. Grubbs Faculty Chair. Instructorships are awarded for a three-year period and carry stipends with them as well. Math teacher Monique Conroy was awarded the Northampton School for Girls Instructorship, English teacher Kevin Kudla was awarded the Karin O’Neil Instructorship, and fine arts teacher Natania Hume was awarded the George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship.

The Art of Community Service

T

his semester, five Williston students who are the advisees of art teacher Marcia Reed joined art classes at Riverside Industries—a nonprofit organization that serves people with disabilities. Riverside Industries is located in Easthampton in the One Cottage Street mill building, just a few blocks from Williston’s campus. The organization offers art classes to clients, giving them the opportunity to explore and express their creativity. In this semester’s classes, the students of Williston and Riverside worked together to create artwork as they talked about their processes and interests. During the final class preceding spring break, Williston students worked with Marcia Reed and Denise Herzog, art director at Riverside Industries, to select individual pieces for an exhibit, Joint Venture, that was on display in the Grubbs Gallery in April. Marcia Reed says about the class, “All of my advisees this semester are art students. I thought this could be a good community service project and a way for them to interact with Riverside. I approached Denise, and she thought it was a good idea, too. I thought that it would be a great opportunity for them to curate the show, select the art, and help to hang it. They were part of that whole process.” read more

8

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


campus news

Brett Beaney is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist

Online Annual Report Details Impact

D

In the school’s first online-only Annual Report, thirteen individuals and families representing seven decades of school life share how the growth they experienced at Williston impacted their lives. Some of their reflections include:

uring assembly on Tuesday March 29, Head of School Bob Hill announced that Brett Beaney ’11 of Scarborough, Maine, is a finalist in the 2011 competition for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Brett was presented a Certificate of Merit for his advancement to finalist standing. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test—a test that serves as an initial screen of more than 1.5 million entrants each year—and by meeting published program participation requirements. Semifinalists are named in the fall and must advance to finalist standing before they are considered for an Achievement Scholarship award. Scholarship awardees will be notified in May 2011. Less than one percent of students who take the qualifying test become finalists.

Community Service Club Has Local Impact

W

illiston’s Community Service Club recently collected 408 stuffed animals for distribution to children experiencing traumatic situations. Club president Jeff Eichenberger ’11 got the idea from the pile of stuffed animals at his house that were, in his words, “no longer getting love.” The club worked with the Easthampton Police Department, which will give the animals to children in order to comfort them. “This is a prime example of the giving nature of the Williston community,” Jeff says. “I imagine many children will be delighted to have a companion in their time of need.” The club also sponsors Habitat for Humanity trips. Recent work included tarring the foundation and painting the basement of a new house in Florence. Ken Bordewieck, a member of Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Finance Committee, says, “It is always inspiring to have the students come in to help. They have so much energy and enthusiasm. It keeps the rest of us going.”

Photos © Janine Norton

Community Service Club President Jeff Eichenberger ’11 and members of the club presented more than 400 stuffed animals to the Easthampton Police Department. Officer Gary Shepherd P’04 accepted the donation. Standing behind Jeff are Kathryn Yochim ’12 and Dan Gould ’13. Other club members involved in the presentation included Vice President Addison Coley ’12, David Fay ’13, Alex Nunnelly ’12, Advisor Stan Samuelson, Ming Fung “Eric” Suen ’12, and Eric Yarrows ’13.

“I was a rather bad boy.” –Alan Dayton ’43 “My friends and I weren’t interested in academics and I simply didn’t have the maturity to study [before attending Williston’s PG program].” –James Maxymillian ’56 “I stopped chewing gum immediately and started to truly stand on my own two feet. It felt great!” –Holly Steuart-Richardson ’80 “It felt like a high school without the typical hierarchy of the cool kids on top and everyone else on the bottom.” –Amber Hamilton ’94 “The idea of being a teacher was always in the back of my head...and I look forward to affecting my students as my teachers did me.” –Tim Hirsch ’95 “It’s amazing how doors can open up for you.” –Becca MacDonald ’11

impact

Northampton The Williston

2009-10 School |

www.williston.com/impact

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

9


10

new things on campus A review of notable new things spotted around campus lately

10

1

1 2 3

8 9 10

Williston’s new mobile app and mobile website launched in May. www.williston.com/mobile

Vending machines that dispense healthy snacks have been a big hit on campus.

Upgraded heating and cooling systems in campus buildings mean more energy efficiency and more comfort.

This spring, students can sign up for Advanced Placement Environmental Science, which will debut in the 2011-12 school year.

Okay, so it’s not really new but a lot of people saw it for the first time because of this year’s record snowfall: The 36 hp diesel Kuboda snowblower enabled Physical Plant staff members to clear more than four miles of sidewalks after each snowstorm, in addition to the campus roadways and parking lots.

Another Advanced Placement class, AP Music Theory, will also be available to students next year. The course aims to develop students’ ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score.

4

In response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Williston’s students were inspired to fold 1,000 origami cranes for a fundraiser, a number that, according to legend, will grant a wish to those who fold them.

4 2

5

New digital messages board have been installed in the Dining Commons, the Reed Center, the Athletic Center, the Schoolhouse, and the Middle School. Now there’s no excuse for not knowing what’s happening on campus!

6 7

The Athletic Center fitness room now features new Life Fitness weightlifting equipment.

One-to-one computing arrived this year in the Middle School. Students use personal computers during the class day and can access any files they need from home that night.

3 10

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


5

7

6

8 9

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

11


winter sports review Wrestling

The team finished with a dual meet record of 9-10. At the Class A league tournament held at Deerfield, the team finished in fifth place out of the 12 schools that participated. Tony Alvarez ’11 and Connor Adams ’12 represented Williston at the National Prep Wrestling tournament held at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Ski Team

Isaac Sterman ’11 set two new school records this winter, breaking his own records in the 6dive and 11-dive, set in his junior year.

Our ski teams enjoyed the bounty of an old-fashioned, snowy New England winter and completed successful seasons as part of the Mountain Institute League. Led by captain Jake Webber ’11, the varsity boys team finished in sixth place in the 12-school league. In the final standings, Jake finished in 13th place out of the 74 skiers who competed. The girls’ team had another very successful season, finishing in third place in the league. At the Class B New England championships held at Berkshire East, two girls had very strong performances and earned medals: Maddie Dirats ’14 finished seventh in the slalom while her big sister Lindsey ’11 finished third in the giant slalom. Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving

90 percent of the team set personal records at the season-ending New England championships at Exeter. At the Bud Erich Invitational held at Hopkins School, the girls won the Division II championship. They also finished in third place in the small school division at the New England championships. The boys also had their share of success this winter. During the Erich Invitational, the boys finished in second place in Division II and a week later finished in fifth place at the New England championships. Isaac Sterman ’11 finished his outstanding career by setting two school records in both the 6dive and the 11-dive competitions. Isaac has broken both the 6-dive record and the 11-dive record twice, during his junior and senior years. His record in dual meet competition over the past

12

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN

two years was 20-1! He was named an All-New England diver, finishing in second place in all of New England this winter. He has also qualified for potential All-American recognition. Boys Basketball

The varsity boys basketball team competed valiantly all season against a very challenging schedule. Highlights of their season included a season-opening win over Gunnery, led by a triple double from captain Ryan Palumbo ’11; and a thrilling, decisive, late-season victory over a strong Cheshire Academy squad that knocked them out of contention for a tournament berth. For his exceptional play throughout the season, Ryan was named Second Team AllNew England at season’s end. Girls Basketball

The girls played hard throughout the season and enjoyed several highlights, including a season-opening win over St. Mark’s; a heart-stopping, 31-30 road victory over Berkshire in which Kay Samples-Smart ’11 hit two free throws with only 2 seconds left on the clock; a thrilling 37-34 overtime victory over Deerfield; and an equally exciting 3433 victory over Hotchkiss. For her outstanding play during the season, Kay was named both to the Ray Brown AllTournament Team in December and to the NEPSAC Class A/B All-Star team. Boys Hockey

Under Coaches Derek Cunha and Mike Fay, the varsity boys hockey team faced a rebuilding year after returning only three players from last year’s squad. Highlights of the season include a shootout win over Northwood after the game ended 0-0. GianLuca Palmieri ’11 made 39 saves during the game and overtime, and several more in the shootout, before captain Richard Spiker ’11 won the game in dramatic fashion. The second highlight was the thrilling 5-4 victory over Deerfield, in which Andrew Luzzi ’11 scored the go-ahead goal with six minutes to play and GianLuca made several exciting saves to preserve the victory.

See our sports pictures: facebook.com/willistonnorthampton Girls Hockey

The varsity girls ice hockey team enjoyed another terrific season under the leadership of Coaches Christa Talbot ’98 and Erin Davey and nearly matched the 2009-10 squad’s recordsetting total of 18 wins, finishing with a record of 17-10. Included in that win total are victories over two schools that Williston had not beaten in 14 years, Cushing and Hotchkiss. The team played an incredible seven overtime games and finished the season on a high note when, led by goalie Meghann Treacy ’11, they shut out Winchendon 3-0 on Senior Day. Girls Squash

The girls varsity squash team had another very good year, finishing with a record of seven wins and six losses. This marked their fifth straight winning season. Highlights included exciting 4-3 victories over both St. Mark’s and Miss Porter’s, and convincing victories over Pomfret, Kingswood, and Berkshire. Jill Grant ’11 went 7-2 on the season and earned a #3 seed at the New England tournament, and fellow senior Janet Lee, playing at #4, had a strong 8-5 record. Sarah Fay ’11 became the first girl in Williston history to earn five letters in girls’ squash. Boys Squash

Under the guidance of Coach Stan Samuelson, the varsity boys squash team enjoyed another very successful season, finishing with a 7-6 record. Highlights of the season included three 7-0 shutout victories over Suffield, Millbrook and St. Mark’s, and hard fought victories over Trinity Pawling and Avon. The boys finished their regular season with an exciting 4-3 victory over Kingswood. The team competed at the Class B New England’s at Brooks School, finishing in 4th place. In their respective draws, Watt Iamsuri ’12 finished second, Jerry Lo ’11 finished third, and Byung Ho “Ben” Ko ’12 and Gary Ng ’11 finished fifth, winning the consolation bracket.


webextras

www.williston.com/bulletin/webextras

Bob Blanchette Speaks at Cum Laude www.williston.com/CumLaude

Williston Responds to Japan’s Tragedy www.williston.com/Japan

Ciclovida: Lifecycle www.williston.com/Ciclovida

Trimester Schedule Allows Depth, Breadth of Study www.williston.com/Courses

Juniors Tour Five Colleges

Olivia and Abbie Foster Follow the Supreme Court

www.williston.com/CollegeSearch www.teenjury.com

Williston’s New Mobile Website Launched

Interviews with Visiting Photographers

www.williston.com/Mobile www.williston.com/Podcasts

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

13


Attention:

John Hazen White ’76 Has Something To Say by Andrew Shelffo

O

ver the past 30 years, our attitudes about the environment and our impact on it have changed significantly. Here at The Williston Northampton School, it’s more unusual to not see one of those blue recycling bins around, and we have all grown used to “trayless dining” to cut down on water use and wasted food. The Middle School grows more food each year in the garden, we don’t have to be reminded so often to turn out the lights when we leave the room, and the Green Cup challenge is now an annual tradition. This change in attitude and behavior benefits everyone, because we are taking better care of our resources. But as accustomed as we might have become to thinking differently about the environment, there is a certain danger in becoming too complacent, too comfortable with our relationship with the world.

14

applications. The family-owned company is now overseen by a third generation of the White family. In addition to running the family businesses, John has earned a reputation across Rhode Island for speaking his mind. He keeps a blog, occasionally co-hosts a popular radio show, and in 2005, he hosted his own self-financed cable television show, Lookout, where he interviewed guests on hot-button issues. He told the Providence Journal that the purpose of the show was to “push people to action.”

Photos © Michael Lutch

The same thing could be said with regard to the way some alumni think about their relationship with Williston. If you asked these people, they would most likely tell you that the school was great for them; but for too many, it seems, Williston has faded into the background of their lives. John Hazen White, Jr. ’76 has something to say to these alumni. White is president and CEO of Taco, Inc., a company based in Cranston, Rhode Island, that manufactures hydronic systems and equipment for residential, light commercial, and industrial


system in Conant House. Almost immediately, the John himself is not afraid to take action.When he school realized significant savings on heating the forwas approached about joining Williston’s Board of mer “Willy Cottage.” With the opening of the 194 Trustees, he was a bit hesitant because he was already committed to a number of other boards. Once he made Main Street dormitory in 2008, the school took a up his mind to become a trustee, he resigned from every huge leap forward in high-efficiency, sustainable technology with a geothermal heating and cooling other board except Johnson & Wales University, which system that uses 15 bore holes, each 350 feet deep, as he calls the “second love of my life, educationally,” after its energy source. It did not take long for the school Williston. He officially joined the board in 2004, just as to begin looking at how it could update the heating the Campaign for Williston Northampton: Legacy and Vision systems in its other buildings. What emerged was a was gathering steam. He soon began working with the three-phase plan that by 2013 will have new boilers school on a long-term project that combines his desire and controls installed in the Robert A. Ward Schoolfor action with his deep knowledge of HVAC systems house, Scott Hall, Whitaker-Bement, the Athletic and his love of Williston.The school has now begun to Center, the Clapp Library, Memorial East and see the benefits of this project in the form of significant Memorial West dormitories, and Ford Hall. The first savings on heating bills. This year Williston celebrates its 170th anniversary, boilers were installed last summer. Now, with spring upon us, we’ve been able to look at and if there were any doubts that the the energy usage numbers. Jeff Tanschool has been around for a long natt explains that “over the course time, all one had to do was take a of a very cold winter, as we had this look at how some of the buildings year, we would expect to see inwere heated: by underground steam creases in heating costs in some pipes that, in some cases, were inbuildings up to 30 percent. This stalled before the buildings became year the school saw an average savpart of the school. Such systems are ings of eight to nine percent. incredibly inefficient compared to Whitaker-Bement was at 78 permodern hot water heating systems, cent of what it was last year, and even when they are working perfectly, other buildings are at 130 percent.” which Williston’s were not. That’s The savings from this project over why even during the coldest and “We want to build time will be significant. snowiest winters, grass would be visiThe long-term interests of the ble between the Clapp Library and a highly efficient school are most important to John. Scott Hall. By replacing the steam system to benefit “This is the key thing—efficiency heating systems with high-efficiency the entire has to be part of a system. We want boilers, the school could realize signifschool.” to build a highly efficient system to icant savings in heating costs, provide benefit the entire school. But we a more comfortable environment for want people to be comfortable, too. people working or studying in the You can have the most energy efficient system in the buildings, and reduce the school’s carbon footprint. world, but if the occupants aren’t comfortable, it isn’t John worked closely with the school, particularly worth much. We came up with a design that was the Business Office and Jeff Tannatt, director of the both energy efficient and comfortable,” he says physical plant, on a plan to install new boilers in the proudly. buildings that used steam heat. An anonymous donor So what would he say to his fellow alumni? “If paid for the cost of the boilers and the installation. John donated all of the necessary fittings and controls you’re a Williston grad who can look back and say, ‘I for the boilers and contributed to the cost of installa- don’t care about that time in my life,’ then I guess the school didn’t mean much. But if you look back tion. The boilers were manufactured by Mestek, and say, that was great, then stand up tall and give which is owned by John Reed ’33. David Teece ’72, back. Because this school needs to go on forever president of Northampton Plumbing Supply, stored the boilers as work was done on the buildings to pre- doing for others what it did for me. If it can do for ten percent of graduates what it did for me, then it pare for their installation. It was a group effort inhas created a whole lot of marvelous people.” volving people committed to doing something good Clearly John White does not take the important for the school. things in his life for granted. The project began in 2006 when Williston, with the help of John White and Taco, updated the heating

The Williston Physical Plant has been involved in making intelligent, energysaving decisions longer than the “green” movement has been popular. The entire Williston community has believed for years in the ideals that have become the hallmarks of the green movement: efficiency and minimizing impact on the environment. As Jeff Tannatt points out, “Resources not used are the greenest resources available.” For more than ten years, the Physical Plant staff has been involved in a number of “green” projects, ranging from new boilers to foam insulation to LED lighting. You can see a full list of projects at www.williston.com/ greenprojects.

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

15


Seeds of Change Brothers Help Farmers Tell Their Story by Kathryn Good-Schiff

T

hey didn’t intend to become filmmakers, but brothers Matt ’99 and Loren Feinstein ’01 are now. Their documentary film Ciclovida: Lifecycle was an official selection of the Blue Planet Film Festival and won Best Environmental Film at both the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival and the Byron Bay Film Festival. The brothers continue to be busy promoting both the film and its environmental and social message. Ciclovida: Lifecycle follows two Brazilian farmers, Ivania de Alencar and Inacio do Nacimento, on what became an epic journey across South America. Ivania and Inacio, who are also musicians and activists for ecological and social justice, travel in search of the historical sources of genetic agricultural diversity that would allow them to grow healthy food on the Barra do Lemme collective farm in Brazil where they live with their families. They are farmers in the traditional sense, who wish to grow small amounts of diverse crops in harmony with the land, and they ally themselves against large-scale industrial agriculture, which they report has had devastating environmental and social effects in their country. The groundwork for the film was laid when Matt was studying International Development and Social Change at Clark University. He met Ivania and Inacio while studying abroad and working with social movements in South America in 2002. He stayed in touch with them and in 2006 they told him about their bike trip and asked if he could help them make

16

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


a film about it. Matt turned to his brother Loren, who had worked at the Media Education Foundation in Northampton, MA, and had some filmmaking experience, and the two decided to take on this worthy cause. “While at Williston I connected deeply with several international students,” says Matt, who currently works at Worcester Roots Project, an organization that seeks to promote economic, social, and environmental justice. “This continued my interest in international studies and global solidarity. I received a strong Spanish base [at Williston] with Señora Robinson, from which learning Portuguese was much more attainable.” Ciclovida: Lifecycle follows Ivania and Inacio as they bicycle more than 6,000 miles in the course of a year searching for natural, heirloom seeds to grow on their farm. They wish to rekindle the time-honored practice in which small farmers produce their own seeds for the next year from the food crops they grow, instead of buying genetically engineered seeds from large companies who, according to Matt and Loren, do not have the small farmers’ best interest in mind. As Loren describes it, “In Brazil, government programs, along with big agribusiness, subsidize and distribute geneticallymodified and hybridized seeds to farmers. Once naturally reproducing seeds become scarce or go extinct, the large foreign corporations then con-

Photos by Matthew Feinstein © Ciclovida 2008

“This is a story that shows peasant farmers who have very few resources and yet enact a major, sustainable change in their area. It is an inspirational story for everyone.” trol the seed supply of that region.” If farmers cannot afford to buy seeds, they may be forced to quit farming and end up in urban slums. The film raises awareness of this issue as it follows the two farmers on their sometimes joyful, sometimes challenging journey. Along the way, they meet up with like-minded people and document some of the environmental and social costs of industrial agriculture, such as deforestation and children made ill from pesticides. But the film ends with a positive message, as Ivania and Inacio return home with a supply of seeds and begin to grow new crops. The Williston Northampton School held a public screening of Ciclovida: Lifecyle on February 11, 2011, in the Reed Campus Center, and another screening is planned for Reunion 2011. Matt and Loren were happy to share their film and the story of its creation with faculty and students. “I was really pleased to see how interested the students were,” says Loren. “I was surprised by how immediately they wanted to become involved.” He emphasizes that the film was done with no budget and allvolunteer labor, but a very professional product came out of it, thanks to the dedication and vision of those involved, which is a great lesson for aspiring filmmakers. The brothers hope that their film will educate viewers about the environmental and social challenges in Brazil, but they also want to build excitement closer to home. Loren says, “This is a story that shows peasant farmers who have very few resources and yet enact a major, sustainable change in their area. It is an inspirational story for everyone to take that energy and put it into important projects.”

Ciclovida: Lifecyle, which has already been shown in various locations in the United States and South America, will go on bike tour this spring down the East Coast, accompanied by the film’s protagonists who will travel from Brazil to help promote it. For more information or to schedule a showing in your community, visit www.ciclovida.org.

Loren ’01 and Matt ’99 Feinstein

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

17


CONNECTING TO Williston Science Teachers Kindle a Spark

“D

oes every bird have a beak?” This might seem like an odd question, but on a March afternoon in Scott Hall, the “birds” are ninth grade biology students and the “beaks” are forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, and binder clips. Students are preparing to do a lab that measures feeding rates of different beak types, from which theories of survival and reproduction can be extrapolated. In the winter, biology labs take place inside, but in the fall, students were outside taking water samples from the Williston Pond before returning indoors to examine their findings. Teacher Ken Choo says the Williston Pond is a great place to begin the biology course. “It’s a living system right in our own backyard.” In the beginning of the year, the course emphasizes ecology and introduces the scientific method. Mr. Choo says that learning about cycles of matter and energy gets students thinking “about how everything is connected.” Then the course shifts to evolution and genetics (the birds and their beaks), and in the spring a study of photosynthesis again lends itself to outdoor sampling when time permits. “They’re so curious at this age,” Mr. Choo says of his

students. “I don’t mind if the class discussion wanders a bit, because I want to encourage them in future research.” This year he has added a few op-ed assignments that get students thinking about political and social aspects of scientific topics. “It’s important for them to both form opinions and to respect others’ opinions,” he says. “Ultimately, we want to create responsible, thoughtful people for the future of the country and the world.” While ninth graders can be spotted taking samples from the pond, juniors and seniors taking Outdoor Ecology frequent the banks of the Manhan River. Teacher Paul Luikart takes the class there weekly; along the way they look for signs of animal activity. The content of these nature walks is everchanging and depends on seasonal events. One winter morning, the class finds tracks and a twotoned tuft of hair, concluding the hair belonged to a raccoon. At the river they observe two sets of tracks, one possibly from beaver and one possibly from weasel. Walking back through the open floodplain, a discussion of how rivers shape the landscape is interrupted by a flying visitor. Mr. Luikart identifies it as an immature bald eagle due to its feathers and wing

On a weekly nature hike, the Outdoor Ecology class is rewarded with a sighting of an immature bald eagle.

Students in Jane Lucia’s Life Science class thrive with hands-on study. “It all starts with the Middle School garden” says Jeff Ketcham, science teacher and associate head of school.

18

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN


THE

ENVIRONMENT

shape. “Eagles hold their wings straight out,” he says, demonstrating with both arms. “Vultures’ wings point up in a V shape, and hawk wings point slightly down.” In the classroom, Outdoor Ecology covers three main areas: how ecosystems work, human use of and impact on various ecosystems, and stewardship of the environment. While Mr. Luikart addresses many environmental challenges, he also points out positive stories, such as the health of the Manhan River and the return from near extinction of wild turkeys and bald eagles. Williston students who are passionate about science and interested in life sciences in particular will have a new option available to them in the coming year: AP Environmental Science (APES). According to Associate Head of School and science teacher Jeff Ketcham, APES will round out Williston’s science curriculum so that students can develop knowledge about not only natural systems and resources but also land and water use, energy consumption, pollution, and global change. While the course will follow the APES syllabus and all students will take the AP Exam, Mr. Ketcham says the school

by Kathryn Good-Schiff

is offering it primarily as an opportunity for advanced study by passionate students. He also notes that APES is intrinsically interdisciplinary and will lend itself well to the kind of exciting collaborations that are already taking place through the Williston+ program. Environmental awareness has been increasing on campus for years, says Mr. Ketcham. The recycling program has grown tremendously over a ten-year period. The 194 Main Street dormitory features an environmentally friendly geothermal heating and cooling system. And, since 2007, teacher Jane Lucia has led Middle School students in planting, maintaining, and harvesting a vegetable garden. The garden helps young people connect their experiences to curricular concepts such as plant and animal life cycles, nutrient cycles, and concepts of ecology and sustainability. For a student whose interest in life sciences has been sparked by something along the way—whether in the garden, at the pond, or by the river—APES is yet another opportunity for them to go further in pursuit of their passion. It is also yet another means of inspiring Williston students to be thoughtful, interested, global citizens throughout their lives.

Photos © Janine Norton

Biology students use their “beaks” to gather food in a lab focused on evolution.

Outdoor Ecology teacher Paul Luikart demonstrates raptor wing position: “Eagles hold their wings straight out, vultures’ wings point up in a V shape, and hawk wings point slightly down.”

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

19


Science Teaching

The chemistry lab in Middle Hall on the Old Campus, late 1940s. The instructor is Earl N. Johnston.

by Archivist Richard Teller ’70

I

n many respects, we take science for granted. We can manipulate the human genome. Space flight is practically old news. While our pockets bulge with electronic marvels, we are secure in the belief that wonders await, even as the news reminds us that technology can create as many problems as it solves. Samuel Williston, born in 1795, grew up in another era of technological ferment, as the Enlightenment led to the Industrial Revolution. But with few exceptions, scientific education in the early 19th century lagged well behind scientific progress. Phillips Academy, Andover, where Samuel Williston enrolled in 1814, offered no instruction in the sciences at all, according to Andover’s Archivist, Tim Sprattler. This was typical of most secondary schools of the time. Society was beginning to demand a different model. Rapid industrialization on both sides of the Atlantic, and the westward expansion of the United States, created a need for a technologically adept population. In the U.S., a few schools began to offer an “English” curriculum, as opposed to “Classical,” emphasizing science and mathematics rather than Greek and Latin. One such school was Leicester Academy, near Worcester, Massachusetts, whose Principal was Samuel Williston’s boyhood friend Luther Wright. Williston consulted Wright as he planned his “English College,” and ultimately hired him as principal when Williston Seminary opened in 1841. Seminary students chose between two curricula: the traditional Classical, and English. While the former was intended to prepare students for university entrance, the English curriculum was designed for students who did not necessarily expect to attend college, but who wished to work in such technological professions as surveying and engineering. English students in the early years studied mathematics through advanced trigonometry, surveying, civil engineering, chemistry, and botany, along with bookkeeping, English grammar, moral philosophy, and a smattering of history and geography.

20

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN

When Principal Marshall Henshaw arrived in 1863, he found Samuel Williston frustrated by his science academy’s failure to thrive. Williston’s good intentions and open wallet had not translated into an environment conducive to scientific discovery. Almost all learning was by rote. Students read their textbooks, attended lectures, and “recited.” The earliest documents of the school provide few indications that anything resembling hands-on learning, or experimentation, or much of anything that might capture a teenage imagination, was taking place. And the results were predictable. Henshaw convinced Williston that increased expenditure on science faculty and laboratory equipment was essential. Henshaw also initiated an evolution in science teaching style, relying more on student participation and observation. Henshaw’s reforms would add geology to the curriculum, along with natural philosophy (physics) and a second year of chemistry. Henshaw also convinced Samuel Williston to address the problem of facilities. They purchased the very best scientific apparatus and created a laboratory classroom to house it. Astronomy students even had the use of a good telescope, housed in a brick observatory behind what today’s students know as Sawyer House. The apparatus enabled teachers and students to experiment and observe physical processes firsthand. Among the Archives’ treasures is a physics notebook, kept by student Charles A. Thompson in 1881, that includes drawings of some of the laboratory equipment with notes on how it worked. Botany and surveying classes were popular because they took students outdoors. Some documents survive from those classes, including an album of preserved plant specimens and several volumes of a plant census, valuable today as a source of information about climate change and its effect on local species. The late 19th and early 20th centuries brought further change. Williston’s parallel classical and scientific curricula had become increasingly irrelevant to the demands of the university and the

Chemistry students, ca. 1890.


Then and Now

Charles Thompson's 1881 physics notebook, illustrating an air pump.

“It’s not just applying formulas. I’ve learned different ways of looking at my world.” –Debbie Andres ’11 © Janine Norton

workplace. Indeed, by the 1880s, the idea that a student with only high school training in civil engineering was qualified to design and build a road or bridge had become laughable. Change came slowly at Williston and elsewhere, but by the 1890s Headmaster Joseph Sawyer, as part of his effort to re-imagine the school’s mission, had begun to break down the divisions between the scientific and classical departments in favor of a more comprehensive curriculum. This reform continued through 1930, when the distinction was abandoned altogether. With these changes came modern courses in chemistry, biology, and physics. The instructional model continued to evolve from professorial lectures and demonstrations to student-driven discovery through experimentation. Curricular growth remained relatively slow. This writer’s late-1960s Williston offered first-class science teaching, in a core curriculum of Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. But only one science course was required for graduation, there were few elective options, and only the most mathematically adept students pursued physics. Northampton School’s offerings were similar. In the 1980s and 1990s the number of science courses, and students enrolling in them, began to grow quickly. It is fair to note that facilities did not keep pace with curricular demands. In 1950 students worked in the same laboratories that had been state-of-the-art eight decades earlier, but had not aged well. The move to the new campus in 1951 did not improve matters at all; science classrooms were shoehorned into the basement of the now-demolished Language Building, until the school opened its present Science Building, now called Scott Hall, in 1957. That structure provided six spacious and well-equipped laboratories. While additional labs have since been created by reallocating areas once devoted to other purposes, in 2011 we offer four times the number of science courses that were available 54 years ago, in virtually the same space. Science teaching thrives at Williston. Part of the stated mission of today’s Science Department is to “instill a passion for science ... to challenge our students to understand what they cannot see.” All students take a minimum of two science classes, and many take four or more. Along with the traditional core courses, all of which have Advanced Placement sections, the department offers many electives, including Organic Chemistry, Animal Behavior, Astronomy 1 and 2, Genetics, Ecology, and Human Physiology. Senior Debbie Andres, who will major in mechanical engineering next fall, notes that her Williston science education has encouraged her creativity. “It’s not just applying formulas. It’s working with problems and being able to apply them in real-life situations. It’s analyzing data and considering alternative ways to achieve a result. And especially, I’ve learned different ways of looking at my world.” As for next year, “I feel like I’m really well prepared.” www.williston.com/archives

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

21


Plans for John Wright House include renovation and additional dormitory space.

22

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN

Š Edward Judice

Š Robert Benson

Plans for a residential quad began to be realized with the opening of the 194 Main Street dormitory in 2008.


Plans include a new dormitory and faculty homes connected to Pitcher House.

Campus Master Plan Guides Development

T

his year marks the tenth year that the school has been operating under the guidelines established by the Campus Master Plan that the Board of Trustees adopted in 2001. The plan outlines the school’s long-range plans for the development of it campus. As Business Manager Chuck McCullagh P’10, ’12 explains, the plan details the projects that the school would like to accomplish, including such things as building renovations and property acquisitions. These projects are reviewed regularly by the board, which will often re-prioritize them based on current realities and available resources. The plan was last updated significantly in 2006. A key component of the plan is the creation of a residential campus quad located between Park Street and Main Street and stretching from Brewster Avenue to Payson Lane. The opening of the 194 Main Street dormitory in 2008 was the first step toward realizing this vision. The fully realized residential quad will feature three dormitories in addition to 194 Main Street, each large enough to house 32 students, with attached faculty housing for a total of six faculty families. One would include a relocated Pitcher House; another would be attached to a renovated John P. Wright House. The residential quad envisioned in the plan would provide the school with a number of advantages. It would achieve the long-sought-after goal of moving students out of the Main Street dorms, eliminating the need for them to cross Main Street, which has seen a noticeable increase in traffic over the past few years. It would also allow the school to take some of the older dorms, which are increasingly expensive to maintain, out of service. The plan calls for Clare, Conant, Logan, French, Hathaway, and Swan Cottage all to be decommissioned as the residential quad gets built. The new dorms would also be highly energy efficient, utilizing geothermal heating and cooling.

Most important, the residential quad with new dorms will create a more comfortable and modern campus environment and make the school more attractive to prospective students. The 194 Main Street dormitory was the first new dorm built on campus in 45 years. A new science facility is another key component of the plan. Scott Hall opened in 1957 and at the time was hailed in the Bulletin for the “modern facilities [which] offer greater ease and effectiveness [for scientific study].” Over the years, Scott Hall has served well the scientific needs of students and faculty. However, the demands of today’s modern science curriculum are close to the point where Scott Hall will no longer be able to provide adequate support. The plan takes this eventuality into account. Schematics created as part of the plan in 2001, and updated in 2006, depict a modern science and math facility attached to Scott Hall that would serve the school’s needs well into the future. While it’s a long journey from schematic to ribbon cutting, whatever the new facility entails, it will in part be a reflection of the careful thought and hard work that continues to go into the Campus Master Plan.

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

23


A

n admittedly nervous Mr. Blanchette stepped to the podium in the Phillips Stevens Chapel during this winter’s Cum Laude assembly and gave an inspirational speech in which he described the early days of his teaching career and how he ended up at Williston in the first place. He told the story of how a “little voice” spoke to him almost 40 years ago and told him that even though it seemed like a crazy idea to take a temporary one-year teaching position at Williston, especially when he had other, more secure teaching offers, he should go ahead and do it. He explained, “In my experience, I have found that many of the events that most influenced my life were completely unplanned, and I am truly thankful that I was open to listening at those moments and willing to let myself be led into uncharted waters.” Everyone who has ever had the chance to meet Bob over the course of his career should also be thankful that he listened to the little voice, because he leaves behind a legacy of kindness, dedication, and excellence that will be missed. It may have been a little voice that prodded him to teach here, but Bob leaves behind a pair of large shoes to fill. “I don’t want to succeed Bob,” has become a common, half-joking refrain around the Math Department since he announced that this would be his last year at the school. The comment recognizes the high standards Bob has established in each of the many different roles he has held at the school. It is almost inevitable that the more time Everyone who has you spend at a school like ever had the chance Williston, the more things to meet Bob over the you get involved in, but over the course of his career, course of his career Bob has gone beyond what should also be thankcan reasonably be expected ful that he listened of anyone. to the little voice, He was hired by Phil because he leaves beStevens in 1972 to teach French and coach soccer hind a legacy of kindand golf, and he will retire ness, dedication, and as a math teacher and golf excellence that will be coach. In between, he has missed. worked as admission director, financial aid assistant, class advisor, summer school director, department head, and Log advisor. He also helped establish Williston’s successful As Schools Match Wits team, the French Club, and the Investment Club. He has been the president of Williston’s Cum Laude Society since 2001, he was awarded the Grubbs Faculty Chair in 2000, and he was this year’s Cum Laude speaker.

24

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN

Mr. Blanchette Listens to the Little Voice by Andrew Shelffo

In 2002, after having already being at Williston for 30 years, he took a sabbatical to learn how to teach math. When he came back, he taught both French and math for a period of time, sometimes to the same students in the same classrooms but in different periods. And these are just some of Bob’s most visible accomplishments. What is harder to quantify is the tremendous impact he’s had on generations of Williston students and faculty. Claire Frierson, who has been teaching with Bob since 1982, has this to say about Bob’s retirement: “I am in the unfortunate position of not being able to relax when Bob retires, because I’ve already had to step into his shoes in a


Over the years, Bob has been (clockwise from left) Cum Laude speaker, recipient of the Dennis H. Grubbs Faculty Chair, As Schools Match Wits moderator, French teacher, Cum Laude Society officer, and math teacher, plus much more to his students and colleagues.

number of areas, and each year that I spend doing jobs he used to do—teaching French III, leading the Quebec trip, coaching the Academic Team—makes me realize even more completely what a hard act to follow he is, and how fortunate the Williston community has been to have Bob among us for the past 39 years.” Director of Admission Ann Pickrell, who has worked with Bob for 29 years, says “Bob is a truly gifted leader with a love for Williston.” The school has benefitted tremendously from the little voice that spoke to Bob in the first place, so we shouldn’t complain too much that the voice has spoken to Bob once again. As he explained in his Cum Laude speech,

“That little voice came back again recently—this time saying ‘It’s been a nice run, Bob, you’ve enjoyed one of the most satisfying careers you could have dreamed of, but don’t push your luck—it’s time to move on.’” Now Williston will have to move on as well. Bob has no definite plans for what he’s going to do after Williston, and he admits that going through the day without being beholden to a typical, busy Williston schedule will be a bit challenging. But you can be sure that he’ll keep on listening to that little voice. We wish him well. www.williston.com/cumlaude

S PR ING 2011 B U LLETIN

25


Not a Coda, but an Intro by Andrew Shelffo

26

S PR ING 2011 BULLETIN

© Janine Norton

“The music program has evolved in a very positive way.”

© Janine Norton

From top: Deb Sherr conducts the 2010 instrumental recital; gives a piano lesson in 1998; and spends a few minutes with colleague Marcia Reed before Commencement 2010.

© Janine Norton

T

he end of the 2010-11 school year marks the end of an era in music at Williston as music teacher Deb Sherr moves on to a new and exciting project. Deb began at Williston in 1988 as a part-time music teacher in the Middle School. She leaves 23 years later having been one of the longestserving department heads in school history and the recipient of the Zachs Faculty Chair. She also leaves with the deep respect and admiration of her colleagues and the deep gratitude of her many current and former students. The Fine Arts Department as a whole, and the music program in particular, have flourished during Deb’s time at Williston. “The music program has evolved in a very positive way. When I got here, there was no such thing as the music and arts alternative to sports. Now we have that. Choruses and wind and string ensembles were not classes. Now they are, which means that students who might not have tried music before do so now because they can get academic credit. Those were important changes for the school and a big reason why music is much more a central part of daily academic life here at Williston.” Fine Arts Teacher Marcia Reed has taught with Deb since 1995. She says, “Beyond being a competent professional cellist, conductor, music instructor and arts administrator, Deb is the genuine article. She really understands the artistic/ music temperament in young people and adults.” Students break into song after games, at assembly the entire school often sings “Sammy” or the Alma Mater. This spring, to mark the return from spring break and the opening of baseball season, the Upper School students and faculty sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” led by two of Deb’s fine arts colleagues, Cathy Kay and Ben Demerath. Music is prominent all over campus, thanks in large part to Deb’s hard work. “I take great pride in the fact that I shepherded in many new arts courses as department head.” Cathy and Ben will take over many of Deb’s responsibilities, including teaching music history classes and scheduling music lessons. “Wonderful colleagues and friends,” Deb says when he talks about her fellow Fine Arts Department faculty. “I’ve loved being involved with the whole department—they’re just so supportive and creative.” That’s one of the things she’ll miss most when she leaves Williston: the feeling of camaraderie in the department. She also admits that she’ll miss the classroom teaching. So what is she going to do? In September she will begin working on creating an artists’ retreat in New Hampshire for young, emergent chamber musicians. “A place where they can work intensely,” she explains. “This doesn’t exist anywhere in the country.” Because of that, it’s a pretty daunting project, but while Deb is nervous, she is excited as well and believes it is the right time in her life for this project. “I’ve been so grateful for my experience here, for myself, for my kids. I’m leaving and it’s bittersweet, but it’s the right thing in this phase of my life. And I think it’s going to be the right thing all around.”


© William Rittase

© William Rittase

SCIENCE CLASSES OVER THE DECADES

from the archives by Archivist Richard Teller ’70

Top, left to right: Chemistry at Northampton School for Girls, mid-1940s; and at Williston, with Ralph “Doc” Phillips, ca. 1958; Wilmot Babcock teaching physics, late ’40s. Above: a Northampton School class, ca. 1968 Left: biology by the pond, ca. 1995

W I L L I STO N

N O RT H A M P TO N

H I STO RY

I S YO U R

H I STO RY !

The Archives collect school documents and memorabilia of all kinds. We’re especially interested in student journals and letters, academic work, photographs, and much more. We’d also like to fill gaps in certain school publications, notably Northampton School yearbooks for 1934 and 1956, and many issues of the Northampton Annual Catalogue, Pegasus, and The Willistonian. Don’t let these important pieces of our history be lost to future generations! If you have material you would like to share or stories to tell, please contact Archivist Richard Teller ’70 at (413) 529-3288 or rteller@williston.com. www.williston.com/archives 64

S P RING 2011 BULLETIN


C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S AND

T H A N K YO U TO T H E

50 T H R E U N I O N CLASS

1961 

A Class of Distinction

CLASS OF 1961 ELM TREE ASSOCIATES

 Richard Adelmann Anonymous Barbara Curtis Baker

t this year’s Reunion, a special group of alumni will gather in Easthampton to share laughter and memories. These people are special not just because they’ll be celebrating their 50th reunion, but because they are all members of the Elm Tree Society. The Class of ’61 has more Elm Tree Society members than any other class. The 12 people listed here have chosen to demonstrate their commitment to the long-term success of the school by remembering Williston Northampton in their estate planning, thereby ensuring that tomorrow’s students will receive the exceptional college preparatory experience that they did.

A

Nancy Blish (DEC) Faith Barrington Jim DeAngelis Carl Farrington Jim Hamilton Joan Montgomery Mihalakos Dave Shaw Patrick Sheehan Martha Goman Wemett


T h e

The Williston Northampton School 19 Payson Avenue Easthampton, MA 01027 (413) 529-3000 www.williston.com

Parents: If this issue is addressed to your son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify the Alumni Office of the correct new mailing address by contacting us at alumni@williston.com or (800) 469-4559. Thank you.

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID The Williston Northampton School

W i l l i s t o n

N o r t h a m p t o n

S c h o o l

BU L L ETIN S P R I N G 2 011

Change service requested

Eudora Welty: Photographs of the 30s and 40s During the 1930s, in her spare time as a junior publicist for the WPA, Eudora Welty captured rural Mississippi with her camera. Her images convey an honest curiosity toward people affected by their Southern surroundings during the Depression, and an engaging interest in the people and places that would later flourish in her stories. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author would later write, “Making pictures of people in all sorts of situations, I learned that every feeling waits upon its gesture; and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it.” Welty’s photographs have been exhibited in the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Museum of the City of New York, and now in the Grubbs Gallery in the Reed Campus Center. In conjunction with the Photographers’ Lecture Series, a selection of Welty’s silver gelatin prints were on view this spring, loaned from the collections of John and Melody Maxey and Barry Moser and Emily Crowe. Ephemera and audio narratives of people who met the author reounded out the exhibition, including a story by illustrator and former faculty member Barry Moser.

John Hazen White ’76: Savings and Sustainability Mr. Blanchette Says Farewell Science Education, Then and Now


Bulletin Spring 2011