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FOST E RING COM M UNITY CLASS BY CLASS Finding your place—even in a community as welcoming at The Williston Northampton School—can feel overwhelming. In September 2008, the Ninth Grade Advising Program began with a simple but clear goal: to provide extra support to students as they make the sometimes stressful transition to high school. Knowing that strong academic and social support creates the foundation for a successful secondary school experience, the Ninth Grade Program strives to help students understand the safety net that exists for them, and how best to use that support to be successful at the school. It also aims to foster powerful and lasting friendships among ninth graders and to strengthen the relationships between day and boarding students. C.O.R.E. (Curiosity, Organization, Reflection, and Empathy) is the foundation of the program. These qualities apply to the classroom, dormitory life, the Williston community, and beyond. Before school begins, the class goes on a two-night orientation trip where they are introduced to C.O.R.E. Throughout the year, teachers and advisors refer back to the lessons learned during the trip. Along with the orientation trip, study skills workshops, special assemblies, and community service projects, the Ninth Grade Program ensures that communication between students, teachers, and advisors is efficient and timely. The program is a purposeful exercise in fostering connections among the students, but also between the adults who work closely with the ninth grade

class. That includes the faculty advising team that is organized by the program’s coordinators, Allison Marsland and Matt Sawyer. Ms. Marsland, who is a Senior Associate Director of Admission at the school as well as a Dorm Head in 194 Main Street (not to mention a softball coach), and Matt Sawyer, who is an English teacher and a football and baseball coach, work together closely with each other and a team of dedicated faculty to support the Class of 2015. The many roles Ms. Marsland and Mr. Sawyer play at the school also allow them to see the many facets of Williston that ninth graders experience. “The key word is support,” Ms. Marsland explained. “As students make the transition to Williston, we need to be focused on helping them.’That involves being cognizant of the diversity of students represented in the first-year class.” The challenge is to build community. That is helped by finding adults who are ready to commit to the ninth graders not just this year, but year after year. Mr. Sawyer added, “Good communication between adults and students, and between adults about those kids, is the most important thing. We begin by identifying kids who need extra support, and we’re proactive about reaching out to them as early as possible.” Building community at Williston is a thoughtful enterprise; it doesn’t happen overnight or by itself.

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This year, the Class of 2015 arrived on campus from across the country and around the world. There are 45 boys and 44 girls; 65 percent are boarding students, and 35 percent are day students. Like the school as a whole, 16 percent have self-identified as students of color, and approximately 45 percent are receiving some financial aid to attend the school.

Ms. Marsland and Mr. Sawyer, along with a dedicated group of faculty, make that possible, and the result is a first-year class that stands on a foundation built to last throughout their Williston experience and beyond.

A PA S S I O N F O R F I L M C H A R L E S F R A N K ’ 1 3 A I M S FO R S U N DA N C E Junior year at The Williston Northampton School is a busy one under the best of circumstances for most students, but it is particularly hectic for Charles Frank. At 17, Charles is already an accomplished filmmaker with an impressive resume. And if things go as planned, he will celebrate senior year with other filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival.

Charles’s short film, “Elevate” won best picture at the Williston Film Festival last year. The festival, which received entrants from both independent and public high schools, is an annual event that began in 2007 and continues to grow every year. Last summer, Charles found an internship on the set of the feature film, “April Grace.” He researched the opportunity online, and he spent the summer working on the film in New Jersey. It was, “truly a transformational experience for me. It was really exciting to finally get to commune with fellow filmmakers,” said Charles about his work on “April Grace.” During his time, Charles shared “Elevate” with the “April Grace” team, and they were so impressed with his work that they not only encouraged him, they agreed to produce his next short film. Building on an idea from his friend Zachary Kornfeld, Charles talked to “April Grace” screenwriter, George Murray, who has been a finalist in the Final Draft screenwriting competition. Mr. Murray was so interested in the project that he wrote a script based on the idea in just a week. “April Grace” director Andrew Hutcheson came on board as the short film’s producer and, this fall, casting began. “Zachary’s story stuck with me, and soon enough I decided it was time for me to make the story my own.” The film, “Doodle,” is the story of an artistic genius held back by the academic expectations of her traditional Chinese mother. Cathy Wong, the mother, pushes her daughter Anne, the film’s protagonist, down a predetermined path toward becoming a doctor. Academics come first to Mrs. Wong, and everything else is secondary. Anne’s unspoken passion is art, but because of her mother’s expectations, her only outlet for creative expression is doodling.


“Doodle” will begin filming in late March 2012, and some external shots for the movie will take place on the Williston campus. Casting was held in both New York City and Boston earlier this fall. Charles is directing the project, and many of the crewmembers from “April Grace,” including cinematographer Shane Seibel, will be joining the professional crew of 45. All but one actor has been cast at this point. Mr. Hutcheson, in addition to producing the film, is lending Charles his RED ONE M-X to shoot “Doodle.” The RED ONE has been used on such

films as “The Social Network,” “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “True Grit,” among other major motion pictures. “I am truly humbled by the level of support I am receiving from professionals in all areas of the industry. A project like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It takes a certain level of commitment and teamwork to get a project of this magnitude off the ground,” said Charles, as he prepared to begin


1 Williston Admission Application Due


Winter Trimester Ends


Winter Athletics Team Night


Admission Notification


Spring Break

Diversity Conference


Choral Coffeehouse

To learn more about “Doodle” and to track the film’s progress, visit http://blog.rockethub. com/charles-frank-creates-coming-of-age-film.




filming. “I could not be more excited for the first day of shooting. Filmmaking is my passion, and I feel as though this project will be my first big step into the industry.”

30, 31 Second Visit Days

6, 7

Second Visit Days


Admission Reply Day

27-28 Spring Family Weekend 26-28 Spring Musical (Fiddler on the Roof)

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WILLISTON PROFILES PA N K T I DA L A L What superpower would you most like to have? I would love to be able to read minds—it would show how a person really is, not what they appear to be. Where is your favorite place on the Williston campus? My favorite place on the Williston campus is the dance studio. What was your favorite class at Williston? My favorite class at Williston was seventh grade English—that’s where I discovered my love for literature and the English language. Who is your hero (real or fictional)? My hero is Sylvia Plath—her confessional poetry just opens a door to a little piece of her life. Pankti Dalal is a junior day student from Southampton, Massachusetts. She’s been at The Williston Northampton School since the seventh grade. Her younger sister is also at Williston. Her favorite place off campus is anywhere she can do yoga.

ADDISON MORSE What superpower would you most like to have? If I could have any superpower, I’d want the power to stop time. Where is your favorite place to be in the world and on the Williston campus? My favorite place is my family’s summer house at Seneca Lake, and on campus, my favorite place is my room in Ford Hall. What was your favorite class at Williston? I really like my French IV class. What is your first childhood memory? My earliest memory is pretending to be sick one morning so I could skip preschool. Addison is a senior boarding student from Bronxville, New York. He isn’t sure where he wants to attend college, but wherever it is, he hopes to play squash. He has been at Williston four years.

K E E G A N D U N LO P What was your favorite class at Williston? My favourite classes are English and chem. What do you imagine you’ll be doing in ten years? I hope I’ll be near the end of my professional basketball career in Europe.

Where is your favorite place on the Williston campus? My favourite place on campus is probably my bed since I’m known for taking naps during any bit of free time I have. What is your first childhood memory? I remember lying on my grandpa’s chest and listening to him talk. (Keegan was much smaller than the 6’8” he is now!). Keegan is a postgraduate student from St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada (which is why he spells “favourite” the way he does). He hopes to play college basketball next year, in between napping.


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A M E S S AG E F R O M T H E H E A D O F S C H O O L Mark Twain famously quipped, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute,” and never were his words more accurate than as they applied to the Halloween snow storm of 2011. That damaging storm—where wet snows caused widespread tree damage and power outages that closed area boarding schools for up to one week—showed The Williston Northampton School’s community at its best. What the event demonstrated was how extraordinarily resilient and exceedingly generous the many members of this community are. Local families took in many of our boarding students; staff arrived at Williston every day to help the campus recover; and teachers went above and beyond, like Bill Berghoff, the Head of the Science Department, who took his family and a van of 14 students to the bed and breakfast that they operate during the summer in Maine. Shortly after the storm, I traveled to Asia to visit six cities with Ann Pickrell (director of admissions) and Eric Yates (chief advancement officer) for just over two weeks. The trip was my first opportunity to meet with Williston families, alumni, and prospective students, just as we do with our programs in various states here at home. The warm welcome we received everywhere we went, combined with the obvious enthusiasm that was evident for Williston, was certainly reaffirming. This winter, as always, we learn of and celebrate college news for our seniors. With early decisions arriving in December, we are pleased that we’re sending members of the Class of 2012 off to some terrific places next fall, including Cornell University, Macalester College, Middlebury College, and Williams College. In addition, three students signed National Letters of Intent to play Division I athletics at The Ohio State University (womens lacrosse), Penn State University (womens ice hockey), and Stanford University (gymnastics).

On campus, our Williston Scholars program continues to expand students’ horizons as they are exposed to the best-in-the-field scholarship and artistic talent so prevalent in the Pioneer Valley. We’re looking forward to expanding the program next year to include courses in both the science and the English departments. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that the fall trimester included some noteworthy co-curricular achievements and great post-season successes in girls field hockey and boys soccer, and the theater department took on one of its most challenging plays with a well-reviewed production of Eurydice.

I could go on, but I hope you will be able to visit our campus—if you haven’t already—to see Williston in action. And when you do stop by, please make sure to introduce yourself. Hail to Williston Northampton, Robert W. Hill III P’15

For more about Williston visit Bob’s blog, The Head’s Perspective:



Clubs on Campus (and growing!)



Synthetic Turf Fields


Postgraduates in the Class of 2012



Students enrolled in the Williston Scholars Program

NEPSAC ranking of the girls field hockey team





NEPSAC ranking of the boys soccer team

The number of times the lion has been painted

Students involved in the work service program

A capella groups (the Widdigers and Caterwaulers)


Athletic Teams

19 Payson Avenue Easthampton, MA 01027 413.529.3000


Students who signed Letters of Intent to play Division I Sports in the fall

Williston+ The Williston Northampton School inspires students to live with purpose, passion, and integrity. We believe that you will discover what inspires you at Williston, and—in collaboration with our faculty and our students—you will explore those things with purpose. There is a life awaiting every student who walks our halls, as well as a path that will take him or her there. The opportunities inside and outside of the classroom will help you discover your +, and how that will lead you to what comes next. The + is what you make it, and we think that whatever that is, it will be extraordinary.

Williston Northampton School In Addition Winter 2012  
Williston Northampton School In Addition Winter 2012  

In Addition is a publication for prospective students and their families, which shares information about the school, its programs, and curre...