The Williston Northampton School - Review #15
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2003-2008|
|Sports and Activities:||Dance Ensemble, Widdigers (female a capella group), Teller Chorus (co-ed choir), Theater (plays include: Fairy Tale, Suessical the Musical, Nancy Drew: Mystery at the Lilac Inn, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and City of Angels),Student Diversity Leadership Conference (Boston, MA), Diversity Conference Committee, 'Williston One' News Broadcaster, Field Hockey, Softball|
|College Enrolled:||Endicott College|
|Home Town, State:||Sunderland, MA, MA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
It is difficult for me to describe Williston as a school, even a prep school, because it is so much more than that. Williston is more than a place to learn your core math, science, English, and history courses; it is a place where you can explore many possibilities by trying out a variety of elective classes like Painting, AP Politics, or The Body in Motion. Williston is a place where your teachers are not people who lecture every day in front of the class; they are a part of a two-way relationship and conversation, where both sides,student and teacher, give and take in the learning process. The teachers at Williston become a part of the discussion, but outside of the classroom, they also become advisors, coaches, mentors, dorm parents, and friends, people you will learn from, and people who will learn from you. Being a part of Williston is like being a part of a community, a community that expands beyond the green fence that encloses our campus, into the beautiful valley surrounding us. Close to Williston are some of the top colleges in New England,some of the most unique towns in the area, and much more. At Williston you will become a part of a family, a family that you will never forget once you walk on the stage and receive your diploma, a family that will continue to help and support you after your time at Williston. I came to Williston with ideas of what I wanted to do, and the person I wanted to be, and I left Williston after six years of hard work, difficult times, and amazing times, to realize that through my process of discovering who I am, I can now aspire to do anything I want to be, and be anyone or anything I can possibly imagine.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
At Williston, I learned to understand,to accept, to care, to fight for what I believe in, and to realize that I can make a difference. One of the most important things that I have experienced came from an opportunity I got from Williston. During my Senior year, I applied to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, with some fellow students in Boston. When I got into the program, I didn't realize how much it would change me. When my five fellow students and I made the trip to Boston for three nights, our lives were changed. As we walked into the Boston Convention Center to learn and discuss issues of social justice and equity with thousands of other students from independent schools nationwide, we realized that we can continue to be the change we want to see in the world, by starting small, at our community and around Williston, and working hard to do what we believe in.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have gotten more involved the first day I arrived at Williston. At first, it is a little difficult to manage a difficult workload and required sports,but it is also difficult to fit in other extracurriculars that have always been important to you, or that you are interested in. After a semester or two, you get used to the workload and time management becomes a skill that you will benefit from for the rest of your life. However, once I got time management down, I took a longer breather than I would have liked to, because I was too shy to audition for the singing group or for the play. But once I experienced just a few of the opportunities Williston provides you with, I wanted to experience them all, and I dove into everything I was interested in and anything my schedule allowed time for. I would advise students going to boarding school to allow a small amount of time to get adjusted, because that is important to the learning and living process, but once you become comfortable, which doesn't take too long with a welcoming community like the one at Williston, jump right into anything and everything that interests you!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I liked the overall outlook and stance Williston has on secondary education and all of it's assets. Learning where you live can sometimes be difficult. It is hard to find a proper balance when living and learning occur at the same place, but Williston provides you will a well-rounded education while allowing you to have fun, make friends, and most importantly make a journey that gets you closer and closer to discovering who you are and how you are going to make a difference.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
My word of wisdom for prospective students is to visit the campus. I had two older siblings who went to Williston, so I heard about it and experienced it at football games and dance concerts, but visiting the campus and seeing all there is to offer is vital for your decision. For incoming students- try not to be nervous about coming to a new school; it's hard to believe, but after a week, you will feel like you never left home. Try everything you want to, or even something that may not be of particular interest. You may find yourself learning that photography or physics is a subject that you will really enjoy. Lastly, appreciate every moment at Williston. Four years seems like forever, but they are four years that are jam-packed with friends, fun, and learning that will soon become memories that you will never forget.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I liked the variety of courses I could choose from. Every semester, it was a bittersweet time to sign up for classes because I was excited to try something new, but at the same time I wanted to take so many courses that my class schedule didn't have room for. Williston academics are unique in the way that the teachers, and the course material they choose, make subjects like Chemistry and U.S. History come alive. After such amazing experiences with electives at Williston, and core classes, it was difficult for me, come Junior and Senior year, to begin to narrow down which path I was going to choose academically in College. Williston academics exposed me to a variety of subjects that I would have never imagined myself being interested in.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Until my Junior year at Williston, I played Field Hockey. After dancing for my entire life, when I came to Williston after Elementary School, I wanted to add a new sport to my schedule. After dancing outside of Williston for a couple years, and then taking a couple off, in my Sophomore year I decided to try Dance at Williston instead of Softball for the Spring trimester. I liked that I had the liberty to do that. For me, there is nothing better than knowing that you can always try something new, like Water Polo, Technical Theatre, Squash, or Self-Defense; or you can continue to do what you love, like Softball, Dance, Football, or Soccer. Being a Wildcat is one of the most important experiences you will get at Williston. Learning how to be on a team, and discovering all of the special connections and friendships you can make with other team members and Superfans is something that I learned through Williston athletics, and it is something that I will always value.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I'm not sure I can pin down one thing that I liked the most about the Visual and Performing Arts program. Understanding this department requires a visit to see a play or dance concert, or a walk through the Reed Campus Center to be able to truly experience how amazing Williston artists are, how much hard work and time goes into every detail of every piece of artwork and every musical and theatrical performance. From multiple firsthand experiences- from an Art class, to Dance Ensemble, to Widdigers, to Chorus, and eventually to the Musicals and Shakespeare plays, I discovered an entirely different World for myself, that continues to be a huge part of who I am today.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
At Williston I learned how to become a leader in both the community at school and the community outside of school. Starting with community service at the Easthampton Community Center in my earlier years at Williston, I instantly grew to realize how much I value service and helping others. Williston encourages extracurriculars by offering programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gay-Straight Alliance, and the Community Service Organization, but they also inspired me to volunteer outside of Williston, at my local Elementary School, teaching Spanish classes and helping with Sixth Grade plays. Having such an amazing and rewarding experience at Williston helped me discover that it is my job as a citizen and as a member of a community to give back by caring for all those who may or may not be as fortunate as I am.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Although I was a Day student at Williston, many of my friends were boarders. Williston offers a variety of dorm set-ups, from the more modern dorm in the center of campus, on the Quad, to the smaller more quaint dorms on Main Street. Dorm Life at Williston was something that I wish I could have experienced more of. Hearing about the Thanksgiving Dinner nights in dorms, to the 80s and techno dance parties, and the dorm vs. dorm challenges, I have no doubt that dorm life is far from a drag. Although the memories you will create through fun activities and strong roommate bonds will be present every day, study hall and quiet hours also allow for time to do work and learn where you live.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
I miss the dining arrangements at my school. There was nothing like Williston's Taco day, or the smell of stir-fry night after a long dance rehearsal. Williston offers a variety of choices at the both the Dining Commons, and the Stu-Bop student center. I ate two meals at Williston five, and sometimes six, days a week, and I never got tired of the selection. The dining hall and stu-bop hours are convenient,and best of all, seeing the food service staff at lunch and dinner will become more important and more special to you than actually getting a good meal. Downtown Easthampton and Northampton also provide an incredibly diverse array of restaurants that you can visit on an occasional weekend or night before study hall.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Having grown up in the valley surrounding Easthampton, and having left it for college in Eastern Massachusetts, I have realized how unique and special the area surrounding Williston is. Ten minutes down the road from Williston is a town called Northampton, a place unlike any other. From coffee shops, to nice sit-down restaurants, protests on the streets, homemade ice cream shops, and fun shows, Northampton provides Williston students and the surrounding Community everything you could ever want to do on a weekend. Williston is also surrounded by five of the top Colleges in New England, where you can experience plays, sports games, or get a taste of college life by seeing the streets and coffee shops filled with students. A short walk beyond Williston's campus is downtown Easthampton, a small yet exciting town with Pizza shops, Sub shops, a Diner, 7-11, sit-down restaurants, Rite-Aid, and my favorite, a unique, local coffee shop, where much of my studying was done, and many of my high school memories were made.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
When I came home from college, I could not find enough time to get together and meet up with all of the friends I made at Williston. I think this shows how my social life at Williston provided me with friendships that will forever be a part of me.My brother, who also went to Williston, just graduated from college, and is currently living in an apartment in Boston with three friends that he met at Williston. Williston is a place where hard work and learning are accompanied by meeting friends that are so different than you, yet so similar, and so important to who you are and who you will become. The social life that you have created in high school will become something that lasts a lifetime, with friends who are not just people you see at five and ten year reunions but friends that will be in your wedding party or be the first person you call when you land your dream job right out of college.
|8:00 AM||Arrive at School- Social Psychology Class (free period second semester)-Reed Campus Center|
|9:00 AM||Spanish IV Honors (spanish V honors-second semester)-Chapel|
|11:00 AM||Calculus Class- Schoolhouse|
|12:15 AM||Widdigers-Reed Campus Center|
|12:15 AM||Lunch-Birch Dining Commons|
|1:00 PM||English 12 (Latin American Literature-second semester)-Schoolhouse|
|2:00 PM||Walk to Shelburne Coffee Shop in Easthampton with friends-lounge and study or lay out with friends on the Quad|
|3:15 PM||Dance Rehersal-Dance Studio in Reed Campus Center|
|5:45 PM||Dinner-Birch Dining Commons|
|6:30 PM||City of Angels Musical Rehersal until 8:30-Scott Hall-Williston Theatre|
|8:30 AM||Class Saturday- Calculus (someone brings munchkins to snack on!)|
|9:30 AM||English 12 (or Latin American Literature-2nd semester)|
|10:30 AM||Social Psychology (or free period -2nd semester)|
|11:30 AM||Lunch with friends-catch up, relax, plan for the weekend|
|12:45 AM||Dance Rehersal (practice for student choreographed pieces)|
|3:00 PM||Home, visit a friend in the dorm, or watch a sports game|
|5:30 PM||Home, or dinner with friends in Northampton|
|7:30 PM||Watch a football or lacrosse game under the lights, go to a movie, or the dance at school|
|11:30 PM||Home, or sign a friend out for the weekend|
|11:00 AM||Sunday-Sleep in, do some homework,visit friends, work on a project, walk around Northampton on a Spring day|
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