The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Campus Can’t Contain Simone Barrett

Simone+Barrett+in+Peter+and+the+Starcatcher.+Credit%3A+Williston+Flickr
Simone Barrett in Peter and the Starcatcher. Credit: Williston Flickr

Simone Barrett in Peter and the Starcatcher. Credit: Williston Flickr

Simone Barrett in Peter and the Starcatcher. Credit: Williston Flickr

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Simone Barrett is in every way the opposite of a stereotypical Williston post-graduate. She is the only girl in the group of eight, and she is not here to improve her athletics. Instead, Simone involves herself in the theater, costume shop, judo, and ice hockey. But more than that, she makes an impact on Williston life with her energetic, and engaging personality.

“Simone has just taken campus by storm,” said Meg Valine, the coordinator of Williston’s PG+1 program. “She was determined to invest herself early and to share her unbounded energy.”

The 18-year-old from New York City dove right into Williston life. She acted in both theater productions and also worked in the costume shop. In the winter she was a key member of the girls’ JV hockey team, and this spring she tried out judo for the first time. Her favorite class is 3D Foundations, an art class.

“I did not expect the amount of opportunities I would be given,” said Simone. Simone took on three after school activities in the spring: judo, costume shop, and the play. Despite being so busy, she wishes she could do more. “One of the things that frustrates me so much about Williston, and the world in general, is that there is not enough time to take advantage of a lot of the things that are offered here,” she said.

Unlike the majority of post-graduates, Simone is not at Williston to improve a sport for college.

“I hadn’t performed to my fullest capability in my final year of school, and I wasn’t ready to be in an environment like college where I didn’t have the support or structure that Williston offered,” she said. Simone previously attended Bard High School Early College, a public school in New York City.

Simone did not know what to expect coming to Williston, and she described figuring it out as “an adventure of epic proportions.” She said Williston has helped her to understand what she wants. “This year, with all of the opportunities I have been given, has allowed me to grow in a positive direction, changing my attitude about how I do my work and how I present myself as a student and as a person.”

Ms. Valine has run the PG+1 program for eight years. “The goal of the program is to help these students settle in quickly and pick up additional skills and maturity and growth across the continuum that includes academics, emotional, social, athletic,” she said. But she added that they often expand themselves in ways that they never would have imagined.

Before Simone’s time at Williston, she had never been in a play before. She had significant roles in both The Comedy of Errors and Peter and the Starcatcher, Williston’s two major productions. “I love being onstage, developing and performing a character,” she said. “I have made wonderful friends through the theater.”

In every endeavor, Simone has easily made friends. “She’s got a great group of friends that I think cross a lot of lines because she is just herself and very accepting,” said Ms. Valine.

Her favorite part of her PG year is the people she has met. Senior Natalie Richard, one of her friends, said she would describe Simone as “very outgoing and ready for anything. She makes other people feel equally excited about stuff as she is.”

“She is amazing, wonderful, and magnificent. I am proud to be her friend,” said Kevin O’Sullivan ’18, who worked with Simone in both plays.

Ms. Valine likes to describe Simone as effervescent. “She is just bubbling in all areas,” she said. “She is a very remarkable young woman. And I think this year is just catapulting her forward.”

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The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America
Campus Can’t Contain Simone Barrett