Sneak Preview: Upcoming Activities and Speakers


Willy Gras 2018. Credit: Williston Flickr

We are almost halfway through the winter trimester, so let’s take a quick sneak peek about the tons of new and exciting activities, events, and speakers happening in the next few weeks and months of 2019.

Some upcoming events to look for in the spring are Prom, the spring musical “Crazy For You,” and Willy Gras.

Prom is the most anticipated event for the seniors in the spring because it is the last formal dance for their high school career.  Willy Gras has been a tradition for 35 years, and it also marks the end of the school year.  Performances organized by clubs and after school activities including the musical, the spring dance recital, and the instrumental and choral concerts are events to mark on your calendar.

Prom has always been a tradition that the seniors are excited for in the spring.  Every year, it is held at the Log Cabin with a formal dinner and dance.  After the dance, the seniors have a lock-in in the gym, and also get to skip school the next day.

Kassandra Orcutt ’19 is excited for prom including all the senior excitement that comes after.  She has gone to prom since sophomore year.  “I’m very excited for prom because of the dancing with friends and afterwards the lock in,” she said. “The senior skip day, right after prom, is something that I’m excited for as well.”

Willy Gras was a tradition that began in 1984, according to Mr. Teller, the Assistant Librarian and Archivist, who has been here since Willy Gras began.  It was a concept that started as a spring festival, he said. “It wasn’t called Willy Gras back then.  There were bands, games, and food all on the quad.  Adam Cohn, and alumni, is the founder of the event.  Eventually, the event got changed to Willy Gras in 1985 or 1986,” Teller said.

Devon Morgan ’21, who went to last year’s Willy Gras, said, “Willy Gras is so much fun.  The games are fun to do with your friends and it’s just a nice day. Everyone is having fun.  There is also good food and a good atmosphere.”

Another big event that takes place in May is the dance concert.

Anne-Valeri Clitus ’21, who went to last year’s spring dance recital [Catch Me When] said, “It was really good.  I thought it was the best one, obviously the seniors were leaving.  You can tell by the way the people were dancing that they were really close and admired all the people that graduated.  I look forward to being on the dance team this year and I know a lot of girls on the team.  I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

In addition to the fun events and activities, Williston will be welcoming a few speakers to campus to share their experiences and their stories.  The first speaker is Arno Michaelis, a former white supremacist, who will be speaking on Martin Luther King Day, January 21.

The first speaker in third trimester is Darryl Bellamy, a motivational speaker. Ms. Garrity said, “His whole purpose of coming to Williston is to build on leadership.  “He is a great speaker and will talk about conquering fears. He should be awesome, really energetic, he’s coming to speak before we get started with leadership elections.”

Another speaker coming in is Po-Shen Loh, an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University and a national coach of the USA International Math Olympiad team. “Po-Shen Loh the is one of the top math geniuses in the world. We’ve been trying to get him here for three years, and it is a big thing that he has agreed to come,” said Garrity.

The last major speaker for the spring is Cam Adair, a recovered video game addict, and the founder of Game Quitters. Game Quitters is the world’s largest support community for recovering game addicts.  “This is a theme revolving around getting people to find balance in their life.  It is going to be interesting,” Garrity said.

Other than the exciting new speakers coming in, there are also different activities and events happening.

Ms. Gordon, the Activities Director, said “The big events [coming up] are Casino Night, Winter Dance, and the Pomfret dance.  The small events are lip sync battles, kick backs, and movie nights.” Gordon continued, “We are thinking of doing a Sadie Hawkins dance (where the girls ask the guys) but nothing is confirmed yet.  Also planning on doing a Ski Trip for the students staying on campus during long weekend in February. They will have the option of going to NY or a ski resort.”

Regular weekend activities still include trips to the Hampshire Mall, the local game room Prodigy, and [Puzzled] Escape [Games] room.

Why Not Speak Day on January 21 will feature a variety of workshops including self-love, racial stereotyping in sports, alcoholism, sex, the “n” word, and health.