The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Tight-Knit Community Enhances the PG Experience

Credit: Williston Flickr

Whether it is new additions to Coach Beaton’s football team or just needing or wanting another year of high school, PGs, though they make up only a small fraction of the senior class, have an outsized presence on campus. On average, there are about 12 PGs each year. This year there are 15 PGs.

Tommy Beaton, Head Football coach and one of the Heads of the PG Program at Williston, said there are different reasons PGs come to Williston, including “a more rigorous academic experience which inevitably helps them with their transition to college.”

PGs also come to Williston for athletic reasons because “across the board our athletic programs are some of the most competitive in New England which also helps them prepare for college,” Beaton said.

Jonny Bianchi, Williston’s “Curator of Vibes,” was a PG at Cushing Academy and looks back fondly on his experience.

“The community and returning students were all really welcoming to me as a PG,” Bianchi, in his first year as Dean of Student Life, said. “I was especially lucky to live in a dorm with great dorm parents who went out of their way to make me feel at home.”

Bianchi, who went to Cushing to play football, is still close with his Cushing friends, and says, “It was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and a big reason why I looked into working at a boarding school.”

Bianchi appreciated the friends he had at Cushing keeping him working hard in class and on the field.

“Luckily, I had a great group of extremely motivated friends with me at Cushing,” he said. “There were definitely a few times when my motivation was low, but they helped push me. They really helped me stay motivated and keep working academically and athletically. It’s so much easier to remain motivated when you surround yourself with people who care.”

Trent Merriman, a PG from Newport Beach, California, is using Williston as a bridge between his last senior year and going to West Point.

Trent tore his ACL the week before his first game of his senior year, “which resulted in not playing a single snap that season,” he said. “This post graduate year gives me a year to get healthy, get back in shape, as well as give me an opportunity to get recruited to play football at West Point.”

West Point is Trent’s goal, and his extra year at Williston is helping him achieve it.

Other New England prep schools that have PG programs are Berkshire, Cushing Academy, Northfield Mount Hermon, Westminster School, Brooks School, Governors Academy, Brewster Academy, Pomfret School, Phillips Andover Academy, and the Taft School.

Ryan DeMarco, a PG from Bethel, Connecticut, came to Williston for its tight-knit feel.

“It seemed like a great community, and I felt like I would fit in,” he said.

Jenna Guglielmi, who graduated from Taft in 2022 then was recruited by Coach Talbot to do a PG year at Williston last year, misses Williston’s community more than she thought she would.

“I met and have kept way more friends here than I did at my old school,” she said. She even misses the people she did not know as well that “made me feel welcomed and like a part of the community,” Jenna, currently a freshman at Wesleyan, said.

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