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

Willympics Tailgate Boosts Day Student Camaraderie

Willympics Tailgate Boosts Day Student Camaraderie

The Day Student Lot was packed recently with day students in all black, grilling burgers and playing Kan Jam to prepare for the annual Willympics Games.


Although the day students have historically mentioned a lack of camaraderie compared to boarders, they have recently came to reclaim that unity and spirit, through a tailgate and triumphant march along the Rail Trail on Friday, Sep. 22.


Beginning in 2021, the day students have congregated in the Day Student Lot the night of Willympics — a campus wide competition hosted each Fall to prepare with group activities and a cookout. Although Willympics has existed since 2016, day students have not always had their own team. In the past, day students had been split into male and female teams, but student participation was always quite low, so the Dean’s Office made the change to disband the teams and allow non-boarders to participate with a dorm of their choice. However, in 2021, the day student team returned triumphantly, in co-ed fashion.


Carter Cleary, a junior from Westhampton and organizer of the Day Student Tailgate, was impressed by the turnout Friday night, despite the short notice.


“I think this year’s tailgate went great, especially since we planned it two days prior to Willympics,” he said. “It started off slow but then the crowd started building as we got the music going and the burgers grilling, and I think we got about 70 people there right before we headed out to the field.”


Students cooked on a portable propane grill brought by Southampton junior Brendan Capshaw.

Logan Cherewatti, a four-year senior from Southampton and the day student grill master, urged students to come out for more events this year.


“Being a senior, things feel different than prior years. There is more of a pressure to do things and enjoy things because you know your time in high school is coming to an end,” he said. “Football games and Willympics are huge parts of the Fall trimester, and I think the school is not complete without either. However, they are only as enjoyable as we make it, which is why the more energy we bring as students, the better the events are.”


According to the most recent Williston school profile from 2022-23, 39% of Williston’s total upper school student body of 431 were day students. The 2023-24 school report has not yet been released.


The day student-boarder divide has existed for years, but first year Assistant Dean of Students for Community Life Jonny Bianchi would like to change that, starting with the tailgate in the DSL.


“Williston is a different type of boarding school whereas there is a rather large population of day students, and they make up a very important part of the campus,” he said. “So, trying to tailor events like Willympics for them to be able to participate, do well, and have fun, is really important, and the same thing for all weekend activities.”


Bianchi also noted the difficulties of planning events for students who are not always on campus.


“It’s tricky, obviously. Especially on Saturdays,” he said. “But it’s extremely important for day students to be involved and feel like they are a part of the campus and activities on weekends.” Bianchi also expressed interest in possible daytime events to better facilitate day student life.


Willympics this year included a wall sit, spike ball, shadow boxing, musical chairs, table roll, and a relay race. At the time of this article being published, Mem East is in the lead with 825 points, EMV is in second with 725, and the day students sit in third with 700 points.


Anna Sawyer, a senior and member of the Wildest Cats, the student activities leaders on campus, said they have not yet set a date for the Lip Sync, the next event on the Willympics calendar.

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    Jackson EstesOct 3, 2023 at 8:35 PM

    Another great article calvin!!!!!