A Day in
the Life

A typical day at Williston is anything but typical. From the first class bell in the morning to the last lights-out in the dorms, students are fully engaged in learning—in classrooms, art studios, and dormitories, and on the athletic fields. Here's a peek at one extraordinary ordinary day on the Williston campus.

8:15 AM

It's morning rush hour, but in a good way. Students crisscross campus paths in packs and pairs as they head to English, World Civilization, and Chemistry labs. Some pass the iconic Victory Bell, just off the main Quad. The sun is shining. It's a great day to be a Wildcat.

8:30 AM

The spirited Welcome Days Assembly—in which each class sports different-colored shirts—is the first of many gatherings in Phillips Stevens Chapel each fall. Regular weekly assemblies feature guest speakers, student announcements, teacher presentations, and sometimes even groups of friends belting out "Sammy," the school song: "Long may we cherish in years yet to come, long may we cherish Wil-lis-ton!"

9:30 AM

Upper Schoolers know English teacher Matt Sawyer pretty well. After all, Mr. Sawyer is the co-director of Williston's unique Ninth Grade Program, which is designed to build lasting friendships and help freshmen understand what support is available to them. They've tackled their fears with Mr. Sawyer on a high-ropes course and even kayaked across a river with him. Discussing Sophocles and Shakespeare in English class should be no problem!

10:40 AM

Not all learning happens in the classroom. On the Williston campus, some students learn from the foliage. Seventh-grade science students "adopt" trees in the fall, give them friendly names (Branchy, Stewardia, and Beyoncé are just a few), and collect scientific data. Later on, in Upper School, students return to the trees in statistics class, learning about "normal distribution" by measuring the distance leaves fall from the trees in the Quad.

11:30 AM

During free periods, at night, and on weekends, dorms become a second home and proctors like big brothers and sisters. Recent renovations to the common rooms in many dormitories make boarding life even better. Two recent dorms have been built to LEED standards and feature geothermal heating and cooling—four seasons of comfort with zero use of fossil fuels.

11:45 AM

Williston has enough musical groups to stage its own battle of the bands-including Chamber Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, the all-male Caterwaulers, the all-female Widdigers, Teller Chorus, and the WildChords. Making music can be informal, like playing the piano in the dorm common room while your friends sing the lyrics. Or it can be intense and challenging, like rehearsing for the Fall Instrumental Concert during class.

12:00 PM

Lunch is a time to hang out with friends. A family atmosphere prevails in the Birch Dining Commons, but the vibe is modern and open, thanks to recent renovations. Sunlight pours in from the big windows overlooking the pond and Sawyer Field. Teachers and students choose their lunches from the hot-food station, the pasta bar, the salad bar, and the ever-popular panini machine, where grilled cheese is always on order.

1:15 PM

Sometimes it helps to have someone listen. Before a student sets foot on campus they're assigned an advisor—a faculty member who supports them all year. After the first year, students can choose a teacher who shares similar interests, such as photography or history. Faculty advisors guide students through course choices that include Independent Study Projects and Williston Scholars. Most of all, an advisor is always there to provide support.

3:10 PM

Meet you at the Stu-Bop, where Willistonians go to get homework done, shoot pool, or grab a snack before sports. It's also the spot to order the legendary ECB (egg, cheese and bacon) on a bagel, a Wildcat favorite since 1996.

3:45 PM

The Visual Arts Intensive program gives students the time, plus the resources and direction, to accomplish great things. Students can choose from several media, including studio art, ceramics, and photography. Installations by professional artists in the Grubbs Gallery provide ongoing inspiration. And there's always a new way to stay in the arts loop, whether it's through @WillistonArts on Instagram or the Arts Spotlight blog.

4:00 PM

During weekday sports practice on Galbraith Field, the amazing view of Mt. Tom fades away as students focus single-mindedly on learning new skills, having fun with teammates, and, of course, getting that ball in the goal. With 60 teams competing in 35 different sports—including skiing, soccer, track, ice hockey, swimming, water polo, golf, and riding—there's a place for athletes at every level.

5:20 PM

Bowling? The Sustainable Life Club? The Student Diversity Committee? There is no shortage of clubs and activities after classes and sports end each day. Students can find the perfect clubs for themselves at the Activities Fair, which offers an à la carte menu of options. It’s the perfect time to bust out of the comfort zone and try something new—or even gather a few friends to propose your own club.

7:45 PM

With makeup, costumes, and bright lights, the theater program is all about transformation and big ideas. Athletes, scholars, and artists become a backstage family of talented actors, stage crew, and set designers. Last fall's production of Our Town, built and staged by students, sparked conversations about community. This spring's staging of Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods included discussions of dealing with unexpected tragedy.

8:00 PM

When it comes to unwinding after a busy day, students and teachers know that the most fun can be found by just being with one another. That’s particularly true during the holidays, when community activities range from pumpkin carving contests on the Quad to spontaneous carol-a-longs around the baby grand piano at the Head of School’s house.

8:15 PM

When the sun sets and activites wrap up, it’s time to settle in for serious academic time. Williston students know how to get the most out of the two hours of study hall, whether it is heading to the library to browse the stacks, or putting their heads together for a group session in the dorm. With a ban on phone calls, games, and other distractions, these evenings of study hall are synonymous with quiet productivity.

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