girl in hooded coat with cookie

Class Assemblies: Where Wildcats Explore, Learn, and Eat Cookies


During assemblies on January 12 Williston students met by class year and engaged in a variety of activities, including hearing from recent alumni reflecting on their college experiences.

Ninth graders talked about Empathy, the E of their CORE theme—curiosity, organization, reflection, empathy—and welcomed Nikki Chambers, Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, who spoke movingly about ableism.

Sophomores enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate and bonded around fire pits (see photo, above). They also signed up for affinity groups in preparation for Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day activity.

Six alumni in college spoke to Williston juniors and seniors about life post-high school, with College Counseling facilitating the panels.

Dora Gordon ’19 took a gap year post-Commencement, spending 6 months in Israel as a Research Assistant at the Shalom Hartman Institute and 6 months working the night shift at McDonalds. She’s a sophomore majoring in political science at the University of Chicago who participates in club hockey, moot court, and Hillel. She told seniors to anticipate a jump in the amount of reading professors require in college. However, that didn’t throw her off track.

“I feel that Williston set me up very well, in terms of being able to ask my professors to meet with me during office hours when I needed extra help.”

Guillermo Castaneda Chang ’20, a sophomore goalie on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges soccer team, agreed with Gordon about the increased reading load. But he advised students to stay organized to meet the challenge.

“I like writing down every day in the morning what I need to do for the day, whether it is classes, homework, practice, stuff I need to catch up on—I like writing it down and just having an organized sense of what my day is going to look like.” Castaneda Chang works in the admission office at HWS and is a teaching fellow in the Economics Department.

All panelists urged current students to enjoy their time at Williston while it lasts. “It really doesn’t matter where you end up going to college,” Castaneda Chang said, “it matters whether it’s the right fit for you. Personally I wanted something like Williston because I loved my time at Williston.”

Other guest speakers were George Spence ’21, a first year at the University of Virginia; Badou Ba ’21, a first year at Macalester College; Erin Chai ’21, a first year at the University of Michigan; and Ruby McElhone Yates ’21, a first year at Tufts University.