students eating lunch at tables with plexiglass dividers pandemic

Creating Connection


Where can you find seniors saying hi to first years and students interacting across disciplines and from distant dorms? If new school counselor Deborah Potee has her way, the answer is “everywhere.” During a year when mask-wearing and social distancing has put literal barriers between people, she and colleague Joseph Katz have initiated a program called ProjectConnect, which has been implemented at several colleges and public high schools across the country. Williston is the first independent school to give it a try.

This fall, Potee and Katz trained a group of 40 proctors, then students were invited to enlarge their social circles. The first group includes 25 Wildcats who represent a cross section of Williston. The cohort was divided into packs of four to six, who will meet six times over the next few months to get to know one another, with the goal of increasing connection among peers and reducing feelings of isolation. While they represent a multitude of perspectives, said Potee, “what they have in common is a desire to be more a part of Williston.”