Empowering Girls to Succeed in College


At Williston, we strive to help all students develop as thinkers, athletes, artists, and people, but we are especially proud of how we help female students grow into strong, thoughtful, young women, ready to take on college and the world with confidence. In our supportive, yet challenging environment, girls are surrounded by other amazing female students, as well as excellent female teachers, coaches, and dorm parents, who create an environment where young women feel as though they can do anything. Here are three seniors in their final months at Williston, well prepared for what their futures hold.

Anna Wilinsky, a six-year day student proctor from Florence, Massachusetts, appreciates that Williston has consistently opened avenues for her to try something new and to be supported by faculty. Whether it was starting the computer programing club with her friend Molly (the majority of club members are girls), her role as editor of the literary magazine Janus, serving as an Areté and Writing Center tutor, or opting to build a ceramics portfolio in Arts Intensive this fall, she has tried something new each year with the support of her advisor and teachers.

“There is no place you can find where you will be so holistically and consistently supported than Williston,” she said. Recently Anna was inducted into Williston’s Cum Laude Society, which honors scholastic achievement in secondary scholars, and was accepted to Dartmouth College. She originally visited Dartmouth at the suggestion of her advisor, Susan Michalski, a Dartmouth graduate. “My advisor has been incredibly influential throughout my time at Williston,” Anna said. “Ms. Michalski’s encouragement and reassurance has helped me to break out of my shell and thrive. She knew Dartmouth would be a good fit for me, and as soon as I stepped on campus, I knew she was right. Her own experiences at Dartmouth shaped her life, and I am so excited to be able to share these experiences with her.”

Alexis Ryan came to Williston from Mesa, Arizona, and has been on the go since she arrived here three years ago. She is serving as a proctor, a member of the discipline committee, and is taking four AP courses. She takes on new challenges every day of the week. Additionally, she has been a varsity athlete on the field hockey, ice hockey, and track teams for her entire career here. While she’s been part of a NEPSAC Championship team and has earned two Individual Championships in track, her passion is on the ice during the winter. This year she is one of two seniors on the hockey team and the team won its Holiday Tournament at Winchendon.

Alexis’s play and leadership has been instrumental to the success of the team. She has made a home on the east coast and feels the sacrifices she made to leave her family at such a young age has given her more rigorous academic challenge and greater athletic opportunities. She feels ready and prepared for all that is ahead for her on the ice and in the classroom at Middlebury College, where she plans to go this fall. She has more to accomplish this winter and spring as she hopes to lead her hockey team to another playoff berth and is eager to break the school shot put record in the spring. She broke the record for the discus last spring and has her eye on the NEPSAC record as well.

Natalie Aquadro is leading the student body as student council president and is a captain of three sports teams: cross-country, swimming, and track. She describes two of the highlights of her athletic career at Williston as having a nearly undefeated cross-country season end at 12-1 her junior year, and winning the New England Championships in swimming and diving two years in a row. Natalie is a day student from Northampton, Massachusetts, and has been at Williston since seventh grade. She had pictured playing soccer and lacrosse all six years at Williston, only to be captivated by the energy of the running program. Once in the Upper School, Natalie discovered her passion for working with her classmates and joined the student council. She served as a class representative for three years before stepping into her role this year as student council president. In addition to Natalie’s athletics and student council work, she is an Admissions Intern, an Areté tutor, and has worked on Williston’s social media team, iWilliston. Natalie is still making up her mind about where to attend college.

Congratulations to these three smart, strong, and creative young women!