The Williston Northampton School
The Alumni Connections e-newsletter
seal white on blue

May 2008

In This Issue
Reunion Weekend
One Last Challenge
Alumni Spotlight: John Kawie '68
Commencement 2008
Annual Fund

Reunion Weekend

Reunion 2With only three weeks left until Reunion Weekend and the Campaign Celebration on June 7th, all signs point to this being the greatest gathering of alumni, parents, faculty, former faculty, and friends in the school's history.  Don't miss it - and don't wait! 

All the information you need for the Reunion Weekend is on the website. Register online for weekend packages or just the campaign celebration.  Please note the "Early Bird" discount is set to expire at the end of the day on May 19, so confirm your plans now.  We want you here with us for a great weekend as we make history ALL.TOGETHER.NOW!



One Last Challenge

John Anz at Senior DinnerAt this year's annual Senior Dinner, hosted by the Alumni Council, The Williston Northampton School's Class of 2008 experienced much more than the usual excitement that surrounds this time of year.  


On May 6th, the Alumni Association hosted its traditional Senior Dinner in the Birch Dining Commons at Ford Hall and marked the official welcome to the Senior Class into the Alumni Association.  The meal was fabulous and the evening was full of inspirational moments. The headline speaker, Matt KaneLong of the Science Department, was chosen by the senior class to say a few words, and his speech brought the crowd to both tears and fits of laughter.  

And then, just as the evening was coming to a close, Alumni Director John Anz '82 stood up to tell a story and to pose a challenge to the Class of 2008. 


John told the story of an anonymous alumnus who graduated in the '80s who wanted to challenge this year's senior class to break the record for all-time participation, a record set by the Class of 2006 that stands at 95%.  The alumnus, John explained, will double his generous gift of $250,000 to the Campaign if the senior class meets his challenge.   


The Class of 2008 has two weeks to surpass the 95% participation mark and take credit for being responsible for an additional quarter of a million dollars being added to the Campaign. Stay tuned to see if the class of 2008 is up to the challenge!

Alumni Spotlight: John Kawie '68

DanceJohn Lennon once said that life is what happens to you when you're busy making plans.  John Kawie '68 would certainly agree with that sentiment. In 1990, after spending 17 years working in the aerospace industry, John's plan was to sell his company, move to New York, and pursue his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian.  The plan worked, and John found success as writer and performer on "The David Brenner Radio Show" and as a contributor to Bill Maher's monologue on Comedy Central's award winning show "Politically Incorrect." He also wrote for Dennis Miller's show on HBO. That's when the plans started to become even more grand: John began focusing more on acting and started getting work in TV commercials.

And then life stepped in.  

In 1997, John suffered a life-altering stroke at the age of 47 that put him in a wheelchair.

John Lennon didn't say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade, but John would agree with that idea as well.  Less than two months after the stroke, John took a cab from the hospital where he was recovering to do stand-up for patients at another hospital.  After that performance, he did more standup at a comedy club.  He wasn't able to perform that same way he did before he had the stroke--if the wheelchair wasn't evidence enough of that, then there were the Post-it notes he had to rely on to help him remember his act--but he was doing what he loved and establishing an audience among other people recovering from strokes.  And he began making lemonade when he decided to turn his experiences into a one-man show, "Brain Freeze." 

John has performed "Brain Freeze" all over the country, in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clubs, and theaters.    In 2003, John performed the show at the International Fringe Festival in New York City and won the Best Solo Show award.  This month, which is National Stroke Awareness Month, John is performing the show in California.  Next month, John returns to the Williston Northampton campus for Reunion 2008, during which he will perform "Brain Freeze" for classmates and fellow alumni.  Whether you remember John from your days at Williston or not, the show is funny and powerful and one that you don't want to miss.  As he says in a recent interview, "the show has allowed me to put myself out there and not hide who I am.  I've gotten unbelievable responses to the truthfulness of the show.  That's what I'm really proud of." 

From the Director

John Anz Sign

This is simply an incredible time to be on campus because there's a buzz unlike any I've ever felt before.  Sure, some of it is to be expected, since the final weeks of school are upon us and all that goes with that: the senior projects, the choral and dance concerts, the art shows, the prom, Willy Gras, exams, and Commencement.  But this year, a few other exciting events are happening that you should read about in this issue of Connections.

You'll also be interested to know that we've had another record run for the Annual Fund, and we plan to celebrate the successful conclusion to the Campaign for Williston Northampton: Legacy & Vision with a big gala affair during Reunion.  In addition, John Kawie '68 will be returning for a special performance of his award-winning one man show.  

Our big surprise is that the Class of 2008 has been challenged to break the Annual Fund giving record, which currently stands at 95% participation.  There has never been a time quite like this at Williston.  I hope what follows gives you a sense of what I mean.


I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you back on campus in June!

John B. Anz '82
Director of Alumni Relations

Quick Links
Commencement 2008

The Williston Northampton Schools' 167th Commencement ceremony will be held May 31, 2008, at 9:30 a.m. on the quadrangle in front of the Reed Campus Center.  Dr. Ralph J. Hexter, president of Hampshire College, will give the commencement address.

Baccaluareate will take place the evening before at 8:00 p.m. in the Phillips Stevens Chapel. 
Annual Fund
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This year's Annual Fund is on pace to reach its very ambitious goal of $1.4 million, but we're not there yet and could still use everyone's participation. If you still need to make your Annual Fund gift this year, you can do it online.  Click here to make your gift.