This article was first posted in the 2018 issue of Hamptonia.
It’s hard to imagine the quiet, soft-spoken Mikayla Williams that arrived at New Hampton School in the fall of her sophomore year confidently belting out the song she wrote in an auditorium full of students and parents with charisma and gusto. However, this was something that happened on multiple occasions before Mikayla graduated.
Mikayla arrived at New Hampton School from The Carroll School in Lexington, Massachusetts. Aware that she needed and wanted specific support in her academic career, New Hampton School was added to the list, and rapidly became the favorite as she familiarized herself with the performing arts and academic programs, and the community.
A frequent face on the stage, Mikayla delved into the performing arts program in particular. On stage, she mastered both acting and vocals, performing in every school play offered during her three years here, and
participating in the Contemporary Music Lab. In addition, Mikayla frequently led tours for the admission office, something she was very excited to do when she arrived, and served as a student proctor, leading her peers and acting as an older sister to younger female students.
Was the Academic Support Program a big draw for you?
Yes. The other schools I visited didn’t have something like this, so for a school to offer an integrated support program was really amazing. I knew I would need support to manage my dyslexia and New Hampton could give me that.
How have you grown through the Academic Support Program?
When I first arrived here, I was pretty well organized, but towards the end of my sophomore year, I had to learn to manage my time and school a lot more. I learned, “I need to plan out how I’m going to finish this, then do my homework, and then I’ll still have time to have a social life and all that stuff.” By my junior year, it was pretty easy, and then by my senior year I didn’t need any Academic Support.
How do you feel about being on your own in college?
I’m pretty nervous, but I think I can handle it. As long as I take my time and do my best, I’ll be okay.
What did you find at New Hampton that you weren’t expecting?
I was surprised by how strong a connection you make with others in the community, friends and teachers. It’s cool to live with teachers who might also coach you.
You were drawn to the Performing Arts program here. Was this new for you?
I did plays and the musicals at The Carroll School, but the program is much bigger here. Mr. Masterson took a chance on me not having much experience, and now I am part of the contemporary performance lab and perform and have fun doing what I love.
How have you grown in the performing arts program?
I can sing without getting nervous, and I’ve grown as a singer. I learned new techniques, and recorded songs.
What are your plans for next year?
I will attend Assumption College in Worchester, Massachusetts. I’m undecided about what I’ll study but that’s ok for now. I’ll still sing and plan to join the Assumption Chorus Choir. They travel and sing all over the world.
Do you have ideas on what you might like to do after college?
I want to be in the arts. As long as I’m doing something that I like, with music or art, I’ll be happy.
What are you going to miss the most?
Performing in concerts, and the community here, and the traditions like Powder Keg and dress dinners.
What are your biggest takeaways from three years at New Hampton School?
First, it’s okay to be yourself, and second, always try new things because you may like it in the end.
What are some risks that you took while you were a student?
I played JV soccer which I hadn’t done in years, but I thought, “Let me just try this,” and I was captain last year. I also helped with the yearbook. And, again, performing in front of the whole school. The only time I ever performed before New Hampton School was at church, in front of a congregation that knew me and loved me. When I first came here, I was singing in front of strangers. Now, I’ll sing in front of anybody.