Swap-It: Treasured Tradition With a Fresh Approach
October brings the time-honored Swap-It sale to campus each year, and so many people—at Milton and beyond—feel the benefits. Swap-It began more than 60 years ago when Milton parents gathered to trade school uniforms. As years passed, families brought other items to trade and sell, and Swap-It grew into a lively and beloved tradition. For decades, sale proceeds have benefited Milton’s youngest learners: Proceeds have underwritten computers, cameras, playground equipment, Middle School lockers, furniture and teaching materials. Over the last four years, Swap-It has also provided essential seed money for educational innovation in K–8, fueling curriculum renewal and professional development.
This is the second year in which the reformatted Swap-It will not only benefit Milton Academy students, faculty, staff and families, but also several Boston-area community non-profit partners. The sale will help support organizations serving the needs of local low-income clients, such as Cradles to Crayons, Rosie’s Place, Sojourner House, and Vincent Newborn Necessities Program.
Students can purchase bestselling books, unique “boutique” items, gently used sports equipment, and crazy costumes to sport at the favorite Swap-It dance on Friday evening. For event details, visit http://swapitmilton.com.
Honors Geometry Students Go From Trail to Map to App
Armed with satellite images and colored tape, 13 Honors Geometry students ventured to Cunningham Park with a mathematical mission: to develop an accurate map of the park’s walking trails, suitable for public use.
“Taking what we are learning in class, and seeing how that math can be applied in real world situations, felt so practical, and really cool,” says Rachel Handler (IV).
Math faculty member Matt Simonson planned this field trip project as a hands-on way for students to complete their unit on graph theory. He first tasked students with organizing themselves and determining what supplies they would need. They requested six colors of tape and markers. On a damp, drizzly morning, the group headed to the park, breaking into groups of two or three.
“The system we came up with was to mark the trails with tape as we went along,” says Rachel. “We made up names for the trails and trail intersections and wrote that on the tape. Each group started at a different section in the park and marked off on their maps as they went along. Our tape didn’t stick well due to the rain, which was a challenge, but we improvised by tying the tape around different objects.”
Jennifer Finney Boylan On Living an Authentic Life
What does it mean to be transgender? What is gender identity? This year’s Talbot Speaker, Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, answered these questions for students and faculty, with charm, personal anecdotes, and compassionate advice. Professor Boylan is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence at Barnard College and the author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders.
“The question is not how you go from being a man to a woman, or a woman to a man,” she said. “The real question is: How do you live an authentic life? How do you be you, out in the world? That well-intentioned advice, ‘Just be yourself,’ can be the most difficult advice to follow.”
Professor Boylan shared how she “came out” to her conservative, religious mother, who was 85 years old at the time. Her mother’s response, “It’s impossible to hate anyone whose story you know,” became Professor Boylan’s approach in educating people about LGBTQ issues. During assembly, she read her own powerful story, “The Early Morning Rain,” which she revised for an anthology around the 2010 It Gets Better Project, aimed to help young people questioning their own gender identities.
The importance of being a “good ally” to a friend who is struggling with his or her identity is an important message for students, and Professor Boylan offered advice about being supportive. “It’s okay not to know or understand everything about transgender people. ‘Transgender’ is a broad term that covers a lot of situations,” she said. “More important is the compassion and love you offer to people who are different from you. Open your heart, even before you have all the facts. Let your friends know you have their back, even if you don’t understand everything.”