On Writing and Living: Naomi Shihab Nye is this Spring’s Bingham Reader

Naomi Shihab NyeWith ease, emotion and humor, award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye read a selection of poems—hers and others’—and spoke about the writing process to students in King Theatre on Wednesday. Ms. Nye is this spring’s Bingham Visiting Writer, and she dedicated her first poem, "Shoulders," to the city of Boston and to former faculty member Bill Moore, who was in the audience.

"Sometimes our best poems—the ones that continue to talk to us—sneak up on us. They’re the ones that we weren’t looking for, that we weren’t anticipating," says Ms. Nye. "People often ask, 'What can you do when you are utterly blank?' The two things I tell them are eavesdrop and babysit. If you listen to other people talk, you will hear interesting language that isn’t like your own. If you spend time with little children, you will be refreshed by the majesty of their inquisitive metaphorical wonder."

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Matt Bingham Extends His Science Classroom By 2,000 Miles

Greenland Science faculty member Matt Bingham is practicing what he preaches, and teaches. Matt is spending two weeks in Greenland with a group of fellow researchers, studying how ocean conditions on the west side of Greenland affect the vast ice sheet covering roughly 80 percent of the country. Milton students are supporting the trip stateside, writing content for the blog documenting the trip and conducting experiments on samples brought back from Greenland.

“The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet, and this ice sheet is showing evidence of a complicated, or nonlinear, melting process,” says Matt. “[The glacier] is not simply turning from ice into water. Our goal is to understand what is happening during this process.”

With research scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Clark University, Wheaton College and University of Washington, Matt will travel to three sites. The group is focusing its study on the Jakobshavn Glacier, where part of the western side of the ice sheet drains into the ocean. This glacier is the subject of many scientific studies and was featured prominently in the documentary Chasing Ice.

The team will look at the structure of the ice with ground penetrating radar; they will dig snow pits, collecting layers of snow, and drill shallow ice cores. They will send snow and ice samples back to the United States for study, and Milton students will experiment on a set of samples in the fall.

Follow Matt’s adventures on Instagram and on his blog.

“Speechies” Shine at States

Milton SpeechMilton students talked their way to excellence at the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League State Championship earlier this month.

Marshall Sloane (IV) won the Extemporaneous Speaking event, in which students are asked a question regarding a domestic, international or economic issue. The speaker has 30 minutes to prepare an answer. Marshall’s question for the final round was: “How much do the Baltics have to fear from Russia?”

“The key to responding is understanding the issue,” says Marshall, “so I read for at least an hour every day from a variety of news and think tank sources to stay on top of current events. During the competition, I use the first 15 minutes to prep and the next 15 minutes to practice my delivery. I don’t use notes during the actual speech, and I don’t memorize anything except for the first line.”

Emmie Atwood (I) won the Original Oratory event, in which students prepare a speech on an issue of personal importance. Though Emmie is a veteran “speechie,” this is her first year competing in Original Oratory.

“I talked about Thoreau, and about how we are so distracted these days, constantly multitasking,” says Emmie. “I believe we should try to recapture the art of living in the present and apply that to our relationships.” Emmie has been working on this speech all year and refines it after each competition.

Other students placing in final events include Clay Heater (II) and Colby Parsons (II), who placed second in Duo Interpretation. John Glasfeld (II) placed fifth in Radio Broadcast; Sean Chanicka (II) placed sixth in Oratory; and in Play Reading, Charlie Barrett (II) placed fourth and Nick Govindan (IV) placed seventh.

Students earning top three spots in States qualify for the National Forensic League Championship, and those placing in top six spots go on to the National Catholic Forensic League Championship. Both these events are held later this spring.

This week, members of the speech team performed for Milton's newly admitted students and their families. Watch them in action:
Mack Makishima (III), Drowsy Chaperone
Daisy Walker (I)
Hana Tatsutani (IV), Sweet Tooth

Photo of the Day
Kicking back with a good book in the Schwarz Student Center
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English faculty member, Janet Levine, leads a discussion around the Harkness table in her Warren Hall classroom.
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Boys' lacrosse battles Middlesex on Dennis Field.
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Milton hosts a conference on service learning, inviting student leaders and adult coordinators from other independent schools to exchange best practices, new ideas and solutions to common challenges.
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Grandparents and special friends of Class I students stop by Wigg Hall for a spot of tea.
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Painter Chawky Frenn discusses his Nesto Gallery exhibit, We the People, with Mark Hilgendorf's Advanced History class.
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