April, 2017

Don’t Miss This Kodak Moment: Graduation is June 9


This year’s graduation ceremony will be held on the lawn in front of Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium on Friday, June 9, at 10 a.m. A live stream of the event will be linked from Milton’s homepage on the morning of the ceremony.

The formal graduation procession begins at Straus Library, where each student receives a flower. A bagpiper then leads the faculty and seniors in a march to their seats. Tradition also dictates that Milton seniors vote for one boy and one girl to speak on behalf of the class at graduation. Diplomas at Milton are given in random order, and the last student to graduate is given a sock of quarters—one from each classmate. View last year’s sock recipient. After the ceremony, students say farewell to faculty, who have formed a receiving line. In the event of heavy rain, the ceremony will move into the Fitzgibbons Convocation Center.

The Academy is also hosting a reception in the Schwarz Student Center for graduating students, their parents and their guests from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Thursday, June 8. Milton’s a cappella groups will accompany this reception, so that parents may have one last chance to witness some of the many talents in this class.

Below are important dates for seniors and details about the graduation ceremony and surrounding events.

Important Details About Graduation


Every Class I student will receive five graduation invitations, in addition to the formal invitation that Class I families receive in the mail. Please note, however, that invitations are not necessary to attend graduation, so students may invite as many guests as they choose. There is ample seating available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sun plan

If the weather is good (and it will be!) the graduation ceremony will take place on the lawn in front of the Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium. The stage will be located on the grass closest to the Chapel steps, and Class I students will sit in the front facing the audience. Students in Classes II-IV sit in sections on the sides; invited guests, trustees and faculty sit in the first section of audience seats; and graduates’ families and friends use the seats immediately behind the faculty.

Rain plan

The ceremony will take place in the Fitzgibbons Convocation Center (FCC) if it rains. The seating arrangements will replicate the arrangements for the outdoor ceremony. The size of the FCC allows ample seating for relatives and guests.


A light buffet lunch will follow the ceremony.


Milton’s tradition of awarding diplomas in random order may complicate some parents’ efforts to take their own pictures. We therefore arrange for a professional photographer to take pictures of each graduating senior. You will receive proofs over the summer, at which time you can decide whether or not to order copies. You are under no obligation to make a purchase.

Parking and traffic

We will make special arrangements for parking and traffic for graduation. All parking will take place on Upton Field and in the Junior Building parking lot. Our staff, with assistance from the Milton police, will direct you. Please do not park on Voses Lane, Randolph Avenue or Centre Street.

Because of the number of people on campus, Academy Road, which runs in front of the Robert Saltonstall Gym and the main campus dormitories, will be closed from 9:30 p.m. on Thursday until about 1:45 p.m. on Friday. Parents who wish to load belongings from dorm rooms during these times should use the access road behind the dormitories.

Handicapped and elderly access

If a member of your party needs to be dropped off close to the ceremony site or requires handicapped access, please communicate with a campus safety officer upon your arrival at campus on the morning of graduation and he or she will make appropriate arrangements. Please remember that no cars will be allowed down past the ceremony site after 9:45 a.m.

Graduation parties

We have entered the season of celebrations. It is a good thing for students to gather to mark this time, but such events should not risk the well-being of  those whom we wish to celebrate. In their youthful enthusiasm, some graduating seniors may decide that alcohol and drugs are an appropriate way to mark the transition to the next stage in their lives, and they may exert strong pressure on parents to accept this impulse. We ask you to discourage this thinking and to resist this pressure. Underage drinking is both ill-advised and illegal. Please act responsibly if you host a gathering, and please help your children make good and healthy choices.

Important Events and Required Dates for Seniors

Thursday, April 27
Senior Celebration – 3 p.m. (Quad)

Monday, May 1
Community Engagement Day for Classes I & II – 8 a.m.-2:55 p.m.

Tuesday, May 2
Senior Projects begin

Wednesday, May 24
Class I assembly – 2nd period. REQUIRED!
Performing Arts Dessert – 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Pieh Commons)

Wednesday, May 31
Class I assembly – 2nd period. REQUIRED!
“M” Club dinner – 5-8 p.m. (Fitzgibbons Convocation Center)

Saturday, June 3
Class I prom at the Boston Marriott, Long Wharf Hotel. Students convene at 6 p.m. on Saturday for an informal photo opportunity. Trolleys depart at 7 p.m. into Boston. Parents may pick up seniors at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning at the Schwarz Student Center.

Monday, June 5
Projects due (art work and written work)
Senior/faculty Baccalaureate dinner and performances at 5 p.m. Starts in King Theatre with a celebration for the seniors and the faculty, followed by dinner with the faculty in the Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium. REQUIRED!

Tuesday, June 6
Last day of classes for Class I (Classes end at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, 6/7
for Classes II-IV)
Senior project performances – 4-5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 7
CLASS I from 9-10:30 a.m. (Straus)
Senior Project Fair – 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Senior Project performances – 6:45-9 p.m.

Thursday, June 8
Senior Project performances – 8:30-10:30 a.m.
PRIZE ASSEMBLY REQUIRED AT 10:45 A.M. (Fitzgibbons Convocation Center)
Remember that many of you will be honored at this assembly; please dress appropriately!
Chamber Singers farewell performance – 3:30 p.m. (Straus)
Principal’s and Faculty Reception for Seniors, Parents and Guests – 4-5:30 p.m.
(Schwarz Student Center)

Friday, June 9
GRADUATION AT 10 a.m. Be here to line up at 8:45 a.m. at Straus. More
information regarding the details will follow.

Tze Chun ’98 Will Be 2017 Graduation Speaker

Tze Chun ’98 Will Be 2017 Graduation Speaker

An acclaimed artist and filmmaker, Tze Chun began making movies as a Milton student. He went on to major in film studies at Columbia University. Tze’s debut feature film, Children of Invention, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to be one of the most-awarded and best-reviewed films of the year. It won 17 film festival awards, including eight Grand Jury or Best Narrative Feature prizes. Children of Invention was based on Tze’s short film Windowbreaker, which was selected for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and for which Tze was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

In addition to continuing work in independent film, Tze has branched out into studio filmmaking and television. Tze’s second feature film, Cold Comes the Night, was released in 2014 by Sony Pictures. The film stars Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston and Alice Eve. Tze’s television writing credits include Cashmere Mafia, Once Upon a Time, and Gotham.

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March Break Adventures: Hearing From the Students

Over March break, four School trips took students to California, Jordan, South Africa, and Virginia—for culture, service, music and adventure. We asked a student from each trip three questions about his or her experience. Read about what stood out most for each of them.

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Students Present DYO Projects at Annual Science Symposium

Students Present DYO Projects at Annual Science Symposium

The Pritzker Science Center will open its doors to the public on Friday, April 28, from 5­ to 7 p.m., as students in advanced courses present their projects in biology, physics, chemistry and environmental science in the annual Science Symposium.

“It’s a really great opportunity for the students to show how their years of study have come together in these culminating projects,” says science department chair Julie Seplaki. “It’s a chance for them to articulate their process and results. And it’s a lot of fun.”

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Greg Livingston and Kailee Silver Elected Head Monitors

Greg Livingston and Kailee Silver Elected Head Monitors

This Friday, newly elected head monitors Kailee Silver (II) and Greg Livingston (II) take up the mantle as school leaders from outgoing head monitors Semi Oloko (I) and Tyler Piazza (I). Kailee lives in Hallowell House and will be a captain of the cross country and swim teams next year. She is also involved with the Milton Measure, the Magus Mabus music board and Helix. Greg, new to Milton this year, lives in Goodwin House. He participates in the community engagement program and is a varsity football and lacrosse athlete.

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Seniors Are “Going On Project,” But What Does That Mean?

Seniors Are “Going On Project,” But What Does That Mean?

Next week, Class I students will begin their long-awaited “Senior Project”—a Milton tradition dating back to the 1960s. Senior Projects have evolved over the decades, but the premise remains the same: For one month, students can choose to swap class time for a full-time commitment to a personal passion and a project of their own design. The projects that seniors undertake today fit within four categories: scholarly or academic; community engagement; internship; and the arts. Over the winter, interested students flesh out their ideas and plans; recruit a member of the faculty or staff as a project advisor; and submit their proposals to a committee of faculty who determine whether the project meets certain criteria for approval, or needs amendment. The faculty committee looks at the size of the group, how the students plan to divide the work, how many hours each week they’re likely to spend on their plan, and why they’re interested in this particular project. A full project requires 40 hours per week. Many students fulfill their project requirements through two half projects, committing 20 hours per week to each. Faculty and staff sponsors meet with students on campus at least once per week to check in on progress, or discuss any challenges that arise.

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Meet English Faculty Member, Malinda Polk

Meet English Faculty Member, Malinda Polk

Though Malinda Polk considers herself a relatively new member of the Milton faculty (she joined the English department in 2011), independent school life is part of her DNA. Malinda’s father taught at Lawrenceville and Groton, so she was a self-described “fac brat,” living on campuses until she graduated from college. She attended Connecticut College as an undergraduate and earned her M.F.A. at the University of Iowa. She holds a second master’s degree in American studies from the University of Massachusetts­–Boston. At Milton, Malinda teaches one section each of Class IV English, Performing Literature, American Literature, and the Craft of Non-Fiction.

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Milton Presents Yellow Face in Wigg Hall

A cast of seven actors, many of whom play multiple characters, takes the stage in Wigg Hall for this spring’s 1212 Play, Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang.

The semi-autobiographical play tackles issues of race and assimilation and was written as a reaction to the real life casting of a white actor to play an Asian role in the hit musical Miss Saigon in 1990. In Yellow Face, Mr. Hwang’s character, played by Jonathan WuWong (II), accidentally casts a white actor, played by Ty Mohn (III) for an Asian role. He then proceeds to try to cover up his error in comedic fashion, although the humor explores complicated issues that are relevant today.

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Grease is the Word—and the Spring Musical—at Milton this Year

Grease is the Word—and the Spring Musical—at Milton this Year

More than 40 students are participating in Grease, the iconic musical set in a 1950s high school, which opens Thursday, May 18, in King Theatre. It’s a big production for Milton, says performing arts faculty member Eleza Moyer, who is directing the show.

“It’s a classic show,” Eleza says. “A lot of the students have seen the movie, and Grease Live! was on TV in the fall, which brought the show back. It’s a fun time period, with fun costumes. It appeals to a lot of people.”

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What Does ISIS Really Want? Journalist Graeme Wood Explains

What Does ISIS Really Want? Journalist Graeme Wood Explains

The approach of the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS) is grounded in theological beliefs and tradition from the earliest Muslims of the 7th century, explains journalist Graeme Wood. Mr. Wood, this spring’s Class of 1952 Speaker for Religious Understanding, is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and lecturer in political science at Yale University. His Atlantic cover story, “What ISIS Really Wants,” was the most-read piece on the Internet in 2015.

“Believers in the Islamic State feel that most of Islamic history after the 7th century was a wrong turn,” he said to students and faculty on Wednesday. “They believe they are reviving something that hasn’t existed in a long time.” Mr. Wood spent the last few years reading and analyzing Islamic State propaganda and speaking with its followers from around the world as he tried to understand who they are, what they believe, and where this is all going.

watch the assembly

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Focusing on the Environment: Lorax and the Sustainability Board

Focusing on the Environment: Lorax and the Sustainability Board

For students interested in sustainability, there are two student-run clubs that focus on environmental issues—the Sustainability Board and LORAX. Katie Friis (I), Jason Kong (I) and Juliana Viola (I) are the co-heads the Sustainability Board, which is the official school group that focuses on environmental efforts at Milton. Named for the Dr. Seuss character that “speaks for the trees,” LORAX is a student group established in 1987 that raises awareness of the environment and our responsibility as stewards of the Earth. Joy Lee (I) and Will Pincince (I) are the co-heads. Both groups were active this year with a wide range of initiatives around campus.

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Finley Congdon ’17 (Varsity Track & Field)
Finn helped the girls’ track team place first in all three throwing events at the annual Thayer Relays on Saturday—an accomplishment the team had never done before. He finished in 1st place in both Javelin and Discus and had a 2nd place finish in the Shot-Put.

TJ Brennan ’17 (Varsity Lacrosse)
TJ had 15 saves against Rivers on Saturday. Even though the game was lost, TJ was a bright point making big saves throughout the entirety of the game to keep Milton close.

Honorable Mentions:
Danny Xiao ’18, JV Tennis; Josh Katz ’17, Varsity Baseball; Jimin Kang ’19, Varsity Baseball; and Peter Sakelleris ’19, Varsity Baseball

Past Mustangs of the Week

February 26 – March 3

Varsity Ski Team

The boys’ and girls’ varsity skiers accomplished an amazing feat this season. Both teams won the New England Championships in the same year! It was a spectacular season for skiing.

Varsity Boys’ Basketball Team

The boys’ varsity basketball team had a solid season and earned a spot in the New England tournament, falling to Exeter in the semifinals.

Varsity Boys’ Hockey

For the second straight season, the varsity boys’ hockey team earned a berth in the New England tournament.  This year they finished their season in the quarterfinals.

February 20 – February 26

Mary Howley ’20 (Varsity Swimming)

Mary raced to two personal bests and helped the medley relay to break the oldest Milton school record. Mary finished 7th in New England in the 100 fly with a personal best of 58.15.  She finished 25th in New England in the 100 back with a personal best of 1:02.00.  And Mary swam the fly leg in a Milton Record setting medley relay of Magann, McEvoy, Howley and Delano with a time of 1:52.03.

JJ Batt ’18 (Varsity Swimming)

JJ set two school records at the New England Championships.  He finished 10th in New England in the 200 IM with a school record time of 1:56.22.  And JJ swam the fly leg in the record setting medley relay of Dillon Pang, Jia, Batt and Hannah with a time of 1:40.30.

Honorable Mentions: Vicker Digravio ’19 – JV Basketball .. Maria Dimartinis ’17 – V Hockey .. Bobby Beniers ’17 – V Hockey.

February 12 – February 19

Sarah Willwerth ’17 (Varsity Squash)

After suffering what would be a season ending injury when she tore a ligament in her dominant right wrist, Sarah switched over and began to play left-handed. Through dogged effort and determination, she has proceeded to earn a spot high up on the varsity squash ladder and garnered two of our four wins against two tough opponents this past weekend, Andover and Choate, along with wins against St. George’s and BB&N. While her growth and play with her weak hand has been remarkable, it is her competitive spirit and desire to stay on court with her teammates that is most impressive and inspirational.

Tom Urquhart ’18 (Varsity Basketball)

Tom had a great week for our boys basketball program. As one of the leaders on our team Tom is asked to do a lot both on and off the court for us. A lot of things that aren’t measured with stats, but help a team to be successful, is who and what Tom represents for us. Last week we needed a player to be shut down. Tom was the man for the job and did it selflessly. He’s been consistent with this type of leadership and selfless play for us all season and is one of the reasons for our successful season!

Honorable Mentions: Nia Atkins ’17 – V Basketball .. Jen Costa ’17 – V Hockey

Featured Videos

Sounds of Spring

Led by Music Department Chair Don Dregalla, Milton’s musicians rehearse for this weekend’s Spring Concert. The full orchestra and chamber orchestra take the stage in King Theatre on Friday, April 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Milton’s chamber singers, Gospel Choir and Glee Club also perform a Vocal Concert this weekend beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 30.

What music will they play?

Spring Orchestra Concert
Friday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m.

Chamber Music:
String Quartet #1 by Zan Huang (IV)
Roaring Fork  by Eric Ewazin
Music from Harry Potter by John Williams

Chamber Orchestra:
Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra in One Movement by Edward Whalen (Don Dregalla..solo percussion)
Concertpiece for Harp and Orchestra in Gb Major by Gabriel Pierne
Allana Iwanicki (I)..solo harp
Argonesa by Manuel de Falla

Full Orchestra:
Music from “Lincoln” by John Williams
Hopak by Modest Mussorsgsky
American Elegy by Frank Ticheli
Take Me Out to the Ballgame (Narrator is faculty member, Susan Marianelli) with a surprise for the audience

Spring Vocal Concert
Sunday, April 30, at 4 p.m.
Download concert program

The Great Outdoors

Adventurers of Milton’s Outdoor Program hiked the trails of Joshua Tree National Park during spring break this year. Watch this video to learn more about the Outdoor Program from the director, Kendall Chun.

Arts @ Revisit Day

Newly admitted students and their families witnessed Milton’s diversity of talents during Revisit Day. Watch these small clips of dancers, musicians and speechies performing in King.


Chamber Singers



Gospel Choir

Featured Photos

Observer Effect in the Nesto

Observer Effect, an exhibit featuring paintings by artist Grant Drumheller, is now on display through May 12 in Milton’s Nesto Gallery. Grant Drumheller is a painterly chronicler of public gatherings. His long views of the plaza, the beach and the promenade are filled with the characters of our time and become a repertoire of activity that marks us as social beings. View more images of the show.

Artist Statement

Gathering in a public square is a way of life all over the world, and for me there’s something compelling about seeing groups of people interacting from an aerial perspective. I started painting crowds several years ago when, after a residency at the American Academy in Rome, I set my video camera in a hotel window above the Pantheon and recorded people below interacting at all hours of the day and night. I’ve attempted in this suite of paintings to create an all-over, democratic area of engagement where the figures and the space form a kind of unified visual field.

Even before I began painting the large groups of human figures, I used to paint crowds of animals. (The models were toy beasts set up in migrating groups on my studio floor – virtual savannahs seen from above!) The influence for this series of paintings was a trip with my family to France when I visited the grotto of Peche Merle where I saw stunning primitive wall murals. As it happens all these sorts of images overlap in my studio practice, worked on simultaneously—paintings of family, human crowds, and the animal tableaux. For me they are all part of the ceaseless striving to achieve the right light, the right color, and the implied narrative. These paintings constitute the long-term repertoire of subjects I love to paint: human figures in natural and urban spaces, my daughters and my wife and groupings of animals. Light and color unify these subjects for me, and light has come to take on mythic importance in my work. The act of painting is really a way to draw with color. No matter how complicated the idea or powerful the unconscious obsession behind the work, all of it is ultimately secondary to the pursuit of the right in the right space—or as Boston painter George Nick says, painting is always a matter of chasing color.”

Boston Alumni and Parent Reception

Many parents and alumni gathered in Boston on April 6 to celebrate Milton, reconnect with old friends, and meet new ones. Special thanks to trustee Cathy Sakellaris and George Sakellaris P ’17 ’19 for generously hosting. Visit our event photo gallery, and thank you for the many ways you support Milton.


Today is Giving Day!

One day each year, we unite around a common goal: supporting Milton Academy. Join alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends from around the world as we celebrate all that makes Milton exceptional. Visit www.milton.edu/givingday to make your gift and follow along on social media!

Milton Magazine

Being Out There
Where are you most creative, most alive, most fulfilled? For a select group among us, the answer is “Not anywhere familiar or comfortable.” Some Milton alumni reach outside conventional settings to find achievement. Milton Magazine offers stories of four individuals who immersed themselves in environments that thoroughly intimidate most people. A passion for their work, infused with a robust appetite for risk, keeps these graduates going.

On campus, a similar driving passion and quest for mastery leads some students from experimenting in the classroom to sharing their skills and discoveries with audiences far beyond Milton, long before they graduate.

Visit www.miltonmagazine.org to read these stories.

Centre Connection

Centre Connection, Milton's online newsletter for parents, is published five times each year through the efforts of the Milton Academy Communication Office and Parents' Association volunteers.

Communication Office


Erin Berg
Marisa Donelan
Cathy Everett
Liz Matson
Greg White