April, 2016

Conor French ’99 Will Be 2016 Graduation Speaker

Conor French ’99 Will Be 2016 Graduation Speaker

A corporate attorney turned social entrepreneur, Conor French ’99 is the CEO of Indego Africa—a nonprofit enterprise that partners with cooperatives of nearly 500 female artisans in Rwanda and Ghana. Indego Africa tries to break cycles of poverty by providing women with the tools and support to flourish as independent businesswomen and drive development in their communities.

Indego Africa supports its artisan partners by exporting, marketing, and selling their products— clothing, jewelry, accessories, home décor—online and to retailers like J.Crew and Nicole Miller. Indego Africa pools profits from sales, donations and grant support to fund training in business management, entrepreneurship, technology and literacy for its artisan partners.

Conor began his career practicing law at Latham & Watkins, where he represented public and private companies, investment banks, private equity firms, and investors. He served as pro bono counsel to Ashoka, in which he structured partnerships that supported the organization’s global network of social entrepreneurs. This work with Ashoka sparked in Conor a shift toward social impact entrepreneurship.

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A Time for Great Celebration

A Time for Great Celebration

This year’s graduation ceremony will be held on the lawn in front of Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium on Friday, June 10, at 10 a.m. 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 the graduating students and their parents from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9. 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.

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Important Details About Graduation

Every Class I student will receive five graduation invitations in addition to the invitation that we will send to you next week. Please note, however, that invitations are not necessary to attend graduation, so students may invite as many guests as they choose. Seating is unlimited and 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 Gym. 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 the young people 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 sons and daughters make good and healthy choices.

Important Events and Required Dates for Seniors

Tuesday, April 22
Tuxedo Time on campus to measure for tuxedos, 9-11 a.m.

Tuesday, April 26
Class I morning assembly – Lovering Award elections

Wednesday, April 27
Seminar Day – 8 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Thursday, April 28
Senior Celebration – 3 p.m. (Quad)

Thursday, May 5
Senior Projects begin

Wednesday, May 25
Class I assembly – 2nd period. REQUIRED!

Wednesday, June 1
Class I assembly – 2nd period. REQUIRED!

“M” Club dinner – 5-8 p.m. (Fitzgibbons Convocation Center)

Saturday, June 4
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 6
Projects due (art work and written work)

Senior/faculty Baccalaureate dinner and performances at 5 p.m. Starts in King Theatre, a celebration for the seniors and the faculty, followed by dinner with the faculty in the Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium. REQUIRED!

Tuesday, June 7
Last day of classes for Class I (Classes end at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, 6/8 for Classes II-IV)

Wednesday, June 8 

Wednesday, June 8 & Thursday, June 9
Senior Project performances – (Wednesday afternoon – 1:30-5:45 p.m., Wednesday evening – 7-10 p.m. & Thursday morning – 8:20-10:30 a.m.)

Thursday, June 9
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 10
GRADUATION AT 10 a.m. Be here to line up at 8:45 a.m. at Straus.

Students Will Carry Laptops to Class Next Year

Students Will Carry Laptops to Class Next Year

How should Milton support and facilitate integrating technology in the classroom? Over the past year, a group of administrators, faculty and staff have considered that issue. Co-chaired by David Ball, Upper School principal, and Bryan Price, chief information officer, the group considered how faculty use instructional technology today; students’ access to various devices; and ways to make sure that faculty and students can take advantage of educational technology into the future. The group ultimately concluded that every student having access to his or her own personal laptop in class each day would best serve teaching and learning at Milton. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, Milton will implement a new policy that each Upper School student bring his or her own laptop to class.

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What Happens When Centrists are Marginalized? Seminar Day 2016

What Happens When Centrists are Marginalized? Seminar Day 2016

“If you’re tempted to disengage from politics as a result of this surrealist campaign, don’t” students heard this morning from John Avlon ’91, editor in chief of The Daily Beast and a CNN political analyst. Ceding political debate to “hyper-partisans” is partly to blame for the highly polarized state of Congress and political campaigns right now, he explained. John Avlon launched Seminar Day 2016 as the Sally Bowles ’56 Keynote Speaker. John has long advocated for the power and importance of political centrism, a level of discourse that has before and can again generate real progress in the United States. He has written Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics as well as Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. Earlier in his career John was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun, and a chief speechwriter for New York Mayor Rudolph Guliani. He won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for best online column in 2012. John has appeared on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, “Real Time” with Bill Maher, PBS, and C-Span.

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Science on Display From Milton’s Advanced Researchers

Science on Display From Milton’s Advanced Researchers

Milton’s sixth annual Science Symposium will showcase advanced science students and their DYO (Design Your Own) experiments on Friday, April 29, at 5 p.m. in the Pritzker Science Center. For students enrolled in advanced biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science, discussing independent projects that they’ve pursued over the last several weeks is their culminating work.

“The Symposium offers advanced students a chance to showcase their work in an informal setting, inviting stimulating conversation between the students and the public,” says Julie Seplaki, science department chair. “These projects are the culmination of three or four years of inquiry-based science training at Milton, and evidence of the evolution and intellectual growth of young scientists, who are now prepared to tackle new and exciting challenges.”

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The People Have Spoken: Semi Oloko and Tyler Piazza Set to Take Office in the New Year

The People Have Spoken: Semi Oloko and Tyler Piazza Set to Take Office in the New Year

Newly elected head monitors Semi Oloko (II) and Tyler Piazza (II) have taken up the mantle as school leaders from outgoing head monitors Avery Park (I) and Mack Makishima (I). Semi is a varsity tennis player, involved with Christian Fellowship and Onyx. Tyler is a varsity cross country and track athlete, a Community Service board member, and was a Class II SGA class rep.

Although the Class II Retreat was abbreviated due to severe weather, the day’s activities still energized class spirit, and Class II students rose to the challenge of running for office. Over two weeks in April, 12 students—self-nominated—each made his or her case to all students and to the faculty, that he or she should be one of the two head monitors for the 2016–2017 year. In their creative and effective speeches, Semi described herself as the parts of a burrito, and Tyler described himself as a meme.

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Skills.  Who Doesn’t Need Them?

Skills. Who Doesn’t Need Them?

Milton’s Academic Skills Center is a warren of comfortable study rooms and offices in the basement of Cox Library. Katie Collins is director of this center that provides students with a quiet place to study and if they choose, services that can help them reach their academic potential. Skills Center services are designed to complement the support students receive from their individual teachers and advisors.

Katie came to Milton in 2009 from Northeastern University where she worked for the founder of the university’s learning disability program. “I was also seeing that college students lacked the skills they needed and it was already too late for many of them. The skills I want students to be able to use should be part of their learning in high school,” says Katie.

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Milton Seniors Are “On Project”

Milton Seniors Are “On Project”

“Going on project,” is a familiar Milton term; it refers to Class I students beginning their long-awaited “Senior Project” at the start of May. Senior Projects are a Milton tradition dating back to the 1960s, and they’ve evolved over the decades. The projects that seniors undertake today fit within four categories: scholarly or academic; community service; internships; and the arts. The procedural hoops to set up a project begin during early winter when students who are interested submit their ideas and plans. They must recruit a member of the faculty or staff as a project advisor, and a committee of faculty decides whether the project meets certain criteria and can be approved, 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.

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Milton Gets Wicked Sketchy in May

Milton Gets Wicked Sketchy in May

It’s turning into an annual spring tradition as the 1212 play brings another taste of Saturday Night Live comedy to campus. Wicked Sketchy is an original production made up of sketches, written and performed by students. For this third production, Wicked Sketchy veterans Mack Makishima (I), Alex Gistis (I) and Melody Tan (I) took on lead writing and directorial roles in this collaborative project. The 12-student cast pitched ideas to each other and wrote draft skits in small groups, eventually choosing the final ones, which each student had a hand in editing. Director and performing arts faculty member Peter Parisi says sketch topics range from pirates to family relationships, Greek mythology to dating, and the production includes two musical numbers.

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“The Office” Spawns a Latter Day Don Quixote

“The Office” Spawns a Latter Day Don Quixote

Milton’s Main Stage Rendering of Donnie Q

Don Quixote, as it will play out in the Kellner Theatre in May, is new to Milton and to the world – but possibly not to Cervantes. Shane Fuller (Performing Arts) directed this Don Quixote spin off, called Donnie Q, when he was teaching theater for college students and co-managed a summer program called Square Top Repertory Theatre, in Pegosa Springs, Colorado.

“It looks at the novel with fresh eyes,” says Mr. Fuller, “and offers a contemporary take on the felt need to be a hero.” Set in contemporary office space with “The Office” overtones, our erstwhile hero, Donnie, figures that he’d rather be a knight than keep on slogging in the office.

Mr. Fuller has been eager to rethink and rework the Square Top production, and beginning last summer he worked on reviewing the script and the story components and adapting the show. The story begins to spin out when the office crew learns that a certain report must be finished before they all go home, and they’ll likely be working at it all night. They’re stuck. At a particular moment during the evening, a cacophony of relentless office sounds — staplers, printers, keyboards — triggers Donnie, who snaps and runs out. When he ultimately returns, he’s wearing homemade armor and feels compelled to take on some “quests,” confusing and frustrating to his co-workers, especially when one quest results in a broken server. Ultimately the crew realizes that they will need to get involved in a quest in order to trap Donnie. They cooperate in a mission to kill an office “giant,” (a giant whose body is enshrouded with monitor shells and has keyboards for arms) but Donnie surprises them by drawing a real sword. They then realize that a bona fide “capture” of Donnie will be necessary and they make that happen.

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Eliza Scharfstein (I) on the Jewish Student Union

Eliza Scharfstein (I) on the Jewish Student Union

Since its inception in the early 1990s, Jewish Student Union, or JSU, has been a club that welcomes both Jews and non-Jews. As the heads of club, we, Jacquie Golden and Eliza Scharfstein, aim for JSU to foster a fun, welcoming, safe, and educational environment for students to bond over and share their Judaism and personal culture with each other. The faculty leader Ms. Klein-Ash has been overseeing the club for 15 years now!

In our weekly meetings we discuss everything from traditions to the events in Israel, play games such as “jewpardy,” and share knowledge and experiences about Judaism and our Jewish identities. We also run larger events around the holidays that tend to get more of the community involved, including making hamentaschen around Purim, leading a Passover seder, and hosting a Chanukah party. Additionally, JSU hosts an annual 2nd period assembly. This year, holocaust survivor Hana Berkovitz, from Newton, Massachusetts, spoke to Class II about her experiences in Auschvitz concentration camp. For this year’s JSU chapel, we shared some Passover traditions and songs with the boarding community.

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Parents’ Association News

To the entire Upper School Parents’ Association Board, we thank you for all your hard work connecting parents, the School’s administration, and students this school year! We have continued to improve communication among parents, and between parents and the School. We have enjoyed frank and substantive discussions with department chairs, administration, and faculty, all of whom were candid, informative, and interested in engaging about our concerns and ideas. In its second year, our recent panel discussion featuring Head of School Todd Bland, Upper School Principal David Ball, and Dean of Teaching and Learning Indu Singh provided insight and a forum for extended discussion about the complexities of Milton’s academic program.

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Upcoming Parents' Association Events

Monday, May 2 — Milton Parent Association Meeting 7–9 p.m. in the CSG Conference Room
Everyone is welcome to attend either in person or via webcast. Next month we are delighted to welcome Heather Flewelling, Director of Multiculturalism and Community Development to our meeting. To access the meeting via teleconference, click here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Thursday, May 19 — Treats for students at 10 a.m.in the Schwarz Student Center.

Friday, May 27 — Parents’ Association sponsors snack tables for Milton/Nobles Day

Monday, June 6 — Milton Parents’ Association Meeting 7–9 p.m. in the CSG Conference Room
Everyone is welcome to attend either in person or by phone/webinar. The guest speaker for the June meeting will be Director of College Counseling Rod Skinner.

Community Service at Milton: Tell Us What You Think

Milton Academy’s Community Service Program has been offering volunteer opportunities for students, and support for local nonprofit organizations, for more than 20 years. We are beginning a comprehensive assessment of the impact of our work, for all constituencies: student volunteers, partner service sites, and our Milton community as a whole. We are interested in learning about your experience with the program. We appreciate your time, consideration, and honest feedback so that we can continue to strengthen our work. We understand that, as an adult, your role in the program may be direct or indirect. Please answer survey questions as you can and simply skip questions that are not applicable to you. This survey should take approximately 10 minutes for you to complete. Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience with us.  Please complete the survey by May 6.

Survey link:  http://goo.gl/forms/GVTxCxGWbk

Mustang of the Week

Sam Hitt ’16 (V Baseball)

Sam had a perfect batting average this week for the varsity baseball team.  He went 3 for 3 with four walks at the plate and scored 4 runs scored in the league games during the week.

Jenny Feeney ’17 (V Lacrosse)

Jenny scored a season high seven goals on Saturday in Varsity Girls Lacrosse’s overtime win against Brooks. Jenny scored the two biggest goals of the game.  She tallied the game tying goal in the final seconds to come from behind and send the game into overtime, and she scored the game winning goal in sudden victory overtime.

Honorable Mentions:  Jen Costa ’17 – V Track .. Allan Rapelyea ’17 – V Track .. Claire Dudley ’18 – V Softball.. Charlie Guscott ’16 – Varsity Softball ..  Ashely Adelberg ’16 – V Softball

Featured Videos

The Art of Improv

Performing Arts Department Chair Peter Parisi talks about improv classes at Milton. Actors take the stage in King for Improv Night this Friday, April 29, at 9 p.m.

From the Balcony of King

During the wintry days of early April (yes, it snowed on Revisit Day), newly admitted families warmed up to Milton with performances by our students. Watch these clips captured from the mezzanine of King Theatre.

Duo Interpretation: Ruthless
Chamber Singers

Touring Prague

The Chamber Singers, along with members of Milton’s orchestra, toured the Czech Republic during spring break. Watch these videos of pieces performed in the Lobkowicz Palace. You can watch Milton’s musicians live in King Theatre this weekend at the Spring Concerts. The Spring Orchestra Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, April 29, and curtains open for the Spring Vocal Concert at 4 p.m. this Sunday, May 1.

Dvorak-Napadly pisne
Sonnet 116

A Celebration of Moving Image

And now for our featured presentation: Projects from Shane Fuller’s Moving Image class—like this short film, 911 What’s Your Emergency—hit the big screen (in Wigg Hall) at the annual Film Festival on Friday, May 13. Show begins at 7 p.m.

ZZ Packer Visits Milton

During her visit to campus as the Bingham Visiting Writer, author ZZ Packer reads “Brownies” from her short-story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.

Can You Find Your Student?
Speed walk through the Stu at recess to see if you can find your student within the sea of faces.

The Sweet Sounds of Spring

Don Dregalla leads rehearsals for this weekend’s Spring Concert. The orchestra takes the stage in King at 7:30 this Friday and Milton’s vocalists perform at 4 p.m. this Sunday.

Featured Photos

On Display in the Nesto

Artist Carol Barsha talks about her work with Class IV art students. Ms. Barsha’s exhibit in Milton’s Nesto Gallery runs through May 6.
View photos of the exhibit.

Spring Sports Snapshots

Already two weeks into the spring season and Milton’s Mustangs show real talent, battling tough ISL competition. View a few photos from the first few match-ups.

In the Spotlight at Beatnik

Students packed Straus Library—lounging on couches and feet dangling between rails of the second floor balcony—to watch their classmates perform at Beatnik Café. View more photos of the event by Evan Scales (II).

A Few Hundred Friends in Boston

More than 200 parents and alumni celebrated Milton Academy at our annual Boston reception, this year at the Downtown Harvard Club. Head of School Todd Bland shared news from the school and provided an update on Dare: The Campaign for Milton Academy. Find yourself or your friends in our photo gallery

Are you a parent in the Chicago area? There’s still time to register for our parent and alumni luncheon on Tuesday, May 10, at the University Club of Chicago. To RSVP, visit www.milton.edu/invite/chicago.


Today is Giving Day

It’s a day for parents, friends, alumni, faculty and staff to come together, to give back, and to celebrate everything that makes Milton exceptional.

Milton relies on the generosity of its donors to keep a Milton education strong. In fact, annual gifts alone make up 11 percent of the operating budget of our School.

On Giving Day, gifts will have an even greater impact. Our generous challenge donors are offering an additional $15,000 in support of the Milton Fund if 300 donors make a gift, of any amount, on that day.

What can we accomplish in 24 hours? Let’s find out together. Tune in on social media to follow Milton’s first Giving Day. #MiltonGives

Click here to give online.

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


Greg White
Liz Matson
Marisa Donelan
Cathy Everett