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Robotics Team Competes in First National Championship

Robotics Team Competes in First National Championship

For the first time, the Robotics Team competed in a national championship, traveling to Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the CREATE U.S. Open of Robotics, one of the largest robotics tournaments in the world. Chris Hales, a math and computer programming faculty member, accompanied six students from the team and said it was a great experience. Milton’s team came in 70th out of 250.

Senior team co-heads Anne Bailey and Isabel Basow said one of the biggest surprises was the team spirit and enthusiasm displayed by all the attendees. “I expected it to be very serious. You work on your robot, compete and just get it done,” says Isabel.

“But everyone was really into it,” says Anne. “They decorated their areas, hung state flags. There were “spirit bots,” robots that were just for fun and would high-five you or throw candy as you walk by.”

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Storytelling is the Key to Understanding Our Past

Storytelling is the Key to Understanding Our Past

To better understand humanity and where we are today, young people should seek out the stories of older relatives and loved ones, Holocaust survivor Doris Edwards told students.

“If you have an older person in your family, ask them to share their life with you,” Ms. Edwards said in an assembly sponsored by the Jewish Student Union. “Once they are gone, those stories disappear.”

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Matt Trammell ’09 Combines Love of Music and Writing, For The New Yorker

Matt Trammell ’09 Combines Love of Music and Writing, For The New Yorker

When you find something you love, you’ll never be bored, Matt Trammell, Milton Class of 2009 told students during their Craft of Non-fiction class. Matt is a music writer and the nightlife editor for The New Yorker. His work includes following both rising and well-known artists through New York City’s concert scene; reviewing new albums; connecting good music to the culture that it reflects; and sharing that perspective with the world.

“Being jaded is a choice,” he told students. “If you’re truly interested in something, then you will always find a way to stay interested in it. The older you get, the more you tend to hold on to the music of your past. You think music is not as good as it used to be. But music you like is being created all the time, and you’ll find it if you’re invested in finding it.”

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Tackling Food Waste and a Culture Shift, Two Students Lead the Way

Tackling Food Waste and a Culture Shift, Two Students Lead the Way

Patrick Huang (II) of Wolcott House, and Daniel Xiao (II), who lives in Forbes House, noticed a problem that irked them: When their friends and dorm mates took food back to their rooms from the dining hall, the food waste was discarded into regular trash cans, for lack of a more sustainable alternative. The two boys wanted to do something about it. This spring they are leading a pilot composting project in both Wolcott and Forbes houses. They’ve launched this program in the same year that Milton’s dining services implemented a composting system in the dining halls, as part of the School’s broader sustainability initiatives.

“We started thinking about how we could harvest what was being thrown away in the dorms and give it back to the Earth,” says Daniel. “Patrick and I started working with chemistry teacher Mr. Moore and looking at costs and logistics.”

The boys researched composting companies and decided on Bootstrap Compost, a residential and commercial “food scrap pickup service” operating in Greater Boston. Mr. Moore met with the two students regularly to discuss their plans and to work on a presentation to School administrators. “Daniel’s and Patrick’s commitment was excellent. They showed patience, grit and diplomacy throughout the process,” says Mr. Moore.

Facilities Services and Milton’s Business Office approved their plan, and the two began a trial run of the initiative in February. They placed one Bootstrap composting bucket on each floor of the dorm to collect vegetables, fruits, grains, and the dining hall’s compostable paper plates and utensils. Each week, Patrick and Daniel move the buckets to a designated pick-up location for collection by Bootstrap. A long-term goal is to receive composted soil back from Bootstrap for the School’s gardens.

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Lifelong Passion Will Lead To Meaningful Work, Says Dr. Angelika Fretzen

Lifelong Passion Will Lead To Meaningful Work, Says Dr. Angelika Fretzen

Victories in pharmaceutical research may be life-changing, or they may be very small. Just four stairs, climbed by a child with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), are motivation for Dr. Angelika Fretzen to continue pursuing a drug to regenerate muscle and lessen the effects of the devastating genetic illness.

Her company, Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, measured a 4-step climb as a timed function test and it improved numerically for the boys in the MoveDMD trial. The ability to climb four stairs means a child can board a school bus, which is why it is so meaningful to the patients and their parents. “Hearing something like that makes my heart leap,” Dr. Fretzen, senior vice president of product development at Catabasis, told students at this year’s Science Assembly.

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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.

“Out of all the religions, the Islamic State is least interested in diversity of faith,” he said. “They are the most intolerant, and the most desiring to obliterate other faiths. They would say there is only one path.” Mr. Wood also noted that the rise of ISIS has historical parallels in Judaism, Christianity and some secular movements. One example is the Christian Reformation of the 16th century.

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Milton’s Artists and Writers Recognized for Outstanding Work

Milton’s Artists and Writers Recognized for Outstanding Work

Thirty-eight Milton students received recognition—Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention—in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious arts awards for teenagers in the country. All Gold Key award work is submitted to the national scholastic competition, and those awards are announced in March.

Aditya Gandhi (II) won a Gold Key and Honorable Mention in poetry. “My interest in writing comes mostly from reading literature. I owe thanks to all my English teachers, but especially to Mr. Connolly. The two poems of mine that were recognized deal largely with identity and how it is shaped by culture and society.”

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Find Inspiration in Shattering Convention, Bingham Writer Jamaica Kincaid Encouraged Students

Find Inspiration in Shattering Convention, Bingham Writer Jamaica Kincaid Encouraged Students

“One little piece of advice for the writers: Anything that anybody tells you to do, don’t do it,” award-winning author Jamaica Kincaid told Milton students this week. Ms. Kincaid was this semester’s Bingham Visiting Writer.

Ms. Kincaid spent two days on campus, in which she spoke to most Upper School students during an assembly, answered questions, and visited English classes, where she workshopped some student pieces. Traditionally, visiting Bingham writers speak between readings of their work. Ms. Kincaid did read a short piece from a 1980 issue of The New Yorker called “Expense Account,” in which she criticized the economist Milton Friedman, but she took an opportunity on Wednesday, which was International Women’s Day, to reflect on her career and on womanhood.

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Accelerated Calculus Students Explore the World Through Math

Accelerated Calculus Students Explore the World Through Math

Accelerated Calculus students are presenting their projects to their peers this week. The projects range from using integrals to explore how liquids flow in tubes to examining the load, shear and moment diagrams involved with building cantilever beams.

Alex Chen (II) and Andriana Velmahos (II) looked at the math behind dams, specifically determining the force on a dam using calculus concepts. They determined the force on three types of dams—rectangular, triangular and trapezoidal—and presented the math they used in their calculations. They also designed and printed miniature 3D models of the three types of dams.

“We chose to focus on dams because it’s something people might see every day, but don’t really know how they work,” said Alex during the presentation.

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“Healthy Choices Are Yours To Make”: Educator and Storyteller Cindy Pierce Empowers Students

“Healthy Choices Are Yours To Make”: Educator and Storyteller Cindy Pierce Empowers Students

Knowing and being consistently yourself—in private and in public—is the key to making healthy choices, says Cindy Pierce, this year’s Margo Johnson Endowed Speaker.

Ms. Pierce, a social sexuality educator and comic storyteller, discussed the pressures that come with “hookup culture” on high school and college campuses, telling students they have the power to set boundaries and build healthy relationships that fit their lives, instead of focusing on meeting external expectations.

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