Milton alumnus profiled in the Boston Globe Magazine; the Jazz Combo’s trip to South Africa highlighted in Globe South.
On Sunday, February 25, 2007, the Boston Globe Magazine profiled Eli Wolff, Milton Academy Class of ‘95 who has become a world leader in galvanizing U.S. and international sports organizations to recognize the right of athletes with disabilities to compete with other elite athletes.
Milton faculty and classmates remember Eli Wolff’s courage and resolve, character traits evident in Eli’s persistent and successful drive to build awareness and official support for athletes who have disabilities to be coached, to train, to compete and to be recognized with all other successful athletes.
Eli played varsity soccer at Milton, on the U.S. national team for the disabled at 17 and on the Brown University soccer team. He played in three Pan Am Games for the Disabled and in the Paralympic Games in 1996 and 2004. According to the Globe, “at Brown, he began researching the relationship between U.S. sports organizations and disabled athletes, and when he graduated in 2000 and joined Sport in Society, he was already a leader in the field.”
In “Taking His Shot,” writer Barbara Matson chronicles evidence of Eli’s success: “In December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which features a section on sports drafted by Wolff and Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. The treaty, which recognizes sports as a human right for the disabled, calls on nations to create laws and other measures to include people with disabilities in recreational, leisure, and sporting activities.”
Matson notes that Eli, “a founder of Sport in Society’s disability program and its manager of research and advocacy, coordinated the effort, reaching out to a vast network of groups.”
Having sustained a stroke as a result of surgery on his heart when he was two years old, Eli has been a driven athlete, especially at soccer. He is a Ph.D. candidate at Northeastern in the law, policy and society program.
Eli’s goal, according to Barbara Watson is that “organized sports–whether recreational, amateur, or pro–accommodate and include divisions for disabled athletes.”
In the Globe’s section for South Shore residents, “Globe South,” reporter Rich Fahey writes that this March will be the sixth time faculty member Bob Sinicrope has taken Milton’s Jazz Combo to South Africa.
The reporter notes the Jazz Combo’s recent performance at the inaugural gala for Governor Deval Patrick, as well as other performances in past years: “twice at the White House for the Clintons; at the North Sea, Fribourg, Viennes, and Montreux jazz festivals; and in local jazz clubs. Milton’s jazz players won Down Beatmagazine’s award for best high school combo in the country in 1992 and 1999.”
According to Fahey, “While in South Africa, the students will jam with Johnny Mekoa’s Music Academy of Gauteng, Darius Brubeck and his students at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Sinikthemba Choir, and students at the Amy Biehl Foundation School. Brubeck is the son of jazz icon and famed pianist Dave Brubeck.”
Justin Kahn (Class I) spoke with Fahey, and as a second-time visitor to South Africa, shared his reflections: “’One day, we would go on these incredible game drives, seeing lions go after wildebeests and giraffes scuffle with zebras, and things like that. A few days later, we would go on walking tours of townships and meet artisans who still live on Nelson Mandela’s street. …South Africa is still troubled by issues of race and class, just as the United States is, and South Africa, along with many other African countries, has also been devastated by AIDS.’”
The Milton Jazz Combo leaves March 8, after a farewell concert at 2:30 p.m. March 4 at the Real Deal Jazz Club & Cafe in Cambridge.