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Chicago Comes to King Theatre

Chicago Comes to King Theatre

The magic of musicals returns to King Theatre this month with a production of Chicago, Milton’s first live musical since the fall of 2018.

Director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Eleza Kort said the show—a satire of sensationalized crime in 1920s Chicago—was chosen for its spectacle and potential for escapism.

“We wanted to do something big, something fun, something with amazing music and cool and interesting dancing, and something with an intriguing plot,” she said. “I wanted a show with a little darkness, but that’s not too dark. We wanted to invite people back to the theater with something that will razzle-dazzle them.”

Dance Concert Returns Live

Dance Concert Returns Live

The Winter Dance Concert returns live to King Theatre on March 3 for a four-show run that includes about 70 students and a wide variety of dances.

The show, which will run for a Saturday matinee for the first time, features dance styles from all over the world, including hip hop, African, Indian, Irish step, Chinese fan dancing, and modern dance, said director and Performing Arts Department Chair Kelli Edwards. The last live Winter Dance Concert at Milton happened just before the school went remote in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—in 2021, a smaller production was filmed and shared with the community.

“The cast has worked very hard this year and the student choreographers are so eager to share their work,” said senior dancer and choreographer Audrey Volpe ’22. “We’ve waited two years to get back on stage for a live dance concert and we’re so excited for everyone to come to the show.”
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New Astronomy Club Mixes Science and Stargazing

New Astronomy Club Mixes Science and Stargazing

Formed this year, the Astronomy Club offers students an opportunity to delve into the far reaches of the universe by observing and chronicling the night sky as well as exploring astrophysics.

The two senior co-heads, John Matters ’22 and Teddy Sunshine ’22, started the club because of their shared interest in astrophysics, which studies the chemistry and physics of celestial phenomena such as black holes, dark matter, and the life cycles of stars. They recognized the value in having Milton’s Ayer Observatory available on campus and wanted to encourage more students to use it.

“We decided to start the club because we were both interested in the subject matter and we both have backgrounds in astrophysics,” said Sunshine, who has taken up astrophotography in the last two years. “I go out at night and take photos of both wide-angle and deep space objects and I’m able to display them to everyone. We’re trying to teach people the skills to do that. I got really into it through the pandemic and it’s become a real passion of mine and I want to teach other people how to do it as well.”

English Teacher’s New Poetry Collection

English Teacher’s New Poetry Collection

Congratulations to English faculty member Brian Simoneau, whose new poetry collection, No Small Comfort, was published at the end of June. And in July, it was number three on the Small Press Distribution Bestseller List.  Simoneau has shared some of the poems at virtual poetry readings for several Massachusetts public libraries. This fall he will be headlining a few readings for literary organizations. Below is one of the poems from his collection. 

Resources for reporting misconduct

Dear Milton Academy alumni, In addition to our work to ensure the safety of our current students, we remain committed to the healing of survivors of historic sexual abuse in our community. We write today to remind our alumni community of existing resources for...
Speech and Debate Team’s First Tournament of the Year

Speech and Debate Team’s First Tournament of the Year

The Speech and Debate Team participated in their first national level tournament of the year at Yale University the weekend of September 18th. Congrats to all the students!

In Speech: Congress: Nika Farokhzad ’23, quarterfinalist; Duo Interpretation: Alexa Burton ’24 and Jack Burton ’22, 5th place; Extemporaneous Speaking: Neha Modak ’22 and Tyler Tjan ’22, octa finalists and Eliot Smith ’22, quarterfinalist; Humorous Interpretation: Jack Burton ’22, semifinalist and Talia Sherman ’22, 2nd place finalist; Oral Interpretation of Literature: Talia Sherman ’22, 1st place finalist.

In Debate: Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Andrew Tsang ’22 advanced to Doubles, Varsity Public Forum Debate: Jon Yildirim ’23 and Shiloh Liu ’22 advanced to Quarters (TOC Gold Bid), Yaman Habip ’23 and Lorenzo de Simon ’23 advanced to Triples; Junior Varsity Public Forum Debate, Emily Huneycutt ’24 and Sonya Martin ’24 advanced to Double.

Nesto Gallery Features Two New England Artists

Nesto Gallery Features Two New England Artists

On September 23, Milton’s Visual Arts Department hosted an opening reception for the first Nesto Gallery show of the 2021–2022 academic year. This exhibit features two longtime New England artists and educators—Charles Goss from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and Jocelyne Prince of the Rhode Island School of Design—who have created artwork in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stang Stories: Podcast of Alumni Interviews

Stang Stories: Podcast of Alumni Interviews

As a freshman, Teddy Ellis ‘22 enjoyed guest speakers who came to campus to speak to students on a variety of topics. Some of these speakers were alumni—Ellis wanted more opportunities for students to connect with them, but recognized it wasn’t always possible for alumni to get to campus. During the fall of 2019, under the guidance of faculty sponsors Jim Kernohan and Matt Fishbein, Ellis launched Stang Stories (https://www.stangstories.com/) a podcast featuring interviews with alumni who share their stories with the broader Milton community.

Stang Stories was then expanded to an official student club, so other students could participate in the production of the podcast. So far they have interviewed nine alumni: Jim Meeks ’97, Kenzie Bok ’07, Tad Hills ’81, Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer ’87, Fred Melo ’84, Sid Raju ’12, Amy Kaufman ’04, Edward Cunningham ’94, and Farah Pandith ’86.

Prize Assembly

Prize Assembly

The Class of 2021 gathered under a tent on the Quad to celebrate their peers at the Prize Assembly. Awards recognized overall student achievement as well as achievement in the performing arts, visual arts, English, science, math, classics, computer science, modern languages, history, public speaking, student publications and athletics.

Spanish Language Students Connect With “Moms” in Guatemala

Students in Mark Connolly’s Spanish 4 class are finishing the academic year working with Project Olas, an organization co-founded by a group at Georgetown University that includes alumna Chloe Morris ‘19. Project Olas works to provide relationship-centered language education by connecting students with Guatemalan mothers known as “Olas moms” to practice their Spanish. The Olas moms live in the community surrounding the Guatemala City Garbage Dump in Zone 3 of Guatemala City. 

Connolly said his students were “super excited” to do this work together over the last few weeks of school. Their first Zoom session with their Olas mom, Leslie Hernández, “started slow but ended up with a ping-ponging conversation about everything from pets to travel plans to the cultural calendars and practices. Leslie reminded us that ‘cada cabeza es un mundo’ (every head/mind is a world).”

Perskys Awards Honor Student Writers and Artists

Perskys Awards Honor Student Writers and Artists

Some of Milton’s best student writers and artists gathered virtually on Monday evening for the Laurence S. Persky Memorial Awards. The annual awards are given for the best work appearing in Milton Academy student publications and honor excellence in creative writing, journalism, art, photography, and production.

Guest speaker and alumna Tina Nguyen ’07 spoke to students about writing and told stories about her “weird career path.” She is a national reporter for POLITICO, covering the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement, disinformation, and internet culture. Prior to that, she was a staff reporter for Vanity Fair Hive for more than four years, covering American politics and the rise of Donald Trump.

Nugyen said she tries to make her “writing as compelling as possible.” 

“Writing is the foundation—it’s an art but it’s also a discipline,” she said. “The goal is to make sure your audience gets what you are saying. They may not like what you have to say, but at least they understand it.”

Student Historians Recognized With Annual Bisbee Awards

Student Historians Recognized With Annual Bisbee Awards

Ten students were selected for a Bisbee Prize by their teachers for outstanding research on their U.S. history papers. For the annual spring tradition, faculty, students, and guests gathered on Zoom to recognize the students’ impressive work on topics ranging from 19th-century Chinese immigrants to communism in Hollywood. The award winners rotated through break-out rooms to discuss their papers and answer questions on their research. 

Matt O’Rourke ’21, who wrote about the prohibition movement, said it was the personal stories, such as how people resisted prohibition and tried to find ways around the laws, that  “made the research really interesting.”

The Bisbee Prize was established to honor Ethan Wyatt Bisbee, a former history faculty member and department chair who retired in 1993 after 40 years of teaching. The Prize was endowed in 2005 through a gift by John Warren, formerly of the history department, and his wife, Laura Warren ’78, former head of Robbins House. Bisbee passed away earlier this year. 

Student Success in International STEM Competition

Student Success in International STEM Competition

Lan Hai ‘23 participated in the Conrad Challenge, an international student-driven, project-based science and technology competition to solve problems with a global impact. Hai and two peers from her hometown of Shanghai developed, programmed, and retrofitted a sailboat to pick up plastic garbage while it sails. Their project, called SAIL-E, finished in the World’s Top Six in the Ocean Plastics Category.

Hai said their idea used “end-of-life boats,” which are sailboats that can’t be used by people anymore, but which contain fiberglass that is very costly, polluting, and inefficient to recycle.

“Right now there is no good way to recycle boats,” said Hai, who competes on Milton’s sailing team. “It’s a big problem that’s underrated. So we took an end-of-life boat, an actual sailboat, and modified it to be a garbage collection boat. Our solution is a lot cheaper than current garbage-collecting boats. After the competition’s national rounds, we added a solar panel, so the motors, which run the rudder and nets, run on solar power and there are no emissions.”

Emma Tung and Jack Burton Elected Head Monitors

Emma Tung and Jack Burton Elected Head Monitors

Newly elected head monitors Emma Tung ’22 and Jack Burton ’22 took up the mantle as school leaders from outgoing head monitors Eliza Dunn ’21 and Garvin McLaughlin ’21. Every spring, Class II students self-nominate for head monitor. This year, eight candidates participated in a live Zoom Q&A with Upper School students to speak about their goals and ideas for the upcoming school year. Following the Q&A, candidate speeches were released on myMilton for students to view before voting online.

Both Burton and Tung said rebuilding a sense of community on campus is one of their goals. In his speech, Burton said he spoke about “how COVID-19 has been tough for our community, so it’s important for us to come together next year, meet and get to know new people, and bring back the traditions that we love.”

Tung said, “We want to focus on rebuilding our sense of unity as a whole Upper School, and bring back our school spirit because we lost that.”

Tung said another big focus is equity. “Equity in terms of students who want to speak out about unrest in the world,” she said. “Next year, we want to educate our community and make sure students feel comfortable and secure in the environment.”

Heather McGhee ’97 Discusses The Sum of Us

Heather McGhee ’97 Discusses The Sum of Us

When Heather McGhee ’97 left her dream job to set off on a journey around the country to explore racism and inequality, she was driven by “frustration with nearly 20 years of working to bring more nice things to more people in this country,” she said. “By nice things, I mean universal healthcare; childcare; paid family leave; reliable, modern infrastructure; a real, robust public health system; and well-funded schools in every neighborhood.”

What she discovered was that big needs in society were going unmet and that this “was impacting all of us, not just people of color who are disproportionately among the impoverished and the uninsured, but also white people who are the largest share of the impoverished and uninsured.” But many white people continue to support policies or politics that go against their best interests because of racism and the fear of a rising demographic that is not white, she added.

McGhee discussed her best-selling book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together with alumni, parents, and friends of Milton on a webinar hosted by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Chapter. Lee Pelton P’17, Emerson College President, served as moderator.

Nesto Gallery Exhibits Work By Mikel Glass ’81

Nesto Gallery Exhibits Work By Mikel Glass ’81

The Nesto Gallery is exhibiting work by alumnus Mikel Glass ’81. The show includes several life-size full-length portraits and is titled Parity. It’s “a show of contrasts within traditional portraiture–once an honor primarily bestowed upon those of power...
Students Earn First Prize In RebootHacks 

Students Earn First Prize In RebootHacks 

Over March break, two student teams participated in the annual RebootHacks competition run by Wayland High School in Massachusetts. The objective of the competition was to design software that aided students with remote learning. Blake Ankner ’23 and Andrew Rodriguez ’23 took home first prize out of more than100 participants. The program they wrote in the programming language Python is called “Summize,” which summarizes transcripts of Zoom meetings to assist students learning asynchronously. 

“The prompt for the whole competition was something along the lines of how we can help with online learning,” says Rodriquez. “Blake and I thought of all the Milton students in different time zones and any students who have to watch long, recorded Zooms. So Summize does a few things. It summarizes the full Zoom class, pulls out key terms, and cuts video clips to match the terms. The teacher can then identify the kids who have to watch the Zoom and they receive an automated email with the summary, terms, and clips.”

Ryan Shue ’23, Sebastian Park ’21, and Aaron Lockhart ’21, made up the other Milton team and they created a web app with a companion Chrome extension called “Focutivity,” which encouraged users to plan out their evenings with daily schedules and kept them from distracting and unrelated websites during those specific time periods. 

A Notice Regarding the 2017 Report

We write in response to those who have contacted us regarding the 2017 T&M Protection Resources report, to explain in more detail the school’s reasons for maintaining the confidentiality of that report. In 2016, Milton launched an important process to learn the...
Milton Students Recognized for Excellence in Writing and Visual Art

Milton Students Recognized for Excellence in Writing and Visual Art

Fifty-six Milton students received recognition in the 2021 Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The students earned 124 Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention accolades in the competition. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious awards for teenagers in the country. Milton’s 31 Gold Key pieces are submitted to the national Scholastic competition, and results for the national contest will be announced in March.

Anne Kwok ‘21 earned six Gold Keys, one Silver Key, and two Honorable Mentions for her poetry. One of her poems that earned a Gold Key is entitled “After Warfare.”

It’s Dance Concert Season!

It’s Dance Concert Season!

With themes of isolation and loss but also humor and celebration, this spring’s Dance Concert explores life’s extremes. Last spring, Dance Concert was the last major event on campus before Milton had to shut down due to the pandemic. This year, the event is fully virtual with more than 40 student dancers who will perform 15 dances choreographed by students.

“It’s a smaller show, but feels like a bigger undertaking because of the way we are producing it,” says Kelli Edwards, Performing Arts Department chair.  

The performance showcases modern dance, ballet, Latin dance, and an Irish dance. All the dances are being filmed—some in person on the King Theatre stage, some in more of a dance film format, and others in a Zoom format with dancers individually in their spaces. Edwards says the student choreographers have “embraced the format and are utilizing all the ways they can film.”

From Beatnik to YouTube, Student Singers Are A Hit

From Beatnik to YouTube, Student Singers Are A Hit

Three students casually singing together their freshman year have turned into an established trio with more than 43,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. Henry Wilde ’21 and Conner Hartman ’21 became friends in freshman math class and they often discussed their common interest in music. Although Wilde and Hartman did not consider themselves singers, both knew Dash Evett ’21 was one, and the three decided to perform together at that spring’s Beatnik, an open mic event run by students. 

At the beginning, they focused on singing covers. “After our first Beatnik, we basically would meet during all our free periods, singing in a room in Kellner,” said Wilde. “Over time, we developed a style. We would spend about two months arranging a song, improvising on it.” 

When the pandemic forced everyone to quarantine in their homes, the trio decided to start a YouTube channel as a way for friends and family to hear their music. Hartman says when he loaded up the first video, a cover of “The Misty Mountains Cold” from The Hobbit movie, he typed in their group name as misty., all lowercase with a period at the end, and their official name was born. The video was recorded in a tunnel, which amplified their acoustic voices. Viewership took off after that.

Speech and Debate Team Shines Online

Speech and Debate Team Shines Online

It’s been an unusual but successful year so far for the Speech and Debate Team. They kicked off 2021 competing at the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League’s Happy New Year Tournament, earning several first-place honors in all three divisions of debate as well as numerous speech categories. With all the tournaments held online, students have had to adapt and shift their approach leading to both opportunities and challenges. 

Jack Burton’s ’22 primary event is Humorous Interpretation (HI), but he also competes in Duo Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation. He says the virtual format, especially for interpretive pieces, changes the way the competitor interacts with the audience. 

“Bridging a connection with your audience is an essential part of speech,” says Burton. “Without the ability to make eye contact with and elicit live laughter from judges and competitors in the room, speech pieces definitely lose a sense of magic, and it is harder for us performers to engage the audience.” 

But Burton, who earned third place at the Yale Invitational, second place at the Duke Invitational, and first place at the Princeton Invitational, says competing online also offers an opportunity to get creative with the camera. 

Dr. Brenna Wynn Greer is MLK Jr. Day Speaker

Dr. Brenna Wynn Greer is MLK Jr. Day Speaker

Historian Brenna Wynn Greer spoke about “the perils of symbolic Blackness” and how popular Civil Rights history focuses simplistically on the nonviolent version of Martin Luther King, Jr., rather than the complexities of who he was as a person and an activist. Greer, an associate professor of history at Wellesley College, was this year’s MLK Jr. Day speaker.

Greer said the symbolic King is seen as a kind and gentle Black activist and that, “as a nation, we remain heavily invested in this symbolic King. This is a problem because symbolic King encourages simple and sanitized histories of the Black freedom struggle.”

During the few years before he was assassinated, “King’s criticism of capitalism and his opposition to the Vietnam War made him unpopular not only among U.S. officials but also among Civil Rights activists. This King was a troublemaker, so he was sidelined increasingly as an activist and he was pushed into the shadows as a historical figure,” said Greer. 

Discussing History As It Happens

Discussing History As It Happens

From the violent attack on the United States Capitol to this week’s Inauguration Day, historical moments are unfolding in real time, giving history teachers and their students opportunities to examine current events through a historical lens. 

“It’s essential we address January 6th. Our U.S. History classes are a place where one can grapple with the nuance of the Constitution and the ethics of a democracy,” says Matt Blanton, history faculty member. “The challenge is the events unfolding are a moving target—what was previously understood could be different—it requires being nimble. This is a good time to reiterate the best practices of critical thinking.” 

In response to the events at the U.S. Capitol, the student History Club held a virtual panel last Thursday evening. Five teachers answered questions submitted by students and Jonathan Cao ’21 and Alex Wang ’21 moderated. Questions included whether the U.S. has ever been culturally unified and if there ever was a time in history where America was “great.” One student was curious about what connections police institutions have to white nationalist organizations and the origins of those connections. Another student asked whether there are similarities between today’s American society and periods in the past such as pre-WWII Germany. 

Stories Bring Urgency to Climate Crisis, Say Humanities Workshop Panelists 

Stories Bring Urgency to Climate Crisis, Say Humanities Workshop Panelists 

Humanities disciplines like the arts, history, languages, and social sciences can help make the consequences of the global climate crisis more accessible and urgent for people, said anthropologist and University of Massachusetts-Boston professor Rosalyn Negrón. 

“One of the challenges we face is that climate action is highly politicized,” she said. “The polarization is a complex problem that doesn’t have easy solutions, but there is a place for the humanities because there are ways in which the arts, film, creative writing, music, and other things people share that can be avenues for communicating about these issues and taking them out of the political domain.”

Negrón was one of four panelists Wednesday who virtually visited about 150 students from Milton and other area schools to discuss climate change and climate justice, this year’s theme for the Humanities Workshop. She was joined by David Abel, a documentary filmmaker and environmental journalist for the Boston Globe; Zoe Davis, coordinator of the Climate Resilience Project through the City of Boston; and Kristala Jones Prather P’22 ’26, the Arthur D. Little professor of chemical engineering at MIT. Edward Moreta ’18, a Kenyon College student and poet, moderated the panel.

Thinking Of Others This Holiday Season

Thinking Of Others This Holiday Season

Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) focused on projects aimed at helping others, involving students, staff, and faculty. Although in-person service activities aren’t happening right now, CEPP organizers have found ways to make sure the Milton community can give back. During Hunger Awareness Week in November, for example, student CEPP board members hosted an all-school Zoom session to educate students about food insecurity.

This month, CEPP hosted a gift drive to fulfill the wishes of 50 families supported by the Department of Children and Families, as well as area homeless families through Milton’s partners in the Boston Public Schools. Many student advisory groups together purchased gifts for those in need. In addition, CEPP also collected money for food baskets, which will provide a turkey dinner for 30 families.

Connecting at Goodwin House

Connecting at Goodwin House

Dorm faculty and students are finding creative ways to maintain dorm traditions during this period of remote and hybrid learning. In Goodwin House, they’ve continued to celebrate each student’s birthday. However, instead of singing collectively over Zoom, one student plays a musical instrument rendition of “Happy Birthday” to share. So far, there have been oboe, violin, and beatboxing performances. In the most recent one, English faculty member Elaine Apthorp played her guitar and sang.

Each Goodwin advisory group plans and hosts a virtual event for the rest of the dorm to join. House Head and math faculty member Patrick Owens said his advisory group hosted a Jackbox game called Fibbage. Last week, science faculty member Michael Edgar’s advisory group hosted an “Among Us” tournament (see photo). “Among Us” is an online multiplayer social deduction game.

Owens said care packages were sent to all Goodwin students earlier in October, and in all the houses, a new student mentoring program was launched at the beginning of the school year. Returning students who were interested in serving as mentors applied and were then paired with new students. Mentors and mentees were also placed in the same dorm families who will meet over the course of the year. 

Poet Richard Blanco Is This Fall’s Bingham Visiting Writer

Poet Richard Blanco Is This Fall’s Bingham Visiting Writer

A poem isn’t really done until it’s shared and lives in someone else,” said Bingham Visiting Writer Richard Blanco. Sharing his work that centers on ideas of home, identity, and nationality, Blanco read and discussed his poetry with students on a Zoom webinar.  

“What is home? This idea grew bigger into what is a country? In my poems, I’m asking these questions for all of us,” said Blanco.

Blanco immigrated to Miami as a child with his Cuban-exile parents and said that when he was growing up he wasn’t sure if he was part of the American story. It wasn’t until he was asked to be the poet for President Obama’s second inauguration that he felt his personal story was part of the American narrative. 

Exploring Mathematics With Both Numbers and Words

Exploring Mathematics With Both Numbers and Words

Writing about math is an approach used by Milton math teachers to get students to dive deep into the material and then articulate it—beyond just numbers, formulas, and graphs. Earlier this semester, Honors Calculus students researched, calculated, and wrote about the Gini Index, a measure of income distribution across a population, for a country of their choice. 

“We wanted to make the study of calculus relevant, and income distribution and income inequality are topics we read about all the time in the news,” said math faculty member Jackie Bonenfant. “This was a way to allow students to explore an important and pressing topic, while also encouraging them to ask questions about their world. What government policies, practices, and laws might impact income distribution? Are we satisfied with current levels of income distribution and, if not, what could we do to change things?”

Students chose countries like the U.S., Italy, Australia, Vietnam, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, and India. Zoe Malouf  ’21 researched the 2017 Gini Index for Switzerland.

Keeping Connections at Robbins House

Keeping Connections at Robbins House

House heads and faculty are engaging their dorm communities in both synchronous and asynchronous ways as boarding students learn remotely during this phase of hybrid learning. In Robbins House, dorm faculty hold weekly drop-in sessions at various times to accommodate time zones. They are also hosting events such as Zoom Jeopardy! games or Netflix watch parties.

In September, each new student was paired with a returning student in their grade or the grade above. Then these pairs meet others over Zoom to increase their network of support in the dorm community.  

“It has gone so well in Robbins that almost all of the mentors and mentees have made it a weekly occurrence to have a get-together and hang out virtually over the weekend,” said house head Nicole Hall.

Cox Library Reimagined

Cox Library Reimagined

Typically a busy hub for study and research, Cox Library needed a plan to serve the community through this year’s remote and hybrid learning plans. Milton’s librarians went to work finding creative ways to operate. 

When Milton first went remote last spring, it “coincided with the start of the history department’s ‘research season,’” said Laura Pearle, director of the library. “We created a portal that included a chat box so students looking for library assistance could talk with a librarian from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students from all over the U.S., China, and Europe contacted us for help with citations, using the databases, and general help on various topics.”  

The library purchased access to a database of more than 200,000 ebooks to help students do their research since the print collection was unavailable. They also extended outreach to the community via quizzes and social media postings. 

Spanish Classes Maximize Tech Tools For Learning

Spanish Classes Maximize Tech Tools For Learning

Mastering another language requires careful listening, consistent practice of  conversational speaking, close reading of texts, and writing. While some of these fit seamlessly into remote/hybrid learning, Modern Languages faculty need to think creatively about class time and assignments.

“Where we’ve had the most success is leveraging universal tools like Google Slides, Schoology, and Jamboard,” said Mark Connolly, Spanish teacher and Upper School instructional technologist. “Instead of using, say, a prefab language app, teachers are making their own materials using those tools.”

In Connolly’s Spanish 4: Topics in Hispanic Culture and Literature class, students started the year with five different readings in Spanish from different Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Maya, Mexica, Triqui, and Teotihuacan. For their assignment, students are creating audio tours of their assigned civilizations in Google Slides, combining audio, photography and writing. They looked not only at the historical legacy but also at the ways these cultures combine to define Mexican identity today.

Fall Athletes Show What Commitment Is All About

Fall Athletes Show What Commitment Is All About

Milton athletes are working hard this fall season, practicing both remotely and on campus, despite the absence of regular team competition. As all fall teams began the season remotely, coaches had to think of creative ways to keep athletes moving and connected to each other.

Boys’ cross country coach Scott Bosworth said the team “approached this strange season with the same commitment and determination as in past seasons. We had active and engaging Zoom meetings where we talked about the challenges we face with the pandemic, motivational tools to get us through, and the need to stay together and be supportive of each other. We watched videos about Wilma Rudolph and Billy Mills, two athletes who overcame huge obstacles—physical, economic, racial, and substance abuse—to become Olympic gold medalists, and we had lively discussions afterward.” 

“The soccer season has been great thus far in spite of the different forms it has been taking,” said Boys’ soccer coach Chris Kane. “We have a large and passionate group of soccer players and we used the remote learning period to build connections across students across the various levels of our program.”  

Happenings At Wolcott House

Happenings At Wolcott House

Maintaining a sense of dorm community is a focus of house heads and faculty as boarding students learn remotely during this phase of hybrid learning. In Wolcott House, Joshua Emmott, house head and history faculty member, runs a weekly scavenger hunt for the students, who are competing by advisory group for the “grand prize” in December. The advisory that has 100 percent participation wins custom dorm gear. 

Each week, Emmott posts in CampusGroups a place or item that the student needs to find and photograph. One week was a photo in front of their local post office and another was a local coffee shop. Students post their photos, from places like Beijing, New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

Last weekend, the Emmott family hosted a cooking Zoom, featuring “the best cupcakes in the world.” Students received the same recipe so they could cook along with their Wolcott family.

Cooking With The Zimmers! 

Cooking With The Zimmers! 

Comfort food is having a moment and science faculty member Heather Zimmer is showing students how to make it at home on a weekly cooking show. It’s part of the new Opt-In Program, where faculty host casual and fun Zoom sessions such as trivia nights and current event discussions. 

The Opt-In Program started earlier in the semester after a few faculty members and student head monitors Eliza Dunn ’21 and Garvin McLaughlin ’21 thought about ways to keep the strong sense of community at Milton while in a remote/hybrid environment.

Zimmer said she and her husband, the head chef at 2nd Street Café in Cambridge, loved cooking with students when they lived in Norris House and this is a fun way to replicate that experience. On their first episode, they taught students to make mac and cheese from scratch. 

Milton in the World: Patrick Radden Keefe ’94 Discusses Say Nothing and Writing

Milton in the World: Patrick Radden Keefe ’94 Discusses Say Nothing and Writing

Award-winning writer and investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe ’94 spoke with students and alumni about his work, particularly his New York Times bestseller Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. His talk was part of the Milton in the World webinar series.

Radden Keefe said he knew when he was a Milton student that he wanted to be a writer, but it took many years of rejection letters before he began writing professionally. Today, he is a staff writer at The New Yorker, writing long-form pieces that dive deep into a range of subjects, “from the hunt for the drug lord Chapo Guzman to the tragic personal history of the mass shooter Amy Bishop and the role that the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma played in sparking the opioid crisis.” 

He said he looks for topics that have a “strong narrative spine. I want it to be a story about people, often people in conflict. It’s through that lens that I approach the bigger issues.”

Girls Who Code Club Members Attend Conference

Girls Who Code Club Members Attend Conference

Ten Milton students participated in the Harvard WECode virtual conference last weekend. Caroline Wilson ’21 and Dina-Sara Custo ’22 served as Milton’s student ambassadors, and were two of the 21 (out of 80) student ambassadors who received  WECode Leadership Awards. Prior to the event, they connected virtually with the Harvard WECode board, as well as other ambassadors from around the world to spread information and help organize. 

At the conference, “We had the opportunity to listen to discussions surrounding STEM majors, internships, college admissions, college life, and other opportunities for women in technology,” said Wilson. “Even after the conference, we continued to connect with women in tech from the conference via channels on the platform Slack.” 

Other Milton students attending included Samantha Buonato ’24, Sofia Reid ‘’23, Audrey Howley ’23, Ella Walsmith ’23, Emma Petherick ‘’23, Sara Kalra ’23, Karol Querido ’22, and Isabelle Fitzgibbon ’23.

Bio at Home: Spores, Plants, and DNA

Bio at Home: Spores, Plants, and DNA

When planning for this year’s biology classes for both remote and hybrid learners, faculty had to get creative and choose labs that worked at home, said biology teacher Michael Edgar. And while teaching hybrid/remote science is different, he said it’s about “letting go of expectations. When I’m with my students, I like to make the best of it and I have had some really nice moments with my classes.” 

In Advanced Biology, a senior elective course, students are growing C-ferns, a regular lab for the class. But this year, students, whether learning remote or hybrid, are growing them at home with kits the biology department put together and mailed out. 

A Message To Our Community

Milton Academy’s newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Commission began their work a few months ago. Please see below for their most recent announcement.

We are pleased to write to you on behalf of Milton Academy’s newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Commission. This past spring, students and alumni shared stories about racial injustices and inequities experienced at Milton. In response, current and past Milton employees, students, and alumni have demanded change through letters, phone conversations, and social media posts.

We hear you and, with humility, we take our place beside you. With gratitude for your honesty and in line with your passionate call to action, we reach out today to those of you who have spoken out, and to our entire community, to introduce ourselves and open the lines of communication. We seek to partner with you for the betterment of the school community we hold so dear.

Community Engagement Shoparound!

Community Engagement Shoparound!

The Community Engagement Shoparound (sign-up fair) starts today! It runs virtually through Friday via students’ Campus Groups accounts. Student co-heads Christian Westphal ‘21 and Nina Kathiresan ‘21 say interested students can take a look and sign up on the Google form if they would like to make a weekly commitment. “Visits” with the 20+ partners will all be via Zoom. Some volunteer opportunities include:

Over the Summer, Students Dove Into Community and Social Justice Work

Over the Summer, Students Dove Into Community and Social Justice Work

Although it was a summer unlike any other, many students found ways to do community and social justice work, both remotely and in person. Four students, all Community Engagement board leaders, participated in a virtual seven-week program run by the National Network of Schools in Partnership. Nina Kathiresan ’21, Kayla Mathieu ’21, Conner Hartman ’21, and Jaden Thompson ’23 worked on issues including homelessness, food insecurity with students from across the U.S, who were grouped into task forces. Hartman and Mathieu worked together on the same subcommittee called Demographics in Education. 

“We produced the Rezoning Project, which aimed to inform, advocate, and share stories regarding the issues surrounding zoning inequality in public education,” said Hartman. “We were struck by the statistic that, on average, nonwhite districts received about $2,200 less per student than districts that were predominantly white, adding up to $23 billion less overall.” 

Hartman said it was “extremely inspiring working with students from all over the country. Unlike Milton, a lot of the schools represented didn’t have community engagement programs. Hearing their experiences of inequality and powerful examples of civic engagement in communities hundreds of miles away from Milton really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what we can do with our program.”

Student Films Recognized by Film Festival

Student Films Recognized by Film Festival

Two student films were accepted into the All American High School Film Festival in the drama category. Dash Evett ‘21 and Jace Fuller’s ‘21 film, The Grievance, featured Conner Hartman ‘21, Ben Simpson ‘21, and Charlie Volpe ‘20. Evett’s’s film, Guy, featured himself and his brother Spencer Evett ‘17. Normally, the films would be presented at a live festival in October in New York City, but this year it will be virtual.

The Grievance is a story about a man named Liam, played by Hartman, who gets trapped in a supernatural cemetery. A bullying incident from his past comes back to haunt him. Evett and Fuller did all the shooting, writing, music, and editing. “A lot of hours of shooting were outside in the cold, and sometimes in complete darkness,” said Evett. “It was my first time making something with a horror vibe, so it was cool to film in a dark cemetery.”

 “One of my favorite challenges in filmmaking is giving the audience a proper scare; one that curdles the blood and raises the heartbeat,” said Fuller. “With a low budget of zero dollars, we both agreed we couldn’t show scary monsters or frightening circumstances. Instead, we had to make a psychological horror that could play with scares without showing anything.” 

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

This letter was shared with our community on July 21.

Dear Milton Academy Community,

Over the past several weeks, many students and alumni have shared their personal encounters with racism and microaggressions at Milton through direct conversations, letters to administrators, and on social media, including on the @blackatmiltonacad Instagram account. We are listening and we are grateful for the courage and candor with which they have spoken about deeply painful experiences. As School leaders, we apologize for the ways that Milton’s actions and inactions have hurt students and other members of our community.

Black Lives Matter. Milton affirms the beliefs of the BLM movement as we work toward improving justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community. We understand that it is not enough to simply say these words: We must live in this movement every day, be accountable for our actions, and report our progress.

Students Work Virtually With Refugees in Jordan

Students Work Virtually With Refugees in Jordan

As a freshman, Jana Amin ’21 traveled on a Milton class trip to Jordan, where the students visited the Collateral Repair Project (CRP), a non-governmental organization that works with refugees on community-building, education, and trauma relief. She was so moved by their mission that she became an “e-learning partner” starting her sophomore year, video-chatting with students to help them learn conversational English. Her first two students were a Yemeni mother of five children and a Sudanese man.  

Amin then became an English teacher for a class of 12 CRP students and she has encouraged other Milton students—especially after school switched to remote learning—to volunteer as virtual tutors and to help her with developing an English-language curriculum to use in the classes. 

A Message To Our Community

This letter was shared with our alumni community on June 4th. A similar letter was also sent to current Upper School students prior to graduation. 

Dear Alumni and Friends,

These past months have been unlike anything we have experienced together. Most recently, as a nation and within our Milton community, the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others have caused feelings of fear, outrage, and pain.

In a message to our students, faculty, and staff sent over the weekend, we unequivocally condemned racist violence, systemic injustice, and bigotry. Some of you took to social media to share stories about your own experiences at Milton and implored us to take action to fully live our ideals and mission. Thank you.

Please know this: We hear you and acknowledge that we are not immune to racial inequities and injustices. We can and must do better to foster inclusion and equity throughout our School. We are committed to doing this critical work, as complex and uncomfortable as it may be at times.

Real Community in a Virtual Classroom

Real Community in a Virtual Classroom

In English and history classes, learning stems from conversations, focusing on discussion with peers, not lectures from teachers. When Milton had to abruptly switch to remote learning in the spring, faculty had to figure out how to shift this experience from in-person to virtual. English Department Chair Nicole Colson said that while being in a space together is the ideal, she found the overall experience to be positive.

“When you build a real community in your classroom, it doesn’t go away when you shift over to remote learning,” said Colson. “Who they were in the classroom is who they were on Zoom.” 

Colson said one trick she figured out after a few sessions was to have all the students unmute themselves for the entire class. Some were worried that background sounds from their home life would be disruptive, but Colson felt differently.

Milton Hosts Intramural Student Hackathon

Milton Hosts Intramural Student Hackathon

Eighteen teams ranging in size from one to seven students came together via Zoom to participate in MiltonHacks II, an intramural, student-led hackathon. The hackathon took place over 12 hours on May 24, during which students from different schools built projects that were judged by a panel of Milton alumni. Teams competed in six categories: Most Addictive Game, Most Educational, Most Technical, Most Scalable, Best UX/UI, Best Novice Hack, and Best Overall Hack. 

Most Addictive Game went to Dina-Sara Custo ’22, who built a social-distancing simulator game where the player must avoid others to advance. “The more people that see the good message the game is promoting, the better the outcome will be,” said Custo. 

Oliver Eielson ’21 won Best UX/UI for his app, Busy Beach. Eielsom described BusyBeach as an app that “helps people and governments limit contact and overcrowding at beaches and stop the spread of coronavirus.” He also won the Student Vote award, determined by popular vote at the end of the hackathon.

Seniors Recognized at Prize Assembly 

Seniors Recognized at Prize Assembly 

The School community gathered virtually this morning to celebrate seniors at the Prize Assembly. Awards recognized overall student achievement as well as achievement in the performing arts, visual arts, English, science, math, classics, computer science, modern languages, history, public speaking, student publications, and athletics. 

The Head of School Award honors and thanks certain seniors for their demonstrated spirit of self-sacrifice, community concern, leadership, integrity, fairness, kindliness, and respect for others. Eight students were honored (in photo via zoom): Zaki Ellis M’hammedi Alaoui, Yaneris D’Anique Briggs, Jerry Ducasse, William Conners Livingston, Erinma Adaeze Onyewuchi, Allison Nicole Reilly, Jeanna Yuyang Shaw and Iryna Sobchyshyna. 

Congratulations to all of the prize recipients, including a few junior students. Below is a complete list of awards:

Prize Assembly

Below is a webcast of the Upper School Prize Assembly on Thursday, June 4. 

A Message to Our Community: Committing to a More Just Society

Over this past weekend, the following letter was shared with students, faculty, and staff.

May 30, 2020

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

We write today to decry racist violence, a manifestation of pervasive, systemic injustice, and to condemn bigotry in all its pernicious forms. In this moment of separation, when this pandemic renders us unable to gather in person to speak, share, and comfort one another together, our isolation makes it all the more difficult to bear witness to these tragedies—and the countless others they symbolize.

In the face of the injustices around us—including the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the incident in New York City involving Christian Cooper—we must reaffirm Milton’s long-standing commitment to building an inclusive community, the strength of which rests on our shared appreciation for culture, diversity, and identity. This cannot be a passive commitment. We must each continue to find ways of taking action to live our values. We know this work is essential to fostering mutual respect, responsibility, and empathy in each of us, so we may carry these values out into the world.

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