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Upper School Spring Speaker Series

In April, Milton welcomed three speakers to campus—Farah Pandith ‘86, an expert on online hate and extremism; Rabbi David Wolpe, who among other accolades is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity School; and, Kate Phillips-Barrasso, vice president of global policy...

Pedestrian Safety Initiatives

Milton Academy is deeply committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians who traverse Centre Street, Randolph Avenue, and other streets adjacent to our campus. Our longstanding conversations about improving safety mean that improvements are constantly ongoing. As we...
Robotics Team Continues to Amaze

Robotics Team Continues to Amaze

This past weekend, members of Milton’s Robotics Team joined schools from across the United States and Canada to compete in the fifth annual WAVE tournament, a three-day Vex competition hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“With almost eighty teams, it is a truly competitive tournament, which sets it far apart from other events we have attended this year, so far,” says Hailey Coval (I). “It demands hard work, long hours, effort, commitment, creativity, practice, and talents.”

Nesto Gallery Features Artists Michael Alfano and Erik Koeppel

Nesto Gallery Features Artists Michael Alfano and Erik Koeppel

Outside of the Art and Media Center, Michael Alfano has installed five of his surrealist sculptures in his exhibition titled Mind Made Visible. Mr. Alfano states: “I am sculptor and clay, both shaping and being shaped.” These sculptures will be on display through June of 2024.

In the Nesto Gallery—on the lower level of the Art and Media Center—painter Eric Koeppel presents his show, Landscape Painting in the American Tradition. Mr. Koeppel states: “In the act of painting, I have sought to discover that highest knowledge of Beauty, poetic and philosophical, that has been the common thread between all of the great masters of Art.” This exhibit runs in the Gallery through November 2.

Fall Opportunities in Performing Arts

Fall Opportunities in Performing Arts

Class IV Follies: Monsters Among Us
Milton Academy Performing Arts invites actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and those interested in tech theatre from Class IV to join the Class IV Follies. The Follies is an annual tradition where Class IV performers and crew come together to create a unique showcase of their talents for the entire Milton community. No experience is necessary and all interested students will be featured. This year’s Follies, Monsters Among Us, will incorporate monster-themed scenes and songs handpicked for each performer. Behind the scenes, tech crew members will be designing, building, and painting the sets and props to create an equally monstrous world.

2023 Humanities Workshop Conference

Advancing Health Equity Prominent Theme of Milton Academy Conference on Global and Public Health On Sunday, May 21, Milton Academy students participated in the Humanities Workshop’s Student Conference on Public Health hosted at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the...
Humanities Workshop Hosts Student Conference on Public Health

Humanities Workshop Hosts Student Conference on Public Health

On Sunday, May 21, Milton Academy students participated in the Humanities Workshop’s Student Conference on Public Health hosted at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The goal of the Humanities Workshop is to show students how key themes prominent in humanities studies—in particular, the importance of empathy and compassion—can be instrumental in working to solve the world’s complex problems.

Urged by a COVID pandemic that has raised immediate concern about the safety and well-being of our school communities and forced us to consider the intersection of health and justice, the Humanities Workshop chose PUBLIC HEALTH/GLOBAL HEALTH as this year’s theme.

Todd Bland Milton Medal Recipient

The Milton Medal Todd B. Bland P ’13, ’14, ’14 Head of School, 2009–2023 On May 5, the Board of Trustees honored Head of School Todd B. Bland with its highest honor, the Milton Medal, recognizing his 14 years of exemplary service to the school and the love and care...

Bradley Bloom, Milton Medal Recipient

The Milton Medal Bradley M. Bloom P ‘06, ‘08 Member of the Board of Trustees, 2004–2015President, 2009–2015 On May 5, the Board of Trustees honored former Board member (2004-2015) and former president (2009-2015) Bradley M. Bloom with its highest honor, the Milton...

Milton Medal

The Milton Medal The Milton Medal is Milton Academy’s highest honor and an expression of the school’s deep gratitude to those who have contributed the most to our community. Established in 1982, the Medal is bestowed by the Board of Trustees in recognition of...
Multimillion-Dollar Gift Supports Math Education

Multimillion-Dollar Gift Supports Math Education

As the parents of two Upper School students, trustee Shadi and Omid Farokhzad P ’23 ’25 know the importance of having a space that inspires a modern approach to teaching and learning. That is why they made a multimillion-dollar commitment to create a new home for math at Milton. The new Farokhzad Math Center will move the Math Department from the cramped attic of Ware Hall to a modern, light-filled, renovated building currently occupied by Cox Library—which is moving to Wigglesworth Hall this year.

The Victoria S. H. and Mark R. Graham Scholarship

The Victoria S. H. and Mark R. Graham Scholarship The Victoria S. H. and Mark R. Graham Scholarship was established by Mark and Vicky [Hall] Graham in 2013 to provide support to Milton Academy students in need of financial assistance. Their generous endowment of the...
Holidays Mean Music

Holidays Mean Music

Join Milton Academy—either in-person or virtually via a live stream—to experience the Jean McCawley Orchestra and Chorus Winter Concert. This annual event is a celebration of music by the students of Milton Academy’s vocal and orchestral program. The concert features seasonal tunes to celebrate the holidays, alongside repertoire ranging from Baroque to Contemporary, and classical traditions representing a diverse range of cultures and geography.

Milton Robotics Is On a Roll

Milton Robotics Is On a Roll

This past weekend, Milton’s Robotics Team—comprised of 11 students and three robots—attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s WAVE Tournament, a three-day competition against 78 other robotics teams from across the United States and Canada. One of Milton’s teams, self-dubbed Duct Tap & Dreams, advanced to the eliminations round and finished 16th in robot skills. Another of Milton’s teams, under the name of Moonrise, won the Innovate Award, one of the top three awards given to a team based on overall performance, organization, and teamwork.

In November, Milton’s Robotics Team also attended a VEX Robotics tournament in Framingham, Massachusetts, where our students competed against 45 schools from across southern New England.

Milton Academy’s Performing Arts Department Presents Lobby Hero

Milton Academy’s Performing Arts Department Presents Lobby Hero

This fall’s 1212 play is Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, a dialogue-rich play set entirely in the lobby of a Manhattan apartment building. Directed by Performing Arts Department faculty member Darlene Anastas, the show features four main characters whose lives intertwine during the investigation of a crime.

“Lonergan is a Tony-award winning playwright who is known for his dialogue and how he integrates ideas and action into his dialogue,” Anastas said. “It’s a very naturally flowing play. It’s fitting to set it in the lobby of a residential building in Manhattan, where people from all walks of life are passing by. It deals with interpersonal interactions, some social issues with policing, and the personal issues of the ‘lobby hero’ whose life is on display for the whole show.”

It is the first 1212 play for Anastas, who has taught at Milton since 1981—she has always worked on the larger, main-stage productions. “It was exciting to me to work in depth with just a few students and to explore the issues the play has, which are very relevant today.”

King Theatre Gets Wicked Sketchy

King Theatre Gets Wicked Sketchy

On the main stage at King Theatre for the first time, the fan favorite sketch-comedy show Wicked Sketchy will feature funny sketches and musical numbers written and performed by students.

First performed in 2014, Wicked Sketchy began as a 1212 play—a Milton tradition named for the former room in Warren Hall where pared-down, intimate performances were staged—giving students an opportunity to flex their comedy muscles. Last fall, the show moved to an outdoor tent to accommodate audience restrictions during the pandemic; for the first time, the show had a stepped-up production, said director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Peter Parisi.

“We were able to see the impact that lighting and sound design had on the show, and it just raised the stakes,” Parisi said. “It’s certainly evolved.”

This year, the show has about a dozen sketches, including some musical numbers. Students brought their ideas for sketches to the group, and together they fleshed out the ideas. Writing comedy is hard work, particularly for a show with a broad audience of students and adults.
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TEDxMiltonAcademy Takes the Stage

TEDxMiltonAcademy Takes the Stage

The inaugural TEDxMiltonAcademy event filled King Theatre with ideas about belonging, health, climate, identity, and psychology, as six speakers from the Milton community shared carefully crafted and passionate talks on subjects of their choosing.

Milton junior Benjamin Siegel ’24 had the idea to bring TEDx to Milton after attending a TEDx conference years ago. Siegel, along with Bea Becker ’25, Grace Grady ’23, and Alexa Burton ’24, organized the event, licensing it through TEDx and soliciting applications from potential student, alumni, and faculty speakers. Together, they narrowed the speakers to six.

“Tonight is about community,” said Siegel as he introduced the event. “We were inspired to put on this event to shine a light on all the talent, creativity, and knowledge in the Milton community. Milton is full of people with diverse backgrounds and inspirational stories, some of which we bring to the stage for you tonight.”

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.”

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.

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