Every year at this time, the best teams in independent school hockey descend upon the rinks of Milton and Nobles for a chance to claim the coveted championship titles of the Flood-Marr Tournament and the Harrington Invitational Tournament.
Harrington Tournament schedule and results
Flood-Marr Tournament schedule and results
Every year at this time, the best teams in independent school hockey descend upon the rinks of Milton and Nobles for a chance to claim the coveted championship titles of the Flood-Marr Tournament and the Harrington Invitational Tournament.
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.”
This year, the History and Social Science Department hosted Dr. Ilyon Woo P’25 for the Henry R. Heyburn ’39 Lecture in History. The department tried a new model for the lecture; Dr. Woo spoke to American history students in an assembly November 9 and then visited individual classes to dive further into the content of her work as part of an in-house field trip. During the assembly, she shared her journey as a historical researcher and storyteller, from her early struggles to her New York Times best-selling book, Master Slave Husband Wife. On November 28, the Times named Master Slave Husband Wife one of its 10 Best Books of 2023.
Milton film students traveled to New York City for the All-American High School Film Festival, where two students, Yevgeniya Regent ’24 and Luke Witkowski ’24, had films accepted and shown. Yevgeniya’s documentary, “Prayer of the Birds” made it to the Best of Fest showing and was nominated for Best International Film and Best Documentary.
Yevgeniya has earned accolades at several festivals for “Prayer of the Birds,” winning Best Picture and the Audience Choice Award at the Williston Northampton Film Festival and Best Film About a Social Issue in the Student World Impact Film Festival. The documentary chronicles the experience of a young Ukrainian refugee—Yevgeniya’s sister—as she adjusts to life in a new country. Luke’s film, “Bloodshed,” won Best Editing at the Williston Northampton Film Festival.
Milton’s Robotics Team dominated at its first tournament of the 2023–2024 season, with one of its four robots placing first overall and first in skills out of more than 30 competitors. The 17 Milton students who competed at Saturday’s Massachusetts STEM Week VEX Robotics Competition “showed amazing sportsmanship,” celebrating the success of their peers and excitedly planning for their next tournament in November, said Chris Hales, chair of the Computer Science Department and Robotics Team coach. Two Milton’s robots finished sixth and seventh on the skills list.
Milton robot 1898A finished as tournament champion and skills champion, double-qualifying for the Southern New England Regional Championship and placing 58th on the world skills ranking.
Milton’s K–12 community welcomed Larry Spotted Crow Mann, an Indigenous speaker, writer, artist, and advocate, for its all-school programming Tuesday in recognition of Indigenous People’s Day.
Mr. Mann, a member of the Nipmuc Tribe of Massachusetts, shared music, language, games, and storytelling with students, as well as some of the history of the people who have lived in the region since well before European settlers arrived. He told students the preservation of traditions and cultures—in the face of systematic oppression—is a testament to the endurance and resilience of Indigenous peoples, who have passed down stories and practices through generations.
“Everything starts with a story,” said Mr. Mann. “We have a language that did not disappear because our grandparents, and their grandparents, and so on, made sure that we still have our words.”
The Board of Trustees on Friday officially installed Dr. Alixe Callen ’88 as Milton Academy’s 13th head of school.
In a ceremony attended by the entire K–12 community, Board members, faculty and students from all three academic divisions celebrated Dr. Callen’s installation. In her remarks, Dr. Callen emphasized her belief in Milton and schools in general as powerful drivers of good in the world. Thirty-five years after her own graduation from Milton, she said, “I feel like I’ve come home.”
“I have known since I was a kindergartener, just like you here in the front row, that I would be a teacher and that I would spend my life in schools,” Dr. Callen said. “My belief in the power of community started here at Milton, and it’s been a theme in my life and my work ever since. I have long believed that the most important work of schools is to teach students to be active, contributing, inclusive members of their communities.”
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.
Milton has begun offering more “plant-powered” meals in Forbes Dining Hall, thanks to the advocacy of the student Sustainability Board and in partnership with Aramark, the school’s Dining Services vendor.
Melanie Forney ’24, Gus Vogel ’25, and Juni Brewster ’25 worked for the past year to expand the dining hall’s plant-based offerings, said Linnea Engstrom, a Science Department faculty member and Milton’s sustainability coordinator. Historically, the dining hall has offered a plant-powered meal during Earth Week.
“Eating less meat has a large impact on the environment,” Engstrom said. “The livestock sector is one of the leading causes of deforestation and there are a large number of resources needed to raise meat, both through land use in growing crops for the livestock to eat and drinking water for them. There is also livestock waste, which can pollute water sources.”
Sharing messages celebrating strength in supportive communities, this year’s Convocation speakers challenged Milton students to “Dare to be true” to one another and the world at large.
Convocation marks the beginning of the academic year for the Upper School. Students heard remarks from Head of School Dr. Alixe Callen ’88, Director of Restorative Justice Suzanne DeBuhr, co-Head Monitors Katherine Risden ’24 and Chris Amodeo ’24, and Principal Dr. Monica Benton Palmer.
Dr. Callen recalled starting at Milton as a sophomore: Coming from a small school in her New York hometown where she had been a standout student, she struggled initially. The other girls in Goodwin House already had strong bonds with one another and classes were much more challenging. Once she opened up and shared her vulnerability, the support she received from fellow students and her teachers helped immeasurably, she said.
“What saved me in those beginning months were the people, faculty, staff, and friends who watched out for me,” Dr. Callen said. “When I opened myself up to help and support from the community, when I admitted things were hard, when I allowed myself to cry, things got better. And that’s the power of community. My belief in the power of community started here at Milton, and it’s been a theme in my life and my work ever since.”
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.
Dear Members of the Milton Community,
I am thrilled that Dr. Alixe Callen has begun her tenure as Milton’s 13th head of school!
As the Board of Trustees, we seek to align with the head of school on her priorities and also to perform our primary role—which is to partner with her as the leader of the institution—by offering guidance and support as we ultimately hold her accountable for achieving the school’s goals. During a leadership change, it is considered a best practice for a governing board to communicate its “charge” to a new head, setting expectations on both sides for the start of her tenure.
In the interest of transparency—and recognizing that an excellent school is the product of collaboration and effort by all members of the faculty and staff, students, families, and alumni—included below is our letter to Dr. Callen as well as her response.
Alixe has exceptional qualifications as an educator and school leader and I hope you will join me and the Board in the warmest of welcomes as we continue to make Milton Academy the best possible community for our students.
Claire Hughes Johnson ’90
President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
For the second year in a row, Milton Magazine, Milton Academy’s alumni publication, received a Gold award in the Circle of Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
The award recognizes Milton Magazine’s spring and fall 2022 issues. The Circle of Excellence celebrates “exceptional achievement in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising, and marketing,” according to CASE. “These are the creative, inspiring projects that impact institutions and their communities—and transform lives around the globe.”
CASE judges noted: “Milton Magazine is a well-designed and well-written magazine. With its elegant design and smart writing, this magazine has all the hallmarks of a commercial publication. The variety of art and illustration, including the use of charts, boxes, numbers, and pull quotes, adds an extra level of interest and depth to the content. The feature stories written by the editor and associate editor were particularly enjoyable, providing insightful and engaging content that is sure to captivate readers.”
Milton Magazine was also a finalist for the 2023 Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year Award.
A lifelong love for writing and storytelling, stoked by English classes at Milton, propelled Neha Wadekar ’07 into a career in freelance journalism, she told students at the recent 44th Annual Laurence S. Persky Memorial Awards.
“I joined Milton in seventh grade, and I remember coming back for my revisit day and Ms. Simon was teaching Pride and Prejudice,” Ms. Wadekar recalled at the ceremony, which honors the best in student-published writing and artwork. “I was blown away by the level of back and forth discussion that the students were having about the meaning of the novel and the specific intentions of certain passages and the construction of particular sentences.”
This year’s Graduation speaker is John Avlon, Milton Academy Class of 1991. John is an award-winning journalist and author of six books, including Lincoln & the Fight for Peace and Washington’s Farewell. He is a CNN senior political analyst and anchor, known for his “Reality Check” segments across the network. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and chief speechwriter for the mayor of New York City during the attacks of September 11, 2001. He lives in New York with his wife, Margaret Hoover, and their two children, Jack and Toula Lou.
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.
The spring musical, Head Over Heels, reimagines a 16th-century royal love tale—told mostly in iambic pentameter—and features the music of the 1980s rock band The Go-Gos. Its mash-up of music, visuals, and script work, however, to tell a story as old as time.
“It’s a great mix of elements,” said director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Peter Parisi. “It feels like they’re in this Shakespearean world and the characters are in a modified Elizabethan wardrobe, using the music of The Go-Gos, but it makes sense. They’re talking about issues that are both timeless and contemporary.”
The musical adapts the plot of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Philip Sidney, which was written in the late 1500s. It tells the story of the royal family in a kingdom, Arcadia, whose future depends on the family avoiding four predictions by an oracle. Set to some of The Go-Gos’ most recognizable hits as well as their lesser-known songs, the show is magical, dramatic, and fun.
“The theme is love,” Mr. Parisi said. “It’s about loving who you want to love, status, power, responsibility, duty to family, duty to your country, duty to yourself. In the end, the message is that love is love is love is love, and no matter who you are, you deserve love.”
Eliot Hack ’24 arrived at the base of Mount Katahdin last summer ready to complete a technical climb in memory of beloved Milton Academy teacher Kendall Chun. Mother Nature had other plans.
Rain forced Eliot to ditch his plans for a technical ascent—using rock climbing gear and heading up a steep path to the summit—and he instead hiked the mountain on foot, completing his first effort to raise money for access to public lands and celebrating the massive influence Mr. Chun had on Milton’s adventure-seeking students.
“Mr. Chun did so much for our community and for me, personally. I really wanted to honor him,” Eliot said. “He was focused on getting people out there and breaking down any kinds of barriers to the outdoors.”
Mr. Chun, who died April 26, 2022 after a recurrence of cancer, ran the school’s Outdoor Program in addition to his work as a computer science teacher and role as a Robbins House faculty advisor. His love for outdoor adventures was infectious as he introduced students to hiking, rock and ice climbing, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and more—regardless of their prior experience or skill level.
Just a few weeks after graduating from Milton Academy, Merritt Levitan ’13 was on a bicycle trip across the United States when a driver, who was distracted by texting, hit and killed her.
Merritt, a passionate and active young woman who loved the outdoors and spending time with family and friends, left a legacy of adventure, humor, and love that continues today at Milton and well beyond.
Several of Merritt’s Milton friends—Emeline Atwood ’14, Abigail Lebovitz ’14, Kaitlin Gately ’14, and Erika Lamere ’15—joined with her family to form TextLess Live More, a nonprofit whose mission is to end distracted driving and, over time, has evolved and expanded to promote digital wellness. The national awareness campaign, which has a chapter at Milton Academy, educates people about the effects of digital distraction, including the safety risks of distracted driving along with the overall impact of digital habits on physical and mental health.
“Merritt set an example for all of us to live life to the fullest and to be present for others and ourselves in everything we do,” said Head of School Todd Bland. “A decade after she was taken—far too soon—from her beloved family and friends, we can still find inspiration in her joy, excitement for life, and her deep care for others.”
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.
Welcoming experts in public health, two Milton Academy faculty members recently convened a forum to examine challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of supporting mental health—particularly among young people in our communities.
The Feb. 6 panel discussion, hosted by Boston College High School, was the latest event in the Humanities Workshop series. A collaborative initiative connecting public, private, and charter schools, each biennial program explores a single social justice issue through the lens of the humanities—the academic disciplines including arts, literature, languages, history, society, and culture. Created in 2018 by Milton faculty members Lisa Baker and Alisa Braithwaite, the initiative currently involves hundreds of students and faculty across eight area high schools.
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.
“Racial stress is observable and resolvable because we can see it,” Dr. Howard Stevenson told Milton students recently. “And if we can see it, we can do something about it, but only if we face it in our own racial stories. Courage is in how much we ask about what we don’t know.”
Stevenson, the first of Milton’s 2023 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) speakers, gave Upper and Middle School students racial literacy strategies to handle the inevitable discomfort of situations involving racial stress and threat present in our everyday lives. When people are prepared with tools—including reading and recasting scenarios, locating where stress manifests in our bodies, communicating with ourselves and others, and deploying calming breathing techniques—they are better prepared to make just decisions.
When people encounter conflicts related to race, they’re not just facing the facts of the moment: They’re bringing in a lifetime of internal and external factors that may influence their reactions, so awareness is necessary for a good resolution, Stevenson said.
“In my view, the job of the formative educator is to make justice irresistible.”
So writes Régine Michelle Jean-Charles ’96 in her 2021 book, Martin Luther King & The Trumpet of Conscience Today. In the same passage, she describes helping a group of students process an act of police brutality they witnessed in Paris at the tail end of a course she taught there.
Jean-Charles, a Black feminist literary scholar, cultural critic, and university professor, had led students in a summer course called Paris Noir: The Literature and Culture of Black Paris, which covered Black culture in France from the 1930s to the Black Lives Matter movement. During their final week in Paris, students were unwinding at a nightclub when they saw French police officers violently detain a Black man. Following the incident, Jean-Charles asked the students to reflect on what they’d seen. It was a moment not only to care for their well-being but also consider the role they play in making a more just world.
Born in Vietnam, Lisette Le moved with her family to Akron, Ohio, at the age of 6, and was one of just a handful of Asian American students in every school she attended. She had to quickly learn English, losing some of her Vietnamese language skills except when she translated for her parents.
“There’s a major intersection among race, immigration, and class that shapes our country and our familial structures,” said Le, this year’s Hong Kong speaker. “My story is an individual’s story, but it’s in the context of systems and policy.”
Now a nonprofit leader with more than 16 years of experience in community organizing, civic engagement, and advocacy at the local, city, and state levels, Le shared her personal immigration story and provided some history of Asian communities in Massachusetts. Milton is situated just a few miles from several communities with strong Asian and Asian American populations, such as its neighboring city of Quincy and the Dorchester and Chinatown neighborhoods in Boston. Massachusetts has several enclaves of Asian communities, including Nepalese families in Somerville, South Asian communities in Central Massachusetts, and Vietnamese families in Dorchester’s Fields Corner.
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.
Acts of rebellion and resistance in American social movements have received vastly different responses from police and mass media—based on the race of protesters—since the foundations of the country, this year’s Heyburn lecturer Elizabeth Hinton told Milton students.
Hinton, an author and Yale professor who researches poverty, racial inequality, and urban violence in the United States, described the history of Black protest movements and their characterization as “riots,” even when they were peaceful in origin. In order to understand the disproportionate response to Black social movements, we have to look at history, she said.
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.
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.”
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.
reserve tickets online
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.”
Hope and unity emerged as the central themes of Monday’s Convocation, marking the official start of classes for the 2022–2023 school year.
Co-head monitors Victor Chen ’23 and Robin Storey ’23 both encouraged their peers to make meaningful friendships and be themselves. Following the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, such sincere connections are more precious than ever, both said.
Chen described feeling alone during his Class IV year, and said he started to build a sense of belonging after he came out of his shell and sparked a silly debate (orange juice vs. apple juice) in his U.S. History class that “put the Constitutional Convention to shame.” He encouraged students to embrace the things that make them unique and to pursue their passions.
“One thing I’ve learned in my time here is that whatever I put into this community, Milton will give back,” he said. “If you give this community your most genuine self, you’ll find the love and support that Milton provides.”
Milton is an ever-changing place, which allows students to grow, said Storey, who encouraged students to take advantage of the time and space they get to share.
“Stick with what brings you hope, what pushes you to keep pushing, and will hold you when you fall,” she said. “The stress of life is inevitable, but the people you’re around make it worthwhile. I want us to find comfort in letting our guard down. We all have things to learn and mistakes to make. Let’s be the people we need, for ourselves and for others.”
If it was mechanical or electrical, Kendall Chun tinkered with it: He restored vintage radios, brought failing home appliances back from the brink, built his own electric guitar. If something he made or fixed could bring happiness to others, even better.
Chun, the electrical engineer-turned-Milton computer programming teacher, always had multiple projects going at once. His joy of creating something by hand was infectious, leading him and a handful of students to the off-campus Milton Makerspace, a warehouse where they could work on builds that extended beyond classroom projects. Notable creations include last year’s augmented-reality sandbox, and an arcade cabinet with a functioning program that would allow users to play thousands of classic arcade games.
“It started with Mr. Chun,” said Austin Kinnealey ’23. “He loved arcade games and he was so enthusiastic about this idea, so it caught on. It’s something that everyone can enjoy.”
Alexandra (Alixe) H. Callen ’88 has been selected by the Board of Trustees to be Milton Academy’s 13th head of school, effective July 1, 2023.
Callen, a Milton graduate with extensive teaching and leadership experience in both public and independent schools, currently serves as the head of St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island, a position she has held since 2017.
For the first time, three seniors on Milton’s varsity football team were named Scholar-Athletes by the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Sam Jaffe ’22, Luke Thorbahn ’22, and Jackson Smith ’22 were recognized for excellence on and off the field.
“The award honors athletes who are not only great football players, but great students, and great kids,” said head coach Kevin MacDonald. “It’s also about the contributions they make to the school and the community at large.”
On April 30, the Board of Trustees honored its outgoing president, Lisa Donohue ’83, with the Milton Medal, recognizing her years of leadership and dedication during a significant period of growth for Milton Academy.
“Lisa’s incredible service to Milton clearly makes her deserving of this important honor,” said Board member Claire Hughes Johnson ’90, who will succeed Donohue as president on July 1. “Lisa served Milton during a critical period, and every time the school needed more from her, she increased her level of time, energy, and dedication to Milton’s success. Although Lisa credits Milton for its positive role during a formative time in her life, what is most impressive is her ability to separate the Milton of the past from what the school and the students most need today. Constantly guided by what’s best for the students, Lisa set an example for all of us.”
The Milton Medal recognizes extraordinary service to the school. Donohue’s integral guidance in the implementation of the school’s strategic plan—including its historic capital campaign Dare: The Campaign For Milton—has positioned Milton well for the future, said Head of School Todd Bland. In addition to her oversight of Milton’s strategic plan, Donohue provided sound advice and leadership during the school’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its transition to and from a remote-learning model.
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.”
This year’s Graduation speaker is Heather C. McGhee ’97. She is an author and public policy advocate who designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. For nearly two decades, she helped build the policy organization Demos, serving four years as its president.
McGhee’s New York Times bestselling book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence.
The speech and debate teams celebrated recent accolades at the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League’s (MSDL) State Championship, including a senior being named a speech state champion and a recognition for the overall speech team.
Talia Sherman ’22 captured the state championship in Dramatic Performance while the team received a third-place sweepstakes award, which measures the team’s overall success in comparison with other schools. Jack Burton ’22 was recognized for his creation and leadership of the MSDL Student Board, and was invited to give a speech, in which he acknowledged the league’s coaches for their work throughout the past two years of online competition.
In debate, four students competed in the category of Novice Public Forum and were highly successful, advancing into the elimination rounds as quarter- and semi-finalists.
“What does it mean to be human?” philosopher Cornel West asked Milton students. “How do we hold onto integrity in the face of oppression? How do we hold onto honesty in the face of deception? How do we hold onto decency in the face of insult and assault, and how do we hold on to the enabling virtue of them all—courage—in the face of catastrophic bombardment?”
West, a renowned scholar, writer, and activist, joined students taking Philosophy and Literature virtually last week. He discussed how literature can help people understand seemingly insurmountable challenges, or what Samuel Beckett called “the mess” of modern human existence.
Young people are facing catastrophic political, social, and environmental issues, West said. They may find some clarity in the work of artists and thinkers who “wrestle with catastrophe.” A self-described “Chekhovian Christian,” West said he finds healing in work that confronts disaster head-on.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have long endured discrimination influenced by nearly two centuries of history and exclusionary laws, said University of Maryland professor Janelle Wong, who explained that law and policy play critical roles in reversing discrimination.
“The story of Asian Americans has been shaped by these two dominant stereotypes: the ‘model minority’ myth and the ‘forever foreigner’ stereotype,” said Wong, who was this year’s Hong Kong Distinguished Lecturer. “Both of those stereotypes are the products of both history and laws. And the experiences of Asian Americans are deeply connected with other minority groups in the United States. When disparities are shaped by policy, their solutions must also come from policy.”
Fears by white leaders in the mid-19th century that Chinese immigrants would bring anti-democratic and anti-Christian values to the country ultimately resulted in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned immigration of Chinese laborers and later expanded to ban people from all over Asia. Since that time, anti-Asian sentiment and violence has been “embedded” in America, Wong said, noting that it mirrored the timeline but existed on a smaller scale than anti-Black racism and violence.
The Milton girls’ squash team won the Independent School League—for the first time in more than a decade—with a 6–1 win over Noble and Greenough last month. They went on to finish 12th at the U.S. Squash National tournament in Philadelphia in early March.
Senior co-captains Rhea Anand and Olivia Greenaway said the team’s powerful dynamic and motivation contributed to their success following two losses (to Andover and Deerfield) to kick off the season.
“Winning the ISL this season was a huge accomplishment for the team because it had been 12 years since we last won the title,” Anand said. “The whole team really dug deep during the final match against Nobles… Aside from the results themselves, the drive and camaraderie displayed by the team—both during ISL matches and at nationals—was inspiring, and I know that they will continue to do amazing things in the years to come.”
The night sky belongs to all of us, said author and University of New Hampshire professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, but not all of us have the same access to exploring topics involving astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology.
Prescod-Weinstein encouraged Milton students, particularly those from historically excluded identities, to pursue theoretical sciences because “when we look up at the night sky, what we are seeing is only a small fraction of what’s actually there,” and because scientists with diverse perspectives and experiences will help expand the questions posed about the universe.
Claire Hughes Johnson, Milton Academy Class of 1990, will succeed Lisa Donohue ’83 as president of the Milton Academy Board of Trustees beginning July 1, 2022. Since joining the Board in 2010, Hughes Johnson’s devotion to serving the school has been evident through her guidance in the areas of finance; campus master planning; faculty and staff support; diversity, equity, and inclusion; technology; and development. Hughes Johnson joined the Board’s Executive Committee in 2020.
“I attribute much of my success in life to Milton Academy, and I am honored to serve as its next Board president,” Hughes Johnson said. “I have been so fortunate to grow up at a place like Milton, venture out to establish a career and a family, and then return with new perspectives and renewed loyalty. We live in complex times and it’s more important than ever that our students can thrive and lead into the future.”
As a “lifer,” having attended from Kindergarten through Grade 12, Hughes Johnson’s deep connection to Milton informs her decision-making and thoughtful counsel. She is committed to fulfilling the Board’s mission of maintaining Milton’s academic excellence while positioning the school and its students to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.
Milton artists and writers received dozens of honors in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running competition to identify creative talent among students. Twenty-seven student writers received 52 awards total, including 13 Gold Key awards; 29 student artists received a total of 57 awards, 12 of which received Gold Key honors.
Senior Samuel Dunn’s personal essay and memoir piece “On Confession” received the competition’s best in category award; jurors selected it as a piece that exceeded the expectations of a Gold Key award.
Scholastic works in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and The Boston Globe to judge regional winners. Gold Key winners are welcome to participate in the regional awards celebration, which will be held on March 14 at Tufts. Gold Key work is currently being reviewed at the national level in New York City by panels of creative professionals for National Medal honors.
Dr. Monica Benton Palmer has been named Milton’s next Upper School principal, effective July 1. The following is a message from Head of School Todd Bland announcing Dr. Palmer’s appointment to the Milton community:
I am happy to announce Dr. Monica Benton Palmer as Milton Academy’s next Upper School principal, effective July 1, 2022. After rigorous evaluation of candidates in a national search under highly competitive circumstances, Milton acted swiftly to bring Dr. Palmer to Milton, and we are delighted she chose to join our community.
Monica has 19 years of independent school experience, and her passion for working with upper school students results from a desire to connect with and guide students in their formative years.
Rotary phones, crunchy gravel, and a tiger’s roar—well, an overturned hand drum containing a precise number of metal nuts—are among the many objects carefully arranged on the King Theatre stage as student Foley artists and actors prepare for Thursday’s opening of the winter play, Murder, Mayhem, and Mystery: An Evening of Radio Dramas.
The show tells four classic radio dramas and takes the performers back to the early 20th century, when radio plays were can’t-miss entertainment. As students perform the stories, they use dozens of handmade sound effects. A vuvuzela, extended and retracted, becomes an elephant; a train chugs into station with a combination of metals and whistles; big band music scratches out from a vintage 78 record.
Directed by Performing Arts Department faculty member Darlene Anastas, the show includes “Sorry, Wrong Number,” written by Lucille Fletcher and made famous by actress Agnes Moorehead; a Dick Tracy suspense mystery, “Big Top Murders”; and two Agatha Christie stories, “Personal Call,” and “Butter in a Lordly Dish.” Like classic radio plays from the 1940s, the show has a “sponsor,” Tootsie Roll, and live ads are interspersed throughout.
Star Bryan ’23 plays Ms. Stevenson, the main character in “Sorry, Wrong Number,” as well as Inspector Narracott in “Personal Call,” and Julia Keene in “Butter in a Lordly Dish.” Learning the different roles within separate stories provided an interesting challenge.
“Ms. Stevenson is angry or frustrated through basically the whole story, and Julia Keene starts out flirtatious, but then takes a turn,” Bryan said. “I’m not used to playing anger or flirtation, so getting into both roles took time.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered injustices that are more complex and connected than some may understand, Jubi Oladipo ’24 reflected after working with a Boston nonprofit that makes and delivers medically tailored meals to people with chronic and critical illnesses.
“Often, people with chronic illnesses and disabled people are left out of the narrative,” Oladipo said, noting that the pandemic added additional barriers for people in need to safely obtain healthy food. “Food insecurity is a really intersectional issue; so many different factors can impact a person’s ability to go grocery shopping and prepare meals that help them satisfy their medical needs.”
Oladipo and the other students in Andrea Geyling-Moore’s Activism for Justice in a Digital World course recently visited and worked in the kitchen of Community Servings, located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Max Seelig ’22 said the visit opened his eyes to how food insecurity can have its origins in more than just poverty.
“Generally, the first image that comes to mind when we think of someone who’s food insecure is someone who is experiencing homelessness or poverty,” he said. “But access is not just financial. Physical health and location also determine access to food and meals.”
As a young man, Dr. Philip McAdoo had a moment where he thought his ambitions weren’t enough. While waiting to be interviewed to receive a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, he met young people planning to be doctors, lawyers, and civic leaders competing for the same scholarship. McAdoo wanted to be a theater actor.
During a break in the interviews, McAdoo visited Atlanta’s King Center, where he encountered a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
“I carried that with me for the rest of my life,” said McAdoo, Milton’s 2022 MLK Day speaker. “I thought I needed to be something more than I was. Dr. King created space for everyday people to do the extraordinary.”
McAdoo delivered a webinar titled “Reflections on Service and Love” to Upper and Middle School students on Tuesday afternoon, and to the broader Milton community in the evening. Zain Sheikh ’24 moderated Q&A sessions with him following his talks. Desman Ward ’23, Nate Dixon ’22, and Zahra Tshai ’22 introduced McAdoo for the sessions.
“For me to immigrate to the United States was to take stock of what I had to give up to get what I want out of what Mary Oliver calls ‘this one wild and precious life,’” English teacher Kristine Palmero told students this week. “It’s about choosing where my physical body will be even if there are rooms in my heart that live in a house in a country so distant that their night is my day.
“But over time, the U.S., which I thought would be no more than an interlude, turned into my home,” Palmero added. “For me, trying to immigrate here is about loving the U.S. and my life here with my whole being, even when I wasn’t sure how long I would get to stay.”
Palmero was born in the Philippines and raised in Saudi Arabia, where her father worked for an energy company—she saw how Americans working for the company received privileges other foreigners did not. Inspired by the film Dead Poets Society, she asked her parents to send her to boarding school in the United States; her father responded by gathering as much information on American prep schools as he could to help her achieve her dream.
When Katie Chow ’12 was growing up, her parents would come home from Boston’s Chinatown with white boxes wrapped in red string and containing favorite treats for her and her siblings: pastries such as dan tat (egg tarts) or bolo bao (pineapple buns).
“For us, love is a surprise box of buns, even though your fridge is packed; dad giving you the last helping of fish when you know it’s his favorite, too; and spending Sundays helping mom fold wontons that will live in the freezer for months,” Chow writes on the Instagram page for the Asian Inclusion Project, a joint venture with Ashley Bae ’12.
For Bae, a Los Angeles native and daughter of Korean immigrants, food connects across generations. As a child, Bae peppered her paternal grandmother with questions as the older woman experimented with fermentation for kimchi and cooked a spicy seafood stew from her youth in Guryongpohang, a port city at the southeastern tip of South Korea.
“When I cook comfort foods that remind me of my childhood, I’m really cooking food from my grandma’s childhood, because I grew up watching her,” Bae says. “There’s something beautiful about how a routine activity like cooking can mean so much for a culture.”
Bae and Chow formed the Asian Inclusion Project (on Instagram at @asianinclusionproject) out of their mutual desire to amplify Asian American voices and invite others into the Asian American experience. Food is a natural medium: In many cultures, sharing food is an expression of love, celebration, and community. The project shares submissions from chefs and amateurs alike—people with diverse stories and Asian American identities in common.