Newly elected head monitors Eliza Dunn ’21 and Garvin McLaughlin ’21 took up the mantle as school leaders from outgoing head monitors Olivia Wang ’20 and Beck Kendig ’20. Historically, head monitor elections are held in May with a School-wide Q&A and speeches from each candidate in the Athletic and Convocation Center. Despite the circumstances of students being home due to the pandemic, Wang and Kendig worked hard to replicate the process, hosting a live Q&A with the 13 self-nominated candidates over Zoom. Candidates submitted recorded speeches which were made available online, allowing students to watch them before voting. The candidate Q&A was also recorded giving students the option to watch the session at a later time.
Dunn and McLaughlin said one of their main goals for next year is to generate a strong sense of Milton spirit and community, especially after being away at the end of this year and facing some unknowns about what will happen in the fall. The pair are excited to find “new and creative ways to bring Milton back together.”
“Next year is a clean slate for us to create a sense of Milton in new ways, and to build a sense of unity and acceptance by making the transition into next fall seamless and fun for everyone,” said McLaughlin. “As head monitors, we are excited to lead the School toward that goal, by hosting School-wide events or competitions, finding ways to give back to our communities outside of school, and building better relationships between grades through student-led mentor groups.”
Milton seniors Kalel Mullings and Mitchell Gonser were both recognized as outstanding scholar-athletes by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
The award honors senior football players who have excelled on the football field, in the classroom, and within the school and community. The 45th-annual banquet, which was scheduled for May 17, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The recipients will receive a plaque and a commemorative program at a later date.
“As football players, Mitch and Kalel enjoyed tremendous careers at Milton,” said Kevin MacDonald, head coach of varsity football. “Both were named all-scholastic and all-state. Additionally, Kalel was a consensus first-team all-American. They were also outstanding leaders, consummate student-athletes, and beloved members of our team both in the estimation of their coaches and their peers.”
Both will continue to play football this fall—Mullings at the University of Michigan and Gonser at Harvard University.
The student Asian Society (AS) turned missed opportunities into philanthropy this spring, donating all the funds they raised for club programming to COVID-19 relief efforts in Boston.
“It feels empowering to have made a tangible difference, and it’s comforting to know that Asians and Asian-Americans in Boston are receiving aid,” said Tony Wang ’20. “We hope Boston’s many communities will support each other in weathering COVID-19 as well as its economic impacts.”
Typically, the AS holds a t-shirt sale to fund programs like the group’s annual senior banquet. This year, using a design from Evelyn Cao ’22, the group sold sweatpants instead. The sale was wildly successful, said teacher Vivian Wu Wong, a club advisor.
“We decided to shift the purpose of our fundraiser because we wanted to give students a way to direct their anxiety about the virus in a positive way, so we asked students to buy sweatpants in support of the relief efforts,” Wu Wong said. “The fundraiser was so successful that we had to order a second printing.”
Racism and xenophobia directed toward East Asian people alarmed students, many of whom were receiving troubling news from family and friends in China at the outset of the novel coronavirus infections there. Initial plans to send money to Wuhan, China, changed when the students learned that the money could make a bigger difference locally.
The AS donated proceeds from the sale to the Chinatown Progressive Association’s COVID-19 emergency fund. They also gave to the Boston Medical Center in Mattapan, to help bridge the gap in virus outcomes facing communities of color.
Residents in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood have been hit hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus; many work in service-industry jobs that have disappeared, and the language barriers and immigration concerns that lock people out of unemployment benefits have left them without a safety net, Wang said. Solidarity from people who reject bias and support the most affected communities has been inspiring, he added.
“Asian communities throughout the world have felt both hostility and support in this difficult time,” Wang said. “I’m grateful that so many from inside these communities and outside them have stepped up to help.”
Making a difference is the mission of Milton’s Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP). This important work continues despite the pandemic, as students and their families, faculty, and staff have found ways to help others. CEPP has updated a list of ways to help local and national organizations. Even the simple acts of students writing letters and drawing chalk art messages to residents in local nursing homes and assisted living facilities, or weekly Zoom calls with children in the after-school program at the Brookview House family shelter, have continued community engagement connections.
Victoria Fawcett ’22, Ellie Mraz ’21, and Sofie Mraz ’23, made masks for residents at the Village of Duxbury, a senior living facility in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Fawcett first reached out to see what the residents needed and then used social media to ask for helping hands for their project. They said they received great support and collected enough material to sew over 250 fabric face masks. “The administrators and residents of the facility really appreciated the many days of work we put into making the masks,” said Fawcett. “Not only did we have fun, but it was tremendously rewarding to help others in need, especially during this difficult time.”
CEPP faculty advisor Andrea Geyling said the fight against hunger in Massachusetts is more urgent than ever. To support those in need, students and their families can support Project Bread’s 52nd annual (this year virtual) Walk for Hunger by joining the Milton Academy team to donate or fundraise as a virtual walker through June 30. Individuals can walk in their own neighborhoods to raise awareness about the issue and learn more about food insecurity by accessing helpful resources on the Project Bread website.
Dr. Rachel Hitt, mother of Ben Hitt ’21, was concerned how many COVID-19 patients end up isolated and without their phones in intensive care units, unable to see or spend time with loved ones. She started Ipads4covidcare and along with Grant Robinson’s ’20 family, they have collected, cleaned, and delivered donated devices to Boston-area hospitals. Their story was featured by various news outlets.
The student CEPP Board and Geyling’s Activism for Justice in a Digital Age class made videos of students reading storybooks and guiding art activities, exercises, and music for the Taylor School, a public elementary school in Boston where some Milton students volunteer weekly.
“It has been a way for our weekly student volunteers to stay in touch with the kids they had been working with all year,” said Geyling. “The teachers are posting them on their remote weekly lesson plans. We are also in the process of expanding that project with the Milton public elementary schools and other partner sites, such as Mujeres Unidas Avanzando, with personal video greetings to adult English-language learners.”
The Special Olympics had to cancel spring events, including the annual Track and Field Tournament that Milton Academy hosts every May. To support athletes as they prepare for this year’s virtual State Games in June, volunteers are encouraged to participate in the High 5 campaign by submitting a High 5 photo of themselves. Participants will be paired with an athlete preparing for state games and get a few email updates about their athlete leading up to the big day. Photo submissions are due by May 26.