Second semester is a busy time for Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) at Milton, with plenty of opportunities for students to get involved and give back.
Already, students volunteered to help run the Special Olympics basketball tournament with 15 teams, including the Milton-Quincy team, whom Milton students coach throughout the year. It was a successful, fun event, says CEPP director Andrea Geyling-Moore. The Special Olympics and other relationship-building volunteer programs through CEPP help students move beyond the concept of one-way service into something more meaningful, she says.
“The students on our board are really owning the idea of partnership,” she said. “They understand that it’s a two-way process of learning and engagement with the community.”
In February, CEPP volunteers hosted children from the Brookview House on campus. Brookview, a Boston shelter for women and children dealing with homelessness, is a regular volunteer site. During the public school February vacation, some of the residents came to Milton to eat lunch, play basketball, and conduct fun science experiments—including building and launching their own rockets—in the Pritzker Science Center. Milton students have expanded coding instruction for Brookview residents, beginning with programming for simple games.
Students have also shown initiative in planning engagement efforts. Day monitors Zaki Alaoui ’20 and Abby Hanly ’20 organized a Sunday afternoon visit to Atria Marina Place, an assisted living facility, as a unifying opportunity for day students. Zaki hopes it can become a regular program.
“We wanted to give back to a place that wanted help and was accessible to a lot of local students,” he said. “It was really great to hang out with the residents and hear their stories. We’d like to repeat the trip so we can continue building relationships with the home and make this an event we can pass along to the next day monitors.”
The student one-act plays are a venue for student directors and actors to showcase their wide-ranging talents on and off stage. This year there were three one-acts, completely directed, performed, and tech-supported by students.
Brie Lewis ’20 and Eloise Maybank ’21 directed No More Mister Nice Guy, featuring four actors: Owen GwinnLandry ’23, Alex Paulino ’21, Talia Sherman ’22, and Nancy Tao ’23.
“The play is centered on the character Sheldon Grimes,” said Eloise. “He is the pinnacle of goodness, but he finds himself in serious trouble with the law, his crime being this very virtue of kindness. Sheldon must work to rectify his behavior, with help from two cops and a ‘professional.’”
Eloise said that the dystopian society reflected in the play, which is written by Jonathan Rand, “not only lends itself to hilarity, but presents underlying commentary on corruption within today’s justice system plagued with profiling. It begs the audience to ponder what truly is good—the law or what you personally believe to be right. We chose this play because of this nuance and, of course, because it made us laugh really hard. We hope everyone enjoyed it!”
The other two plays were “Why We Like Love Stories,” directed by Rowan Hack ’20 and “The Door,” directed by Miranda Paiz ’21.
The boys’ varsity squash team faced a tough loss this week against Belmont (2-5) after a stellar undefeated season, placing them second in the ISLs.
The team opened their season with a big win (7–0) against Phillips Exeter, setting the stage for a strong undefeated (6–0) winter season so far. “It was so exciting to start off with a bang with such a resounding victory,” says co-captain Andrew Willwerth ’20.
The top eight players on Milton are four seniors and four juniors, which brings solid depth and leadership to the team.
“A lot of students have stepped up as leaders this year, more than ever in my four years on the team,” says co-captain Zac Ibrahim ’20. “I don’t mean just the captains, but all the kids. There is an interest and passion from everyone to get better.“
The captains said at nationals, where the team has just been seeded in the first division. In past years, they’ve been seeded in the second or third.
Zac enjoys the close matches, such as when they competed against Phillips Andover and won 5–2. “It’s more exciting when you know it could go either way,” he says.
It was an impressive season for the girls’ swim team, who won the ISL Championship last weekend. Team captains Mary Howley ’20 and Leydn McEvoy ’20 both put in impressive performances. Mary won the 200 freestyle and came in second in the 100 backstroke. Leydn came in first for the 500 freestyle and second in the 200 IM. Dillon Brown ’20 won the 100 breaststroke. Leydn, Dillon, Mary and Madeline Fitzgibbon ’21 won the 200 medley relay.
“The team did great as a whole and it was really fun with a lot of spirit and cheering!” said Mary.
In mid-February at the Eastern International Swimming and Diving Championships in Pennsylvania, the team placed 12th out of a field of 28. Team captains Mary and Leydn both placed in the top 8th in their individual events–Mary with 2nd in the 100 butterfly and 4th in the 100 backstroke and Leydn with 6th in the 500 free and 8th in the 200 IM.
Both the girls’ and boys’ teams are often out of the spotlight, practicing and competing off campus throughout the winter season. These dedicated swimmers spend long hours in the water, working hard to improve their form and times. So Mary and Leydn make it a point to instill some fun into the practices and meets.
“This year, to get our team members more excited to do well at meets, we started offering candy prizes,” said Mary, who competes in the 100 backstroke, 100 fly medley, and the 400 relay. “Everyone who swims the 500, the longest race, gets a ring pop. And after every meet on the bus ride home, we choose an MVP for boys and girls, and there are more prizes.”
“Our goal overall as a team is to push each other every day to work hard and have a positive attitude,” said Leydn, who competes in the 200 IM, 500 free and three relays. “Then fast times and breaking records just come after.”
Both Mary, who will swim at Dartmouth next year, and Leydn, who will swim at NYU, have been on the team since freshman year. They are the team’s top-two scorers. Assistant coach Jamie LaRochelle said, “Mary and Leydn have done an excellent job. Their work ethic sets a great example for the other members of the team and they have been very supportive of their teammates.”
“This has been my favorite season,” said Mary. “The team dynamic is the best and the unity between the guys and the girls is great.”
The Winter Dance Concert represents the best mix of creativity and physical prowess at Milton, says Nyla Sams ’20, a dancer and choreographer in this year’s performance.
“It combines music, culture, athleticism, and beautiful visuals into two entertaining hours,” she says. “Also, everyone is in dance concert! You have die-hard theater kids and football players on the same stage. Everyone is there to support one another and have fun, so the energy is just amazing.”
This year’s dance concert opens Thursday, March 5 and runs through Saturday, March 7 in King Theatre. The performance showcases hip-hop, modern dance, tap, jazz, ballet, Latin dance, a traditional Ukrainian dance, and an Irish dance, says Kelli Edwards, chair of the performing arts department. Kelli has choreographed an eclectic modern dance piece to the music of Queen.
“This year, there are about 75 students dancing, a crew of about 10, and we’ll have a few more set pieces,” Kelli explains. During some years, the set is fairly bare-bones, but this year, set pieces include a scene in a bodega and a modern dance using fabric hung from the ceiling.
Preparing for the dance concert involves a lot of hard work. Students balance their participation in the concert with their schoolwork, athletics, and club commitments, and they practice whenever they can.
“I’m most excited to see everyone come together for the run-throughs,” Nyla says. “The lighting, costumes, and energy culminate into a breathtaking show. You haven’t really seen what others are doing until you see the entire production.”
Aside from Kelli’s dance, students choreographed most of the show. Alli Reilly ’20 choreographed a tap dance set to live music that will be performed by members of the jazz band, and she and Emma Bradley ’20 have choreographed “a contemporary piece that looks into physically and emotionally abusive relationships and the strength it takes to break free from them.”
“Because the majority of dances are choreographed by students, dance concert gives us a platform to share our cultures and important messages with the entire community, which makes the show more personal,” Alli says.
Grace Li ’20 agrees, saying the work and creativity that goes into the planning and performance is what attracts the Milton community to the concert, an annual campus favorite.
“Seeing the ideas that your classmates have brought to life on stage is really powerful,” says Grace. “For me, dance is a social activity. So having the opportunity to dance with old friends and make new friends through dance is something I always look forward to.”
The Winter Dance Concert opens Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in King Theatre, and runs Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m., closing Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m.
Reserve tickets online for the event.
Centre Connection, Milton's online newsletter for parents, is published five times each year through the efforts of the Milton Academy Communication Office and Parents' Association volunteers.