December 2018

‘Tis the Season to Think Of Others

‘Tis the Season to Think Of Others

This holiday season, Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) is busy with many projects aimed at helping others, involving students, staff and faculty. Starting back in October around Halloween, CEPP students collected donations for UNICEF and also ran a candy drive for troops in Afghanistan. A week after Army Brigadier General Richard F. Johnson P’19 spoke to students via Skype as the Veterans’ Day Assembly speaker, the candy was packaged up and sent to his troops.

“It made it more personable and emotional to hear from the individual who was going to receive our gifts, and it influenced the connection our student body had with the drive,” says Elena Viceira (I), co-head of the CEPP student board. “We hope to continue this drive annually to show our gratitude to those who serve our country abroad. We also hope to welcome new faces to our program and encourage students to actively engage in the projects we offer and consider the deeper meaning of that engagement.”

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Meet New Speech and Debate Coach, Matthew Brandstetter

Meet New Speech and Debate Coach, Matthew Brandstetter

Learning to speak with eloquence and clarity, being able to argue a point respectfully, and grasping all sides of an issue are skills that serve students for life, says Dr. Matthew Brandstetter, Milton’s new speech and debate coach.

“Regardless of the professional field they go into, the skills developed in speech and debate hold students in good stead, whether they find themselves speaking to a board of directors or interviewing for a position,” Matthew says. “Even in the college-admissions process, learning to speak intelligently and cogently is an essential skill.”

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Milton’s Robotics Team Makes Its Mark

Milton’s Robotics Team Makes Its Mark

The robotics team has made it to at least the semifinals of every tournament they’ve participated in this fall, a testament to their teamwork and collaborative spirit. The students are split into three teams, each competing with its own robot. Two of the three teams have already qualified for the national tournament in the spring.

Milton Robotics is doing better at this point in the year than it ever has in the past, says Alexander Shih (I). “Our biggest success, though, is in our team dynamic,” he says. “We are working together, and the rookies are getting a lot of the experience they’ll need to start leading in the future.”

“The program has become more and more competitive,” says Chris Hales, club advisor and computer programming faculty member. “It takes a lot of time and a decent amount of knowledge. Robotics is an intellectual pursuit, and sometimes it can become a competition to prove how much you know, but that’s not accepted here. All ideas are welcome, and these students are very encouraging of one another.”

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New Body-Positive Student Group Focuses on Building Confidence and Community

New Body-Positive Student Group Focuses on Building Confidence and Community

“You get nothing out of being cruel to yourself, and you gain everything by being kind,” Ginny Barrett (II) says. “It’s a really hard lesson to learn, but once you’re there, it can be transformative. It starts as simply as looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I look good today.’”

This is the message that Ginny and Laura Bailey (I) hope members take away from the student club, Body+, which they cofounded this year: Self-confidence comes from accepting and loving the person you are today. The girls are not just close friends; they’re cousins, and from this lifelong bond they’ve guided each other through the various insecurities that arise in adolescence.

Ginny struggled with her confidence in middle school, and found it hard to discuss with others. She felt invalidated when people responded to her concerns with, “Stop it, you’re beautiful.”

“Obviously, when people do that, they’re trying to give you a good message and make you feel better, but they’re not really listening,” Ginny says. “Body image comes from so many outside factors pushing on you, whether it’s society, media, family or friends, which makes it harder to talk about, because you never know whether a response is going to boost you up or push you down. I wanted to create a safe environment for people to share their experiences and really listen to others, and realize they’re not alone.”

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Finding Joy in Athletics: JV Hockey

Finding Joy in Athletics: JV Hockey

When the girls’ junior varsity hockey teams takes to the ice, whether it’s a game or a practice, one thing is certain, they will have fun. Despite the intense physical demands of this fast-paced sport, there are big smiles underneath those helmets. These athletes love the game and the JV program, both girls’ and boys’, fosters an encouraging and welcoming environment.

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Success for Milton’s Speechies and Debaters This Fall Season

Success for Milton’s Speechies and Debaters This Fall Season

It was a busy fall season for the Speech and Debate team. Before Thanksgiving, Milton has a strong showing at the Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifying tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. In Speech, Jana Amin and Maya Bokhari placed first and second respectively in Original Oratory, earning them spots in the TOC, which takes place in April. In Debate, Tony Wang and Tim Colledge earned first place in Public Forum Debate while also obtaining first and second speaker awards.

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Heyburn Speaker Connects Colonial Laws With Modern Inequality

Heyburn Speaker Connects Colonial Laws With Modern Inequality

The legal distinction of whiteness as a race did not exist anywhere in the world until 1681, when colonial American lawmakers sought to outlaw marriages between European people and others, sociologist Jacqueline Battalora told Upper School students.

This was, essentially, “the invention of white people,” said Dr. Battalora, who visited Milton as the Henry R. Heyburn guest lecturer.

Previously, people were grouped by their nation of origin, Dr. Battalora explained. But once anti-miscegenation laws preventing marriage between white people and nonwhite people were established further, legal segregation drove division among racial groups, creating an atmosphere and legacy of racism and discrimination the effects of which still resonate today.

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Melissa Dilworth Gold Visiting Artist, Jed Perl

There Are “No Simple Answers” in Interpreting Art, Critic and Author Jed Perl Tells Milton Students

JedPerl1Viewing art “involves very close looking, but also being open to a variety of ideas,” author and art critic Jed Perl told students. Mr. Perl was on campus as the Melissa Dilworth Gold Visiting Artist. Mr. Perl also spoke to faculty, parents and alumni at Milton’s “Evening with the Arts,” an event dedicated to Kay Herzog, former English department chair and a champion of the arts at Milton.

During the Visual Arts Assembly, Mr. Perl showed students various works by artists such as Picasso, Corot and Mondrian. He discussed the process of “looking at something with your eyes and then figuring out what you are looking at. There is a back and forth between looking at it and making sense of it.”

Mr. Perl said that when people consume art, there is “a tendency to think we are looking for one correct answer, a single key to unlock the puzzle, but that’s not how intellectual curiosity works. There are no simple answers.”

Mr. Perl is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He was the art critic for The New Republic for 20 years and contributing editor to Vogue for a decade. His books include Magicians and CharlatansAntoine’s Alphabet, and New Art City.

The Melissa Dilworth Gold ’61 Visiting Artist Fund commemorates Melissa’s life and interests by bringing nationally recognized artists to campus each year so that students may benefit from dynamic interaction with inspirational and accomplished professionals.

Jill Ashton, Executive Director of the MA Commission on the Status of Women

State Official Offers Call to Action: Milton Students, Be Heard

JillAshtonStudents can make a difference even before they reach voting age, by committing to hold their representatives accountable, said Jill Ashton, executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

“Build a relationship with your elected officials,” she encouraged students. “Know who represents you at all levels of government. Your state representative may remember what it was like to be a high school student, but they have no idea what it’s like to be a high school student in 2018. Your experiences and perspective are unique and significant.”

Ms. Ashton visited Milton to speak at an assembly sponsored by the student groups F-Word, a feminist publication, and SAGE (Students Advocating for Gender Equality).

While women, people of color, and members of other marginalized groups have made gains in winning elective positions around the country, our representative governments on the state and federal levels often do not reflect the demographic makeup of our communities, Ms. Ashton said. The same holds true in the business world, she noted: There are fewer women working as CEOs of major companies than there are male CEOs named John. Despite evidence that diversity improves the way institutions function, power remains concentrated among men who are often wealthy, cisgender and white.

“We have a long way to go,” she said. “We have to make sure we raise up, and make space for, the voices in our communities that have been marginalized and discriminated against.”

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency tasked with reviewing women’s issues in Massachusetts and recommending policy changes that would improve access to opportunities and equality. The Commission holds open, public hearings where people are invited to speak or give written testimony about an issue that affects women, girls and families; offer recommendations; or share solutions they have witnessed that could be expanded to other communities.

Domestic violence is a prominent, recurring theme at the hearings, as is access to healthcare and reproductive choice, childcare, employment and housing. Increasingly, the need for resources for elder care has been a focus, Ms. Ashton said.

Ms. Ashton has served as the executive director for the Commission since 2009. The Commission recently supported a landmark equal pay bill that went into effect in July 2018. It has also worked toward expanding paid medical leave in Massachusetts and improving access to contraceptives in recent legislative cycles.

Veterans Day Speaker, Army Brigadier General Richard F. Johnson P’19

Live From Afghanistan: A Lesson in Leadership for Veterans Day

Johnson_KatawazaiStudents who listen to others, instead of fighting to command the spotlight, are building critical leadership skills—sometimes without knowing it—Army Brigadier General Richard F. Johnson P’19 told Milton students during the Veterans Day assembly.

“When I was your age, I didn’t realize that I had the potential to lead; I didn’t really understand how to model leadership,” Brig. Gen. Johnson said. “If you want to be a leader, you can do that by being a good follower: being a strong leader at times and a team member at others. Generally, the leader listens. They allow other people to express their opinions, they absorb those opinions, and that allows them to form their own.”

Serving others through leadership, in any capacity—whether as a civilian or in the military—is an excellent way to honor veterans, Brig. Gen. Johnson told students. One hundred years after the armistice that ended World War I, the “war to end all wars,” generations of American veterans have protected the United States and its allies.

Brig. Gen. Johnson is the deputy commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division. He is the Task Force Southeast commanding general in Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel, and the father of two Class I students. He is on his fifth combat deployment.

He addressed Upper and Middle School students via Skype from Gardez, Afghanistan, alongside Shamim Khan Katawazai, the governor of Paktia Province. Governor Katawazai is a partner in moving toward peace in Afghanistan, and his service to his country comes at significant personal risk as the Afghan government and international security forces clash with violent extremists.

Brig. Gen. Johnson and Gov. Katawazai first met over the phone as Brig. Gen. Johnson faced a violent crisis in Zurmat, upon arriving in Afghanistan. Through conversation, the general learned of Gov. Katawazai’s passion for progress on economic development, education and youth services. They built up a mutual trust and understanding about the importance of stable governance, even in the midst of military action.

Afghanistan has been at war for more than 40 years, fighting with the former Soviet Union, Pakistan and Iran. Over the past several decades, Taliban insurgents have gained and lost control of the Afghan government, at one point controlling most of the country under a violent interpretation of Islamic law.

One of the most devastating effects of Taliban rule was the dismantling of Afghan schools, Gov. Katawazai said, through a translator. The only schools remaining were strictly religious, and girls were barred from receiving any education, compounding problems of illiteracy, poverty and violence across the country, and leaving boys vulnerable to recruitment by the Taliban.

“With the aid of the United States, we have been able to establish schools, build up health services and work on infrastructure. We have democratic elections,” he said. “We are on the right track to establish a working democracy. On behalf of the youth of Afghanistan, we are grateful.”

Following the assembly, the entire School community gathered in silence in front of the Apthorp Chapel for the annual Veterans Day Flagpole Ceremony.


Multiculturalism Assembly with Dr. Jennifer Bryan

In Conversations About Gender, Students Should Listen to Learn, Dr. Jennifer Bryan Says


Jennifer-Bryan-01-webUnderstanding the differences between gender and sex is key to creating a more welcoming and inclusive world, said Jennifer Bryan, a nationally recognized expert in gender and sexuality diversity.

Sex is biological, assigned at birth according to a baby’s anatomy, while gender refers to certain cultural or social attributes, Dr. Bryan said. Both exist on spectrums: a person’s gender may be male, female, some combination of both, fluid, or neither; biologically, people are born with reproductive systems, hormones and genetics that indicate male or female sex, or some combination of both.

“It’s important, as we talk about these things, to ask, ‘What’s your gender story? How does your understanding of who you are influence your experience in the world?’” Dr. Bryan said. “If we’re going to have this conversation, we have to expect that things could be ambiguous, complex and contradictory… What matters is that we want to hear each other’s stories, and we have to be curious. We have to listen like we might learn something.”

In introducing Dr. Bryan at the multicultural assembly, Heather Flewelling, Milton’s director of multiculturalism and community development, also reaffirmed the School’s commitment to gender equity and inclusion, noting recent efforts such as adding all-gender bathrooms in every academic building and ongoing work toward creating inclusive spaces on campus.

Given the wide range of gender identities—including transgender and non-binary, meaning neither male nor female—and the diversity of biological sex indicators, some efforts to categorize people using binary labels are misinformed and dangerous, Dr. Bryan said.

“Saying that a person’s biology is everything is inadequate,” she said. “That’s just one data point.”

Legal and policy measures protecting the rights of transgender people—such as anti-discrimination laws and protected access to public facilities—are being threatened by federal and state initiatives, including a federal proposal to narrowly define a person’s gender based on the sex they were assigned at birth. During a question and comment session following Dr. Bryan’s presentation, a transgender student received applause after saying that her gender identity is a fact, regardless of others’ opinions or political debates.

“I am trans, no matter what,” she said. “I’m not going to disappear.”

Dr. Bryan is the founder and principal of Team Finch Consultants and the author of From the Dress-Up Corner to the Senior Prom: Navigating Gender and Sexual Diversity in PreK-12 Schools. A graduate of both Princeton University and Teachers College, Columbia University, she began her career as a teacher and coach at The Hotchkiss School. Trained as a counseling psychologist, she offers specialized trainings to preK-12 communities across America.

Watch School Spirit at the 2018 Pep Rally

Prep Teams Face Off in Holiday Hockey Tournaments

hockeyEvery holiday season, the best teams in prep 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.

The annual Flood-Marr Holiday Hockey Tournament is named for Dick “Lefty” Marr and his college roommate, longtime friend and rival hockey coach Dick Flood. Lefty Marr was a member of the Milton faculty from 1957 until 1980. Now in its 54th year, the three-day competition for boys’ teams includes Milton, Nobles, Hotchkiss, Andover, Westminster, Deerfield, Kimball Union and Salisbury.

On the same weekend, the top girls’ talent takes to the ice at Milton and Nobles to compete in the 38th Annual Harrington Invitational. Milton will face off against Nobles, Lawrence, St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, Middlesex, Westminster and Williston-Northampton.

The tournaments run from Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16.

Download Harrington Tournament Schedule

Download Flood-Marr Tournament Schedule

Parents’ Association News, December 2018

Help needed for Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day

Please show your appreciation for all the efforts of Milton’s faculty and staff by helping the Upper School Parents’ Association (USPA) host our annual day of food and prizes, known as Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day. This school year, the event will be held on Wednesday, February 13. Straus Library will be transformed into a Havana courtyard, and the sumptuous luncheon cooked and served by parents will complete the Cuban theme. In addition, faculty and staff always enjoy the free raffle, with chances to win fabulous prizes donated by parents.

We need your help in order to make this favorite event a huge success. If you live locally, we hope you will volunteer to decorate, cook, serve, or clean up. No matter where you live, you can donate a raffle item or make a monetary donation for the purchase of raffle prizes. Links will be sent out soon, which you can utilize for both shift signups and monetary donations. In the meantime, we will also be collecting raffle items. Ever popular donation items include weekend getaways, professional sports tickets, theater or concert tickets, and gift certificates to dinner or local retail establishments. Be creative, donations of any kind are welcome, including monetary donations to purchase additional gift items as prizes.

Want to learn more? Please contact Event Chair Nicole Lippa:

Want to donate a raffle item? Please contact Raffle Chair Meredith Hall:

Thank you in advance for your help and generosity!


Upcoming Upper School Parents’ Association Meetings

All are welcome at the monthly USPA meetings, held at 7 p.m. in the Caroline Saltonstall Conference Room. For those unable to join in person, dial-in information is included in each meeting invitation emailed prior to each meeting.

Upcoming dates and speakers:

– Tuesday, January 8:  Lisa Morin, director of counseling

– Tuesday, February 5:  Kelli Edwards, performing arts and Adrian Anantawan, music department chair


“Donut Days” and “Exam Treats”

The USPA hosts five “Donut Days” throughout the school year. Any parents interested in handing out donuts to students should contact Jen Jordan at

During Exam Week, the always-popular “Exam Treats” are set for January 22, and “Barn Babies” for January 23.


USPA Panel Discussion and Social

Each year, the USPA sponsors a Panel Discussion and Social in Straus Library. This is scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, from 7–9 p.m.  We look forward to hearing from Todd Bland, head of school; David Ball, Upper School principal; and Indu Singh, dean of teaching and learning.


Host Families Needed 

New this year! The modern languages department’s inaugural exchange program with partner school Shanghai Number 2 High School is in need of three local host families. Milton will welcome nine students and their chaperone from January 24 through February 7. Each family would host one boy on behalf of a boarding student, with students in organized activities during the day. If interested in this wonderful opportunity, please contact Shimin Zhou at

Winter Concerts Will Usher in the Festive Spirit of the Season

A long-standing tradition this time each year, Milton Academy’s winter music concerts prove to be welcomed gifts on these chilly, short December days. Orchestras and vocal groups have been busy in Kellner these past weeks preparing for the Winter Vocal Concert on Friday, December 7, and the Winter Orchestra Concert on Sunday, December 9, in King Theatre.

Friday's Vocal Concert

Beginning at 7 p.m., Friday’s vocal concert features Milton’s Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir and Glee Club. The Chamber Singers will perform In These Delightful Pleasant Groves (Henry Purcell) and Harold Arlen’s Over the Rainbow (arr. Whalen). Another highlight of the evening will be Milton’s Gospel Choir and Chamber Singers, along with a student string ensemble, performing Richard Smallwood’s Total Praise. Selections for the Glee Club include Mozart’s Ecco quel fiero instante (accompanied by the string players) and Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite by Carter and Hudson.

Sunday's Orchestra Concert

On Sunday at 4 p.m., the orchestra concert shares the results of students’ dedication and hard work since the beginning of the school year. This event will serve as the debut of the Milton Guitar Ensemble directed by Dr. Steven Brew. On the program is a wide variety of music ranging from the quintessential classical work, Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (A Little Night Music) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to selections from Phantom of the Opera. The concert will also feature the winner of this year’s Senior Solo competition, Alex Shih, performing Mozart’s joyous and virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major. The program will cumulate with several large-scale works, including Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Bizet’s “Farandole” from the L’arlesienne Suite.

Just for Fun

Objects at Rest Stay at Rest

Science faculty member Jim Kernohan demonstrates Newton’s First Law with experiments in his Class IV Physics class.

Featured Photos

Senior Portfolio Show

Student exhibits give Milton artists the opportunity to share their work with peers. View photos of pieces now on display at the Senior Portfolio Art Show that opened today with a reception in the Arts Commons.

Nesto Exhibit is Tracing the Tracks

On Friday of next week, the exhibit by Artist Kitty Wales, Tracing the Tracks, moves on from the Nesto. If you have the chance, visit this free show in its final week any time between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the lower level of the Art and Media Center. For parents who can’t make it to campus,  view photos of the show here.

Fall Performance Snapshots

Milton’s fall performing arts schedule featured the Class IV Follies, The Addams Family musical and Sophocles’ Antigone.
View photos of the Class IV Follies.

Winter Has Arrived


The winter sports season has begun. Below are links to our teams’ schedules. If you are unable to make it to the games, view photos and updates on Instagram (@MA_athletics) and Twitter (@MA_Athletics).

Boys’ Basketball
Girls’ Basketball
Boys’ Hockey
Girls’ Hockey
Boys’ Squash
Girls’ Squash
Boys’ Swimming
Girls’ Swimming

All-Scholastic Athletes Announced

Congratulations to the following students for being named Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic Athletes for the fall sports season!

Eddie Duggan, Class I, Football
Mitchell Gonser, Class II, Football
Ryan Manning, Class I, Boys’ Soccer
Ellie Mraz, Class III, Girls’ Cross Country
A.J. Strang, Class IV , Boys’ Cross Country
Jeremy Verley, Class I, Boys’ Soccer

With the holidays fast approaching, we hope you will take time to consider a tax-deductible gift that supports your child’s Milton experience. The Milton Fund directly impacts the lives of Milton’s students and faculty by providing funds to address the changing needs of the School in real time. A successful Milton Fund ensures that Milton will continue to thrive today and in the future. To show your support, make an online donation at or mail a check to:

Milton Academy
Development & Alumni Relations
170 Centre Street
Milton, MA 02186

Questions? Please contact Alana McGrath, Annual Giving Officer, at or (617) 898-2267.

Save the Date

Join Milton Academy in Fort Myers for a Boston Red Sox vs. Pirates spring training game! Enjoy a pre-game buffet luncheon with Head of School Todd Bland, and then take in the game from the infield grandstand with your Milton friends. Tickets will go on sale in January. Watch your inbox for details.

Tuesday, March 19
Pre-game picnic: 11:05 a.m.
Game: 1:05 p.m.

Jetblue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers, Florida

Questions? Please contact the development and alumni relations office at

Holiday Deal From the Bookstore

December 6, 2018–December 31, 2018


Centre Connection

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.

Communication Office


Jennifer Anderson
Greg White
Liz Matson
Marisa Donelan
Esten Perez
Sarah Abrams