Honoring Traditions Old and New, Boarding Houses Spread Holiday Cheer

Honoring Traditions Old and New, Boarding Houses Spread Holiday Cheer

For boarding students, the winter holidays at Milton are a time to celebrate, have fun, and bond together in the houses and as a boarding community, culminating in a boarder dinner just before break.

Each house has its own way of making the season special. “It really brightens the shortest days of the year and gives students an opportunity to give to one another,” says Millet House head Linnea Engstrom of the holiday traditions.

Wolcott boys decorated right after Thanksgiving, house head Joshua Emmott says. Tradition holds that Class IV students put up wreaths, while seniors string lights in the shape of a “W.” Perhaps not surprising to parents of teenage boys, a significant amount of food is involved in Wolcott’s celebrations.

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‘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 candy donations, wrote notes of thanks and encouragement, and packaged them off to troops serving in Afghanistan. In November, CEPP hosted its annual Hunger Awareness Week.

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Boys’ Varsity Soccer: ISL Champs

Boys’ Varsity Soccer: ISL Champs

Boys’ varsity soccer had an exciting and standout season. The team was undefeated in the ISLs (12-0-3), clinching the ISL championship title in the game against Noble and Greenough, another undefeated ISL team that came into the match with a one-point advantage in the standings.

“Winning that game was the most incredible experience of my time here,” says David Walley ’20. “In those last five minutes of the game, we were tied and I felt it was going to be like other years, with us coming in second, every time.” But in the last minute of the game, Aidan Farwell ’21 scored the winning goal and the home crowd was exuberant.

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When The Weather Outside is Frightful

When The Weather Outside is Frightful

The inclement weather of a New England winter is upon us, presenting conditions that can sometimes prompt school cancellations and delays. In the case of a weather event, Milton administrators carefully consider forecasts along with safety and logistical concerns before determining whether to cancel or delay school.

If classes are canceled or delayed, Milton will notify families via Rave Alerts, which are sent to all School community members through phone, email, and text messages. Please read these announcements carefully. Students and parents should keep their contact information up to date in MyMilton in order to receive alerts.

Details on any cancellations or delays will also post on our School Cancellations page. In addition, Milton shares weather-related delay and cancellation information with Boston-area media outlets that compile lists of local school closures and delays.

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Imagine, Then Illustrate, Raúl the Third Tells Students

Imagine, Then Illustrate, Raúl the Third Tells Students

Raúl the Third, an illustrator, author and painter, found his first artistic inspiration in a library.

Born Raúl González in El Paso, Texas, the artist explained that his mother—frustrated with staying in a tiny apartment with three young boys—dragged the family to a public library. Mr. González recalled two sensations he would love forever: air conditioning and the smell of books.

He and his mother got to know the librarians, who would recommend books that helped them learn English. One time, a librarian asked Mr. González to describe a book.

“She said, ‘If you can’t tell me what your favorite part was, why don’t you draw it for me?’” he recalled in a talk with visual arts students during the Nesto Gallery assembly. “From that point on, every time I read a book, I created an illustration for it.”

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Invest in Girls Assembly, Deidre Dunn ‘95

Deidre Dunn ‘95 Reflects on Taking Risks and Making Mistakes

investment-clubIt is okay to take risks, get outside one’s comfort zone, and make mistakes, Deidre Dunn ‘95 told students during the Investment Club and Invest in Girls Assembly. Deirdre is managing director and co-head of global rates at Citi.

Deirdre said that even though she considers herself an introvert and dislikes public speaking, returning to campus to talk about her career was an easy decision.

“But not insignificant in my decision is something that I used to do by accident, but now I do on purpose. I pursue things that make me uncomfortable. You could almost say, I have gotten really comfortable being uncomfortable. And it has been incredibly powerful for me.”

Deirdre, a strong English and history student at Milton, said it was a surprise when she was accepted to MIT. Her freshman year was a struggle, both academically and socially. Failing freshman physics was a wake-up call.

“So I got better at learning how to sift and digest infinite amounts of information. I learned to be more efficient, to work smarter. And, even as the good introvert I was, I learned how to make friends with the geniuses around me, and to ask for help.”

She graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering and started an internship at Goldman Sachs. This began a Wall Street career trading a variety of different residential and commercial mortgage products. To her, the chaos of the trading floor was similar to growing up with five siblings, which she enjoyed. After six years, she moved to Lehman Brothers, until the firm filed for bankruptcy during the 2008 recession. After that upheaval, Deirdre decided to try something different and moved to London to work for Barclays Capital before returning to New York to continue her career with Citi.

Many of the opportunities that came her way were for positions she didn’t always feel qualified for but “being willing to take risk, whether because I am curious, because I am willfully ignorant, or because I’ve trained myself to survive when overwhelmed, or I’m just plain nuts, it has been one of the best things I could have done for my career.”

Deirdre said now that she is a mother of three, there are new sets of challenges, but she continues to push herself outside her comfort zone and really enjoys her work at Citi.

“I have found that if I just say yes, I take the risk, one way or another, I will figure it out in the moment. it doesn’t mean I won’t fail—I often do—but I have found those failures to be points in a journey, not a destination. And learning that I can recover from them has given me freedom to take risk, to live life uncomfortably.”

Heyburn Speaker, Ted Steinberg

Heyburn Speaker Discusses New York City and the Sea

heyburn-speakerNew York City’s vulnerability to rising sea levels and storms goes back to its earliest days, historian Ted Steinberg told history students during the 2019 Heyburn Lecture. Mr. Steinberg is the Adeline Barry Davee Distinguished Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University, and his work focuses on the intersection of environmental, social, and legal history.

Although many residents were caught off guard by severe flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Mr. Steinberg said the “seeds of New York City’s expansion at the expense of the sea had been planted in the early years.”

Mr. Steinberg gave a historical perspective on how English settlers in the late 1600s started expanding out to the low water mark, filling in the land to make it easier for larger ships to dock. This expansion and land filling continued over the years and centuries, changing the original shape of Manhattan and the surrounding New York City metro area. One example, the wetlands, which are important for flood protection, have decreased from 300 square miles in 1900 to 33 square miles today.

“New York has not done a good job at addressing the coastal flood risk,” said Mr. Steinberg as he showed a map with the city’s current plans to expand out into the East River.

Mr. Steinberg received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University. His latest book is titled Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York. The Henry R. Heyburn ’39 Lecture was established in 1991 to commemorate Mr. Heyburn’s deep love of history and geography and his dedication to Milton as a student, parent and trustee.

SIMA and Amnesty International Speaker, Jamal Grant

Sharing Stories For Systemic Change

Jamal-Grant-300x241When an act of legislation ends legal discrimination, it does not automatically end oppression or abuses of power, scholar and activist Jamal Grant told students.

“It’s not enough to change bad laws and bad leaders,” said Mr. Grant, who spoke at an assembly hosted by the student clubs SIMA (Students Interested in Middle Eastern Affairs) and Amnesty International. “We have to change the systems that keep bad leadership in power.”

Mr. Grant worked with three other African American scholars and activists to create a film exploring the topics of wealth inequality, race relations, and progress in post-Apartheid South Africa for the Ase (Ah-SHAY) Research Film Project. Mr. Grant was the lead producer for the film, Ubuntu Rising, a documentary covering the legacy of Apartheid: continued social inequality, corruption, infrastructure failures, and poverty.

Marginalized communities around the world, regardless of race, face the same issues, Mr. Grant said. These communities are not inferior to those in power, but they are oppressed—sometimes for centuries—by complex systems designed to halt their progress.

“We felt that we had to tell these stories as truly and completely as possible,” he said of the filmmakers’ approach to the documentary. “We have a tendency to fall out of touch when we’re not engaged with the communities we’re trying to help.”

Filmmaking was a new venture for Mr. Grant, a first-generation American, who was raised by Trinidadian immigrants in Boston. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and has worked as a mechanical and aerospace systems engineer at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. Mr. Grant is the founder and director of the NET Mentoring Group, a nonprofit focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gap for minorities and young women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. He has participated in international human and civil rights fellowships in Rwanda, Detroit, and Atlanta, where he has studied colonialism, resistance, and social progress.

Mr. Grant is a public-policy master’s degree candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he is a fellow at the school’s Center for Public Leadership.

Veterans' Day Speaker, Nick Morton '02

Lessons in Service and Leadership from Army Captain Nick Morton ’02

NickMortonweb-243x300Nick Morton ’02 was a few weeks into his senior year at Milton when the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, stirred in him the need to serve. Before graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve—and began a lifelong military career.

Now an Army Captain, Nick was the 2019 Veterans Day speaker.

“We spent the days and months trying to process what had happened” after the terrorist attacks in 2001, he said. “I can’t speak to what my classmates felt at that time, but for me, it began to synthesize this sense that I wanted to become part of something bigger than myself. I started wondering if I had something to give, if I could be of value.”

A self-described “wild kid with a healthy disrespect for authority” during his time living in Wolcott House, Nick had some trepidation about entering the service. In a self-deprecating address, he explained that his decision to join the military surprised people who knew him. He began his speech reading from a report card in which a history teacher wrote, “Nick was barely able to function in this class.” The concerns of his parents, teachers, and friends galvanized him to join; as a student, Nick hadn’t taken the opportunity to stand up as a leader—this was a chance to test himself.

“You have to be true to yourself. Sometimes in the face of opposition, or in the face of doubt, it’s difficult,” he said. “It’s not a sure bet, so you’ve got to dare.”

In the second semester of his first year at college, Nick was deployed to Iraq. His first experience at war was transformative, and new leadership skills emerged. “I turned 21 in Iraq, and was promoted to sergeant shortly after.”

As a Soldier, Nick has served as a weapons troop commander, infantry company commander, air operations officer, platoon leader, and civil affairs sergeant, with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. His military education includes graduation from the Army Ranger School, where he finished in the top 15 percent of students who completed all phases of the grueling program on the first attempt.

Nick has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Army Achievement Medal, among others.

Nick received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland at College Park, and his M.S. in organizational leadership from Columbus State University. He is currently working toward his master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Bingham Visiting Writer, Gregory Pardlo

Poet Gregory Pardlo Is This Fall’s Bingham Visiting Writer

4T1A1678-300x200“Everyone is going to get something different from a poem, so I just have fun with it and let the world take it from there,” said Pulitzer prize-winning poet and memoirist Gregory Pardlo, who was “street testing” some new work during the Bingham Visiting Writer assembly.

Mr. Pardlo’s new poems explore ideas of faith. His visual, at times humorous, writing explores the death of a professional wrestler, the highs and lows of a long marriage and the personal relationship between father and son. After finishing with a couple of older poems from his collection Digest, Mr. Pardlo answered students’ questions about his writing process.

“I don’t believe in writer’s block,” said Mr. Pardlo. “When I feel myself saying I’m blocked, I’ll say that’s BS. It means there is something I want to say, but I haven’t given myself permission to say it yet.”

Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Other honors​ include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts for translation; his first collection, Totem, won the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is the poetry editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and teaches in the MFA program at Rutgers University-Camden. His most recent book is Air Traffic, a memoir in essays.

Established in 1987 by the Bingham family, the Visiting Writer Series brings esteemed writers, historians and journalists to campus, to speak and work with students and faculty. Recent Bingham Visiting Writers include authors Kamila Shamsie, Jamaica Kincaid and Francine Prose; novelists Jeffrey Eugenides, Paul Yoon, Zadie Smith and Edwidge Danticat; and poets Mark Doty, Tina Chang and Kevin Young.

Top Honors for Speech and Debate This Past Weekend

Milton’s speech and debate team members had a successful showing against 36 area schools at the MSDL Lincoln Sudbury annual tournament this past Saturday. Honors awarded to our Mustangs included:

Special Trophy for Most Accumulated Points by Novice PF teams: Milton Academy
1st Place: Tim Colledge and Tony Wang (Varsity Public Forum)
8th Place: Lorenzo D’Simone and Yaman Habip (Novice PF)
5th Place: John Yildirim (Novice PF speaker award)
2nd Place: Tim Colledge (Varsity PF speaker award)
1st Place: Toni Wang (Varsity PF speaker award)
4th Place: Jack Burton (Dramatic Performance)
1st Place: Talia Sherman and Jack Burton (Duo Interpretation)
2nd Place: Neha Modak (Extemp)
4th Place: Elliot Smith (Extemp)
3rd Place: John Kulow (Informative)
4th Place: Nyla Sams (Informative)
6th Place: Jana Amin (Informative)
3rd Place: Jana Amin (Original Oratory)
4th Place: Miranda Paiz (Prose)

Impressive Season for Varsity Football

football-lr-20191109_112The varsity football team dominated on the field with an undefeated ISL season (6-0) clinching the title after a 48-25 win against Belmont Hill, a team that also came into the game undefeated. The home game in front of a Parents’ Weekend crowd showed the deep depth of Milton, led by team captains Kalel Mullings ‘20 and Jake Willcox ‘20.

That victory led to an invite to the post-season Mike Silipo NEPSAC Bowl to face off against Deerfield Academy. Despite the home field advantage, it was a tough 26-23 loss for the Mustangs.

Jake and Kalel provided great leadership all season, Coach Kevin MacDonald said. Kalel was selected to play in the All American Bowl game in January. The players also used their grief over the unexpected passing of offensive line coach Paul Healey as inspiration for winning this season. Coach Healey had coached with Coach Mac for 28 years.

Check Out the Holiday Hockey Tournaments

hockey-20190109_72Every holiday season, 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.

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 55th 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 39th Annual Harrington Invitational. Milton will face off against Nobles, Lawrence, St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, BB&N, Westminster, and Williston-Northampton.

The tournaments run from Friday, December 20, through Sunday, December 22.

Download Harrington Tournament Schedule

Download Flood-Marr Tournament Schedule

Parents’ Association News, December 2019

Please check our webpage, and follow us on social media, for up-to-date calendars, meeting details, and USPA happenings.

Instagram (@miltonuspa)
Facebook (Milton Academy Upper School Parents Association)

Help needed for Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day on February 12

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 12. We’ll decorate Straus Library, and prepare a sumptuous breakfast and luncheon. 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 volunteer signups and monetary donations. In the meantime, we will also collect 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: miltonparentsassociation_us@milton.edu
Want to donate a raffle item? Please contact raffle chair, Nicole Lippa: nlippa71@gmail.com
Thank you in advance for your help and generosity!

Upcoming USPA Events (all are welcome)

Thursday, December 12, 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Q&A with Rod Skinner, dean of college counseling — a second opportunity to connect with Rod and learn about the college application process — Trustees Conference Room (Straus lower level)

Web link: https://milton.zoom.us/j/7733315783
Dial-in: 929-205-6099, meeting ID 773-331-5783
Non U.S. Dial-in: numbers can be found here.
To submit questions before and during the Q&A, email: uspa-questions@milton.edu
Notes from the previous Q&A with Rod can be accessed here.

Friday, December 13, 7 p.m.
The USPA will host a reception following the Winter Vocal and Orchestra Concert — King Theatre

Upcoming USPA Meetings (all are welcome)

Tuesday, January 14, 7–9 p.m.
Guest speakers Kelli Edwards, performing arts department chair and Bob Sinicrope, music department faculty — CSG Conference Room

Upcoming PIN (Parents’ Independent School Network) Meeting

Tuesday, January 14 at British School
Annual Meeting and Head of School Panel
Coffee at 9 a.m., meeting at 9:30 a.m.

PIN meetings are open to all parents of member schools. For more information on PIN and access to their website, visit the Parents’ Association webpage. A link to this webpage can always be found on milton.edu in the “Parents” dropdown menu on Milton’s homepage.

Exam Week FAQs

Exam Week began this Wednesday, December 11, and will run through December 18 (with a snow day make-up time slot on December 19). Download a PDF of the exam schedule or visit the Exam FAQ page to find answers to frequently asked questions about exams.

Everyone’s Favorite Time of Year

Milton’s musicians prepare for the annual Winter Vocal and Orchestra Concert, a feast for all music lovers. This free event, featuring a festive assortment of classics from Handel to John Williams performed by Milton’s orchestra and vocal groups, begins at 7 p.m. this Friday night in King Theatre. All parents are invited to help celebrate the cumulation of our students’ work this semester.

Just for Fun

Stepping at the Pep Rally

Milton’s step team pumps up the crowd during the pep rally in the ACC.
View photos from the event.

Music Assembly

A packed audience in King Theatre watched Milton’s musicians perform at the Music Assembly.


Featured Photos

Fall Performance Snapshots

Milton’s fall performing arts schedule featured Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, and the Class IV Follies.

View photos of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play or watch video of the play.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

View photos of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Class IV Follies

View photos of the Class IV Follies.

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 last week with a reception in the Arts Commons.

Celebrating a Big Win

As with every year, Milton battles rival Nobles in their final game of the regular season. View a few photos from this year’s Milton-Nobles Day hosted on Milton’s home turf.

Winter (Athletics) Is Here

The winter sports season has begun. Below are links to teams’ schedules. For photos and updates, follow Milton on Instagram (@MA_athletics) and Twitter (@MA_Athletics).

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

Month of Gratitude Giving Challenge

The results are in!  As of December 3, 206 parents gave to the Milton Fund, contributing nearly $480,000. Thank you for helping us reach and exceed our goal of 175 parent donors by Giving Tuesday. Your generosity helped us secure an additional $10,000 from our matching donor.

Upcoming Events for Parents

Looking to boost your career or meet new people in your field? Join Milton alumni and parents for a night of networking hosted by Milton parents, Tamsen ’91 and Michael Brown P ’20 ’22 ’24. Save the date for Tuesday, March 3, and check your inbox for more information in the new year.

Making plans for spring break? Join Milton in Florida! Save the date for two upcoming events. Tuesday, March 24, join Milton in Fort Myers at a Red Sox spring training game at Jetblue Park. Then, on Wednesday, March 25, we’ll be in Palm Beach at a special reception hosted by Allen and Carol Wyett P ’84 ’85, G ’22. More information coming soon.

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