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Persistence and Creativity Are Key to Success, Seminar Day Speakers Urge

Persistence and Creativity Are Key to Success, Seminar Day Speakers Urge

The Keyes Seminar Day, a lively day of speaking engagements for Upper School students, has been one of Milton’s most important traditions since 1977. It is named in honor of its founder, former faculty member Peter Keyes, a legendary promoter of student interest in political process as well as public and governmental affairs and service. In the Milton spirit of developing students’ confidence and competence to live by our motto, “Dare to be true,” Seminar Day brings to campus people who have made compelling choices. They are leaders making a difference in the world. Luminaries in the fields of science, public policy, technology, media, and beyond spent the 2024 Keyes Seminar Day sharing insights and ideas from their lives and careers.

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Llewellyn “Llew” Smith ’72 Reflects on his Storytelling Career

Llewellyn “Llew” Smith ’72 Reflects on his Storytelling Career

Llewellyn “Llew” Smith ’72 returned to campus in April as part of the 2024 DEIJ Speaker Series. Llew is a leading filmmaker in the documentary industry who explores how misunderstandings in race, science, and history continue to perpetuate social and racial inequities. He has been the recipient of the Peabody, the duPont, and other honors. In 2021, Black Public Media named Llew one of the Top 40 Game Changers in public media over the last 40 years.

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Math Team Crowned New England Champions

Math Team Crowned New England Champions

Capping off a nearly perfect year of competition, the Milton Academy math team finished first in the New England Math League (NEML). Milton was just one point shy of perfection, scoring 179 out of 180 possible points across six contests. 

Milton’s math competitors bested dozens of public and private schools for the championship—the runners-up scored 172 and 160 points. 

“We have a lot of really talented and intelligent people here,” said Vickie Mao ’26. “It’s very fun but we take it seriously, and it’s a good way to challenge yourself.”

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Vivian WuWong Honored at Asian American Footsteps Conference

Vivian WuWong Honored at Asian American Footsteps Conference

A “trailblazer in raising the voices of the Pan Asian community,” veteran Milton Academy teacher Vivian WuWong was honored last month at the Asian American Footsteps Conference (AAFC). The AAFC Advisory Group announced the establishment of the Vivian WuWong Pan-Asian Student Leadership Award. The inaugural award will be presented in 2025 to a “student or students that have made a positive impact on the Pan-Asian community at their school or the local, regional, or national level.” The honor recognizes all that Vivian has done to develop programs for Asian American and Asian international students and faculty. 

Ms. WuWong, a member of the History and Social Sciences Department, has taught at Milton for 32 years and will retire next month. An engaging teacher and lifelong advocate for underrepresented communities, Ms. WuWong’s work in organizing began when she was an undergraduate at Stanford University, where she and her peers in the Asian American Student Association established Stanford’s Asian American Activities Center and its first Asian American History course.  

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Farah Pandith ’86 Kicks Off 2024 DEIJ Speaker Series

Farah Pandith ’86 Kicks Off 2024 DEIJ Speaker Series

On April 2, Farah Pandith ’86 spent the day with our K–12 community as part of the 2024 DEIJ Speaker Series. Farah is an author, foreign policy strategist, and former diplomat. As a world-leading expert and pioneer in countering violent extremism, she is a frequent media commentator, and we were thrilled to welcome her back to Centre Street to share her insight and expertise with students.

Classes she took as a Milton student sparked her interest in world issues and ultimately led to her career in foreign policy, she shared during a “Fireside Chat” moderated by student leaders in the Upper and Middle Schools. “Seeds that are planted when you are very young help you to think about the world in a different way,” said Farah as she reflected on learning about ancient Egyptian history as a fourth-grader at Milton.

Throughout the assembly, Farah spoke about the importance of diplomacy, self-advocacy, public speaking, digital hygiene, the “us vs. them” ideology, knowing where you get your facts from, the difference between facts and opinions, and more. She shared, “If you leave today with nothing else, the bottom line is that you should never want to be duped. You should never let anybody tell you what to think and who you are.”

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“Perspective is Everything,” Milton Grad Jake Thibeault Reflects on Life-Changing Injury

“Perspective is Everything,” Milton Grad Jake Thibeault Reflects on Life-Changing Injury

Milton Academy was a big part of the plan Jake Thibeault ’22 made for his own future.

The plan: Work hard, get into Milton, play hockey at Milton, work hard at Milton, get into college, play hockey in college, and so forth. Thibeault learned about the school when his older brother attended; he saw how driven Milton students were about their passions and, he said, “I knew it was going to take a lot to get there, but I knew I wanted to be part of this community. I put my mind to it and decided that this was the journey I was going to take.”

Accustomed to achieving his goals through a combination of determination and grit, Thibeault was well on his way in September 2021, when a collision on the ice during a pre-season club tournament changed everything. He awoke in the hospital two days later, with his parents and brother Drew ’19 by his side. He had suffered a spinal cord injury that caused paralysis; a doctor told the lifelong athlete that he may never walk again. 

“I turned to him and said, ‘Doc, I am going to fight this,’” Thibeault said. “I’m going to war with it. I’m still at war with it.”

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Milton Alumni in the Big Dance

Milton Alumni in the Big Dance

Fans of college basketball have two former Milton Mustangs to look out for as March Madness kicks off this week.

Cormac Ryan, a senior guard for the North Carolina Tar Heels, set a career record earlier this month, scoring 31 points in UNC’s win against Duke to clinch the ACC title. No. 1-seeded UNC takes on Wagner Thursday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament. Ryan was a captain at Notre Dame before transferring to UNC this year.

Casey Simmons, a sophomore forward for the Yale Bulldogs, is in his first year playing for Yale. The Bulldogs face off against Auburn on Friday. Simmons was rated the No. 1 player in Massachusetts as a four-star recruit out of Milton, and was one of the top prospects in New England. He transferred to Yale from Northwestern this year.

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From Facilities Services to Film Sets, Milton’s Mike Malvesti Shines

From Facilities Services to Film Sets, Milton’s Mike Malvesti Shines

He’s in two of the films nominated for Best Picture at this weekend’s Academy Awards—as well a movie still in theaters across the country—but you won’t catch Mike Malvesti on the red carpet.

You’ll catch him, instead, quietly working to keep Milton Academy beautiful and safe.

Malvesti, a member of the Facilities Services team, has found his niche as a film and television actor, a side job that has had him rubbing shoulders with some of Hollywood’s most esteemed stars. There he is in American Fiction, playing a police officer; in The Holdovers, hawking Christmas trees to Paul Giamatti; in The Town, playing the guard of an armored car that Ben Affleck targeted for a heist; in “Madame Web” as a trucker. Malvesti also scored a recurring role on the HBO series Julia* as Benny, Julia Childs’ cameraman. You might have seen him in popular commercials, as a detective in Boston Strangler, or going toe-to-toe with Rosamund Pike in I Care a Lot.

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A Digital Opportunity for a Timeless Concept

A Digital Opportunity for a Timeless Concept

Ben Rhodes-Kropf ’24 has a message from his father. In order to receive it, he’ll have to travel to Spain.

That’s because his dad left the message through Trace, an app Rhodes-Kropf and classmate Benjamin Siegel ‘24 developed throughout their junior and senior years at Milton. The location-based service combines the functions of a messaging app with the thrill of an in-person treasure hunt, allowing users to “leave a Trace” wherever they are in the world. Messages for other Trace users (or their future selves) are delivered only when the recipient is physically close to the location where the message—in video form—was recorded.

Frustrated by the passive nature of existing social media, which users can idly scroll through for hours on end, Siegel and Rhodes-Kropf set out to create a different kind of messaging service that would foster more-meaningful connections and inspire users to travel near and far.

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Milton Math Team Achieves Perfection

Milton Math Team Achieves Perfection

Nobody’s perfect—unless you’re talking about the Milton Academy math team.

Milton’s math competitors have maintained a perfect score through months of competing at the New England Math League (NEML) this academic year. Currently, the school sits atop the NEML rankings, which includes both private and public schools. Math contests give students opportunities outside of the classroom to flex their analytical muscles while proudly representing Milton.

“We have a lot of good mathematicians on our team this year,” said Devan Agrawal ’25. “One thing that’s nice about the NEML is that you don’t have to learn a lot of new concepts. You have to practice critical thinking and creative problem solving, and I think Milton Academy students in general already shine with that.”

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