When Heather McGhee ’97 left her dream job to set off on a journey around the country to explore racism and inequality, she was driven by “frustration with nearly 20 years of working to bring more nice things to more people in this country,” she said. “By nice things, I mean universal healthcare; childcare; paid family leave; reliable, modern infrastructure; a real, robust public health system; and well-funded schools in every neighborhood.”
What she discovered was that big needs in society were going unmet and that this “was impacting all of us, not just people of color who are disproportionately among the impoverished and the uninsured, but also white people who are the largest share of the impoverished and uninsured.” But many white people continue to support policies or politics that go against their best interests because of racism and the fear of a rising demographic that is not white, she added.
McGhee discussed her best-selling book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together with alumni, parents, and friends of Milton on a webinar hosted by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Chapter. Lee Pelton P’17, Emerson College President, served as moderator.
The Nesto Gallery is exhibiting work by alumnus Mikel Glass '81. The show includes several life-size full-length portraits and is titled Parity. It's “a show of contrasts within traditional portraiture–once an honor primarily bestowed upon those of power and...
Before his first meet as an NCAA athlete in 2015, Schuyler Bailar led the Harvard men’s swim team into the natatorium. He was nervous for a number of reasons, he told the Milton community Wednesday.
Bailar was about to be the first openly transgender athlete to compete on a men’s NCAA Division I team—his family and friends were in the stands along with members of the press; the lifelong champion swimmer had never competed as a man before, and he was coming off a nearly two-year break.
“They introduce you in alphabetical order, and my last name beginning with ‘B’ meant that I was first, which also meant that I was all alone out there,” he said. “Everybody had said I couldn’t do it—there was no way a trans guy like me could keep up with, much less beat, other men—so I felt like I had a lot to prove and I was very afraid that I couldn’t prove it. Everything was so new and different”
In a virtual visit coordinated by the Office of Multiculturalism and Community Development, Bailar spoke with students, faculty, staff, and families in the afternoon, followed by breakout Q&A sessions with Milton employees, the Asian Society and the student group GASP (Gender and Sexuality Perspectives), families, and an affinity group for trans and nonbinary students and employees.
Students Thea Chung ’21 and Oliver Weissleder ’21 recently became published scientists, as their research into how water acidity levels affect organisms’ feeding patterns was featured in the Journal of Emerging Investigators.
Chung and Weissleder completed an experiment as juniors in their Honors Biology class in which they observed the consumption of food by the single-celled protozoans Tetrahymena pyriformis under varied pH levels. The organisms, which live in ponds, lakes, and streams, exist at the bottom of the food chain.
“The results were really clear. We saw an interesting trend that revealed that the tetrahymena ate less and less as the acidity increased, which is valuable information because this small organism functions as a model in a lot of biological research,” Chung said. “Although it’s so simplistic, it can mimic the biological functions of other, larger organisms.”
Over March break, two student teams participated in the annual RebootHacks competition run by Wayland High School in Massachusetts. The objective of the competition was to design software that aided students with remote learning. Blake Ankner ’23 and Andrew Rodriguez ’23 took home first prize out of more than100 participants. The program they wrote in the programming language Python is called “Summize,” which summarizes transcripts of Zoom meetings to assist students learning asynchronously.
“The prompt for the whole competition was something along the lines of how we can help with online learning,” says Rodriquez. “Blake and I thought of all the Milton students in different time zones and any students who have to watch long, recorded Zooms. So Summize does a few things. It summarizes the full Zoom class, pulls out key terms, and cuts video clips to match the terms. The teacher can then identify the kids who have to watch the Zoom and they receive an automated email with the summary, terms, and clips.”
Ryan Shue ’23, Sebastian Park ’21, and Aaron Lockhart ’21, made up the other Milton team and they created a web app with a companion Chrome extension called “Focutivity,” which encouraged users to plan out their evenings with daily schedules and kept them from distracting and unrelated websites during those specific time periods.
Milton faculty gather every year in a Faculty Forum, an opportunity to share ideas and methods with colleagues. This year’s forum, held virtually due to COVID-19, focused on culturally responsive teaching, designing anti-racist curriculum, student agency, flexibility, and equity.
The overall theme of this year’s forum was the range of teaching experiences during the 2020–2021 school year, said Indu Singh, the Upper School dean of teaching and learning.
“That could be anything from hybrid teaching to responding to the insurrection on January 6, to having conversations across difference, to technology,” Singh said. “There were a lot of options, and everything was related to what it’s like teaching in this academic year.”
Students gathered virtually on Wednesday for Community Day, during which they attended sessions focused on equity, justice, and anti-racism.
Coordinated by the student-led Self-Governing Association and the Office of Multiculturalism and Community Development, the day offered presentations and discussions on topics including race and politics, gender justice, artists of color, community engagement, environmental racism and justice, deaf culture, activism by athletes, and more. Sessions were led by students and faculty as well as alumni, including Jovonna Jones ’11.
Students on the Community Engagement Board are urging members of the community to take a “polar plunge” in support of athletes with intellectual and physical disabilities between now and spring break, said Andrea Geyling-Moore, director of Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP).
The Special Olympics Polar Plunge is an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics of Massachusetts by pledging to take a “plunge” if donors commit to giving. Milton’s plunge is open to interpretation, Geyling-Moore said: Between now and spring break, participants can jump into cold water, do an ice bucket-style challenge, or complete another icy stunt as a pledge for fundraising. To learn more, visit Milton Academy’s Polar Plunge fundraising page.
Fifty-six Milton students received recognition in the 2021 Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The students earned 124 Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention accolades in the competition. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious awards for teenagers in the country. Milton’s 31 Gold Key pieces are submitted to the national Scholastic competition, and results for the national contest will be announced in March.
Anne Kwok ‘21 earned six Gold Keys, one Silver Key, and two Honorable Mentions for her poetry. One of her poems that earned a Gold Key is entitled “After Warfare.”
With themes of isolation and loss but also humor and celebration, this spring’s Dance Concert explores life’s extremes. Last spring, Dance Concert was the last major event on campus before Milton had to shut down due to the pandemic. This year, the event is fully virtual with more than 40 student dancers who will perform 15 dances choreographed by students.
“It’s a smaller show, but feels like a bigger undertaking because of the way we are producing it,” says Kelli Edwards, Performing Arts Department chair.
The performance showcases modern dance, ballet, Latin dance, and an Irish dance. All the dances are being filmed—some in person on the King Theatre stage, some in more of a dance film format, and others in a Zoom format with dancers individually in their spaces. Edwards says the student choreographers have “embraced the format and are utilizing all the ways they can film.”