Over this past weekend, the following letter was shared with students, faculty, and staff.
May 30, 2020
Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,
We write today to decry racist violence, a manifestation of pervasive, systemic injustice, and to condemn bigotry in all its pernicious forms. In this moment of separation, when this pandemic renders us unable to gather in person to speak, share, and comfort one another together, our isolation makes it all the more difficult to bear witness to these tragedies—and the countless others they symbolize.
In the face of the injustices around us—including the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the incident in New York City involving Christian Cooper—we must reaffirm Milton’s long-standing commitment to building an inclusive community, the strength of which rests on our shared appreciation for culture, diversity, and identity. This cannot be a passive commitment. We must each continue to find ways of taking action to live our values. We know this work is essential to fostering mutual respect, responsibility, and empathy in each of us, so we may carry these values out into the world.
The Athletics Department celebrated Milton’s athletes virtually during the annual M-Club Gala on Wednesday. Class I students were presented awards for their outstanding performance in athletics.
Caroline Guden, an outstanding athlete in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse received the Priscilla Bailey Award. The award recognizes an athlete who “has been a most valuable asset to Milton Academy athletics and community, and who demonstrates exceptional individual skills and teamwork as well as sportsmanship.” Guden’s field hockey coach described her as “always giving 100 percent. She empowered her teammates. They could count on her to create a spark and make things happen.”
Football standout Kalel Mullings received the Robert Saltonstall Medal. Over Milton’s history, the Saltonstall has indicated “a distinguished record in all-around physical activity, with emphasis on leadership by example, conscientious training, good body mechanics, and observance of the code of the true sportsman.” In addition to his feats on the football field, Mullings excelled on the basketball court as a defender, and on the track and field team, where he was an impact member on medal-winning relay teams and running the 200M. His football coach said he was the most “kind, considerate, sincere, and friendly player who made it a point to know every player on the roster and made younger players feel important and valued.”
Nine students were selected for a Bisbee Prize by their teachers for outstanding research on their U.S. history papers. Although unable to gather in person for the spring tradition, the history department recognized students’ impressive work on topics ranging from the 1994 baseball strike to the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
The Bisbee Prize was established to honor Ethan Wyatt Bisbee, a former history faculty member who retired in 1993 after 40 years of teaching. The Prize was endowed in 2005 through a gift by John Warren, formerly of the history department, and his wife, Laura Warren ’78, former head of Robbins House.
Recipients of the 2020 Bisbee Prize are:
The Milton Speech and Debate teams continue to shine in competitions, which are taking place virtually. Over Memorial Day weekend, students participated in the rescheduled Massachusetts Speech and Debate League (MSDL) State Championship Tournament that featured 30 schools and nearly 500 students competing in live, online speech and debate events. Tyler Tjan ’22 was State Champion in Extemporaneous Speaking and Emily Hong ’21 was State Champion in Radio Broadcasting. Miranda Paiz ’21 and Caitlin Waugh ’20 earned second place in Duo Interpretation, Abby Buonato ’22 earned second place in Play Reading, and Nyla Sams ’20 earned third place in Informative Speaking.
Newly elected head monitors Eliza Dunn ’21 and Garvin McLaughlin ’21 took up the mantle as school leaders from outgoing head monitors Olivia Wang ’20 and Beck Kendig ’20. Historically, head monitor elections are held in May with a School-wide Q&A and speeches in the Athletic and Convocation Center from each candidate. Despite the circumstances of students being home due to the pandemic, Wang and Kendig worked hard to replicate the process. They hosted a live Q&A with the 13 self-nominated candidates over Zoom. The session was recorded so students had the option to watch it at a later time. Then candidates submitted recorded speeches and those were posted so students could watch them before voting online.
A few weeks into Milton’s remote-learning program, math teacher Phil Robson started getting headaches—if the additional time on video calls, email, and creating online instruction plans was affecting him, he figured, students may feel the same way.
To offset the added screen time, Robson instituted “no-screen math” in his precalculus and statistics courses. He offers students a game or activity they can complete entirely off-line.
“There are math games and puzzles they can work on with their parents and siblings, or by themselves,” he said. “I give them different options; they’re not all mandatory, they’re fun.”
Some of Milton’s best student writers and artists gathered virtually on Monday evening for the Laurence S. Persky Memorial Awards. The annual awards are given for the best work appearing in Milton Academy student publications and honors excellence in creative writing, journalism, art, photography, and production.
Guest speaker and alumna Neha Wadekar ’07 spoke to students from Nairobi, Kenya (2 a.m. her time), where she is based as a freelance journalist. She spoke about her non-linear career path and how students can follow their passions and take risks, even in these uncertain times.
“Success comes in many different forms,” said Wadekar. “People who are creative, passionate and flexible are the people who can thrive in any environment. For me, writing is an art. It’s a personal form of freedom and self-expression. It’s a privilege.”
Despite the upheaval of the past two months, Katharine Millet ’00 has worked to create some regular touchpoints for her students. She begins each week with video tutorials explaining what the class will cover and shares helpful resources to guide them.
“They’ve come to expect these weekly orientation videos, and I share resources that they can access on their own time,” she said. “The routine has been helpful.”
Millet teaches two Class IV history courses, Ancient Civilizations and Modern World History. As Milton prepared to go into a remote-learning program, Millet and the other History and Social Sciences faculty members who teach the freshmen classes decided to extend the deadlines on students’ research papers when classes resumed after spring break. Their papers were due today.
In Nicole Darling’s Technology, Media and Design class, students are learning about typography, which is the art and technique of type design, lettering, and calligraphy.
“It is arguably one of the most important components of graphic design. It requires designers to have the ability to make messages readable while expressing, emoting, and projecting concepts to the audience,” says Darling.
The unit consists of three different projects designed to help students develop their sensitivity to type, and increase their appreciation for different type-anatomy and aesthetics.
Milton seniors Kalel Mullings and Mitchell Gosner were both recognized as outstanding scholar-athletes by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
The award honors senior football players who have excelled on the football field, in the classroom and within the school and community. The 45th-annual banquet, which was scheduled for May 17, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The recipients will receive a plaque and a commemorative program at a later date.
“As football players, Mitch and Kalel enjoyed tremendous careers at Milton,” said Kevin MacDonald, head coach of varsity football. “Both were named all-scholastic and all-state. Additionally, Kalel was a consensus first-team all-American. They were also outstanding leaders, consummate student-athletes, and beloved members of our team both in the estimation of their coaches and their peers.”
Both will continue to play football this fall—Mullings at the University of Michigan and Gosner at Harvard University.