Class IV Follies: Monsters Among Us
Milton Academy Performing Arts invites actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and those interested in tech theatre from Class IV to join the Class IV Follies. The Follies is an annual tradition where Class IV performers and crew come together to create a unique showcase of their talents for the entire Milton community. No experience is necessary and all interested students will be featured. This year’s Follies, Monsters Among Us, will incorporate monster-themed scenes and songs handpicked for each performer. Behind the scenes, tech crew members will be designing, building, and painting the sets and props to create an equally monstrous world.
Dear Members of the Milton Community,
I am thrilled that Dr. Alixe Callen has begun her tenure as Milton’s 13th head of school!
As the Board of Trustees, we seek to align with the head of school on her priorities and also to perform our primary role—which is to partner with her as the leader of the institution—by offering guidance and support as we ultimately hold her accountable for achieving the school’s goals. During a leadership change, it is considered a best practice for a governing board to communicate its “charge” to a new head, setting expectations on both sides for the start of her tenure.
In the interest of transparency—and recognizing that an excellent school is the product of collaboration and effort by all members of the faculty and staff, students, families, and alumni—included below is our letter to Dr. Callen as well as her response.
Alixe has exceptional qualifications as an educator and school leader and I hope you will join me and the Board in the warmest of welcomes as we continue to make Milton Academy the best possible community for our students.
Claire Hughes Johnson ’90
President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
For the second year in a row, Milton Magazine, Milton Academy’s alumni publication, received a Gold award in the Circle of Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
The award recognizes Milton Magazine’s spring and fall 2022 issues. The Circle of Excellence celebrates “exceptional achievement in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising, and marketing,” according to CASE. “These are the creative, inspiring projects that impact institutions and their communities—and transform lives around the globe.”
CASE judges noted: “Milton Magazine is a well-designed and well-written magazine. With its elegant design and smart writing, this magazine has all the hallmarks of a commercial publication. The variety of art and illustration, including the use of charts, boxes, numbers, and pull quotes, adds an extra level of interest and depth to the content. The feature stories written by the editor and associate editor were particularly enjoyable, providing insightful and engaging content that is sure to captivate readers.”
Milton Magazine was also a finalist for the 2023 Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year Award.
A lifelong love for writing and storytelling, stoked by English classes at Milton, propelled Neha Wadekar ’07 into a career in freelance journalism, she told students at the recent 44th Annual Laurence S. Persky Memorial Awards.
“I joined Milton in seventh grade, and I remember coming back for my revisit day and Ms. Simon was teaching Pride and Prejudice,” Ms. Wadekar recalled at the ceremony, which honors the best in student-published writing and artwork. “I was blown away by the level of back and forth discussion that the students were having about the meaning of the novel and the specific intentions of certain passages and the construction of particular sentences.”
This year’s Graduation speaker is John Avlon, Milton Academy Class of 1991. John is an award-winning journalist and author of six books, including Lincoln & the Fight for Peace and Washington’s Farewell. He is a CNN senior political analyst and anchor, known for his “Reality Check” segments across the network. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and chief speechwriter for the mayor of New York City during the attacks of September 11, 2001. He lives in New York with his wife, Margaret Hoover, and their two children, Jack and Toula Lou.
On Sunday, May 21, Milton Academy students participated in the Humanities Workshop’s Student Conference on Public Health hosted at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The goal of the Humanities Workshop is to show students how key themes prominent in humanities studies—in particular, the importance of empathy and compassion—can be instrumental in working to solve the world’s complex problems.
Urged by a COVID pandemic that has raised immediate concern about the safety and well-being of our school communities and forced us to consider the intersection of health and justice, the Humanities Workshop chose PUBLIC HEALTH/GLOBAL HEALTH as this year’s theme.
The spring musical, Head Over Heels, reimagines a 16th-century royal love tale—told mostly in iambic pentameter—and features the music of the 1980s rock band The Go-Gos. Its mash-up of music, visuals, and script work, however, to tell a story as old as time.
“It’s a great mix of elements,” said director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Peter Parisi. “It feels like they’re in this Shakespearean world and the characters are in a modified Elizabethan wardrobe, using the music of The Go-Gos, but it makes sense. They’re talking about issues that are both timeless and contemporary.”
The musical adapts the plot of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Philip Sidney, which was written in the late 1500s. It tells the story of the royal family in a kingdom, Arcadia, whose future depends on the family avoiding four predictions by an oracle. Set to some of The Go-Gos’ most recognizable hits as well as their lesser-known songs, the show is magical, dramatic, and fun.
“The theme is love,” Mr. Parisi said. “It’s about loving who you want to love, status, power, responsibility, duty to family, duty to your country, duty to yourself. In the end, the message is that love is love is love is love, and no matter who you are, you deserve love.”
The spring’s 1212 play, Things You Can Do by playwright Kristen Palmer, opened last Thursday in the Studio Theater at the Kellner Performing Arts Center.
Things You Can Do tells the story of an over-achieving graduate student on a visit to her hometown, where her mother and sister are grappling with anxiety and isolation.
“It’s a play I’ve always loved, and I’m so excited that we’re doing it,” said Performing Arts Department faculty member Eleza Kort, who is directing. “It explores the question of what we can do—on a broad level, while facing global problems like climate change, and on a personal level to help the people in our lives.”
Eliot Hack ’24 arrived at the base of Mount Katahdin last summer ready to complete a technical climb in memory of beloved Milton Academy teacher Kendall Chun. Mother Nature had other plans.
Rain forced Eliot to ditch his plans for a technical ascent—using rock climbing gear and heading up a steep path to the summit—and he instead hiked the mountain on foot, completing his first effort to raise money for access to public lands and celebrating the massive influence Mr. Chun had on Milton’s adventure-seeking students.
“Mr. Chun did so much for our community and for me, personally. I really wanted to honor him,” Eliot said. “He was focused on getting people out there and breaking down any kinds of barriers to the outdoors.”
Mr. Chun, who died April 26, 2022 after a recurrence of cancer, ran the school’s Outdoor Program in addition to his work as a computer science teacher and role as a Robbins House faculty advisor. His love for outdoor adventures was infectious as he introduced students to hiking, rock and ice climbing, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and more—regardless of their prior experience or skill level.
Just a few weeks after graduating from Milton Academy, Merritt Levitan ’13 was on a bicycle trip across the United States when a driver, who was distracted by texting, hit and killed her.
Merritt, a passionate and active young woman who loved the outdoors and spending time with family and friends, left a legacy of adventure, humor, and love that continues today at Milton and well beyond.
Several of Merritt’s Milton friends—Emeline Atwood ’14, Abigail Lebovitz ’14, Kaitlin Gately ’14, and Erika Lamere ’15—joined with her family to form TextLess Live More, a nonprofit whose mission is to end distracted driving and, over time, has evolved and expanded to promote digital wellness. The national awareness campaign, which has a chapter at Milton Academy, educates people about the effects of digital distraction, including the safety risks of distracted driving along with the overall impact of digital habits on physical and mental health.
“Merritt set an example for all of us to live life to the fullest and to be present for others and ourselves in everything we do,” said Head of School Todd Bland. “A decade after she was taken—far too soon—from her beloved family and friends, we can still find inspiration in her joy, excitement for life, and her deep care for others.”