Ten students were selected for a Bisbee Prize by their teachers for outstanding research on their U.S. history papers. For the annual spring tradition, faculty, students, and guests gathered on Zoom to recognize the students’ impressive work on topics ranging from 19th-century Chinese immigrants to communism in Hollywood. The award winners rotated through break-out rooms to discuss their papers and answer questions on their research.
Matt O’Rourke ’21, who wrote about the prohibition movement, said it was the personal stories, such as how people resisted prohibition and tried to find ways around the laws, that “made the research really interesting.”
The Bisbee Prize was established to honor Ethan Wyatt Bisbee, a former history faculty member and department chair 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. Bisbee passed away earlier this year.
In preparation for the Gospel Choir’s annual spring concert, music director Briana Washington and choir director Lori Dow guided student musicians through a new exercise: Composition.
Working over Zoom, the student choir developed a song called “The Light,” which delivers an inspirational and urgent message calling for hope in difficult times.
“Since we’re all dealing with this new setting of the pandemic, I thought, let’s do something original, something that shows our character,” said Washington. “Let’s write a song and see where it goes, no pressure. Once we got into the writing process with everyone in the virtual classroom, we thought of the message we wanted to send, which was uplifting and positive in the face of everything going on in the world.”
Lan Hai ‘23 participated in the Conrad Challenge, an international student-driven, project-based science and technology competition to solve problems with a global impact. Hai and two peers from her hometown of Shanghai developed, programmed, and retrofitted a sailboat to pick up plastic garbage while it sails. Their project, called SAIL-E, finished in the World’s Top Six in the Ocean Plastics Category.
Hai said their idea used “end-of-life boats,” which are sailboats that can’t be used by people anymore, but which contain fiberglass that is very costly, polluting, and inefficient to recycle.
“Right now there is no good way to recycle boats,” said Hai, who competes on Milton’s sailing team. “It’s a big problem that’s underrated. So we took an end-of-life boat, an actual sailboat, and modified it to be a garbage collection boat. Our solution is a lot cheaper than current garbage-collecting boats. After the competition’s national rounds, we added a solar panel, so the motors, which run the rudder and nets, run on solar power and there are no emissions.”
Throughout this spring, parts of the Milton Academy campus have transformed into the fictional East High School as performing arts faculty and students filmed scenes for the spring show, High School Musical Jr.
Opening virtually on Thursday, May 20, the show chronicles the interpersonal comedy and drama behind the scenes of, well, a high school musical. The “junior” show is adapted from the 2006 Disney Channel movie of the same name, which launched the careers of actors Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale, among others.
“Shooting this musical like a movie has been such a fun and interesting experience,” said Ingrid Krishnan ’22, who plays Gabriella, a shy transfer student who sparks a connection with star basketball player Troy, played by Ben Simpson ’21. “Before this, I did not have any experience doing film acting, so it has been exciting to work with the cameras.”
The objects, photos, people, and places we choose to hold dear can help us keep memories alive and anchor us in our identities, students in Project Story: Narrative Journalism and Performance demonstrated last week.
Four students, Jack Burton ’22, Tanisha Dunac ’21, Amelia Solomon ’23, and Nate Stewart ’21, narrated the transcriptions of interviews they conducted with peers and adults at Milton. They compiled the narrations into a 30-minute original performance called Keepsakes, which was shared via video.
Keepsakes are the “things we keep because of the memories they hold within them, because we want to hold onto the parts of other people or times in our lives that we attach to objects,” Solomon said.
Newly elected head monitors Emma Tung ’22 and Jack Burton ’22 took up the mantle as school leaders from outgoing head monitors Eliza Dunn ’21 and Garvin McLaughlin ’21. Every spring, Class II students self-nominate for head monitor. This year, eight candidates participated in a live Zoom Q&A with Upper School students to speak about their goals and ideas for the upcoming school year. Following the Q&A, candidate speeches were released on myMilton for students to view before voting online.
Both Burton and Tung said rebuilding a sense of community on campus is one of their goals. In his speech, Burton said he spoke about “how COVID-19 has been tough for our community, so it’s important for us to come together next year, meet and get to know new people, and bring back the traditions that we love.”
Tung said, “We want to focus on rebuilding our sense of unity as a whole Upper School, and bring back our school spirit because we lost that.”
Tung said another big focus is equity. “Equity in terms of students who want to speak out about unrest in the world,” she said. “Next year, we want to educate our community and make sure students feel comfortable and secure in the environment.”
The difference between a good jazz musician and a great one comes down to one thing, award-winning jazz pianist Aaron Goldberg ’91 told students: “It’s the ability to play and listen at the same time at a really high level.
“It’s an experience you can only have by playing with other people,” he said during a webinar supported by the Melissa Dilworth Gold Visiting Artist fund. “The best jazz musicians can hear everything that’s going on around them and react and interact in the moment. The most important thing you can do to develop that skill is to play with your friends and concentrate more on what they’re doing than what you’re doing.”
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.