This summer, students gave the entire Milton community—faculty, staff, administration and fellow students—a reading assignment: Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America chronicles the author’s experience of living on a minimum wage salary. Halting her career as a successful journalist, Ehrenreich spent several months waitressing, cleaning homes and hotel rooms, delivering meals to nursing home residents, and working retail as a Walmart associate in various parts of Florida, Maine and Minnesota. The book tells of her personal experiences, the tribulations of her fellow workers, and the daily struggle they all faced financing the barest of living expenses.
As we opened School, mixed groups of 10 to 12, students and adults, gathered to discuss the book and Ms. Ehrenreich’s experience. The community reading project was the brainchild of Sabrina Lee and Henry Litman, co-head monitors of the Class of 2008. Head monitors Assel Tuleubayeva and Nick Jacob chose Nickel and Dimed as this summer’s reading project for its relevance in today’s economic climate—to promote awareness and provoke discussion among the Milton community.