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08-09_newstudents_1“Getting to know you and your families has been a privilege,” said Paul Rebuck, dean of admission.  “You have distinguished yourselves as exceptionally capable students and, more importantly, outstanding human beings.  You are gifted both in and out of the classroom, and you have a love of learning and an intellectual curiosity that is compelling.  We are thrilled that you are joining us and truly believe you will thrive within our community.

“Your former teachers described you with phrases such as ‘funny, compassionate and thoughtful, she will brighten any teacher’s day,’ ‘his personality and attitude make our school a better place,’ ‘she is always true to herself and her values,’ ‘an independent thinker who consistently reaches for a deeper understanding,’ and ‘a top student, leader in the school and, most importantly, a wonderful human being.’

“You are a collection of distinct, interesting and opinionated individuals.  Remember that.  Celebrate your diversity of thought, faith, ethnicity and style as you get to know one another.  Your backgrounds and interests are rich, varied and intriguing, and that is one of the defining qualities of this wonderful school.

“Each of you has a unique story.  Take the time to get to know each other and listen to these stories.  Find the student who has grown up living in a dorm on the MIT campus.  Spend time getting to know the student who lives on an island and has to take a boat to school each day.  Talk to the classmate who has three siblings each born on a different continent and has attended schools in Nigeria, Holland, Sumatra, Brunei and Houston, Texas. Trust me, you are a very interesting group.

“You come together from 17 states, and 13 countries, places as geographically and culturally diverse as New England, the Rocky Mountains, Albania, Japan and Thailand.  At least 21 languages are spoken in your homes, so don’t be surprised if you hear German or Vietnamese, Lithuanian, Greek or Japanese as your new friends call home.

“You come from the high-rises of Hong Kong and the neighborhoods of Boston.  Your hometowns stretch around the globe from Princeton, New Jersey to Phoenix, Arizona, to Mumbai, India to Kingston, Jamaica to right here in Milton, Massachusetts.

“You are the children of an equally diverse group of parents.  A surgeon, a carpenter, a scientist and a fashion designer all have children in this class.  So does a police officer, a cattle rancher, a minister, an author and a bus driver.

“Milton’s mission “celebrates diversity in all its forms,” and this diversity was especially evident as we read through your applications.  When asked to share something surprising about yourself your answers were enlightening as well as entertaining.  Responses included: I love to bake, I care deeply about global warming, I am a triplet, I helped a sheep give birth, I can solve a Rubik’s cube in one minute and 14 seconds, I am named after a Noble Prize-winning poet, I am afraid of worms, and I can wiggle my ears.

“You are software programmers who love to dance, dancers who play lacrosse, lacrosse players who write poetry, and poets who play ice hockey.  Seek out these points of distinction.  These are the qualities that make Milton “Milton.”  Explore them in your classrooms, over lunch in Forbes Dining Room, or while relaxing in the Schwartz Student Center.

“You are an academically talented bunch, but you are also a group that cares deeply about the world around you.  You are passionate about community service and your efforts stretch around the world including activities in North America, Central and South America, Africa, South East Asia, and right here in Boston.  Whether working in animal shelters, tutoring younger students, knitting blankets for the homeless, or rebuilding villages, you are willing to do what it takes to make a difference.

“While at Milton, I encourage you to stay active.  Get involved.  Impress your teachers with provocative, but respectful, dissent.  I read your application essays so I know you have opinions.  Don’t be shy.

“You arrive here today as an impressive, compelling group of individuals.  Take advantage of all that this vibrant, engaging school has to offer. You have each taken your own unique path to reach Milton, and I commend you on your efforts. Now I challenge you to embrace what it means to be an active, contributing member of this community. Over the next few years you will identify, pursue, and accomplish a variety of personal goals.  But I urge you to also never to lose sight of what it means to be part of such an interesting and dynamic community.

“I look forward to following your progress over the next few years as you pursue your passions and explore new opportunities.  We are extremely excited to have you join us here at Milton Academy.”