“Getting to know you and your families has been a privilege,” said Paul Rebuck, dean of admission, to Milton’s new students at the start of the school year. “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 ‘he is the most genuinely curious student I have ever taught,’ ‘her enthusiasm and passion for learning is contagious,’ ‘it is a gift not only to teach him but to watch him teach others,’ ‘his humility is awe-inspiring,’ and ‘she is a thoughtful and kind classmate who has the ability to make everyone feel like a friend.’”
“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 already published journalist who plans to start her own newspaper. Spend time getting to know the football player who is also a professional opera singer. Talk to the classmate who was a champion on the game show Jeopardy or the student who has danced on stage at Radio City Music Hall. Trust me, you are a very interesting group.
“You come together from 20 states, and 12 countries, places as geographically and culturally diverse as New England, the Pacific Northwest, Brazil, Australia and Malaysia. At least 15 languages are spoken in your homes, so don’t be surprised if you hear Portuguese or Thai, Danish, Greek or Japanese as your new friends call home.
“You come from the high-rises of Tokyo and the neighborhoods of Boston. Your hometowns stretch around the globe from Stowe, Vermont to Ketchum, Idaho; from Anchorage, Alaska to Shanghai, China; from Geneva, Switzerland to right here in Milton, Massachusetts.
“You are the children of an equally diverse group of parents. A surgeon, an electrician, a scientist and a helicopter pilot all have children in this class. So do a fire fighter, a screenwriter, an architect, a college professor and a yoga instructor.
“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 have double jointed elbows; I love ducks; I was the first baby born in Australia in 1993; I can play five musical instruments; I am an accomplished magician; I have a pet chinchilla named Chilly; I have been to over 20 countries; and although I am small I have a big heart.
“You are class presidents who play lead guitar in a rock band, ice hockey goalies who teach Sunday school, actors who play field hockey, field hockey players who are jazz musicians, and jazz musicians who build robots. 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 medical clinics, teaching physically challenged children to ski, tutoring younger students, or knitting blankets for the homeless, 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 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.”