Are We Reading? Why and how do Milton students learn to love reading, and to read “properly and well”? Does that love of reading continue in the Milton “afterlife”? How does reading fare in the lives of Milton graduates today?
Features: The Art and Power of Reading Front Cover: Photograph by Michael Dwyer
4 Building Passionate Readers Whether in Modern World History, AP Calculus or improvisational theater, the faculty’s teaching techniques strengthen reading skills. In every discipline, they work intentionally in the territory where reading well, thinking critically and communicating effectively connect. Cathleen Everett
16 Learning to Ask the Next Question Few of us can recall the day we learned to read. Once we walk through that door, we can’t go back. It’s nearly impossible to imagine letters not making sense. Reading well is a skill Milton students can carry through their lives that provides both information and enjoyment, informing their thinking and enriching their lives. Caitlin O’Neil ’89
22 At the University: How Does the Teaching of Reading Change? The experiences of Milton alumni who are teaching, writing and researching: Timothy W. Marr ’78, Alison Games ’81, Adam Rothman ’89, Alethia Jones ’87, Lisa Friedman Miller ’84 and Régine Jean-Charles Asare ’96.
30 Students Assigned the Book. We Read It Together. Last summer the students gave the Milton community a reading assignment: Tracy Kidder’s book Mountains Beyond Mountains. For co-head monitors Sarah Diamond and Sam Rosen, the book, the project, and reading have been important Milton experiences. Erin Hoodlet
32 Favorites from the Class of 2009 If you had to recommend one piece of writing to someone, what would it be, and why?
Departments 34 The K–5 Summer Reading Program Milton’s K–5 summer reading program is a comprehensive curriculum builder that teachers, parents and students point to as unique, exciting and distinctly “Milton.” Erin Hoodlet
36 Growing Up Male; Growing Up Female Seventh-grade English is the only class in Milton’s K–12 program separated by gender, a tradition of more than 30 years. Erin Hoodlet
38 Remarks at Celebrate 2008: A Time for Milton Marking Milton’s successes of the last decade, and building on the Milton tradition: the dedication of Millet House; groundbreaking for Pritzker Science Center Rick Hardy
39 Celebrate 2008: A Big Day for the Orange and Blue
43 Faculty Perspective At the End of Your High School Career: Class II Leadership Weekend Message, 2008 Carlotta Zilliax
45 Post Script Regarding Heroism: Sherrod E. Skinner, Jr. ’47 Sherrod E. Skinner ’72
49 Sports The Best Defense Is a Good Offense Greg White
50 In•Sight 52 On Centre News and notes from the campus and beyond
64 Class Notes
Editor Cathleen Everett Associate Editor Erin Hoodlet Photography Michael Dwyer, Erin Hoodlet, Nicki Pardo, Lee Pellegrini, Julia Solomon ’09, Martha Stewart, Greg White, Torrance York, Paul Young Design Moore & Associates Milton Magazine is published twice a year by Milton Academy. Editorial and business offices are located at Milton Academy where change-of-address notifications should be sent. As an institution committed to diversity, Milton Academy welcomes the opportunity to admit academically qualified students of any gender, race, color, handicapped status, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally available to its students. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, handicapped status, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, and athletic or other school-administered activities. Printed on Recycled Paper
The Art and Power of Reading “What will life be like if people stop reading?” Caleb Crain asks in his New Yorker essay “Twilight of the Books.” Reading for pleasure by young Americans as they progress from elementary through high school to college has fallen off, just as it has among adults. The National Endowment for the Arts, having analyzed data from diverse sectors like the Census Bureau and the federal labor and education departments, released these findings at the end of 2007. Announcing the study, “To Read or Not to Read,” then NEA chair Dana Gioia described the data as “simple, consistent and alarming.” The share of proficient readers at twelfth grade in America declined from 45 percent to 35 percent between 1992 and 2005. The NEA found that since 1982, “the percentage of Americans who read literature has declined not only in every age group but in every generation—even in those moving from youth into middle age, which is often considered the most fertile time of life for reading,” according to Mr. Crain.
The publishing industry is in decline; increased television viewing has been documented to worsen performance in reading, science and math; and video is growing as an element in the Internet mix. At the same time, Milton alumni frequently sound the theme we heard from Liz Forwand, Class of 1998: “One thing I got from Milton doesn’t translate directly to any single outcome. I learned how to read: properly and well, for pleasure and enjoyment, and for learning. It was an excellent gift. It was a key part of any career success I’ve had.” Why and how do Milton students learn to love reading, and to read “properly and well”? Does that love of reading continue in the Milton “afterlife”? How does reading fare in the lives of Milton graduates today? Cathleen D. Everett
Building passionate readers
eading well is a skill. To develop proficiency, a novice reader at Milton moves through carefully phased steps; he gets plenty of practice and expert guidance. A faculty that typically revels in its diversity of opinion stands absolutely united in recognizing the primacy of this skill.
after an assigned reading, they come in and say, ‘That was depressing.’ Or, ‘That was strange.’ “‘Why?’ we ask. ‘Where does that surface?’ It’s fun when they get to the point of saying, ‘Well, look at this paragraph on page 20. It’s full of dark words.’ Students begin to see the explicit connection between what is on the page and what they are feeling.
Whether in Modern World History, AP Calculus or improvisational theater, the faculty’s teaching techniques strengthen reading skills. Universally, they begin with the goal of building an insatiable desire to read for pleasure. Universally, they see students feel empowered by reading well. In every discipline, they work intentionally in the territory where reading well, thinking critically and communicating effectively connect.
English As a practical matter, the English department undertakes the foundational work in reading with every student in the School. “We teach close, literal level reading,” the department’s Jim Connolly says, “to highly motivated students from divergent backgrounds in Class IV.” For decades, teachers in the department have tooled and retooled their instructional pathway. They integrate daily work in the classroom and weekly work in Milton’s famous “English workshop” syllabus to begin developing sophisticated readers and writers.
Nicole Colson, English Department
“In every genre, specifics matter. What does each of the words mean? Use the dictionary; it’s always in the middle of the table. Reading at a literal level (‘a piece is about what it says’) is the essential foundation. Our students have to account for every word,” Jim says. The interpretive elements—ambiguity, imagery, symbolism—arise after, and as a result of, a close reading. “Without close reading, students are spinning their interpretive wheels.” “We’re lucky,” says Nicole Colson (English department). “Our students like to read and are excited by it. Early on,
“We teach how to unpack the text. All interpretation is textually grounded. When they move to their analysis, they use a toolbox of interpretive categories (e.g., theme, tone, setting, imagery, irony). We tell them they must use at least three of these categories to support their argument. I tell them that they’d better not launch into the space alien interpretation if there’s no spaceship in the text,” Nicole laughs. Along with learning how to understand the text comes the revelation, according to Nicole, that “I have a lens,” with all that means. Each word has a denotation and a connotation. Self-awareness begins to emerge as they ask themselves the question, ‘What does it mean about me as a person that I see this word this way?’ That’s when sitting around the Harkness table is a distinct advantage. The students are exposed to, and must think about, all these other lenses. Quickly, students come to an appreciation of their own cultural roots, and the deep effect of those
â€œOur students are readers. They love language, ideas and literature. As such, we have the freedom to focus on skills, and in the ninth and tenth grades, we hammer home reading skills.â€? Jim Connolly, English Department
“I begin the school year with a full week on how to be a scholar of history: what attitude to bring, what approach to take—how to read, see, process and understand history.” Michael Lou, History Department
roots on how they interpret a text. They gain the ability to articulate and share that realization. Everyone benefits enormously from the exchange.” Related to the progress in reading is the English workshop, which is focused on writing. “We begin with the parts of speech, and it’s amazing how many students have no familiarity with them,” says Nicole. “This effort comes around, however, to their knowing, when they read Faulkner, for instance, and they find him ‘breaking the rules.’ They assume that’s on purpose and ask ‘why?’ ‘Here’s an example of an incorrect pronoun reference,’ one might say, ‘but he’s made a choice; he wants the subject to be vague.’” Assessment in Class IV English is designed to solidify and measure these new reading skills. The January exam includes a poem for analysis. “It’s a poem that the student most likely would never have read,” Jim Connolly says, “and the level of difficulty of that poem has stayed the same for at least 30 years. If you can’t read well, you can’t analyze the poem.” The second-semester critical essay is another major, graded requirement. Students choose one story from three possibilities. They have four weeks to write a five- to 10-page critical analysis of the story. They may not use any secondary sources; they must reflect completely on their own. “Students may read that story five, seven, 11 times,” Jim says. “It’s not discussed in class; this is an intense personal experience with the text.” The development of these skills, the selfdiscovery, the listening and appreciating other arguments—these are extraordinary experiences. “I think that when people learn to be thoughtful about literature,” says Nicole, “they have a good chance of being better citizens, better human beings.” 6
“Our math students have to figure out what they are trying to do, what they’ve been given, and what they need. Reading well points them toward a more efficient pathway for solving or dealing with their challenge.” Jeanne Jacobs, Mathematics Department
History Michael Lou talks with his students about resisting the knee-jerk response of looking for binary opposition in what they read: good and evil, black and white. “Often what’s most meaningful in history happens between the poles, in the gray areas,” he tells them. “I try to show them how not to look at things in the extremes, but instead, as a number of elements that interact. That leads you to different ideas; you end up in a different place.” His Modern World History III students use a college-level text, among other readings. Using it involves a learning curve. “It’s dense, it assumes some preknowledge and presents the big umbrella ideas,” Michael says. “I’m a facilitator in a process they’ve undertaken—to identify ideas, find concrete evidence and make key links. “So we start with the practical skill of learning to read a challenging text—using close reading, annotating, summarizing. I instruct them to stop at the end of each paragraph. In the margins, identify the words you don’t understand; and in one or two sentences, note the big ideas. You can learn by practice, doing this over and over. (Our students are very capable; they may not be used to something, but if you set the bar, they will do everything to meet it.) “In class every day, I look in their books for the physical evidence of this process. If they haven’t prepared, they are excused to the history office to work on the text. They have to earn the right to be engaged in the conversation with us, in this very active class. We identify the big ideas and then cite the supporting evidence. Very soon they begin to teach each other. They read, they interpret, they learn by themselves, and they learn from each other. Milton Magazine
“I put the ideas they generate on the three full blackboards that surround the room. Then we refer, refer, refer to the ideas and the evidence that they have generated. We operate with the ‘show me’ principle: you must use the evidence to support your argument. Finding your supporting evidence is excellent preparation for writing and citing in history. They’re preparing themselves without realizing it. “We read primary source materials, as well. Discerning the important things from those texts, written in different styles, points of view and time periods, is challenging for students. What works best is giving them a set of questions at the start. I give them that flashlight, or road map, so they don’t wander off and can find the big ideas in very unfamiliar writing. “Older students who have been through this already are more analytical at the outset; they can look at and then beyond the facts, make linkages and create a panoramic view naturally. But these younger students are still quite concrete. “Ironically, this fairly rigorous technique is especially helpful to students who come in less confident in history. When they learn to read better, they gain tremendous confidence, and with confidence comes interest. This treatment of history connects with where the ninth and tenth graders are developmentally. It unlocks the subject for students, and affects how they look at the field.”
Mathematics and Science Because mathematics and science are exploratory, investigative disciplines, reading with exactitude is critical to making progress, finding success and developing cumulative knowledge. “Of course there are rules of the road for different processes,” Jeanne Jacobs of the math department says, “but there are also a number of ways to go about getting where you need to go.” Reading thoroughly is fundamental to assessing information, which affects how you build strategy. Members of the math department develop their own teaching materials (both math problems and written text that students will read for understanding and clarification). This allows the faculty to determine how they spend time in each course, and how they approach the material. Faculty spend less time on the repetitive practice of skills, in the abstract, and more on presenting a stream of situations, asking students to determine what they need to know to solve the problem. They help students develop mathematical ideas and skills by working on them in a context—a more interesting and effective treatment of mathematics for students. As is the case in the humanities, Milton math students are involved in finding evidence. They must justify the approach they’ve taken to a problem, and ultimately, must put their findings in a real-world context. (“Learning a math skill is often much easier than describing what you just did and its real-world meaning— rather than just coming up with a number. That’s what we require our students to do,” says Jeanne.) In addition, beginning a new area within a course is often structured as a research assignment: reading explanatory documents and then trying a set of problems to look for a pattern. A less-than-focused reader might miss the parameters for a specific situation, do a completely different problem, or approach the problem in a way that masks what he needs to identify. Reading, solving and writing are linked in math at Milton. Scientific exploration also requires exact assessment, strategy building and justification. Science often also involves intense reading for content. Students approaching dense, unfamiliar material benefit
from teaching techniques similar to those Michael Lou uses in history. “Each day I try to identify new terms that will need to become part of their working vocabulary. I perform sort of a highlighting function, to help them sort out what’s essential to where we are going, and what they can let go. We use etymology, looking at the word’s roots, to help build that new, working vocabulary,” science faculty member Linde Eyster says. “Also, we go back over their reading and pick out what I call the ‘enduring concepts,’ Sometimes I assign them the task of identifying, themselves, a number of enduring concepts as part of their homework.” In addition, Honors Biology students have their own “teaching day.” Each pair of students has to write out five to seven enduring concepts that they’re going to teach, identify what they want to communicate, develop their visual aids, teach the class, and then administer a quiz. Results of the quiz, of course, show how well they taught to their enduring concepts. “On their research essays, Advanced Biology students go through a factchecking exercise, which may seem basic and routine, but ends up being extremely difficult for them,” says Linde. “The exercise points out the human tendency to interpolate between a fact and the reporting of a fact. Their assignment is to write a two-page paper, using sources, but not quoting from those sources. Therefore, they must write in their own words, but be scientifically correct. I then circle three things in each paper that the student must fact-check. What they discover is that by not reading critically enough, they didn’t get the right interpretation, and therefore they’ve actually made statements that are essentially false or are credited to the wrong source. Learning to read and write complexity, with accuracy, is hard.” Still another exercise requires them to reread their own lab reports. Rereading is a key skill: They reread to examine if their conclusions actually match the data. “They often overstep their data,” says Linde. “Sometimes they’ve even been self-contradictory, and they just don’t see it. Also, rereading your own writing is harder than editing others’ work, because you think you have been clear.”
“We tend to forget that reading any brand-new subject matter can be overwhelming. Biology students may have more than 20 new vocabulary words in a single night’s reading assignment. And what makes the task more difficult is that they don’t yet know how the matter they’re reading connects to where they’re going.” Linde Eyster, Science Department
Day in and day out, math and science students are trained to read with exacting standards. In both departments, day-today practice and philosophy builds reading and the related writing skills.
Modern Languages Departmental discussion among modern languages faculty is focused, this year, on ways to introduce literature into language classes (beyond the literature classes) as early as possible—from level one on. The department’s goal is nurturing the integrated, authentic use of language “and what is more authentic than writers’ words, especially as a way of reaching understanding about the culture and soul of a language?” Ana Colbert (Spanish) says. “Creating the desire to read is a challenge when the reader must venture into the world of a foreign voice,” Bernard Planchon (French) acknowledges. “How do we achieve that?” The department argues against using a translation as an aid. We ask students not to go to the dictionary, but to read closely, aloud and silently, and listen to the beauty of the words. “Listening intensely, being able to hear, brings one closer to the threshold of the text itself,” Bernard believes. “I often use music to help students get an emotional sense of the subject prior to plunging into a literary work. I also rely on art, personal experiences, current events, any occurrence that would serve as a doorway to the written word. Once we establish an affective connection with the text, engaging in close reading becomes much more natural as a student tries to satisfy curiosity.” “We ask questions to help students test their comprehension,” says Ana. “What is everyday life like for people in that village? What does he expect from the future? How did you know that from the text? Show me. “Once they understand what they’re reading, they’re very excited about what they’re learning and they get totally involved. The next steps are much easier. We urge them to forget they’re American teenagers from Boston and instead get inside the 17th century. Forget today’s
Ana Colbert, Modern Languages Department
political positions and prejudices; stand inside a woman’s shoes and listen to her anguish.”
the explication, of course, is to show the uniqueness of an author’s voice by studying the convergence of style and content.
“Those who teach the explication de texte agree that this is a challenging exercise for most American teenagers,” Bernard contends. “They are more often asked to say what they think than to listen to what the text actually says. The point of
“My hope is that once students have experienced the connection between effort and pleasure they will be able to apply the discipline they have learned to other realms of their learning. Many students will not realize right away what they have accomplished, but some are mature enough to see it. One of the nicest things
“My teaching and philosophy were profoundly marked by my experience in French schools. We were constantly reminded reading was necessary to be a ‘cultured’ person. Any candidate for office, celebrities, for instance, are grilled on national TV about their knowledge of the classics and what they read. However, you do not turn children into readers by telling them that they must read. As one contemporary French writer put it, ‘the verb TO READ cannot stand commands.’” Bernard Planchon, Modern Languages Department
“Helping students learn to ‘read’ art brings them to experience the pleasure and power of discovery. I can’t tell people how great that is; they have to experience it. What I can do is demonstrate my excitement and create a sense of intrigue about the process. That happens here on a daily basis.” Larry Pollans, Art History
a student ever told me was how much more she enjoyed her native Korean poetry after applying the rigorous approach learned in her French literature class. “The greatest challenge (and the most work for a teacher) is instilling the desire to read, helping a student experience the spontaneous pleasure that a ‘good reader’ finds—helping a student become someone who reads just to enjoy the great wonder of being alive.”
Visual and Performing Arts The visual arts and performing arts take the notion and the practice of reading to new, but connected, levels of abstraction. “I ask students to consider two levels of abstraction when we consider sculpture, for instance,” says Larry Pollans, Milton’s art history teacher. “First, there’s the three-dimensional design and the character of the form; second, there’s the narrative and the historiography of the piece and changing cultural attitudes about the piece. “They read and learn about the influence of the critic. Enlightenment art historians like Johann Winckelmann defined the Renaissance as we came to know it based on 18th- and 19th-century notions of genius, the individual and classicism. They did not look at the ‘steamy’ side of the Renaissance and were blind to non-European developments. Erwin Panofsky’s famous critique of a Dürer print, The Rape of Europe, celebrates the new competence of artists in the Renaissance. His discussion of Renaissance work does not approach, however, the violence and dislocation and appropriation that occurred during the
consolidation of Europe. So students get the idea that because major ideas about what happened hanged over the years, they bear a deeper responsibility to size how they approach images and ideas. They discover that there’s another level in figuring out what is going on in a work. “I have it easy in this course, though. The art speaks to students. It’s a private and energizing experience. Most students get hooked. Early on, they see dramatically the dual personality of the Greeks: the Apollonian (order) and the Dionysian (chaos, passions). Right away, as teenagers who feel those forces intensely in their own lives, they recognize that combination of forces in the adult world. “Over the years, the students and I have been co-discoverers. The process in this course is designed to let them cook—to stimulate and validate their responses. They can make penetrating observations, based on intuitive responses, which broaden everyone’s understanding of a work. That’s when I know they’re cooking. “An assignment at the end of the semester asked them to consider Calvin Tompkins’s excellent two-paragraph critique of a piece the Metropolitan Museum of Art bought in 2003—an 8" x 11" painting done circa 1300. It was painted as a private devotional icon. His review is succinct and elegant; it treats the painting’s place in history, along with its emotional quality. Students chose from among four Gothic or Romanesque images, and they were to build into their own review the levels of understanding of the image that Tompkins had. They loved it.” Peter Parisi (performing arts) and Doug Fricke (English) were trying to build new levels of understanding when they teamed up as Doug taught the popular Hamlet course. Doug wanted students to perform scenes and Peter helped students go beyond what actors call “the given circumstances”—the close, literal reading—and create what Peter calls “the magic if.” “What if I were Hamlet: I came home to bury my dad and I found my mother married to my uncle and my girlfriend not quite there?” Peter asked. “What would I feel like? What is the subtext? Milton Magazine
Studying Classics The Epitome of Close Reading A commitment, a discipline, a rewarding challenge: Learning Latin requires grappling with a complex grammatical framework and understanding the interdependence of words in a sentence. “Classics is all about strict attention to words,” says Sarah Wehle, who has taught enthusiastic Latin scholars at Milton since 1977. “In an inflected lan-
guage, the whole meaning of a sentence can change based on a single word; the spelling of the word changes not only the meaning, but also the placement in the sentence. Readers of Latin must pay attention to every letter. Over time they gain an appreciation for the force and power of words, and of language,” Sarah contends. “Students who enjoy Latin
enjoy the puzzle aspect of the language. They like words, and they build an ability to figure out where many English words come from. They like precision, and they like great literature.” Sarah points to a resurgence of interest in the power of Latin—far from disappearing as a course option—as a grounding for education, in any other subject.
“We let them get engaged in exploration. When they try an interpretation, we ask them to justify the character they’ve chosen to play out. ‘Where did you get that sense?’ Everything your character does and says has to support your interpretation, your ‘spine.’ Otherwise, the character will seem forced, or inauthentic, or the performance will simply be bad. This is a new skill for 15-year-olds. They must not only read accurately, but also show the physicals that bring the character to life. “We tell them that all performance is within their grasp. They need to understand the literature (the play, the poem) and then give representation to that through body, voice and mind. A wide range of interpretation is possible, however, especially with Shakespeare’s work, which is alive and flexible and has always transcended the limits of its original audience. While Hamlet is accessible to a teenager, other plays, such as Hedda Gabler, demand that students get into the world of the play. “One activity that helps students is what I call ‘the hot seat.’ It happens after the blocking and the memorization of lines. We both sit down for some improv: I ask all kinds of questions and the student answers in character. At other times, I’ll ask a student to improvise his character in a situation that might have happened (but didn’t) in his play. Then we debrief. ‘You said this, and I don’t buy it,’ I’ll say. ‘Have you written a new bio for your character?’”
oncentrated, explicit effort and years of fine-tuning goes into teaching Milton students to read well, to develop appreciation and sound criteria for analysis and thinking. Confidence, the natural outgrowth of steadily tended skills, grows and supports the reader—now thinker, writer, problem solver, explorer. The “gift,” as Liz Forwand calls it, is a powerful set of versatile skills that give not only lifelong pleasure, but also confidence, strength and independence. CDE
“Reading a character to create a performance depends first upon exacting, close reading and then understanding the author’s intent between, around and behind the actual lines.” Peter Parisi, Performing Arts Department Chair
Learning to Ask the Next Question Attitudes About Reading Among Milton Alumni
ew of us can recall the day we learned to read. Once we walk through that door, we can’t go back. It’s nearly impossible to imagine letters not making sense. But most Milton students can remember the class where they learned how to read, when words became ideas and ideas became possibilities. Reading well is a skill they can carry through their lives that provides both information and enjoyment, informing their thinking and enriching their lives.
How do you read? John Marshall ’86 points to his history class with John Warren (formerly of the history department), where he focused on reading texts thoroughly. “He would ask, What’s the evidence here? What are the
biases? What does the author bring to the table? He made us engage with the text and read between the lines. What is the author trying to tell you? What are they saying, but also, what aren’t they saying? Milton trained me to be a reader who can coax meaning out of documents.” Today, John, a lawyer by training, is on a twoyear Rockefeller Foundation fellowship with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority. In his work with NORA, he uses those same skills when reading real-estate development proposals. “I pay attention to how developers describe their project. I look at what they address, and what they don’t address. I have as many questions about the projects as I do insights. It’s my Milton training. I have more questions than most people.”
Alejandro Amezcua ’95 had a more personal epiphany while in an AP Spanish literature class. “I read Federico García Lorca’s writings about how society puts strictures on people. I was a young gay man, coming to terms with that identity. It was a formative time in my life. I have not gone back to reread Lorca but his work has stuck with me. It still informs my thinking about how society views me and how to be happy. That reading challenged my thinking about the challenge of being a minority and finding the power to be who you are.” Today, Alejandro is a Ph.D. candidate in public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, where he is studying the impact of incubating businesses on their long-term success.
“Coming to Milton didn’t turn on or spur my love of reading,” says Wendy Nicholson ’86, a research analyst at Citigroup, “but Milton made reading come alive through great classroom discussion. Reading a poem for class, you’d read 10 lines, and it’s only 10 lines. But then the next day in class, you’d spend an hour on those 10 lines and it became a new poem. Sitting around the table made all the difference.” As a research analyst for Citigroup, Wendy continues to read a lot and while the content of her reading has changed, her habits have not. “What Milton taught me was not to be passive when reading, to be more engaged. At work, I need to challenge the assumptions of what I am reading. It’s not only important for my job, but also in the fiction I read for pleasure. I like to think about what I can take away from a book that I will continue to think about, what will stay with me.”
For Tamsen Brown ’91, a researcher who studied the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before becoming a stay-at-home mom, the books she read at Milton were less important than the teachers. “Dale Deletis taught me to look at text with a more discerning eye. He made you think as you read along. Even now I have the urge when I’m reading to take a pen in hand and circle words and write in the margins—‘foreshadowing,’ ‘symbolism’—things I learned about at Milton.” Rob Radtke ’82 says that his three years at Milton were “the three best academic years of my education life—and I went to some pretty good schools. At Milton, I learned the basic skills I use today. These skills were amplified later, but the basics came from Milton: how to write well, make critical and persuasive arguments, and problem solve.”
Annie Elliott ’88, an interior designer, plowed through John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath as part of her summer reading, but “when I got to Mr. Connolly’s class, I realized I hadn’t read the book at all. Or I had read it, but it was not critical reading. I learned that I might have to read things a couple of times to understand them, to get the full meaning. I learned that you got different things from the words each time you read them.” Brad Blank ’78, a lawyer turned agent who represents National Football League players like Tedy Bruschi and Chris Canty, says, “Reading was the best thing I learned at Milton.” Recently, on a visit to his parents’ house, he found a copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost on the bookshelf. “I didn’t understand it even now, as a 48-year-old. That was tough stuff for a 17-year-old.” But in class with A.O. Smith, he came to understand what the book was about. “It was a classic struggle between good and evil. But the degree of difficulty was off the charts. English at Milton was harder than college or law school. It challenged me more. At public school, tests were all about memorization and multiple choice. At Milton, it didn’t matter what I remembered. Teachers made me think during the tests.”
Jen Perini ’91, an independent film producer who works with Jay Roach— director of Recount, Meet the Parents and the Austin Powers movies—recalls that Jane Archibald’s class “taught me to make connections with other books and our lives. I was always a reader, even when I was little, but the class brought [the experience] to a new level. I wasn’t just reading, I was reading better”—a skill that is now central to her work in the movie business. “All of my reading now is for work. So many books are being made into movies now—this season Revolutionary Road and The Reader. Now I am reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I need to read a book fast, often overnight, and decide whether it will make a good movie or not.” So much of her time is taken up with work reading that Jen admits, “Sometimes I fantasize about breaking both my legs and getting to lie around and read books.” John Marshall has also experienced a powerful interplay between his reading and his community revitalization work. “Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics talk about what makes a community, what makes a city. He writes that the building blocks of political communities are friendships. If lawmakers could legislate friendships, we wouldn’t need laws to ensure justice. People do more when there is a relationship there. There’s a feeling of duty that can’t be legislated. That’s the power of friendship. That’s a memorable insight for me. Witnessing the strength of New Orleans neighborhoods brought me back to Aristotle’s ideas.”
How is reading part of your work? Reading skills learned at Milton can be deployed for both work and pleasure, but often the line between the two can blur. A mystery read in the evening can seed morning insights, while a daily diet of position papers, journals and online news feeds can stoke hunger for an escapist novel.
In his public role as president of Episcopal relief and development, Rob Radtke reads a lot of research literature and writes and speaks about it, reinterpreting it for a nonspecialist audience. But he still reads for pleasure. His favorite author is Swedish mystery writer Henning Mankell, who writes police procedurals set in Africa, a continent where Rob’s work has great impact. “I run out to buy [Mankell’s] books as soon as they are published.” Rob also reads a lot of history, particularly William Dalrymple, whose work is “well-researched, with good footnotes, but also tells a great story.”
Do you read the old-fashioned way? The digital revolution is transforming the way we consume words and ideas, opening a floodgate of online news and information that can distract as well as enlighten. While many graduates can’t escape reading online for work, they choose to read the old-fashioned way when they’re off the clock. In other words, newspapers can’t blame Milton for their circulation decline.
Jen Perini reads most screenplays on her computer, but also “loves holding a book, the tactile quality of that. I like the actual newspaper and magazines. If I’m holding it, I’m more likely to finish it. Onscreen reading feels more ephemeral. I don’t think the information is any different, but the way you perceive it is.” Rob Radtke agrees. “It’s different reading online, mostly because when you sit with a newspaper you see the serendipitous article alongside the one you’re reading and you learn about something you might not have been looking for. You read outside of what you’ve set out to, which I think is an important thing to do intellectually. When you’re at your computer, it’s like being hooked up to a fire hose in terms of information. You have CNN, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal with three versions of the same story, but you don’t need to read all three. You have to be disciplined.”
Annie Elliott, too, “is a hard newspaper person,” she says. “My parents, who are technophobes, read their newspapers online. They’ve made that leap. But I like paging through the paper. It’s easier to stumble across stories, I think. There’s a respectful distance on paper. The ads don’t move. The paper doesn’t want your comments. I don’t want to interact with my news.” Annie is not entirely opposed to online reading, particularly since she writes her own design blog, (www. bossyblog.com). But she finds that “Internet reading is a totally different animal. It’s faster, more immediate, not as thoughtful. Reading in real time is different. Even a magazine is more considered and thoughtful than a blog entry. It’s a new kind of reading.” By contrast, Annie once worked at a rare books and manuscripts library in Philadelphia where Maurice Sendak was on the board of directors. “He talked about reading a book as a tactile experience,” she explains. “One of his latest books, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, was about homeless children, a heavy topic, and I noticed that the paper stock was very heavy, almost like cardboard, to reflect the serious story he was telling.” Brad Blank conducts much of his work via BlackBerry and text message with his young clients, many of whom are in their 20s. “They don’t make phone calls. They don’t have land lines, even. I’m still a stickler for grammar, even in the text message, but the young people I talk with don’t care. It’s a whole new language, new abbreviations, a new standard for communication.” He finds refuge from technological chatter on airplanes, where he is beyond the reach of the satellite and cell tower. “When I’m traveling, I average a book a week. I like that there are no cell phones on airplanes. I see other people with computers, iPods, DVD players,” says Brad, but he thinks “scrolling is a pain. I’d rather turn pages.” His taste runs toward history, biographies, autobiographies, like Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up or Ted Sorensen’s Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.
Tamsen Brown says she’s “old-fashioned and like[s] the feel of a book, the newspaper,” but believes that “the scientific community has gone digital for convenience. Most researchers are already using online databases, so it’s a natural extension to search for specific articles electronically. It allows more articles to be available to more people, which is important since scientific research is such an international community.”
Is reading a social thing for you? While reading informs our thinking, it can also connect us to our community. Through the “One Book” program, cities like Seattle and Chicago are reading together as a means of creating community. But we don’t have to read the same book to feel connected with our friends and neighbors through reading. Bookstores, libraries and book clubs provide places to gather and share books and ideas. In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina destroyed not only homes and businesses, but the city’s bookstores and libraries as well. “New Orleans is a big reading town,” says John. “You don’t see chain stores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Books-A-Million. It’s all local bookstores. One of the complaints I’ve heard across the board in neighborhood meetings is that people miss their neighborhood bookstores. Most neighborhoods are 30 to 70 percent back, but the commercial tenants have not bought in yet because they don’t feel the customer base is there. People are aching for their neighborhood bookstores. They were a place to meet people and bring the kids. The bookstores were a big part of the community.” While New Orleans strives to revive its once-thriving local bookstore scene, chain stores are keeping reading alive in other parts of the country. In Florida over Christmas, Wendy finished her book and went to the local Barnes & Noble to get a new one. “I was happy to find that the bookstore was very crowded. I would miss being able to browse in a bookstore, pick up a book by an author that looks familiar, and read the jacket to see what else he’s written. It was good to see that people still want books.”
Beyond the bookstore, local libraries are a place where communities come together around books and reading. In the wake of the economic downturn, libraries have experienced a resurgent popularity. Annie recently started bringing her daughters to the library; she says, “it struck me how much time I’d been spending in Barnes & Noble. Everything here is free! I got armfuls of books and then had to restrain myself. But I’m glad my children see it as a fun place to go. It’s a neighborhood place.” Book clubs can also provide a time and place to talk books. Tamsen’s book club, whose recent selections have included The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, and
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, motivates her to read. “With three children aged seven years and under, I don’t make time to read on my own,” says Tamsen. “The book club provides me an excuse to read a book and also leads me to make more active observations than I would if I wasn’t meeting to talk about it.”
escapism. I like books that build up to the end. If I’m not reading plot-heavy crime novels, I like character-driven books. Michael Malone is another of my favorite writers. His characters are hilarious, and he has a great way with language. I don’t know if I would have noticed the language if I hadn’t studied books at Milton.”
Beyond community groups, reading can be social in more subtle ways. We see books and magazines on the subway and the bus, peeking out of briefcases in the airport, stacked on bookshelves at cocktail parties. Brief glimpses at covers and spines flash a literary Morse code of sorts, silently signaling a reader’s taste and interests. “There’s something about reading that is not solitary, but social,” says Rob, whose wife has a Kindle and loves it. “With a digital reader, you can’t pass a book along to someone, you can’t hand a digital copy over. It’s reorganizing the social aspect of reading. Sometimes I don’t know what my wife is reading anymore because I can’t see the book cover.”
These days Wendy is less concerned about her bedside table—which holds evidence of her recent Edith Wharton jag— than that of her four- and six-year-old sons. “I think one of the most important things to me as a parent is to transfer the love of reading. I want [my children] to know that reading isn’t just for pleasure but that they can also learn from it. It’s a stimulation culture for children now. They live overscheduled lives. We need to give children time to discover books and find the fulfillment of reading.”
What books are on your bedside table? Books take up physical as well as mental space in our lives, piling up on shelves and bedside tables, revealing what’s on our minds. Stacks of waiting books can reveal our interests and aspirations—as well as guilty pleasures. Rob says he “keeps books forever, never gets rid of them. They are stacked on the bedside tables and all over the house.” His latest evening must-read is Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann, a history of the end of the British empire in India. The book “fits into the category of books that are well-researched but also tell a good story. I sit in bed and chuckle while I’m reading it.” Annie says she reads at night “to escape, for too long usually, one or even two hours, most of the time before bed. I can’t fall asleep without reading. I don’t fall asleep with a book in my lap, but close. I love murder and crime books with super engaging plots. I’m a picky reader now— that’s one impact Milton had on me. My favorite authors are Harlan Coben and Michael Connelly. What they write is pure
Sometimes the question is not what to read, but what will fit on your bookshelf. When John moved from Tampa to New Orleans for two years, he figured it wasn’t worth sending all his books. “I spent a lot of time sorting through the books while packing,” he says. “I was scratching my head, figuring out which books I was willing to part with for two years. Which books would I like to have nearby? Which books go into storage? It was a tough decision.”
Alejandro can’t imagine not wanting to read. “I was a reader when I got to Milton. I have four brothers and when they tell my husband what I was like as a little boy, they tell him I was always reading—The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Dracula, Frankenstein—teenage boy books. I’m in school now for a Ph.D. and I find I’m less patient when reading for pleasure. I want to get something out of it. I want to engage more with the work. I want it to relate to my life.”
Alejandro Amezcua ’95 is a Ph.D. candidate in public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. Alejandro is studying public finance and nonprofit management for an advanced career in the philanthropic sector. Previously, he worked for the National Council of Nonprofit Associations as associate director for communications and outreach.
Brad Blank ’78 is one of the few lawyers in the country who is devoted exclusively to the representation of professional football players, including Tedy Bruschi (New England Patriots), Chris Canty (Dallas Cowboys), Tom Nalen (Denver Broncos) and Todd Collins (Washington Redskins). A graduate of Brown University and Columbia University School of Law, Brad has earned national recognition in publications such as Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and USA Today.
More than anything, says John, learning to read well can unlock a lifetime of discovery. “The great thing about Milton is that it helps you see the greater meaning in what you later experience. The foundation gives rich context and informs your thinking. It helps you ask the next question.” Caitlin O’Neil ’89
Tamsen Caruso Brown ’91 studied the biological basis of behavior at the University of Pennsylvania and clinical genetics at Brandeis University. At the Boston University School of Medicine, she managed a study on the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute she saw patients and did research in the high-risk breast and ovarian cancer clinics as well as the children’s Jimmy Fund clinic. Tamsen now stays home with her three children ages seven, five and three.
Annie Elliott ’88 began her career as the first development director at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia and as an occasional guest curator of its Maurice Sendak archive. She then worked at the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution before starting her interior design business, Bossy Color, in 2004. Today she lends her expertise to Social Capital Partnerships, specializing in strategic philanthropy, and ArtTable, a leadership organization for women in the visual arts. She earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in art history at Williams College.
Books and authors mentioned in this article • Politics by Aristotle • Ethics by Aristotle • The Woods by Harlan Coben • The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly • The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon • Handling Sin by Michael Malone • Kennedy’s Brain by Henning Mankell • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin • Paradise Lost by John Milton • Evening by Susan Minot
John Marshall ’86 is serving with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority as part of a two-year fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania and is helping to rebuild New Orleans and surrounding communities. He is a partner in the Tampa office of the law firm Holland & Knight, where he practices in the areas of land use, local government and land-use litigation. He earned a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in government from the University of Texas at Austin, and a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law.
Wendy Nicholson ’86 is a managing director in the investment research department at Citigroup, leading the firm’s coverage of U.S. home and personal-care products companies. She joined the equity research department in April 1998 from the firm’s investment banking division, where she was a vice president. Wendy holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from New York University.
• Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink • We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy by Maurice Sendak • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld • Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History by Ted Sorensen • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck • Dracula by Bram Stoker • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien • Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton • I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Jennifer Perini ’91 is the president of Everyman Pictures based at Universal Studios, where she develops feature films with director Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents and Recount). She was formerly head of creative affairs at director Robert Zemeckis’s Image Movers Pictures at Dreamworks, where she developed the films Beowulf and Monster House. She is a graduate of Harvard University and UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Robert Radtke ’82 is the president of Episcopal Relief and Development. Previously, he served as the senior vice president for programs at the Asia Society and as vice president of the Business Council for the United Nations. He is a frequent contributor to the media on a broad range of issues, including HIV/AIDS in Asia, India-China relations, and U.S.-China relations.
At the University: How does the teaching of reading change? The experience of Milton alumni who are teaching, writing and researching now
Timothy W. Marr ’78 Associate Professor Department of American Studies University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
im Marr’s students in American studies have already been effective readers and competent writers. They’ve chosen a multidisciplinary field that demands reading, thinking and researching on many levels at once. Meticulous reading of certain texts is a baseline. At the same time, Tim teaches his students how to “read” any text to determine how useful it will be in helping them to pursue their chosen inquiries. That “read” includes looking at the table of contents, at the way chapters succeed one another, which key words appear in the index, and how its bibliography might
suggest other promising directions for further reading. Even a single word with its etymological roots and varied history of use offers different ways to read. “Every text has many rich contexts,” says Tim, “including the matrix out of which it was produced: What authors was Herman Melville reading before he wrote Moby-Dick? Who were his readers? How did they receive his work? What critical interpretations has it provoked over time? Why are we reading it now? The meaning of a book changes as it resonates within different contexts of reading. Early books about the American Renaissance, for instance, focus on five writers—
Hawthorne, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau and Melville. Today, the canon has evolved and appropriately includes writers like Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and many others. American studies is interested not only in belles lettres, but also in understanding what is popular and why, and how it produces the diversities of what is American. It appreciates the varied ‘texts’ through which cultural knowledge is expressed, whether they are literary, visual, musical, material or in some other form.”
Students in an interdisciplinary field like American studies need to learn a raft of new research skills. Unlocking the vast amount of resources in university libraries and databases requires that they learn to refine key words and develop effective skills of discovery. “I tell them not to be content with a handful of references,” Tim says, “and that deeper and more information is available if they are hungry enough to devise the means of finding it. “Whatever their powers when they arrive at UNC, I need to bring them to the next level. Their academic exploration has always been prescribed by a teacher’s agenda, so I try to turn that around to ask them what they want to know. When we begin a course (like Birth and Death, or Tobacco in America), I ask them: What do you hope to gain from your investigation into this subject? I set them up in collaborative groups, based on common interests, so they begin right away to teach each other and explore together. Then I complement their choices by teaching what they haven’t chosen to focus upon. When their desires and my interests coincide, that’s terrific. This approach increases everybody’s motivation. “I’ve taught all kinds of learners— university, high school (public and private)—including teaching in California, Pakistan, Australia and Cyprus. Successful readers can actually be somewhat conditioned by the habits of how they learned to read and study. Sometimes education means challenging these patterns by building back open-
ness and flexibility into the search for knowledge. It’s crucial that students mark up a text. We can then read how we have read the book and made it our own. Such an engagement opens doors to reading the allusions and silences that can lead students to original ways of interpreting a text’s significance for themselves. Such discoveries affect the value of a book by grounding it in the students’ experience and making it more natural and exciting for them to relate their findings to others. “Reading (and writing) skills evolve. Alan Proctor (history department) at Milton first taught me how to read literature as history and history as literature. The teacher needs to understand and acknowledge complexity, to help a student open up areas he or she hasn’t thought to think of before. The discipline of reading itself trains students to look more deeply into the changing meanings of any expression as it is read again in different situations.”
Tim has been a professor in the Department of American Studies since 2000, where he has taught seminars in such subjects as Mating and Marriage, Cultural Memory, and Captivity, as well as Tobacco in America. A third-generation teacher, he worked in schools in California, Pakistan, and Australia before completing his doctorate in American studies at Yale University. His courses are designed to stimulate and deepen students’ capacity to analyze the changing processes of cultural formation. He was awarded a Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2006, and served as a Fulbright lecturer in Cyprus in 2007. He is the author of The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism (Cambridge, 2006), and an editor of Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on MobyDick (Kent State, 2006) and the 1787 work called The Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania (Westholme, 2008). He is presently exploring American engagement with the islands of the East Indies populated by Muslims.
Education B.A., American Studies, Williams College A.M., Education, Stanford University Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University Tim’s father, “Lefty” Marr, was an English teacher at Milton for almost 20 years. “He may have taught many of you,” Tim says. “I was not allowed to have him as a teacher in ninth grade.”
Historical Sources Require Creative Energy to Discover Their Inner Secrets On reading Gronniosaw’s Narrative
n his 1774 autobiography, the African prince James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw recalled the first time he saw someone read a book.1 Trapped on a slave ship sailing from Africa’s Gold Coast to Barbados, Gronniosaw saw the slaver’s Dutch captain read passages from the Bible to the ship’s crew every Sabbath. Gronniosaw thought that the book was talking to the captain, and he wished it would talk to him, too. He borrowed the book when 1 James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, A narrative of the most remarkable particulars in the life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African prince, written by himself (Newport, 1774), 16–17. This document is available online through the University of Virginia Library’s Electronic Text Center at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/ modeng/public/GroGron.html.
the captain wasn’t looking, opened it, and put his ear to the page “in great hope that it would say something to me.” But the enslaved African was “greatly disappointed” when the book remained mute. He figured the book, like the world itself, hated him because he was black. As historians of the Atlantic world, we often wish that historical sources like Gronniosaw’s autobiography would just talk to us. Spill the beans. ‘Fess up. This would save us from the task of reading them—not merely skimming the surface of the words, but digging deeply into their meaning. Historians and literary scholars sometimes call this active mode of reading an interrogation, which calls to mind a more violent and antago-
nistic approach than we prefer. But historical sources are frequently enigmatic, and so they require a lot of creative energy to discover their inner secrets and a willingness to accept that however hard we work, some of those secrets will never be revealed to us. Reading, it turns out, is both an active and interactive process. Students sometimes think that historical sources “speak for themselves,” but sadly, they never do. Those long, indented quotations sit sullenly on neat laser-printed pages waiting to be animated by analysis and explanation. In our classes at Georgetown University, we encourage our students (some of them Milton graduates!) to read a historical source on two levels. The first task involves grasping its literal content,
Alethia Jones ’87 Assistant Professor Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy State University of New York, Albany
More riches await at the level of latent content, the buried treasure of a historical source. Here the issues are interpretive, the answers open-ended, speculative and multiple. Grasping latent content involves asking more analytical questions, like “Why would a slave ship captain read the Bible to his crew?” This level demands more contextual knowledge. In the case of Gronniosaw’s autobiography, it’s helpful to know something already about the dynamics of the Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century, the rise of British opposition to the slave trade, and the emergence of an Afro-Atlantic literature. As students learn more about the past, they find the challenge of identifying connections between what they already know and the new historical sources they encounter both exciting and enticing—the more one knows, the more one sees and understands, and the more sophisticated questions one develops. Now we delve into the origins of the source itself—who wrote it, why, and for what audience? What does that tell us about its bias, or to use a more neutral term, its perspective? What other historical sources might we use as a complement or counterpoint to see
the whole picture? So many questions arise as we peel back layer after layer of meaning, and each question sparks a new conversation, a deeper engagement with the past, an invitation to further reading, and the thrill of discovery.
lethia Jones—a specialist in American urban and ethnic politics—always wanted to teach at a public university. She was eager to give back to society, after having received scholarships to Milton, Columbia and Yale. “A Better Chance” scholar, Alethia came to Milton from a Brooklyn public middle school, having lived in the United States only two years at that point.
James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw overcame the despair and hardship of Atlantic slavery to learn to read, and what’s more, to write his own story into the historical record. But as eloquent as it is, his autobiography cannot speak for itself. It needs astute and probing readers to make it heard through the muffle of time. Alison Games ’81 and Adam Rothman ’89
or in other words, what a text actually says. This is what our English teachers at Milton called “close reading,” paying heed to the words on the page. We often start class discussions of primary sources with a question of fact, like “What happened to Gronniosaw on the slave ship?” These questions weed out the students who come to class unprepared, and they lay the groundwork for a more sophisticated discussion among the students who know what they’re talking about. Obscure language and strange themes can turn the literal content of a historical source into an intriguing puzzle.
Alison and Adam teach history at Georgetown University. They recently co-authored Major Problems in Atlantic History (Houghton Mifflin, 2008).
Alethia has taught and researched at MIT, University of Virginia and Yale, while holding numerous fellowships, and also taught at Mt. Holyoke College. Now, teaching upper-level introductory courses in public policy at the University at Albany (UA), she has had reason to refocus on her own learning process at Milton. Many of her students transfer to Albany after their second year in a community college; this is their first year in a four-year institution. “These students want to learn,” Alethia says, “but they have not yet developed the basic critical thinking skills that I have taken for granted since high school. I am learning what it means to teach students who did not attend a ‘college prep’ high school: College is the place where they will learn those skills. “My ‘aha!’ moment about Milton came at graduation when I realized that my brain had expanded. Previously, I had been taught to be a good worker and follower; to comprehend what was asked and perform assigned tasks well and thoroughly. My brain felt larger because I had somehow acquired the ability to question everything in a disciplined way, to ask big questions, to determine what should be done, not just do what I was told. This was the cumulative result of Milton’s educational enterprise in my life. I had no idea how the faculty accomplished it. Now I needed to help my students do the same thing. The Ph.D. is a research degree, not a teaching degree. I
found myself thinking, ‘How did they do that?’—thinking more about pedagogy than ever before.
that employers expect college graduates to possess; it is not an idiosyncratic torture device invented by Professor Jones.
“My focus is helping my students learn to think critically and write effectively, so that they can learn how to meet a new set of high expectations. I use a Portfolio system, which allows them to practice their writing skills without fear of grades. At the end of the term, they have a dozen pieces of writing, mostly one-page essays and summaries based on the readings. Writing summaries reinforces a fundamental skill: comprehending an author’s key arguments and recounting them succinctly. To write, they have to read closely. They must understand and take seriously the authors’ concepts, and rework—for the purposes of the paper—what the author has said. They’re welcome to give their own opinions only in conversation with what the authors have said in the text. This represents a hefty set of challenges for students with divergent skills, and without exposure to processing of this sort. They’re very eager to give their opinions; but those opinions aren’t very meaningful when they’re not connected to the text, or to reading.
“I try to guide them to discern the main argument, and to identify the critical evidence, because authors are certainly not trying to keep that a secret. Their anxiety, though, is that they don’t know what to read for. This point helps to explain why I use the Portfolio. It is also part of the right/wrong orientation. Instead of engaging with the readings and trusting that they understand what the author is saying, some students always wonder whether they are getting what the professor wants them to get from the reading. I want them to get what the author is trying to convey. A strange circular thing occurs: They look to me to tell them the answer and I look to them to tell me what they learned from the reading.
“In academic writing, the arguments and concepts of others must be engaged and applied in a meaningful way. Replicating in class the arguments they have with friends is not sufficient. Instead, they must enter into a conversation with authors they have read. One’s self-expression is disciplined by situating it within arguments and evidence presented by scholars. “One of the most insidious of cultural expectations is also possibly the greatest barrier to their making progress. That is, they are wired to find out the ‘right’ answer. The related corollary is ‘What does that professor want?’ I explain that the reason for the expectations of them is to assist them in navigating the world. The analytical essay format builds skills 26
“Teaching requires finding and inventing techniques that allow students to build new skills while reducing their anxiety. Each year I learn something new. I developed the Portfolio when I realized students needed a way to practice new writing skills and deepen their engagement with the reading. My teaching assistant and I ultimately decided to identify the key words from the reading for students at the start of each lecture. While I hesitated to do anything that might strengthen that right/wrong dynamic, that move lessened students’ anxiety,
and at the same time provided a point of departure for productive discussions that clarified meanings and vetted contradictions. Next time, I’ll incorporate the key words into the syllabus, to anchor and direct their reading. “The choice of readings is one of those meaningful things. I try to find case studies where the content (and therefore the knowledge they both bring and take from it) is consequential—where the policy choices are important. That helps everyone get engaged. For example, so many [of my students] are from Long Island, I assign segments of Robert Caro’s book The Power Broker, about the politics surrounding the creation of the Triborough Bridge, the Long Island Expressway, and many of the bridges, tunnels and parks that shape the New York metro area. I also assign excerpts of The 9/11 Commission Report and ask them to analyze the day’s events in light of classics such as Weber’s definition of the modern bureaucracy as a rational, hierarchical order run by experts. “Am I enjoying this role? I’m grateful. I’ve become a better teacher. Learning rests less in what I ‘cover’ and more in what they retain, in what sticks. I try not to give them answers. Instead, I seek to place dilemmas and contradictions before them and ask them to reason through and create informed assessments.”
“Instead of engaging with the readings and trusting that they understand what the author is saying, some students always wonder whether they are getting what the professor wants them to get from the reading. I want them to get what the author is trying to convey.”
Lisa Friedman Miller ’84 Associate Professor Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology Teachers College of Columbia University
Alethia earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science at Yale University (2005). Her primary teaching and research interests are in the fields of American politics, particularly urban and ethnic politics, the politics of the policymaking process and American political development. She studies how public policy integrates immigrant communities into U.S. society. Her book manuscript, From Liability to Asset: Immigrant Social Networks and the Politics of Community Banking, 1900–2000, identifies how new laws relied on social networks of Jewish, Eastern European and Haitian immigrants to build linkages between socially marginal immigrants and government-regulated banking institutions, such as credit unions, neighborhood banks, Fannie Mae mortgage financing. She has received research fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Virginia, and the Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics at Yale University. She served as senior research associate for the Community Renaissance Fellows Program, a HUDfunded comprehensive community development program headquartered at Yale University.
t Teachers College, Lisa Friedman Miller is a clinical psychologist and clinical scientist who works with graduate students early in their careers as research investigators. “My students are good readers,” Lisa says. “The work related to reading and thinking that I do with them is in supporting them as knowledge makers. Graduate students are people coming into a field to offer the field their unique perspectives. They need to have a solid belief in their own voices. How they see the world is crucial. An insight, or ‘deep hunch’ of theirs, will become a seed of an idea, then the driving force of a theory. “I can remember as a 15-year-old, opening a novel, reading it line by line, and then having David Smith look me directly in the eye and say, ‘What do you think? Does this happen in your life?’ With his question came the clearest message to us that what we thought about those lines was true, real and important. “This process—reading carefully, thinking, sharing—opened us up to an awareness of self. I still appreciate the frankness around the Harkness table. The notion was that finding the truth was honorable. Anything was within bounds as long as it served to uncover the truth. Then, through reading, we became writers. We had the sense that we were poised to become creators of knowledge—our knowledge, our discovery that was fostered in reading. “Today, I’m an investigative scientist, a career psychologist, a graduate professor, and president of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychology of Religion. In my early days, however, my thesis about the relationship between spirituality and depression was controversial. People would walk out of my first lectures (in the early- to mid’90s). While some people welcomed my ideas, others disagreed. I was squarely rooted because of my Milton training. It was a ‘Dare to be true’ time for me,
“I can remember as a 15-year-old, opening a novel, reading it line by line, and then having David Smith look me directly in the eye and say, ‘What do you think? Does this happen in your life?’ With his question came the clearest message to us that what we thought about those lines was true, real and important.” among people 20 or 30 years my senior. I trusted myself. You are a knower. You read what you read on your own terms.” Lisa’s experience as a therapist, along with supporting quantitative research, has affirmed her point of view about the value of interpersonal therapy that focuses on the spiritual. She defines spiritual as “concerns ranging from one’s personal morality to a sense of universal truths and a connection with a higher being.” “The psychological experience of depression is a symptom of a deeper, transformative journey,” Lisa says. “Depression is an index, or a by-product of a process that is going toward something better. It is an ego death, a loss of what we were. The therapist’s role is often to help an individual have the capacity to be present
Régine Jean-Charles Asare ’96 Assistant Professor Romance Languages & Literatures Department and African and African Diaspora Studies Boston College
An interview written about Lisa’s appearance as part of a documentary series on the cable channel A&E notes that “psychological studies have shown that children and adults who identify personal spirituality as an important part of their lives are less likely to be depressed, abuse substances or become dependent on them.” Lisa has conducted a decade’s worth of interviews with children of all faiths. “We have studies on children and adults,” Lisa says in the interview, “identifying personal spirituality as a resilience factor against some of the most serious forms of psychopathology. Quantitative research has looked at the incidence of depression, severity of depression, and duration of depression and found it to be inversely proportional with the extent to which a child feels a direct personal connection to a loving, intentional absolute, whether you call it God, or the creator or the universe.” Lisa says that her graduate students today, young people in their 20s, are predisposed to think about the world in a far different way than her colleagues were when she began her research. “My cohort looked at the world from an egobased point of view, looked at the isolation of the individual, at separateness, where control was the goal. We seem to be outgrowing that culture. Many of my students see the world as fundamentally united; it is a universe with which we’re in dialogue, not in control.” Lisa contends that participating in the life of the English classroom at Milton connects in vital ways to her life’s work. “It was exactly the developmental experience I needed at the time. I needed to learn to hold the line and believe in my ideas. It was the process of listening, authorizing your inner voice and validating it as true.” 28
for the possibility that something new is developing—something more than might have additively been predicted.”
Lisa’s clinical training was in cognitive, interpersonal and short-term approaches to therapy. Her research and scholarly interests are in prevention and treatment interventions for children and adolescents at high risk, support for the psychologial growth of mothers, increased access to treatment among low SES populations, school transformation, brief structured psychotherapy, intergenerational transmission of risk and resilience factors, and the development of religiosity and spirituality in children and adolescents. She recently received a W.T. Grant Faculty Scholars Award to study religiosity in adolescents and an NIMH grant to develop psychological treatment (interpersonal therapy) of depression for pregnant adolescents. Her current emphasis is on spiritual development in children, adolescents and mothers, and its implications for coping and thriving. B.A., Yale University Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Pennsylvania http://www.tc.columbia.edu/faculty
rofessor Régine Jean-Charles teaches in two departments. As a member of the Romance Languages & Literatures department, she teaches in French, for the most part, and specializes in Francophone Caribbean and African literature. As a professor in African and African Diaspora Studies, her focus is African and Caribbean literature and gender studies. Her 2008–2009 course in that program is Narratives of Violence in Africa and the Diaspora. The scope of her work means that Régine connects with two different types of students—students with different orientations and academic backgrounds. “Students in the African diaspora studies program are pretty self-selected,” Régine says. “Many are activists; some have already visited countries in Africa; many have taken history but not literature courses, and aren’t used to literary analysis.” Her students in French literature come from an analytic tradition. Students in both groups encounter worlds and challenges completely new to them as they engage with Régine and the material she brings to the table. “In the Narratives course, we use poems, films, fiction and non-fiction to explore issues such as slavery, genocide, structural poverty, dictatorship and sexual violence, Régine explains. “I ask them to look at how violence is represented in each. Since they are ‘readers’ of the world, and since all around them they see violence represented in many media, they can connect well with the material. I first taught this course at the University of Virginia during the semester of the Virginia Tech massacre. That trauma— the notion of violence arbitrarily invading a space they had thought privileged—generated a compelling experiential base for dialogue about what they were reading. “By virtue of Milton and my training as a literary scholar, my approach is to stay close to the text. This is also something I first learned to do at Milton. I ask them
“[The students are] natural cultural critics and historians, and they add analysis of literature to their skills. We read Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit. It’s a collection of five short stories. The protagonist in each story is a child, caught innocently in a world that involves human trafficking or child soldiers or AIDS or genocide or extreme poverty. These stories are meaningful to students, both as evocative literary expressions and as connections between them and things happening in the world. They learn, as Edwidge Danticat illustrates so well in The Dew Breaker, that the experience of violence follows you forever; you never lose how it has affected you. “My French students are trained in analysis, of course, but they are not used to thinking about literature of Francophone Africa and the Caribbean and other countries in the diaspora as a tradition. They’re interested to learn about the negritude movement of the 1930s and
1940s in Paris, for instance, inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. Black writers asserted their cultural identity by joining together through the French language. The history of colonialism figures into this literary tradition as well, of course. These are students of French literature, however, who are used to the importance of history to writing. It’s interesting to show them the way authors in this tradition try to ‘undo’ the French—how they play with the language. Sometimes they use the indigenous words, with or without quotation marks or italicizing, with different implications. Some rely on footnotes. These are layered texts, and of course the best literature explodes the binary opposition that many readers seek. “My two defining reading experiences at Milton pay homage to the importance of the text. One was my senior English class with J.C. Smith, for which we read Beloved, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and One Hundred Years of Solitude. The other was reading The Aeneid, line by line, with Sarah Wehle—getting to a point of understanding what both pieces meant, and loving it.”
to pay attention to the way words are put together. My students are welcome to comment broadly on their opinions, but I always ask where they see that in the text. I use a number of techniques to help them. We read aloud, for instance. We do small-group work. I ask them pointed questions about the text, and they write weekly response papers. The fiction is dense, challenging, contemporary and, at some level, hopeful, despite the fact that it deals with violence.
Régine specializes in Francophone Caribbean and African literature as well as gender studies in Africa and the diaspora. Her current manuscript is on the role and the representation of gender violence in Francophone literature. During the 2008– 2009 academic year, Régine is offering a course that explores multiple genres, regions, and themes of Francophone Caribbean and African literature as well as a course on Francophone women writers in the department of Romance languages and literatures. For African and African diaspora studies, she is teaching Narratives of Violence in Africa and the Diaspora, and Beyond Barack and Hillary: Black Feminism in Politics, Theory and Literature. B.A., University of Pennsylvania A.M., Ph.D., Harvard University Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Virginia
“In the Narratives course, we use poems, films, fiction and nonfiction to explore issues such as slavery, genocide, structural poverty, dictatorship and sexual violence. I ask them to look at how violence is represented in each. Since they are ‘readers’ of the world, and since all around them they see violence represented in many media, they can connect well with the material.” Milton Magazine
ast summer the students gave the Milton community—faculty, staff, administrators and fellow students—a reading assignment: Tracy Kidder’s book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, chronicles the life and work of Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious disease specialist whose vision and hard work over more than 20 years have institutionalized successful systems to treat patients living with tuberculosis and AIDS in Haiti, Peru, Siberia and now Rwanda. As we opened School, mixed groups of 10 to 12, students and adults, gathered to discuss the book and Dr. Farmer’s work. The community reading project was the brainchild of Sabrina Lee and Henry Litman, co-head monitors of the Class of 2008. Then-rising head monitors, Sarah Diamond and Sam Rosen (Class of 2009), gave the idea its first run. For Sarah and Sam, the book and the project, and reading in general, have been important Milton experiences.
What made you choose Mountains Beyond Mountains, and why did you feel this project was important? Sarah Diamond: This book seemed like a bridge to make connections, and for everyone to become more knowledgeable about one issue. Community service isn’t mandatory at Milton, so showing how other groups live, what’s going on in the world, and how problems we don’t hear about every day are being dealt with was important. Chris Sperandio [Class I] recommended Mountains Beyond Mountains. It’s a beautiful book, and it resonated with a lot of people, including me.
Sam Rosen and Sarah Diamond, Class of 2009 co-head monitors
Sam Rosen: We felt pressure to choose a novel, but we didn’t want the discussions to feel like the rest of our classes. We wanted a book that took us out of Milton, into the larger world. The non-fiction aspect was important to us, for setting the tone of a greater sense of perspective and responsibility. SD: Novels can provide great insight into all sorts of things, but nearly everyone has at least one novel on his or her summer reading list. We didn’t want this to be just another book on the list—we wanted it to be an experience, a tool for life learning. What did each of you gain from reading the book? SD: Sometimes I struggle with a somewhat far-reaching idealism. I have a desire to solve big problems, and this book gives an example of a human being who is doing what he can, who has fully dedicated himself. He is a wonderful model and provided me and others with a sense of direction.
SR: Reading the book was empowering. Paul Farmer is a highly educated, brilliant doctor, but that’s not what makes him Paul Farmer. His drive, sacrifice and passion make him distinctive. It’s easy to get discouraged about what you think you can accomplish and what’s standing in your way. Doing things in SGA [SelfGoverning Association] gives us firsthand knowledge of how frustrating trying to make a difference can be. That feeling is amplified in the real world when the problems and the obstacles are bigger. To read a thorough study of someone who is tackling larger problems and bigger obstacles than any of us, and to see his success, is inspirational. What topics were raised in your groups’ discussions? SD: Many students were struggling with the question, “How can I be expected to—or be capable of—making as much of a difference as Paul Farmer has?” His sacrifice is immense. The question that kept rising was, “Can a person do less than that, and still make a significant impact?” SR: People have conflicting views on philanthropy. There were students from many different countries in my group, and culturally there seem to be diverging opinions on one’s responsibility to the rest of humanity. Some students come from cultures where you only take care of yourself; your only responsibility is to your family. Other students thought that focus was inexcusable and selfish. That was the biggest point of discussion. Not that we should all be held to the same standards as Paul, but whether that level of philanthropy was necessary. This same topic came up in my Senior Transitions class the other day, in this same context. I thought it was cool that the discussion carried over, four months later.
Students Assigned the Book. We Read It Together. A Community Reading Project 30
Can you point to any particular reading skills or any shifts in preference that have emerged in your time at Milton?
If someone were to read only one book in his or her life, what would you recommend?
SR: One of the best things Milton does for Class IV students is to assign East of Eden over the summer. It’s incredibly long, but slowly you start to get it, then something clicks and you think, “It’s Cain and Abel!” and you’re so proud of yourself. After reading—and feeling like I understood—that book, I felt like a worldbeater. That book made me trust in my ability to read sophisticated material.
SD: A must-read in your life is Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. My dad told me I had to read it in order to be a real person. Everyone should read that book—it covers everything in the world, and it’s really funny.
SD: I read a lot before I came to Milton, but I read very quickly and missed a lot. I never felt compelled to understand anything beyond the immediate plot, or whatever was necessary to get me to the next page. I’ve had some great teachers here who have made me think about the words the author chose, and why he or she chose them. I’ve learned the importance of style and tone—things I would have overlooked before.
SR: For me, that book is The Catcher in the Rye [by J.D. Salinger]. It’s powerful not only in terms of the bigger picture, but also in terms of the writing. It’s the best first-person writing I’ve ever read. Erin E. Hoodlet Dr. Paul Farmer speaks at the 2001 Milton graduation.
What are you reading now? SD: A few summers ago I read Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, and that turned me on to younger Indian writers, in particular Amitav Ghosh—who wrote The Glass Palace, which is spectacularly written—and Kiran Desai. Indian authors, to a certain extent, all touch upon the effects of imperialism, because they’re still dealing with them, but these authors get at the broader idea of oppression, which any individual, in any culture, can relate to. SR: I like short stories, and Mr. [Jim] Connolly recently gave me [Our Story Begins:] New and Selected Stories by Tobias Wolff. Sometimes in short stories the message is too apparent—you know what you’re supposed to get out of it, even in well-written pieces. Wolff just tells the story, and the meaning sneaks up on you. I’m also reading Democracy Matters by Cornell West. We watched one of his lectures in my African-American History class, and I find him to be really interesting. Whether you agree or disagree with him is beside the point. He can be controversial and outspoken, but I think he has fresh perspectives on topics we read a lot about. Milton Magazine
Favorites from the Class of 2009 If you had to recommend one piece of writing to someone, what would it be, and why?
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
“Dejection: An Ode” a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
[This book is both] a novel and a survey of Western philosophy… It [has] a fascinating plot that will mess with your head, and the lessons about philosophy are remarkably thorough and interesting. The book is translated from Norwegian, so the writing is very simple, but clear. If it were the only book you ever read, you would certainly have a lifetime of things to think about and consider, and you’d never look at your reality the same way again. Plus, it’s easy to stretch out reading it over a long period of time, so that, like [the character] Sophie, you have time between lessons to… apply philosophy to your own life.
This poem best encapsulates the depression and hopelessness of an artist who thinks his best work is behind him. Yet, ironically, the poem is beautifully written and clever; it almost seems to trick you. While reading it, you realize the poem, penned by a poet who is mourning what he believes is the death of his ability and his passion, is a wonderful piece of art that makes a perceptive statement about art itself. I love this poem because it provoked some of the most memorable in-class discussions in my [Class II] English class.
This tale of growing up and maturing struck me because of its similarity to what I—and probably anybody else—have gone through. We have all grown up through some personal experience that taught us there is more to life than just our selfish desires, and that life disintegrates… into wasted fragments if we do not learn how to balance pleasure with industrious labor or something else that challenges us.
Abby Bok Boston, Massachusetts
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart In a time when the consequences of the Industrial Revolution are destroying our planet, Cradle to Cradle calls for a new design standard. Calling upon the systems at work in nature, McDonough promotes the employment of nutrient cycling and the abundance of energy in nature. With these guiding principles, McDonough shows that commerce need not be reflected upon as a destructive system, but one that reaps ecologically regenerative, socially empowering, and economically remunerative rewards. The book is a testament to his brilliance: It is completely waterproof and yet entirely “up-cyclable”—it can be made into a whole new book and is “nutritious” in the technological cycle of materials. Chris Sperandio Scituate, Massachusetts Wolcott House
Chloe Cole Milton, Massachusetts
Sphere by Michael Crichton Sphere is an absolute masterpiece of suspense, always keeping the reader off balance—even when they think they know what will happen next. In addition to its engaging plot, Sphere covers a number of complex scientific ideas in a way that is easy to understand. A blend of science and adventure, this is a book that gets better every time I read it. Matt Daniel Randolph, Massachusetts
Daniel Kim Brentwood, Tennessee Norris House
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer This book details the journey of a child who lost his father during the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. [This book] made 9/11—the biggest event in the history of my lifetime—real for me. I knew of the events, but I never felt their impact until I read this book. It’s a touching novel that we are all able to relate to.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Magus by John Fowles [This] is the only mystery book I have ever read that kept me intensely involved for several hundred pages. The book takes everything you think you know about your mind, and twists all the ugliness into art and all the beauty into atrocity. It is confusing and ambiguous and tortuous, but I found it impossible to put down. Noah Berman Newton, Massachusetts
Niyati Desai Clifton, New Jersey Hathaway House
My answer hasn’t changed from the one I gave when applying to Milton. This was the book that showed me the most honesty, which changed the way I saw everything. It [is] the ultimate truth-seeker-spark. Jake Jolis Simrishamn, Sweden Forbes House
“Borges y yo” a short story by Jorge Luis Borges I first read this short work my [Class III] year in Spanish 4AP. My teacher had chosen several works that we could discuss in terms of reality. These initial conversations about reality and our ventures into the realm of the unknown marked the beginning of my interest in the study of reality in literature. I am taking Literature and the Nature of Reality now, in which I have reread “Borges y yo” in English; I found, however, that the English version had lost some of the power of the original. I encourage everyone to read this work, and if possible, to read it in Spanish, because its content is both challenging and compelling. Serena Piol New York, New York Hallowell House
“Bumping into Mr. Ravioli” an essay by Adam Gopnik I read this essay for my English class this year, Nature of Reality, and I found it poignant, energetic and absolutely hilarious. It explores the relationship between the author’s daughter and her imaginary friend, Mr. Ravioli, who is often too busy to spend time with her. Moving into a societal view, the essay discusses the evolution of New York City busyness. I was so moved by the piece that I went home and bought two of Gopnik’s books of essays. It is by far the best read I’ve discovered in a long time.
Our recommenders (clockwise from left): Daniel Kim, Noah Berman, Niyati Desai, Abby Bok, Chloe Cole, Serena Piol, Matt Daniel, Samara Oster. Missing from photo: Jake Jolis, Chris Sperandio.
Samara Oster Brookline, Massachusetts
The K–5 Summer Reading Program
ilton’s K–5 summer reading program is a 30-year tradition. It is a comprehensive curriculum builder that teachers, parents and students consistently point to as unique, exciting and distinctly “Milton.” While many schools assign the same summer reading book to its young students several years in a row, a point of pride for Milton’s program is that the teachers have never assigned the same book. The list dating back to 1979 includes fictional classics such as Where the Red Fern Grows and The Velveteen Rabbit; culturally diverse nonfiction like Owen & Mzee and The Boy Who Drew Birds; biographies of inventor Margaret E. Knight and baseball great Jackie Robinson; and newly published favorites that the teachers choose, these days, with the help of librarian Joan Eisenberg.
“The program has many highlights, for the teachers and the students,” Joan says. “It forces our teachers to read many new books relevant to their grade level, which keeps their thinking fresh and in tune with what students are reading outside of class.” Joan helps out by prereading nearly every book that makes its way
to the Perry Reading Room and making recommendations to the teachers; the teachers ultimately choose their book based on richness of subject matter and relevance. Because they will build a three- to sixweek unit based around the book’s theme, the topic must lend itself to a multidisciplinary classroom approach. Lessons in social studies,
literature, vocabulary, math, science, art, music, technology and even woodworking are built around the book’s theme. “This development of a fresh curriculum each year,” Joan says, “renews a sense of creativity, collaboration and adventure in our teachers, which revitalizes them, and that enthusiasm carries over to
our students.” At the end of the school year, the K–5 teachers meet to share the book they’ve chosen and discuss the projects they plan to build around its theme. Colleagues offer countless ideas, resources and connections. This year, the third graders— who often read non-fiction as their summer reading assignment—read Planting the Trees of Kenya, a book about Wangari Maathai, who started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004). Based on this, the students studied the people, geography, resources and culture of Kenya; they planted trees and learned about the important role trees play in our world’s ecosystem; they listened to and learned about African music; and local author Claire Nivola visited the students to talk about writing the book and why it was important to her.
When choosing a book, teachers also consider the developmental stages of their students and anticipate what they will be going through socially and emotionally in the coming year. For example, since Grade 4 is a main entry point for students new to Milton, teachers understand that helping the new students transition requires some extra attention. This summer’s fourth-grade reading book was The Puzzling World of Winston Breen. Students begin reading chapter books in Grade 4, and this one—which emphasizes teamwork—has puzzles throughout. By working together to solve these puzzles, students get to know each other and become comfortable working with new friends. In addition to the reading assignment, students are assigned summer projects related to their book. The second-grade class read the book Marvelous Mattie this summer, which is about the woman who invented the folding paper
bag that stands on its bottom. Second graders were appointed the task of creating their own inventions to share with classmates once they returned to school. This year, creative second graders developed an automatic dog food dispenser, a collapsible fishing rod, and an animal-friendly raccoon trap. Occasionally, units developed from the summer reading book become mainstays in the curriculum for years. The Grade 3 unit on Lewis and Clark— developed in 2003 when the students read Lewis and Clark and Me—has become a favorite among several generations of Milton third graders. The culmination of the summer reading project happens several weeks into the school year when students in grades K–5 gather to share what they’ve read and the work they’ve been doing in class. “The richness of the program becomes apparent here,” says Joan, “when the students share what they’ve learned about, seen, created and experienced, all fro from the study of one book. “The program has a real cachet aroun around it. The students go off at the end of the year carrying their books under their arms like a prize. It’s a visible sign of how effectively we’re encouraging reading in our young stude students.” EEH
Growing Up Male; Growing Up Female In Seventh Grade, a Chance to Read and Talk Separately Single-sex English classes, a 30-year tradition at Grade 7
evelopmentally, seventh graders are migrating from being children to being adolescents. Academically, they’re shifting from handling concrete material to managing more abstract ideas. The theme of the seventh-grade year is “growing up.” In Debbie Simon’s and Todd Goodman’s seventh-grade English classrooms, the girls and boys discuss the theme separately. Seventh-grade English is the only class in Milton’s K–12 program separated by gender, a tradition that has been in place for more than 30 years. “The advantage of the single-sex classroom,” says Todd “is that we’re able to focus specifically on growing up male, or growing up female. The subject matter and discussions I have with the boys are different from what Debbie is discussing with the girls. It’s easier for [the students] to take risks when they’re surrounded by peers of the same gender.” Debbie adds, “There’s a camaraderie and excitement and respect that’s different here than in other classes.” The reading assignments involve characters and subject matter that is more interesting and accessible to either the boys or girls. For example, on the boys’ firstsemester reading list is Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies; on the girls’, The Diary of Anne Frank and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Toward the end of the first semester, both groups read To Kill a Mockingbird. “With Animal Farm, the boys start out with material that’s fantastical,” Todd says. “With Lord of the Flies, the students relate on a much more realistic level. Once we move to To Kill a Mockingbird,
we’re getting into the larger, societal perspectives of civil rights and challenging formal authority.” The topics of discussion in Todd’s classroom are often peer pressure; bystander mentality; being an individual versus being part of a group. “Reading Lord of the Flies, we take a close look at formal versus informal authority and how those dynamics develop. We start with the literature and then branch out to how those same structures apply in society, and how they apply to the individual.”
“Reading Lord of the Flies, we take a close look at formal versus informal authority and how those dynamics develop. We start with the literature and then branch out to how those same structures apply in society, and how they apply to the individual.” Todd Goodman
Two doors down, Debbie’s classroom walls are adorned with proof of the girls’ literary work, one wall decorated entirely by a giant construction-paper tree whose branches and leaves represent textual evidence the students have garnered from their reading. “In seventh grade the students are learning about more abstract concepts; in order to be successful with those ideas, they have to start with the text. I teach them that in reading for learning, you have to rely on the words—the words are their heart. This year [the students] begin learning about inference. Not everything that they’re looking for is stated explicitly. They learn how to recognize foreshadowing, irony, character development.” Posted on Debbie’s other three walls are colorful interpretations of 10 core tenets of growing up—things the girls will discover, experience and reflect on within the year: taking on responsibility, gaining self-confidence, changing from life experiences, cherishing family and friends, valuing education, admitting mistakes, conquering fears, controlling feelings, looking at life from a different point of view, and receiving or using advice from adults or peers. As the girls read each of their books, they combine the importance of “using the text” and these tenets, recognizing that their characters are experiencing these same things and growing up as well. To make this recognition tangible for the girls, Debbie relies on brightly colored highlighting markers. Each tenet is assigned a color, and anywhere in their books the students find textual evidence
of the character going through this experience, they mark it directly on the page in pink, purple, orange, green. Each page becomes a veritable rainbow, with far fewer words untouched than brightly marked. “We ‘keep our women alive’ through the semester,” Debbie explains, “so we’re often comparing and contrasting [the characters] Anne, Francie and Scout. Our class discussions are all about the evidence; I ask the girls, ‘What in the text can you use to defend what you’re saying?’”
lary and public speaking; to complete joint projects; and to compete in the favorite English Olympics—a festive culmination of the year’s work. However, the students cherish and gain much by an experience they embrace and remember as “just theirs.” When the two groups rejoin in the eighth grade, they possess matured reading skills, a heightened sense of self, and a more respectful view of one another. EEH
While students spend the majority of class time in their single-gender classrooms, the groups do come together throughout the year for grammar, vocabuMilton Magazine
Remarks at Celebrate 2008: A Time for Milton Saturday, November 8, 2008
makes a profound difference in the lives of its students, and for the next seven and a half months I intend to help build the foundation of its future. I look forward to working with Todd Bland, who will take the reins in July as Milton’s next head of school, to ensure a smooth transition and to allow him to maintain the momentum that we have begun.
Marking Milton’s successes of the last decade, and building on the Milton tradition: the dedication of Millet House; groundbreaking for Pritzker Science Center
owe most of what I know about teaching to the students and colleagues that I’ve worked with at Milton. After nearly 26 years here, the last 16 months as Milton’s interim head of school, I have witnessed the powerful feelings that Milton engenders in its students and parents, our alumni young and old, our faculty and staff, and our trustees.
In the nearly 26 years that I have committed myself to Milton Academy’s unique culture of learning and living, my belief in both our mission and our ability to realize that mission has only grown. Your presence here today, your confidence and your willingness to work for Milton’s future, is testimony to the strength of that mission and the importance of guaranteeing that unique Milton experience for generations to come.
I know from graduates—including my own daughter Aidan, from the Class of 2006—how Milton made a real difference in their lives—helped them to see a bigger world, and to take an active role in that world. By the numbers (our endowment, that is), Milton runs well behind other schools, but in every other way, we run even with or ahead of them. Milton is NOT like other schools: Here, you see a level of activism, creativity and commitment that you don’t see anywhere else. Milton is, as one teacher put it, a culture of “doers.” Our teachers foster that culture of “doing,” from Kindergarten all the way to Class I, and our students carry that culture into the world beyond Milton and take up their own roles in the world’s work. Milton is a great school, a place where I am reminded every day of why I was drawn to teaching: to engage students in becoming critical thinkers
and problem solvers, as well as confident individuals and good citizens—people who “Dare to be true.” Milton is a challenging place, but it’s also a supportive, very warm place—a school that attracts a wide array of students and opens doors of all sorts to them; a school where people can laugh with one another; a school that puts as much value on the quality of human interaction as on achievement, on how we live as on who came in first. I know this well from my own experience as a parent and a teacher. Many years ago, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I looked for a place that would allow me to do just that. This is such a place. Milton
Milton has a bright future. The work of so many, including those of you here with us tonight, has set the foundation for that future. So together, let’s use 2008 as a point of closure, celebration, and a new beginning, one that will be every bit as bright and full of promise as Milton’s long past has been. Thank you. Rick Hardy Interim Head of School
C E L E B R AT E
A Big Day for the Orange and Blue
day of heartfelt tributes, auspicious beginnings and many, many thank-yous: On Saturday, November 8, at Celebrate 2008, the community raised a collective cheer for Milton Academy. We dedicated Millet House, broke ground for the Pritzker Science Center, shared a tailgate lunch in between Milton-Nobles games, and finally, at dinner, thanked generous donors who contributed more than $85 million to Milton over the past five years. Everyone was invited—faculty, students, alumni and parents—to be part of the numerous happy events. Images from the day track the different recognitions of Milton’s learning and living environment, as well as the individuals who helped Milton achieve these notable successes— including Mr. Frank Millet and J.B. Pritzker ’82.
1. The ACC was transformed for the evening’s leadership recognition dinner 2. Old friends gather on the green 3. A pep talk for the starting line 4. Flanked by Millet House girls, Frank D. Millet offers poignant— and entertaining—words of thanks 5. Viewing the model of the Pritzker Science Center in Straus Library 6. J.B. Pritzker ’82, lead donor for Milton’s new science building
1. Trustee F. Warren McFarlan ’55 and Mary Sykes
6. The quad flanked by Millet and Norris houses
2. Trustee Carol Smith Miller was master of ceremony for the evening’s recognition dinner
7. Allanah Wynn ’09 tends goal against Nobles in her last soccer game as a Mustang
3. Students, faculty, parents and alumni encircle the site of the Pritzker Science Center
8. Former Head of School Robin Robertson, M.K. Pritzker and J.B. Pritzker ’82
4. Trustee emeritus James Fitzgibbons ’52 5. Trustee Julie Bennett ’79 heralds the importance of science learning
1. Geordie Dunnington, house parent in Millet, and his son, Sam 2. A chance to reconnect 3. Todd Hynes ’98, his guest Beth Duffy and faculty member Bryan Cheney
6. Kellner in autumn 7. Milton ultimately savored the victory 8. David Jenkins ’49 and Morgan Palmer ’51 9. Joseph Reynolds ’11 in the spirit
4. Kasey Caine and Carolyn Lee— both Class of 2011 5. Science Department Chair Michael Edgar, Julie Bennett ’79, Interim Head of School Rick Hardy, J.B. Pritzker ’82 and President of the Board Fritz Hobbs ’65 break ground for the Pritzker Science Center
1. Trustee Jack Reardon ’56 2. Trustee Fred Sykes ’65 3. Grads and trustees enjoy breakfast in the Norris House dining room preceding the day’s festivities
7. Trustee Bob Cunha ’83 and Kathy Cunha
8. Diana Perry ’11 of Millet House and Mr. Millet’s squash mentee Yuleissy Ramirez ’11
4. Maura Doherty P’19 ’20 5. Three cheers for the Orange and Blue! 6. Sasha Frissora ’09, Millet House monitor
At the End of Your High School Career Class II Leadership Weekend Message, 2008
or most of my 60-plus years on the planet, I have been either a student or a teacher. Thus, I have had some time to consider what I think of as the meaning of education, three aspects of which I would suggest to you today: 1) what a good education should do for us; 2) how long an education goes on; and 3) what we should do with that education. I think a good education should make one feel significant and, at the same time, insignificant. It should unlock mysteries of science, history and math, literature and language, and empower the student to use that knowledge to accomplish big things. Once we learn the language of a discipline, we find that what was recondite is now accessible, what was strange is now relevant to us. I remember a particularly threatening-looking bookcase in my parents’ home that I stared at as a child; it contained no less powerful demons than a group of 19th-century novels, huge and obscure. When I would timidly open one, I found not only that it had no pictures, but also that its sentences were impossibly long and involved and contained few words I understood. Then, these things were foreign and monstrous. I have since learned otherwise. Those of you who know me know that I love 19th-century
novels, that my education has enabled me—through historical context and sentence analysis and a bit of vocabulary— to translate these books, teach some of them, and see how pertinent they are to the human condition. At the same time I feel small—insignificant—next to the prodigious humanity of Dickens, the social perception of George Eliot, the spiritual imagination of Melville. Significant, insignificant. Last year one of my Class III students wrote a memoir that has remained in my mind because of this very paradox: the great world out there is about me; the world out there is not about me. I had assigned the memoir such that it had to contain relevant flashbacks. The two flashbacks this student recounted seem unrelated, but they aren’t. The first was to a time at arts camp when she was expected to sing a solo in front of a large audience—“all those staring eyes,” she said—and she was terrified. However, she got onstage and found her voice; her skill kicked in and she did a perfect job mastering the song and connecting with the audience. Applause convinced her that she was significant and masterful. The second flashback was to a night in Arizona in the desert when she and her family got out of the car and looked at the stars. Uninterrupted by buildings
or vegetation, the sky went on forever, showing her innumerable stars whose light, her education taught her, had left them so many years ago. Where was the end to all this and who, after all, was she? Insignificant. Think of the powers your education has given you, and how much you have left to learn. How long does education go on? All your life. Education that is worth anything is education for life; courses taken, books read, curiosities satisfied—these will always be. I had a friend who was a children’s book author, and after she had published over 80 books, she continued her rich life of the mind. When she was about 85, she said to me, “I am not afraid to die, Carlotta, but I have so much left to read.” That winter she reread the major novels of Dickens, and the next summer she discussed with me the latest novel by Barbara Kingsolver. My friend lived to be 100, reading almost to the end, when her eyes gave out, and books on tape and friends reading to her took over. I was in my 40s when I returned to graduate school, and I thought I would be one of the oldest in the program. Far from it. As you have gathered, you will become more in charge of your education, of what you study, and to some extent the pace at which you study, but education
continues. Joseph Campbell used to pass out a formidable reading list to his Sarah Lawrence students, and once a young woman came steaming into his office saying that she could not possibly read all these books in a semester! “Of course not,” Campbell replied, “you have your whole life for that.” The things that matter to you will be worth spending a lifetime on.
“Too often, talented, well-educated young people are lured into occupations that use them and their education for ends these young people did not ultimately intend.”
Finally, what should you do with your education? David Ball once addressed the Cum Laude Society with the wise injunction: Be sure that the end of your efforts has a worthy purpose. Too often, talented, well-educated young people are lured into occupations that use them and their education for ends these young people did not ultimately intend. Money, power, being where the action is can divert any of us from thinking this through. After my husband finished college and a stint in the Navy, he joined a San Francisco advertising agency where big things were happening, where he used his skills as a writer and editor, where deals were pulled off and he was part of it. One day he woke up and concluded that convincing people to smoke Kent cigarettes and eat Granny Goose potato chips wasn’t a worthy purpose. So he left advertising, and he became a teacher. Am I suggesting you become teachers? I hope some of you will join the profession—it is a rewarding life, and I would do it over again. But I know all of you will, in one way or another, teach; whether you go into medicine or law or business or the arts, you will mentor others, you will teach what you know, you will share the passion you feel and the skills you have mastered. And many of you will become parents, teaching your children what you know about living and learning.
Several years ago, the English playwright Alan Bennett wrote and produced the successful play The History Boys, which later became a movie. It is about a group of English secondary-school boys who have done well and who are given a special tutorial to get them into Oxford or Cambridge. The play is not about whether or not they get in: They all do. The play is about teaching and learning and the meaning of education. Hector, the most colorful of the three teachers portrayed, is entrusted with what I will call the play’s refrain. He says, “Grasp it, hold it, and pass it on. Not for you, but for someone someday. That’s what I want you to learn, boys: Pass it on.” I echo Hector: Whatever you have found worthy and important in your education, share your enthusiasm for it. You must give it to others. So, grasp it, hold it, and pass it on. Not for you but for someone someday. That’s what I want you to learn, my friends. Pass it on. Carlotta Zilliax English Department
Post Script Post Script is a department that opens windows into the lives and experiences of your fellow Milton alumni. Graduates may author the pieces, or they may react to our interview questions. Opinions, memories, explorations, reactions to political or educational issues are all fair game. We believe you will find your Milton peers informative, provocative and entertaining. Please email us with your reactions and your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regarding Heroism: Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr. ’47, 2nd Lt. U.S.M.C.R. Excerpts from Veterans Day Speech, November 12, 2008
ood morning. Many of you may not realize, but my uncle has been part of the atmospherics of your Milton life ever since you passed by Wigg Hall for the first time. His photo hangs on the wall outside Wigg along with three other Milton graduates who also died in 1952: Fred Sprague Barbour ’46, 2nd Lt., U.S. Army, died in service at West Point, New York, August 5, 1952; Thomas Amory Hubbard ’47, 2nd Lt., U.S. Marine Corps, killed in action in Korea, August 11, 1952; George Cabot Lee III ’47, 2nd Lt., U.S. Marine Corps, killed in action, December 15, 1952, awarded the Silver Star. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation renaming Armistice Day as Veterans Day so that all men and women who had served in the military could be honored. My uncle was one of those vets honored on the Veterans Day of 1954. A 1947 graduate of Milton, he and his twin brother David, my father, entered the Marine Corps Reserve Platoon Leaders program while students at Harvard, serving on active duty during the summers of 1948 and 1949. On October 9, 1951, my uncle received appointment as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve and was ordered to active duty the following day. In March 1952, after completing the Marine Officers’ Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, he entered the Battery Officer
School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and completed the artillery course in July 1952. He then trained at Camp Pendleton, California, until his deployment to Korea in September 1952. Joining his battalion in October 1952, my uncle was sent to the Main Line of Resistance; his job was to observe enemy troop movement and call in artillery fire accordingly. Writes Alex Littlefield, Milton Class of 2002, in his essay “Pearls,” “Rod was placed on a section of the line called ‘The Hook,’ a ferociously contested crescent-shaped ridge that looked down on two key crossings of the Imjin River. Historically, the land was an invasion route to Seoul. Geographically, it was a tumble of mountains and recessions that prohibited the use of tanks and forced both sides to refine their artillery techniques. Rod was an extension of this tactical necessity. Stationed in a bunker on The Hook, he transmitted reports to his operations officers with a landline phone and a back-up radio.” On October 26, 1952, three days before my uncle’s 23rd birthday, the Chinese troops staged a surprise offensive under cover of heavy artillery fire. My uncle was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day. Congress introduced the Medal of Honor during the Civil War as a way to boost morale and encourage soldiers to re-enlist and not desert. The only military honor at the time, 1,527 soldiers received the
Medal of Honor during the Civil War, among them the first African-American and the first and only female. After the Civil War, standards for awarding the medal were somewhat loose. After the invasion of Vera Cruz, for instance, 56 soldiers received the Medal of Honor for simply coming ashore during the conflict. By World War I, however, standards had tightened, requiring that the recipient had demonstrated intrepidity and had risked his life for his fellow soldiers. In World War I, 124 soldiers received the Medal of Honor, 440 in World War II, 131 in the Korean War, and 244 in Vietnam. Since Vietnam, only seven Medals of Honor have been awarded, all of them posthumously. Much of that decrease has to do with significant changes in warfare itself. Since its inception, the Congressional Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,473 veterans, including, in 2001, Teddy Roosevelt, the only president so honored.
My uncle’s life is woven into my own My uncle has been in my thoughts ever since I was capable of having them. In the family pantheon, my uncle straddled Olympus; he was the hero, the shining light. I remember a family visit to his grave in Arlington National Cemetery and my father crying and saying to me, “That’s your name.” It’s a name I wore proudly. The top drawer of my desk was filled with mementos that carried his
name: his ruler from the Nichols School, his wrestling medals from Milton, the key to his Marine Corps steamer trunk. Infused with the mythology of my uncle, I didn’t always know what to do with that force in my life. When assigned, as a seventh grader, an oral report on a personal hero, I chose not to talk about my uncle but about making and eating a hero sandwich (you would know it as a sub) worthy of Dagwood. Even my clueless young self sensed that I was living more than one life, that Sherrod III was also the flag bearer for Sherrod II. The name was not the only link; I looked more like my uncle than my father. At family gatherings our photos were often pulled out and compared. (Later in life, at memorial services with my parents, classmates of my uncle would excuse themselves from conversations with me, explaining that my resemblance to my uncle was unnerving them.) Every year, when I called my dad to wish him a happy birthday, I realized that I was not just a son calling, but a Sherrod Emerson Skinner calling; brother and uncle were on the line, too. Still, living up to my uncle’s name was a responsibility I gladly accepted. It gave me a mission and identity at an age when identity is at best elusive. In seventh grade, I chose wrestling over basketball chiefly because my uncle had wrestled. To this day, my uncle sounds undertones and overtones in my life. Last year’s Veterans Day, I went to pay my respects to Mr. Handy, that day’s speaker. I shook his hand, introduced myself, and, as I began to explain our connection, he cut me off, “Say no more, Rod.” Our hands locked, and in each other’s eyes we shared a world of thoughts and understandings in that one moment. In college I followed in my uncle’s and my dad’s footsteps by singing with the Harvard
Krokodiloes. Fifteen years ago, after my grandmother died, my family gathered to settle her estate. While I was packing a box in another room, one of my aunts put an old recording of the Kroks on the stereo. A tenor soloist came on who sounded so much like me that I almost snapped my neck lifting my head to listen more closely. It was the first time I had heard my uncle’s voice. Of course, my uncle did not stay on Olympus forever. Other stories emerged that brought him closer to earth, closer to a place where I could actually know him. Two years ago I received a photograph of my uncle from his Class I year at Milton. He is leaning on a tree, smiling, while his right hand is giving a familiar hand sign mimicking bull horns. (Or perhaps he was just showing dorm pride with a U for Upton House.) More than a few of my uncle’s friends admired him because he was “a wild man.” He skied straight down Tuckerman’s Ravine, for instance, without making a turn. Actually, he couldn’t make a turn; it was the first time he had ever strapped on skis. In college he filled in for an injured wrestler at a meet, after a late night of social activity, even though he was not on the team that year. A couple of years ago, I came across a letter from the dean of Harvard College, informing my uncle that, as much as it pained the dean to say so, my uncle would not be receiving his diploma at graduation because certain academic matters remained unresolved; apparently, unlike his brother, my uncle was not in danger of becoming a dull boy. (As my dad put it, “Your uncle was interested in tasting life in all its great variety.”) This diploma delay was the reason that my uncle received his Marine appointment in October 1951 instead of June 1951.
Our war in Vietnam posed a painful dilemma, still unresolved How did this profligate son, this “wild man” become a war hero? During a recent PBS special titled “Medal of Honor” a number of living Medal of Honor recipients reflected on their acts of bravery. To a man, they rejected the notion of hero. World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, a man who, under intense fire, single-handedly took out five Japanese bunkers with a flame thrower, said that, at some point, you cut through the fear and tell yourself, “This is your duty, so go do it.” He commented that the average person can be a hero “if it’s the right place, the right time, and it happens.” Former senator Bob Kerrey, Medal of Honor winner from Vietnam, mused on the arbitrariness of heroism. To receive a Medal of Honor, someone has to witness your bravery and then report it. How many worthy acts of heroism went unrecorded because everyone died? Playwright and actor Steven Lang, author of Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words, noted the irony that the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, is invariably awarded to the person who goes against orders. These extraordinary individuals “pushed back the tide of history, changed history through sheer audacity.” They saw the right thing to do and they would not be denied in their pursuit of it. This insight resonates with my father. He relates my uncle’s bravery directly to “Dare to be true.” “Rod was true to himself. Too many of us conduct our lives according to what we think others will think. Rod did not feel beholden that way.” In that bunker in Korea, my uncle saw clearly what needed to be done and he acted.
The path was not as clear to me when I faced being drafted for the Vietnam War. I thought the war was immoral and misguided. When Milton Academy went on strike during the spring of my tenth-grade year, I worked at the MIT Strike Center, sitting at a table in Copley Square asking people to sign the HatfieldMcGovern Amendment. A number of people told me about relatives who had fought in past wars. Some told me to go back to Russia with the other communists. One man told me that I should be hung from the lamppost at the end of the block. And one elderly woman talked with me for an hour about the peacekeeping techniques she had seen in Japan, and together we pondered humankind’s instinct for violence. One afternoon that spring, I found myself in an intense debate with my grandfather, a former General Motors executive who converted GM plants to war uses in World War II; my uncle Don, a Navy veteran who had served during World War II; and my grandfather’s best friend, General Lucius Clay, the Army general who governed Germany after World War II and masterminded the Berlin Airlift. I was hopelessly outgunned. In discussing the bombing of Cambodia, my grandfather referenced conversations he had had with Werner von Braun and Jimmy Doolittle, and I finally realized with astounding clarity what my teachers had been telling me all those years about the power of hard facts, evidence. At one point, my grandfather declared that I had been “duped.” Still, I didn’t back down because I believed in my core that the war was wrong. In fall of my freshman year in college, I received my draft number; if the war continued, I would have to go. By then, educational deferments and conscientious
Sherrod Skinner ’47 and Ned Handy ’47 outside Straus Library during their Class I year
objector status were no longer options. I could not countenance fighting in a war I did not support, but, at the same time, I did not want to dishonor my family, my uncle. My father, generous and loving soul he is, gave me permission to go to Canada. But I could not see myself do that. I explored enlisting as a medic, but that avenue was closing down. In January the war ended. To this day, I do not know what I would have done if it had not,
and that’s a humbling realization. If we bend ourselves to the true business of being human, we must recognize that absolutes are rare and that truths, even the ones we dare, depend on which shoes we are wearing and where those shoes are pointed in any given moment. I have never since looked at any war or at any individual’s decisions around a war in simple terms.
What meaning can you draw from his life and death I think often about what I have learned from my uncle’s story, how it has directed my own life. I will close with some bullet points, hoping they might serve as takeaways for you. First, don’t underestimate your connections with others. Alex Littlefield’s grandfather, Ned Handy ’47, was one of my uncle’s best friends at Milton and in college; they roomed together at both schools. (Ned is also in that photo with my uncle.) Ned was one of three operations officers stationed at the rear of the Main Line of Resistance taking reports from the forward observers like my uncle and translating them into coordinates to direct artillery fire. Ned took the call from my uncle on October 26, 1952, when my uncle’s position came under attack. So Ned was one of the last people to talk with my uncle. He was also the person who retrieved the family ring from my uncle’s body and mailed it to my grandparents, and the person who interviewed the survivor from my uncle’s bunker, and submitted the paperwork needed to commend my uncle for the Medal of Honor. While fact-finding, Ned also interviewed the physician who signed my uncle’s death certificate, Dr. John Littlefield. Years later, Ned’s daughter Susie met and married John Littlefield, the son of that same doctor. So, in the audience I see Kate Littlefield ’09, and Connor (’09), Sam (’11) and Otis (’12) Handy and I feel that I am with family in a way that goes beyond blood ties. I also see Kayrus Unwala ’09. Several years after the deaths in 1952 of those four Milton Academy alums, their classmates, led by Tom Spang, great-uncle of Abbott Cowen ’09, created a scholarship that would bring a student from another
part of the world (initially from Asia) to Milton in the hopes of promoting international understanding. Kayrus is the recipient of that scholarship. Before Kayrus, it was Ivan Kozyryev from Ukraine, and before Ivan was Dilshoda Yergasheva from Uzbekistan, and before Dilshoda it was Nicholas Tarisai of Zimbabwe. The plaque naming all the Korean War Scholars hangs outside Wigg Hall. Look at that plaque and see how many parts of the world have been brought to the Milton community by that scholarship. Don’t underestimate the enduring pain of losing a loved one in war. My dad, thinking about his brother, said, “I still cry…I don’t think I will ever stop crying.” Life is never easy for those left among the living. Ultimately, Veterans Day is not about celebrating war; it is about reflecting on the full weight of war, what is ennobling and what is devastating. In those two minutes of silence, we give ourselves the time to take personal account of how war has touched us and others. Just as the names on the Vietnam Memorial force us to throw off abstractions and come to terms with the cost of the war, so Veterans Day forces us to put a human face on war. Spend some time thinking about what those Medal of Honor winners had to say about heroism. In this post-ironic age, cleverness often wins out over substance. Detachment is the key, the better to slice and dice. A show of heart opens a person to ridicule; how could he or she be so foolish as to actually care about something? If we confront the real tests in life without heart, we are lost. In living life at a smug distance, we reduce ourselves to T.S. Eliot’s “Hollow Men.” What inspires me most about my uncle’s story, and those of all those other soldiers, is that at that dire and unforgiving moment, when life was stripped to its very essence, those men did the right thing, no matter the risk to themselves. What belief would you
die for? For what belief, cause or position would you risk unpopularity? What do you care about? Most decisions, like my dilemma over Vietnam, do not present easy answers. If you do not know who you are and what you stand for, you will not be able to work through those issues or have the means to make peace with the uncertainties that invariably linger. Finally, I asked my father what message he hoped you would hear [in this speech]. “We are all one,” he said. “Regardless of status, we are all one. No one person has greater worth than any other. When you lay down your life for others, that’s your acknowledgment that others are as worthy as you are.” Of his brother: “He and I could not have been more unalike, but underneath there were strong bonds. We took more delight in our differences than we did in our similarities.” It is this same spirit of understanding that motivated the creation of the Korean War Scholarship and that, I hope, will motivate your thinking as your navigate the complexities of Milton and the even greater complexities of the world outside Milton. I have had this powerful, lifelong relationship with a dead man whom I have never met. Through story and ritual he has been as alive and as meaningful to me as any mentor. Each of you has the opportunity to brush up against extraordinary people, living and dead, whose examples can shape your lives. These people can become the lifeblood of your character. As we honor the women and men who have ensured us the freedom to choose our own destinies, think about the people who could be heroes in your life. Don’t let the humor of the times harden you to the possibilities. Don’t be shy. Open your heart to them. Let them give you strength. Sherrod E. Skinner ’72 Director of College Counseling
Sports The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
ilton’s Mustangs are the 2008 New England Prep School Champions. Though the football squad, under the direction of Head Coach Kevin Macdonald, has been exceedingly strong every season—with winning records to back that claim— Milton’s players have not earned the right to call themselves New England Champions since 1996.
was the offensive line after the Belmont Hill game. It was probably as good an offensive line as we’ve ever had.” Coach Macdonald attributes the success of the offensive line to Line Coach Paul Healy and the talent of the players—particularly captain George Haydock ’09 and Ryan May ’09 at guard, Connor Handy ’09 at center, Grant Hailer ’09 and Austin Wang ’10 at tackle, and Alex Harris ’09 at tight end.
Following a successful September with wins over St. Sebastian’s (14–6) and Middlesex (48–28), Milton fell to Belmont Hill in what would be the Mustangs only loss of the season. “After Belmont Hill, we reinvented ourselves,” said Coach Macdonald. “We went back to the drawing board to start all over and reemphasize the running game. We learned how to run the football.” Milton tested its new game plan and defeated Thayer in convincing fashion. Senior tailback and team captain Josh Scott rushed for 221 yards on 23 carries behind an offensive line led by seniors Grant Hailer and George Haydock that consistently pushed Thayer’s defenders off the line of scrimmage. The Mustangs dominated their opponents for the rest of the regular season— winning the next five matchups and scoring an average of 31 points per game. Milton’s impressive 7–1 record in a tough ISL league earned the team an invitation to the Samson Lorden Bowl, where they would face undefeated King Low Heywood Thomas. While Milton’s defense contained King’s renowned running game—holding the squad’s running backs to less than 40 yards in the second
“They are big, athletic and smart,” said Coach Macdonald of his offensive line. “What impressed me most—during the Governor’s and Nobles games in particular—was that they were mentally on top of their game. They knew exactly who to block and never missed an assignment.” Senior tailback and team captain, Josh Scott
half—Josh Scott, with the help of Milton’s offensive line, rushed for 312 yards on 46 carries to secure Milton’s victory (29–14). Scott finished the nine-game season with a school record 2,112 rushing yards— averaging 8.3 yards per carry—caught four passes for 98 yards, and accounted for 144 total points with 24 touchdowns. Quarterback Chris Amrhein ’09 also had an extraordinary season, completing 46 of 92 passes for 1,049 yards, 10 passing touchdowns and one rushing TD. Amrhein’s top receivers included Dan Kenerson ’09, who caught 17 passes for 517 yards and seven touchdowns, and Alex Harris ’09, who caught 19 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns.
The five senior offensive linemen are moving on to collegiate ball next year. George Haydock will attend Union, a Division III powerhouse school; Grant Hailer is enrolling at Princeton; Connor Handy will play for Bowdoin; Alex Harris has signed with Brown; and Ryan May will be playing for Sacred Heart. The 19 graduating seniors of this year’s team leave a legacy as well as a hole to fill for next year’s season. Coach Macdonald says that the remaining players are ready to step up to the challenge. “It will be a brutal schedule for Milton next year,” said Coach Macdonald, “but we should be somewhere in the mix because we do have some big returning players with a lot of talent.” Greg White
“Over the last eight or nine years, Milton has scored around 30 points per game. The 31 points per game from this year’s team is right about where we wanted to be,” said Coach Macdonald. “I thought what was outstanding about this team
In•Sight Apthorp Chapel at dusk by Julia Solomon ’09
OnCentre Dedicating Millet House Unveiling the Millet Crest Doors opened to the house we now happily know as Millet House in September 2004. At that time it was called Centre House. Milton houses each have robust character, cherished traditions and plenty of pride. The first residents of Centre House thoughtfully and deliberately developed tone, spirit and pride through everything from policies to celebrations from 2004 forward. Residents of the house have participated in designing a crest fit for the auspicious name the dorm would officially adopt last November. The girls of Centre House 2006 chose the crest’s shield shape, triptych layout, and centered initial as well as other elements. The original Centre House crest had a “C” in the place of honor with ivy leaves flanking it, as well as a checkerboard pattern in the lower left (a stylized reference to battlements or castle meaning “home”) and Roman numerals for the founding date in the lower right. The crest now features an “M” (illustrated in Mr. Millet’s own calligraphic hand) in the place of honor, flanked by sprigs of millet (a staple grain, particularly in parts of Africa, where it represents food, money, and sometimes building material). The ivy, representing sisterhood, has moved down with the founding date to the lower right. Below the crest are two representations of the past: the “C” from the Centre House crest and the cinquefoils with the circle in the middle. The “C” pays tribute to
those girls in the first four years of the house who, through great effort, shaped the character the house has today. The cinquefoils with the circle is the central symbolic element in the Millet family crest, which—with its knight’s helmet and shield—has a slightly more military air than might be appropriate for a house, particularly a girls’ house (though future male residents might not object to a wholesale copying of the Millet family crest). In the middle of the crest is a white star. This pays tribute to the memory of FDM’s grandfather, who lost his life on the Titanic, the pride of the White Star line. Mr. Millet spoke with some pride of his grandfather’s painting ability and friendship with John Singer Sargent. While Mr. Millet has not been spotted in one of the charcoal gray fleece vests that are embroidered with the crest, Millet House girls and house staff wear them with pride and affection.
Bradley M. Bloom Named President of the Board
On January 31, 2009, the Milton Academy Board of Trustees elected Bradley M. Bloom president of the board, succeeding Franklin W. Hobbs IV ’65. Brad became involved in Milton Academy nine years ago when his daughter, Elizabeth ’08, entered the fourth grade at the Lower School. Brad’s son, Ross ’06, joined the seventh grade at the Middle School the following year. Along with his wife, Terrie Fried Bloom, Brad became active immediately in the life of the School. They both served as members of the Head of School’s Council, and on the Parents’ Fund Special Gifts Committee. They co-chaired the Class I ’06 Gift Committee, and each year helped Milton reach Annual Fund goals by contacting Milton families. Brad was elected to the board of trustees in April 2004. A member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee during an especially active time, Brad co-chaired that committee at the time of his election. He served also on the Academic Affairs Committee, the Trustees Committee, and chaired the Audit Committee. Board president Fritz Hobbs tapped Brad for successive important roles between 2005 and his assuming the presidency: Brad served as a member of the Head of School Search Committee that sought points of view from every School constituency, evaluated a spectrum of candidates, and ultimately recommended that Todd Bland of the Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, Ohio, be appointed Milton’s twelfth head of school. In addition, Brad served on the Ad Hoc Trustee-Faculty Committee, charged with the development of new communication practices between the board, administration and faculty, and of methods
to ensure faculty involvement in decision-making about the School’s future. Brad is managing director of Berkshire Partners, a leading private equity firm in Boston which he co-founded in 1986. Before founding Berkshire, Brad worked with the Thomas H. Lee Company and also spent two years with the First National Bank of Boston. He received his A.B. from Harvard College and M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. Both he and Terrie, also a graduate of Harvard College and the Business School, are active Harvard alumni, serving on various visiting committees. The Blooms serve at Harvard on the President’s Advisory Council on the Allston Initiative. As a parent and a trustee, Brad understands and appreciates the dynamics that distinguish Milton: an active learning environment K–12, outstanding faculty, the highest caliber students, and uncommon support for the individual. He is eager to work with the new head of school, Todd Bland, on ensuring Milton’s educational leadership into the future.
Franklin W. Hobbs IV ’65 Trustee Emeritus, January 31, 2009 Member of the Board of Trustees, 1990–2009 President, April 2002 to January 2009 On January 31, 2009, the Milton Academy Board of Trustees expressed their gratitude for the loyal and vigorous service of Franklin W. Hobbs ’65, a member of the board since 1990, and president since 2002. Fritz Hobbs’s unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence has enhanced Milton’s strength and distinction over the last 18 years. Fritz has championed those characteristic attributes of a Milton education that are shared and valued by generations of alumni, as well as today’s students, faculty and parents: intellectual excitement and challenge; numerous opportunities for personal growth; relationships with diverse and remarkable faculty mentors and classmates. During these economically challenging times, when educational institutions around the world are considering how to sustain their core enterprises, Milton’s recent financial achievements are particularly relevant. At Milton, we can honor our priorities and respond to this environment with care from a position of far greater financial stability today than in the past. Just last November, Milton celebrated having raised more than $85 million over the last five years for crucial projects such as taking a leadership role in science education; prior to that, as a steering committee member, Fritz helped shape the $60 million Challenge to Lead Campaign that concluded in 2000. During his tenure, Milton’s endowment experienced unprecedented growth, more than doubling in value; and operating budgets have uniformly been balanced. At the same time, Fritz and the board have prioritized faculty salaries: Over the last five years, faculty compensation at Milton has moved from fourteenth, to a ranking of fifth,
Among Fritz’s favorite events during his tenure were evenings when the board gathered to celebrate faculty by recognizing new faculty chairs. These events celebrated the skill and expertise of Milton faculty and thanked them for their dedicated support for individual students—those whom faculty nurture and guide every day through academics, extracurriculars or life in Milton houses. Those gatherings provided Fritz the opportunity to express his own appreciation for the vital role of the faculty in shaping the Milton experience.
among its 40 peer Eastern prep schools. Drawing attention to the need for sustaining the quality and character of the student body by expanding financial aid has been a particular point of emphasis for Fritz and for the board as well. Fritz has been both immensely generous to Milton and a driving force behind this overall progress. Fritz also centered his prodigious energy on the student experience. His unannounced drop-ins to talk with students in Forbes Dining Hall, house common rooms, the Schwarz Student Center, and along various sidelines gave him an ample supply of frank and discerning commentary, and always fueled more questions of his own. He was unfailingly interested in the strength of academic, extracurricular and advising programs; the diversity and academic talent of our students; the quality of the boarding experience; the confidence that Milton students feel about being themselves. The board’s decision during this time to rebalance the enrollment of the Upper School involved commitments that have enhanced the educational experience of all students. Milton’s campus life is active and full, whether in the classrooms, the arts, sports or all kinds of activities: from Boston, across the country, and around the world, bright, proficient students contribute to a uniquely vibrant and exciting school life. Enhancements in campus life have helped the admission office shape Milton’s entering classes with more geographically diverse students than ever before; moreover, entering test scores for these students are equivalent to the high achievement that had long prevailed among local students.
Fritz Hobbs ’65
“Cap” Hall, then dean of students, wrote in 1964 about Fritz as an “outstanding member of the football and hockey teams, and captain of the tennis team; and a diligent and painstaking scholar with excellent powers of concentration.” That comment foreshadows Fritz’s interest in the quality of the athletic experience for Milton students. Fritz launched the trustee-faculty committee that explored athletics at Milton; the committee’s report set recommendations for strengthening the program, and included hiring Milton’s new athletic director. Fritz was chosen to represent Milton in the MIT Science Symposium of 1964; his interest in the field may have led to his passion about the importance of outstanding teaching and learning in science. He set a similar trustee-administration-faculty panel to work exploring science at Milton. Recommendations from that committee’s work, completed in 2003, have served as a blueprint for new requirements, a new curriculum design, and ultimately the design for the Pritzker Science Center, due to open in December 2010.
During Fritz’s participation on the board and his leadership as president, Milton completed the Athletic and Convocation Center; the Schwarz Student Center; the renovation of central academic buildings; the new dormitories, Millet and Norris houses. The fulfillment of a vision for a new role in science education is now under way. Fritz’s abiding questions about all the Milton issues that the board has considered during his time reflect his consistent focus: “What does excellence look like?” and “What will it take to make that happen?” For 18 years, and particularly over the last eight, Fritz has provided endless hours of dedication and extraordinary financial support to his alma mater, making sure that all aspects of a Milton education excel; that Milton preserves its traditional character; and that Milton sets the highest standards for its future.
Two graduates from the Class of 1983 George Kellner elected to the board of trustees Milton Medal Tribute November 8, 2008 Bob Cunha ’83 P’15 ’19 and Elisabeth (Lisa) Donohue ’83 Winston Churchill said “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Bob Cunha ’83 P’15 ’19
Elisabeth (Lisa) Donohue ’83
Bob Cunha is a principal at Market Metrics, a market research firm whose clients are leading providers of financial services. He began his career at Monitor Group, a strategy consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked with senior managers in the fields of finance, industrial equipment, and telecommunications. Bob subsequently joined BellSouth in Atlanta and served in several capacities, including president of BellSouth Products. He later became president of Artisan Network, a venturebacked Internet firm, and served as executive director of Cape Range Wireless, a publicly traded telecommunications equipment supplier.
A graduate of Brown University, Lisa Donohue is president of the Truth & Design Group at MediaVest Worldwide, a division of the Starcom MediaVest Group. One of the largest brand communications groups, Starcom MediaVest Group encompasses an integrated network of over 5,800 contact architects specializing in media management, Internet and digital communications, response media, entertainment marketing, sports sponsorships, event marketing and multicultural media. Lisa has been honored with several top industry awards including Chicago Magazine Association’s prestigious Vanguard Award; she has also twice won both Media Week’s “Plan of the Year” and the Cannes Media Lion.
A graduate of Harvard University, Bob also attended the University of Western Australia in Perth, where he studied sociology under a Rotary Fellowship. Bob and his wife, Kathy, have two children, Margaret (Maggie) ’15 and Charles (Charlie) ’19. Bob chaired the Annual Fund and was an extraordinarily successful solicitor for large Annual Fund gifts and six-figure capital gifts. As part of the K–12 Fundraising Committee, Bob helped secure commitments from parents and focus those gifts on the K–12 School.
A resident of New York, Lisa has been an active and effective volunteer for Milton. She is a member of the Head of School’s Council. Lisa chaired her 25th Reunion Committee and she also established an endowed fund that supports a female student who demonstrates academic and athletic excellence.
George Kellner is not only an optimist; he is an optimist who is both daring and courageous. He may not have known when he joined the Milton board in 1988—the year after his son, Peter, graduated—how often the board, the School, and he himself would need to depend on these inherent attributes. As a thinker, a planner, a supporter, and a team player, George has helped transform Milton during his 20 years of service That includes, but isn’t limited to, building the Kellner Performing Arts Center, the Athletic and Convocation Center, the Schwarz Student Center and the new dorms: Norris and Millet houses. It includes working as a leader on Milton’s first comprehensive capital campaign, which crossed a new threshold in raising $60 million in 2000. It includes strengthening all aspects of the boarding program, and renovating the oldest academic spaces to better serve faculty and students. But even a diehard optimist needs to know exactly what the “opportunity” is—or isn’t—so George’s capacity for asking laser questions were part of keeping Milton focused and realistic. He, more than John McCain, deserves the keys to the straight talk express. George often pushed an appropriate pause button, forcing us to make sure we knew what we were talking about in real terms. He challenged us, helped us to be cleareyed when we forged new paths, took bold steps, or made irrevocable decisions. Once the deci-
sion was made, however, George understood consensus: He was strong, loyal and generous. George coupled his love of the arts and an opportunity to honor his father, a concert violinist from Budapest, to make it possible for Milton to have what is now a focus of life on campus and a magnet for talented young students across the country: the Paul J. Kellner Performing Arts Center. “I’d like to say,” George said at the opening, “with a certain degree of pride, that all of you should be pleased that Milton Academy prioritizes the arts, because not every institution does…We believe that [this building] will lend a great deal to the quality of life here for many years to come. We thank you for that privilege.” George understands Milton completely and relishes its unique character. He acted consistently and generously to make sure that Milton was able to include students for whom tuition would be out of reach. George’s vigorous support for financial aid is an expression of gratitude for scholarship help that changed his life, and it also makes clear his core belief in the critical importance of diversity to an authentic education. George championed financial aid at Milton and at many other institutions— Trinity College, Bard College and
First Milton Alumni Webinar Many sign on for another look at the presidential election
Worcester Academy. He would no doubt say that some of his most enjoyable moments, on this board and others, have come when he had the chance to sit down and exchange conversation, questions and laughs with students from every quarter. George advised, and survived, four heads of school: Jerry Pieh, Ed Fredie, Robin Robertson and Rick Hardy. His keen interest, great questions, and steady support was the constant, through great differences in leadership style and focus. Likewise, four board presidents have relied on George’s honesty, insight and wry sense of humor: myself (Jim Fitzgibbons), Harold Janeway, Marshall Schwarz and Fritz Hobbs. George has put his oar into nearly every aspect of Milton’s institutional life: He’s been on the Academic Affairs Committee, the Student Life Committee, External Relations, the Capital Campaign Committee—and perhaps most important, the Investment Committee. For the last eight years, he has served as a vice president of the board. George is bold and careful, provocative and kind, open-minded and highly principled, impatient in the best sense of the word, and absolutely comfortable with himself. We are so fortunate that George found Milton—Milton students, Milton faculty, Milton graduates—to be kindred spirits. We hope George shares the pride we feel as a result of his long and close interest in Milton and his larger-than-life role in its destiny as a preeminent school. Thank you, George, for your devoted 20 years of friendship and support.
James Mills of the history department connected with alumni from the Classes of 1940 through 2007 on Thursday, November 20, when he conducted his online class, “‘YouTubers,’ ‘Hockey Moms’ and ‘Earlies’: Why Barack Obama won the Presidency.” James continued the national preoccupation: analyzing the roles of key demographic groups in the election, and speculating about the impact of our evolving voting system, including the dynamics of early voting. The presentation, shared by 75 alumni who reserved places in the program, reflected the work and ideas that are alive in the AP American Government classes at Milton. In typical Milton form, questions (by email) appeared early and often, and the session included discussion of questions by phone before it closed. A number of graduates asked what students’ activities were during the election season; others focused on the major political and social issues: the economy, immigration, foreign policy and the environment. Alumni expressed positive feedback and shared helpful suggestions for future Web-based seminars. “The topic was timely and the presentation was engaging. Those two factors will make future presentations just as effective. I think this approach with information about Milton would also be attractive to alumni.” —Randall Dunn ’83
James Mills, History Department
“One recommendation for the future is [to have] the students more involved. This was definitely a lecture as opposed to a discussion, and for a topic as controversial as this last election was, it would have been good to hear what the students were thinking or feeling. If there’s one thing I remember from my time at Milton, students often had unique and intelligent things to add to almost any topic of discussion. James Mills was a good speaker; it’s just that Milton is more than just the teachers.” —Kurt Collins ’97
“The class was a very interesting analysis of post-election data. It was exciting to be back in the classroom through the same technology I use in my everyday business. I was really curious about the Milton students; did they participate in the class, too? I would’ve loved to have heard their voices as well. Maybe for another class...” —Amanda Herman ’89 James’s presentation was the first of others to follow. Alumni can look forward to other opportunities for online learning with Milton faculty in the near future.
James M. Fitzgibbons ’52 Trustee Emeritus
Campus Guests 2008–2009
Chanson • Strings • Keyboard • Jazz
Renowned French singer-songwriter Eric Vincent performed on campus at the Bustin Concert on November 2 in King Theatre. Widely acknowledged as a representative for the tradition of French song or chanson, Mr. Vincent tours schools in the United States and other countries to support the teaching and learning of French. With a career spanning 30 years, Mr. Vincent has sung in 140 countries around the world and in 48 of the 50 states. The Bustin Concert included his original work— written and composed entirely in French—as well as songs by American artist James Taylor adapted by Mr. Vincent into the French language.
Alumni Emily Bruskin ’98 and Julia Bruskin ’98, along with pianist Donna Kwong, returned to Milton’s campus on November 2 through November 4—giving performances and leading workshops—as part of the Melissa Gold Visiting Artists series.
The Bustin Concert at Milton Academy is made possible by the Francine L. Bustin Memorial Fund. Established in 1985, the fund brings French scholars, lecturers, teachers and artists on campus to promote French language and culture.
Cherry Rhodes Twin sisters Emily Bruskin (violin) and Julia Bruskin (cello) formed the Claremont Trio with Donna Kwong (piano) in 1999 at The Juilliard School. Widely regarded as the premier piano trio of its generation, the Claremont Trio is sought after for its thrillingly virtuosic and richly communicative performances. First winners of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award, and the only piano trio ever to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Claremonts are consistently lauded for their “aesthetic maturity, interpretive depth, and exuberance” (Palm Beach Daily News). To celebrate their tenth anniversary season, the trio returns to New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and appears in more than 60 halls throughout the country.
International award-winning organist Cherry Rhodes visited Milton on November 16 and 17 as a Melissa Dilworth Gold Visiting Artist. This was not Ms. Rhodes’s first visit to Milton. On November 12, 1971, Cherry Rhodes gave the second inaugural performance on the George Sloan Oldberg Memorial Organ, which was dedicated on September 24, 1971, to the memory of George Sloan Oldberg, Class of 1954, and in honor of A. Howard Abell, a beloved teacher of music at the Academy. Ms. Rhodes was the first American to win an international organ competition. This honor, awarded in Munich, Germany, was followed by another top international prize in Bologna, Italy. She has played recitals at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and at international organ festivals in Bratislava and Presov (Czechoslovakia), Freiburg, Münich, Nurnberg, Paris, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Poland and Vienna. In addition to performances in International Bach Festivals in Paris and Marburg, Ms. Rhodes has given Bach recitals throughout the United States.
Campus Guests 2008–2009
AIDS • Foreign Policy • Globalism
Ron Carter, world-renowned saxophonist and jazz educator, visited campus September 24 through September 26 as the year’s first Melissa Dilworth Gold Visiting Artist. Mr. Carter is a professor and the coordinator of the Jazz Studies Program at Northern Illinois University’s School of Music. Having worked as a professional musician on saxophone, clarinet and flute, and as a vocalist, Mr. Carter is foremost an educator, with accolades including Down Beat Magazine’s Jazz Educator’s Hall of Fame, the Milken National Distinguished Educator Award, and the Excellence in Teaching Award from both Southern Illinois University and the St. Louis American newspaper. Mr. Carter is also the director of the celebrated Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble. He was quoted in NIU’s magazine Northern Now saying, “I love music and I love teaching, so I’m able to combine two things together that I really enjoy and make a living doing it.” While on campus, Mr. Carter taught jazz classes during the day, conducted workshops in the evenings, and helped students prepare for the upcoming concert that featured the music of Duke Ellington.
Bruce Walker, M.D.—professor of medicine, director of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health at Harvard University, esteemed researcher and Milton parent—spoke with students about the progress of his AIDS clinical research to honor World AIDS Day 2008. Dr. Walker seeks to determine how the immune system controls chronic viral infections and to augment antiviral immunity for therapeutic benefit. He says he is now doing the most important work of his career as a physicianscientist combating AIDS. He is leading an international research effort to understand how some rare people who are infected with HIV but have never been treated can fight the virus with their immune system. He hopes such knowledge could lead to a vaccine and new treatments for the disease. He also has spearheaded the creation of advanced clinical and laboratory facilities at the frontlines of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, where he and his colleagues at Harvard routinely collaborate with the medical, scientific and support staff. Dr. Walker is motivated today by the same drive that brought him to medicine more than three decades ago. He says, “As a physician you have the chance to make a difference, to be involved in people’s lives at critical junctures…and that is a privilege, an honor, and a really precious thing to be able to do.”
Dr. David H. Shinn, professor of international relations at George Washington University, an ambassador for 37 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, and an expert in African issues, was the 2008 Hong Kong Distinguished Lecture Series guest at Milton. Dr. Shinn helped students explore and contrast the strategic foreign policies of China and the United States with Africa. He posed the question: “What does China, with a population of 1.3 billion people, have in common with the continent of Africa, with 53 countries and a total population approaching 1 billion people?” The short answer is globalization, Dr. Shinn explained, but the important aspects of the relationship between China and Africa are both complex and growing in importance and impact over time. China’s practices and policies include negative and positive outcomes from either U.S. or African points of view. Dr. Shinn contends, however, that while American and Chinese interests in Africa are different, they are not substantially so. “There are more areas where the two countries can cooperate for the benefit of Africans,” he says, “than there are issues of disagreement and potential competition.” After his lecture and questions from students, Dr. Shinn met in Straus Library with students interested in continuing the conversation.
Felipe FernándezArmesto According to the New York Times, Dr. Felipe Fernández-Armesto, who spoke to students as the Heyburn lecturer on December 3, “makes history a smart art.” His print journalism makes him “one of the most formidable political commentators in the world” (The Independent). His broadcasting is “the voice of reason” (The Guardian). Reviewers have likened him to Montesquieu, Gibbon, Toynbee and Braudel. Dr. FernándezArmesto has been accepted as a peer by fellow specialists in many fields, from global history and environmental history, through American history, the history of cartography, and the history of language. He has done pioneering work in all of these subjects and his work has been translated into 25 languages. Dr. Fernández-Armesto has given major endowed lectures at many universities, including Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, and the universities of London, Edinburgh, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Oxford (where he spent most of his teaching career) and honorary doctorates from La Trobe and the Universidad de los Andes; he is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and a Life Member of the Milton Magazine
Campus Guests 2008–2009
Literature • Research • Art • Inspiration American Historical Association. Dr. Fernández-Armesto is Prince of Asturias Professor at Tufts University and Visiting Professor of Global Environmental History and Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London.
Ms. Jen has published several books, including Typical American and Mona in the Promised Land—both New York Times notable books of the year. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, the New Republic, the New York Times, and in the anthology The Best American Short Stories of the Century.
violence to promote narrow selfinterest that characterizes the world today points to the critical need for spiritual rebuilding, Dr. Forbes reasoned. If we ignore our impact on one another, ignore the opportunities to build and sustain community, he argued, we erode our capacity to exist and to get the most out of life. In their March 4, 1996, issue, Newsweek magazine recognized Dr. Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world. This pastor, educator, administrator, community activist and interfaith leader was designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony magazine in 1984 and 1993.
Gish Jen Chinese American author Gish Jen visited Milton on October 29 as the year’s first Bingham Reader. Ms. Jen read from the title story of her collection Who’s Irish? to students in Classes III through I; the story depicts a Chinese mother who is perpetually confused by the attitudes and actions of her Americanized adult daughter and her Irish-American son-inlaw, especially when it comes to raising their daughter—her granddaughter—Sophie. Ms. Jen’s writing often focuses on what it means to be American and the challenges of defining that identity when the idea of “being American” is constantly changing and combining the cultures of so many different people and places. Readers often assume her writing to be autobiographical, and to that she has responded, “It is and it isn’t. A fellow writer described my situation when he said that making fiction is like making soup. There are lots of different ingredients: some of the ingredients come from your life; some come from things you’ve read, or from other people’s lives; many, many things you’ve just made up.”
James Forbes “Don’t be microscopic in your individualism,” urged the Reverend Doctor James Forbes, senior minister emeritus of the Riverside Church in New York City. As the sixth speaker in the series endowed by the Class of 1952, Dr. Forbes challenged Milton students to begin to solve the “greatest challenges facing America,” which, he contends, are based in a serious lack of community. A skilled and charismatic orator, Dr. Forbes argued that a renewal of spirit, an active belief in the essential relatedness of people and systems, was critical to our realizing the promise of our country, as well as peace and prosperity throughout the world. “As you assume leadership, moving from high school to college and beyond, you are the ones that will have to deal with what we do today,” Dr. Forbes told students. The materialism, hedonism, individualism, willingness to use wealth or
The award-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle and Slim Hopes. She has been interviewed by many magazines and newspapers, and is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Dr. Kilbourne has served as an advisor to the surgeon general and has testified before the U.S. Congress. She holds the honorary position of Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year from the National Association for Campus Activities. The presenter of an award from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said, “No one in the world has done more to improve the image of women in the media than Jean Kilbourne.”
Jean Kilbourne Jean Kilbourne, internationally recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising, visited Milton on November 19 as the Samuel S. Talbot Speaker. Dr. Kilbourne is the co-author of the recent book So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. Her first book, Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, won the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.
Marc Lamont Hill Dr. Marc Lamont Hill—activist, scholar and cultural critic— spoke to Milton students as the Martin Luther King speaker of 2009. Dr. Hill’s work, which covers topics such as hip-hop culture, politics, sexuality, education and religion, has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, books and anthologies. He has lectured widely and provides regular commentary for media outlets like NPR, the Washington Post, Essence magazine and the New York Times.
Dr. Hill’s central raison d’être in the world of ideas, as he explains on his Web site, is to help us imagine the world differently and better in order to alleviate suffering and create a more safe and democratic space for everyone. Dr. Hill is assistant professor of urban education and American studies at Temple University and he also teaches in the anthropology department; his research focuses on the intersections between youth culture, identity and educational processes. He is a founding board member of My5th, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. Dr. Hill also works closely with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy. In 2005, Ebony magazine named Marc Lamont Hill one of America’s top 30 black leaders under 30 years old.
Richard is one of Britain’s premier television producers and distributors. Founding his own production company—which evolved into the largest independent distribution company in the U.K.—Richard is a former chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and a fellow of the Royal Television Society. His productions include Nicholas Nickleby, Great Expectations and Othello. Richard also personally produced Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma! based on Trevor Nunn’s Royal National Theatre production. He has won several International Emmy Awards.
Hall, along with her teacher at that time, Barbara Henry, often work together with teachers and students. On January 29 and 30, Ms. Hall was a guest at Milton, invited by the K–8 division. After spending a full class day in the Lower and Middle schools, visiting with Grades 6, 7 and 8 and then with Grades 2–5 in Thacher, she talked with Upper
School history students about her experiences. From the Upper School, students in American History, U.S. and the Modern World II, History of Civil Rights and Senior Seminar in History had the opportunity to connect with a figure whose early bravery in the face of institutional racism affected the course of history.
Wicks Portrait Unveiled
Richard is an honorary member of Milton’s Class of 1950; he was a wartime evacuee from Britain who attended Milton for several years before returning to England for secondary school and university work in Leeds.
Source: Information from http://www.marclamonthill.com/ about.php
Richard Price ’50 On October 7, Richard Price ’50 returned to campus for the North American premier of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear, starring Ian McKellen and directed by Trevor Nunn. After the premier Richard spoke with students in Classes II and I about the production and his time at Milton.
Millions of Americans have been moved, over more than four decades, by Norman Rockwell’s poignant illustration of Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old black girl walking into school alone except for the tall figures of male guardians that preceded and followed her. The image memorializes Ruby’s integration of the William Franz Public School in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960. Today, Ruby Bridges
On April 25, 2008, the Milton Academy Board of Trustees unveiled the portrait of David Wicks, headmaster from 1963 to 1973, and father of faculty member Sally Wicks Dey ’69 (right), of the history department, and Valerie Wicks Miller ’63. Artist
Barbara Baum painted the portrait, which hangs in the Cox Library—a building for which Mr. Wicks developed plans, then acquired the necessary financial support; ultimately, he witnessed Cox Library open during his tenure.
Alumni Authors Recently published works
This Must Be the Place By Anna Winger ’88 This Must Be the Place, Anna Winger’s debut novel, is essentially a story of three characters: Hope, an American woman who has left New York to be with her workaholic husband in Germany; Walter, a middle-aged, formerly famous German actor whose star has fallen; and the city of Berlin, both modern and dealing with its turbulent past. Hope and Walter, neighbors in their apartment building, both lonely and struggling, meet one day in the elevator and go on to develop an unlikely friendship that helps each of them come to love and accept who and where they are. Anna, trained in film and photography, writes with the sharp eye of a photographer, vividly capturing the architecture, landscape, and art of the city that is the backdrop for this tale. Based
in Anna’s own experience of living in Berlin, her incorporation of the “city’s transformation” in the novel, she says, “parallels… the emotional experience of the characters, to some degree. For Hope and Walter, it serves both as a mirror and an inspiration.” Author Heidi Julavits says This Must Be the Place is a “breezily intelligent, emotionally hardhitting, culturally insightful examination of people living ‘abroad’—even within their own countries. Winger’s post-wall Berlin becomes emblematic of our global triumphs and our global malaise. This novel is insanely impressive—and it’s also a plain great read.” Anna is the creator of The Berlin Stories, a literary series for NPR Worldwide that launched in November 2008. She lives in Berlin with her family. EEH
Ms. Hempel Chronicles By Sarah Shun-lien Bynum ’90 Sarah Bynum’s second novel, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, tells the story of Ms. Beatrice Hempel through an engrossing collection of stories—interrelated snapshots from different points in Ms. Hempel’s life. What makes Sarah’s characters so special is that there’s nothing particularly special about them; Sarah writes with captivating detail, making the ordinary both familiar and illuminating. Ms. Hempel, a seventh-grade English teacher in her 20s, struggles with being the adult in her classroom while harboring some of the same insecurities as her students. Sarah’s is an unlikely coming-of-age story of an adult trying to find her place—professionally and personally—in that amorphous stage when other people her own age might be on their first job, second novel, or third child. Sarah’s characters are perfectly flawed, perfectly recognizable, perfectly human—at any given moment, the reader can empa-
thize with or be embarrassed by them. Or, more likely, both. Sarah recalls details that are so enmeshed in the fabric of everyday life they often slide by without notice. Acclaimed author Jonathan Franzen says of Ms. Hempel Chronicles, “[The book’s] heroine happens to be a schoolteacher, but Ms. Bynum has such keen eyes and ears and such deep and appealing selfknowledge, you feel she could write no less compellingly about an accountant or an administrator. She can move you in one sentence from wit and hilarity to desperation and wrenching loss. She’s really good.” Sarah’s first novel, Madeleine Is Sleeping, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2004. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories. She teaches writing at the University of California, San Diego, and lives in Los Angeles with her family. EEH
Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling By David Wolman ’92 David Wolman ’92, a selfdeclared lifelong bad speller, has written a book that linguists and etymologists filing their opinions in Amazon’s reviews have found to be great fun. “This book is my journey into the past and future of English spelling,” David says about his work. “It’s an everyman’s review of how the words of our language acquired their current form, a study of the quest to change the spelling code, and an exploration of spelling convention and innovation in the digital age.” David’s journey begins with the monks of King Alfred’s Wessex, who used a more phonetic version of English, then moves to the influence of the NormanFrench. “From there he discovers the first English-language Bibles and their impact on spelling,
before turning his attention to the lexicographical glory days of the British Empire,” according to the Smithsonian Books division of HarperCollins. “As he continues to untangle the story of our twisted spelling code, David visits English battlefields, Gutenberg’s Mainz, the Belgian city where the first English language books were printed, Noah Webster’s birthplace, and finally, Google headquarters, where he learns why texting teens are steering the ship of language evolution. “Throughout the journey, readers meet a colorful cast of characters who have waged spelling battles, from…Samuel Johnson, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain to members of today’s Simplified Spelling Society and the heroes who gave us spell-check.” Righting the Mother Tongue is “charming,” reviewers seem to agree, as it explores how English spelling came to be, traces efforts to mend the code, and imagines the shape of tomorrow’s words. CDE
Fast Track to Fine Dining: A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning a Dinner Party By Linda Runyon Mutschler ’82 Necessity is still apparently the mother of invention, because Linda Runyon Mutschler ’82 found the inspiration to write her book from the absence in bookstores of exactly what she was looking for—“a book that would tell me exactly how to plan and prepare a multicourse dinner party.” A Wall Street equity analyst who wanted to host dinner parties, Linda “decided to write for all the people like me who want to have people over for dinner but who really don’t know how to go about it.” Fast Track to Fine Dining is the result of the more than 30 dinner parties Linda and her husband hosted (one dinner party every 12 days) so that she could test different menus and recipes. Within the book are 16 full menus, broken down by season, each with the tools you’ll need to succeed at serving them to your guests— tools such as grocery lists, timelines for preparation of each
menu item, wine pairings and presentation advice. The spring menu boasts sole Florentine with a pineapple orange sorbet; the fall menu includes a butternut squash soup paired with an endive, Gorgonzola and walnut salad. Linda’s recipes are equally decadent and simple to prepare, none calling for an alarming counter full of ingredients. The emphasis is on preparing ahead so that, on the evening of, the chef and host can spend time with and enjoy their guests. “Although I wasn’t aware of it when I started,” Linda says, “friendship is ultimately what this book has been all about: cooking food for friends, sharing laughs, enjoying others and becoming true neighbors.” Go to www.fasttracktofinedining. com for more information about Linda’s book. CDE
Alumni Authors Recently published works
The Girl from Foreign: A Search for Shipwrecked Ancestors, Forgotten Histories, and a Sense of Home By Sadia Shepard ’93 From the first chapter, Sadia Shepard’s The Girl from Foreign draws the reader in, as would a childhood friend sharing family heirlooms tucked away in her mother’s closet. This tale of one woman’s journey is personal but universal. Sadia explores questions of family heritage, religion, and lost or distant cultures, engaging the reader and inciting interest not only in her own colorful story, but in the reader’s story as well.
Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign By Scout Tufankjian ’96 Scout Tufankjian’s images of Barack Obama’s campaign, some of the most evocative and expressive printed, describe his engagement with the country over time. They appeared in major newspapers and magazines throughout the world including Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Esquire. They are now collected in Scout’s first book: Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign. A political science major at Yale and politically active during her Milton days, Scout committed herself to following what would become Obama’s campaign after she covered a book-signing of his
in December 2006. The effect of the senator from Illinois on his audience deeply impressed her; she spent the next 23 months close at hand, visually documenting not only the candidate, but the response of the people who increasingly came to believe in him. According to an article in the Boston Globe by Mark Arsenault heralding Scout’s book, “Her knack for showing Obama’s effect on people is what impressed Daniel Power, chief executive officer at powerHouse Books. These photographs told not [Obama’s] story, but the story of his campaign—the hope, the change, the history of it all—visibly and literally affecting people as they witnessed him,” he said. “No other body of work captured the rapture and the nuances, the effect…his campaign was having in so many parts of the country, in so many ways.”
Scout had previously focused on imagery that described the lives of ordinary people living in deeply troubled lands. After Yale, Scout traveled as an independent photographer to Northern Ireland and then Gaza. Her book provides remarkable testimony to the range of emotions Barack Obama engendered in Americans of all ages and from every corner of the country. His own tireless effort to reach both the political cognoscenti and political neophytes develops powerfully in the pages of Yes We Can. You will see her images of the inauguration, and perhaps you will talk with her at a stop on the book tour. If you’d like to see more, visit www.scouttufankjian.com. CDE
Sadia’s words engage every sense: She describes the colorful dress of the women of India and Pakistan, conjuring the weight and feel of the Far Eastern garments; the smells of spicy kitchens and smog-filled air, punctuating the city life of Bombay, fill the nose and lungs of the reader with every breath. She makes timely stops in her journey, affording the reader necessary background information, introducing her family and explaining the varied landscapes. Sadia brings to life a young girl’s love for her grandmother and shows how such love can beget meaningful action. Sadia’s personal reflections, her revealing of secrets, and her self-revelation unfold in real time, enlarging the role of the reader, making him accomplice as Sadia fulfills her promise to her grandmother.
Long Awaited, by Former Faculty Michael Bentinck-Smith Throughout the book Sadia tries to reconcile her Jewish and Muslim heritage: The questions, What is family culture? What is religion? Where do the two merge or separate? are a constant subtext of the book. Through Sadia’s eyes, the reader witnesses the evolution of sacred ceremonies, but ever-present is the search for modern-day meaning in age-old rites. How do changes in practice reflect changes in the world and its people? Sadia’s journey is equally the coming-of-age tale of a young woman emerging from study
and theory, stepping into the world of the actual—discovering the role of her 30-something self by understanding her past. The Girl from Foreign is an enjoyable read, but this is not the greatest success of Sadia’s published debut. The author’s universal themes, flavorful characters, composites of friends and family, and personal reflections encourage the reader to ponder and come to terms with his own interpretations before asking the next question. André Heard ’93 Associate Dean of Students
It Wood Be Fun: Woodworking with Children By Michael Bentinck-Smith Michael Bentinck-Smith, beloved woodworking teacher in Milton’s Lower School from 1966 to 2007, has compiled his students’ favorite projects into a book for parents and teachers wanting to encourage in their children a sense of self-confidence, respect for tools, appreciation for working with their hands, and the pleasure that comes from woodworking. It Wood Be Fun includes the list of tools, instructions and easy-to-follow diagrams for woodworking projects ranging from basic—a sign, boat or bookshelf—to intermediate and advanced—a rocking horse, castle or mailbox. Self-taught, using his grandfather’s tools, Michael cultivated a lifelong love of woodworking that he shared with thousands of children over the years. None of the projects in his book call
for the use of power tools; he believes that “power tools do not improve ability, just speed,” stressing that hand tools require full concentration, participation and commitment to the project at hand. Michael also asserts that one of the greatest rewards that comes from sharing a woodworking project with your child is the quality time spent and the “teachable moments” that arise. “It Wood Be Fun resembles a toolbox for parents,” Michael says. “Like juggling and other hand-eye coordination skills, learning to use tools, to measure carefully, to cut accurately, to smooth thoroughly, and to bring a woodworking project to completion can have implications for a child’s well-being, concentration, self-confidence, work ethic and patience that will affect all other areas of life, including classroom learning.” To purchase Michael’s book, contact him at 617-698-7471. EEH
Class Notes 1943
Russell Murray II died of cancer in January at the age of 83. His daughter, Prudence Murray Bovee ’78, writes of her father, “He was a spectacular, witty, beloved old curmudgeon to the very end.” At his memorial service she noted, “his astonishing intellectual creativity [was] first sparked…at Milton.” Russell’s post-Milton career traversed a master’s degree from MIT, a celebrated career as assistant secretary of defense in the Carter administration, and tenure as a special counsel to the House Armed Services Committee. Prudence recalls, “He was a man of extraordinary integrity, exceptional intellect, and tremendous joy.” Russell is survived, and much missed, by wife Sally, three daughters and their husbands, and four grandsons.
John Sussewell writes, “I’ve come to learn that the first letter in FEMA means “flexible,” not federal. My renewed involvement…speaks to this reality, rather than the erstwhile hopes of improving what no one can control.” John recently finished several recording projects and is working on the first commercially released CD of him performing both drums and keyboard. You may download his solo performance and composition “To Reconcile!” at www.johnsussewell. com/2Reconcile.mp3.
1955 Athalia “Happy” (Barker) Esty writes, “Retirement keeps us on the run but enjoying pleasurable experiences, rather than the race of full-time work. I seem to fall behind on email, but will keep trying to improve!” Happy and her husband, Peter, recently spent three weeks in India, the impetus for the trip being a new school site that School Year Abroad opened this fall in Visakhapatnam. Peter is the chairman of the SYA Board of Trustees. Happy says that she and Peter are “riding the crest of that hopeful, miraculous wave that brought Barack Obama to the presidency—an amazing culmination to a long election season, and history in the making.”
A day of sailing in Buzzards Bay marked the 40th birthday of Ross Sherbrooke’s boat, Dulcinea. Pictured from left to right are Ted Raymond, Ross Sherbrooke, Lindsey Durant and John Wylde—all members of the Class of ’54.
1975 William Speers reports, “As a high school teacher, I continue to be grateful to Milton for all it taught me about learning and humanity, through the legends named Withington, Hertzog, Dick and Ellie Griffin, Bob Sinicrope, Millet, Chuck Duncan and Theobald. Thank you for inspiring my 30 years in education.”
Do you recognize any familiar faces? Harold Janeway ’54 (front row, third from right) and Martha Fuller Clark ’60 (back row, second from right) take their posts with other lawmakers of the New Hampshire State Senate.
Johanna Brassard Lolax recently earned a graduate diploma in pearls from the Gemological Institute of America and launched an Internet-based business called Tender Beauty Pearls, which sells fine jewelry at competitive prices. For more information on Tender Beauty Pearls, please call 508-479-7116 or visit www.tenderbeautypearls.com.
1981 Matthew Moore is entering his last semester of law school at Nova Southeastern University and will graduate in May. He will join the appellate practice group of the Miami-based firm Alters Boldt Brown Rash &
Sarah “Sal” Forbes, widow of Waldo “Spike” Forbes ’30 and a Wyoming livestock producer, recently became the ﬁrst woman inducted into the Saddle & Sirloin Club’s famed Portrait Gallery. Sal’s work on the Beckton Stock Farm greatly inﬂuenced livestock organization leadership and the beef production industry. Pictured with Sal is Richard Halstead, the artist who painted her portrait for the gallery. Sal is mother to six Milton alumni and grandmother to one.
Faith Morrow Williams, Mary Procter, Ann Shefﬁeld and Ellen Gross Miles—all members of the Class of ’59—enjoyed a pre-Reunion lunch arranged by Ann on Halloween 2008.
Culmo. Matthew says, “In bigger news, my partner, Ralph Girnun, and I will be getting married in Massachusetts in November 2009, followed by a Florida commitment ceremony.”
1982 In January, Richard Wise was named CEO of Lippincott, a leading brand strategy and design consulting firm. He divides his time between the firm’s New York headquarters and other offices. Rick is a 20-year brand-consulting veteran who has served for several years as a senior partner and head of Lippincott’s brand strategy practice. Prior to joining Lippincott, Rick was managing director and head of the North American strategy practice for Oliver Wyman (formerly Mercer Management Consulting). Rick speaks frequently on the topics of brands and customer-centered marketing strategy and has written for publications including the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and MIT Sloan Management Review. He is the co-author of How to Grow When Markets Don’t (Warner Business Books, 2004).
Sheldon Sturges ’60, Tare Newbury ’56 and Hale Sturges ’56 gathered at Hale’s house in Harpswell, Maine, last August.
1990 Congratulations to Meika Neblett, who was married to Michael Roberson on September 6, 2008. Milton graduates in attendance were: Sarah Bynum, Roxana Alger Geffen, Dierdra Reber, Lily Batchelder, Emma Jacobson-Sive ’91 and Toure ’89.
1991 Amy Hamill McDonough and her husband, Michael McDonough, joyfully welcomed the arrival of their second son, Alasdair Desmond Hamill McDonough, on August 24, 2008, in Hong Kong. Alasdair’s older brother, Aloysius, who died at birth in 2006, remains in their thoughts and prayers. Amy and Michael moved to Hong Kong more than two years ago and Amy, an attorney, is a caseworker with the Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre. Annika Smith James married Dabe D. James on March 15, 2008. Dabe is a teacher and technology director at Immaculate Conception School in Bronx, New York, and the owner of Injoy 7 Technologies, Inc. Annika and Dabe met at the Landmark Forum in New York City. Annika is getting used to being “Mrs. James,” as well as being stepmother to a 19-year-old daughter who is a freshman at SUNY Canton. The James family lives in Poughkeepsie with their two cats, Max and Andre.
Connie Pendleton ’88 and Jason Gross were married at the Meridian House in Washington, D.C., on June 22, 2008, and many Miltonians joined the celebration. Front row, from left to right: Faith Morrow Williams ’59, Ann Shefﬁeld ’59, Saran Moran Hutchins ’57, Chloe Breyer ’87 (ofﬁciant), Connie Pendleton ’88 (bride), Elisabeth Morgan Pendleton ’58, Eiluned Morgan ’68, Annie Elliott ’88, Ellen Mitchell ’88, Jennifer Hershfang ’88. Second row, from left to right: Catharine MacLaren ’87, Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak ’87, Anne Davis ’85, Sarah Colt ’88, Anna Coquillette Caspersen ’88, Jason Gross (groom), Joan Corbett Dine ’58, Susie Morrill ’78, Alixe Callen ’88, Amy Dine ’89, Philippa Edwards Cully ’88. Missing from the photo: Alethia Jones ’87.
Gerald Ohn recently accepted a position as a principal in the San Francisco–area office of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. “I’d love to hear from alumni at gerald.ohn@ gmail.com.”
Spencer Dickinson III, wife Jane Peacock Dickinson, and daughter Polly Dickinson (2) welcomed Spencer Edward Dickinson IV into their family on October 19, 2008. “Teddy” weighed seven pounds, five ounces and was born in Manhattan; the Dickinsons live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where Polly takes a weekly music class taught by Stephen Taylor ’96.
Phaedra and Patrick Yachimski welcomed their first child, Stephen Declan, on August 29, 2007.
Sarah White Bournakel ’87 married Gadi Shamah on January 19, 2008, in a motorcycle-themed wedding in San Francisco. Helping them celebrate was the bride’s son, Nicos.
Also there and ready to party were Milton grads Diana Donovan ’86, Jennifer White ’85, Julia Watkins White ’83, Blair Donovan Alexander ’87, Robert White ’48, Louise Zonis ’85 and Lara Shapiro ’87, pictured here with the bride.
Vera Hannah Zieman ’94 and Oscar Andrew Garibaldi were married on May 25, 2008, in Virginia.
Meika Neblett ’90 and Michael Roberson were married in New York City on September 6, 2008. Pictured here with the bride and groom are Meika’s sisterin-law Rita and brother Toure ’89, Sarah Bynum ’90, Roxana Alger Geffen ’90, Lily Batchelder ’90, Dierdra Reber ’90 and Emma Jacobson-Sive ’92.
The wedding of Ethan Kurzweil ’97 and Rebecca Hanover was made all the more lively by Milton friends Josh Frank ’97, Peter Curran ’97, Greg Ruth ’98, Josh Olken ’97 and Jeff Cooper ’97.
atrician on faculty at Louisiana State University and Jonathan is completing a fellowship in gastroenterology at Ochsner Medical Center.
Vera Hannah Zieman married Oscar Andrew Garibaldi on May 25, 2008, at Whitehall Manor in Bluemont, Virginia. Ashley Fouts was a bridesmaid. Vera and Andrew live in Somerville, Massachusetts. Vera works for the government consulting company CENTRA Technology, Inc., and Andrew is a management consultant with LEK Consulting after having earned his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School this past spring. Vera is looking forward to catching up with Milton friends who are in the Boston area. 66
Congratulations to Jennifer Foulke Pfuhl and her husband, who welcomed their son James Waylon Pfuhl into the world on Christmas Eve. In addition to being a new mom, Jenn owns a restaurant on Hilton Head Island.
1995 Melissa (Trozzi) Nass and husband Jonathan are thrilled to announce the birth of their son, William Peter Nass, born April 13, 2008. The family lives in New Orleans where Melissa is a pedi-
1997 This fall, Erick Tseng unveiled the T-Mobile G1 (the “Google Phone”), a product he’s been working on for over a year. As the lead product manager for Google products and Android (the operating system behind the G1), Erick is responsible for the overall product design and user experience of the Android
platform and its entire collection of applications. To learn more about the G1 and Android, or just for a good laugh, check out Erick’s video at http://mobile. google.com/android.
1998 The feature film Children of Invention—written and directed by Tze Chun—premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in January. Based on Tze’s award-winning short film Windowbreaker, Children of Invention is a drama about the influence of an adult world on children, the immigrant
experience, and shortcuts to the American dream. Learn more about Tze’s film at www.childrenofinvention.com. Producer Cara McKenney was awarded the Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Design by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her work on the cable television series Mad Men.
2003 Kit Will and Charlie Enright ’02 are two of the 15 young men and women featured in the 2008 Disney documentary Morning Light, which tracks the selection and rigorous training of the youngest team ever to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race.
2005 Martha Pitt and the Boston College Women’s Sailing Team competed in the 2008 ICSA Women’s National Championship in Newport, Rhode Island. Martha skippered B-division and placed second, helping the Eagles take first place overall to win the event, the first-ever national championship for the BC sailing team.
Deaths 1934 Cora Peabody Emlen Jessie Fay Sargent 1935 John T. McCutcheon, Jr. 1936 Benjamin A. Fuller II 1937 Rebeckah DuBois Glazebrook 1938 John W. Flint Margaret Twichell Jones 1940 Edward B. Long 1942 Richard H. Miller, Jr. 1943 Russell Murray II Ernest C. Swigert 1946 Dora F. Bourne 1947 Josephine Barnum Wallace 1948 Ann Hackett Hutchinson 1951 Brian R. Cuzner 1958 Penelope Philbrick Feuillan 1969 Paul E. Utgoff Friends John S. Buffinton
Marjorie Jackson Bard ’50 A Scholarship in Her Honor Provides a Milton Education for Female Scholar-Athletes
arge, as her family and friends knew her, loved her time at Milton Academy. The School was in her blood—her parents, a sister and a brother also graduated from Milton. Marge was a scholar and an athlete. Judy Phillips ’50, Marge’s classmate at both Milton and Smith College, says of her friend, “She was an inspiration during field hockey games as Miss Bailey and Miss Sullivan exhorted us on to greater efforts. I remember following [Marge’s] tall figure as she ran down the field, thankful that she was on my team that day. Marge always seemed to enjoy competing in sports. At Smith, where we were roommates, we found ourselves again with hockey sticks. I would have loved to play tennis with Marge, but on the courts I couldn’t keep up with her. She loved sports, and years later she became involved in golf. She was not a spectator.”
In addition to being a loyal donor to Milton’s Annual Fund, Marge included the Academy in her estate plans so that when she passed away in July 2008, her children directed her bequest in a way that best honored their mother’s memory and supported the priorities of the School. The Marjorie Jackson Bard Scholarship was established in the fall of 2008 to provide financial aid for a female scholarathlete. We are most grateful to Marjorie for not being a spectator.
Join us for
Graduates’ Weekend 2009 Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13
This summer, what better way to spend a weekend than laughing with old classmates, sharing with former teachers, and indulging in good food and drink, all while enjoying the Milton of today?
Friday • Engage your mind in classes taught by Milton faculty members. • Indulge your artistic side with jazz, dance and theatrical performances by Milton students. • Relive your high school days by staying overnight in the Milton houses.
• Honor graduates at the Memorial Chapel Service. • Gather with your class for cocktails and conversation as we celebrate reunions for alumni with class years ending in four or nine.
Saturday • Revisit favorite spots on campus and experience new ones on a student-led tour or via trolley with guide and faculty member Bryan Cheney. • Get up to bat or cheer for your side at the alumni baseball game. • Discuss Milton’s present and future during the “State of the School” address.
• Play in the sunshine and enjoy a barbecue lunch on the Quad at the familyfriendly outdoor festival. • Harmonize along with old favorites at the Alumni Glee Club Sing. • Connect with old and new Milton friends and faculty over dinner, drinks and live music at the class parties. For the latest reunion information or to register, visit the “Alumni” pages at www.milton.edu, or call Rhianne Crowley in the alumni relations office at 617-8982375.
Milton Academy Board of Trustees, 2009–2010 David Abrams Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
John B. Fitzgibbons ’87 Bronxville, New York
George Alex Cohasset, Massachusetts
Austan D. Goolsbee ’87 Chicago, Illinois
Julia W. Bennett ’79 Norwell, Massachusetts
Catherine Gordan New York, New York
Bradley Bloom President Wellesley, Massachusetts
Victoria Hall Graham ’81 New York, New York
Robert Cunha ’83 Milton, Massachusetts
Margaret Jewett Greer ’47 Emerita Chevy Chase, Maryland
Elisabeth Donohue ’83 New York, New York
Antonia Monroe Grumbach ’61 New York, New York
James M. Fitzgibbons ’52 Emeritus Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Fritz Hobbs IV ’65 Emeritus New York, New York
Ogden M. Hunnewell ’70 Vice President Brookline, Massachusetts Harold W. Janeway ’54 Emeritus Webster, New Hampshire
Richard C. Perry ’73 New York, New York John P. Reardon ’56 Vice President Cohasset, Massachusetts
Lisa A. Jones ’84 Newton, Massachusetts
H. Marshall Schwarz ’54 Emeritus New York, New York
F. Warren McFarlan ’55 Belmont, Massachusetts
Karan Sheldon ’73 Milton, Massachusetts
Carol Smith Miller Boston, Massachusetts
Frederick G. Sykes ’65 Secretary Rye, New York
Erika Mobley ’86 Brisbane, California Tracy Pun Palandjian ’89 Belmont, Massachusetts
V-Nee Yeh ’77 Hong Kong Jide J. Zeitlin ’81 Treasurer New York, New York