The Real World: How Will We Know It? Graduatesâ€™ Weekend Graduation 2001
Milton Academy Board of Trustees 2001–2002
Jean B. Angell New York, New York
Ronald S. Frank Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts
J. Tomilson Hill ’66 New York, New York
Helen Lin ’80 Hong Kong
Jessie Bourneuf Treasurer Milton, Massachusetts
Elizabeth Chatfield Gilmore ’68 Cambridge, Massachusetts
Franklin W. Hobbs ’65 New York, New York
Tracy Pun Palandjian ’89 Belmont, Massachusetts
William T. Burgin ’61 Dover, Massachusetts
Kenneth J. Goldberg ’81 Ex Officio Boston, Massachusetts
Ogden M. Hunnewell ’70 Vice President Brookline, Massachusetts
Richard C. Perry ’73 New York, New York
Jorge Castro ’75 Pasadena, California
Victoria Hall Graham ’81 Haverford, Pennsylvania
Margaret Bergan Davis ’76 Evanston, Illinois
Margaret Jewett Greer ’47 Emerita Chevy Chase, Maryland
Harold W. Janeway ’54 Emeritus Webster, New Hampshire
Sara Greer Dent ’77 Chevy Chase, Maryland Edward Dugger, III Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts James M. Fitzgibbons ’52 Emeritus Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Madeline Lee Gregory ’49 Westwood, Massachusetts Antonia Monroe Grumbach ’61 New York, New York Deborah Weil Harrington ’70 Washington, D.C.
Head of School Robin Robertson and Marshall Schwarz, President of the Board, lead the procession of faculty and trustees to graduation ceremonies.
David B. Jenkins ’49 Duxbury, Massachusetts George A. Kellner Vice President New York, New York F. Warren McFarlan ’55 Belmont, Massachusetts
John P. Reardon ’56 Cohasset, Massachusetts John S. Reidy ’56 New York, New York H. Marshall Schwarz ’54 President New York, New York Frederick G. Sykes ’65 Secretary Rye, New York Jide J. Zeitlin ’81 New York, New York
Milton Magazine Front cover Artwork by Wen C Dai ’02
Back cover Photographs of Boston’s “Big Dig” by Rafael Pedicini ’03
The “Real” World: How Will We Know It? 6 Crafting Citizens of the World For today’s students – future activists in a global environment – learning new languages raises political and cultural awareness. Cathleen Everett
Editor Cathleen Everett Assistant Editor Shannon Groppi
Class Notes Editor Sarah Mills Photography Greg Hren, Tom Kates, Michael Lutch, Nicki Pardo
16 Ostracism: A Visual Experience The students of Milton Academy’s Advanced Drawing class interpret examples of ostracism, and consider their own experiences.
Designer Moore & Associates Printed on Recycled Paper Milton Magazine is published twice a year by Milton Academy. Editorial and business offices are located at Milton Academy where change-ofaddress 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.
13 Real World, Real Lives For 22 years, students have over-enrolled in Human Sexuality and Relationships, a non-credit course that provides real information and frank discussion. Rod Skinner ’72
19 Please Stand Up Students debate the idea of Eminem’s controversial Grammy Award on Milton’s online Public Issues forum. 13
28 The Constitution: Venerable, Enduring, Provocative The Seventh Distinguished Alumni Seminar, May 5, 2001 31 Graduates’ Weekend 2001 34 Graduation, Awards and Prizes 38 Milton Medal Recipient 2001 John Zilliax 40 Faculty and Trustee News
2 In•Sight 4 The Head of School 22 The Milton Classroom Milton History of Art images on the Web 23 Post Script Graduate opinions, reflections and reactions On Melissa Dilworth Gold ’61 Nan Newton ’61 50 Sports
53 On Centre News and notes from the campus and beyond 60 Class Notes
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Their specially-woven fabric and hand-tailored clothing uniformly featuring Miltonâ€™s orange and blue, the family of Christine Onyung â€™01, from Lagos, Nigeria, was resplendent at graduation, June 8, 2001.
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The Head of School “Just Connect” The Effort Defines Us
avid Brooks, draws a disquieting portrait of young people in his recent article, “The Organization Kid” (The Atlantic Monthly, April 2001). Having spent hours in observation and conversation with adults and students at Princeton, he concluded that the students were driven by an “achievement ethos” and showed a “calm acceptance of established order.” “They’re not trying to buck the system; they’re trying to climb it and they are streamlined for ascent. Hence they are not a disputatious group,” Brooks observes. A professor who teaches international relations noted, “It’s very rare to get a student to challenge anything or to take a position that’s counter to what the professor says.” The faculty are somewhat chagrined, according to Brooks, about the students’ “eagerness to conform.” Rest assured. Milton’s long tradition of developing and respecting strong, independent individuals is thriving. As you will note through the feature articles in this magazine, we purposefully connect with the world’s events, issues and developments. In fact, we welcome the challenge of integrating two pursuits – sustaining academic excellence and preparing students to lead. In some cases, we administrators and faculty seize a teaching opportunity and maximize its benefit for the community. In other situations, the students themselves keep our feet to the fire.
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Last fall, a student’s use of racist, demeaning language provided the occasion. Apart from disciplining the student involved, we devoted a full assembly period to discussing the power of language and its intended and unintended impact. In small groups with their advisors, students discussed issues such as freedom of speech, language in our media and cultural milieu, stereotyping and victimizing through language, and language boundaries. During the spring of 2000, the court’s decision in the Amadou Dialo case prompted students to come to my office and ask that Milton consider an institutional response. We gave the students the support they needed to develop a full afternoon program of education, using films and student-led discussion groups that probed the experience of racism as it is expressed and felt in today’s society. The Bush-Gore presidential race was a chance to talk not only about the candidates and their platforms, but the role of citizens in a democracy. All students attended “The Debate at Milton” which presented Jonathan Sallet, advisor to the Gore/ Lieberman campaign, facing off against Jeffrey Eisenach, advisor to the Bush/ Cheney campaign. The audience – more than 600 Milton students, faculty and parents – listened intently as the speakers answered students’ questions. Both speakers
proved be knowledgeable and articulate, and unlike the presidential candidates during the televised debates, they remained focused on the issues. Approximately 150 people stayed after the event and continued to ask questions. Throughout Milton’s history, endowed lectures have connected the school community with leaders in many fields. Accomplished individuals come to campus with messages about personal experiences, scholarship, art or views of the world that are compelling for students. Among a number of lecturers this year, Asian-American actor B.D. Wong (the Hong Kong Lecturer) talked with us about finding and expressing a personal identity through the art of acting, while also dealing with discrimination against Asians. At the 2001 Rebecca Plank ’87 lecture, Eric Foner, a distinguished American historian who is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, talked with us about the ideas in his most recent book, The Story of American Freedom. Professor Foner challenged us to consider how this central concept of American political philosophy has changed over our history, and is changing still, in this era of globalization. This year our daily routine at school has changed to make sure we address what it means to “Dare to be true” in today’s world. On a rotating basis, all classes meet monthly in the chapel on Thursday mornings to consider aspects of personal development, decision-making, and responsible actions. At
The “Real” World: How Will We Know It? both Thursday morning gatherings and Sunday evening chapel meetings, student speakers and faculty speakers let us know what they believe, what they care about, what they question. Milton graduates of all decades are individuals who readily question, argue and wrestle with ideas. They are activists who have made a difference in whatever area they have chosen to work. Today’s graduates follow that important tradition. They leave Milton knowing who they are, what their world is about, and how they can contribute. Having honed the habit of asking the challenging questions and drawing their own conclusions, they are well prepared to achieve meaning and success over a lifetime.
“I like the fact that the curriculum has room in it for reaction to realworld things. Faculty want students to be able to relate what we’re studying to real world issues. For instance, the time around the election was so interesting; we talked about many things including the Vietnam War and the Middle East. My English course last year was called the “Human Condition.” Based on the reading, we all brought topics to the table that we wanted to know more about – like the concentration camps in World War II.” Brooke Wood ’01 Milton has traditionally valued lively connections with the world beyond the campus. How do we make those connections today? From the diversity of their own classmates and teachers, through clubs, lectures, service, the Internet and new courses, Milton students mature in a culturally rich environment. The experience is challenging, rewarding, and addictive, judging from their own words. The following pages track some of the elements in play at Milton today.
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“We have been self-centered as a nation.” Paloma Herman ’02
Crafting Citizens of the World As potential activists in the world community, today’s language students immerse themselves in political and cultural realities.
ernard Planchon’s seniors plunged into discussions about Algeria, Islam, the rise of fundamentalism and the Taliban. Speaking French throughout, they were reacting to Née en France, written by a young Muslim girl (of Algerian descent) living in Paris, who is torn between two radically opposed systems of values.
L’Enfant Noir, a classic of African literature by the Guinean author Camara Laye, raised other issues, both timeless and timely. Students explored, in French, man’s relation with nature, the conflict of cultures, the importance of rites and ceremonies. Their course, “Francophone World,” considers issues important to countries that have the French language in common. “That’s plenty of countries, 20 in Africa alone,” Bernard notes, “and 150 million people worldwide.” While these students have reached an advanced level, their class discussions are not serendipitous outcomes. Driven by a revised philosophy, remarkable new “tools” that have revolutionized the learning environment, the diversity of students in Milton’s classrooms, and professionals who are at once innovative and rigorous, the modern language department has forged a new role on campus.
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“We use learning language,” says Ana Colbert, “as a vehicle for learning other cultures, rather than learning language as an end in itself.” “Without devaluing the importance of learning foreign languages in one’s linguistic and intellectual development,” Bernard explains, “we have been placing a much greater emphasis on communication and on culture, which means using elements of history, geography, politics, philosophy and sociology to teach; current events are brought into the classroom almost daily.” “We move students out of their insulated niche.” Ana goes on, “We train them like good sociologists: the best know how to remove themselves from their own center.” From the start, even during the early work of acquiring vocabulary and grammar, exploring the new culture is a draw, a conduit and a stimulant. Jim Ryan uses music – playing to the insatiable teen appetite for new music. “I’ll always have a CD on when they come in,” Jim says. “They want to know who’s playing, and where they’re from. We pass the disc around, and before long, they’ll tell me about Latin music they’ve downloaded from the Internet.”
Mary Jo Ramos uses celebrations and rituals, “and always,” she says, “food.” With her “thousands of props,” as she describes them, Mary Jo decorates the classroom and the hallways. Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead), for instance, although it parallels the timing of our Halloween, and uses skeletons as visual symbols, invites a respectful and reflective attention to those we love who have left us. Consideration of this and other rites leads to the discussion about why rituals have meaning, and what rituals of other cultures cope with similar human needs. “Having students in class whose families do celebrate the traditions we talk about is so helpful,” says Mary Jo. “They are able to expand and validate everything.” The conversation is rich and exciting – and in Spanish. Intermediate level language classes for many of us – even recently – relied on English. We spoke in English about the vocabulary and grammar and made our way through focused exercises – composing correct sentences, answering questions. Today’s classes at Milton, using the new language from start to finish, draw in all manner of issues and events to keep the conversation humming. Jim Ryan remembers a day when students were bursting with opinions about an
Short-term Thinking Eschewed by Environmental Science Students
athletic pep rally – a novel Milton event. No one wanted to be left out of the Spanish give-and-take. Last year, several classes followed the Elian Gonzales case on a daily basis. Adding to The Boston Globe and The New York Times, students read El Nuevo Herald from Miami and Cuba Net from Cuba. Discussion naturally probed Cuban history and Castro’s role, the United States’ role in the region, Cuban-American relations, immigration, individual rights, and the role of law. While Mike Murray and Shimin Zhou, who teach Chinese, have no shortage of issues and events to consider, the emergency landing of the U.S. reconnaissance plane on Hainan Island this year offered a rare opportunity. Monitoring the Chinese press via the Internet was a daily stimulant that allowed students to consider divergent perceptions of a single event. Mike also uses CNN and current film to expose the narrowness of China’s visual image as it appears in U.S. media. Marisol Maura talked with her Spanish students about the similarity between issues involved in the China/U.S. incident and Spain’s perennial conflicts with Morocco over fishing rights in international waters.
“With the Internet, we can watch real time news, in virtually any language, in any country, in class,” says Bernard, noting the technology that fuels these ventures into world affairs. How was the Bush vs. Gore election – the campaign and the result – understood outside the United States? In French classes, roles of French political parties in certain Euro-conflicts have provided the intellectual turf. What do you think the platform of the Green Party would be? What about the concepts of left, right and center with respect to politics (which originated from the French Revolution)? Where did they come from, how do they play out in France today, and how does that differ from our understanding of political positions in the United States? Diverse perspectives come naturally to the Milton modern language faculty; the department includes men and women from Puerto Rico, Honduras, Spain, China and France. Discussions about the experience of immigration – the dislocation, the assimilation, the struggle with what to hold on to, and what to give up – touch a reality that is actually shared by many students. Whether students are new to Milton from Hong Kong, Korea or Japan, or whether their families emigrated to the United States from the
Milton’s Issues in Environmental Science course deals with a host of evolving developments. “Genetic engineering, in vitro fertilization, or the one that really gets my students ‘hot under the collar,’ genetically modified foods, are some of the social and political issues that we have wrestled with in class this year,” explains Patty Smith, who has taught the course for 14 years. “The students groan that genetically engineered foods aren’t natural and that they may have long-term effects that can’t yet be determined. I have to remind them that penicillin isn’t natural either.” Patty is impressed by the students’ convictions about genetically engineered foods. “These students don’t trust the long term; they are adult thinkers.” Patty often supplements the course text with articles from the Internet, and class starts with an airing of the latest controversy. Rather than urging students to take a position, Patty challenges each student to look at both sides of an issue. Discussions are frequently intense, and Patty may put aside the plan for the day to focus with the class on the issue at hand. “By taking on science questions that are also social and political issues, we stir up an awareness in our students,” explains Patty. “They graduate wanting to make a difference in the world.” Each year, Patty has asked students in the course to write what they consider to be the top 10 environmental issues. Greed and short-term thinking have stayed at the top of the students’ list.
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New Course Considers United States History in a Context
Student-created collage is a visual metaphor for the work of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo (1899–1991). Students' collages on Mexican, Spanish or Chicano artists reflect the historical and cultural issues that influenced an artist, the aesthetic characteristics of his or her work, and its influence.
Dominican Republic, Nigeria or Eastern Europe, the communication among adults and students – in a new language – is far from hypothetical. “Talk to your families,” teachers urge the students, “and ask about your own story.” This approach tests the lingering stereotypes about immigrants. “When they share what they’ve found out, students find that high expectations, enormous adaptability, motivation to work hard, and remarkable creativity, are constants, no matter the nationality or the time when the family emigrated,” Ana says. “I find students do not come with a realistic concept of what a third-world country is,” says Jenny Stortz who is from Honduras and teaches Spanish 3 and Spanish 4. “They begin with a set of stereotypes that include the ‘macho’ male figure, and women who are ‘barefoot and pregnant.’ They eventually come to understand that the history and current reality are far more complex, nuanced, and more progressive than they had thought.” Upper levels of language study move into what one student described as “heavy duty” histories, politics, literature and art. The
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department’s approach emphasizes the connections among these various inroads. Spanish 4, for instance begins with Mexican myths and legends, and pre-Colombian history, then moves through the Spanish era of Mexican history to the Mexican Revolution (1910 to 1920). “What I really like is reading the literature, like we are doing this year in Spanish 4,” says David Snider (Class III). “You can really get into the themes that are related to the history. We read Nosotros somos Dios, for instance, about the workers’ revolution in Mexico. The gap between the wealthy and the poor was even more pronounced in Mexico than it is in the United States now. During second semester, we’ve concentrated on Spain. We read La dama del alba (The Lady of the Dawn) and now we’re reading Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding) by Garcia Lorca. In class, our talk has revolved around ideas like control over your destiny, death, and conflicts with or ties to family.” Brittany Beale (Class II) appreciates the extensive reading and writing in a different culture. “We’re learning about the culture at the same time that we’re
Ottoman Turks conquer Constantinople, and European explorers begin to look for new sea routes to Asia. The Atlantic slave trade opens, and a plantation economy is established in the Americas. The Russian Empire emancipates its serfs, and American abolitionists find new energy and courage for their fight to end chattel slavery. The ancient Japanese imperial government reforms itself, and the United States expands its involvement on the Pacific rim. In these and many other instances, the story of the United States in the world has been one of a dynamic and changing relationship. This fall the history department launches a new, two-year history course that for the first time integrates United States history and world history. U.S. History has always been a graduation requirement, and students must, in addition, take either Ancient Civilizations or World History. Students may now consider how major events and developments in the United States relate to those occurring at the same period elsewhere in the world. The new course, United States in the Modern World, will consider individual national developments within the larger context of international events. Using all the materials of the traditionally-organized U.S. History and Modern World courses, students will study the period 1450 to 1900 during the first year of the course and from 1900 to 2000 in the second year.
applying the skills, like grammar.” “That’s the real window,” Paloma Herman agrees, “the literature.” “It’s easier to really get into the language when you’re reaching for ideas at a deeper level,” according to Sarah Ceglarski (Class II). “I’ve been exposed to writers that make me aware that there are many other cultures, with their own set of writers, experiences and values – beyond what I’ve known reading only in English.” In fact, Mary Jo Ramos, and Jenny Stortz report that the dialogue about themes, such as the role of women in Spain in the 1930s, stimulated by reading Lorca, continues outside class on what are known at Milton as “conferences” – online conversations through the email system that continue for days. Art, a major focus of this class, has been astutely wedded to technology in a project that transitions everyone from Mexico to Spain. Each student chooses an artist – Mexican, Spanish or Chicano (such as Diego de Rivera, Jose Clemente Orosco, or Picasso) – and, on the Internet, researches the artist’s work. They each design a PowerPoint presentation about the historical and cultural issues that have influenced the artist, the prominent aesthetic characteristics of his or her work, and its influence. Teachers have refined the project, over time, so that ideally, only images of the artists’
work and one or two bullet points appear on the PowerPoint slide. This requires that the students talk fluently and fully in Spanish about their subjects, rather than read what they’ve written, from the slide. “Everyone is so interested,” Jenny says, “but the student who is teaching is the real expert, and is thought of in that way.” Chinese and French teachers use the PowerPoint model as well; new technology has opened many doors for members of this department, and experimentation continues all the time. Heather Duran’s Spanish 5 class has studied Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico, and the approach to the latter two countries was through literature. The Chilean work, El cartero de Neruda by Antonio Skarmeta, focuses on what was happening in Chile during the 1970s, and relies on students’ having a working understanding of the notion of dictatorship, a notion they’ve seen in action, having studied about Franco the year before. While they’re studying Puerto Rico, students read a play called Vejigantes (The Mask) by Francisco Arrivi. “The play’s main conflict is about race relations,” says Heather, “and they can apply what they know about the situation in the United States, even while the focus is on Puerto Rico.”
Middle East Complexities Absorb Grade Four Reports intended to convey the “truth” are always someone’s interpretation. That reality underlies the core of the fourth grade program. Their study of the modern Middle East provides fourth graders with a vehicle for examining how people interpret the world through different lenses. Through their studies in literature, reading two books whose protagonists are fourth graders, students have already learned that not everyone sees events in the same way, and that if we are to judge, we are well served by considering both sides of an issue. While the leap from juvenile literature to the Middle East may seem enormous, faculty guide students through learning that is contextual as well as age-appropriate. The students explore different viewpoints in the Middle East through visiting various houses of worship, eating many ethnic foods, talking with Upper School students and families of Middle Eastern heritage, reading news from many sources. They travel to an Islamic Academy and invite students from that school to visit Milton Academy. Appreciating the complexity underlying a story helps students understand themselves better, and it prepares them to be constructive world citizens.
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Modern language department faculty, left to right, front: Mary Jo Ramos, Heather Duran, Shimin Zhou, Marisol Maura (chair); rear: Andrea Geyling, Jenny Stortz, Ellen Lewis, Jim Ryan, George Fernald, Ana Colbert. Missing from the photo: David Eastburn, Bill Moore, Michael Murray, Bernard Planchon, Marie Annick Schram.
Define Ethnocentrism Class often begins with the comment, “Have you seen the front page of the Times this morning? Before they can get to the front page, however, Laura Warren’s anthropology class must understand two key concepts: ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. Cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are the two lenses with which students study different societies and cultures. Whether reading from the text or discussing current events, Laura asks students to be aware of what lens they are using. Even in the most difficult of discussions, those dealing with human rights, students in Laura’s class primarily use the lens of cultural relativism. Whether the discussion be about female genital mutilation or infanticide, Laura says her young, idealistic students, put aside their own beliefs, suspend judgment, and try to understand the way that a particular culture sees the world.
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An example of the way contemporary dilemmas connect with course work emerged while the class studied the impact of development upon indigenous people. The class discussion focused on the Innu Eskimos in Labrador. According to a New York Times article, government relocation in Labrador that caused the Innu to give up their nomadic way of life has resulted in poverty and substance abuse. Of the 2,000 members of Labrador’s Innu Nation 1,200 are addicted to sniffing gasoline. The large number of addicted individuals and the high number of childhood deaths led native leaders to ask the government to remove the children from their families and the village. According to Laura, although the students tried to look at the situation in Labrador without making judgments, they were disturbed by the issues raised by the article. Students cycled back to the elements of this situation many times as they moved through later discussions.
Bernard’s French 5 literature class was recently discussing Jean Giraudoux’s 1935 play La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu (The Trojan War Will Not Take Place). The plot engages the proponents of war and the pacifists in an intense debate on the value of war and the nature of heroism; the result of the debate will be war or peace with the Greeks. “I was struck,” Bernard says, “by the similarity between some of the characters’ lines in the play (Demekos, the official poet of the War, says, “There is no greater cowardice than not dying for your country.”) and the statements made by Senator Bob Kerrey in The New York Times Magazine about his involvement in a Vietnam massacre 35 years ago (“The worst thing is not having to die for your country, but having to kill for your country”). I brought the article to class and we had an exciting discussion about war, patriotism and heroism, underlining the connection between a seemingly distant experience and a current, painful and intimate situation. All of this took place in French, of course.” “I don’t think there’s a single situation when we’ve read a work without considering it in a social context,” says Christine Onyung (Class I), a student of French 5. “What is your own reaction to these ideas, we ask ourselves in class, whether it’s about hero-
Realtime Updates on Pinochet while Reading Marquez
I have taken considerable heat from my colleagues since I began reading the morning paper online. Despite their arguments about proximity to breakfast foods and the feel of newsprint in their hands, they’re missing the point. If someone really loves the newspaper, technology has made it an all-day pleasure. With updates every 10 minutes, an online newspaper trumps even the days of morning and evening editions. Furthermore, online newspapers offer the reader a variety of clever options. Want to send an article to a friend? Forget scissors, envelopes, and stamps. Just click on “Email this article” and off it goes, either in its entirety or as a synopsis. Want to print an article? Just click on “Printer friendly form.” This last option, of course, highlights the value of online newspapers for the teacher. The ease with which I can bring my students an article from the morning paper has made that act a frequent part of my teaching, and I am not unique in trying to bring as many references to current events as I possibly can to the study of literature. I remember, for example, when my Class III students were reading Nadine Gordimer’s Six Feet of the Country, and The New York Times ran a series of articles on the lives of domestic workers in South Africa. The reports instantly enlivened our discussion of the stories. Since then, the frequency with which an article ideally suited for one of my classes has appeared in the daily paper has sometimes made me wonder if the editors had a copy of my course outlines. Sometimes, the relationship between the front page and the homework assignment can be painful, of course. In 1992, my students in American
Literature were reading The Fire Next Time when the riots exploded in South Central Los Angeles. James Baldwin had written to warn America about conditions, which would soon erupt in Watts, Newark and Detroit. Thirty years later, his essay seemed all too relevant. A partial list of the articles I’ve downloaded this year would include: 1) A feature about survivors of the Tulsa race riot of 1921 bringing a reparations suit. Earlier in the year, my Class III students had read a Sharon Olds poem on this event, “Race Riot, Tulsa, 1921.” 2) Updates on the Pinochet case as my Modern Comparative Literature students were reading Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and trying to understand the realities of South American history in the twentieth century.
During my American History course in the mid-1960s, my teacher had daily copies of The Wall Street Journal for each of her students. That woman changed my life, I feel certain, though I doubt she foresaw the lengths to which I would someday go for a good newspaper. She also taught me the value of linking what someone was teaching to what was happening in the real world. I believe Milton students are unusual in knowing as much as they do about those events. After all, how many morning assemblies across America feature Alex Pasternak ’01 with synopses of the day’s top stories? John Charles Smith
3) Daily bulletins on the Birmingham bombing trial as my American Literature students were again reading The Fire Next Time, with a profile of Louis Farrakhan by Henry Louis Gates Jr., which echoed many of Baldwin’s themes 30 years later, and Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight, Los Angeles, 1992, commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum as a document for the city of the events of that April. As many of you know, Milton teachers conduct a course evaluation exercise each June, and many students over the years have mentioned the newspaper articles and how much those pieces added to the course.
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ism, love, death, or bondage and oppression. We get, ultimately, to the universality of issues.” “When we read Une si longue lettre,” Tarleton Cowen remembers, “we ended up relating the situation of the protagonist to the current plight of women in countries that permit bigamy.” “This approach – applying the ideas to a personal and social context – works so well,” says Christine. “You search for the right vocabulary, you increase your verbal skills, what you learn really sticks, and together we cover so much territory that doesn’t get touched, normally.”
Cinema, according to many faculty, is the “medium of choice” in stimulating an intense exchange of views. “The best films are so present and immediate, so evocative, and so rich,” Ana says. Her course, Spanish Film and Social Change, examines 50 years of Spanish films, against a timeline of world events. The French department’s course, 20th Century France through Its Cinema, takes a similar approach. “Either through the topic the filmmaker has chosen, or the way the film is made, there is so much that we can understand.” Chinese classes use the classics of the 1920s and ’30s, or light contemporary film – once again, to examine the current social context from other perspectives.
Endowed Lectures Have Long Connected the Campus with the World The Story of American Freedom One of the most exciting ways that generations of Miltonians have kept close touch with the developments in the world at large is through endowed lectures. On March 7, of this year, Eric Foner, a distinguished American historian, spoke to students and faculty as the 2001 Rebecca Plank ’87 lecturer. Currently the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, Professor Foner has authored 14 books, most recently The Story of American Freedom. At Milton, Professor Foner argued that while freedom is a central concept in our political vocabulary and culture, we do not have a single notion of what freedom is. The meaning of freedom has been shaped and reshaped, depending upon the exigencies of the social controversies and political struggles within given era. Early in our history, freedom was seen as the entitlement of white men. At times it has helped us define our
enemies or rationalize our expansionist will. In the twentieth century, we have embodied notions of certain individual rights within the concept of freedom. Most recently, we have connected freedom with ideas of free enterprise, the autonomy of the consumer, and the global spread of market-based capitalism. We have accorded supranational entities the freedoms or rights customarily understood to be derived from an individual’s membership in a nation state. The question of what freedom is, Professor Foner asserted, will continue to provoke controversy, as we look beyond borders to the global debate now raging. The Story of American Freedom, therefore, is a story of an organic enterprise, the effort of Americans to come to grips, over time, with the meaning of one of the essential ideas of our political existence.
In general, students today seem intent upon acquiring a real functional competence in the language. “I want to be able to communicate, to speak fluently in another language with the background of really knowing the culture,” says Daniel Harlow (Class II). “Even walking around Boston,” Sarah Ceglarski points out, “it’s a cool feeling to understand what people are saying in a foreign language.” “Most businesses know that they need to be able to communicate in more than English,” Brittany Beale observes. “It’s necessary and practical.” “We’ve been self-centered as a nation,” Paloma Herman contends, “thinking everyone should just speak our language.” Participation in exchanges is up, as are applications for School Year Abroad, participation in numerous summer programs, and volunteering for service programs throughout the world. The Latino Society and the Spanish Club at Milton are both interested in doing community service work next year that uses students’ facility with Spanish. Young graduates who use non-English languages as part of their careers or personal commitments come back to talk to current students. Besides helping the students understand who they are through the eyes of the other, the in-depth awareness they gain of culture, history, and social patterns connects directly to their sense of confidence as they use the language. They are empowered in an appropriate way; their immersion into the history and culture at the core of the language adds immeasurably to the ability to listen, read and speak in a new language. The more they experience in a new language – from class discussions and presentations through family trips to language exchanges and service expeditions – the more their appetites grow. Studying modern language at Milton today is a model for garnering and directing the resources available to us today: to diversify our teachers and students, to adopt technology where it furthers the goal, to promote in-depth and respectful scholarship of other cultures. Cathleen Everett
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“Can you get AIDS from oral sex?”
“Can you have a real relationship without sex?”
“Why do females have periods?”
“What are aphrodisiacs?”
“Why is there so much pressure to have sex?”
Real World, Real Lives “How do you know if you’re gay or straight?” “What is love?”
n most departments faculty look to the real world to limn and expand the significance of the learning that occurs in the classroom. The material, we worry, is not worldly enough. The Human Sexuality and Relationships course works from the premise that the world may be too much, that the constant, assaultive nature of media and culture, coupled with the pressures of school and the natural hormonal buzz of adolescence makes navigating their teenage years, happily and healthily, increasingly difficult for our children. This fall Frontline on PBS aired a program called “The Merchants of Cool” that explored “the symbiotic relationship between the media and today’s teens, as each looks to the other for their identity.” The program showed, in very real terms, the pressures facing adolescents. It introduced the audience to the midriff, “the highly sexualized, world-weary sophisticate that increasingly populates television shows,” and her even more popular and puerile male
“What is statutory rape?”
counterpart, the mook, “the perpetual adolescent: crude, misogynistic – and very, very angry.” We also learned about the “enclosed feedback loop.” Explained Douglas Rushkoff, the correspondent for the show, “Kids’ culture and media culture are now one and the same, and it becomes impossible to tell which came first – the anger or the marketing of anger.” Are teens who they are, or are they reflections of what marketing culture decided they should be? Does their sexual or violent behavior stem from the power of hormones or the power of suggestion? In February, Frontline gathered a group of Milton Academy students to respond to “The Merchants of Cool.” In discussion the Milton students recognized the insidious intrusion of popular culture. One student talked about the escalation of crude material, “Sexual activity on TV is just getting more explicit. Vocabulary that’s allowed on the radio is getting more and more explicit.” Adia Bey, Class II, saw in this escalation “the downward spiral” of U.S. culture:
For 22 years, students have overenrolled in Human Sexuality and Relationships, a non-credit course that provides real information and frank discussion.
“Let’s take sex and violence, which is what you see everywhere. I am inevitably polluted with it all the time. But, once I turn 18, I’m not just going to forget about it. It’s still going to be there. And that pollution (that’s what I’ll call it for now) is just going to be with me for the rest of my life.” Twenty-three years ago, Ellie Griffin, director of counseling services, saw the first encroachments of that pollution. Working with former Milton Academy faculty member, Jack Starmer, she developed Human Sexuality and Relationships (HS&R) as a response. “Adolescents,” she wrote, “need a forum for discussing the things which are important to them as they wend their way through this challenging time of life. It is through relationships with others that we encounter the most satisfying and lifeaffirming values, as well as the most conflict and angst in our lives. Adolescence is the time when we really begin to come to terms
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ductive system in as much detail as possible. (Cowper’s glands, anyone?) Role-playing is de rigeur. Depending on the topic of the evening, a student may be asked to see the world from the perspective of a college student “coming out” to his roommate, a student forced to slow things down because her partner does not have “protection,” or a boyfriend telling his girlfriend that he may have picked up a sexually-transmitted disease during a one-night stand. In another session, students learn how to put on a condom and they then brainstorm to devise the perfect contraceptive device.
not only with who we are, but also with how we must work to create and maintain love, intimacy, caring and connection with significant others in our lives. It is our belief that students need accurate information, meaningful conversation with their peers, and guidance from mature adults as they confront and conquer these complex issues.” Targeted at tenth graders through twelfth graders (Class III– I) the course was an immediate hit and, while the course has evolved over the years, its core remains the same. For 10 weeks, beginning in January, a group of 12 students (six girls, six boys) meet with two adults (one female, one male) and one Class I aide once a week in the evening to cover topics ranging from anatomy, to safe sex, to sex-role stereotyping, to relationships. These are no-holds-barred exchanges. As Rachel Klein, college counselor and longtime HS&R faculty, says, “These discussions are real. Openness, candor, and kindness are ever-present in the HS&R meetings.” In one of the first exercises, students draw the male and female repro-
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women. In one of the most powerful classes, students view a video of heterosexual teenagers who had contracted HIV through unsafe sex. Klein, college counselor says, “The message hits home. Finally the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV become real to them.”
The emergence of AIDS as an omnipresent, real danger has necessitated the most significant changes in the HS&R curriculum. As Ellie Griffin said in an interview in The Link (the Milton parent newsletter), “Sexuality must now be discussed within a life-and-death context.” Safe sex takes on even greater meaning. Discussions now address the abstinence from sexual activity involving penetration as a very positive and viable option, and the absolute importance of the condom in guarding against HIV, and the mistaken belief that HIV cannot be transmitted through oral sex. The course also confronts what Griffin called the “regressive sociological implications” of oral sex: “It can imply that females must be in a subordinate, or servicing position, to males” with potential lifelong negative impact on
Response to HS&R has been so enthusiastic; students have been so eager to continue the conversations begun in tenth grade classes, that Ellie developed a course for Class II, Advanced HS&R (or Advanced Sex, as most people call it). Students are free to pick their own topics and invariably they settle on relationships: How do you start them and how do you sustain them? What makes a healthy relationship? Again, role plays are a popular vehicle for exploration. In one, a girlfriend copes with the fact that her boyfriend completely ignores her when he is around his friends. In another, a senior heading off to college and a junior react to the news that she is pregnant. A favorite game is “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” in which the boys and girls
HS&R, I was comfortable confiding in everyone in the group.” Maile Carter, Class II, concurs, “I was surprised by how open everyone in the class was. We all felt very secure in the setting and shared a lot with one another. The course has made me look more carefully at my own relationships and the relationships of people around me. I notice when a friend is putting herself in a bad situation, or needs help.” Eliza Davis, Class I, noted, “It was interesting to see how different people felt about the same topic. I got to know people I would not have otherwise.”
each try to guess the others’ responses to questions about relationships and sex. The value of these discussions is as much personal as social. After hearing his classmates react to the way he played the protective brother of a younger sister, one young man rethought the way he treated his own sister. He realized that he was so fierce about protecting his sister that she was no longer talking with him as freely and as openly as she once did. Students develop connections and community that extend beyond the classroom. Writes Caitlin Flint, Class II, “The most important thing I have learned, and also the most surprising, is that I can trust various people at Milton Academy. Although we covered sensitive topics, in This commitment to others, to spreading the message of HS&R, led this year to the formation of SECS (Students Educating the Community about Sexuality). SECS is a group of 12 Milton seniors selected from those who have taken the two courses, beginning and advanced HS&R, to serve as aides in the beginning HS&R classes. Students who apply for SECS see their responsibility as passing on to others what they have learned. As Caitlin said in her application, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” Reflecting on her year as a member of SECS, Eliza wrote, “Students can never learn too much, and HS&R helps prepare us for college too. Many times Milton students think they are completely safe and sheltered. Opening students’ eyes to the real world is important, and helping them understand that there are
people like us who are pregnant or have STDs.” Rachel Klein describes a “beautiful moment” during her beginning HS&R course: her SECS aide asked students to identify three things they liked about themselves and three things they did not. One girl protested that she could not come up with a single positive thing to say about herself. Another girl said, “You’re beautiful. Don’t you know that?” Says Rachel, “The lesson of that day was, ‘If you don’t like yourself, how can you expect others to like you?’ The students loved it. They realized that even those peers whom they admire from afar have insecurities. We are all much more alike than we think we are.” HS&R perhaps draws its greatest power from this common ground, for in the connectedness to others students find the surety to persevere through the confusions and contusions of modern living and find their true, confident selves. Rod Skinner ’72 College Counselor
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Ostracism: A Visual Exercise
Little Girls in Big Beds, Tze Chun ’02
Ostracism is any deliberate exclusion of one person or group by another from the ranks or place of the “chosen.” Ostracism is often about hate or envy; it is always about rejecting “the other.” The students of Milton Academy’s Advanced Drawing class were asked to choose and to interpret an example of ostracism and to consider their own experiences. They were challenged to create a “psychological landscape,” making use of visual symbol and metaphor, visual expressions of emotion, and devices for creating compelling spatial illusions. Little Girls in Big Beds Little girls in big beds. Physically, they are too small to play the role of prostitutes, yet it happens anyway. Psychologically, they are too young to be thrust into the sex trade. The societies which support brothels ostracize the girls who work in them. These girls in turn are forced into a state of self-ostracism, creating barriers between their true selves and the roles they play. When I started working on this project, all the situations and ideas I experimented with seemed trite. In an effort to move away from such literal portrayals of pros-
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titution, I began to sketch more abstract versions of my original ones, and then abstractions of these abstractions. What I was left with was a drawing in which the meaning is not readily apparent. I had made undefined figures in positions that could be interpreted many different ways. The spaces within the dual spaces, the “bubbles,” are bare with only slightly distinguishable characteristics. I wanted to invoke questions rather than tell a story. Who are the figures lounging on the bubbles? Does their posture imply confident idleness? Or soft curiosity? To me, the figures on top of the bubbles are looking in on themselves, separating themselves from their bodies and their actions. The dripping substance portrays this relationship. I had originally pictured each space as a crystal ball, which is strange because this usually implies a connection to the future but I wanted the orbs to hold the possibility of being the past, present or future. The rooms are bare because the girls in them have no feelings for their surroundings, there is nothing for them to grow fond of or attached to. The bottom room has a window, but this is not a means of escape, rather, the light thrown from this window is a harsh one from the neon signs of city. This project is a compilation of the emotional effects and physical imagery of the sex trade, which I have confronted, seen, and seen hidden. When I walk around big
Saturday Afternoon, Wen C Dai ’02
Marching in the Streets Cal Sargent ’02
cities in Asia, where the slits of sky running the length of the street are barely visible through the neon signs, I noticed that shady businesses were advertised by a generic sign with three horizontal stripes of neon light. This is because the government had long forbidden such businesses to advertise by name. This restriction of namelessness mirrors the nameless shame that causes girls and women to lose themselves, to become coarsely drawn bodies regressing continuously from their undefined mental selves, selves which can only watch this transmogrification through a bubble of ostracism.
ed to include the girl’s date, yet take attention away from him and make him distant and unaware of the situation. The primary situation concerns the Asian girl, who glances back at a culturally accepted tradition of the past and probably scorns its practice; and yet she wears her platform shoes without any further thought. On one Saturday afternoon, two different people meet; do they show us an evolution in the right direction, or a repeating pattern?
Tze Chun ’02
Marching in the Streets This work illustrates ostracism by showing the few and the many. The many, shown by the working class, is in this instance dark and faceless. They are like robots marching through the streets of a baron city. The sole figure in the foreground is a homeless man. He represents the few and is very delicately drawn. He, although poor, appears to be more human. Yet, he is still ignored completely. These elements together heighten a sense of contrast.
Saturday Afternoon Though blatant acts of hate and exclusion may come to mind, ostracism also occurs on a more subtle level. This drawing attempts to show a brief, fleeting moment where past meets present and questions concerning cultural differences and gender roles are raised. The elderly woman, sitting on a sidewalk in Chinatown, rests and re-bandages her feet. Her grimace shows she has been subject to a particularly harsh aspect of Chinese society’s past: foot binding. The younger woman, on a date with the man in the foreground, turns and catches a glimpse of the elderly woman’s disfigured foot. I want-
Wen C Dai ’02
Cal Sargent ’02
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Gordon Chase, Visual Arts Department, on Personal Expression The members of the visual arts department believe that art and identity are inextricably linked. While students continue to address issues of beauty and truth in formal and traditional artistic expressions, a strong theme in the department’s work is our focus on issues of identity. We challenge students to ask: “Who am I?” “Who are you?” and “Who are we?” Students ask and answer questions about themselves and their culture. They learn to use art to express their personal feelings and beliefs – to make clear and dramatic statements of conscience in terms of color, shape, form and image. An importance is placed on values clarification, which comes when a student is clear about what she or he believes, and then chooses the best way to communicate this learning to others. In recent years, Milton students in Class IV painted belief posters and social issue murals. Students enrolled in AP Studio Art created human rights images, fashioned surrealistic and whimsical interpretive portraits in clay, and captured personal moments at Milton using collage techniques. Photo students addressed self and culture using alternative and digital image processes. Students in Advanced Drawing addressed the Middle Passage, the
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Holocaust, the Irish Famine, bystander mentality and ostracism. Faculty members in the visual arts department maintain a cooperative link with Facing History and Ourselves, a national organization that educates students and teachers about the Holocaust and contemporary issues of race, gender and religion. This past year, Milton art dominated Facing History’s 25th anniversary celebration in Boston, and was featured at a national conference at Harvard called “All That Jazz”about adolescent issues. Student art was also included in the DeCordova Museum’s millennial show “Witness/Legacy,” in Facing History’s “Choosing to Participate” exhibition at the Boston Public Library, at Boston College’s international conference on the “Arts and the Holocaust,” and at a large New England exhibition called “Art with a Social Conscience.” Gordon Chase, Chair Visual Arts Department
The Salem Witch Trial Sophie Monahon ’02
The Salem Witch Trial Ostracism is a hard theme to depict; most times it is not a physical occurrence, but rather verbal action or mental state. The Salem witch trials are a well-known example of clear, physical ostracism. In addition to the physical aspects (a woman being burnt at the stake) is the idea that she is being burnt out or rejected from a community. I tried to show the woman’s sorrow and her resignation, having been ostracized. Sophie Monahon ’02
“So does Marshall Mathers deserve Album of the Year? Well, I probably wouldn’t vote for it, but if it does win, that would be perfectly in keeping with Grammy’s tradition of rewarding commercial success. And where might a really good dialogue on homophobia, violence and entertainment begin? It might look at why the Marshall Mathers LP proved to be so pleasurable for so many, not despite but rather because of its violent themes. It might start by seeing Eminem not as an exception but as the rule – one upheld not just by commercial entertainment values but by our courts, schools, family structures and arrangements of public space. As Eminem says, ‘guess there’s a Slim Shady in all of us, let’s all stand up.’” From “Eminem – Bad Rap” by Richard Kim
Please Stand Up Milton’s “issues” clubs all host lively and popular online discussions called “conferences.” On March 5, 2001, the Nation published an article entitled “Eminem – Bad Rap?” by Richard Kim. The article followed this year’s Grammy Award controversy over whether Eminem’s album, Marshall Mathers, with its its homophobic and violent lyrics, deserved the honor of “Album of the Year.” The next day, the Milton students were wrestling with the idea themselves on Milton’s online Public Issues Conference.
Share in the students’ threaded email conversation:
“Can an album be ‘the best’ if it is utterly deplorable? I’ve thought about it myself, but the music is really, really, really good...”
“I think the big issue is whether album of the year should have gone to a good album, or a good album that doesn’t offend everyone. If you take the first definition, then Eminem belonged on the final list; his CD was incredible. If you go with the second definition, it doesn’t.” “Eminem is a tricky subject. On one hand, he certainly shouldn’t be censored; that sets a dangerous precedent, and we must learn to tolerate the things we don’t like. However, I think his lyrics are incredibly offensive, as I find a great deal of rap to be. Furthermore, I think I find him incredibly fake. Eminem’s image is built on not giving a damn, but he clearly does. He’ll say ‘faggot,’ because he knows it won’t alienate him from a large percentage of the population that will buy his record. On the other hand, he has publicly said that he will not
use other epitaphs out of ‘respect.’ Clearly he is at odds with himself. He won’t use other epitaphs because someone listening might say ‘Hey that’s offensive’ and stop buying his products. However, he knows that the chance of that happening with ‘faggot’ is, for the most part fairly low. Also, in response to the previous two messages, can an album be ‘the best’ if it is utterly deplorable?”
“I think the question at hand is as follows: Whose opinion can justify the censorship of another man’s opinion? Do we need a majority consensus in order to censor an individual? Does a sole leader censor anyone he wishes? Does the matter go to Congress? Everyone has an opinion about the validity of another man’s ideas, but who is to say that our own opinion is justified? I raise such questions because, as I read this conference, I thought of Dmitri Shostakovich, one of the most famous Russian composers from the early 20th century. This was a time when people were essentially kidnapped in the middle of the night for their political beliefs (in other words, a strong form of censorship). Shostakovich was a prime target for such a kidnapping because of the political beliefs that he expressed through his
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music, yet he was fighting against a terrible autocracy. The government censored him, but nowadays, we revere his ideas as progressive and courageous. Now, back to Eminem. If we treat censorship as a symbolic limitation on a man’s opinion, then how can we limit a man’s opinion without knowing how his ideas will affect the future. Assume for a minute that we are living during the 1930s in North Carolina, and some jazz singer starts singing against racism. We might have hated his opinion, despite the positive potential with such ideas (just look at Billie Holliday). In other words, there is no way to know how such ideas will affect the future, and I would say that the integrity of art, particularly the lyrics in music, are more valuable than the mere guesses about the future and the artist’s impact.” “I personally think whatever Eminem says is fine, and he should be allowed to say it for as long as he wants to make records. People are going to have their beliefs; listening to Eminem will hardly, if at all, change them. He won’t turn someone into a gay-basher even if he/she listens to the record everyday for the rest of his/her life. So, the people whom we think use these lyrics as a catalyst for violence already had violent ideas in their heads, Eminem didn’t put them there. I find it kind of hypocritical of gay rights groups, who are about as liberal as they come, to try to censor (which is what it is) anyone or anything. They protest, in the name of freedom, to be able to be with whomever they want, so why can’t other people say whatever they want. It seems to me like a case of wanting to have their cake and eat it too.” “I do not think that Eminem should be censored. I do, however, believe that he should take responsibility and stop encouraging hate in our society. If Eminem does not stop, I am in full support of any private bans, or boycotts of his album. If a gay alliance puts a ban on his music, this is not hypocrisy, it is consumer choice and political activism to raise awareness about the negative effects of Eminem’s messages. If awareness is raised, Eminem’s hateful lyrics become less powerful.”
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“Plenty of pop icons – not just Eminem – make their money by manipulating people’s desire for what is offensive and violent. This suggests that the problem is not the artists, but the consumers. Censorship won’t accomplish a thing – it seldom does. With or without Slim’s outrageous lyrics, we’ll still have to have to face reallife social issues.” “Don’t you think we all have the potential to be hateful, hurtful and intolerant? The seeds of hate are inside all of us, and listening to music that waters these seeds can produce violent acts. Do not trivialize the power of the music we listen to, the TV we watch, and the other things we take in every day. It all affects us, and if we listen to music that embodies the emotion of hatred, we may reproduce that emotion, even if we do not believe in the message.” “Eminem is indeed selling a very calculated image. He knows exactly what he can get away with, what he can’t get away with and what he can barely get away with, and he knows that people will buy his stuff. The argument that there is a ‘Slim Shady in all of us’ is fairly compelling, probably for a lot of people, which is exactly why he’s out there doing his thing knowing he’ll get a response. I personally find a lot of the things he says repulsive, and I don’t think his music is all THAT good, but trying to shut him up by placing some sort of a ban on his music will not keep anyone who wants it from buying it, and challenging the so-called inalienable right of free speech will generate a lot more problems and long-term issues than could ever arise as a direct result of his music.” “The previous statement is probably more complicated than Eminem himself. I believe that Eminem is a fairly straightforward man; he and his producers know where the money is, and they are definitely taking the right road. The real question, though, is ‘what is really, really good music?’ Music changes all the time.
Issues Groups at Milton AIDS Board Amnesty International The Asian Society Common Ground Gay and Straight People (GASP) HAPA (Biracial students) Jewish Student Union Latino Association Lorax (Environmental Club) Middle Eastern Club Onyx Public Issues Board Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD)
Myriads of famous people are made and broken by the music industry. But what is good music? Someone thinks it is Eminem. I may think it is something else. There isn’t a pattern. It’s all random, because different people naturally like different stuff. The real genius of Eminem, and anyone else making and producing this music, is figuring out how to position the music so people have to like it. MTV is the answer. There is a huge fan base for all MTV artists, and the idea of a TV channel that promotes whatever kind of music it gets paid to promote is really a dream to all the producers who need a less obvious way of shamelessly promoting their music. MTV makes videos, personalities, award shows, for people that have been made by the industry. It’s almost perfect – except for the whole music value thing. For most people, the value actually doesn’t matter. Now that there is a wide enough following for Carson Daly and his happy TRL gang of fiftybazillion people, it really doesn’t matter how good the music is. The thing that keeps people into the music is the mere fact that, hey, my
friends listen to it, it’s on TV, and hey, wouldn’t it be cool to look/get with that lady dancing around? Then there is another group, who actually pays attention to the music. For them, Eminem’s lyrics are stimulating (sexually, or just in general), and the music has some sort of flow to it, whether it actually has value or not. For most people today, really good music isn’t so closely tied to what it sounds like. It’s how new, crazy, or kickin’ it is compared to the rest. To be successful, music needs to get on MTV, or the radio.” “Censorship of songs in my opinion is ridiculous. For example Shyne, a rapper under Bad Boy Entertainment, is being charged for a shooting. The prosecutors of the trial want to use his lyrics to illustrate his violent nature. To this I ask, ‘Why is Stephen King not thought of as sick for expressing himself artistically.’”
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The Milton Classroom Milton History of Art Images on the Web
arry Pollans willingly surrendered his slide projector. Formerly the sine qua non of his AP History of Art course, Larry’s slides and the cumbersome task of preparing, storing and editing the collection are passé. Having witnessed many innovations during his 16 years on the Milton faculty, Larry undertook his own innovation three years ago when he began building an electronic image database. This year, Jonathan Leong, a senior and an art history student, will make the images that fuel Larry’s course available online to the extended Milton community.
By downloading images from the Internet and scanning his own slides and pictures from various books, Larry has amassed a collection of 3,504 images. He learned the art of “smart searches,” and located images of great works of art around the world. With his students, Larry visits world museums daily, viewing images of major works. The system isn’t perfect. Limited image resolution can mask important aspects of the work. For instance, details of the subject’s face in a Rococo painting are hard to distinguish and the viewer doesn’t get the sense of and feel for the paint strokes evident in the original artwork. A highresolution scanner with a high price ticket would achieve the resolution Larry would like to show his students.
Digital images, however, are easy to share. Relying on his background in Milton’s socalled “Hackers Heaven” course, Jonathan will move Larry’s files into a database-driven Web page using a program called MySQL. Jonathan says his background in the art history course will ease the process of organizing and proofing the material in the database. This is Jonathan’s senior project. With only five weeks to complete the task, Jonathan focused more on the basics than on the details. He described the project as “scalable” and is hoping someone will take it on as his or her senior project next year.
For his senior project, Jonathan Leong ’01 (left) moved Larry Pollans’s collection of images for the art history course into a database driven Web page.
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ost Script is a new department that will open 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org. We inaugurate the department with a reflection on the life of Melissa Dilworth Gold ’61, written by her friend and classmate, Nan Newton. Melissa died in a 1991 helicopter crash north of San Francisco that also took the life of her beloved companion, rock impresario Bill Graham. A student leader at Milton, a distinguished scholar and athlete, Melissa led an uncommon life, deeply engaged in widely disparate pursuits that demonstrate both her versatility and her caring. She was a champion bicycle marathon racer, an East Asian studies scholar, a scriptwriter, college teacher, editor, event organizer and community activist. Nan’s narrative about Melissa is based in the intimacy of their many letters to each other.
On Melissa Dilworth Gold ’61 Dear Nan, Monday was an otherworldly day here, and I wish I could describe it. Ethan and Ari were both accepted to Columbia and Harvard, and they each got into all the other colleges they applied to…. I felt like I’d had a baby…no! Triplets! I don’t think I’ve ever felt such pure joy. This was how my friend, Melissa Dilworth, began one of her many letters to me during the 10 years we corresponded from the early 1980s to the month of her death, October, in 1991. We wrote to each other about everything under the sun. We wrote about families and our love lives. We wrote about our obsessions: with bike racing in her case, and with horses in mine. We wrote about self-doubts, and about our mutual need to
be more assertive in life. We wrote about small victories with children and in jobs, and about our moments of glory. On October 25, 1991, Melissa was killed in a helicopter crash. It was a stormy night in San Francisco, and she and her colleague and great love, the rock impresario, Bill Graham, were flying from a concert in the East Bay to a port near Bill’s house in Marin, a route which they had taken numerous times before. But this time the lights of an electric tower had blown out in the storm. The pilot didn’t see the tower and their helicopter flew into it. A little over a year after this tragedy, Melissa’s parents, her three children and some friends created at Milton the Melissa
Melissa Dilworth Gold, champion bicycle marathoner
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“I was a rebel of sorts – and struggled in most classes that weren’t taught by Mr. Abel. On the contrary, Melissa and Milton were a perfect fit. She was a success in just about every area of school life.”
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Dilworth Gold ’61 Visiting Artists Fund in Melissa’s memory. It was to bring a prestigious artist to Milton every year to spend several days working with students. This person, in addition to holding workshops, would give a concert, a reading, or a showing of his or her work – possibly in collaboration with students. The Fund would also provide for each artist to interact with faculty and students at the nearby public school. This particularly would have pleased Melissa; the last thing she was working on night and day before she died was a huge project to improve a deteriorated public school in San Francisco. This visiting artist’s program has been going on for nine years, and has been an amazing addition to both schools. Now seemed the time for someone to do a profile on the person who inspired this gift, and since Melissa and I have been good friends for many years, I agreed to write something about her. Melissa and I were in the same class at Milton. But in those years, that’s about all we had in common. I was a rebel of sorts – and struggled in most classes that weren’t taught by Mr. Abel. On the contrary, Melissa and Milton were a perfect fit. She was a success in just about every area of school life. She was a straight A student. She was exceptional in field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. She sang in the Octet, and acted in theatrical productions. In her senior year she was elected head of student government and secretary of the Athletics Association, was captain of the basketball team, received a National Merit scholarship letter of commendation, graduated cum laude, and was accepted early admissions to Radcliffe (Whew!). And in her spare time (which, interestingly, despite the above, she seemed to have lots of ) she was fun and mischievous. Melissa wasn’t annoyingly “perfect.” Once, I wrote to ask if she was thinking of attending an upcoming Milton reunion, and she replied, “…if I went it would be only because I’d like to see our classmates – and I wouldn’t mind some time
in the chapel…it would be good to sit there and remember the night we stole Ann Watson’s shoe from under the bench, and how she managed to walk out of there without ANYONE noticing she had only one shoe on.” I have been trying to imagine what Melissa would have written if she had been asked to do her own profile for this magazine. What she would have said about her years at Milton, and about her many interesting jobs and activities since graduating from Radcliffe? I wonder what she would have said about her marriages, and about her long relationship with Bill Graham and what she would have written about her three children of whom she was wildly proud. I don’t know, of course, but I have picked over her letters and offer pieces of them here for clues. I would guess that most of us who knew Melissa assumed that she had endless selfconfidence and must have been born that way. But surprisingly, she wrote in one of her letters about Milton: “…so much of my Milton experience was tied up in the pains of not being acceptable to the boys. It was really lucky for me that I had female friends and had some success in some other areas, because up until I went to Milton (well, not true exactly – up until 8th grade) I had a lot of problems at school, and never really even had a friend. So Milton redeemed part of my psyche, and the next 15 years gradually began healing the rest.” In the next 15 years, she married three times; she had three children, and was awarded a master’s in East Asian studies at Berkeley. She learned to speak Chinese (with a vocabulary of about 12,000 words, enough to converse with Chinese diplomats), and she began making her invaluable and unsung contributions to the community of San Francisco. I’m not clear why after graduating from college and leaving a young marriage, Melissa chose to move to San Francisco thousands
“There was no doubt that for Melissa, the most important thing she could do in her life was to be in the company of her children. She was fascinated and completely absorbed and entertained by them. Most of her letters were filled with stories about them.”
of miles away from her deeply entrenched eastern roots. Maybe it was her version of a rebellious impulse. After all, this was the ’60s: the time of flower children, the Stones, campus riots, and when Bill Graham was cooking up Woodstock for the country. Melissa didn’t have anything directly to do with any of that (at least that I know of ). Instead, after adjusting to life in the west, she met the famous novelist, Herb Gold, who as she wrote to me “…was SO charming, intelligent, funny, fun to be with, and so full of energy and curiosity, plus he knew all kinds of fascinating people – hippies, beats, all the underground artists and intellectuals, musicians, plus most of the “glittering” – the powerful, rich, trendy, etc.” that she couldn’t resist marrying him. They had three children together – Nina, followed 18 months later by twin boys, Ethan and Ari. There was no doubt that for Melissa, the most important thing she could do in her life was to be in the company of her children. She was fascinated and completely absorbed and entertained by them. Most of her letters were filled with stories about them. And when she later married Bob Anderson, a lawyer with two children of his own who were added to the household, her
letters grew in length. With the addition of stepchildren, she was challenged to her wit’s end. Those were the hard years and yet she wrote: “I’ve always felt that this little family of ours was not only my life, but my treasure, and so at one level I’ve hung on to that even while fighting its imperfections, rages, furies and its refusal to submit to my control.” I also chose to be a full-time mother, interspersed with music projects, to my only daughter, Annie, rather than having a career. And I also restlessly tried to find the perfect mate. Melissa and I talked about all of this, of course. In the ’60s women weren’t encouraged to go on to graduate school after college and dive into a profession. Some did, but the stronger message was to get married and have children. Melissa did get her master’s; and after graduating from Bennington College, I traveled to the Midwest to do graduate work in music composition at Indiana University. In the end, we both reflexively made the choice to “stay at home” despite that we didn’t always feel settled about that decision. Melissa wrote, “it bothers me that I don’t have an identity that impresses anyone (Ha! One of the rea-
Melissa (left) with her daughter, Nina
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Melissa Dilworth Gold ’61 Artists Herb Gold (1993) Distinguished author and journalist Barry Green (1994) Principal bassist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, recording artist and author John Kane (1995) Theatrical performer Steven Kellogg (1995) Renowned children’s book author and illustrator Kevin Locke (1995) Preeminent traditional flute player, storyteller and hoop dancer Jacques d’Ambrose (1995) Classical dancer, choreographer and founder of the National Dance Institute Harry Pickens(1995) Jazz pianist and recording artist Jackie Winsor(1996) Sculptor Pancho Sanchez (1997) World renowned conga player and bandleader
sons I can’t stand cocktail parties is having to answer the question “what do you do?”) or even an identity to satisfy myself. Zen Buddhists are right. If you aren’t stuck in having to have an identity, you can be spared a lot of torture.”
eties, hardships, difficulties, and if a woman can provide some respite from that, then she has achieved something. Perhaps I need to learn that everyone in the family can contribute towards creating that atmosphere, not just me.”
On the same subject she wrote at another time, “I’m interested in what you write about challenging yourself in the outside world. I’ve thought a lot about that lately. I know if I’d been working this fall, I wouldn’t have had the luxury of so much time to spend contemplating how much things were upsetting me. It’s a delicate line, though, because if you don’t focus on certain problems, they get worse. Some people bury themselves in work, and sometimes I think I bury myself in home life. It is a safe place with known routines and no external responsibilities to measure up to or external time schedules to be constricted by…But, I also believe that it is important to have home be a refuge for the family, a place where there is some order, some peace, warmth, a full refrigerator, something good to eat, etc. I don’t believe that women value providing those things just to make themselves feel necessary. Life has too many anxi-
The reality was that Melissa did have jobs and projects while her children were growing up. The list is formidable. For several years she was the chief script editor for film director Frances Coppola. She taught a scriptwriting course at San Francisco State. She acted as a consultant on The Black Stallion and later worked on Oliver Stone’s film about Jim Morrison (The Doors). She worked at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto. She edited a book on sailing and a Chinese book. (I don’t know if that means in Chinese.) She helped in a project to renovate deteriorating wharves in the Bay Area. She worked with the Red Cross after the 1987 earthquake. She produced and wrote at least two original musicals for her children’s school. And one year she helped stage Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore (“…did that ever bring back memories…. I started
Christopher Wilkens ’75 (1998) Musical director of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra James Hejdek (1998) University of Nebraska choir director (former faculty) Sarah Sze ’87 (1998) Sculptor, well-known for her use of everyday objects in creating installations Babatunde Olatunji (1999) A virtuoso of West African percussion, grammy award winner, founder of the Voices of Africa Foundation Janice Brenner & Dancers (1999) Critically acclaimed dance company Galen Rowell (2000) Pioneer of participatory wilderness photography, activist, adventurer and artist Aaron Goldberg ’91(2001) Jazz pianist
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known tionally interna , 1 h Gold rt ’9 Dilwo , oldberg Melissa e eekend Aaron G W th ’ d s te nist, an Gradua t a s y jazz pia la Artist, p Visiting . 1 0 0 2 May 4,
wondering a lot what became of Bill Hitzig, Alan Clark, and all those guys…”) She also taught English at Newcomer School in San Francisco for immigrant children. And for many years, off and on, she worked for Bill Graham as his foundation liaison. She played a major role in helping to produce several concerts for his organization, including Nelson Mandela’s Yankee Stadium and Oakland Coliseum Events, and a concert to create an Earthquake Relief Fund. She was working to coordinate a new education department for Bill’s company, specifically to help one school district called Marin City that had been totally neglected for 50 years, when they were both killed in the helicopter crash. Melissa was one of the most competent and brilliant people I have ever known. Others figured that out soon enough. “But Meliss” (I would write to her today), “If you had a professional career, when would you have had the time to sit with your friend’s child when he was dying of cancer? How would you have been able to devote energy and time to helping your sister through her terrible depressions? And what about the elderly couple who was traumatized during the earthquake and couldn’t leave their home? You wouldn’t have cooked those three meals a day for them during that three-week period. What about all the tea and cookies you and your friends and your children consumed while sitting and talking around your kitchen table? And all the letters to me and the rest of the people to whom you wrote? When would you have found time to have written to us?” “Meliss,” I would ask again, “what about your bike racing?” Now that would have gotten her attention! Melissa was a champion marathon bicycle racer. She was passionate about the sport, was extremely competitive, training like a maniac for years. Riding through Golden Gate Park to look at birds or feel the wind was an anathema to her. She rode bicycles to prove that she was strong and that she could win. She raced in many big road events covering from 50 to 100 miles. Her main competition was younger men, and she was proud as can be to have held her own against them. Besides, she often won. In describing a 100-mile ride through the Big
Sur area of the California coast she wrote: “It’s a big ride – with LOTS of major hills – so we’ve been practicing (we’re in training) on weekends, putting in up to 65 miles a day on a fairly mountainous route north of S.F. We’ve had a few too many flat tires, a lot of thrills, plenty of exhaustion, and equal amounts of fun…We’ll do the Big Sur ride May 11th, and after that…I’m beginning to wonder what serious athletes do when they finish competing – sex and drugs?” She wrote about her bike often. “I have to admit that I was SO excited about my bike (which I had built up from a frame I decided was really good) that when Bob suggested I bring it up to our bedroom the first night after I got it, I actually did just that… raced down to the basement and carried it four floors up so I could look at it when I went to bed and when I first woke up. I don’t suppose you’ve ever thought of bringing a horse into your bedroom.” If Melissa were alive, I imagine she would be writing books. We all assumed she would do that eventually. One can only imagine the improvements she and Bill would be making in San Francisco. She wrote in her last letter to me that the two of them would go for three or four days at a time with two or three hours’ sleep. They were going to solve at least some of the problems of the world. She was on a roll.
process his grief and confusion over your death. It is a powerful film that has won many awards. Ethan wrote a gorgeous score to Ari’s film, and is in Los Angeles writing for other films. He is working on producing his CD of original music. He is in the beginning stages of making a rock musical. He has 70 songs ready to go (and points out that he’ll need to edit). And my Annie, who is in San Francisco painting and learning about documentary films, is a friend of all three of your remarkable children. Maybe, you’d also like to know that I’m still married to my beloved, Dave Grusin. We’ve been together 15 years! Pretty good, eh? He’s still composing music for film, and taking time to write some independent compositions. I’m playing the piano – am working on a piece by Bartok which I’m performing at a recital in a week or so here in Santa Fe. (Performing still unnerves me!) And I’ve moved up from “rookie” to “non-pro” in my reining-horse competitions. All the time I’m reminded of our friendship. Love as always, Nan
Here’s what I would write to my old friend on this perfectly beautiful, sunny afternoon from my adobe house in Santa Fe: Dear Melissa, I have missed being in touch for all these years. I haven’t been able to write the kind of letters we exchanged with anyone else. I wouldn’t even want to try. I have been eager to tell you what your children are doing these days. Nina is married to Chris Wade, whom everybody thinks is great. She is a successful actress in San Francisco and is teaching Yoga too. Ari is in New York making films and auditioning for acting jobs. He recently wrote, produced and directed a movie called Helicopter about the aftermath of the accident. He said it helped
Melissa (left) and Nan, at Nan’s Santa Fe home
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The Seventh Distinguished Alumni Seminar, May 5, 2001
The Constitution: Venerable, Enduring, Provocative
or 200 years intense debates have centered on the legal balance between individual rights and the common good – in courtrooms, in Congress, and in the media. But the debate has a distinctive place in the classroom as well – especially at Milton, where individualism and community are as commonplace as Straus or Forbes. Perhaps it was a yearning for those Miltonian themes that drew an audience of alumni to King Theater during the Graduates’ Weekend seminar, “The Constitution: Venerable, Enduring, Provocative: Probing today’s constitutional dilemmas.” The aptly named Distinguished Alumni Seminar was led by moderator John C. Heyburn ’66, a District Court Judge in the Western District of Kentucky, Peter Lehner ’76, Chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, and Eliza Byard ’86, a historian and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Judge Heyburn opened the seminar with a preface on the basic acting principles the Constitution’s framers had in mind: individual rights, equality, the rights of states, and religious and economic freedom. But on top of those noble values, Heyburn said, the founders left behind a constitution clouded in ambiguity, and left the job of interpretation up to the nine justices of the Supreme Court.
Peter Lehner ’76, foreground, and John Heyburn ’66
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Consequently, Heyburn explained, some of the Court’s largest decisions “directly confronted the power of Congress, and opposed the executive and the public will.” From John Marshall’s landmark decision on Marbury v. Madison, which made the Constitution the supreme law of the land; to the Dred Scott decision, which vainly tried to solve the slavery issue; to Roe v. Wade, which sent an important, yet still indistinct message about individual rights; the Supreme Court has often been the focus of political controversy. For a body meant to act in a political vacuum, the Supreme Court’s involvement in questions of politics is messy, but inevitable, says Heyburn, who cites Bush v. Gore as the latest example. “Courts are always going to be asked to resolve political issues.”
The way in which the courts do – and will – confront those political issues quickly became the focus of the discussion. “It’s wrong to think that the Constitution doesn’t have a profound effect on all of us,” explained Peter, the highest legal protector of New York State’s air and water. Although the Constitution “doesn’t say a word about the environment,” Peter contends that the courts’ decisions have “a tremendous impact on the air, the wetlands and the endangered species that may survive.” “It was amidst a growing national environmental movement in the 1970s that the Supreme Court began hearing cases that involved corporate pollution and large-scale dumping,” says Peter. After three decades of extraordinary judicial involvement in envi-
John G. Heyburn ’66 Moderator John Heyburn was appointed by President George Bush to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in 1992. John is also Chair of the Budget Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. The Budget Committee develops the appropriations request for the federal judiciary. In this capacity, John testifies to the House and Senate each year and meets regularly with congressional leaders and their staff to explain the judiciary’s policies and budgetary needs. Eliza Byard ’86 Panelist Eliza Byard is a historian and documentary filmmaker. She is a Ph.D. candidate and Whiting Fellow in the Humanities at Columbia University, where she was also a Presidential Fellow. Her documentary credits include: coproducer of Out of the Past, Gay and Lesbian History from 1653 to the Present (Audience Award, Best Documentary, 1998 Sundance Film Festival); director of The New Facts of Life, a short film on issues for lesbian and gay parents; and field producer on “School Colors,” a Frontline special on multiculturalism in public education 40 years after Brown v. Board of Education (1995 DuPontColumbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism). Peter Lehner ‘76 Panelist Peter Lehner is Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau in the New York Attorney General’s office. The Environmental Protection Bureau enforces state and federal environmental laws and defends state agencies in suits based on environmental matters. Recent initiatives of the attorney general’s office include lawsuits to reduce air pollution from Midwestern power plants, to remove PCBs from portions of the Hudson River, and to shut down several factories emitting noxious fumes.
Eliza Byard ’86
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ronmental matters, Peter says that the green luster of the Court has faded in the wake of a number of regressions. Those regressions are the reduction in environmental cases heard by the Court, through the “standing doctrine,” which is used to determine the importance of an issue; and the decisions of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has helped push many environmental cases away from the powerful courts. Another roadblock to environmental protectors lies in the Supreme Court’s recent suggestion of “a more narrow reading of the commerce clause.” At the same time, federal and state environmental regulations are increasingly defeated by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the “due process” clause, which provides for the protection of individual rights, including the rights of corporations to pollute the air and water on their own land. “In the ’60s and ’70s,” explained Peter, “[the due process clause] was used to extend civil rights, welfare, and other social opportunities. Today, the same clause is being used to invalidate the government’s legislative efforts to protect coastal areas, wetlands, and the endangered species that may survive there.” Increasingly, governments are wary to push environmental regulations on private land, for fear of violating property rights, and because of the financial burden that comes with such regulation. The result is a “Catch-22” in which governments must choose carefully between protecting people’s health and protecting people’s property.
As Peter does, Eliza describes a system in which individual rights and the common good do not always go hand in hand. In 1986, when the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Barnes v. Harwick, Eliza was preparing for graduation. The Court decision allowed states to limit sexual behavior, the beginning of the erosion of the constitutional right to privacy. Thus began Eliza’s interest in the Constitution, its intricacies, and its impact on individual liberties. From the perspective not of a lawyer, but of “a storyteller,” she described the long uphill battle for Constitutional rights and equality, well after the passage of the first 10 amendments. “The clay of the Constitution – the Bill of Rights – remained unchanged until the issue of slavery arose,” Byard remarked. It was only after the Civil War that Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed basic civil rights to all citizens, white or black. Yet with equality would also come segregation, as the Supreme Court dictated in its 1896 “separate but equal” decision on the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Real, legal civil rights advancement, Byard contended, would wait until 1954, with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling, that segregation was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, was followed by a number of other significant civil rights developments in the ’60s and ’70s: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which ended discrimination in federal programs; the Griswald decision, which emphasized an individual zone of privacy; and Roe v. Wade, which widened that zone, particularly as it applied to contraception.
Since these decisions, the courts have kept a closer watch on the impact of legislation on minority populations, often classifying between impact that is subtle and “disparate,” and impact that carries “intent to harm.” However, Eliza noted that as minority discrimination has become increasingly discreet, determining intent has grown to be a larger challenge for the courts. Amid talk on civil liberties, the environment, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the nuances of the Constitution, perhaps the overriding lesson is that the challenges that face the people who work in the American legal system are as plentiful as the complexities that underlie that system. During the question period, when the discussion once again turned toward the balance between individual rights and the common good one graduate asked, “When will one prevail over the other?” John Heyburn paused before responding, “Determining that is what democracy is about.” But as Peter and Eliza explained, democracy is also about defending certain rights, under difficult circumstances. In a messy legal system, Eliza said, “Kicking and screaming is needed.” And “in the future,” she gently reminded at the end of the seminar, “You have to remember to scream louder and louder.” Alex Pasternack ’01
Alex was the Editor of the Milton Measure this year, and will attend Brown University in the fall.
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Graduates’ Weekend 2001
“Dare to be True ”s Thomas G. Cleve peaker land ’45
Graduates returned to the classroom for Kay Herzog’s (English department, Emerita) class, “The Poet’s Talk with God.”
n and Da ger ’24 in e k b to S Dare to Herbert at the “ 5 ’3 r e Cheev n uncheo True” L
Standin g (left to right): S and Co lin Chen ander C ohan ’9 ey ’96. ’96, Do Sitting 6, Aaro ug Hou n Raph (left to smann el ’96 right): A ’96 and dam Ro Clark F senblatt reifeld ’96
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Members of the Class of 1996 get together at the clambake.
re to the “Da s during rm o rf e op z comb ulty jaz . The fac n o e ” Lunch be True
Members of the Class of 1981 hover around Chris Garrity’s digital camera.
Sarah C hamberl ain ’96, Jessica Robinso n ’96 an d Clark
Farah Pandith ’86, Reni Doulos Cadigan ’86, Kate Moran Collins ’86, Soledad Fox ’86, Whitney Shugrue ’86 and Vanessa Rugo Robinson ’86
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Amy Sullivan ’91, Brian Monnich and Courtney Drohan Monnich ’91
Sue Newbury, Tare Newbury ’56, Lee Sprague ’56 and John Reidy ’56
1941 Boys (left to right): Frances and William MacAusland, Robertson Ward, Sandy Wheeler and Lew Clark
Judith C hute
’56, De bby
Drain a nd Ann e Brew er, both
Mark Hilgendorf’s class on Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln drew a crowd.
Class o f 1966
Presentation of the Class of 1951’s Reunion Gift – $128,869!
Stein, m, Bob d Parha e e Reyna. h y s n a are, Sun right): R s A to e ft n e e w: Oh k row (l Front ro 96, bac dy Pun. ss of 19 d e la T C , a e reir From th esar Pe loney, C Ted Ma
Class of 1996 (left to right): Andy Kay, Nick Grossman, Lea Kiser, Laura DeGirolami, Sasha Fredie
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Milton Academy 2001 Awards and Prizes
Cum Laude Class I Kathleen Alda Balthrop-Lewis Nathan Joseph Bliss Alexandra Cotter Boudreau Francine Anya Bourgeois Stephanie Fuller Bridges Alana Cathleen Burke * Timothy Winthrop Post Churchill Alexander Angiolillo Cochran Peter Scott Fishman Hannah Parsons Flint Alison Hampton Goldin Benjamin Clark Hamlin Kate Elizabeth Henderson Daniel Arthur Jacobs Andrew William Jonas Maria Kamenetska Kristian Bravo Laliberté Jonathan Chit Sing Leong Constantinos Ioannis Michaelidis Michael Hung Nguyen Alexander Landreth Pasternack Emily Lillard Reiser Lindsay Blair Rodman Benjamin David Rothstein Alexandra Sastre Jacob Adam Shell Eliza Garfield Talbot Samuel Stevenson Taylor Jason Bellamy Vagliano Zoe Alexis Vandeveer Stephanie Parkman White Class II Chloe Djenne Dugger Yvona Kristina Trnka-Amrhein
*elected to Cum Laude in 2000 34 Milton Magazine
Diplomas with Distinction Kathleen Alda Balthrop-Lewis Nathan Joseph Bliss Alexandra Cotter Boudreau Francine Anya Bourgeois Stephanie Fuller Bridges Alana Cathleen Burke Timothy Winthrop Post Churchill Alexander Angiolillo Cochran Peter Scott Fishman Alison Hampton Goldin Benjamin Clark Hamlin Kate Elizabeth Henderson Andrew William Jonas Maria Kamenetska Jonathan Chit Sing Leong Constantinos Ioannis Michaelidis Emily Lillard Reiser Lindsay Blair Rodman Benjamin David Rothstein Alexandra Sastre Jacob Adam Shell Samuel Stevenson Taylor Jason Bellamy Vagliano Stephanie Parkman White
The Head of School Award The Head of School Award is presented each year to honor and celebrate certain members of Class I for their demonstrated spirit of self-sacrifice, community concern, leadership, integrity, fairness, kindliness and respect for others.
Kathleen Alda Balthrop-Lewis Nathan Joseph Bliss Stephen Paul Buckley Jr. Tomica Channell Burke Michael LeMoyne Kennedy Sidney Remsen Lyon Alexander Landreth Pasternack
The James S. Willis Memorial Award To the Head Monitors
Molly Barbara Greenberg Chukwuka Eziashi Nwabuzor
The William Bacon Lovering Award To a boy and a girl, chosen by their classmates, who have helped most by their sense of duty to perpetuate the memory of a gallant gentleman and officer.
Kathleen Alda Balthrop-Lewis Amin Jamil Kirdar
The Louis Andrews Memorial Scholarship Award To a student in Class II who has best fulfilled his or her potential in the areas of intelligence, self-discipline, physical ability, concern for others and integrity.
Caroline Teresa Martignetti Curtis
The Korean War Memorial Scholarship Award Created in 1956 in memory of Frederick Sprague Barbour ’46, Thomas Amory Hubbard ’47, George Cabot Lee Jr. ’47, and Sherrod Emerson Skinner Jr. ’47, who gave their lives for their country and the United Nations. Awarded to a boy or girl from a developing region to further his or her education at Milton Academy, enriching the School in the process.
The Leo Maza Award Awarded to a student or students in Classes I–IV, who, in working within one of the culture or identity groups at the School, has made an outstanding contribution to the community by promoting the appreciation of that group throughout the rest of the school.
Tomica Channell Burke Jin Sun
Walter A. Beyer Memorial
The A. Howard Abell Prize
Presented in memory of Walter A. Beyer, student and teacher at Milton Academy, to a boy and a girl in Class V who, in every aspect of school life, give of themselves cheerfully and thoughtfully in a manner that best exemplifies the qualities for which Walter Beyer is remembered.
Established by Dr. and Mrs. Eric Oldberg for students deemed exceptionally proficient or talented in instrumental or vocal music or in composition.
Margaret Kingsbury Frechette Randolph Jonathan Ryan
Harrison Otis Apthorp Music Prize
Richard E. Sherbrooke Memorial
Awarded in recognition of helpful activity in furthering in the School an interest and joy in music.
Presented by the Class of 1963 to a boy in Class VI who, in his relationship with his classmates, best illustrates the qualities of consideration, unselfishness and responsibility.
Elisha Flagg Lee, III
Edward R. Foley Award Presented to a Class VI girl who works hard to develop her unique talents while maintaining a strong sense of community. This Class VI girl best exemplifies the qualities of straightforwardness, caring and unselfish contribution to her classmates and School which Mr. Foley most valued in students of the Middle School.
Michele Nalani Wong
Daniel Arthur Jacobs Jonathan Chit Sing Leong
Kathryn Hannon Franich
The George Sloan Oldberg Memorial Prize Awarded in memory of George Oldberg â€™54, to members of the School who have been a unique influence in the field of music.
Nathan Joseph Bliss Siddhartha Mohan Misra
The Science Prize Awarded to students who have demonstrated outstanding scientific ability in physics, chemistry and biology.
Kate Elizabeth Henderson Constantinos Ioannis Michaelidis
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The Wales Prize Awarded in honor of Donald Wales who taught Class IV science for more than 36 years. It recognizes students in Class IV who have consistently demonstrated interest and excitement in science.
Joanna Rae Berliner Julia Carey Benjamin Sangho Hur Andrew Thomas Mittelman
The Robert Saltonstall Medal For pre-eminence in physical efficiency and observance of the code of the true sportsman.
Eric William Molander
The A.O. Smith Prize Awarded by the English department to a senior who displays unusual talent in expository writing.
Stephanie Fuller Bridges Kristian Bravo Laliberté Jacob Adam Shell
The Markham and Pierpont Stackpole Prize Awarded in honor of two English teachers, father and son, to authors of unusual talent in creative writing.
Stephanie Fuller Bridges Miriam Faith Lawrence
The Dorothy J. Sullivan Award To senior girls who have demonstrated good sportsmanship, leadership, dedication and commitment to athletics at Milton. Through their spirit, selflessness and concern for the team, they served as an incentive and a model for others.
Anastasia Marie Evriviades
The Donald Cameron Duncan Prize For Mathematics Awarded to students in Class I who have achieved excellence in the study of mathematics while demonstrating the kind of love of the subject and joy in promoting its understanding which will be the lasting legacy of Donald Duncan’s extraordinary contributions to the teaching of mathematics at Milton.
Jeffrey Daniel Carlson Alexander Angiolillo Cochran Maria Kamenetska
Head of School Robin Robertson and President of the Board Marshall Schwarz flanked by the 2002 Head Monitors, Paloma Herman (left) and Adrian Rossello-Cornier
The Performing Arts Award
The Kiki Rice-Gray Prize
The Robert L. Daley Prize
Awarded for outstanding contributions to Milton performing arts throughout his or her career in both performance and production.
Created by his students of 1984 in his memory and honor, this prize in classics is awarded to the student having advanced to at least level four in Latin and to level three in modern language who best exemplifies Mr. Daley’s love of languages.
Presented by the performing arts department for outstanding contributions in production work, acting, speech, audiovisuals and dance throughout his or her Milton career.
Samuel Kreger Cohan Michael Andrew Daley Hannah Parsons Flint Victoria Abraham George Benjamin David Rothstein Daniel Desmond Stone
Victoria Abraham George
The Priscilla Bailey Award To a senior girl who has been a most valuable asset to Milton Academy athletics and to the Milton Academy Community – an athlete who has demonstrated exceptional individual skills and teamwork, as well as true sportsmanship.
Amy Elizabeth McLaughlin
The Henry Warder Carey Prize
Valedictory speakers, Alex Pasternack (above) and Rebecca Hurwitz
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To members of the First Class, who, in Public Speaking and Oral Interpretation, have shown consistent effort, thoroughness of preparation, and concern for others.
Caroline Bashaw Davis Michael Andrew Daley Victoria Abraham George Maria Kamenetska
Kyle Francis Kennedy
The Richard Lawrence Derby Memorial Award To an outstanding student of the Second Class in Mathematics, Astronomy or Physics.
Gregory John Valiant
The Alfred Elliott Memorial Trophy For self-sacrifice and devotion to the best interests of his teams, regardless of skill.
Stephen Paul Buckley, Jr.
The Benjamin Fosdick Harding Latin Prizes Awarded on the basis of a separate test at each prize level.
Level 5: Yvona Kristina Trnka-Amrhein Level 4: Elizabeth Ann Bondaryk Level 3: Katherine Elizabeth Riley
The Modern Languages Prizes Awarded to those students who, in the opinion of the department, most exhibit the qualities of academic excellence, enthusiastic participation, and support of fellow students, both in class and outside.
Timothy Winthrop Post Churchill Elizabeth Tarleton Cowen
The Gorham Palfrey Faucon Prize Established in 1911 and awarded to members of Class I for demonstrated interest and outstanding achievement in history and social science.
Francine Anya Bourgeois Stephanie Fuller Bridges Mark Robert Lentz Jonathan Chit Sing Leong Jason Bellamy Vagliano Zoe Alexis Vandeveer
The Milton Academy Art Prizes Awarded for imagination and technical excellence in his or her art and for independent and creative spirit of endeavor.
Si창n Kimberley Evans Alexander Luke Nelson Michael Hung Nguyen
Speaker Paul Farmer M.D., Ph.D. is associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the program in Infectious Disease and Social Change. His research interests include health and human rights, and infectious diseases (tuberculosis and HIV) and community-based control of infectious diseases. Paul is a founder of Partners in Health, a network of health care commitments with communities in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Honduras and the urban United States.
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John Zilliax Awarded 2001 Milton Medal
efore the ages of science and specialization the highest praise was not to say that a man was “an expert” but that he was “a complete man” (sic). Thus Ophelia describes Hamlet as “The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword…the glass of fashion and the mold of form….” For more than a quarter of a century we have had here at Milton our own model of “the complete man”: the teacher, actor, walker, reader and enthusiast – John Zilliax.
(of course) Cambridge and Boston – anywhere – to enjoy a good play and he very often draws his friends and students with him. It is the same with books; he is an avid reader, and a highly perceptive and sensitive critic. He loves to discuss books and ideas with colleagues and friends as well as with his students, and such discussions are always stimulating because John’s point of view is always fresh and insightful, often unexpected, and of course, he is brilliantly articulate.
Energy, vitality and love of life are the hallmarks stamped on every one of his extraordinary gifts. As a teacher, first and foremost, he models all these qualities for us. In the classroom, he demands as much energy and commitment from his students as he does from himself. His enthusiasm for literature is infectious and generations of Milton students have been caught for life by an addiction to good reading.
What is perhaps less recognized and even more unusual is that his intellectual vigor is so exactly matched by his physical energy. John walks everywhere. He walks from Central Park back to his daughter’s apartment in the Village. When he is in London he walks from Hampstead to Piccadilly. He walks the mountains in the Lake District, the redwood forests in California, and the beaches of Cape Cod. And he walks with his
In a slightly different way, John’s love for the theatre and for dramatic literature have sown dragon’s teeth of talent in the apparently barren soil of countless students and faculty members – seeds which have born amazing flowers and fruits in his various productions. John has directed and acted in dramatic readings and plays in Room 1212, in Straus, the old Hathaway House theatre, Wigg Hall, Cox library and where not? No one who has acted or been a member of the audience in one of John’s productions has ever forgotten the experience.
John Zilliax is that rare creature: a teacher who can also work as a highly effective administrator. In his career he has been both by turns, moving from his first teaching years at Milton to two different headships, then back, to teaching here at Milton again and then, as a kind of crown in the pattern of his career, Principal of the Upper School during Dr. Robertson’s first year. His appointment to that position was fine and fitting: he had an intimate knowledge of Milton Academy in all its complexities, and I can’t imagine that Dr. Robertson could have had any more loyal support than John gave her last year. Whether he is walking the beach at Truro or painstakingly stripping the old varnish from his boat, shopping for an antique oriental rug or reading a student’s essay, he brings to every one of his activities his whole and undivided attention – his love of life itself. Awarded by Marshall Schwarz President Milton Academy Board of Trustees May 5, 2001
John’s love of theatre, however, goes way beyond the Milton campus. He travels to London, New York, Stratford-on-Avon and
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eyes open and his mind alert. He marvels, he enjoys the world around him whether it is his fellow passengers in the subway, or the colors of the bracken on a mountain. He is very attentive and, in fact, he will often perceive interest and beauty in the smallest detail of a scene – something that most people would never even notice. It is part of his characteristic vitality to be always wideawake.
“Much Ado” John Zilliax Responds
hank you Marshall for those very kind words and for this quite humbling award.
Now that I am no longer doing many of the things that you cited, I am constantly asked by colleagues and friends and students, what am I doing? And I offer a few of the “things.” But what I’d really like to say is that I’m doing nothing. Background: Most of you will remember the first scene of Shakespeare’s King Lear. The king announces that he is giving away his lands to his three daughters. Each daughter is commanded to compete for a greater share by telling the King how much she loves him. In other words, the daughters are to perform for a reward. The two elder daughters lay it on thick and are awarded what turns out to be predetermined portions. The third, Cordelia, who has already won our hearts with two deeply felt asides, is her father’s favorite. He turns to her and says, “…what can you say to draw a third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.” She responds, “Nothing, my Lord.” “Nothing?” He asks. “Nothing,” she repeats. “Nothing will come of nothing,” says King Lear, who is clueless and is making a tragic mistake. For it is more than stubborness in Cordelia; it is wisdom – and it takes Lear most of the play to figure it out. She sees the value of the intangible, and Lear has deprecated her response yet unintentionally expressed just how valuable “nothing” is: “Nothing will come of nothing.” Cordelia’s word speaks volumes to me as a teacher and, more significantly, to me in my primary lifetime occupation as a student.
What I’m about to say is mainly about English literature, what I know. I’m sure others could speak about botany or Greek or medieval history or calculus or even archeology. My view may seem radical to some, but really it’s quite old fashioned: the best STUDY is what we do for nothing – that is, for no degree requirement, no test, no class preparation, no occupational advancement, no looks-good-on-the-record, no self-chastening motive or self-improvement goal, in short, for no purpose other than itself. And the ultimate benefit is nothing. Of course perhaps even most of the time we must study to get some “things”: in order to eat and to pay for more study in order to eat better – and, most worthily, to teach better! Also, as an administrator, I have quite liked to get things done. But to me real STUDY has no direct uses. A personal example: a few years ago, with three English colleagues, I worked up a seminar plan. Each of us would study a writer in depth, would assign substantial readings to the others, and would lead seminar discussions on those works. OK, yes, we’d do it in England, in evocative locations. Kay Herzog and I had each previously had National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar grants, and we were sure that we could organize an intense experience for ourselves. We determined that we would study works that had no direct link to our teaching. I took Ben Jonson, for example, whom only the most committed of English specialists among us will read in depth. We studied our writers all spring, snatching spare moments for our irrelevant pursuit. We determined to read all of each other’s assigned materials as well, before the seminars, in order to be able to study them more deeply in situ.
We began our seminar, jet-lagged, one day after our last school commitment, with Samuel Johnson’s poems. All of us were, I think, unsure of how it would go. It went. Nary a lull. I decided we’d better stop after six hours that day. It was simply exhilarating to brush away the cobwebs and to probe the poems that Bill Moore had set before us. To exchange freely. To challenge one another. To express the love that is irreverent, spontaneous yet disciplined, the exacting passion of literary dissection. And in the process to discover directions and interpretations, new ones that we could not possibly have anticipated. So it went for days of waking to Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist or Virginia Woolf ’s The Waves. Every day we ran over, yet stopped before we were ready. And all for nothing. What comes of that? Wanting to do more of it. As when I studied biography at a National Endowment Institute another summer and in the fall chose to read several biographies of Virginia Woolf and to write a paper resolving a problem in one of her novels, biographically. All for nothing. I hope it is clear that when I say STUDY, I mean more than reading for pleasure or escape or pure involvement, splendid as those enthrallments are. STUDY involves some clinical detachment as well, a continued scrutiny of one’s response just as one is having it. I could say knowing how one is responding, examining and valuing the response as well as the work itself. For example, when I first encountered Fugard’s
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Hugh Silbaugh Named Upper School Principal Master Harold and the Boys (before it became a best seller at Milton), I saw the original Boston production at the Wilbur Theater. Toward the end of the play, the emotion gets intense, as most of you know. The audience was gripped. The person next to me was sobbing. I was writing notes about the scene. I became aware, after a moment, that the sobbing had stopped and that the person was regarding me with alarm. What was wrong with me? NOTHING. My emotions were engaged, but I believe on multiple levels. The play did get me; but also I got it. And as a result of that STUDY, I still have it. For me also, writing is a study, often best when for nothing. For example, I like to write while waiting. It changes the something that one waits for into nothing. The waiting itself becomes the experience, and a significantly heightened one at that; one observes, actively in public, as a painter or photographer might, but with the added freedom of anonymity. The writing pulls one into the scene so that the waiting time is too short. Nothing needs more time.
with my remarkable colleagues. And of splendidly candid, exhilaratingly free, truly collaborative studies with my brilliant, sprinting boss, Robin. I had a rich experience, and what I value most cannot be found in the handbook. My most sustained and significant collaborative study is with my dearest friend, my wife Carlotta, who continues to teach at Milton and with whom I study and discuss literature, relevant and irrelevant, every day. Shared or individual study is a luxury, yes. One pays in time and, inevitably dollars, for nothing. But the power of it! In our four-teacher seminar in England, we couldn’t wait to get going. We needed no alarm clocks. We came early to our sessions. It elevated our lives, wrestling with all of those texts that didn’t matter. Thank you ALL.
ilton Academy is pleased to announce that Hugh Silbaugh, who served, since 1992, as assistant director of the Putney School in Putney, Vermont, assumed the position of Upper School principal at Milton on July 1, 2001. Hugh’s role as assistant director at Putney included responsibility for areas typically served by an academic dean and dean of the faculty, that is, for the academic life of the school and for faculty development and support. Hugh also taught English at Putney, as he did at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California from 1986–1992, and prior to that at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Hugh attended Phillips Academy, Andover and Amherst College, where was a Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate. He earned a M.Ed. from the UCLA Graduate School of Education.
Of course the sharing of study is one of the great nothings that comes of nothing. The very heart of my teaching, where I, and I think also my students, learned the most was in our interactive, open discussions of literary texts. And these probing discussions, as students know, are seldom if ever specifically graded. They are, in their freedom, mostly for nothing. Even in my last year’s caper as Upper School Principal, the richest experiences for me did not link to specific accomplishments, to “things.” The great value for me was experiencing the joy of studying the whole, of a larger, different sort of “class discussion”
Hugh Silbaugh, Upper School Principal
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Thomas Bisbee Milton Academy Faculty, 1958–61, 1964–72, 1980–2001
Hugh envisions his role at Milton as a “teaching leader, an intellectual and academic, a reader and writer.” His “highest aim,” he said, “is nurturing teachers’ curiosity about and commitment to their disciplines and the craft of teaching. Teachers grow or wither, and schools grow or wither with them.” His colleagues at Putney cite his ability to counsel, support and inspire teachers – both experienced teachers and teachers who have just begun. At the same time, Hugh has been applauded by the Putney faculty for helping the school move successfully through a period of significant change, recentering Putney on its traditional values and high standards. “I am very excited about joining the Milton Academy community,” Hugh says. “It is a diverse and exciting group of people and a school with a rich and interesting history. In particular, I look forward to working closely with Milton’s fine faculty on developing and preserving the school’s traditional academic and intellectual strengths, and innovating where it is possible and appropriate, based on new thinking about teaching and learning and on new teaching technologies. I am thrilled and honored to be joining such a strong group of faculty and students, and I am excited for the challenge of working with so many confident and independent thinkers.” Hugh’s appointment was the recommendation of the Principal Search Committee. After articulating Milton’s challenges and opportunities as a guide in helping to evaluate candidates, the Committee hosted three finalists on campus, then solicited and carefully considered over 100 written faculty and student responses to the finalists. Head of School Robin Robertson accepted the Committee’s recommendation, and ultimately announced to the School, with great pleasure, that Mr. Silbaugh would be the new Upper School Principal.
hen Tom Bisbee packs up his briefcase this June, walks out of Warren Hall, and heads to Vermont, he will end a long and multifaceted career at Milton Academy that began in 1958. Through all the changes in mathematics and technology during those years, not to mention all the changes at Milton Academy, Tom has remained constant in his desire to connect with his students and his colleagues. With students in his classes, Tom has accomplished that through countless hours of extra-help sessions, as well as the special problems and projects which he prepares and grades. Both the quantity and quality of these are awe-inspiring to his colleagues in the mathematics department. Tom has also connected with students through his work in the dormitory (he was head of Forbes House for several years) and in athletics. He has been an outstanding member of the athletic program in team sports, coaching football and baseball, and in individual sports, pursuing the elusive squash ball. Tom’s many interests have included physics, computing and statistics. In each of those areas, and in other arenas, such as the teacher-support groups of recent years, he has forged connections with colleagues and built community, while being willing to ask tough questions in difficult situations. Tom hangs in there with his colleagues on controversial issues in a very tenacious, yet caring way. Tom has been, through the years, deeply involved in several nonacademic areas. Two of these were his involvement with the student/faculty work program in Warren Hall in the late ’60s and early ’70s (the money saved through these efforts was directed toward a scholarship to Milton), and his early and strong advocacy for diversity at Milton. To everything he has done, Tom has always brought high standards and commitment.
Tom has been a champion of the independence and individualism of teachers in their own classrooms. He has been a masterful teacher, while shunning teaching prizes on principle, and he remains a life-long learner having recently undertaken learning how to play the piano. We in the mathematics department will miss Tom’s reappearance on campus every September, sporting a mustache. Those of us who dined with him in Forbes will remember his affection for grilled cheese sandwiches. Most of all though, we will miss his love of mathematics and selfless promotion of that discipline among his students and colleagues. Tom has left Milton for other possibilities on two occasions in his career here, having been chair of the mathematics departments at Charles Wright Academy and at Moses Brown School, but he has always gravitated back. We hope that he will continue to return to Milton frequently and give us the pleasure of his companionship and the benefit of his wisdom in the years to come. Keith Hilles-Pillant Mathematics Department
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David D. Britton Milton Academy Faculty, 1974–2001
first set eyes on David Britton one bleak February, Friday afternoon 20 years ago when I came to Milton looking for a job. He and his class of sophomores were packed into one of the tiny classrooms at the back of the theater in Warren Hall 1212. I had talked with Kay Herzog about Virginia Woolf and with Jane Archibald about the rigors of teaching the critical essay. Now there was David’s class, which had been writing multi-shelved sentences about an imaginary vegetable bin. David called on a student to read aloud, and the boy unfurled a beautifully cadenced series of images, each more sensuous than the one before – a catalogue of vegetables swollen, rounded, cleft and sprouting. The words seemed to smoulder in the air for a few seconds after he had uttered them. David turned to me and asked, “How did you like that sentence?” I wanted the job at Milton and I sensed an important moment. “That,” I said, “was one of the sexiest sentences I have heard in a long time.” David beamed. I knew I had passed the test. Later, after I had become David’s colleague, I learned that there were many tests to be passed and many proprieties to be challenged. In fact, Guy Hughes had brought him to Milton in 1974 expressly to challenge the clubby ethos of the Boys’ School English department, some of whose members believed that their common love of literature made further consideration of materials or methodology unnecessary. David went after that conventional outlook like a WWF wrestler breaking up a game of croquet. A brilliant reader with a keenly analytical mind, he didn’t care much for rarified literary discussion. Instead, he thought that the mission was to teach well-defined skills; he was constantly devising systems to do so and to measure progress objectively – the teachers’ progress as well as the stu42 Milton Magazine
dents’. Some teachers didn’t like it. When I arrived seven years later, the dust had not yet settled. In some respects, it still hasn’t, and we are fortunate for that. One of the things we will miss most about David is his role as provocateur. Not only has he repeatedly needled us to ground our theorizing, but paradoxically, he has also been an inexhaustible source of wild ideas about how to do things better. Dr. Britton is Dr. Brainstorm. To discuss teaching with him is to be bombarded with possibilities, many of them out there on the edge of the plausible, all of them intriguing and worthy of experiment. His present corner classroom in Wigg bursts with the products of a creative furnace running night and day. Its comfortable chaos – of visual puzzles, inspirational messages, seedy trophies to be awarded over and over, bulletin boards faced in a loud paisley pattern – announces, in all but words, “Abandon boredom, ye who enter here.” David never bores and often entertains hugely, but he does not entertain for the sake of entertainment. He always has a lesson, and the lesson is about English; usually there is a parallel lesson, too, one having to do with the student’s ability to believe in himself. David’s occasional gruffness is the
thinnest of veneers. Underneath it he is unfailingly kind and encouraging, especially to kids adrift and floundering in the juices of early adolescence. He has looked at many a sow’s ear and seen a silk purse in the making, and some of his happiest stories are of encountering the former ear at graduation two years or five years later and admiring its glossy sheen and the absence of perceptible bristles. David’s role in such transmogrifications depends in part on his uncanny skill in defining tasks and setting up a series of trials that will gradually lead to mastery. It also depends on his teaching of collaboration. He is maniacally competitive himself, as his large collection of skiing and sailboarding trophies and the wounds suffered in pursuing them attest. But he is deeply invested in helping his students learn to work together. Kids emerge from David’s classes liking each other and liking themselves. Cicero, in one of the Catalinarian orations, lists in elaborate detail the many crimes of Cataline that he will not, he says, bore or scandalize his audience by mentioning. In that same spirit, I will not mention David’s penchant for practical jokes, ranging from the whoopee cushion to the full-blown scam; his deplorable wardrobe, most of which he has assembled from Swap-It 50¢ sales; or his trove of broken-down trailers, defunct canoes, slalom poles, half-empty paint cans, bedsprings, golf practice aids, mildewed book boxes, and other such detritus that I’m sure he will soon be removing from the yard and basement my family shares with him. If I did choose to dwell on these matters, it would only be to divert myself momentarily from staring into the enormous hole that David’s departure will leave in the life of our department. David Smith English Department
Dale DeLetis Milton Academy Faculty, 1972–2001
or 29 years, Dale DeLetis has been greeting each of his new classes on the first day of school with a simple but immaculately enunciated and memorable ritual statement. “Good morning, everyone. My name is Mr. DeLetis. Capital D, little e, capital L, little e-t-i-s. That is your first spelling lesson.” Through nearly three decades Performing English classes, Oral Interpretation students, girls in Class VI English, fourth graders, Modern World Drama pupils, debaters, speechies and any others who may have been lucky enough, have been introduced to Dale’s unique combination of passion and clarity with those simple words. With them Dale has modeled confidence, respect, attention to detail, a light heart and straightforward engagement through the spoken word. For a long time now, most of Dale’s students have come to his first class knowing they would hear those words. They have waited for the moment with poorly disguised delight in their eyes and giggled or smiled and cast sidelong glances of recognition when it came. They recognize Dale’s ritual for what it has become – a rite of identification, one of those things about our School which does not change, which can be counted on through the years, which persists for a simple reason – because it works. In fact, Dale’s ritual has worked for so long that it has become a minor tradition of the institution, a part of the shared experience, which we all know and value as Milton Academy. Institutional memory is a very important concept to Dale. At crucial moments of redefinition and change during the past decade he has, time and again, helped us to put Milton’s continuing growth and dynamism into historical context. In fact, Mr. DeLetis can describe for you in personal
building the team. She was closely followed by Debbie Simon; soon Milton was a regional and then a national power in speech.
and vivid detail important events in the life of the School that happened well before his Milton years began. One can imagine him arriving 29 years ago, a new English teacher and debate coach fresh from his job as assistant dean of students at Middlebury College, and beginning to seek out the memory of the School. Kay Herzog and Chips Withington described to him the informal gathering where the idea for an arts program requirement in the Girls’ School was first discussed. John Torney warned him that, when the Boys’ School faculty met informally after lunch every day in the Harding Room, there were certain chairs which “belonged” to certain veteran teachers. Perhaps that bit of information was a bit off-putting. Dale says he never attended the daily conclave. In any event, he was soon hard at work contributing to Milton’s future. After shepherding the School’s debaters for a short period, Dale decided that what Milton really needed was a speech team. With characteristic energy and optimism he initiated what would soon become a distinctive of the School – a great forensics program. Within a few years he found Alison Spitzer and brought her to the campus to collaborate in
Also, in those first years, Dale found another kindred spirit with whom he collaborated for two decades. Kiki Rice Gray taught dance to Milton’s girls. Her creativity and spirit matched Dale’s, and they often spent lunch hours talking about the role of the arts in education and coeducation. Out of those discussions came a series of scene studies on gender, performed for the Milton community. Soon the scenes developed into a two-person touring show for young people and then into a delightful conglomeration of Shel Silverstein poems staged to a farethee-well and played to school children all over the state of Connecticut. Later Dale worked closely with Kiki in building and guiding the newly formed performing arts department until her retirement from the school. It was during this period, also, that Dale began his work with the fourth grade – terra incognito for many Upper School teachers. Oral Interpretation, and spoken poetry in particular, soon became a distinctive of the fourth grade experience, and young voices could be heard enunciating the response, “Good morning, Mr. DeLetis,” with remarkable precision and feeling. Meanwhile, in the English department, he was working on developing a system for identifying and helping foreign students who were having subtle problems reading and writing their new language. And in close collaboration with Bob Gilpin, he was creating a new current events and public speaking requirement for the school.
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Ellen R. Lewis Milton Academy Faculty, 1967–2001
Perhaps Dale’s greatest contribution to Milton, however, has been his dedication to nurturing and developing the talents of his students and fellow faculty members. As arts program chair for many years and finally as chair of the performing arts department, he has consistently devoted his energy and skill to supporting the creative life and work of those around him. Always ready to listen and advise, wise and tenacious in his commitment to creating a productive and humane work environment, passionate in his praise, warmhearted and clear in his reproof, Dale has inspired and nudged students and faculty alike toward their best work and then led the applause. It is no accident that his former students and advisees regularly seek him out long after their Milton years have ended to share their latest triumph or challenge. With a mentor’s deft touch and what Red Smith describes as “a slightly formal aura,” Dale has changed countless lives; those who have profited from his caring know what they owe him. It is safe to say that, even after his ritual is no longer performed at the beginning of each Milton school year, a generation of students will remember with deep affection and gratitude Mr. Capital D, little e, Capital L, little e-t-i-s. David Peck Performing Arts Department
llen Lewis joined the Milton Academy Girls’ School faculty in 1967, becoming a member of that dedicated and intellectually powerful team that met weekly over tea, and inevitably became close friends. Margo Johnson, then principal of the Girls’ School, and a former French teacher herself, took special interest in the French department, and Ellen soon became an integral part of that team. As coeducation gradually merged the two schools, Ellen taught both boys and girls with equal success. In 1981, Ellen earned the Talbot Baker Award recognizing her teaching skill. Perhaps her longest and happiest assignment has been teaching and advising in the seventh grade. Hundreds of young Milton students have spent their middle school years in her classroom, gently but enthusiastically initiated into the wonders of French. Ellen has always loved her discipline, her department and the art of teaching. No one has served the department more loyally. During the tenures as department chair of Leo Maza, John Rosen, and most recently, Marisol Maura, she coordinated the French curriculum. She acted as chair of the modern language department during Marisol’s sabbatical, ably handling the administrative demands of a large and active department. She has also served as the liaison person for foreign programs, including School Year Abroad, coordinating visits of administrators, informing students about the programs, and assisting them with application materials and recommendations. Over the years, Ellen has been a generous and welcoming host for departmental gatherings, in Cambridge during the early years, later on in her apartment on campus, and most recently at her home in Milton. Her colleagues in the department can attest to
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her culinary skills. She can always be counted on for a delicious dish, exquisitely presented. Her friends also know that she is an accomplished seamstress; at one departmental party designed around an artistic theme, Ellen appeared as the incarnation of a figure from a Chardin painting, in a costume she had designed and sewn herself! Ellen has long pursued interests in the arts, music and gardening. She has visited many of the museums of the world and is a collector. She rarely misses an opportunity to listen to live music, whether on campus, in Boston, or when traveling, and is an accomplished performer on her own beautiful harpsichord. Her “green thumb” helped create a beautiful terrace garden off her oncampus apartment in Hughes House, and more recently at her new home. Described by a colleague as a “pillar of strength,” Ellen has been an inspiring example of dedication and hard work for students and faculty. Our deepest thanks on behalf of so many students and the warmest wishes for all her colleagues go with as she embarks on her retirement. Marisol Maura George Fernald Modern Languages Department
Robert P. Gilpin Milton Academy Faculty, 1976–2001
wenty-five years ago when Bob Gilpin applied to teach history at Milton, a colleague at Sweet Briar wrote an enthusiastic letter of recommendation for him. In the letter he cited Bob’s “almost limitless enthusiasm for teaching and learning,” his “personal interest in the work of his students,” and his “broad range of historical interest.” He added that Bob had been “an active contributor to the community life at Sweet Briar.” Bob Gilpin’s work at Milton since 1976 has abundantly fulfilled the promise of that letter of recommendation. Wigg 3107 – Bob’s classroom – might serve as a metaphor for the teaching he did there: • Shelves full of books: deep and broad knowledge of his discipline. • The table a foot deep in the clutter of papers of all kinds: unpredictable insights to be found in examination of the readings. • The buzz of voices and peals of laughter: students and teacher engaged in, delighting in working together to reach new understanding. Over the years Bob taught a dozen different courses, among them Modern Western Civilization, American Studies, Modern World History, History of Civil Rights, and History and the 20th Century. The latter was a Class I elective that introduced a new approach to the study of the 20th century: consideration of that period through the documents of its most characteristic medium, film. That course was one of the most sought after each year, and one senior said of it:
Probably the best course I’ve had at Milton was the History and the 20th Century Course I took this spring from Mr. Gilpin. The teacher was an incredible resource, but we had to ask the questions and figure out not only an analysis of the film but also what we needed to know about history. I feel now I can do advanced work in history in college with confidence. Bob’s interest in modern Europe and his wide reading of the history of the modern world made him a valuable resource of both erudition and pedagogy for his colleagues. The “isms project” that he wrote many years ago for the Modern West course survives to this day in Modern World History and, indeed, is so right and necessary to the understanding of the 19th century, that none of us can imagine doing without it. The Class of 1985 dedicated its yearbook to Bob. The essay of dedication attempted to corral the various qualities that the students treasured in this teacher. His favorite color, they found, was blue; that showed him to be “deep, versatile, scintillating and stable.” His favorite animal? The tiger, “stealthy, ferocious, striped and it roars.” He brought, they said, a “certain flair to the classroom each day, whether excessive grumpiness or unabashed benevolence”; but, they said, “one thing will always hold true: he really cares.” He has high expectations of his students, they said, “because ultimately he is teaching you to respect learning just as he respects you.” In more recent years an observer in his classroom, describing Bob’s sensitivity to his students’ needs, said, “The wild ideas [are] heard as well as the timid ideas”…[there is] a sense of security and permission to take risks.” Another colleague noted, “There is something in the way that
he encourages them to try out their ideas which makes them believe they have something to say and that they can answer difficult questions.” Bob’s work in the classroom has always been informed and strengthened by his manifold involvement in the life of Milton outside the classroom. He was a staff member in Forbes House from 1976 to 1981, and then he and his wife, Louise Gilpin, ran Goodwin House until 1990. He coached boys’ junior varsity basketball and baseball, third team tennis and varsity squash. He was an advisor to the Self-Government Association (1976, 1989, 1992–2000), and he served on the Discipline Committee (1976–1989, 1992–2000). He was one of the founders of DANEIS, the debate league in which Milton competes, and he coached the Milton team from 1976 to 1993. He served on numerous committees, among them the Academic Affairs Committee, the Housing Committee, Faculty Committee, and the Trustees’ Budget Committee. Not least among contributions to life and learning at Milton were his and Weezie’s children: Alexa ’96, Blake ’97, and Christopher ’00.
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Completing his work on the board
Kenneth W. Ting
The school has honored Bob and his work in a variety of ways over the years. In 1986, he was given the Talbot Baker Award for outstanding teaching. Since 1992, he has held the Philip Weld Chair, founded “to celebrate excellence in the teaching of American History.” In 1995, he was made a Master Teacher, a distinction, the Faculty Handbook says, “awarded to meritorious senior teachers.” A decade ago he began to work with students and parents to find alternative pursuits for those students in their year between high school and college. The world outside of Milton has responded eagerly and with enthusiasm to that project (Time Out Associates), and Bob, still a teacher, still interested in the course of a student’s life and learning, has decided to devote all his time to it. As he retires from the faculty at Milton, we honor him and, along with a generation of our students who will never forget him, we thank him for all he has given us of humor, insight, caring, prodding, learning and inspiration to learn more. We wish him success and satisfaction in his life after Milton. Carly Wade History Department
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enneth Ting has served Milton Academy well for more than 14 years as a supportive parent, a generous donor and a member of the board of trustees since 1990. As the first Milton trustee from Asia, Kenneth has brought to the board valuable insight that has helped to globalize the perspective of the board and of the School. Kenneth’s ties to Milton began when his nephew came to the School. V-Nee Yeh is a member of the Class of 1977 and one of the Milton’s first graduates from Hong Kong. V-Nee’s success at Milton began what has become a quarter-century Milton Academy tradition in Hong Kong. Kenneth’s son, Ivan Ting, graduated in 1992, further strengthening the connection between Milton Academy and friends in Hong Kong. During Kenneth’s tenure as a member of the board of trustees, he played an important role in many significant developments. In 1990, during his first year on the board, Kenneth established the Ting Scholarship to make a Milton education available to a deserving family. During his tenure the Hong Kong Alumni Association was established, which effectively involves alumni in Hong Kong with the life of the School today, as well as its future. As the chair of the Hong Kong Bicentennial Committee, Kenneth energized a select group of parents and friends to create and endow a Milton Academy Hong Kong Chair in Asian Studies. Kenneth also led the way in a broader appeal to endow the Hong Kong Distinguished Speaker Series. Both the chair and the distinguished speaker series have raised the consciousness of the Milton Academy community about Asian culture
and the importance of Asia in world events. Kenneth and his family have provided both support and vision for Milton Academy in ways that will affect the School for years to come. Kenneth and his wife, Nancy, have welcomed many Miltonians who have traveled to Hong Kong over the years. Kenneth has hosted numerous meetings, receptions, and dinners. He and Nancy, with her quiet and firm friendship for the School, have helped interest many Hong Kong families in Milton. Kenneth, you have provided counsel to three heads of school and we have relied on your leadership, your generosity, and your wisdom for many years. We extend sincere and heartfelt thanks for all you have done for Milton. We hope that you, Nancy and Ivan will continue your close friendship and your support, and that you will come and visit often.
Completing his work on the board
Completing her work on the board
J.B. Pritzker ’82
Farah A. Pandith ’86
ach of us has a personal connection that keeps the school alive in the hurried pace of our daily lives. We nurture that connection as the thread between our defining experience at Milton and the challenges of adulthood as it often sustains us through the ups and the downs we inevitably face. J.B. Pritzker ’82, retiring trustee after 12 years of service, has nurtured his connection magnificently through his dedication and commitment to one of Milton’s living legends, Frank Millet. J.B. became one of the earliest leadership supporters of The Challenge to Lead when he made the lead gift to establish the Francis D. Millet Chair in Admissions. This chair celebrates the level and depth of service Mr. Millet has provided to generations of Milton graduates. J.B.’s lead gift sends the message that faculty, and the caring they show their students, is at the heart of what sets a Milton education apart from other excellent schools. It is a powerful one and it characterizes J.B.’s tenure as a trustee.
J.B. is an active and concerned public personality. In 1997, he mounted a valiant bid for Congress stressing that the people of the Chicago’s ninth district needed a powerful advocate on the issues of gun control, reproductive rights, education, fair trade, small business development and tax reform. He continues to be a strong proponent of these issues within the Chicago community. At the dedication ceremony for the Millet Chair last fall, J.B. honored Mr. Millet for being there for him at a difficult time in his life. He said, “Mr. Millet sensed what I had to offer the world at a time when that just wasn’t abundantly clear. I can say with confidence that I would not be the man I am today if Frank hadn’t taken me under his wing at the impressionable age of 14.” J.B.’s belief in the life-long impact of excellent and caring teachers was embodied in his heartfelt remarks. This belief will be his legacy at Milton. We thank him for his service and wish him well in the challenges that lie ahead.
As the keynote speaker for the campaign kick off in 1995, J.B. inspired us to think about the opportunity Milton presents us. “The opportunity to try – to find out what you are naturally skilled at and what you really love to do – to stretch your mind and your body to the far corners of what seemed unattainable before Milton.” There is great strength in these words and his actions as a trustee and major donor to the Francis D. Millet Chair in Admissions have born them out beautifully.
arah Pandith, Class of 1986, served on the New England Graduates’ Council from 1996–2000, where she immediately stepped into the role of co-vice president, and quickly assumed positions as co-president and board member. Farah’s leadership talents came to light as she masterfully and enthusiastically organized her tenth reunion – just as she is now a key player in mobilizing her class to celebrate their fifteenth. On the Council, Farah voiced the need to plan events that would attract graduates of different ages and interests – events for families, events of varying sizes and in innovative places. She was interested in promoting involvement opportunities for graduates, especially young graduates, whom she encouraged to “stay in touch” with Milton. Her stated goal was that all graduates have a voice in Milton’s future and feel a real sense of belonging to the school. Farah’s participation on the Council occurred as Milton enlarged the scope of graduate outreach, launching a plan to establish graduate associations in the major cities across the country.
Farah’s Milton years began in the Lower School, so she is one of the Milton elite who can and do speak whole-heartedly about the benefit of the full Milton experience. Farah earned an A.B. from Smith College in 1990, where she was president of the Student Government Association and she has served as a Smith College trustee. In 1995, she completed a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Farah currently serves as vice president of international business at ML Strategies, which specializes in develop-
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Completing his work on the board
William L. Porter ’51
ment, planning and implementation support for complex infrastructure projects both domestically and around the world. On the board, Farah was an effective advocate for sustaining and further developing the diversity of our student body, the faculty, and the board itself. Farah spoke often and convincingly about the need for increased efforts aimed at making the Milton “story” better and more widely known. She served the board on the Enrollment Committee, the External Relations Committee and the Student Life Committee. We thank Farah, and wish her well, as she brings life and character to Milton’s name in her work on projects around the nation and the world.
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ill Porter was elected to the board in 1989, when the trustees were planning for the future; “The Final Report of the Long Range Planning Committee” was presented to the board the following year. Twelve years later, Bill concludes his service to the board at this retreat, once again fully immersed in deliberations that will define Milton’s future. Three heads of school, Jerry Pieh, Ed Fredie and Robin Robertson, have relied upon Bill’s inquiring and discerning mind, as have we on the board. Bill has always been ready and willing to wade through the traditional Milton complexity, honoring the Academy’s essence even as he forced us to think boldly and imaginatively. In addition to consistent intellectual rigor, patience, fairness and respect always mark Bill’s conversation. He does not rely on a commanding voice to attract listeners but rather gains attention because of the stunning clarity with which he can render a complicated idea. Mr. Perry offered some prophecy that this latter-day Bill would emerge, in fact, when he wrote, in 1951, that Bill was “well-mannered, cheerful and self-assured. He is independent in his thinking, eager to do a good job, and accepts responsibility readily.” Bill’s peers at Milton recognized his leadership early, electing him to the Student Council. He played soccer, wrestled, and ran on the track team, but his chief interest was music. Bill played several instruments and was a member of the glee club and the orchestra. From Milton he went to Yale, and then the Yale School of Art and Architecture. He completed his Ph.D. at MIT in Urban Studies and Planning and joined the MIT faculty in 1967. When Bill joined the Milton board, he was the head of the Department of Architecture, having served
as dean of the School of Architecture and Planning from 1971–81. Today, Bill is the Norman B. and Muriel Leventhal Professor of Architecture and Planning at MIT. Known far beyond Milton’s campus as a leading educator, thinker and innovator, Bill has focused his considerable talents on Milton’s needs over his board career, as a committee member and a participant in atlarge discussions and debates. A member of the Building and Grounds Committee, Bill’s influence on the Athletic and Convocation Center project was a pivotal factor in its successful outcome. A persistent voice of reason during the design phase, Bill argued for the visibility of the Center and its important presence at the north end of campus, rounding out a triad that included the chapel and Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium. Stressing the importance of strong materials and the height of the entrance, so that the building could reach out to the rest of the campus, Bill guided and crafted the final design. His vision centered on the overall aesthetic possibilities of the campus, the master-planning implications of this new building. Bill’s heart, however, if truth be told, may always have been with the Academic Life Committee, which he chaired. Bill’s affinity for the work of educators, his enthusiasm and appreciation for creativity shone through his presentations. His advocacy for the life of the mind at Milton was as certain as it was articulate. As we thank you, Bill, for your years of caring for Milton and tending to its mission, we hope you will keep Milton in your sights and in your mind as we greet the great challenges ahead.
Completing his work on the board
Frank T. Keefe
he Milton Academy board of trustees salutes Frank T. Keefe, who has concluded, this year, his long and outstanding service to the board and to the School. Frank was elected to the board in 1985, when Jerry Pieh was the headmaster, and he then served with Headmaster Ed Fredie and Head of School Robin Robertson. While Frank has applied his keen intellect and diverse skills to many Milton projects over these 16 years, his most significant contribution to Milton’s extraordinary strength today may be his stewardship of Milton’s financial position.
When Frank served as Massachusetts’ Governor Michael Dukakis’s secretary for administration and finance, Boston Globe writer Bruce Mohl called him “the brash budget czar of the Dukakis administration.” While his colleagues on the board at Milton might argue with the word “brash,” they would unanimously acclaim Frank’s leadership in planning and budget management. “Frank understands organizations and organizational process,” said board President Marshall Schwarz, “and his experience and counsel served the board magnificently as we adapted to this period of great growth for Milton. He enabled the board to have confidence in the numbers and analyses, and in projections necessary for planning. Milton’s sound financial status today is a result, to a great extent, of Frank’s work and leadership.” Having completed a 12-year term, as well as a tenure as chair of the Budget Committee, Frank agreed in 1997 to stay on the board as an officer, and was elected vice president.
forthrightness, and analytical ability. Frank always offered a welcome, hands-on willingness to do whatever needed to be done. Frank’s natural wit, applied especially to his own succinct summaries, helped make complex issues accessible. His attention to the financial implications of decisions considered by the board was as valuable as it was reliable. A public planner and urban real estate developer, Frank was a crucial member of the board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. During the short but intense building period (1997 through 1998) when the Athletic and Convocation Center was built, Frank devoted long hours on the project team. The success of that building, at the center of campus life at Milton today, is due in large part to Frank’s active engagement with the effort, working closely with other trustees to maximize the value of the building to the School. Frank’s firm, The Keefe Company, based in Boston, is focused on private sector urban development, adaptive reuse, and new development approaches and techniques. His three children, Patrick, Beatrice and Tristram, attended Milton Academy. We thank Frank for his years of devoted and generous service to Milton Academy, and gratefully acknowledge his prominent role in helping shape the strong School that thrives today.
Frank was also involved in many other aspects of the board’s work. His participation on the Lower School, Investment, Student Life, and Development Committees, was marked with a dependable insight,
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Sports Milton Girls Dominate in All Seasons Marijke Alsbach’s Theories on the Girls’ Winning Ways Girls’ teams at Milton have a remarkable 10-year success record. Soccer, field hockey, basketball, volleyball, tennis and track in particular, have frequently earned top league standing, and New England championships as well. Marijke Alsbach is a wellloved, successful teacher and coach with a 19-year history at Milton. She has coached many girls’ teams, not exclusively, but primarily. Encouraged to speculate about why her teams have been so successful, Marijke points to specific gender issues.
How are girls different from boys as athletes or team members? Girls tend to have more of a sense of team, friendship and camaraderie. They are less egotistical. Girls also tend to push each other to do better. They are never negative; they never say negative things to their teammates. They are really interested in friendships. They realize that if a girl has reached the varsity level, she has plenty of skill. So girls seem to work on enabling individuals on the team to do their best.
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Players learn more from losing a match. Girls will fight to the end and always have the attitude that they will be able to pull it out. Boys will give up more easily than girls will if they are behind at the half. In the end, girls will always say “nice try,” rather than “you stunk.” What accounts for the depth on girls’ teams at Milton? In general girls hang in more and don’t get discouraged, as boys often do. Often, if a boy is cut from junior varsity, that’s the end of his participation. Girls stick with it. So the feeder system for the girls team is a lot stronger and very deep. Fewer girls have had the early athletic opportunities boys have had, so they’re not as specialized as boys are. Although we don’t yet suffer from over-specialization among girls, that may change soon. Most people think you should put your best coaches at the varsity level. Putting your best coaches at the middle school level where they can teach the correct skills early is equally as important. Then students have time to build upon those important basic skills throughout the years. By varsity level, they have a solid foundation and know what to do. How do you evaluate a player trying out for a team, especially one that has never played? When I evaluate a try-out – for instance for the volleyball team – I look for how quick and how
agile the girl is, how her vertical jump is, and I look at her overall makeup. When it comes to tryouts, some girls know what they’ll need to do, others must pick it up, and if the student can do what you ask her to do then she is coachable. If a student has stayed with the program for a number of years, you keep him or her, because these persistent athletes are a positive influence on the team. They have longevity, maturity and a real interest, which is important. How do you react to a team’s performance? We don’t have a team discussion after a game – and I don’t talk one-on-one with individuals. We wait until the next practice and then discuss the game as a team. I ask each player for her input. As their coach, I tell them what I think was positive, and what was negative and what we hope to learn from those realities. In terms of building a strong performance over time, lower level teams need to have losses. Players learn more from losses. Have you seen any changes in girls’ sports? Over the last 20 years opportunities for girls in sports have really grown. More girls go on to play at the college level. As these opportunities continue for girls,
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Milton Academy Girls’ Athletics Squash
Cross Country 1996
3rd in ISL
3rd in ISL
2nd in ISL, 8th in NE
3rd in ISL, 5th in NE
2nd ISL, 8th in NE
ISL Champion / Interscholastic Champion
ISL Champion / NE Champion
EIL Champion, NE Champion
How do you feel about coaching at Milton?
Ice Hockey 1997
ISL Champion, NE Champion
ISL Champion, NE Champion
ISL Champion, NE Champion
ISL Champion, NE Runners Up
ISL Champion, 2nd in NE
ISL Champion, 2nd in NE
ISL Champion, 4th in NE
2nd in ISL, 6th in NE
2nd in ISL, 8th in NE
NE Runners Up
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the level of playing will also continue to improve and succeeding in girls’ sports will be more competitive.
Team building, participation, winning and excellence are what I look at – all coaches are supposed to do that. I coached girls’ tennis for 10 years – 1983 to 1993 – and in that time we were the ISL champions six times, the New England champions six times, and national champions twice. I love to coach and winning championships is great, but it’s not the end of the world if the team doesn’t do well. I’m a successful coach if the players are happy and have learned from and enjoyed each other Independent schools don’t pay as well as public schools for outside coaches. When the School hires faculty, coaching should be part of the job description. Teams do well when a good coach comes back, year after year; the team benefits from the consistency. There should be more consistency at all coaching levels at Milton. Our goal should be to have more coaches return year after year, or season after season. For the size of the School, it would be appropriate for Milton to have an assistant athletic director.
OnCentre MGM upstaged by Milton Class of 1953 Earlier (and better?) filmmakers on campus
eaders of last fall’s piece on the MGM film, What’s the Worst That Could Happen, being filmed at Milton, might be interested to learn that, apart from Witches of Eastwick, the first two feature-length films ever made at Milton were produced by members of the class of 1953. A number of students and faculty came, because just about everyone was in it; people naturally had to see themselves on the silver screen. Both films were 90 minutes long in 16mm with titles and a classical music background on tape. The first, The Greenslip and the Swastika (1952), was black-and-white. The film told of a Nazi infiltrator attempting to steal valuable wartime secrets from the Milton science labs (Donald Duncan and Standish Deake were among the scientists taken by surprise). The film began in the faculty lounge and concluded with a dramatic chase through the tunnels of Milton, which made a wonderful Hitchcockian location (few people realized we had such tunnels). There was a scuffle on top of the Milton Chapel tower and the sudden appearance of the body of the loser (a dummy of course) thrown over the mer-
lons. It lands on the ground just in front of the camera. A truly dramatic moment. As I recall, principal cast members included David Belash, Bill Boyden, Charlie Gilliatt and – from the other side of Centre Street – Yolanda Whitman. Vincent Villard, using his Bell & Howell camera, photographed it. One scene had spies wandering around Boston, up to (but not into) the Old Howard burlesque theater just off Scollay Square, which at the showing sent challenging eyes in the direction of Headmaster Arthur Perry – a good sport if there ever was one. The sequel, Hell (1953), moved us into the Cecil B. DeMille category. Intercut with pictures of swimming sharks filmed at an aquarium in Florida (representing the River Styx) and exteriors of the governor’s mansion in Williamsburg, (which, joined to Milton library interiors, gave us a Russian palace in St. Petersburg). The film opens with a rousing revolution on the bluff just overlooking the then football field. Two armies clash in a scene featuring nearly 100 students. We borrowed a substantial number of antique flintlock rifles for the scene, which were returned, stuffed with grass and mud. This incident nearly ended my career at Milton. The
impact of this scene has only been rivaled, I believe, by a similar encounter in Sir Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. Defeated, the star, Brad Swett, is led off to an uncertain fate. Tony Bradley is knifed at the foot of the spiral staircase in the library, waking up in Hell where a myopic Carlos Segura (we had taken off his glasses), in fallen angel’s wings, gloats over the new arrival. Tony is condemned to eternal damnation which we tried to make as effective as possible – such as Bill Rawls hanging upside down over a cauldron filled with dry ice while members of the Girls’ School in plaid woolen skirts dance ferociously around him. Finally, Tony convinces the infernal powers that the revolution was a good thing and they ought to remove him to heaven. He is granted a brief reprise. However, upon waking in Russia, he is arrested by Stalin’s minions and put in jail. He escapes to Bostonovisk in an epic pursuit from Louisburg Square to Tremont Street where Call Me Madam is showing, and then to Boston Common. Harry Fitzgibbons and Stan Emery portrayed his pursuers. Tony sees the errors of his ways and returns to hell, a sadly disillusioned revolutionary.
I tried one more, even grander film at Princeton, in 3-D, which nearly broke my back. Describing the ups and downs of the film business to none other than Jack Warner a year later, at his desk at Republic Studios, I told of my various financial woes. Mr. Warner came round his desk and warmly put his hand on my shoulder. “Son,” he said, “it happens to the best of us.” This might have been a moment to suggest putting Hell at least into general release – but I guess I blew it. Tom Lewis ’53
Tom Lewis ’53 and grandson, Max
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Amy McLaughlin Power player
my McLaughlin ’01 received the Boston Bruins’ John Carlton Memorial Trophy on Saturday, March 31 at the Fleet Center. Awarded to an outstanding senior student athlete in Eastern Massachusetts high school hockey, the trophy is named for a former Bruins scout and administrator who died in 1982. Amy, who began playing hockey at the age of 11, is the second Milton hockey player to receive the award. Deanna McDevitt ’99 won the award in its first year, 1999. Amy has scored more than 130 points in her
Milton career where she has played parts as both a stay-athome defenseman as well as a defenseman with an offensive drive. Amy will play for Brown University next season. In addition to playing at Milton, Amy has played for travel hockey teams and was part of the Hockey Night in Boston All Scholastic Tournament, where she was invited to play on the East team. Amy also captained Milton’s New England champion field hockey team and earned eight varsity letters in four years.
Amy McLaughlin ’01, Bruins trophy winner, with friends outside the link
A four-time all-league selection in ice hockey (twice in field hockey), Amy was chosen as her team’s MVP in ice hockey and field hockey and was recently invited to the women’s national ice hockey team tryout. Shannon Groppi
B.D. Wong shares with students his struggle for identity as an Asian-American actor
n Wednesday, April 11, actor B.D. Wong, talked with Milton students about his career as an actor and the struggles he has faced as an AsianAmerican in the entertainment business. He focused on his life experiences and the poignant and inspiring story of his development as an actor. Best known for his role as Harry Weinstein in Father of the Bride, as Tibetan foreign minister Ngawang Jigme in Seven Years in Tibet, and as the voice of Captain Li Shang in Disney’s Mulan, B.D. Wong has an extensive list of theatre, film and television credits. His acting debut in M. Butterfly earned him the Outer Critic’s Circle Award, Theatre World Award, Drama Desk Award, Clarence
Derwent Award and a Tony Award; he was the first actor to receive all five awards for one role. While his acting career continues to flourish, B.D. enjoys a second career speaking about diversity to students at colleges and universities. B.D. has learned to survive in the face of rejection and racism. He noted that surviving in the entertainment industry is difficult, but surviving in the industry as an Asian-American is especially difficult. “In the entertainment industry, there were many talented role models for young people, but none were Asian-Americans. The characterizations established for AsianAmericans made the situation worse. I was very uncomfortable with the media stereotypes of Asians. Only when I became an
adult did I realized how difficult it was for me to establish my own self-image.”
tribulations of securing good roles and remaining true to yourself in playing those roles.
B.D. shared his journey from childhood days struggling with a sense of identity, to confronting his parents’ expectations (they wanted him to become a lawyer or doctor), to the trials and
“Do what you can, with every muscle in your body, to distinguish between what you do and don’t want,” B.D. advised. “Listen to the voices inside yourself. Remember that popular media don’t define us. Have a spine, create your own standard, challenge yourself to achieve.” B.D. Wong has received many awards for his work as an advocate for Asian-American artists. He has a long-standing commitment to equal representation and accurate portrayals of Asian-Americans in the entertainment world. Shannon Groppi
54 Milton Magazine
“Family” treasure A quilt connects the Class of 2011 with the Class of 1984
ilton’s second-graders have discovered the real meaning of a “family” quilt. Finding a quilt made by Lower Schoolers 25 years ago set off a search that has ended with many shared memories. Lower School faculty members Dottie Pitt and Nancy Fenstemacher chose The Quiltmaker’s Gift, written by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrated by Gail de Marcken, not only because of the writing and illustration. The book connected efficiently with many second grade curriculum issues: fractions, writing, storytelling and retelling, and public speaking. The story’s generous quiltmaker sews the most beautiful quilts in the world, and gives each one away to a needy recipient. A greedy king, his castle overflowing with treasures, never smiles and is in search of the one thing that will bring him happiness. Under the quiltmaker’s guidance, the king is transformed as he gives away his riches and finds happiness in bringing joy to others. Last summer, during a reorganization project, two quilts were discovered – one created by Milton Academy’s fourth-grade class of 1975–76 and another created by the third-grade class of 1977–78. Dottie and Nancy realized at once that this discovery could greatly extend the original
potential they had imagined for this second grade project. The children could now also learn much about the larger Milton community. Armed with a few details gathered from the quilts, a few first names and the initials they could decipher from the faded ink, the second grade called for the aid of the alumni and development office. After learning how Milton keeps in touch with its graduates, the second-graders started piecing their information together. Once everyone had a name to go with a quilt square, the second grade wrote letters including pictures of the quilt to the graduate quilters. The responses, thanks to the persistence of the faculty and former Milton parent Sheila
Monks (P’84), have been overwhelming. “I remember working on that quilt,” wrote Michelle Dandridge Dixon ’84. “My mother remembered too. She said our teacher asked us to bring in fabric for our squares and that the fabric had to be from something – in my case it was leftover fabric from a dress my mom had made me.” Robert J. Goldson ’84 told the second-graders that “once the quilt was completed and hung in the Lower School I do recall looking at it with pride and thinking how I contributed to the group effort. I believe the quilt hung in the Lower School for several years. It is wonderful to think that something we made so many years ago has ended in your hands and is being studied.”
Quilting is a craft with a long and rich history, and the kindness and generosity associated with quilters is legendary. Not only have the majority of alumni responded to the secondgrade class, but they have sent a number of momentos, “I have enclosed a copy of a small book I made in connection with the quilt square. I can assure you I made up the story and my mother never sent me to bed without my dinner for tearing my jacket.” Many, such as Elise S. Feldman ’84 have offered to help identify quilt squares and locate missing members of the class, “By looking at the photo you sent, I remember some of my friends’ squares. For example, I believe the pink and blue square in the bottom right hand corner was made by Helen Bronk ’84. If you are still in search of my classmates, let me know. I may still be in touch with a number of my friends and perhaps we can help.” Geoff Theobald ’84, director of admissions for the Upper School, made a special visit to the second grade to talk about his quilt square. The second graders of the 2000–2001 school year have completed their own quilt with the help of the middle school students and especially, Lenna Dower, associate dean of the middle school and experienced quilter. In the tradition of the book, the second grade plans to donate the quilt to Unquity House. Shannon Groppi
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Milton student’s book tops the best-seller list in Korea “How-to” book by Chang-Hee Huh, Class III, finds a huge audience
hang-Hee Huh is unrattled by his appearances on national news stations at home in Korea. “Maybe it will be good for my future,” he wryly comments. Reviews by the major Korean press outlets of the book he authored helped spread the word, but perhaps the practicality of the advice was what fueled the word-of-mouth grapevine. In 1999, feeling constrained by the Korean high school system, Chang-Hee began what would be a difficult journey to gain acceptance to an independent school in the United States. His book, Mission to America, chronicles his journey through the independent school admissions process and offers critical commentary on the Korean education system. Chang-Hee spent the summer of 2000 contacting publishers on his own, and a few months later, after the book was published, he became an overnight celebrity and national role model. In Korea, education is understood to be the key to success. Korean schools rely on learning; they are highly regulated, and centered around college entrance examinations. Entrance to Korean colleges is competitive and the social emphasis is on entering a prestigious university rather than pursuing a university or area of study based on personal aptitude and interest; the school one graduates from can determine success or failure.
A good student and active in athletics and music, Chang-Hee studied hard in middle school and took an interest in the world around him. He had a difficult time, however, adjusting to the more rigid high school system. “While eating lunch one day, I realized I didn’t know what was going on in the world. I had been spending all of my time studying for the college entrance exam and I wanted to do something with my life besides studying all of the time.” Intrigued with stories of another student’s experience in an American independent school, Chang-Hee decided he could escape the confines of the Korean system without sacrificing a great education. He set off to explore the possibilities of going to school in America. “Without the Internet,” says Chang-Hee, “I wouldn’t be in America. I not only gathered all of my information online, but I emailed questions to the admissions officers and chatted with students in America who had completed the admissions process. After taking extra courses in English, Chang-Hee bought an SSAT preparation book and began practicing. While math was quite easy for him, the written English portion of the test proved to be more difficult. Chang-Hee submerged himself in English trying to learn as much as he could in a short time. After filing his applications, Chang-Hee attended a reception in Korea sponsored by a number of independent schools, and
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interviewed with former Milton faculty member, Bob Cornigans. “Mr. Cornigans was the first African-American I had ever met. I spent the interview comparing the African-American culture and the Korean culture. Mr. Cornigans just listened for 30 minutes, asked if I was done, and told me I would be perfect for Milton. I couldn’t believe it, my dream was about to come true.”
tional meeting and was surprised how interested and active students were in the protection of human rights,” says ChangHee. “I was surprised to see young people that were involved in the world outside of the School community. The students here discuss these issues voluntarily; they discuss culture and issues rooted throughout American culture. Nothing like that ever happens in Korea.”
Bob and Chang-Hee continued to keep in contact. Finally, in March 2000, Chang received a letter from Milton informing him that he was on the waitlist. “I knew I was in trouble,” says Chang-Hee. “I had put off most of my Korean work in order to complete the admissions process in America. There was no way out and now I was far behind the other students studying for the college entrance exam.” One month later his dream really did come true. Chang-Hee received a call from the admissions office; he had been accepted.
According to the admissions office, Korean applicants to Milton increased significantly this past year, a trend that surprises, elates and saddens Chang-Hee. “I am saddened by the fact that interest in this book may be based on the problems in the Korean education system. I wrote the book to bring some of the issues out into the open. I want people to know there are other alternatives. I want Korea to look at its current system and make the necessary changes, because I want my children to be able to go to school in Korea someday.”
It was at that time that ChangHee began writing Mission to America. “I felt a social responsibility to the Korean society to let them know that getting a good education is possible without giving up everything else in life.” With a curiosity and passion for learning, Chang-Hee Huh, the first student at Milton to come directly from a Korean high school, arrived ready for the challenge of a lifetime. A member of the Asian Society and a writer for the Asian (Asian Society magazine), Chang-Hee is very interested in politics. “I attended an Amnesty Interna-
What’s next from Chang-Hee? “I want to write a sequel to Mission to America as my senior project. I want people to understand that going to school in America is a challenge. I was handicapped when I came here. I couldn’t write or speak English well, and it took a good amount of time to learn about the culture here, but I did my best to keep up in class and do as well as I could. I want to show everyone that Mr. Cornigans was right about me. I don’t want to disappoint him.” Shannon Groppi
Robotics team garners national championship Competition in Florida
hile 20,000 fans cheered, team NU-Trons and their alliance clinched the 2001 F.I.R.S.T. National Robotics Championship, by outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting nearly 325 other teams from around the country. Milton students were part of the NU-Trons team – along with students and engineers from Northeastern University, Textron Systems Engineers, Boston Latin and Brookline High. F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national contest which immerses high school students in the world of engineering. Teaming up with engineers from businesses and universities, students get a hands-on, inside look at the engineering profession.
Every year, the specifications and games change. This year, each robot had two minutes to place small and large balls in seven-foot hollow, columnshaped goals. The robot then had to cross a barrier dividing the arena by squeezing through it or crossing a seesaw that spanned it. After surviving the semifinals and finishing as runner-up in the finals at the Hartford, Connecticut competition, the Nu-Trons scrambled to make modifications to the robot in preparation for the finals at Epcot. Ultimately, the Nu-Trons finished first in the Newton Division at the finals in Florida and then were winners of the national finals with the highest score in the country all year, based on 1,600 matches.
goals. Building the robot for a specific size ball allowed the team to do one task efficiently and reliably. The Nu-Trons also spent time watching other teams’ robots perform, to determine which teams could use the help of the Husky 4’s ability to consistently pick up and place the larger balls. By showing off the their robot’s ability during earlier rounds, Nu-Trons became the number-one draft pick in the finals.
the programming help and creation of the team’s 30-second animated video of the team. Taki Michaelidis ’01 was the driver of the Husky 4 in all of the competitions. Shannon Groppi
A number of Milton Academy students were key players for this year’s championship team. Dan Adair and Colin Baker, both ’04, Robert BentinckSmith ’01, and Maddie Maglio, Jessica Roetzer and Max Hill, all ’02. Max was responsible for
The Nu-Trons built their robot, Husky 4, to pick up 30-inch diameter balls, the larger of the two sizes and place them on the
Milton students Madeline Maglio ’02, Jessica Roetzer ’02 and Daniel Stone ’01 demonstrate the “Husky 4’s” capabilities during Arts Night, last spring.
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Milton Jazz Combo Third South African tour triggers reflection Friday, March 9 This afternoon, in the Johannesburg airport, I was hit by the similarity to Bombay’s airport – the terminals look much alike. But there were differences: fewer people; they were racially mixed, or at least more than in Bombay; the place was cleaner and, although it seemed to be equally old, much better kept up. It dawned on me – South Africa is the only secondworld country I’ve ever visited. India had always been the epitome of what is foreign. Every time I visit, India shocks me, sickens me, and hurts me. I feel a sudden rush of “foreign” emotions – sadness, empathy, revulsion, and even anger sometimes. The truth is that at least for me, at least for now, the third world is too shocking to handle. South Africa, on the other hand, is something of a happy medium. The cars, the technology, the
cities all recall my immensely “cushy” American life, making me feel safe. On the other hand, the frailty of its politics, the tales of violence, and the visible level of poverty force me to deal with some of the issues that hit me in the third world. I don’t know yet (and doubt) that South Africa will profoundly change my life, but it is important to be open to it, and to hope. Saturday, March 10 What a beautiful country. Driving in, I saw the vast horizon and gargantuan moon and was amazed. Today, I was stunned not only by the endless skies but also by the huge, open, flat landscapes, then by astounding cliff faces, and endless, lush mountains along the escarpment. Tuesday, March 13 The first concert was very informal – more of a jam, between us and the students and teachers of PWV Academy (a school in a township outside Johannesburg). Most of the people playing seemed to be teachers. We walked in and sat down to watch people jamming. Over time, more of us got up and joined them. The effect was astounding; being thrown into the fray with talented musicians and music we’d never heard before made us shift up to a higher level. First, Nate stepped up to fill in on bass. The pianist started playing, and without prep or warning, Nate found the blues in the right key in roughly two bars. Then, Alex stepped up to take a solo. He played a blazing
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solo, powerful and full of ideas that were far beyond anything that I’d heard him play before. We ended the concert with “Spiritual.” Between Naomi’s trombone preaching and the audience’s church-like enthusiasm, the song was all that one could hope for. Thursday, March 15 Tomorrow, we play at the University of Natal for a clublike audience, including Darius Brubeck. I’m excited about this one – playing “Take Five” for a Brubeck. Tuesday, March 20 After the concert at the Plettenberg Bay Rotary Club, Dylan Coleman ’02 and I stayed with a middle-aged Plett native, a white fourth-generation South African named Janet. Janet was a liberal, who accepted the postapartheid system, but still seemed to be grappling with it, trying to re-adapt her life. Obviously she’d never been truly racist by any means, but it was no less difficult to cope with the social shift. Others on the trip stayed with more biased, conservative whites, thus seeing a very different side of liberation and equality from what we are traditionally fed. Although Janet recognized the apparently common assumption that the healing from apartheid will take two generations, she was a good deal more optimistic for her country than the article in the Economist had been. She seemed to trust steadfastly in the ability of the system to cope. She admired
The Milton Jazz Combo visited Johannesburg, Pretoria, the Kruger Game Reserve, Durban, Plettenberg Bay and Capetown, and performed in each of these locations except the Game Reserve.
Mandela more than any other man in the world, and seemed to take a realist’s view of her country’s issues of crime and financial difficulties (although we did not discuss the AIDS epidemic). Perhaps people like Janet are what South Africa needs to mend and survive: positive pragmatists like Voltaire’s Cacambo, humans who can keep hope alive while remaining fully realistic. Thursday, March 22 Yesterday we visited Robben Island, former prison for apartheid’s non-white political criminals, including Nelson Mandela. It was interesting to learn how many countries have ties to that little island, through colonies, prisons and wars. Really South Africa has had a string of external influences from all over Europe and America, and even Asia. The land’s geographical import has
made it a treasure to be fought over, as have its climate and resources. I wonder if now is the first time that South Africa has been for the South Africans… but is it? The U.S. exerts a huge influence on South Africa today. About five percent of the South Africans are white Europeans, removed from their motherlands by enough generations to feel greater attachment to this nation. Beyond the whites, most of the South African population isn’t South African: my homestay host Janet told me that the indigenous people were brown, not black. Plus, all the “coloreds” and Indians fill out the population. Maybe South Africa is more like America than I had realized. America doesn’t have a large indigenous population. The country’s highest ideals are
based on acceptance and equality; the American dream is to come in as an outsider, learn the ropes, and strike it rich. As Americans, we’re steeped in a belief in multiracial culture. Just like South Africa, our diversity was founded upon intolerable violence, bigotry and miscegenation, but out of that grew a new ideal of acceptance and loving our differences (even if these ideas are propaganda, they’re still central to American culture). Perhaps South Africa is a new America – another cultural melting pot, and one for the 21st century. If this nation can succeed and flower despite all its current issues and difficulties, it may very well become an immensely important nation, following the steps the United States has taken.
At home, my naïve unawareness makes me loathe giving back. I consider myself to be a pretty moral person, but when asked to help or give charity, I rarely do things when I don’t know the people I’d help, or know I won’t see an immediate effect from my actions. This needs to change. I have a responsibility to try to help those less fortunate, even when I know it will do little good. And, to paraphrase Mandela’s famous speech, I have a duty to not fear my capabilities, to succeed so that others may follow my example. Jay Deshpande ’02
Friday, March 23 This nation is changing rapidly, and I have had the chance to see it in this transitory time. It will be fascinating to follow the nation’s experiences in the next 10 years, to look back and compare what I’ve seen on this trip. I hope I draw something from South Africa’s plight. At Milton, I’m protected from seeing the horrors of AIDS, poverty and unemployment that afflict South Africa.Children as vibrant as those of Daveyton ought to get more chances than the poor townships and squatter camps of today will provide.
Jay Deshpande ’02
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over her from near and far for years and years afterward. Can we know what it was like for Lenny and Stella Seidenman to have a child after the war, in a city that saw its Jewish population packed off to the camps? Nina had to have been to her parents a special promise of renewal, and even more than that, a kind of gamble on the future – that it would no longer hold the horror of years uncomfortably recent.
Nina Seidenman October 12, 1950– March 14, 2001 Member of the faculty since 1978 Nina Seidenman taught French, at all levels, but notably the French theatre course which involved mounting “The French Play” each spring. Students who played in such romps as La Cantatrice chauve, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, or Rhinoceros will not soon forget their experiences. Nina taught Intensive Italian and co-taught Drama/Movement with David Peck for a number of years. She also worked both in the college office and in the admissions office. From John Zilliax, Nina assumed leadership of the 1212 Play season, and put on two and three plays a year in 1212 (Warren Hall, third floor). Many will recall the complete transformation of space necessary to mount Corneille’s The Illusion, or the minimalist approach for Scenes from American Life, or the sumptuous decor for The Importance of Being Earnest or Ivanov. She was articulate in defense of this alternate theatre space. Nina’s main stage productions included the Fourth Class Play, Tom Jones, Derek Wolcott’s The Odyssey, and Tina Howe’s Pride’s Crossing.
In Celebration of a Life Thoughts by Bill Moore, Nina’s husband and a faculty member since 1978, delivered at the celebration of Nina’s life on April 7, 2001 A life! How fortunate to be celebrated! This would be, and is, our reaction, Nina’s and mine, to this gathering of friends. At the end of her life, Nina looked at me and said, “I have been so lucky,” and I knew she was taking into consideration all who had celebrated her throughout her time on this Earth, right up to this very day with all of you here. As for me, I chose Pavorotti singing the particular aria “Recondita Armonia” you just heard from Tosca, because Nina loved Puccini, but then again because the singing of that aria always makes me feel once more what it was like to be a young man and fall in love with such a magnificent woman. I have tried to imagine their joy when a nurse announced to her waiting parents, “It is a girl,” that day when Nina was born in The American Hospital in Paris. A family friend, Marti Fletcher, was there, a kind of fairy godmother for Nina, who watched
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I have seen the pictures of Nina growing up in Paris taken by admiring photographers who couldn’t get enough of her winsome ways. One Parisian teacher reported Nina liked to “show off ” during class in her elementary school. This was surely her budding theatrical streak. She often told me, with a tone of approval, how hard her later Belgian school was, with its post-war theories about how to toughen up the young through gymnastics and challenging class projects. Her classmates from Brussels, welcomed her back en masse when we returned for a reunion 10 years ago, among them Danielle Dedecker who has kept up faithfully all these years. So strong were the ties to her buddies at The Overseas School of Rome, where she spent her high school years, that some of them are here today to celebrate her: David Holzapfel and Ceil Lucas. Ask them about their senior English teacher, Desmond O’Grady, the Irish poet, who opened their eyes to the thrill of art, and different ways of existing in this world. How did Nina survive her years at Grinell College in the cornfields of Iowa after four years in the Eternal City? She always found her niche in art, and, of course, languages.
It was not long before she traveled back to Europe to study at the Université de Montpellier in France. This place was to prove the wellspring of some of her most enduring ties. There Nina met Terry Hughes, our Quebec friend, with whom she has shared over the years some of the greatest sustained hysterical laugh fests in North America. She met Rick Benson, an Australian teacher of French, who just wrote me the following words: “Last week, it began to rain where I live for the first time in some nine months. Now I know why Nina’s influence stretched far and wide, and I choose to believe that it is still doing so: the last thing I said to her was that we were desperate for rain. I think every time it rains from now on, she shall be a part of it, and rain gives life over here.” There was Guy Richardot, the beloved father of my own “French family” from a senior trimester abroad, a man who once drank champagne from a crystal ashtray, and who could make us laugh at things French, in the manner of Rabelais and Voltaire. There was Trudi Rishikov who later shared with Nina a certain noisy apartment on Beacon Street, remaining a faithful friend right up to Nina’s bedside the evening before she died. There was Matilda Lipscomb, an American language professor and coordinator of foreign programs, who lived in the same apartment complex as Nina and who, one fated night in 1976, when I was visiting my French family, called me to come over and have dessert, hinting there was someone she wanted me to meet. One smile from “you know who” and I was
“in the coils of a French woman” as my mother’s best friend Mary Lee Chase George put it. I remember that particular night: Matilda served strawberries and creme fraiche; I played a little Cole Porter on the piano; and Nina said very distinctly to me as I was leaving, “E-16” (the number of her apartment), although she always denied that part. Nina and I courted in London and Rome, married in Exeter, New Hampshire, moved to Boston to begin working at Milton in 1978. You can ask my Exeter colleague, Harvey Knowles, how we looked after the Justice of the Peace, Mrs. Wiggins got through with us on August 11, 1977 in Exeter. French, English, Italian, these were Nina’s languages of youth, the first two spoken fluently from her earliest childhood. I have known many linguists, but none with so fine an ear, so uncanny an ability to discern differences of sound. She came to the teaching of language as something so easy to do for her that it almost seemed inconsequential, a given. And maybe this was why she deliberately challenged herself in the arts throughout her life: first with studying the piano, then dance, then writing fiction, directing plays, and finally composing poetry, and painting in various media. She created through art. She had inherited her grandfather’s gift for entertaining – he was a vaudevillian in New York and the Catskills – and her father’s intelligence and charm. Debonair and diplomatic, Lenny Seidenman moved through any society with consummate grace. With his suave manner came a powerful intellect that could encapsulate an international situation in so
many words. I would ask him leading questions about some political crisis just to hear him summarize it so exquisitely. Like her father, Nina kept herself up on international events, and never blanched before the worst atrocities. There were two premises about the Seidenman approach to reality: one simply had to know about the world, no matter what, and, unfortunately, we really cannot expect much from mankind as a species. From her mother, Nina inherited her love of words, her espousal of liberal causes and her tenacity of spirit. If you have ever heard Nina cut through pomposity and silliness of vision, you know what Stella was like. As for wit, Nina’s was unparalleled, even in a family of wordmongers. She reserved her wit, however, for occasions in which she was sure of her company, but then she placed her words with the assurance and bravura of a poker player laying down a royal flush. She could be breathtaking, and several friends have had accidents, they laughed so hard at something she said. Sixteen years ago, the doctors confirmed there was a lump in her breast. Over the course of the ensuing years, Nina underwent four separate spates of treatment, including radical mastectomies and reconstructions, plus various chemotherapies. And during this time she hardly missed a day of work, dressed with panache, endured the wigs, the side effects, the assaults on the body, considering all of these as mere, onerous details, not to be dwelt upon as important. She impressed her beloved Dr. John Erban who wrote me recently that Nina “made every interaction one of a greater purpose than herself.”
Anyone who knew Nina well was acquainted with her special “energy.” Our friend, Trudi, described it recently as “that particular focus she brought to a conversation, or an analysis, or an interaction with a student.” Trudi saw it as a kind of defining force one recalled and appreciated long after one’s experience of it. Nina sometimes meant by “energy” – “creative fire” – and many of us warmed ourselves at the edges of it. During those 16 years of fighting cancer, she produced her most creative work, notably in theater after obtaining a degree in directing from Emerson. Derek Walcott’s The Odyssey which Nina produced here at Milton was her final exam for the degree, and featured about as ambitious a staging as one could imagine. Nina had already staged many a “French Play” which enjoyed a kind of cult following on campus. Arthur Schram wrote me that “what was memorable about the experience of Le Malade imaginaire was Nina’s ability to take our shaky acting skills and infuse enough excitement, energy and grace into the process to make every line uttered in tiny room 1212 feel like it was bursting with the ephemeral magic of theater.” Nina went on to stretch every audience in challenging ways theatrically. In choosing to present Chekhov’s Ivanov, she clearly wanted to explore in large part the problems of the abandoned Jewish wife, slowly dying of consumption. The young woman who played that role, Bree McKenney, wrote me, “It
seemed she understood the essence of that play innately, that she was born knowing the meaning of those words I could have barely wrapped my head around without her assistance.” In Tina Howe’s Pride’s Crossing, to my mind her most beautiful production, she turned to the problems of a woman confronting her own aging and lost opportunities. While Nina’s own life bloomed with creativity and fulfillment, there remained in her choice of plays something that whispered to us “What if?” or “What about this?” until we realized that her vision, in theatrical terms so infused with astonishing beauty, had very much to do with painful discoveries about life, its disillusionments and the passage of time. As the lyrics to her favorite Kurt Weill song go: “Love is pure gold, and time a thief ” (from “Speak Low”). When it came to facing death she said to me, “I’d like to bow out causing as few problems as possible.” But ultimately, ultimately in her plays and surely in her own life’s drama, the protagonists reveal in all its splendor the courage to face all that, and go forward into life’s experience. It seems appropriate in this regard to listen to the music by Frederick Delius (“The Walk to the Paradise Garden”) that she chose for the final scene of Pride’s Crossing. Here, in this music, the young Mabel of the play goes to swim the English Channel, a metaphor for all our brave beginnings – Nina smiles wondrously as she did that day I first saw her, and we may at last be able to set her free, free to be as she will in our hearts and memories. William Moore April 7, 2001
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Milton Magazine Summer 2001 issue