Dr. Monica Benton Palmer has been named Milton’s next Upper School principal, effective July 1. The following is a message from Head of School Todd Bland announcing Dr. Palmer’s appointment to the Milton community:
I am happy to announce Dr. Monica Benton Palmer as Milton Academy’s next Upper School principal, effective July 1, 2022. After rigorous evaluation of candidates in a national search under highly competitive circumstances, Milton acted swiftly to bring Dr. Palmer to Milton, and we are delighted she chose to join our community.
Monica has 19 years of independent school experience, and her passion for working with upper school students results from a desire to connect with and guide students in their formative years. After working at the university level, she pursued this passion by joining the performing arts faculty at the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia. She soon progressed to parent liaison for the Head of School, enrollment manager for diversity outreach, as well as head dorm adult and department chair. At Lake Forest Academy in Illinois she continued her work with students as the Director of the Fine and Performing Arts department where she established the endowment for the arts while teaching, directing, and serving on the residential team. Since 2017, Monica has worked at the Governor’s Academy, a boarding and day school in Byfield, Massachusetts. She is currently the dean of faculty, overseeing faculty recruitment, retention, mentoring, and performance evaluation, faculty professional growth, and professional development. In addition, Monica teaches in the theater department and is an active presence in the afternoon and the residential life programs. She is a member of the Governor’s Academy senior leadership team and supports the head of school in the overall management and oversight of the school.
The Winter Dance Concert returns live to King Theatre on March 3 for a four-show run that includes about 70 students and a wide variety of dances.
The show, which will run for a Saturday matinee for the first time, features dance styles from all over the world, including hip hop, African, Indian, Irish step, Chinese fan dancing, and modern dance, said director and Performing Arts Department Chair Kelli Edwards. The last live Winter Dance Concert at Milton happened just before the school went remote in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—in 2021, a smaller production was filmed and shared with the community.
“The cast has worked very hard this year and the student choreographers are so eager to share their work,” said senior dancer and choreographer Audrey Volpe ’22. “We’ve waited two years to get back on stage for a live dance concert and we’re so excited for everyone to come to the show.”
Milton artists and writers received dozens of honors in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running competition to identify creative talent among students. Twenty-seven student writers received 52 awards total, including 13 Gold Key awards; 29 student artists received a total of 57 awards, 12 of which received Gold Key honors.
Senior Samuel Dunn’s personal essay and memoir piece, “On Confession,” received the competition’s best in category award; jurors selected it as a piece that exceeded the expectations of a Gold Key award.
Scholastic works in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and The Boston Globe to judge regional winners. Gold Key winners are welcome to participate in the regional awards celebration, which will be held on March 14 at Tufts.
The Department of Equity, Inclusion, and Justice has arranged dozens of events and programs for Black History Month for students and the broader Milton community.
All-school programming kicked off with a visit from artist and educator Endia Beal, who shared several of her photography and video works that highlight the lived experiences of people of color and told stories about her journey as an artist who merges fine art with social justice.
Activist, writer, and educator Yavilah McCoy joined the community on February 15, speaking about the intersections of her identities as a Black, Jewish woman; she challenged students to approach inclusion as intersectional work. Milton graduate Osaremen Okolo ’13, a policy advisor for public health and equity in the Biden administration, is scheduled to speak with students next week.
In addition to speakers, this year’s Black History Month programs include celebrations and meetings among affinity groups—gatherings of students who share a common identity—and cultural clubs; a performance by Afrobeats Dance Boston; a networking night and alumni panel discussion; a trivia night; and a Black History Month film festival.
We hope you have continued to enjoy the presentations each month. February and April meetings will be held by Zoom on the following dates (more details to follow):
- Tuesday, February 22, from 7 to 8 p.m. Speaker, Dean of College Counseling Rod Skinner
USPA Board Meeting 8–8:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 12, from 7 to 8 p.m. Speakers, Academic Dean Heather Sugrue and Dean of Students José Ruiz
- Tuesday, April 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Speaker, Dean of College Counseling Rod Skinner
USPA Board Meeting 8–8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Faculty and Staff Appreciation Event in Wigg
Please note that all meetings will be recorded and emailed to parents after the meeting for those who are unable to attend. We respectfully request you not to share the recordings beyond the Milton Academy parent community.
The faculty, parent, and student events sponsored by the USPA are made possible by your generous contributions of time, funding, and gifts, as we are a self-sustaining organization led by volunteer parents and supported primarily by parent dues and donations. Thank you!
Parents’ Association Board, 2021–2022
Please note we are still in search of parents to volunteer! Please contact Teena Kamal (firstname.lastname@example.org) to help or learn more.
Save the Date: April 12, 2022
Please save the date of April 12 on your calendar to be a part of this year’s Giving Day event! The entire Milton community, including current parents, will come together during these 24 hours to help celebrate and support our school. As the date draws near, stay tuned for more details about how you can become involved by signing up to be a Giving Day Advocate.
Music Department Chair Adrian Anantawan was named one of the Kennedy Center’s Next 50, a group of 50 artists, activists, and cultural influencers the Kennedy Center has honored as the next trailblazers in culture.
“Each individual included on the list exemplifies the Kennedy Center’s mission to help shape culture and society through the arts—with integrity, creativity, empathy, and artistic excellence,” the Kennedy Center said in a press release. “The Next 50 will not only recognize the cultural leadership of these 50 trailblazers and organizations but also create spaces and opportunities for these visionaries to use their talents to put art into action as they influence our communities and create new pathways for the coming generations.”
Anantawan, who joined Milton’s faculty in 2017, is a renowned violinist who trained with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter. He has played at the White House, the opening ceremonies of the Athens and Vancouver Olympic Games, and the United Nations; and for the late Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, and the Dalai Lama.
The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered injustices that are more complex and connected than some may understand, Jubi Oladipo ’24 reflected after working with a Boston nonprofit that makes and delivers medically tailored meals to people with chronic and critical illnesses.
“Often, people with chronic illnesses and disabled people are left out of the narrative,” Oladipo said, noting that the pandemic added additional barriers for people in need to safely obtain healthy food. “Food insecurity is a really intersectional issue; so many different factors can impact a person’s ability to go grocery shopping and prepare meals that help them satisfy their medical needs.”
Oladipo and the other students in Andrea Geyling-Moore’s Activism for Justice in a Digital World course recently visited and worked in the kitchen of Community Servings, located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Max Seelig ’22 said the visit opened his eyes to how food insecurity can have its origins in more than just poverty.
In the Final Stretch
Milton’s mustangs are finishing strong in the final games, meets, and matches of the regular season. Below are links to our teams’ schedules. Join us for the final home contests to help cheer on our athletes.
Just for Fun
Reality Within a Dream
Murder, Mayhem, and Mystery in King Theatre
This year’s winter play, Murder, Mayhem, and Mystery, transported audiences back to the radio plays of the early 20th century. Directed by Performing Arts Department faculty member Darlene Anastas, the show included four classic radio dramas—“Sorry, Wrong Number,” written by Lucille Fletcher and made famous by actress Agnes Moorehead; a Dick Tracy suspense mystery, “Big Top Murders”; and two Agatha Christie stories, “Personal Call,” and “Butter in a Lordly Dish.” Milton’s actors used dozens of props—including rotary phones, crunchy gravel, metal, and whistles—to create handmade sound effects.
View photos of the performance.
Digital Artworks Show
A new exhibit featuring student photography, drawings, and digital artwork opened last Thursday in Kellner’s Arts Commons. View photos of some of the work on display in this Digital Artworks Show.
For an assignment in Terri HerrNeckar’s precalculus class, Teddy Sunshine, Elliot Strauss, and Chris Scanlon explored “home field” advantage to predict outcomes at Olympic games. Their class project was featured in the most recent edition of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) magazine.
The caped crusaders of Milton’s robotics team compete in a VEX competition.
Alumnus MacRae Wylde, Class of 1982, brings Truth to Milton. The exhibit, located outside the Art and Media Center (AMC) as well as the AMC’s hallway gallery, will run through Reunion Weekend in June.
Read the Artist's Statement
Truth, Justice, and the American Way. That was what Superman used to say, and it seemed like a plan. A way to live. Everyone had a chance, and the rules applied to everyone across the board. Truth is the contract that allows it all to work. Truth is the given that lets us believe the equation. Truth is the basis of civilization. When truth is evident, we trust the message. When truth is apparent, we can each go about our lives with confidence. Truth is a fragile trust. Once that trust is broken, it is very hard to regain. When that trust is broken, any statement is received with skepticism. If you cry wolf too many times, no one will listen, even when the threat is real.
Truth the sculpture is a monument to the concept. It is a reminder that truth is an ideal we should aspire to promote. It is a concept that applies across all boundaries. It cares not where you come from or who your parents were, it does not care what party you belong to or what group you are part of. The sculpture is a reminder of the importance of Truth.
The sculpture Truth was built by hand. I welded and ground the piece. I painted the piece to preserve the metal. The piece is not perfect —there is evidence of my hand and of the labor that went into it. Like the concept, Truth the sculpture is everlasting, yet with neglect it will start to rust.
– MacRae Wylde
Milton hosted a virtual evening of music featuring cellist and Gratwick Visiting Artist Matt Haimovitz. Watch the concert event in its entirety here.
Advanced Portfolio Show
During the month of January, projects created by Milton’s senior artists were showcased in the Arts Commons at the annual Advanced Portfolio Show. In case you missed the exhibit, take this quick virtual walk through Kellner to view their work.