DATE: 4/11/2019

Making Headlines: A Message from the Head of School

The Final Four is fun – no doubt about it.  Whether it is the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, the men’s tournament, ice hockey, soccer, field hockey, water polo – name it – the Final Four is fun.  The level of play is extraordinary – or not, at times, as these youngsters deal with the intense pressure that comes with putting it all on the line – years of expectations, hopes, dreams, investment, commitment, and not just the athlete’s, but those of the coaches, the families, the universities, the fans (and now, the gamblers and the bookies).  In some sports, the Final Four means national acclaim and yes, big money; in others, bragging rights, stature, and yes, satisfaction. Getting to the Final Four is really something, across this talented, sports-crazed country. For us spectators, the Final Four translates into so-called March Madness – afternoons and evenings spent in living rooms and sports bars, bracket discussions, office (and dorm) pools.

BEING in the Final Four is an entirely different experience.  One team emerges with a final win at the end of a grueling season (because of course, in the Final Four, the runner-up game is played but irrelevant).  One team lives the dream. One team gets the accolades. One team “wants it the most.” The rest fall by the wayside, victims of missed opportunities, poor decisions, penalties, injuries, whatever.  I’ve personally experienced the Final Four twice, with one of our daughters. The first experience – five overtimes that turned us inside out on the sidelines – resulted in that miraculous moment when, after the confetti clears, your child runs over holding the national championship trophy.  The second – a penalty for too many players on the field with 40 seconds remaining and down by one, in a mix-up following a goal that the ref whistled as a foul SO quickly, followed by a brilliantly executed “stall” that became an illegal tactic in rules revised the next week – resulted in a runner-up trophy that will remain, I am told, forever in its box in a closet.  Extraordinary experiences both, but the price was steep. All of that commitment, investment, disappointment, dedication, and heartbreak “paid off” in a moment and came up short in a moment – and perhaps I’m a coward, but in both cases, I was glad when she, and we, were done. The win was extraordinary; the loss came with endless second-guessing. Why the penalty with under a minute left to go – who should have counted the players on the field?  Why did the ref rush to make such a discretionary call in the final minute of the national championship game? Why did the NCAA wait to change the stall rule if it felt that it was bad for the game? The championship celebration went on for hours; the second-place finish felt terrible, and families hurried to finish the obligatory post-game “tailgate” and go our separate ways, leaving the team and the coaching staff to come to grips with “failure” and yes, unfortunately, blame.

Last week, the Auburn-Virginia mens’ semi-final basketball game in the NCAA Division I tournament presented us, nationally, with the opportunity to blow up why kids should play sports.  With under 10 seconds to play, and Virginia trailing, the referees missed a call, then called a foul that resulted in Virginia’s having the opportunity to win the game – and thanks to the heroics of a 21 year old who somehow made three free-throws with less than 2 seconds left, Virginia did so.  Immediately the recriminations bubbled to the surface – how could the refs blow the double-dribble? How did the coaches not challenge immediately for review? How could the Auburn player have fouled the three-point shooter – and how could the ref have called that critical foul-or-maybe-not? As we watched, the predictable chaos took shape – blame the ref, blame the player, second-guess and blame at the end of this contest of warriors – and then, Charles Barkley – former NBA great, sports commentator-become-political activist -- came to the rescue.

An ardent Auburn alum and fan, Barkley’s spectator agony had been displayed periodically throughout the broadcast; indeed, the broadcasters had made a “thing” of his partisanship by decorating the broadcast desk with Auburn swag.  As someone who shares the “cant-sit-still-if-it-is-tense” mode of watching sports, I had a lot of empathy with him – and, truth be told, I’ve been his fan for a long time. So as the game ended and the controversy began, as the commentators opened with provocative banter, I could not have been more grateful when Charles settled it.  Look, he said, it was an extraordinary game. Each team played at the top of its game, and not one player or coach could have given any more. Hey, he said, I always try to respect the ref, and sure, I could be a great ref, too, with the benefit of instant replay and a 50-inch screen. I’m ready to cry, he told his fellows, but don’t take a single thing away from the Virginia kids.  This is their moment, and nothing and no one should take anything from it. The other commentators picked up his thread; then the cameras went to an interview with Bruce Pearl, the Auburn coach, who was immediately asked about whether he and his team felt robbed by the missed call and by the controversial foul. Whatever his other faults might be, the man in the moment was, simply, magnificent.  Full of emotion, he ignored the invitation to vent and congratulated his opponent on their amazing win. He told us how proud he was of his players and coaches and what an honor it was to make school history by getting to the Final Four. When the coverage returned to the commentators, the message had been given: the game had was over, Auburn had conceded with grace, controversy is as controversy does, and sportsmanship and yes, courage and grace, prevailed.  As one of the other commentators noted, that is one of the great lessons of sport – that despite giving everything one has, one does not always win, and that is hard – and life can be hard. Perhaps it is the high school principal in me, but I could not have been more relieved that this message was the message coming to kids (and adults) all over the country, rather than bitter recriminations and second-guessing. Thank you, Charles Barkley.

And yes, it is the head of school in me that can’t help think about this message in the lives of our students, here in our small and yes, privileged community, and how many of them show that courage and grace every day.  It is such an important message – that one can do everything possible, and that through no “fault” of one’s own (in fact, through the commission or omission of others), the outcome is not what one wants, or expects, or has dreamed, or the outcome that one’s beloved friends and parents and families want, or expect, or have dreamed.  In our own small community, I think of our seniors as their college news came in, many of whom “won,” and others of whom did not, in the sense that the financial aid did not work out, or the wait-list prolongs the quest, or an idealistic early application changed the long game in perhaps predictable but still disappointing ways. I think of our students and families dealing with serious illness and injury and loss with extraordinary courage and grace.  I watch our students in practice and in rehearsal, in concerts, games and performances, taking tests and juggling commitments, the fourteen juniors who gave speeches during our elections for school president -- the ways our students learn to lean into challenges that give meaning and value to their growth. Courage and grace are in short supply but high demand these days. It’s great when we see what they look like in action, on both the big screen and in the people around us every day.

Kathy Giles, Head of School

Calendar Notes

  • April 12: Spring Choral Concert
  • April 13: ACTs (Class II); MPA meeting, 10-11:30am, Barron Room
  • April 15: No classes – Patriots’ Day; 8:30pm check-in for boarders
  • April 16: Community Life house meetings, 7-8pm
  • April 23: All School Chapel (required), 7-8pm
  • April 27: Campus weekend for Prom attendees; Senior Prom followed by senior breakfast
  • April 28: Practice SATs (Classes II, III & IV), 9am, Barron Room; Project Impact, 6-9pm, Wrestling Room
  • May 3: Kiss Me Kate, 8pm, Theatre
  • May 4: SATs (Class II); Kiss Me Kate, 8pm, Theatre

Announcements and Reminders

  • A Message from the Academic Office: We have begun the process of enrolling returning students in courses for the 2019-20 academic year.  Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors have received (as appropriate) recommendations from departments regarding their course placements for next year and instructions as to how to request courses.  Each student’s advisor guides the process, encouraging the student to review course descriptions in the Curriculum (also available on the School’s website), consider recommendations from the School, imagine what courses s/he might pursue in subsequent years at Middlesex, consult with teachers, and communicate with parents.

    The School encourages each student to develop a program that is appropriate to his or her strengths and reflects the breadth of Middlesex’s curricular offerings.  In consultation with his or her advisor, a student will look at a proposed program of courses in its entirety, considering the impact not only of an individual course on the student, but additionally how the complete package of courses will serve the student’s intellectual growth.  Additionally, the Academic and College Offices review all courses of study. While we encourage students to stretch themselves intellectually, it is important that students are positioned to succeed. The counsel of advisors, teachers and departments is offered with this philosophy in mind.

    Student course requests are reviewed through the spring and summer as we work to ensure the proper program for each student.  In early August using My BackPack, we will allow families to view the courses in which a student will enroll in the fall. This early look at student programs will confirm courses, but not any scheduling details (teachers, blocks, etc.).  It is possible that due to scheduling constraints a student’s courses will change late in the summer; when courses are posted, we will provide further details regarding the shape of these modifications. The details of 2019-20 fall schedules will be adjusted up until the start of school.  Thus, schedules reporting meeting times, teachers and classrooms will not be available until students return in September.

  • On April 23, 2019, starting at 9:00am EST, we will host our first ever 24-hour Giving Day, MXGIVES. Our goal is to inspire 350 donors to make a gift to the Annual Fund in the 24 hours.

    Our campaign will be live at to check for updates. We hope you will follow along and, if you haven’t already, consider making a gift to the Annual Fund! 

    #MXGIVES…so the traditions continue!
  • Middlesex Senior Prom is coming up SOON! April 27th to be exact.  

    Some details for prepping for Prom:

    Thursday APRIL 18th from 11:45am to 1:30pm - Both Bonardi's Formalwear and Copper Penny Flowers will be on campus ( in ware hall) to take orders.

    Bonardi's does tux rentals. They will come and take measurements on 18th and bring different styles and colors to choose from. Orders need to be paid for on the 18th by card.  Bonardi's then puts together suit orders ( with shoes if ordered) and DELIVERS them FREE OF CHARGE to Middlesex on Wednesday the 24th. Between Wednesday the 24th and Friday the 26th, adjustments to tux pieces should be reported to Bonardi’s directly or to Anna Marchand. On Friday evening Anna will make exchanges with Bonardi’s.  BONARDI's also will come back to campus and PICK UP the tuxes FREE OF CHARGE a few days after prom.

    Copper Penny Flowers will take order for boutonniere and corsages. Again they will be on campus on the 18th.Orders need to be paid for on the 18th by card. Copper Penny Flowers will put together the order and bring it to campus on the 27th and be right at the circle so you don’t have to worry about getting to town to pick anything up.

    Prom "tickets" have been $200 the last few years but we may come in a little under that price this year - which would be great! I will send an update when we have better idea of prom attendance. Sometimes people want to pay for their date’s ticket, if that is the case, please let Anna Marchand know.  If you have questions about ticket prices- please feel free to reach out to Anna Marchand or Terry Cunningham in the business office.

    Details for the 27th:
    Prom will be held at Fruitland Museum in Harvard, MA.

    While parents are not invited to prom, pictures on the circle before prom go-ers get on the bus is a wonderful time for family and friends to take part in the prom experience. If you are coming to campus, please don’t park on the circle as it makes it too challenging for our buses. (It also makes for better pictures).

    All students attending the prom must take the bus from campus to Fruitlands and must return to campus on the bus afterwards. The buses will be back on campus around 11pm. Seniors will have a senior breakfast in the Terry Room following prom. Underclassman attending prom will need to check into dorms or be picked up by a parent upon returning to campus. Day students may stay over in the dorms with proper permissions. Senior breakfast will run from 11pm to 12am/12:30am. Boarders will check into the dorms afterwards and day students not staying on campus will need to be picked up as they are not allowed to drive themselves home that evening.

    Prom questions can be sent to Anna Marchand by email ( or by phone (978.371.6592)

  • Join us for the Spring Choral Concert!
    Friday, April 12th 8pm
    Small Chorus, SWAG, and Chapel Chorus

  • Join us for the Spring Musical!
    Kiss Me Kate
    May 3rd and 4th
    8:00 PM
    Kaye Theatre

    What better way to open the new Kaye theatre than with a classic American musical that merges Cole Porter's music and lyrics with a comedy by William Shakespeare? With songs including Another Op'nin, Another Show and Too Darn Hot this show is an unabashed love letter to the theater.  With expanded seating we have room for family, friends and neighbors, so help pack the house for this show that should prove fun for an audience of all ages.

    Patron Seating
    Reserved patron seating may be purchased for $25 each. While admission to the show is free and tickets are not necessary, we are saving a few rows of house seats for patron seating.  Next year the theater department is taking its biennial trip to London.  We have a firm commitment to making this trip available to interested students regardless of their ability to fund their travel. All proceeds from patron seating support financial aid for the London trip and make it possible for many students to embark on what has been a signature Middlesex journey for over forty years.

    If you would like to reserve patron seating, please email Tom: and tickets will be billed to your school account.  Patron seats are available for both performances, so please specify the performances you will be attending and the number of tickets that you require.  

  • From the Director of Multicultural & Community Development, Pascale Musto:  This past week featured our final Spectrum Dialogue speaker of the year as part of our on-going speaker’s series devoted to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also happens to be the month when we observe GLSEN’s Day of Silence, where community members have the opportunity to take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing of the LGBTQ community.  Our speaker was Lori Lindsey.  She is a former professional soccer player with a career that spanned thirteen years, where her most notable accomplishments on the field were representing the United States Women’s National Team at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany and helping the team earn the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal in London.  Off of the field, Ms. Lindsey is an advocate for social justice.  She travels the globe speaking, raising awareness, and advocating for women’s equality and the LGBTQ community.  Ms. Lindsey spent two days with the Middlesex community attending class, dining with students and speaking at both the Spectrum Dialogue and at a school assembly. 

From the MPA

  • Attention Junior Parents:  We need your help!  It is a Middlesex tradition for Junior class parents to host a midnight "Carnival Breakfast" for Seniors when they return to campus following the Senior Prom on Saturday, April 27. Please consider paying it forward, as next year our kids will be the beneficiaries of help from the class below! We are in need of volunteers now, the night of the event, as well as for donations of food.   

    Volunteers: We'd love to hear from anyone who would be able to join us to help plan food, decorations, games, logistics of the raffle etc.  On the the afternoon/evening of April 27, Junior parents will be setting up the Terry Room into a carnival, complete with games and great food for the post-Prom event including the annual raffle of items donated by Senior parents! We need plenty of hands to set up, to work the event, and to clean up afterwards. Although the event occurs late at night, it is an extremely fun way to really have a hands-on MX parent’s experience! 

    Donations: Please consider making a donation to cover the cost of food and decorations.  Monetary donations make it easy for us to ensure we have the right quantities, but if you prefer to donate a food item, we will happily accept those also!  Make checks payable to "Middlesex School."  In the memo line, please write "MPA Prom Breakfast" and mail to: Jody O'Malley 46 Cudworth Lane Sudbury MA 01776.  In the unlikely event that we do not use all the donations they will be put in the MPAaccount for future occasions.

    Please sign up to volunteer at: Middlesex Prom Breakfast Sign up Genius Thank you in advance for your generosity!     

    Any questions? Contact any Junior class MPA Rep: Carrie Finke at Jody O'Malley at Christine Cunningham at or Lisa Gelormini at

  • Attention Senior Parents: Your help is needed for the raffle at the Senior Prom Carnival Breakfast: The Senior Prom and post-Prom Breakfast are getting close -- Saturday, April 27!  Junior class parents are busy planning a fun post-Prom Breakfast for seniors, including a fantastic raffle. We need your help with prize donations for the raffle; the easiest way to help is with cash donations that can be used to purchase prizes, or donations of items such as gift cards (restaurants, retail stores, iTunes, Amazon, etc.), tech items (iPad, headphones, etc.), event tickets, and/or gift baskets.  All donations are greatly appreciated. 

    We are still accepting donations!  If you prefer to make a monetary contribution, please make checks payable to “Middlesex School” with “Senior Prom Raffle” in the memo line.  In the unlikely event that we do not use all the donations, they will be put in the MPA account for future occasions.  Please send checks, gift cards, or actual prize donations to: Christine Cunningham 31 Burroughs Road Lexington MA 02420.  Any questions? Contact any Junior class MPA Rep: Carrie Finke at Jody O'Malley at Christine Cunningham at or Lisa Gelormini at

  • Come join the MPA for our last meeting of the year on Saturday, April 13th from 10am-11:30am in the Barron Room, Ware Hall.  In addition to Head of School, Kathy Giles’ school updates, we will hear from:
    Karlyn McNall, Assistant Head for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and
    Rebecca Smedley, Director of Spiritual and Ethical Education, on the chapel program
    Michael Schaeberle, Director of Studies, on course selection and academic planning
    Dan Sheff, Dean of Students, on rooming, advisors and the Junior Leadership Process.

    We hope to see you there!

Rethinking the Classics

Through the combined resources of the Mudge Family Fund for the enrichment of the classics and the Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series, Middlesex welcomed distinguished scholar Dan-el Padilla Peralta to campus on April 2.



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Concord, Massachusetts 01742

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