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DATE: 5/2/2019


Making Headlines: A Message from the Head of School

“I’d rather be happy than safe.”

These words capture the essence of adolescence.  They were spoken by an absolutely terrific 15 year old boy in my freshman English class last week as we debated the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romero and Juliet.  Why is Romeo in the inner sanctum of his enemy – the enemy in an ancient feud for which no one remembers the cause?  Why is Romeo in love with the daughter of this enemy – love at first sight, love after being madly, badly burned in unrequited love with someone else?  Why does he need to kiss Juliet at the party, five minutes after first seeing her?  Where is the wisdom and maturity in any of this?  The answer, of course, is that there is none.  Romeo would rather be happy than safe.  And after a few minutes of back-and-forth argument, when I asked my class of fifteen year old Romeos and Juliets whether they endorsed this statement or not, a few hands shot immediately up into the air; then slowly, gradually, a little sheepishly, more hands went up until eleven of the thirteen ninth graders raised their hands.  This class is among the most talented, hard-working, and highly-achieving classes with whom I have had the pleasure of working over my 33 years as a teacher.  They care; they listen; they take coaching; they work hard; they want to make everyone proud, and actually, they want to make us all happy, as well.  But at fifteen, with an immature brain, a revved up emotional system, and the world beckoning in all of its thrilling complexity, just about all of them would rather be happy than safe – and of course, this truth is universal.

And this play is a tragedy; we know how it ends for Romeo and Juliet.  In its classical definition, tragedy highlights an incompatibility between the hero/heroine and the environment, and it requires a flaw – a characteristic that can’t be reconciled and ultimately leads to the hero/heroine’s death.  In this play, we know from the play’s Prologue that the ill-fated young lovers die “in order to bury their parents’ strife.”  In this play, the parents can’t communicate with their teenagers; they fail in setting boundaries and limits; and they fail in understanding the truth of their children’s experience, in all of its rather-be-happy-than-safe immaturity, joy, and beauty.  The students in my class find so many parallels to the present day – the wars of long duration fought largely by the young, the desperation of teenagers when their parents’ plans overwhelm them, the instability of first time serious, surprising emotions – and they articulate this idea to which we keep coming back – that in the complexity of life, it always has been and still is hard for young people to find a place to be young, immature, carefree, safe, and yes, happy.

There are many good reasons to teach this play in the spring, and at Middlesex, one of the best reasons happens most late afternoons and early evenings, when the Circle fills up with teenagers, the Frisbees fly, the music blares (just a little), the phones get put away (for the most part), and the kids play.  There are little faculty kids mixed in, and a few dogs as well, and faculty members on the ways to and from buildings or walking with strollers across the path that bisects our Circle.  It’s a beautiful place displaying the beauty of youth in all of its “perfect imperfections,” to quote the John Legend song.  Challenges come with the regularity of sunrise and sunset, and even the most “together” teenager has hard moments of doubt and struggle.  And there is, of course, beauty in that part of our growing humanity, as well. For many of our seniors marking their final weeks, as well as the rest of our students nearing the end of the school year, the distance traveled is becoming more apparent, and there is some well-earned pride and satisfaction that adds dimension and richness to happiness that is satisfying in mature ways. Immersed in these “perfect imperfections,” as well as the challenges of trying to serve each of these students well, I am constantly reminded of the ways learning in all venues shapes young lives, the power of relationships based on love, respect, optimism, and patience, and the life-changing power of the community – more than a century old – that in partnership with their families, holds these young people dear.  It’s wonderful work that we do together.

--Kathy Giles, Head of School


Calendar Notes

  • May 3: Kiss Me Kate, 8pm, Theatre
  • May 4: SATs (Class II); Kiss Me Kate, 8pm, Theatre
  • May 5: Project Impact, 6-9pm, Wrestling Room
  • May 6-17: AP Exams
  • May 7: Class III Chapel/Event (required) 6:30-7:30pm
  • May 10-11: Alumni Weekend
  • May 12: Practice SATs (Classes II, III, and IV), 9am, Barron Room; Project Impact, 6-9pm, Wrestling Room

Announcements and Reminders

  • A Memorial Service will be held for David Andrysiak ’19 on Sunday, May 5th at 2pm in the Chapel. Overflow seating with a live-stream of the service will be available in the Rachel Carson Center. All are welcome.

    Gifts in David’s memory may be made to support financial aid at two institutions that he loved:

    David Andrysiak ’19 Scholarship Fund at Middlesex School
    Middlesex School
    1400 Lowell Road, Concord, MA 01742 

    David Andrysiak Scholarship Fund at Camp Becket
    Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA
    748 Hamilton Road, Becket, MA 01223

  • Travel dates for the 2019-20 school year have been posted on the school website.

  • A video of last week’s wonderful Jazz Trio Concert has been posted on the School’s YouTube Channel.
     
  • Every year, the Middlesex French Department holds a "French Soiree" in which students perform and celebrate the French Culture. You can view a playlist of this year's performance here.

From the MPA

  • Upcoming parent volunteer opportunities:

    Senior Parents:  On Friday, May 17th at 6pm, The senior BBQ dinner will be on the Circle.  This is a really fun, end-of-the-year (can you believe it??!) MX tradition and the kids really enjoy the relaxing, special meal outside with their classmates.  MX’s Flik dining services will provide the seniors with a special BBQ entree and sides, and we are hoping that our parent volunteers can reinforce the BBQ meal with individual bags of chips, cans/bottles of fun drinks, desserts, perhaps some "goody bag" type treats to take back with them as they study, “field day” type games like nerf balls, whiffle ball sets, bubbles, and of course any other items as you see fit…  Please, no peanuts or tree nuts or any products that “may contain” nuts.

    Please click on the google doc sign-up link, below, if you can provide food, beverage, a field day game donation and/or come help at the BBQ.  Parents are welcome to come help set up, serve, and/or clean up. (It’s really fun and easy!)  We are also accepting monetary donations if it’s easier for you to donate funds and have local parents purchase and bring your donation.  

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10w8s-hBopidEP-PJ3KDbKuRwUle70ddszUYtJ2RT5kA/edit?usp=sharing

    Thank you so much, and don’t hesitate to contact any of us with your thoughts/suggestions!  Happy spring, and we hope to see you soon,

    Your MX MPA senior “Parent Reps” Julie McKenna (the5mckennas@comcast.net), Leenam Dalal (leenam.dalal@gmail.com), Patty Cloherty (pcloherty1812@gmail.com), Francine Flynn (fvflynn@yahoo.com)

    Junior Parents: The Junior class BBQ will take place on Friday May 18 at 6PM, next to the Chapel (or in Ware Hall if it rains).  MX’s Flik dining services will provide the BBQ meal itself and we are hoping that our parent volunteers can reinforce the BBQ theme with individual bags of chips or snacks, cans/bottles of fun drinks, homemade desserts and “field day” type games like Frisbees, nerf balls, whiffle ball sets, bubbles, and of course any other items as you see fit… Please, no peanuts or tree nuts or any products that “may contain” nuts.   Please click on the google doc sign-up link, below if you can provide food, beverages or field day game donations and/or come help at the BBQ.  Parents are welcome to come help set up, serve, and/or clean up. (It’s really fun and easy!) 

    MX Junior Class BBQ - Friday May 17, 2019 at 6 pm

    Sophomore Parents: Our next MPA-sponsored social event is the end of the year Sophomore Class BBQ, on Friday, May 17th at 6pm on the lawn outside of StuFac. This is a really fun, end-of-the-year MX tradition and the kids really enjoy the relaxing, special meal outside with their classmates. MX’s Flik dining services will provide the BBQ meal itself and the parent reps are organizing an ice cream/sundae bar for dessert. Please click on the google doc sign-up link, below, if you can provide sundae toppings, beverages or field day game donations (frisbee, nerf balls, wiffle ball, large wand bubbles) and/or come help at the BBQ.  Please, no peanuts or tree nuts or any products that “may contain” nuts.  Parents are welcome to come help set up, serve, and/or clean up. (It’s really fun and easy!)  We are also accepting monetary donations if it’s easier for you to donate funds and have local parents purchase and bring your donation. If you have any questions, please contact Joy McCallum, joyemccallum@gmail.com

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1l8SrTKs72RHQ6hwVFdCZA-UqFVJ5sLWQ8au-9GGZVTE/edit#gid=0

    Freshman Parents -- Two volunteer opportunities:

    Monday May 13th is the Freshman Ice Cream Social and we are looking for a few volunteers to help out.  It's a great way to meet some freshmen parents, and even some freshmen. The Ice Cream Social will start just before 7pm (immediately following the 6:30 pm freshmen class chapel) and will take place in StuFac. We will purchase (from our MPA budget) several large tubs of Bedford Farms ice cream and sorbet, and we hope to get all toppings donated by parents. Please click on the Signup Genius link below if you can provide an ice cream sundae topping donation and/or help scoop ice cream.  Donations can include sprinkles, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, mini marshmallows, crumbled cookies…  the possibilities are endless!  Please, no peanuts or tree nuts or any products that “may contain” nuts.      

    SignUp Genius

    Friday May 17th at 6pm, the freshmen class will have a BBQ dinner in the Landry Center Courtyard.  MX’s Flik dining services will provide the BBQ meal itself, and we are hoping that our parent volunteers can reinforce the BBQ theme with individual bags of chips or snacks, cans/bottles of fun drinks, desserts.   Please, no peanuts or tree nuts or any products that “may contain” nuts.  In addition, it would be great to have some “field day” types games like Frisbees, nerf balls, whiffle ball sets, bubbles and any other items you see fit.  Please click on the Signup Genius link below if you can provide donations and/or come help at the BBQ.  Parents are welcome to help set up, serve and clean up. It’s fun, easy and a great way to meet some of your student’s classmates!

    SignUp Genius

    Thank you!  Your MX MPA Freshman Parent Reps, Marcella Boelhouwer, magboelhouwer@gmail.com, Jennifer Ewing, ewingfam@comcast.net, Jessica Kennedy, kishkennedy@gmail.com, Jody O’Malley, jodyomalley1@gmail.com

  • Upcoming MPA Events:
    • Monday, May 13 - Freshman Ice Cream Social - 6:55pm, StuFac
    • Friday, May 17 - Class Dinners, 6:00pm 

 


From Finite to Infinite

Former trustee, Middlesex parent, astrophysicist, educator, and novelist Dr. Alan Lightman came to campus to share some of the thoughts and experiences that inspired one of his most recent books, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.


READ MORE

Middlesex Theatre Presents: Kiss Me Kate

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


READ MORE

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