Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

October 2011

Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter October 2011

From Community Service: Surprise!! A New Orleans Friendship Renewed in Long Assembly

Friends visit each other. They share stories, eat together, help each other, experience the world as part of each other’s circle. They give each other the sincere gift of time, the only gift that never wears out and never grows old. Nobles has a friend in the city of New Orleans, specifically the battered parish of St. Bernard. In the years since the deluge, concerned faculty and students have traveled there to build, clean, paint, work and, perhaps most importantly, to befriend the people we met there. As with most genuine friendships, both parties believe they receive more than they give.

Linda Hurley returns from her many trips to NOLA with a bag stuffed with business cards, scraps of paper scribbled with many types of handwriting and a cell phone full of new contacts. They are people like Allen, who lost his job when a business failed, lost his security when his family broke up in the vicissitudes of instant homelessness and poverty, and lost his house to irreparable damage. He and his dog, Vinnie the Pug, maintain a constant presence at the Community Center; upbeat and warm, he is one of the best listeners we know. Debbie “mans” the triage table at the food pantry, making sure everyone is treated fairly. She should know why that is so important to the dignity of folks who have to come every week for food. She raised three children during and after the flood; for six months they lived in her orange Chevy sedan. Year after year, Nobles finds its way down to “da Parish” and friendships flourish in large, loosely organized groupings. Retired faculty member Kate Coon’s Children’s Literature class gathered books for a charter school, Sandi MacQuinn’s family spent two months of her sabbatical living and working in food and clothing distribution and refurbishment of the Community Center. Graduate Abby Snyder '07 is Teaching for America in a middle school in St. Bernard. (See timeline below for detailed look at our continued commitment in New Orleans.)

This past summer, Nobles chose Zeitoun as our community read, hoping to educate ourselves further about the advance of that wall of water, and to understand some of the political and cultural disarray that caused even more suffering than the natural disaster might have. Dave Egger's book became the launching pad for many English class discussions and writing assignments. The struggle of one family, the Zeitouns, who happen to be an Muslim family, seemed so emblematic of government disorganization in that city and America’s seemingly unreasonable fear of average Muslim citizens during times of great stress after 9/11.

On September 28, our first Long Assembly of the year proved to be one more way to celebrate the longstanding friendship we have created with New Orleans, as we revisited our reading of Zeitoun. To quote Bill Bussey “This book that we connect to on so many levels reflects the passion and heartache that we feel for this city and its people.” The Nobles audience came to hear reporter and editor Dante Ramos, who witnessed and wrote about all this. Ramos is a Harvard graduate and currently deputy editorial page editor for the Boston Globe. Before coming to the editorial board in 2006, he worked for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as deputy editorial page editor, as an editorial writer and as a beat reporter covering education and local government. He has also written for The Economist, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, and other publications.

Ramos was there during the deluge—trying to get the truth, to write about what was happening and to contact agencies and average people dealing with a torrent of water. He had been reporting in New Orleans before the disaster and, with phones not working, everyone in flight and disorder and disarray on every side, he was one of those who called for a clear look at what was happening, and why.

Unbeknownst to most of the audience, however, was the surprise visit unveiled during Assembly of Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun! Dante Ramos called them to the stage and, in an intimate interview, helped our community to continue to do what real friends manage—to know someone more deeply. It’s always better when you can ask questions and get a gut feeling about real issues and real people. It was with gratitude that we “sat down with our friends” from New Orleans that day, and had a long, satisfying conversation.

Nobles New Orleans Trips: Facts and Figures

  • August 29, 2005—Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf
  • Fall 2005—Justin Reich (former Nobles Faculty member) travels to New Orleans
  • Spring 2006—DJ Hatch '07 and Dennis Hatch (parent) volunteer in New Orleans
  • Summer 2006—Ben and David Snyder '08 volunteer at Camp Hope; Steph Chaston '07 works in NOLA with her Needham Church
  • March 2007—10 adults/31 students travel to NOLA during Spring Break (visit from Fleur-de-Lis Ambassadors to Nobles)
  • Summer 2007—Brother-2-Brother Trip: 6 adults/7 students
  • March 2008—10 adults/40 students travel to NOLA during Spring Break
  • December 2008—Faculty attending the POCC conference work at St. Bernard Project
  • March 2009—10 adults/42 students travel to NOLA during Spring Break
  • March 2010—10 adults/50 students travel to NOLA during Spring Break
  • March 2011—12 adults/51 students travel to NOLA during Spring Break
  • Summer 2011—Nobles community chooses Zeitoun as its all-school read
  • March 2012—a group of 65 is scheduled to return to NOLA

Additional Nobles/NOLA connections

  • Graduate Stephanie Grace '83 continues to write a political column for The Times-Picayune newspaper. Stephanie joined the paper as a reporter in 1994 and has hosted many Nobles/Nola spring break groups
  • Sabbatical faculty member Sandi MacQuinn and family lived in the Parish and worked at the Community Center of St. Bernard for two months.
  • Graduate Abby Snyder '07 now teaches in St. Bernard Parish as a Teach for America fellow.
  • In five years, more than 175 individual students and 55 adults (faculty, staff and parents) have been involved in an ongoing effort to continue to be a force and a presence in the post-Katrina recovery efforts happening in New Orleans.

We have worked with many organizations and individual residents:

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Community Center of St. Bernard
  • The St. Bernard Project
  • Beacon of Hope
  • Relief Spark
  • Carpenter's 2 House
  • Covenant United Methodist Church
  • 2nd Harvest Food bank
  • New Orleans Park and Rec. Dept
  • Sophie B. Wright Charter School
  • McDonough 42 School
  • Bayou Rebirth
  • Common Ground Relief
  • AP Tureaud School
  • The Gathering

Experiential Learning at Nobles (And Beyond) by Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School

When I was a high school sophomore, my school sent the entire grade on a 10-day Outward Bound adventure in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. To say that trip ranks as one of the ten most important experiences of my life would be an understatement. Somehow I made it through a blizzard, a flood, hiking in frozen boots, and going much farther than I could have ever imagined my feet and legs could take me. In those days, trips like that were called "experiential learning" and were defined quite narrowly as outdoor challenge and immersion.

In the intervening years, the definition of experiential education has widened significantly and Nobles has embraced that breadth to provide a series of experiences for students that are designed to immerse them in situations that are quite different than what they typically encounter in school and at home. These experiences provide them with opportunities to learn empathy, resilience, and perseverance while broadening their view of themselves and the role they can play in the world.

Experiential learning at Nobles includes four major programs—community service, study away, travel and senior projects—all developed to provide a diversity of opportunities for students.

Community Service:

Community service at Nobles has evolved to become a significant part of the daily ethos and culture of the school. Nobles has a long history of service, but it was not until the late 1980s that the commitment was embodied in a graduation requirement (which garnered some national recognition at the time and continues to be one of the most significant in our peer group of schools). Today, Nobles students serve hundreds of different organizations, most of which are within Greater Boston. While our Afternoon Program service option has developed long-standing partnerships with local organizations such as Community Servings, Roxbury Prep Charter School and Riverdale School in Dedham, we now have many student organizations (from the Multicultural Students Association to the Asian Culture Club) that engage in service with local groups whose mission is congruent with theirs. In recent years we have also developed one-day service events that involve broad segments of the Nobles community, such as the Stamp Out Hunger Drive, the Middle School Pie Drive and the MLK Day of Service. Even more recently athletic teams have embraced service through connections with the Cotting School, the MPS Inner City Soccer Initiative and the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund. Our goal with all of these initiatives is to help all Nobles students find a place where they can begin to understand the meaning of a life characterized by service to others. To learn more about service at Nobles, go to

Study Away:

Each year, roughly a dozen Nobles juniors (and the occasional sophomore) take a semester or year to study away from Nobles. Through programs such as School Year Abroad, CityTerm in New York City, the Island School, Maine Coast Semester and others, Nobles students get an opportunity to experience a very different type of learning environment. These students return to Nobles with a broader perspective and a sense of confidence and accomplishment for having taken themselves into a completely new situation, be it living with a family in a foreign country to doing research in marine ecology or understanding the intricacies of a neighborhood in New York City. If you have any interest in these programs you can learn more at and come to Travel and Study Away Night on Thursday, October 6, at 7 p.m.

Nobles Travel:

Nobles has developed meaningful and long-term partnerships with organizations around the country and around the world. Between one to four weeks, Nobles students and faculty challenge themselves through service, language immersion, and academic and cultural studies. Unique among independent schools nationwide, Nobles has been fortunate to build a travel program with clear connection to our mission of developing future leaders for the public good. For more information about programs available this year, login to the website and continue to check for updates or come to Travel and Study Abroad Night on Thursday, October 6 at 7 p.m.

Senior Projects:

Each year, more than half of the senior class takes advantage of the opportunity to drop one or more classes in the fourth quarter in order to learn more about an area of specific interest that they were not able to pursue in the course of their Nobles careers. These projects have varied widely over the years—from students working on a start-up business plan (this is where Seth Priebatsch ’07, who was recently featured in The New York Times business section, developed his first business plan) to writing a one-person play to studying Arabic to learning a new form of dance. If you are the parent of a current Class I or II student, you should think about talking with your child about taking advantage of this opportunity.

Our hope is that Nobles students fully avail themselves of these programs and use them to develop many of the skills and attitudes that will serve them well in college and beyond.

From the Foster Gallery: Save the Date and Join Us for a Great Hands-On Workshop!

Upcoming in the Foster Gallery


Pictured Above: Work by Doug Casebeer
Pictured Above: Work by John Gi

Doug Casebeer and John Gill
October 14—November 18, 2011
Opening Reception Thursday, November 10, 2011, 4 to 7 p.m.

*Join us for a Fall Ceramics Workshop, "Pottery Basics with Doug Casebeer and John Gill," on Saturday, November 12, 2011, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more information about this event!

This exhibition features a dynamic pairing of works by Doug Casebeer and John Gill, two renowned potters who are active both as educators and as artists. In addition to his busy life as a potter, traveler and teacher, Casebeer is the Artistic Director at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a thriving artist community in Snowmass, Colo. Gill is a beloved faculty member in the distinguished ceramics department at Alfred University (which Casebeer attended). The two are close friends working on opposite sides of the country and this show promises an opportunity for connections, both visual and beyond. Both artists will be on campus for the opening reception on Thursday, November 10, and visiting ceramics classes on Friday, November 11.

In conjunction with the exhibition, we will host a workshop entitled "Pottery Basics with Doug Casebeer and John Gill." This workshop is open to the public but space is limited and registration is recommended. For more information, go to To register, call Foster Gallery at 781-320-7227 or email

Write to Us!

The E-Newsletter is a monthly resource for parents. If you have comments, submissions or suggestions, please contact E-Newsletter Editor Julie Guptill at

You can find the current issue, along with back issues in the archive at

What's New on the Web

There is so much to find on! You have received emails, presentations and notifications with tips for navigating the Nobles website and resources you can find there. Don't worry—we will continue to offer web tips throughout the year. This month, however, we'd like to draw your attention to two places on the web outside of

Click here to check out the new Admission Blog! The Admission Blog is for anyone interested in learning more about Nobles. It will feature news, photos and videos from the school, blog entries from faculty, staff, coaches and students and information about Admission events.

Like us on Facebook! Visit the Nobles official page at While you're there, check out the other Nobles-related Facebook pages: Nobles Athletics, Noble and Greenough Grads, Achieve, Foster Gallery and Nobles Day Camp. Are you an avid Tweeter? Follow the official feeds of Nobles Athletics and Nobles Grads.

From Your PIN Reps

The Parents’ Independent School Network, Inc. (PIN) is a volunteer group of parents with children currently enrolled at New England-area independent schools. This month's report is actually a synopsis from the final PIN lecture of the 2010-2011 year.

Teen Stress & Suicide: Parents and Schools Can Make a Difference

The speaker at this meeting was Maria Trozzi, M.Ed., author, assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, director of the Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center, and a consultant to Children's Hospital. She is also, it turns out, a friend of Erika Guy’s and has worked with Nobles to develop programs for bereaved students.

Trozzi’s specialty is student suicide and grief. In the course of her work, she provided guidance to families at Columbine High School in Colorado and to families and schools affected by the World Trade Center attacks.

Among Trozzi’s many observations were two that were particularly valuable and unexpected. First, when tragedy strikes, it is important that kids stick to their daily routines. While it may be tempting to cancel classes or excuse children from class when, for example, a suicide occurs, she strongly recommends that kids at least go through the motions. It helps send the message that everything else is o.k., and life will go on. She said grieving students should be told, “You are expected to come to algebra class, but you don’t have to actually think about math.” This approach also avoids the risk of fetishizing the suicide, when the attention it garners can begin to look attractive.

Second, Trozzi said that when a classmate commits suicide, kids desperately want to understand why. Trozzi said that the common response, “S/he was depressed,” is actually not useful. Many kids experience sadness and depression, so such an explanation can be confusing or frightening. Instead, she recommended saying, “That girl/boy was not a good problem solver in that situation,” and then discuss the various ways s/he could have handled the problem, e.g., sought help from a parent or counselor, talked to a friend, or waited for emotion to subside. This kind of approach rightly recognizes that kids face problems, and that problem solving is the skill for handling them. Trozzi put it memorably: “Kids should be told: Romeo and Juliet were not good problem solvers.” A gem of contemporary advice we hope none of us ever needs.

Allison Matlack,
Lee Collins,

Class IV Reps: Anna Abate (left) and Marca Katz

October 2011: Class IV Notes

Hello, Class IV Parents!

It was great to see so many of you these past couple of weeks at Back-to-School Night and the Parent Coffee. The students seem to be transitioning quite well into high school.

October promises to be busy with lots of fun and important dates. Here are the highlights you’ll want to be sure to get on the calendar:

  • Monday, October 3: Magic Bus for Class IV students, 5-8:30 p.m.; Class IV Parent Forum, Morrison Forum, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 6: Travel and Study Away Night, Morrison Forum, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, October 10: Columbus Day—No School
  • Thursday, October 13: PA Meeting, MAC, 8-10 a.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, October 14-15: Nobles Yard Sale, Omni Rink, 8 a.m.-4pm
  • Friday, October 21: Class IV Parent Social, Castle, 7-10 p.m.
  • Monday, October 24: Comment Writing Day—No Classes
  • Thursday, October 27: Nobles Night (adults only), Rappaport Gym, 6:30-10 p.m.
  • Friday, October 28: Halloween Dance for students, 7-10 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you at many of these events. As always, please feel free to call or email us with any questions or suggestions.

Anna Abate,
Marca Katz,

Thank You!

We want to express our appreciation to all the participants of the Multicultural Fair Day. Parents, faculty members and students attended and contributed in so many different ways: setting up tables, cooking, preparing displays, contacting artistic performers or groups, sending in native costumes for the fashion show, sending donations, coordinating set-up for the gym, promoting the fair or volunteering to help in many other ways. The support was phenomenal and the afternoon was enjoyable, fun and a great success. We enjoyed the diverse and rich cultural heritage of our families.

Thank you, Nobles community, for making this event possible by getting together and making it happen!

Steven Tejada, Dean of Diversity Initiatives, and Miguel Ureña P'12 '16, Co-Chair Multicultural Fair

Middle School Reps: (from left) Leslie Del Col, Sarah Paglione, Brooke Sandford, Carol Taiclet

October 2011: Middle School Notes

We hope the school year has gotten off to a great start for you and your children! It was nice to see so many of you at the annual Parents’ Association (PA) Fall Social, Back-to-School Night, the first PA board meeting, and the Multicultural Fair. Many thanks to those who worked so tirelessly on these wonderful events!

October is a busy month in the Middle School, filled with sporting events, student and parent social activities, and many opportunities for parents to get involved. Please join us tomorrow morning, October 4, for the Middle School Parent Coffee in the MAC upstairs lobby. The coffee is a low-key chance to chat with fellow Middle School parents; for new “Sixie” parents, it’s the perfect time to mingle and ask any questions, big or small, of the Class V parents. We will also have sign-up sheets for volunteer opportunities throughout the year for anyone who is interested.

Please be sure to mark your calendars for the Middle School Parent Fall Social at the Castle on October 15. You will receive an invitation via Maryanne MacDonald’s weekly email; the invitation and RSVP link are also available by logging into the Nobles website and clicking on the calendar. We’d love to see as many of you there as possible! Catch up with old friends, and make some new friends—let’s kick off a great five or six years together!

The Nobles Yard Sale is held the same weekend as our Social and a lot of advance work goes into making it a success. Consider signing up to help if you haven’t already. In addition to helping the school, it really is a terrific opportunity to get to know many different parents, across all grades, as you move, sort and sell the myriad of donations. Whether you can spare an hour or a day, it will be much appreciated.

All sports teams will be in full swing in October. Attend some games and cheer our athletes on! On game days, some Middle School teams (soccer, field hockey, etc.) surprise each other during the school day with secret “psych gifts” (e.g., candy bar, small baked good or other treats). Make sure to ask your child if she or he has a secret psych buddy.

If you end up taking any photos at a school event or on the sidelines, we would be grateful if you would share some with us. Please email .jpg files or links to files to Brooke Sandford at John Gifford and Maryanne MacDonald might include them in a future newsletter or the Yearbook and the students will enjoy seeing them on the Morrison Forum flat screen. We would be happy to facilitate the sharing of “albums” of numerous photos of games or other events with team members/participants or the entire Middle School.

Finally, October at Nobles wouldn’t be complete without its spooktacular Halloween spirit. Friday, October 28 is the all-school Halloween dance (FYI, kids do not go in costumes). On Halloween itself, Monday, October 31, most kids, faculty, and staff go all out and come to school dressed up in costumes—simple or elaborate, it doesn’t matter, as long as your child has fun!

Below is a list of important dates in October. Please note several days where dismissal times are different than normal.

Important October Dates

Tuesday, October 4 Middle School Parent Coffee, Morrison Athletic Center (MAC), Upstairs Lobby, 8 a.m.
Monday, October 10 Columbus Day—No school
Thursday, October 13 Parents' Association Meeting in the MAC Lobby, 8 a.m. Everyone is welcome!
Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15 Nobles Yard Sale!
Friday, October 14 Come cheer on the Bulldogs in a Friday Night Lights prime-time event! Featuring the Nobles Varsity Football team vs. Thayer Academy at Dedham High School's brand-new turf field. Transportation for all students provided by Nobles. Starting at 5:30 p.m. Middle School students will gather with the Middle School Mentors & faculty chaperones. All students and faculty will tailgate down at the MAC with food, games, contests and cheer practice. Fun time for all!
Saturday, October 15 Fall Open House (Admissions event) 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Saturday, October 15 Middle School Parents Fall Social at The Castle, 7 -10 p.m. Come mingle with other Middle School parents! It’s a great chance to meet parents of your child’s classmates. Chit $25/person. RSVP by October 8th (Login to the website and click the event listed on Oct. 15)
Monday, October 17 Middle School Long Advisory 2:30-4 p.m. This is in lieu of the Afternoon Program. Please pick up your student by 4 p.m. at the Middle School.
Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23 No homework weekend. Enjoy!
Monday, October 24 Comment Writing Day—No school
Tuesday, October 25 Faculty Meeting starting at 3:15 p.m. in Morrison Forum. All students will be dismissed by 2:30 p.m. For those Middle School students who cannot be picked up by 2:30 p.m., a parent-proctored study hall will take place in the Library Loft. No Afternoon Program.
Wednesday, October 26 Individual advisor/advisee meetings to discuss first quarter grades/comments. Students will sign up for individual meetings and are dismissed after their advisor meeting. No Afternoon Program.
Thursday, October 27 Nobles Night! (adults only) Rappaport Gym, 6:30-10 p.m. Any questions, please contact Katherine Minevitz at 781-320-7009 or
Friday, October 28 Nobles Halloween All-School Dance,
The Castle, 7-10 p.m.
Monday, October 31 Happy Halloween—Wear a costume to school! Boo!

Please let us know if we can provide any additional information or help to answer questions.

Class V Reps
Brooke Sandford (
Carol Taiclet (

Class VI Reps
Leslie Del Col (
Sarah Paglione (

Class I Reps: (from left) Amy Reiner, Jane Rigoli and Lynda Macdonald

October 2011: Class I Notes

Dear Class I Families,

We have officially moved into fall and the school year is off to a great start. September was an action-packed month, starting with a Surprise Breakfast for our seniors. Thank you to all who helped with the event. The food was a huge hit and disappeared very quickly! College Night and Back-to-School Night were next on the calendar. Finally, we wrapped up the month with our Class I Coffee, Grandparents Day and the Multicultural Fair.

It was great catching up with Class I parents at Back-to-School Night and our Class I Coffee. A big “thank you” goes out to all of the parents who signed up to participate in future Class I events. If you were unable to join us at either event, it’s not too late to take part in our senior class activities. The Class I Volunteer form can be found on the Nobles website or you can contact any of the Class I reps.

Events coming up for October are listed below. Please check the Friday emails for updates and announcements. Looking forward to seeing you all in October!

  • Monday, October 10: No School—Columbus Day
  • Thursday, October 13: Parents' Association Meeting, 8 a.m.
  • Friday, October 14: Friday Night Lights Football Game—Nobles vs. Thayer Academy at Dedham High School, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Monday, October 24: No School—Comment Writing Day for Faculty
  • Monday, October 31: Class I Suprise Lunch in the Castle, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Looking ahead to November, a few more dates…

  • Wednesday, November 2: Parent Yearbook Ad Workshop. Learn more about the "nuts and bolts" of putting together your ad in the 2011-2012 yearbook. 7-8:30 p.m., Shattuck Rm 115
  • Wednesday, November 9: Due Date for Parent Ad for Yearbook. Please refer to recent mailing
  • Saturday, November 12: Nobles/Milton Day at Milton Academy
  • Monday, November 13: No School—Veterans' Day
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, November 15 and 16: Parent/Advisor Meetings
  • Saturday, November 19: Save the Date! Class I Parent Dinner

Please check the weekly Upper School parent email for more information and updates on upcoming events. We would love to have your help in any capacity. Feel free to contact us at any point with questions or suggestions. Our emails and phone numbers are below.

Amy Reiner (; 781-431-8993)
Jane Rigoli (; 508-269-2433)
Lynda Macdonald (; 617-921-9889)

Class III Reps: Hillary von Schroeter (left) and Lyndsay Charron

October 2011: Class III Notes

Dear Class III Parents and Guardians,

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our first coffee. Thank you especially to Class III Dean, Tara Cocozza, for stopping by to spend some time with us. Thank you also to those of you who have signed up to volunteer. It’s never too late to get involved and we welcome your participation!!! Please send an email to Lyndsay Charron at charronL@comcast or Hillary von Schroeter at

As a reminder, any items you would like to donate to the Nobles Yard Sale can be dropped off at the Bliss Omni Rink starting Monday, October 3. Donations are greatly appreciated and all proceeds from the yard sale support scholarships and faculty enrichment at Nobles.

The Class III Parent Social is on Friday, November 4, from 7-10 p.m. We are firming up details so please watch the weekly emails for further information. We hope to see you all there!

October is another busy month at Nobles. Please mark your calendars with the events listed below and be sure to check the website for an entire list of school-wide events:

  • Thursday, October 6: Travel Night (for parents only). An evening to learn about student travel opportunities for this year and study away options for the future. Located in the Morrison Forum, 7- 8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, October 10: No School—Columbus Day
  • Thursday, October 13: Parents’ Association Meeting, 8-10 a.m.
  • Friday, October 14: Friday Night Lights—Varsity Football vs. Thayer Academy
  • Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15: Nobles Yard Sale
  • Monday, October 24: Faculty Comment Writing Day—No Classes
  • Thursday, October 27: Nobles Night in the Rappaport Gym, 6:30-10 p.m.  Nobles Night is a festive celebration for the entire Nobles adult community.
  • Friday, October 28: Halloween Dance, 7-10 p.m. This event is just for Nobles students.

We hope that you have all had a chance to become familiar with the school's new website. Please remember to check the calendar on the parent-protected pages for all updates.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Kind Regards,
Lyndsay Charron

Hillary von Schroeter

The Yard Sale Needs Your Help!

Volunteer now for the Nobles Yard Sale for scholarships, happening October 14 and 15. In order to make this event a success, we need many more volunteers to help organize on October 11, 12 and 13, as well as to work on October 14 and 15. Finally we need clean-up volunteers for Monday, October 17, to help pack up unsold items for charity. Click here or log into the Nobles website and visit the  "Volunteer at Nobles" section of the parents' page to fill out the Yard Sale Volunteer form. Thanks in advance!

Help Nobles and help yourself. Clean out your home and garage and donate items to the Nobles Yard Sale for scholarships. Drop off donations beginning Monday, October 3, from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., at the Bliss Omni Rink. Sports gear, clothing, toys, books, furniture and housewares in good condition are all needed (no electronics please). Questions? Please contact Rikki Conley at or Heather Woodworth at

Grandparents Day Portrait Information

Portraits from Grandparents Day will be available from October 12, 2011, through January 31, 2012, to view and purchase at

Username: noblesgp11 Password: 22507-93011

Please contact Allie Trainor in the Development Office with any questions at 781-320-7005 or

Class II Dean's Report

We're off to a great start! Everyone seems to have adjusted well to the beginning of a new school year. Classes and afternoon activities are in full swing, and tests and papers are now due on a regular basis. It’s amazing how quickly and how well we resume the pace at which we had been working in May.

One of my goals for all students as they enter into junior year is for them to become better advocates for themselves. First of all, I hope that Class II students will feel that they have the opportunity to speak with their teachers about anything that may be troubling them. Since my first day at Nobles, I have been incredibly impressed with the level of commitment that the faculty demonstrates towards the students. As a result, no student should ever worry about seeking extra help from a teacher. If students feel overwhelmed with work, they should meet with their teacher(s) to see if there is anything that can be done to help alleviate the stress that they are feeling. Of course, students' advisers and I will help everyone with this as well, but my hope is that students feel confident enough to serve as their primary advocate. Certainly, the ability to do this will serve all students well as they move on through their experiences at Nobles and beyond.

Additionally, my hope for the students is that they understand that they will only be able to work to their fullest potential if they are as well rested as possible. I fully understand that students have a lot to do, but they need to understand that there comes a time each day when the best thing that they can do for themselves is to get their rest. And, of course, eating a well-balanced diet will contribute to one’s overall health. Finally, what one does on the weekend will profoundly impact personal health. Often, the weekend can serve as an opportunity to catch up on the sleep that one may not have gotten during a particularly busy week. My hope for all of students is that they will use the weekends to catch up on their sleep and not exhaust themselves to the point of which they are forced to catch up on their sleep during the week because of what they have done on the weekend.

Students should realize that they are empowered to better their lives and those around them. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to meet this class and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with them throughout the course of the year. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Brian Day
Class II Dean

Save the Date: Nobles Night

Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Please note: This is NOT a student event

For further information, contact Katherine Minevitz, Special Events Coordinator at 781-320-7009 or

"Auld Lang Syne" in September by John Gifford, Head of Middle School

I celebrate New Year’s Day in September. (Happy New Year!) Perhaps I have been doing school work for too long, but while others wipe their slates clean and set goals (a.k.a., “resolutions”) in January, I do so at the start of our academic year.

In late summer, I cracked a book by the brother tandem of Chip and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard is a relatively quick read. It provides a framework for anyone who has struggled to change his or her own habits or to attempt to implement change in others. As I read the opening chapter I couldn’t help but think of our work with young people.

The Middle School students who come to Nobles are a talented lot. They have exhibited the abilities to succeed in a rigorous academic environment. That does not mean, however, that they always use strategies that best support achievement. Each and every year we can count on multiple students showing certain undesirable traits. Favorite foibles are procrastination and disorganization, but there are others. For some, it is due to a true lack of understanding: they had not yet needed to develop organization skills or have not yet struggled to finish their homework. Others may have been battling with their own behaviors for a long, long time.

What the “Brothers Heath” suggest rang true with me. To attempt to sum up and simplify: The problem with changing behavior is that it is a skirmish between emotional (often short-term) desires and logical ones (linked to long-term goals). An example is that homework is taxing. The immediate desire is to iChat with a peer rather than do it. The logical side of the brain understands that success only comes through consistent effort, but that is hard to control in the face of an invitation to “chat!”

The authors make some concrete suggestions to control the emotional in pursuit of behavior change.

Point to the destination. Set goals. Articulate these New Year’s “resolutions” and measure progress towards them. I believe the adage that you often “get what you measure for.” Along the way towards the goals, make sure to highlight (and enjoy) the moments of success. This feeds the emotional part of your brain in an important way.

In addition, be intentional about scripting critical moves that will lead to desired behavior. I occasionally call this “taking the gross medicine”. An example: Your child reports that he always waits until the last moment to study for a test. Can we help him create a new strategy? What if he sets up a meeting with his teacher for a day (or two) before the test? He asks his teacher to quiz him on the test content when they meet. He will then be forced (unless he is OK looking foolish) to put in some study time earlier in the process.

This type of problem solving is not intuitive for young people. Nor is it immediately gratifying. The adults in students’ lives need to help support their change efforts. The Middle School core faculty have always been “change agents." They help students change through teaching content which makes students better writers, mathematicians and scientists. But, especially in the Middle School, they are also teaching the skills that will serve students well for a long time: organization, note taking, test preparation, etc.

The key to an adult being a good agent of change is for he or she to understand the roadblocks to change and to help script the critical moves that could lead to change. Parents need to accept and understand what the faculty see as the behaviors of their children (often behaviors not shown at home and occasionally hard to hear about). And faculty should benefit from the profound insights that parents have about their children.

All this is to serve as a reminder that our work with Middle School students is a collaborative affair. Make your child’s advisor aware of the habits that have proved challenging and might be in need of change. Feel free to describe to teachers strategies that have proven effective in the past. Especially during this time period when advisors and teachers are just getting to get to know their new students, your insights are essential—they help set the agenda as we greet the New Year.

2011-2012 PA Co-Chairs: Pam Notman (left) and Carolyn Harthun

Happy Fall! We hope that everyone is settling into the school routine. September was a busy month for the PA, with a very successful all-school parents' social and many class coffees.

This month promises to be eventful as well. Please mark your calendars for Thursday, October 14, and Friday, October 15, for the Nobles Yard Sale. This is a fun event for the Nobles and Dedham community. So, start your fall cleaning now by dropping off your gently-used items at the Omni Rink beginning October 3. If you have time, please volunteer an hour or two during set-up or during the actual event. While you are there volunteering, you will have fun getting to know other Nobles parents! We expect it to be another successful Yard Sale benefiting Nobles Scholarships and Faculty Enrichment.

You won’t want to miss our second PA meeting on Thursday, October 13, at 8 a.m., in the MAC Upper Lobby. Dean of Students, Erika Guy, will be introducing the Nobles Student Life team. The team includes our school counselors and learning specialists. The morning will offer a great chance to learn more about what they do and put names to faces. Immediately following our meeting we will move to the Omni Rink to begin setting up for the Yard Sale and we would appreciate any extra time you may have to come over and help out!

Our next PA parent outing is on Wednesday, October 19, right after drop-off. We will be walking the back trails of Nobles (approximately 3.2 miles). You are welcome to do any or all of the trek. Please meet at the MAC for coffee before we begin our expedition.

On Saturday, October 15, and Saturday, October 22, the PA will be grilling hamburgers and selling goodies during the Nobles home sporting events. Come by for lunch, or if you would like to volunteer please contact Help behind the stand, work the grills; either way, it’s a fun way to meet people!

Last, but not least—if you are wondering what the "Dawg Pound" does, or want to avoid the "five ways to unintentionally embarrass your child," please see the Unofficial Guide to Nobles! Log into the website and find it in the "Odds & Ends" of the Parents' Association section. It is an information source written for parents by the PA on all the “not so obvious” at Nobles. You are bound to learn at least one new thing your children won’t tell you!

We wish you a good month!

Carolyn Harthun (
Pam Notman (
Parents’ Association Co-Chairs

Who Knew?! From "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" to "The Curse of the Capable" in One Short Decade by Erika Guy, Dean of Students

Go Figure. Now that we have managed to unlock the “secrets to success,” who would have guessed that failure would become all the rage? I’ve now read lots of them: Wendy Mogel’s Blessing of a B-Minus/Blessing of a Skinned Knee; From Good to Great by Jim Collins; Henry Petroski’s Success Through Failure; and most recently, Paul Tough’s piece in the NY Times “What If The Secret To Success Is Failure?”. We have come full circle. The remedies and recipes for finding happiness via success are never in short supply. The trend most recently is toward failure being our savior and best teacher. While I don’t disagree, the impulse in all of us to simply “figure it out” may just be misguided. The premise upon which all of these surefire cures are based is that we can, in some way, control the outcome. Ha!

A little history—my dad had a unique quality that deeply distinguished him from other fathers during my childhood and beyond: he found failure amusing. The personal failings and faulty judgments that others found embarrassing and humiliating tickled him. My dad Hugo left home in Switzerland when he was 19. He narrowed to three his list of global destinations where he could live as he made his way into adulthood: Sierra Leone, Sumatra and the U.S. My grandfather, being a practical man who knew in his gut that he had little control of this wanderlust-fueled 19-year-old, made his preferences known. If Dad HAD to leave the safe confines of St.Gallen, the U.S was the lesser of three evils. My father arrived in New York City in 1927, and landed his first job. With a bit of aviation book knowledge, he became a test pilot for the Dutch aviation pioneer, Anthony Fokker. It was in the devastatingly dangerous days of early aviation that I believe his perspective on failure developed. Failure for a test pilot had teeth.

It took me a long time to put all the pieces together regarding my dad’s optimism, but I knew that my childhood was filled with countless examples of the humor my dad found in failing. When I or my siblings lamented or cried about less than spectacular performances, failed attempts to make a team or the heartbreaking dissolution of a relationship, his mantra was always “things could be worse.” He applied the same standard to his own failings. When a skunk took up residence in our garage, Dad was desperate for help (he knew nothing of skunks, a North American animal). He found someone who knew someone—a friend of a friend who had a brother whose best friend was a “skunk whisperer!?”  In the depths of panic, Dad paid the man to go into the garage and assess the situation. The man returned from the garage and gravely indicated that we had an entire family of skunks living there. The fee of course went up exponentially. My father shelled out more cash and the man said he’d return in an hour to remedy the situation. He asked us all to go into the house as he went into the garage with all manner of armor. When he emerged, he indicated that we simply needed to wait 24 hours and all would be well. My Dad paid the man and he left. The next day, we all went into the garage. The only indication that the skunk whisperer had been there was a large galvanized metal “skunk trap” (a handwritten sign clued us in). The money was gone, the man was gone, the skunks weren’t. Most fathers would have exploded in anger. Not my dad. He couldn’t stop laughing and for years afterward the absurdity of the “galvanized skunk trap” became the punchline to many stories.

Moral of the story: Wouldn’t we all be a bit saner and happier if we just took life as it came, embraced the great moments, pushed through the tough times, laughed at our missteps and acknowledged that we have very little, if any control?

Thanks for reading.

Erika Guy

From the Nobles Theatre Collective

This fall, the Nobles Theatre Collective presents Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare. Performances are scheduled for November 9, at 6:30 p.m., November 10, at 6:30 p.m., November 11, at 6:30 p.m., and November 12, at 2 p.m. only. The running time will be two hours. We look forward to seeing many of you then.

Below is a synopsis of the play, courtesy of William Shakespeare’s famous prologue:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
Form forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage.

We are pleased to recommend this production for new and experienced theater-goers of all ages. Information regarding tickets will be available on the Nobles website by early November.

Maureen Shiels Norment,
Miguel Urena,
NTC Reps

10 Campus Drive,
Dedham, Massachusetts
tel: 781.326.3700
Site Map
Terms and Conditions
Privacy Policy
Connect with Nobles facebook twitter youtube

If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this newsletter, email Kim Neal at