Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

April 2014

Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter April 2014

Join us to celebrate Patriots' Day.

Patriots' Day is Monday, April 21, and families are invited to join the Nobles community to watch the Boston Marathon and to cheer on the Nobles Marathon Fund Team official runners.

Everyone else will participate ON CAMPUS from 8–9:45 am. Students, faculty members, graduates and parents will be running, biking and rowing in support of the Nobles Marathon Fund, which currently supports eight Nobles students annually.

For more information on participating or attending the event, check out or contact Michelle Lynch at or 781-320-7007.

Please note that this year's gathering will be at 22 Croton Street in Wellesley. Come by anytime after 10:30 am; no need to RSVP, and all are welcome!

A Tribute to Mr. Gleason by Head of Middle School John Gifford

I started a letter to Mr. Gleason a week before he died. It still sits on my desk unfinished; two pages, handwritten. It remains there because I can’t yet bring myself to throw it away. I knew that Mr. Gleason was sick, his illness was the motivation for my reaching out to him.

But I was surprised and so sad for him and for his family when I heard the news. I was also deeply disappointed that I hadn’t finished my letter in time. The painfully deliberate nature of my attempts to articulate his impact on my life had proven too slow. I really wanted to express my admiration and my appreciation to Mr. Gleason. I wanted him to know.

Because he was a deeply religious man, I take some solace in the idea of expressing myself here with the idea that my thoughts will still reach him. During my time as a member of the faculty and an administrator at Nobles, I have been fortunate to work alongside Dick Baker and Bob Henderson. I can say with some authority (from the perspective of my front row seat) that the two approached their headships with very distinct styles. It has been interesting to see that two such different approaches can still serve this school so well. It seems that there is indeed more than one way to skin a cat.

While my vantage point to observe the headship of Mr. Gleason was quite different, it had equal impact. Mr. Gleason was my headmaster. Perhaps it is strange to express this with some degree of possessiveness and pride, but that is how I mean it. I feel proud and privileged to have been a student during his tenure. I feel lucky.

While most headmasters emerge from years in classrooms to run schools, they are hardly allowed in the classroom during their headship. Teaching is deemed less important because it impacts too few students. Mr. Gleason did teach and he taught exceptionally well. In doing so, he helped solidify a tradition at Nobles that is now relatively rare at other schools. Dick Baker taught just as Bob Henderson does today. For all of these heads, I’d wager that the teaching was actually more for them than for their students. It is true that it is a great effort expended for 14 students.

I believe that Mr. Gleason made his biggest impact in the early hours of the day. Morning assembly was also Mr. Gleason’s classroom. It seems to me that he had a message for us each and every day. These were not off-the-cuff thoughts, these were well-crafted, thoughtful communications. They ran the gamut to underscore and explain the long standing values of the school. Themes that remain steadfast in the Nobles mission statement were reimagined and made to come alive each morning through his stories. Hard work. Service to others. Honesty.

His delivery was smooth, almost soothing. The preacher in Mr. Gleason came through – there was a meter and cadence to his words that made ideas stick in your head. And most of the time, those words had to do with a single theme: family.

“Family” was his way of tackling a topic that we continue stress with equal passion. Today we talk about “respect for others” and “being good to each other." Ted worked to make it more personal than that. While some criticized the family metaphor as inappropriate for a complex school community, Ted knew full-well that it was aspirational. Families too can be made up of diverse opinions and thorny disagreements. In the end, however, they are family and by dint of that relationship the family members are responsible for each other in a powerful way.

His expectations for the way in which we should care for each other were lofty and he illustrated them through countless stories and examples. Perhaps it is my perspective on Nobles as an adult rather than a teenager, but I only feel that the need for us to care for each other has grown rather than been diminished. Life is challenging and complicated for young people today. They seem to have worries that are more daunting than ours were. The cultural expectations of success put on young people seem higher. Mr. Gleason engrained in the very psyche of this institution that one of the ways that we balance such pressures is through community support. It is through family.

In my work with students, sometimes I use Ted’s old stories. With students in the Middle School, I have settled on “be good to each other” as the guiding theme. They usually are good to each other but just as in actual families, there are times when they are less charitable to each other. Even then I know that they have heard from me and others about the expectations of this community and what we aspire to. I’ll never be able to match the eloquence with which Mr. Gleason delivered the message, but I’ll honor him for as long as I can by working to perpetuate his core message at Noble and Greenough School.

Ruminating on Experiment #9: the Great Soufflé Challenge by Director of Communications Heather Sullivan

My “real” job is communications at Nobles—planning publications, refining website functionality and finding opportunities to tell stories that convey the essence of Nobles. I love my job.

I also love to cook. In a very 1970s-they-will-be-fine kind of way, I was given full access to the kitchen when my age was still in single digits. I was a latchkey kid in the Midwest and began making myself lunch at home in fourth grade. I experimented with spices when the usage didn’t make sense in any traditional way. I remember being crushed that my aunt—when I showed her my fifth-grade “lifestyle” magazine project—laughed at me because I had included a dessert recipe that featured fried bananas. “You can’t cook bananas!” she scoffed. (Clearly, she had never flambéed. I usually don’t hold grudges, but I have been carrying this one around for a while.)

When Erika Guy retired from her post as dean of students at Nobles last year, I was sad to see her go. She had welcomed me to the community and been incredibly supportive. The lemonade from lemons I discovered was when Jen Craft, head of the science department, invited me to co-teach the science elective that she and Erika had developed: Chemistry and Cuisine.

This semester, we have made meringues and pizza and muffins and poached eggs and made sugar experiements and more. Every lab has been an illustration of the chemistry of food, clearly and elegantly presented by Jen, who earned a doctorate in chemistry and has been honing her culinary skills in recent years. She has killer knife skills, FYI, and can dice an onion with the best of them.

This week, our chemistry lab was to make soufflé. Who hasn’t seen the cartoons depicting the #epicfail that often results? A soufflé relies on science. There is no laissez-faire here—only mise en place, a need to “put in place” your tools and supplies. This lab was about chemical reactions. Charles’ Law. The Maillard Effect. Making soufflé uses skills that the students in our class have acquired throughout the semester: making a roux, measuring, whipping eggs whites to gently stiff peaks.

Maybe it won’t surprise you that in our now-routine Iron Chef class competition, calling a winning team for the soufflé was challenging. The execution was universally gorgeous. What elevated the winners on this one was a final improvisation: The winning team whipped up a lovely cheese sauce—learned in a previous lab—with a bite of cayenne to serve with the soufflé.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we are working with a future Michelin star chef (well, who knows?). In fact, last week we were collectively surprised that the one-ingredient poached egg was so simple that it wasn’t. But what delights me about this class is the students’ willingness to try, to focus, to collaborate, to follow the recipe but diverge sometimes with energy and humor and with confidence predicated on knowledge.

Did you know that an egg white, when whipped, can increase in volume up to eight times? Our students know about the chemical composition of an egg shell, why acids and oils don't mix easily and how to compute calories in a dish.

One thing I have learned since arriving at Nobles in 2011—which has only been reinforced by Chem and Cuisine—is that the Nobles culture allows for students and adults (like me) to innovate and to extend themselves in creative, sustaining and useful ways.

The results? Occasionally, you get a poached egg, sallow with ragged edges, and some (really glorious) days you get a soufflé with remarkable texture, color and taste.

Bon appétit.


photo credit: Chase Haylon '15


From the PA Co-Chairs

From the PA Co-Chairs

Welcome back! We hope you had a wonderful break. Spring is always a busy time at Nobles and this year is no exception. We hope you will join us for an array of parent activities coming up as well as the class specific dinners and coffees.

See the separate class notes for details.

The spring Imani concert is on Tuesday, April 1 at 7 p.m.

Our monthly PA meeting is on Thursday, April 10, at 8 a.m. in the Castle Library.

Steven Tejada is our guest speaker. Steven wears many hats at Nobles since his arrival here in 2008. He is the Dean of Diversity Initiatives, an English teacher, and is currently filling in for Provost Bill Bussey, who is on sabbatical this semester. Steven is a terrific, entertaining and engaging speaker. You won’t want to miss this!

Patriot’s Day is Monday, April 21, and families are invited to join the Nobles community to watch the Boston Marathon and to cheeron the Nobles Marathon Fund Team. Students, faculty members, graduates and parents will be running, biking and rowing in support of the Nobles Marathon Fund, which currently supports seven Nobles students annually.

For more information on participating or attending the event, check out or contact Michelle Lynch at or 781-320-7007.

Please note that this year's gathering will be at 22 Croton Street in Wellesley. Come by anytime after 10:30 a.m; no need to RSVP, and all are welcome!

Also on Thursday, April 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. come to the Jazz, Blues and Percussion Concert for a wonderful evening of entertaining music.

We look forward to seeing you!

Rikki Conley and Dana DeAngelis
Parents’ Association Co-Chairs

Second Annual Foster Gallery Film Festival

In Foster Gallery, during the week of April 7–11, Nobles presents the Second Annual Foster Gallery Film Festival.  This year, a student group of movie aficionados have selected "The Best Movies You've Never Seen!"

After a long and lively debate, four seniors have devised a slate of movies that you may know or probably haven't seen, but definitely need to view from beginning to end!  Here's the line-up:

Monday - The Best Film About Coming of Age That You've Never Seen
Moonrise Kingdom

Tuesday - The Best Independent Film You've Never Seen
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Wednesday -The Best Classic Film You've Never Seen
Gone With The Wind

Thursday - The Best Animated Film You've Never Seen 
The Iron Giant

Thursday Night - The Best Film Your Parents Rave About That You've Never Seen
The Princess Bride

Friday - The Best Film About Battling Authority That You've Never Seen
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

All films will begin at 9:20 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Thursday night's showing of Princess Bride will begin at 7:30 p.m.

More questions than answers – EXCEL at Nobles by Head of Upper School Ben Snyder

Nobles students are really smart and are used to getting things right. They are curious; they work hard, and (for the most part) they master material, get results that they and their parents are justifiably proud of. Many are talented beyond the classroom and feel good about their accomplishments. We create curriculum that challenges our students at the appropriate levels so that – with hard work and persistence – they can succeed. As a result of these and a host of other factors, our students don’t fail all that much – and while I take pride in all the good things that happen for our kids, I know that for most of us as adults our greatest learning opportunities have come when we’ve failed.

I thought a great deal about this over spring break when Sarah, history and English teacher, Mike Kalin (and his wife Dr. Becky Lambert), and I took 16 Nobles students to India. The first week of the trip had a service focus, and many of our students were asked to teach English in a rural village school where over half of the students cannot afford the one dollar monthly tuition. While our group had prepared lesson plans and talked through how things might evolve, we couldn’t have fully prepared them to teach for over five hours each day – which they had to do from the morning of the first day with about 10 minutes notice (things in the developing world sometimes happen like that!).

So our intrepid group did the best they could and during our evening debriefing session, it was clear that they all had struggled and some even thought they had failed:

“The lesson plan we created only took us through the first hour – and then we couldn’t make the lesson be positive for the last four hours.”

“Because of the language difference I felt like I didn’t connect with them the way I wanted to.”

“The problems these kids face are so overwhelming – are we making any impact at all?”

This feeling of not getting the “right answer” was incredibly uncomfortable for many of them – yet in the end they responded beautifully. Following our debriefing session, they got down to work. They processed, shared ideas, “rebooted” some of their plans, created alternative lessons, and improved the experiences for their students for the remainder of the week.

Many of you have heard of the evolving EXCEL (Experiential and Community Engaged Learning) programs at Nobles. Encompassing our service, immersion (travel), afternoon and senior project programs these varied opportunities push students into areas where they confront challenges where there are no easy answers and where “extra help” is simply working with other students and teachers to solve a common problem. If one looks closely at our academic program, one will also see the evolution of more experiential opportunities for our students such as in Class IV when they contribute to the 20 plus years of research on the water quality of the Charles River or try to sort out the Middle East crisis.

All of us fear failure and want to get it right. Our EXCEL programs – be they on or off campus – provide the critical opportunities to be challenged, to take risks and, yes, to possibly fail. These kinds of experiences encourage our students to grow into the kinds of people, leaders, and problem solvers the world needs them to be.

First Class Gift

Class I students are gearing up to continue the tradition of achieving 100 percent class participation to the First Class Gift which supports the Graduates’ Chair for Faculty.

The First Class Gift is a way for the graduating class to thank the many faculty members for their support, guidance and friendship during their time a Nobles.

Class I students will receive information on how to make their gift from their classmates on the First Class Gift Committee.  Please contact Allie Trainor in the development office with any questions at 

Thank you in advance to the Class of 2014 for their generous support and participation!

From the Community Service Office

Announcing Next Year's All School Service Day:
"A Common Fire" Returns April 14, 2015

If a school truly values something, it is not hard to tell what that is. Not only will you find it articulated in the mission statement (an important lodestar of guidance) but you will find it in the warp and woof of daily life; woven into academics, athletics, faculty involvement, organizations, staff, graduates, and most importantly, student driven initiatives.

At Nobles, such is the infusion of a core value: service to others. In the last few years, countless discussions and planning meetings have clarified and solidified this experiential value, and it will be central to the new reorganization of our work called EXCEL. Under this aegis, travel, service, senior projects, study away, and applied study in the classroom will coalesce to drive forward our commitment to creating leaders who serve the public good. Our celebrations in the years to come will rededicate and reaffirm all that Nobles has stood for all these centuries.

A signal event will begin these celebrations on April 14, 2015; our entire school community will halt for the day, and focus entirely on a day of service. Just as small candles shed light in a dark room, one act of service, done with intention, can add light and warmth to our Boston community. Nobles will send students, faculty, staff, and accompanying adults (you, perhaps?) out to area agencies and non-profits to work for a day of commitment to our values. We intend to learn a lot, share our resources and energy, and return more aware of the world around us. Just as Nobles did in 2004, see the photos below, we know that the day's connections will last for years to come.

I am asking you to think about whether you could help us to make this day a success. Here is what I need:

1. Ideas for sites. You have many connections out in the community and you could help me set up a project on that day with sites all over Boston. Please share what you know is needed on a site you value.

2. Serve on the steering committee: we need to plan for this event starting a year in advance: we are starting NOW. I found our last event to be a hugely satisfying process mainly because a committed, energetic and wildly competent group of a dozen parents worked closely together to set up sites, public relations, artwork, equipment, transportation, and logistics. We met about once a month, and by April, despite the rainy day that occurred, we were able to provide a meaningful experience for all. Would you want to do this?

3. Offer to helm a site. You may not wish to advise the whole project--but maybe you would volunteer to be the leader for the day at one particular site. This would mean you'd be the point person to connect with an advisor group, drive some of the group members to the project, say hello to the agency point person, set up the work, turn on the music, and get the whole thing going!

I can hardly wait to get moving on this project. I am just waiting for your ideas, expertise, and input. Take a look at the photos that are attached to this message, and imagine how much fun we will be having next April. Call me up or send an email and let me know you would like to be part of it!

Sandi MacQuinn, Community Service Director,



Class I Parent Reps (from left to right): Hillary Von Schroeter, Addie Swartz, and Beth Schlager

Dear Class I Families,

We are rounding third and in the home stretch of senior year! It has been such a pleasure getting to know all of you Class I parents and there are many more opportunities to volunteer before graduation. Please take a look at the list of events below and join in on the fun before it’s all over.

Below are dates from the PA and Bob Henderson, but a complete Parent Calendar can be found on the Nobles website (remember to LOG IN). Also, please note the “dress code” for Graduation at bottom of page.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the year so far and really look forward to sharing more memories with you and our Class I students.

Thank you, as always Class I Parents!

Hillary von Schroeter

Beth Schlager

Addie Schwartz



Tuesday, April 1, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Decorating and serving Class I Surprise lunch in the Castle lower dining room.

Wednesday, April 3, 9:00 a.m.
"The Way We Were" Kick-Off Meeting in the MAC for parents interested in volunteering.

Friday, April 11, 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Class I Parent Social in the Castle. Cost to attend is $25 and will be chitted to your account.

Saturday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.
Nobles Prom, Boston. Class I Pre-Prom Dinner


Tuesday, May 27, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
"The Way We Were" Celebration for Class I, volunteers needed

Tuesday, May 27, 6:30 p.m.
Senior Project Night 

Wednesday, May 28, 5:30 p.m.
Class I Night - BBQ and performances

Thursday, May 29, 7:00 p.m.
Awards Night

Friday, May 30, 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Friday, May 30
2014 Graduation Party – Parent sponsored

Graduation Dress Code:

Graduating Men: White pants (order these now, they can usually be found on the following websites: Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Joseph A Bank, Macy’s and Vineyard Vines), white shirt, navy blue blazer, a Nobles tie and Nobles crest sewn onto blazer pocket (both available at bookstore) and proper dress shoes and socks. Don’t forget white underwear!

Graduating Ladies: White dresses to the top of the knee or longer. Not permitted: tank/spaghetti strap/strapless/halter/racer back/one shoulder dresses without a white sweater covering back and shoulders at all times. Proper dress shoes.





Middle School Parents Reps (from left to right): Lori Giandomenico, Cindy Lawry, Julie Callaghan, and Toni Gordon

Welcome back! We hope that everyone had a restful break. April is a busy month and for Class VI students, it can be summed up in three letters—RTW (Round The World). This exciting project culminates in an evening showcase where Class VI students present their “travels” to their peers and parents/family on April 29, at 6 p.m. Also on May 29 there is a surprise lunch for the middle school students. We are looking for parent volunteers to help with the lunch.

To volunteer, sign up online.

Pease keep this a secret, as it is an annual tradition to “surprise” the students with this special lunch)!

Class V will be revving up for the solar car races; stay tuned for the final event in May. And, please note, our Middle School Parents’ Spring Social is the evening of May 2, more information to follow, please put it on your calendar!

Important Upcoming Dates

April 3 – Visit Day for Accepted Students

April 3 – Class VI Arts Opening - Whole Foods at Legacy Place in Dedham will host an Arts Opening showcasing our 7th grade students who took Visual Arts in the first 3 quarters of the school year. 5-7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

April 4 –  MS Basketball & Ping-Pong Tournaments/Social Rappaport Gym from 4:30–6:30pm. Games, food, music – fun for all!

April 8 – Visit Day for Accepted Students

April 16 – Parent Coffee, 8 a.m. in the Castle Library

April 18 – No Homework Weekend for Middle School

April 21 – Patriot’s Day & Marathon Monday – No School

April 24 – Jazz/Blues/Percussion Concert – 7 p.m., Lawrence Auditorium

April 29 – Class VI Round the World “RTW” Culminating Evening - 6 p.m. in Morrison Forum and middle school classrooms – all family members are invited!

May 2 – Nobles Middle School Dance - Nobles Middle School will host a multi-
school dance from 7–9:30 p.m. in the MAC. More information about the dance & the schools invited in the Wednesday emails.

May 2 – Middle School Parents’ Spring Social – Castle

We look forward to seeing you this month! As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Class V Reps

Lori Giandomenico

Cindy Lawry

Class VI Reps

Julie Callaghan

Toni Gordon

Class II Parent Reps: Nicole Zungoli Stimpson and Karen Conway

Hello Class II Parents!

Welcome back from spring break.  Spring is finally in the air, especially now that most of the snow has melted! Now, we just need warmer weather.

The next PA Meeting is on Thurs., April 10, 8–9:30 a.m. in Castle Library.

We will be having our spring coffee on April 17 at 8:30 a.m. in the Castle.

Please note that there will be no school on Patriot’s Day, Monday, April 21.

Plans have been finalized for the Class II Pre-Prom Dinner to be held at Maggiano’s in Boston on Saturday, April 26.  Watch for details!

The Junior-Senior Prom will take place on Saturday, April 26, starting at 9 p.m., at Fairmont Battery Wharf, Boston. 

The Class II Parent Social will be held on Friday, May 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., in the Castle. You will be receiving invitations in the Friday e-mail. Hope you can all make it, the last party was a great way to connect with other parents.


Your Class II Parent Representatives,

Karen S Conway -

Nicole Zungoli Stimpson -

Class III Parent Reps - Elizabeth Orgel and Betsy Edie

Dear Class III Parents,

Welcome back — we hope you all enjoyed a fun and restful March break. Here are some class specific events coming up very shortly:

Saturday, April – Head of School Dinner Dance
This promises to be a fun and memorable evening for our Class III children and sets the stage to bond with their fellow classmates while marking a crucial transition in their Nobles tenure. 

We are very thankful to those of you who have volunteered your time and talents to help pull this event together.  If you'd like to help decorate the castle on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, please let either of us know ASAP. Don't forget, the dance is from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Friday, April 11 – Spring Class III Parent Social
We hope you can attend our Spring Parent Social for some lively conversation and spring cheer. 

Please RSVP online by April 4.

We look forward to seeing you in the Lower Castle Dining Room for dinner & drinks.

Cheers to warmer weather and the arrival of spring!

Betsy Edie and Elizabeth Orgel

Class IV Dean's Report

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am happy to welcome students back to classes after what I hope was a relaxing and inspiring spring break. The next two months fly by so quickly. Energy is high. The weather improves (fingers crossed…). Activities begin to move from classroom and back outdoors. Seniors anticipate graduation. Everyone anticipates summer.

And yet, there is still much to do.

Many seniors spend these final months reflecting on their experience at Nobles. They evaluate friendships, activities, their relationships with faculty and the campus. They ponder their impact on the institution. They reflect on what Nobles has meant in their life.

I would urge Class IV students to take the opportunity now to evaluate their experience at Nobles.

•    How have the first seven months gone, academically, athletically and socially?

•    What have you gotten out of the Nobles experience?

•    More importantly, what have you put into the Nobles experience for your peers?

Such reflection can pave the way for a much richer and engaged presence in the Nobles community. I hope that the warmer temperatures and general exuberance will inspire young students to commit to new challenges in the coming years: fresh goals in the
classroom; experimenting with a new extracurricular activity; taking the time to cultivate new and meaningful friendships.

Finally, this quarter is a time to commit to finishing well. Runners all along Commonwealth Avenue remind me of the upcoming Boston Marathon that so captivates the city. Having participated in the event often, I know that the road is long and the finish seems so far off in the distance. And yet, the finish is both attainable and sublimely satisfying, given the proper preparation (and the throngs of support along the way).

In terms of classes, that means setting solid goals for the coming months. Students should meet with teachers to clarify any doubts and raise any concerns as we head into finals. Review can never come too early.

This spring, let’s use the energy as we return from break to reflect on making our experience at Nobles more productive, and on finishing well.

Dave Ulrich
Class IV Dean

Class IV Parent Reps - Polly Maroni and Heidi Raffone

Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back from Spring Break! We hope you all enjoyed some relaxing family during the two week break.

Spring Parent Social - Please join us for the Spring Parent Social on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in the Castle Diningroom. Please click here to RSVP; we would love to see you there.

April noteworthy dates:

Thursday, April 3 at 8 a.m.
Class IV parent coffee right after drop off in Castle Library

Thursday, April 10, 8–9:30 a.m.
PA Meeting in the Castle Library

Mon., April 21, NO SCHOOL, Patriot’s Day

Thurs., April 24, 7– 9 p.m.
Jazz/Blues Concert

Friday, April 25, 7–10 p.m.
Class IV Spring Social at Nobles Castle

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We look forward to seeing you soon. Happy spring!


Polly Maroni (

Heidi Raffone (

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