Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

September 2014

Nobles Parents' Newsletter September 2014

Foster Gallery Opens New Season with "Into the Wind" Exhibition

Foster Gallery will host "Into the Wind," an exhibit by Georgie Friedman. The show will run from Sept. 2-30. An opening reception with the artist is Thursday, Sept. 11, 5-7 p.m. 

The Boston Globe has called Friedman a "rising star." Visit her website to see more of her work.


The Zeitgeist and the Optimism of Youth by Head of School Bob Henderson

What an immensely unsettling summer it has been in news of the world! While every generation seems to have it trials and tribulations in connection to global events (imagine, for instance, being a teenager in the summer of 1940 as developments in Europe and Asia threatened to draw America into world war), I have reflected over the last three months about the impact of recent events on the psyches of the young people with whom we work. Consider just these several items that dominated summer headlines through June, July and August:

  • An outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa that, while still contained there, has the potential to wreak havoc on global health systems;
  • The establishment of an Islamic “caliphate” in Mesopotamia (“ISIS”) that asserts divine inspiration and the right to impose its will violently and absolutely, crushing the interests of the crumbling states and minority religious and ethnic groups around it;
  • A war between Israel and Hamas (among other Palestinian factions) in the Gaza Strip that seems to offer no hope of long-term resolution, and which also threatened to spiral into a broader and more catastrophic eruption of violence in the region;
  • The shooting down of a commercial airliner as a tragic punctuation point in the violent standoff between Russia and the Ukraine, and by extension between the West and Russia, over the future economic, political and strategic relationships of old Cold War rivals;
  • Civil unrest and passionate protest in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown, demonstrating yet again that racial justice and harmony remain elusive in this country;
  • The ongoing violent collapse of Syria and Libya, among the ranks of other failing states in Africa, the Middle East and Asia;
  • Relentless jitters in regard to the stability of the global economy;
  • Ongoing discussion of climate change and its dire implications;
  • Political rifts within the United States, with resulting governmental gridlock, that threaten to deepen and that seemingly are immune to rational discussion and compromise.

Even for bright young people who try to stay distant from current events, the zeitgeist is profoundly unsettling. A teenager’s day is too frequently consumed, as it is, by anxieties regarding school, friends, family and simply growing up. To layer on top of that the pressures of a world that seems without clear order, or which does not seem to offer hope, can be a difficult burden. You would think that this would be a generation of adolescents distinguished by cynicism and resignation.

And yet it most certainly is not. I find the students with whom I work today to be among the most inspirational and optimistic I have encountered over my nearly three and a half decades in schools. I see this in my classes, among my advisees, in conversations in the hallways and on the sidelines, in the agendas of various student clubs and organizations, and, perhaps most profoundly, on the morning assembly stage. Students of this generation are moved to service to others easily and intuitively. Despite some of what you may hear in the media about the narcissism and entitlement of this generation, my experience is that they care deeply, connect with each other enthusiastically, dispel preconceived notions in regard to race, gender and sexuality readily, and work hard to achieve success. They generally look at the daunting list of crises faced by our civilization as challenges to address and surmount rather than as profound existential threats (as I looked at the possibility of nuclear war as a teenager in the 1970’s). When we assert that the mission of the school is to inspire leadership for the public good, the vast majority of the kids with whom I interact have the attitude that this is the natural and obvious purpose of a rigorous secondary education.

This summer I wrote the following to the faculty: “Great teachers ... intend to instill in students the confidence and ability to think critically, to analyze rationally, to express themselves with clarity, to probe that which they do not understand, and to challenge institutions and leaders to serve the common good. In pursuit of our school mission, we should encourage dissent, difference, debate, collaboration, empathy and engaged listening in regard to the critical issues and ideas of this era. We must prepare our students to enter a troubled world with the intellectual perspective and strength of character that will make a difference for the better.” I like to think that this approach to teaching, and the culture that pervades this school as a result, has something to do with the optimistic tenor of the remarkable young people with whom we deal every day. And, in turn, there is no question that this generation of young people finds the culture and purpose of this school to be resonant with their own outlook and determination to make the world a better place. Indeed, Nobles students provide me with the hope that I need to confront the disturbing news of the world on a daily basis.

Save the Date: Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day will be on Monday, Sept. 28 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:10 p.m.

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

Enjoy video coverage of Grandparents Day 2013:

The War That Changed Everything by Interim Head of Upper School Michael Denning

Twenty-five years ago, I was a graduate student studying international relations. The massacre at Tiananmen Square had just happened and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union were right around the corner. Between lunch and dinner conversations about the amazing events that were transpiring around us, my colleagues and I found ourselves working through what seemed like mountains of research on the origins of the First World War. Indeed, in spite of the fact that they represented different nationalities, political camps, scholarly disciplines and intellectual schools of thought, our professors all seemed to share the view that in addition to being tragic, World War I was really important—a watershed in international relations. I remember many lectures and seminar discussions including some version of the following: “If you want to understand and positively impact international relations and foreign policy, you need to study World War I because inasmuch as we believe we know when and why World War II started, we are still not sure why the first one happened…and World War I changed everything.”

A quarter century later, we have arrived at the 100th anniversary of this conflict that changed, if not “everything,” much of what millions of people (living in thousands of places) knew of the world. And as the history of the 20th century shows, World War I’s terrible impact did not begin and end with its more than 10 million battlefield deaths and the untold number of civilians who perished during the conflict. The mass suffering of 1914-1918 marked the beginning of a second “thirty years’ war” and contributed to ideological conflicts that have plagued us throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Yet, in spite of this war’s lasting legacy—and the likelihood of the claim made by the historian John Langdon that there are 25,000 books and articles on the First World War—there is still no consensus on its origins and new histories are appearing at a prodigious rate.

Of course, a driving force behind the writing and publication of some of this literature is undoubtedly demand brought about by World War I’s centennial anniversary. Would Downton Abbey be as popular if it were not the First World War’s 100th birthday? Nevertheless, while taking note of the proliferation of books and articles and the entrée of a new generation of scholars into this conversation, I have been struck by three ideas I believe to be germane to our conversations about the importance of our school’s mission and commitments to promoting diversity, EXCEL initiatives and the liberal arts:

We now have a good understanding of what a complex place the world of 1914 was. Indeed, the political and economic systems, challenges and conflicts of 1914 were much more global and interconnected than most people at the time seemed to realize, and this contributed to the war’s outbreak, conduct and devastating legacy. Are today’s interconnected political systems, ideologies, conflicts and economies similarly misunderstood? In 100 years, how will scholars describe our level of prescience and the impact of our interconnectedness?

In more recent years, scholars have looked much more closely at peoples of the former Ottoman, British, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires who were often missing or marginalized in previous analyses of not only the Great War’s outbreak but also its conclusion and legacy. There is a lot more information out there than ever before, and this is a very good thing. But why did it take so long—in some cases nearly a century—before scholars turned their attention to some of these more unheard voices? Are their histories too inconvenient or, perhaps, politically and emotionally incompatible with more conventional, western-focused narratives? Moreover, as parents and teachers, do we know what we know (and teach what we teach) because of an empirical record or do we know and teach what we were taught (and taught to believe)?

There are a lot of smart, learned analysts who identify similarities between the international (or perhaps I should say global) conditions and challenges of the summer of 1914 and those that we are trying to understand and manage in the summer of 2014: internecine conflict; corrupt, collapsing regimes; arms races; nascent, powerful technologies; new weapons of mass destruction (and their proliferation); terrorism; food insecurity and poverty; economic inequality; disease and epidemics; nationalism; racism; ideological extremism and intolerance; and economic interdependence. While concerns about presentism and history’s misuses are important to consider, I would suggest that many of these comparisons are not so easily dismissed.

Considered in light of these three points, our mission to inspire “leadership for the public good” is as important and as challenging as it has ever been. There are a lot of complicated, dire problems to be identified, managed and solved, and our students will have to be part of an international community that succeeds where other generations have too often failed. Are we not obligated to do our best to prepare them for the challenging work that lies ahead?

Save the Date: Nobles Night

A festive evening to celebrate Nobles will be on Thursday, Nov. 13, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Please note: This is not a student event.

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

Want to reminisce about last year's festivities and the launch of the Be Noble Bold campaign? See photos and read all about it here.



Volunteer opportunity in the library!

Would you like to volunteer in the Putnam Library at Nobles?

We'd love your help with shelving books, staffing the circulation desk or with special projects. No special knowledge is needed--we'll provide training. If you're interested, please contact Emily Tragert at or 781.320.7231. 

How to Get Your Teen to Talk by Jen Hamilton Licensed Educational Psychologist

If you are like most parents, you are probably wondering how to get your teen to tell you what's going on in his or her life (or maybe your expectations have been adjusted slightly and you are just hoping for more than a grunt now and then!). While it is a normal turn of events for adolescents to suddenly become less communicative due to hormones, rapid shifts in brain growth and the very important development of independence, it can nevertheless be upsetting to feel that you may be losing connection with your child.

I recently attended a conference about motivational interviewing (MI), a very interesting topic in the field of psychology. The premise of MI is that there are some strategic ways to get people to talk such that they generate their own ideas; this is very helpful in motivating positive change.  As I absorbed the information at the conference, I could not help but think about how these techniques might apply to parents who are hoping to get their teens to open up a bit. 

In a nutshell, here are a few quick and easy ideas. First off, using open-ended questions will always provide a lot more information than "yes or no" questions.  "Tell me about your practice" will likely yield a longer conversation than "Did you have a good practice?" 

When your teen does talk, let your him know that you are really listening by not interrupting and by giving signals that you are attending to what he or she says. Small comments that reflect back to your teen that you understand what he or she is saying, without hijacking the conversation, are immensely helpful. Sometimes it is difficult not to interrupt, especially when you feel that you have an important lesson to impart. But don't do it! (The sad truth is that more often than not, kids tune these "lessons" out and will stop listening and talking.)  

Perhaps the most important aspect of listening well so that your teen will talk is to listen for the essence of what he or she is saying. For example, if your daughter gets into the car with a list of complaints about her day, it may be tempting to chastise her for being negative, or to try to offer solutions to make each situation better. But instead of doing that, consider what it is that she is really saying to you. Listen carefully for the main thread of the conversation, and then respond to that. You might, after listening to her complaints, reflect back, "Wow, it sounds like your day was exhausting and that things really didn't seem to go your way."  Then wait.  She will most likely feel that you heard and understood her, and this may likely lead to more non-defensive communication.

Just as important as knowing how to talk to your child is letting them know that you are available and fully present. Put your phone aside and try to create a space that is conducive to talking. The commute to and from school is often a great time to talk; because you are not sitting face-to-face it can take some of the pressure off and make kids feel freer to open up a bit. 

As with every aspect of teenage development, getting your kid to talk to you can be frustrating but also very rewarding when it goes well. If you would like to discuss any issues that might be going on in trying to communicate with your child, or any other concerning issues, please feel free to reach out to any member of the counseling department.  You can contact me, (,) Mark Spence ( or Mary Batty (, and we'll be happy to set up a time to talk by phone or in person.

Service Is an Integral Part of the Afternoon Program

As summer comes to a close most of us are torn by wanting to spend one last pool day or quiet evening with our families, and excitement over all the wonderful plans for the school year. By the time September arrives, however, we can hardly wait to see your children! The service department has many afternoon program offerings to help your kids learn and do some great work. Below, please read about the sites we will be spending our fall supporting, with those Nobles students who have chosen to spend their afternoons helping others. Linda Hurley's Dedham connections bring us these worthy projects: 

Community Service Afternoon Program Sites-Fall 2014
1) Community Servings is dedicated to providing free home-delivered meals throughout eastern Massachusetts to people homebound with HIV/AIDS and other acute life-threatening illnesses, who are unable to shop or cook for themselves. They provide their clients, their dependent families, and caregivers appealing, nutritious meals, reaching out to those in greatest need. Their goals are to help their clients maintain their health and dignity, provide nutritionally and culturally appropriate meals, preserve the integrity of their family, and send the message that someone cares. Through the experience and dedication of their thirty staff members and the generosity of the over fifty volunteers that come through their doors everyday, they are able to deliver a daily meal to the 635 individuals and families that rely on their services.
Days: Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, Journal- Wednesday
Time: 3:15 - 5:45 p.m. 
2) Cooke’s Afterschool/NewBridge Senior Center Cooke’s is a grassroots afterschool program for children living in the Needham Public Housing Complex. There is a variety of age children and you will be helping with homework as well as playing with the younger children. There is a director in charge of activities. NewBridge Senior Center is a facility for older adults. We will be working with the seniors on Wednesday afternoon. You may be helping them learn to use the computer, talk about current events, play cards etc. This group will also work on planning a couple of events for their Memory Café.
Days:Tuesday/Thursday (Cooke’s)
Time: 3:15-5:30 p.m.
Days: Wednesday (Newbridge), Journal-Mon.
Time: 2:15-4:30 p.m.
3) Ohrenberger School- West Roxbury is a Boston Public School dedicated to making sure that all students have access to a nurturing learning environment. We have been asked to partner with them to develop a trial ISEE tutoring program for 6th and 8th graders. The ISEE is used for independent and exam school admittance. Nobles students will work one-on-one with OS students this fall to prepare for the Nov. 8 exam. 
Days: Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday
Time: 3:10-4:45 p.m.
4) Independent Project- You may choose to work at an approved site on your own. You must work 6-8 hours per week and arrange your own transportation.
Holidays/No service
9/13-Monday, Columbus Day 
9/25- Thursday, Rosh Hashanah 
9/27-Monday, Comment Writing Day
Additional Weekend Events (our game days )
Sunday, 9/21, Ride for Food 9-2 (shifts may be available)
Friday Night Lights 10/24, Time to be determined
Nobles coaches will transport and serve with your children each afternoon they are assigned, read their weekly journals, and be their direct supervisor. We know their experience will be eye opening. We also hope they feel the satisfaction of knowing they have been really useful.   
Sandi MacQuinn and Linda Hurley

From the Co-Chairs: AE Rueppel and Brooke Sandford

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year!
We hope your summer was restful, restorative and filled with great moments,  whether you traveled to far away places or stayed near home. As this year’s  Co-Chairs of the Nobles Parents’ Association we are excited for the new school year, and would like to extend a warm welcome to you and your family.  
We hope you’ll join us as we kick off the school year on Saturday, September 6, at the Nobles Parents’ Association Fall Social, from 6:30-9pm in the Castle. This annual tradition is a casual and fun way for new and returning parents to meet one another and a great way to reacquaint with old friends. RSVP by Sept. 2 using the link in the weekly emails.  See you there!
All Nobles parents and guardians are automatically members of the Nobles Parents’ Association (PA).  The PA plays many roles at Nobles, but most importantly it is our goal to help Nobles families feel welcomed and integral to the everyday workings of our school.  And of course, one of the best ways to become connected to the Nobles community is to volunteer your time, whether it is a little or a lot, in support of the activities and events that make the Nobles’ experience rewarding.
Please take a moment to log onto the "Parents" portion of the "Nobles Community” tab on the right side of the Nobles website. Select the "Volunteer at Nobles" link in the left navigation pane. On the “Volunteer at Nobles” landing  page, you will be able to browse through numerous opportunities including class-specific, as well as school-wide events. Once you have selected the events you are interested in or would like to volunteer for, the committee chairs will be in touch with further details.  
The fall at Nobles is bustling with activity. To find out more, please read your respective Parent Class Representatives’ letters in the Class Notes section of this monthly e-newsletter. Also, each week, Upper School parents receive a Friday email from Judith Merritt and Middle School parents receive a Wednesday email from Maryanne MacDonald with news, reminders, and volunteer signup opportunities for the week.
Finally, please make it a habit to check the Nobles website daily for afternoon program news, athletic schedules, updates to the school calendar and other notices. If you have any problems logging in, please contact ISS via email at
Finally, as you plan your fall schedule, please save these dates on your calendar:
Parents’ Association Meeting - Wednesday, Sept.10 at 8 a.m.
Please join us for our first PA meeting of the year. Hot coffee and light snacks will be served and Bob Henderson will be our speaker. Come learn about the PA’s many planned activities for this year and meet the Class Reps and Committee Chairs that make up our dedicated PA Board. 
Back to School Night - Thursday, Sept. 18
A great way to meet the teachers and experience your child’s day in an abbreviated form. 
Fall Cookout - Saturday, Sept. 20
All Dawgs welcome! Come cheer on Nobles teams as they take the fields for Volleyball, Field Hockey, Boys & Girls Soccer, Boys & Girls Cross Country and Football! Grills located near the island in front of the MAC will be fired up and ready for hot dogs, burgers and drinks starting at 12:30 p.m. 
Third Annual Three Squares Ride For Food - Sunday, Sept. 21
Calling all bike riders! The Third Annual Three Squares New England Ride for Food will be held on Sunday, Sept. 21.  The ride will start and end at Nobles. Riders have a choice of a 13, 25 or 50 mile ride.  Teams will be riding for organizations of their choice. Please consider joining the Nobles team!
Contact Linda Hurley ( for more information or click here for online registration and details:
Grandparents Day - Monday, Sept. 29
This is a wonderful day that spans the ages. Many volunteers are needed,  so please consider joining the ranks to host our special guests. Sign up using the “Volunteer at Nobles” link on the website. 
Po Bronson (author of Top Dog) Parent/Faculty Presentation - Tuesday, September 30
Please join parents and faculty for this key presentation which will be held from 7:00 - 8:30pm in Lawrence Auditorium.
We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and wonderful community or parents at Nobles. Thank you in advance for your help and participation. We look forward to seeing you on campus throughout the year!
With warmest regards,
Parents’ Association Co-Chairs,
AE Rueppel
Brooke Sandford

Class I Dean's Report

Welcome back!

As usual, the summer months have flown by quickly, and we’re very excited to begin the new school year. Senior year promises to be a memorable one. We’ve already enjoyed working with this class in particular, an enthusiastic and committed group of students who no doubt will provide great leadership for the school.

Both of us had fulfilling summers. When Ms. Hamilton was not at Nobles working on the college front, she spent as much time as possible with her two young boys and husband, taking vacations to Cape Cod and Maine. Mr. Kalin participated in a variety of professional development workshops, including a one-week writing conference at Bard College and a project-based learning course through Global Online Academy. We came back from our summers reinvigorated, and we look forward to helping the senior class establish a positive tone for the school. The seniors play an integral role in maintaining a healthy student culture.

Earlier this week, we helped students kick-off their senior year at the annual retreat held at Camp Bournedale. Every year the goal of the retreat is to give students time to reconnect with their classmates after the summer, enjoy time with each other, and help them think about their goals for the upcoming school year. Students engaged in a successful program that focused around the theme of “Telling Our Stories.” By sharing their stories, we believe that students learn more about one another and, as a result, build stronger relationships and become even better leaders. In addition to the stories, we provided students with information about Senior Projects, a fantastic opportunity for students to pursue their own interests through an independent project in the spring guided by a faculty mentor.

The college office also gave a presentation of the “Nuts and Bolts of the College Application Process.” While students were certainly wiped out by the end of the day, we were pleased with their preparation and commitment to the expectations that we set forth over the summer, a good sign of things to come!

The beginning of every school year is a time of excitement, change, and inevitably some anxiety.  In just a few short days, students will have a fresh schedule, a line up of different teachers with higher expectations, an altered assembly seat, and new leadership roles to assume. We anticipate that the fall season especially can be a stressful time, and we want to reiterate to you that we’ll support your student to the best of our abilities.

As one way to support the senior class,  we’ve planned a few senior transitions evenings that will help equip students with information and advice about making the most of their transition from Nobles to their respective college or university. You’ll hear more about these evenings over the next couple of months. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your son or daughter, please contact us, the college counseling office, or the student life team, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We would like to express our immense gratitude to the Class I Representatives: Lynda Ceremsak, Carolyn Harthun, and Anne Kelley, who have already been extremely helpful in our efforts to make the 2014-15 school year a successful one. They will be in touch with you soon about upcoming senior events.

Finally, we hope to see you at Back to School Night on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. Thank you in advance for entrusting us with your son or daughter. It will be a genuine pleasure to work with such a hard-working, talented, and friendly group of young men and women!



Meghan Hamilton and Mike Kalin

Class III Parent Reps

Welcome back, Class III Parents!

We hope you had a wonderful summer. September is a busy month at Nobles -- we encourage you to check out the September Newsletter on the Nobles website where you will find a listing of all the important school events. 

We hope you can join us for our first class-specific event--the Fall Coffee after drop-off on Wednesday, September 24, in the Castle.   The Fall Coffee is a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends after the summer and meet the parents of the new additions
to Class III! 

Looking ahead, please save the date for our Class III Parent Social to be held at the Castle on Friday, Oct. 17. 

You can read more about Class III or other volunteer is an easy way to get involved and we can use your help! To see the volunteer page, be sure to log in.

Lastly, if you have any questions, ideas or suggestions, please feel free to contact us. 

We look forward to a great year!

Anne Umphrey (Duncan and Hillary's mom)
Heidi McNeill (Hannah's mom)

Class IV Parent Reps

Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians,

We would like to welcome you to Class IV (9th Grade) and hope that you and your family are enjoying these last few days of summer. 

We hope to meet you personally this fall at various events, but in the meantime feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. The first few weeks can be overwhelming, especially for new Nobles parents and students with many events and things to remember. You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed with this adjustment! Hopefully many questions students might have had were answered at the orientation dinner.

A few dates/events to remember:

First Day of Classes (Wednesday, Sept. 3):  Students should have ordered and received their books from

Fall Parent Social (Saturday, Sept. 6, 6:30-9 p.m.): Social for parents only in the Castle.  The event is complimentary and dress is casual.  This is a great opportunity to meet new parents and catch up with old friends.

First Parents' Association Meeting (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 8- 9:30 a.m.).

Back-to-School Night (Thursday, September 18, 6-9 pm): Preview your student's classes and meet his/her advisor. This is a great way to learn your way around campus, to put faces to names of your child's teachers, and to mingle with other parents. 

Class IV Parent Social (Friday, Sept. 19, 6:30-9:30 p.m.):  Come join other Class IV parents to mingle and meet each other in an informal setting in the Castle's New Dining Room. You should have received the invitation already. Please respond by September 12.

Rosh Hashana (Thursday, Sept. 25):  School is closed.

Grandparents Day (Monday, Sept. 29). More information will appear in subsequent emails about this event.

Suzie Montgomery

Nathalie Ducrest

Class I Parent Reps

Dear Fellow Class I Parents,

Welcome back to Nobles! We hope you all had a wonderful summer and are to ready to embark on an exciting Class I year. We have been working closely with our Class I Deans, Meghan Hamilton and Mike Kalin and are planning many terrific activities. Our goal for the year as Class Parent Reps is to include all the Class I students and every parent who wishes to participate. We hope all of you will join us in making this an exciting and memorable year for the Class of 2015.

Here are the Class I Events for your calendars:

Grab ‘n Go Breakfast - Tuesday, Sept. 2

Before boarding the retreat bus

Surprise Breakfast - Wednesday, Sept. 10 *

Parent Fall Coffee - Tuesday, Sept. 16

Halloween Surprise Lunch - Friday, Oct. 31 *

Senior Transitions Program (Snacks) - Tuesday, Nov. 18 *

Parent Fall Social - Friday, Nov. 21

Parent Winter Coffee - Tuesday, Jan. 27

Valentine’s Day Surprise Desserts - Friday, Feb. 13 *

Spring Surprise Lunch - Thursday, March 5 *

Parent Spring Social - Friday, May 1

Class I Celebration “The Way We Were” - Tuesday, May 26 *

Class I Project Night - Tuesday, May 26

Class I Night - Wednesday, May 27

Awards Night - Thursday, May 28

Graduation - Friday, May 29

Graduation Party (parent sponsored) - Friday, May 29 *

* These are the events which we will be needing volunteers to help with various parts of the event. We welcome and need many helping hands and creative minds to make these events successful. As a means to get volunteers, we will be using Sign-Up Genius links in the weekly emails as the events draw closer on the calendar.

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or ideas please feel free to contact us. We look forward to a busy and fulfilling year as your Parent Representatives, and hope to see you soon.

Many thanks,

Lynda Ceremsak (

Carolyn Harthun (

Anne Kelley (

Middle School Parent Reps

Welcome to the 2014-2015 academic year! We would like to extend a warm welcome to all new and returning families to the Nobles community. The start of the school year is an exciting and busy time.

The Nobles Parents Association will be offering many activities throughout the year to give parents an opportunity to connect and get involved with the school. As your middle school Parent Reps, we will keep you informed of the important events happening in the Middle School, through the Nobles

Parents' Association newsletter, which you will receive via e-mail at the start of each month. This can also be accessed on the school website.

In addition, you will receive a weekly e-mail from Maryanne MacDonald, which will be a great reminder of the happenings at the Middle School.

As your Class VI and Class V representatives, we will be organizing parent social events and coordinating volunteer opportunities. Volunteering at Nobles is a wonderful way to get involved, meet other parents, teachers and your child’s classmates. Throughout the year, there will be a variety of ways to be involved on campus.

Log on to the Nobles website and please take a moment to look at available volunteer opportunities. We will also highlight key events each month. There is a Middle School page as well as a school wide page. 

Below are Middle School calendar highlights for the month of September.

Middle School Events

• Wednesday, September 3- Class VI and V Retreat Day (dismissal at 3:30 Pratt Middle School)

dress is casual, students should bring their textbooks to school.

• Thursday, September 4-Middle School classes begin; Afternoon Program begins, dress code

will be in effect.

• Saturday, September 6-Parent Association School Wide Fall Social, 6:30p.m. at the Nobles Castle

• Wednesday, September 10-The first Parents Association meeting, 8 a.m. in the Castle

Library. This is a great way to get involved and learn more about volunteer opportunities at Nobles.

• Thursday, September 18-Back to School Night 6 p.m. at the Nobles Campus

• Friday, September 19-Middle School (Class VI and Class V) Parent Social, please RSVP online. You will need to be logged into the Nobles website to respond.

• Thursday, September 25-Rosh Hashana, School closed

• Monday, September 29- Grandparents Day

• Tuesday, September 30-An Evening with Author Po Bronson 7p.m. Lawrence Auditorium

• Thursday, October 23, Middle School Parent Coffee-Save the date, 8 a.m. Please join us for a conversation with Middle School Dean, Colette Finley. Ms. Finley will talk about life in the Middle School and will be available to answer some of your questions.

Please review with your MS Student the “Middle School Discipline Procedure” and John Gifford’s July letter, which contains useful information for the start of school. We look forward to seeing returning parents and meeting new parents in September. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding anything Nobles.

Thank you,

Leslie Del Col ( VI

Erin Majernik ( VI

Leigh Poole ( V

Wendy MacDonald ( V

Class II Parent Reps

Dear Class II Parents and Friends,

We hope everyone has enjoyed a fun and relaxing summer. Junior year is exciting, but also known to be taxing for both students and parents. It is our hope that together we can make the most of this important year, and so we begin by welcoming you all to the new school year! We have several events planned for the year, which we hope will foster camaraderie and fellowship among Class II families and also serve to reduce stress and anxiety during this academic year. We hope you participate in events planned and we will do our best to communicate upcoming events.

As you plan your fall schedule, be sure to put these dates on your calendar:

Class II Parent Coffee - Wednesday, Oct. 1, 8:15 a.m.

Please join us in the Castle to reconnect with fellow parents and hear about our plans for the year. We'll have signup sheets for some Class II volunteer opportunities.

Class II Parent Social - Friday, Nov. 21, 7 - 10 p.m.

Join other Class II parents in the Castle for an evening of cocktails, dinner and conversation! We will be in touch with the details at a later date. Please contact either of us if you are interested in learning more or would like to help plan the event.

Our role as Class II reps includes strengthening connections between parents, serving as a liaison to the school, and providing support to our students. If you have any suggestions or ideas for gatherings, coffees, student stress relievers, etc., please share them with us. We look forward to a great year!


Class II Parent Reps

Betsy Dawson

Lauren Doherty

We Can't Do This Without You by Dean of Students Marcela Maldonado

Anyone who knows me is quick to point out that I am a political junkie. More than the grind and machinations of everyday politics, however, it’s really political philosophy that stirs and excites me. I am particularly fascinated by the underpinnings of thought and action that anchor and guide our democracy, as it continues to serve as a beacon for most of the world. Indeed my students have often heard me talk about the importance of understanding ideas that serve as the bedrock for who we are, providing purpose and value to our collective mission. And the 18th century notion of a “social contract” is indicative of this collective purpose, whether for our country or even our own school community.

It’s actually quite easy to explain all of this to a senior in the middle of a Politics and Ethics class, but it can be quite the challenge when lofty notions are put to the test in their every day lives. Everything around us tells us that the world is shifting rapidly, and even as technology brings information to our fingertips and allows us to connect with peoples around the world in warp speed, we are also growing more apart than ever before. These quantum shifts push people to find new ways of communicating, and for some parents, trying to find different ways of connecting with their children can and has lead to decisions that would have seemed out of the question just a generation ago.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, confusion ensues for students when boundaries are crossed by parents, short-cuts are taken, or when well-meaning adults make the decision to provide alcohol to students in order to avoid having kids search for it elsewhere. This often stems from the feeling of some parents that it is better to have kids drink in their home and under their supervision than do otherwise. But any way you cut it, you unwittingly compromise the culture and health of our school community. More importantly, you’re making decisions for other people’s children that could put them in jeopardy, and no one has the right to do that.

To be clear, the vast majority of parents understand and abide by social norms, as well as the laws of our state. But all it takes is the repercussions of one parent’s bad decision for dire consequences to quickly ensue. Teenagers test boundaries. Teenagers make poor choices. We see it coming and we’re ready for it. Frankly, it’s the business we’re in. But adults must take the long view that comes with age and wisdom. So you’re going to hear a lot in the months ahead about student use of alcohol and the parental role. We intend to go right at it because our students deserve this level of care from us.

A community is as healthy as its social contract is clear. It defines our relationship with each other, and serves as an implicit agreement resulting in how we organize ourselves in partnership. Members of a community are accountable to each other and responsible for each other. These are the values you have come to expect from us and that you can be assured we intend to keep, even at the risk of making some hard decisions. That’s the social contract between us.

Students will hear directly about all of this in the weeks and months ahead, and I have no illusions that this will be an easy conversation to have from the stage or in person. But our students are the impetus and the beneficiaries of the agreement this school and our parent body make as we engage in this enterprise together. They deserve to know we love them and why, and that our care for them does not and will not end when the school day is over. You can count on that.

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