Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

November 2014

Nobles Parents' Newsletter November 2014

From the Community Service Office: What You Can Do to Make "Common Fire" a Success

"Above the fold" of this newsletter, I am sure you read from Bob Henderson about "Common Fire", the all school service day we are planning to execute on April 14. As adults who manage hugely busy lives supporting your work and vibrant family lives I know you are aware that events like this are long in the planning. I think of it like an act on the old Ed Sullivan show. Remember this one? A guy comes out and stands in front of about twenty vertical sticks and a stack of plates. He dexterously rotates one on a stick and you think to yourself, "how is he going to keep that thing going for very long?" Soon, he spins another and another and another, keeping a watchful eye on them as they careen in circles. When one gets too slow, and begins to move in langorous elipses, he rushes over and gives it a quick flip of his wrist, and continues to add plate after plate to the delight of the audience. By the end of the act, all the plates are rotating on their axes, in perfectly timed circles.

"Common Fire" is looking a lot like that from my point of view, but I am not the one spinning plates that quickly. When I asked for volunteers this summer to help locate sites for our work, make calls, walk the venues, figure out the work projects, meet to discuss details, assign the advisor groups, figure out transportation, buy and deliver equipment such as mulch, rakes, or paint, and work on public relations, a  group of YOU signed up. Holly Bonomo, Lisa Pisano, Kristen Welo, Cindy Trull, Allison Graham, Betsy Edie, Chris Reynolds, Barbara Ito, and Jill Ellison agreed to work with members of the staff and faculty on the Steering Committee and have been working on all this since August. Much appreciation is due these visionaries: they are our "site developers."  Others of you have offered to helm a site for Common Fire Day itself, and now that we have many of them (worksites for potentially 900 people) in place, I will be calling you to talk about your specific venue: Anne London, Lynn McCarthy, Nicole Zingoli, Dana D'Angeles, Hillary Allinson, Mary Dunne, and Alison Gordon, thank you for being site leaders. Faculty members who are giving their time and expertise to further this day by serving on the Steering Committee are adding this event to their busy schedules and deserve a round of thanks as well: Linda Hurley, Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek, Alex Gallagher, Elizabeth Benjamin, Michael Denning, Amy McBrien, Laura Yamartino, Thomas Forteith, and Alex Gallagher. (They say if you need something done, ask a busy person). A special thanks goes out to Mariana Vega also, a student who is spearheading the coverage of this event by the Nobleman. 

There is still something vital you can do to be part of this work, and make sure that when we set sail on this venture in April, we do not go empty-handed to these nonprofits. Certain sites and projects we have taken on desperately need gently used items you may have right now. I ask that you follow next versions of this newsletter, and the weekly emails from both the middle and upper school watching for the collections that will follow. I know some of the items now, and will list them below so that you can set them aside from the pre-holiday clear out or the spring cleaning and keep them to send with us to these places. With your help, we will be able to make a significant impact on the lives of those we will serve. That is the meaning of "Common Fire." Each small flame we carry with us can unite to light our local world this year.

Please save for:
"Heading Home" ( We will be moving one homeless family into their newly acquired house on April 14. We need everything that family needs to set up housekeeping.

"Angell Memorial Animal Hospital and Shelter" ( We will be cleaning cages, distributing spay and neuter clinic information, and walking dogs. We need blankets, canned cat food, and towels.

"Circle of Hope" ( We will be sorting and preparing welcome baskets for homeless families. We need toiletries and baby items for the shelter families.

"Household Good Recycling" ( We will be working at this site that refurbishes household items like bedframes, dishes, towels, etc to give to people in need.

Your family can make all the difference. Your continued awareness and support of the collection drives for these items and others that will be set up soon is so important. We have made commitments to these organizations, and that is a value you embody for your kids when you help to keep this "above the fold" of your family's actions and intentions.

Thank you to all the amazing people, both faculty and parent, that are working together to make this event emblematic of the "common fire" that service has always been at Nobles.

Sandi MacQuinn, Director of Community Service

Common Fire by Head of School Bob Henderson

Official, formal school mission statements were not in vogue until the 1970’s. Through the years of Eliot Putnam’s headship, from the 1940’s until his retirement in 1971, Nobles had a “statement of purpose,” which I suppose served much the same function as a mission. It had evolved and was derived from previous such statements that dated back to the founding of the school in 1866. The Putnam era statement of purpose opens with this assertion: “The central aim of the school is to prepare boys (the school was all male in those days) for a future life of service to their communities…” Today, the mission statement says, “Noble and Greenough School is a rigorous academic community dedicated to inspiring leadership for the public good. Through mentoring relationships, we motivate students to achieve their highest potential and to lead lives characterized by service to others.” The notion of service to others has been an essential and guiding principle for a Nobles education throughout its history. We do not define service narrowly; our intention is to help students to find themselves within the mission.  Whatever Nobles students choose to do with their lives, both as professionals in every field and as volunteers, it is our intention that their Nobles experiences should motivate and prepare them to make their communities, both locally and more broadly, better places. As the school approaches its 150th anniversary in 2016, therefore, the idea of service to others seemed the most appropriate place to begin our recognitions and celebrations. 

Over a decade ago, Nobles community service director Sandi MacQuinn conceived of a Common Fire day wherein everyone in the school community would stop what they were doing and give a day of service to others.  It was a massive undertaking, as members of our school community fanned out around Greater Boston to help as needed. The day also began with a stirring keynote address from former headmaster Ted Gleason, who returned to Nobles and shared his reflections on service through the history of the school and its critical importance to the health and future of our society.  That first Common Fire was an immense success, and we have ever since intended to do it again. The sesquicentennial seems like exactly the right opportunity, connecting to that first Common Fire day, the mission, and the history of the school.

The second Nobles Common Fire Day will be on Tuesday, April 14. It will take most of this school year to plan, again led by Sandi MacQuinn, ably assisted in the endeavor by Linda Hurley and many other dedicated and inspirational individuals. Students and faculty will head out to volunteer that day at sites throughout the area and give of their time and energy, to help our community, to honor our history, and collectively to live our mission. That morning we will have a keynote address from a truly remarkable and inspirational educational leader, Dr. Mark Gearan, former director of the Peace Corps and current president of Hobart and William Smith College.

You can help! Keep and eye on the service section of this newsletter, as well as the weekly parent emails, in regard to items you can start to gather for that day (which may be easier because we did not hold the school yard sale this year!). For just a start, we are collecting goods for one homeless family we hope to move into a home that day, on April 14. For this and other causes we will need toiletry and baby items for support for homeless women and families. We will need linens and kitchen equipment as well. We also will need blankets, towels and cat food for Angell Memorial Animal Shelter. The list will grow, so keep your eye on the school communications, or be in touch with Sandi MacQuinn at Nobles.

Thank you for your help and support with this wonderful endeavor.

Don’t Recycle that Spiral Notebook! by Director of Academic Support Gia Batty

From where I sit, which is usually in an orange office chair across from a student who is struggling academically, there is so much that is good about the increased role technology plays in education.  This is especially true at Nobles where we have very thoughtfully incorporated many new technologies into our curriculum--from the iPads in the middle school to the Haiku sites teachers create for their classes and the use of Google Drive for sharing written work.  Increased technology has made learning and teaching easier and more efficient for so many reasons.  But what happens sometimes with something that’s new and has so many benefits for both students and teachers is that we tend to forget about all the positive aspects of the old way of doing things. 

What I’m really talking about here is that very old school thing we used to do all the time called writing on paper.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still all for writing essays on the laptop and for being able to collaborate with classmates on a Google Doc.  The kind of writing I’m talking about is the really old-fashioned kind--the kind we do when we are learning. 

I’m talking about taking notes.  I’m talking about taking notes on paper with a pen.

More and more we’ve been encouraging students to try to incorporate the old school technique of taking notes by hand with the incredible new school tool of the laptop or iPad. 

Peek into any classroom on campus and, more often than not, what you’ll see is an open laptop or iPad in front of each student.  What you’ll hear is the steady, rapid clicking of keyboards as students are busy recording every word their teacher says.  Sounds great, right?  Not exactly.

It turns out that the ability a laptop gives you to  transcribe an entire lecture creates a very passive kind of learning because, in essence, you become a transcriber of information, not a learner of information.

In the old days (which were really not that long ago), students had a notebook and a pen in front of them and they did their best to write down as much as they could.  You knew you weren’t going to get it all down, but you figured out a way to get most of it.  You wrote down the important stuff.  You got the big ideas and then you filled in the details.  You underlined terms your teacher said were important.  You added stars and question marks and sometimes the petals of a daisy around one of the three holes on the side.  Maybe you even wrote your boyfriend’s last name after your first name, just to see what it would look like.  Doodles aside,  this kind of notetaking was active.  You were thinking about what you were writing.  You were editing what your teacher said into manageable chunks that you could copy down into your notebook.  

Since students can type faster than they can write, they end up just recording everything that is said without doing the kind of prioritizing  or organizing or editing of information that has to happen when you write by hand.  When you type, there is no need and no time to organize or synthesize the information   When you take notes on paper, by design, you have to make choices, you have to think about what you are writing down.  You draw arrows between concepts that are connected.  You cross things out and rewrite them somewhere else.  All of these choices require thinking. and the kind of processing that happens when you simply type everything your teacher says is a much shallower type of processing.  To write requires a deeper level of thinking.

As it turns out, when it comes to taking notes, more isn’t better.

Here are a few ideas for incorporating the old school method with the new school one. 

For those who are willing to take notes on paper, we suggest typing up their notes at home as part of their homework.  This is actually a great way to study because you are basically building a study guide as you learn.  This is also good to do because there is always the chance that the notebook will get left behind somewhere or damaged or recycled because it is made of paper.

For those still want to take notes on the computer, we try to train them to be more thoughtful about what they type and how much they type.  Also, we tell students to print out their typed notes and go through them with a colored pen or highlighter.  Both of these tasks create a more active learning process for students.

The truth is that, across disciplines, we want students to be thoughtful consumers of information.  At a very simple level we want them to be able to consider if something is important or useful or effective.  Doing this requires an active thought process, a sifting of information, and the confidence and experience to be able to determine what is important. 

So, let’s not recycle those spiral notebooks and packs of college-ruled paper just yet.  Dust them off and slide them into the backpack.  I think there’s some space right behind that sleek new laptop.


Nobles Blood Drive

On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, the MGH Bloodmobile will be on campus, at the beach, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

People of all ages need transfusions of blood for a variety of reasons such as blood loss from an accident or operation, anemia, chemotherapy or other illnesses. 

Read more about how you can help.

From the Middle by Dean of Students Marcela Maldonado

A colleague recently asked what has been most surprising since going from full-time teaching to being dean of students. My response was that, interestingly, I spend far more time talking to adults than I do to kids. This is hardly a complaint; indeed, getting to know my colleagues in new ways has opened up a window into the heart of this school that I simply had not anticipated. 

My primary role as dean of students is responsibility for all issues of well being in the lives of our students, but this is hardly a solitary venture. Many kids assume that I am the enforcer of the rules – and while true to some extent, it is (mercifully!) only a small part of what I do.  I primarily help to create and implement both short and long-term plans for various aspects of student life and programming. Nice enough… but I am a teacher at heart, and so finding new ways of what it means to “teach” within the parameters of this role has become a primary objective for me. 

I have spent a lot of time these past few weeks watching and listening to students, be they in the Peer Help Program (PHP) that I co-lead, or in my Personal Development class of sophomores, or in my Politics & Ethics class filled with seniors. And I have certainly been conscious of those I have witnessed and heard from the assembly stage. This is no different from what I’ve been doing in the various meetings I’m involved in daily with colleagues, in large groups or individually, casually in the hallway between class periods, or those contrived to discuss some issue at hand. 

In each of these settings, I’ve been quite conscious of the notion introduced by Bridget Johnson, former dean of students at Milton Academy, this summer to a group of “newbies” in this field, that “being a dean of students means knowing how to be adept at leading from the middle.” Bridget was harkening back to William P. Robinson’s book, outlining that to lead from the middle means to influence from among and positioning ourselves alongside, working shoulder to shoulder, and living at the center of our mission. 

To do so is to work at consciously building a well-functioning community, in and out the classroom, and to look for the teachable moments in each interaction. Working with an extraordinary group of devoted teachers, learning the depths of care and concern by the adults in this community, and together comprehensively attending to the whole child in our midst, has been a real privilege to witness. But our students are no different in that regard, as they seek to understand what honesty, compassion, and commitment to community looks like, even as we enjoy the surprises and unpredictability of these years in their lives.

So in thinking about what it means “to teach”, it has to also include that which is necessary for students to walk away from here, fully able to face the world in front of them. And this would be impossible to do without instilling in them a sense of self-reliance. “Self-reliance” is an old-fashioned, Emerson-inspired concept, often used as a synonym for the idea of “independence.” But these are not, in fact, the same thing.  Independence is a state of being, while self-reliance involves possessing concrete tools and skills, and knowing how and when to access these to solve the inevitable challenges ahead. These are not just tools to persevere, but also the emotional skills and coping mechanisms necessary to respond to tough moments.

Teaching kids to be self-reliant, of course, isn’t easy. It goes against that which has become normative in our culture today.  We all think failure is good…but not on our watch!  And so we hold them back from the stumble. But adolescents are deeply invested in identity formation, and rely on our influence to help them figure out who they are and what they need to effectively traverse the high wire of life. 

So as I continue to look for new ways to “teach,” I’m also finding out that to be a good teacher you have to be an even better student: attentive to what’s in front of you, listening to the nuances of conversations, hearing for what is not said as much as what is clear.  It means not getting ahead of folks or lagging behind to what is at hand, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to sit in the middle and in their midst, be it a student or colleague, and let them tell you what they need. And for our students, what they need may not always be what we’re ready to give them: not just wings, but the opportunity to leap. 


Preparing Students for the 21st Century by Head of Upper School Michael Denning

One of the privileges of my new position is that it allows me to talk about Nobles with lots of people—faculty, students, parents and guardians, graduates, and prospective families. While I have been at Nobles for some time, the lenses through which I now view and evaluate our community are more wide-angled, and I have spent much of the last few months speaking with folks about our values, programs and people. In these anthropological exchanges, I have come to expect the following question: “What do you see as the greatest challenge facing Nobles today?” In one sense, I believe people use a question such as this one—or perhaps “What keeps you up at night?”—to gain some insight into my values, priorities and ways of thinking about schools and education, in general, and Nobles, in particular. And given my new responsibilities, this seems fair enough.

In another sense, these are nice questions for me to hear because, frankly, if the answers aren’t obvious, then things are probably going, on the whole, quite well. Certainly, we have our day-to-day challenges and difficult situations through which to work. And nothing keeps us up at night more than thinking about the safety and well-being of our students. However, by many quantitative and qualitative measures, Nobles is thriving. We are attracting and retaining outstanding students and educators; our students are enjoying excellent academic and co-curricular careers, ones that include many successful athletic contests, amazing instrumental, choral and theatrical performances, acceptances to outstanding colleges and universities, and many thousands of hours of work in the service of others. Most importantly, we know from our work with graduates that our students’ careers at Nobles are, in many respects, best understood in terms of the friendships they develop with their peers and the mentoring relationships they form with faculty, both of which continue long after graduation. The tremendous spirit of community that attracted me to Nobles 17 years ago is as strong and as palpable as ever, and there is no greater indicator of this than the myriad, substantial ways our graduates return to celebrate and support the school. 

Providing students with a great place to study and learn, make friends, and prepare to be excellent college/university applicants is an essential responsibility. However, it is not our only goal. Implied in our mission “to inspire leadership for the public good” is an obligation to ready our students to take responsibility for the health and prosperity of the communities they will live in long after their years of formal education have ended. We care deeply about the kinds of adults our students will become, and herein lies what I believe to be among the greatest challenges confronting Nobles: in an era of hyper-competition, specialization and individualism, how can we offer students all they need to become exceptional adults: professionals, partners/spouses, parents and community leaders? How, indeed, do we continue to simultaneously provide talented young people—ages 12 to 19—with:

  1. A safe, nurturing, kind community in which to spend their adolescent years;
  2. The rigorous academic training they will need to become competitive, successful applicants at the most selective colleges and universities and in the most challenging professional endeavors;
  3. The values, attitudes and habits of heart and mind that will enable them to offer leadership for the public good in an increasingly diverse, complex, dynamic and challenging world?

Achieving any one of these objectives is not easy. Yet, we must succeed in all three areas, even as we acknowledge how challenging it is and how the means for attaining any one goal will, at times, jeopardize another. Adolescence is a challenging, dynamic period. The physiological changes that occur in people from ages 13 to 19 are astounding, and our children must have a safe environment in which to experience these changes, and the challenges that tend to accompany them. Here, we lean on the relationship-based pedagogy that has been the foundation of our community since the school’s inception. It is not just the 5-1 student-faculty ratio that creates our nurturing community, but also the scaffolding and infrastructure we provide. Our faculty’s multifaceted involvement in their students’ lives—at Nobles, the same people who teach in our classrooms during the morning and early afternoons are also coaching, directing and supervising our afternoon program—is also an essential ingredient. Moreover, each student has an advisor, a class dean and, in the junior and senior years, a college counselor. And we have a student-life team of deans, counselors, nurses and learning specialists whose mandate is to look out for the health and safety of our community and its members. Simply put, we are proud of the ways in which we nurture and keep safe our students. 

In our academic classrooms, we must inspire excellence and prepare our students to compete and succeed both in the college-admission process and in whatever professional fields they enter. Indeed, we support our students as they strive to earn the highest possible grades and to achieve the greatest level of competency (and in many cases, mastery) in our classrooms, labs, art studios, practice rooms and performance venues. But while outstanding intellectual abilities are necessary for many leadership endeavors, we know they are not sufficient.

For nearly 150 years, Nobles has understood that leaders come in all forms and leadership training happens both in and out of our academic classrooms. Two years ago, the board of trustees affirmed these core beliefs by asking us to consider our many co-curricular offerings—in athletics, the performing arts, community service, service learning and academic travel—as part of an Experiential and Community Engaged Learning (EXCEL) initiative, arguing that in order to inspire leadership for the public good, our students needed:

  • The ability to solve complex problems;
  • The wisdom and empathy to recognize and appreciate the importance of context;
  • The confidence to take appropriate risks and to tackle difficult challenges;
  • The humility to know when and how to ask for help;
  • The ability to interact and collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • An understanding of the importance of persuasive, effective communication;
  • The ability to innovate;
  • A belief in the importance of ethical decision-making;
  • The desire to make a difference for others and to have greater community engagement.

In short, through working collaboratively as part of service groups (locally, nationally and internationally), athletic teams, theatrical and musical ensembles, and community-leadership responsibilities, our students would develop the attitudes andcompetencies essential to 21st-century leadership.

Helping students to find the right balance between intellectual depth and breadth, specialization and diversity, hard work and rejuvenation—these are big challenges. Helping to develop healthy kids, excellent college applicants and outstanding adult leaders—these are big challenges, too. And in an era where colleges and universities seem more and more to be looking for specialists and valuing, in the words of the late Princeton Dean of Admission Fred Hargadon, “only that which they can measure,” we—educators and parents—have to meet the challenge of helping our students to become the healthy, wise and impactful adults we all will need them to be.

Nobles Night is almost here!

Mark your calendar for Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m., in the Morrison Athletic Center.

To register online go to

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

Nobles Dance Concert

Come see over 30 students perform a variety of dance styles in an exciting hour-long show! Tickets are first-come, first-served. Wednesday, November 12 at 7 p.m., Thursday, November 13 at 4:30 p.m. 

Please contact for more information. 

Grandparents Day 2014 Portrait Information

Grandparents Day was a great success. Portraits will be available online October 10, 2014 through February 6, 2015. To view and purchase, go to the website and enter the login information provided below.

Username: noblesgp14         Password: 22507-92914
Enter your email address, then under “GUESTS”, click: “VIEW PHOTOS”

Please note that photos will be sorted online by the location where the portrait was taken and by the time it was taken. 

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


Why Nobles? by Dean of Enrollment Management Jen Hines

I grew up in Amherst, MA. Amherst is known for a lot of things (The current town tagline is “Amherst, MA:  Where only the ‘h” is silent.”), but it is probably most known for being the home of three colleges (Amherst, UMass Amherst and Hampshire) with another two very close by (Smith and Mt. Holyoke). Education is literally the business of the town and, as a result, its public schools are taken very seriously and supported by the community. It was the strength of the schools that helped my parents to decide where they wanted to settle in the late 1970’s when my father’s job meant we would be relocating to Western MA. I went on from elementary school to graduate from the public high school feeling good about the education that I received.

I was in my first year of college when I got a call from my parents telling me that my sister wanted to apply to go to boarding school. I had some idea about independent schools from my college peers that caused me to do some thinking about my own experience. When I made a comparison between my public school experience as compared with their independent school one, my peers with the independent school background seemed to come out ahead every time. My parents, however, needed more convincing.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you that many of the communities that send large numbers of students to Nobles have tremendous support for their public schools. It is likely true that families may have chosen to live in certain communities based upon the strength of the public schools. You only have to look as far as Boston Magazine to get a detailed look at school performance statistics for Eastern MA. As a result, I would imagine many of you as Nobles parents are asked; “why would I consider Nobles when our public schools are so strong?” I want to provide you with a few talking points to share.


  • Class size – in the “rarified air” of Amherst public schools, my average class size was 22 students. At Nobles, our average class size is 12.5 students, nearly half of what I faced. I was blessed to have some amazing adults as teachers but I know that their attention was stretched by the sheer numbers of all of us. At Nobles, our relational pedagogy allows for a level of connection between students and teachers that carries over into all aspects of our community, both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Facilities – Towns in Eastern MA have certainly upped the ante on this with the construction of $100 million dollar high schools and the like. However, I would argue that new facilities don’t necessarily change the experience of education that occurs inside of them. At Nobles, our facilities probably speak for themselves. How many schools can claim to have a castle on their campus?!?
  • Access to the arts and athletics – Many public schools have been forced to make difficult decisions when it comes to the “extra” programs that have traditionally shaped a school experience. Frequently, performing and visual arts and even some athletic programs are the first to go as schools look to balance their budgets. At Nobles, we remain committed to our breadth of program which includes the arts and athletics. Our offerings within these programs have grown in these areas over time rather than been cut.
  • Experiential opportunities – How many public schools can boast a program with a philosophy that is integrated into both the academic and extra-curricular programs of the school? Nobles’ EXCEL program does just that by providing the tools, context and inspiration for each student to discover and pursue goals with confidence, creativity and responsibility.

Please feel free to send any prospective family in the direction of the admission office if they would like to discuss the decision between staying in public school and deciding to attend an independent school. My folks ended up coming around and sent my sister to boarding school. Now, they couldn’t be bigger advocates for the independent school experience!

Nobles vs. Milton 2014

From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Milton Academy, stop by the Nobles/Milton hospitality area in the Athletic Convocation Center for a cup of chowder or hot chocolate. Hosted by the Nobles Office of Graduate Affairs and the Milton Academy Alumni Office.

Athletic contests – Nobles vs. Milton – Cheer the Bulldogs on to victory!
1:00 p.m. - Girls varsity field hockey – Voses Field
1:00 p.m. - Girls varsity volleyball – Court 1 in the ACC
1:00 p.m. - Girls varsity soccer – Dennis Field
1:00 p.m. - Boys varsity soccer – Nash Field
1:00 p.m. - Boys varsity football – Stokinger Field    
2:00 p.m. - Girls junior varsity field hockey – Faulkner Field
2:00 p.m. - Girls junior varsity volleyball – Court 2 in the ACC
2:00 p.m. - Girls junior varsity soccer – Headmaster’s Field
2:00 p.m. - Boys junior varsity soccer – J.V. Field

All events will take place on the Milton Academy campus.

A Milton Academy field map can be found online:

Putnam Library Offers Audiobooks

We have many options for students who like to supplement their class reading with audio books or enjoy audio books for pleasure reading.  

Please contact Talya Sokoll ( in the library for more information.

From the Co-Chairs: AE Rueppel and Brooke Sandford

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Voltaire

Happy November!

The above quote seems appropriate to offer at this time of year when giving thanks is on the minds of all. We especially give thanks for and deeply appreciate all the wonderful volunteers and parents in our community who keep our Parents Association strong and vibrant.  In just eight weeks of school, countless events have been organized, executed and attended by parents eager to meet and connect with one another, and many more events — especially those that will serve our students — have yet to come! 

Specific thanks for this past month go to Cookout Chairs Nicola DiFelice and Dana Deangelis for another awesome community cookout, Anna Abate for heading up a huge and enthusiastic crew of parent volunteers at the October 18 Admission Open House, and to our Class Reps: Heidi McNeill and Anne Umphrey for organizing a lovely Class III Fall Parent Social, Lynda Ceremsak, Carolyn Harthun and Anne Kelley for pulling off the frighteningly fun annual Class I Halloween Surprise Lunch, and Lauren Doherty, Betsy Dawson, Suzie Montgomery, Nathalie Ducrest, Wendy McDonald, Leigh Miller, Leslie Del Col and Erin Majernik who hosted coffees for Class II, Class IV and Middle School respectively. Please thank all of these wonderful women when you see them on campus!

Next PA Meeting

Please mark your calendars to join us for the next PA Meeting at 8 a.m. on Monday, November 17, in the Castle Library. Newly named Dean of Students (History and Social Science faculty member) Marcela Maldonado will be speaking to our group, and will share thoughts about her current role at Nobles and her vision of what it means to be a true community that is both accountable to and responsible for each other. Additionally, she will provide an overview about a very important program that Nobles upper classmen will be exposed to in November.  

As always, we look forward to seeing you there — coffee will be hot and ready!

Special November (and early December!) Happenings

’Tis the season of thanks, and giving! If you can spare the time, please consider giving your morning to Cradles to Crayons on Friday, November 14 from 10 a.m.-noon. Join us as members of the Nobles PA spend the morning working together in the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory in Brighton. Thank you to our Community Service Reps Cindy Trull and Kristin Welo for organizing this effort.

Hosting Thanksgiving? Even if you are not, join us as we learn how to make fresh flower cornucopia table decorations the morning of Monday, November 24, in the Castle. Thanks to Cindy Jaczko and Helen Goins for the creative talents and direction!

Two class-specific events occur in November — the Class I and Class II Fall Parent Socials on Friday, November 21. Please remember to RSVP by Monday, November 17, and enjoy a much-deserved night out after a busy fall!

Upcoming Dates

In case it’s helpful, a recap of November dates. Please check the Nobles Calendar and weekly emails for all details!

Mondays - PA Cross Country walks immediately following drop-off*  (Nov 3, 17 and 24)

November 3 – Snack Bar in the MAC opens – make sure you fill out your student’s chit permission online

November 3 - Seminar on Athletic Recruiting and the College Process for Class IV, III and II Parents/Guardians

November 4 - PA Hosted Fall Faculty/Staff Appreciation Lunch*

November 6 - Admission Reception for Prospective Parents*

November 7 - Nobles/Milton Day - games at Milton

November 8 - Bruins Alumni Hockey Event to Benefit Achieve

November 10 - Veterans Day (no school)

November 12  - Fall Dance Concert

November 13 - Nobles Night 

November 14 - PA Cradles to Crayons Service Trip*

November 17 - PA Meeting*

November 19 - Middle School Pie Drive*

November 21- Class I & Class II Parent Socials*

November 26- Thanksgiving Break Begins

* PA Event (or PA-assisted event)

We wish you and yours and the entire Nobles family a Happy Thanksgiving!
AE & Brooke

AE Rueppel

Brooke Sandford

Middle School Parent Reps

It is hard to believe that the first academic quarter is behind us and we are heading into the final month of the fall Afternoon Program.

The fall parent social was a great success and a wonderful way to connect with new families and reconnect with “old” friends. We extend a special thanks to Matt Burek and all the staff at FLIK who once again provided excellent food, drink and service.??

We would like to thank all of the parents who attended the first middle school coffee and signed up to volunteer. We would also like to encourage those of you who have not had the opportunity to volunteer to do so online. There are still many ways to help out and get involved in the Nobles community.

Once again, November is a very busy month. You will find a comprehensive list of important dates below.

Wednesday, November 5 - The Middle School Nobles/Milton Games @ Nobles. Please refer to for times and field locations. This event will mark the end of the Fall After School Program for MS.

Friday, November 7 - Milton Games for Varsity & Junior Varsity teams @ Nobles. This is a modified academic day with a 10:55 a.m. dismissal immediately followed by an all school Tailgate Lunch at Nobles.The school will organize transportation to Milton so that students can enjoy the games. All contests start at 1 p.m. at Milton Academy. Buses will return to Nobles – check the Wednesday email for time estimate.

Monday, November 10: Nobles observes Veteran’s Day- school closed.

November 11-13: Parent/advisor meetings. Parent’s will have the opportunity to meet with their child’s advisor on these days.  Please contact your child’s advisor to schedule a time to meet. Meetings are optional.

November 12 and 13: The Fall Dance Concert. The dancers will hold two performances: Wednesday, November 12 at 7 p.m., and Thursday, November 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the Vinik Theatre.


Thursday, November 13: Nobles Night in the MAC from 6:30-10 p.m.! Please contact Katherine Minevitz to RSVP at Note that this is not a student event.

Monday, November 17: Parents’ Association meeting, 8-9:30 a.m.

On Monday, November 17, there is a Faculty Meeting in Morrison Forum starting at 3:15 p.m. All middle school students will be dismissed at 2:40 p.m. A parent-proctored study hall will be held in the Library Loft until 5 p.m.

Tuesday, November 18: Class VI EVL Field Trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where their visit will focus primarily on three recently opened rooms for the Ancient Greek collection. Students will return to campus by 5:20 p.m.

Wednesday, November, 19: One of the highlights of the Middle School experience at Nobles is the annual Pie Drive. It is an important community builder where every Middle School child participates, and it is also a great way for parents to volunteer and get involved at Nobles. The Pie Drive is a community service event that brings students, parents and teachers together to assemble hundreds of apple pies for Thanksgiving. Approximately 160 pies will be donated to the Single Parent Outreach Center in Boston and the Dedham Food Pantry. Approximately 200 more pies will be sold to the Nobles community. This year’s proceeds will support two organizations in Guatemala, where a group of MS students will be performing service this Spring.  One is Starfish, a girl’s mentoring program, and the other is Long Way Home, a sustainable building non-profit.  Please consider getting involved in this important event at Nobles by volunteering your time on November 19 from 1:15 – 5 p.m. There are three 1.5 hour shifts, and many ways for you to have fun with your children while doing so much good for others. You can also help by donating supplies or by ordering some of these delicious pies!

If you are interested in volunteering for the Pie Drive, please sign up online.

If you have any connections to local orchards or supermarkets, please let one of the Pie Drive Coordinators know! Donated items must be dropped off to the Middle School Forum no later than Monday, November 17.

If you would like to donate ingredients, review the dry ingredients list and contact one of our volunteers.

You can also contact one of the Pie Drive 2013 Coordinators directly to volunteer or donate ingredients:

Holly Bonomo (
Leigh Miller Poole (
Emily Denning (
Carla Higgins (

If you would like to show your support by ordering a pie, you can place order online?

Thank you in advance for all of your support with this worthwhile endeavor?

November 26- 30 is Thanksgiving Break. School will be closed and will reopen on Monday, December 1.
Please let us know if we can provide any additional information or answer any questions. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Class V Reps
Leigh Miller Poole (
Wendy MacDonald (

Class VI Reps
Leslie Del Col (
Erin Majernik (

Class II Parent Reps

Dear Class II Parents and Guardians,

Thanks to all those who attended the Class II Coffee held early in October. We had a terrific turnout, which is a great way to start out the year by reconnecting with old friends and making new acquaintances in the class.

We appreciate all that the college counseling office is doing to help our children begin their journey towards selecting a college to attend after Nobles.  This past month, the college counseling staff hosted a workshop introducing Class II parents and guardians to the four-phased college counseling program at Nobles. To learn more about the college process you can go to the “Parent” section of the Nobles website under the “Upper School” tab and click on “College Counseling” ( for information about the college counseling team, timelines, test dates and other related information.

The first quarter has already come to a close. Don’t forget to sign up with your child’s advisor on November 11,12 and 13.

Our Class II Fall Parent Social is coming up this month on November 21st. Please RSVP to the invitation you will receive in the Friday emails. We will have a festive dinner, drinks and conversation in the Castle Upper Dining Room. With kids driving to school, there are fewer opportunities for us to connect as parents, so we hope to see you there!

Some dates to keep in mind during the busy fall season:

• Registration Deadlines – Nov. 6 for the Dec. SAT tests and Nov. 7 or the Dec. ACT.
• SAT  Reasoning and Subject Tests - November 8 and December 6
• ACT - December 13
• Nobles vs. Milton Day – November 7
• Bruins Alumni Hockey Game to Benefit Achieve – Nov. 8
• Veterans’ Day Holiday – November 10
• Nobles Night – November 13
• Thanksgiving Break – November  26 – 28

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope to see you at some of the school events and look forward to connecting at the Parent Social. If anyone would like to volunteer, we welcome any and all who wish to help.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Class II Parent Reps

Betsy Dawson

Lauren Doherty


Class III Deans

It is hard to believe that the first quarter is behind us and Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away! The first quarter always passes by quickly, and this year has been no different. Although we have been in school for only eight weeks, we’ve gotten many things accomplished in this short period of time.

Teachers just finished writing comments for the first quarter, and by the time you read this newsletter, your children will have reviewed their comments and grades with their advisors. In our opinion, the teachers’ comments are more important than the grades themselves, and we hope that you will take the time to review the comments at home with your son or daughter. While the grades are an indication of how your child is doing, comments are filled with insight into strengths, areas of growth, and most importantly, guidance for improvement. Please do not be alarmed if your child’s grades have declined in certain subjects. As you may know, the sophomore year curriculum is challenging in new and different ways as students transition from concrete to abstract thinking and are asked to synthesize. Additionally, it takes time for students to adjust to the curriculum and to the new expectations in each class. By the time the December comments are written, most students will have grown more familiar with the demanding curriculum and with the expectations of their teachers, and they will have discovered what they need to do in order to meet their personal goals.

At the beginning of the year and throughout the fall, we have emphasized the importance of community involvement to Class III. During sophomore year, it is important for students to pursue their interests and to participate in clubs and other extracurricular activities at Nobles. There are so many clubs and organizations, and if students join and are active this year, they may have the opportunity to take on leadership roles in upcoming years. Additionally, we were thrilled to learn that so many sophomores applied to travel this year. These trips make a lasting impact on those who experience them; we hope that students will continue to explore Nobles trips in the future.

On Wednesday, November 12th from 2-3:30 PM, all sophomores will stay at school to hear presentations from the following programs: School Year Abroad (SYA), the Mountain School of Vermont, the Alzar School of Idaho, the School for Ethics and Global Leadership of Washington, D.C., Chewonki of Main, the High Mountain Institute of Colorado, CITYTerm of NYC, and NuVu of Cambridge, MA. Likewise, representatives from each of these study away programs will set up a table in Gleason Hall from 11:00 AM -- 1:30 PM so that students may speak to them, gather more detailed information, and have their specific questions answered. If your child is interested in studying away from Nobles during junior year, he/she should begin thinking about that now and planning for the future. It would be a good idea for your child to talk this over with his/her advisor and with the trip coordinators (Amy McBrien, Henry Kinard, and Laura Yamartino) if he/she is interested in studying away from Nobles.
We hope to see you at a game or at a performance in the near future. Enjoy the month of November, and have a happy Thanksgiving with your family.

Kind Regards,
Amy McBrien & Jessica Brennan


Class IV Parent Reps

Hello Class IV Parents,??

It has certainly been a whirlwind of a Fall!We hope that you have all had an opportunity to connect with our Nobles community at one of the many events over the last couple months—either at a PA meeting, our coffee, the Class IV Social on the sidelines etc. We are looking forward to many more opportunities to connect as a group during the next month.

Below are some important upcoming dates and events you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

•   Thursday, November 3: Athletic Recruiting Seminar, 7-8:30 p.m., Towles Auditorium

•   Friday, November 7: Nobles/Milton Day , 12-4 p.m @Milton

•   Saturday, November 8: Bruins Alumni Game to Benefit Achieve, 5-7 p.m.

•   Monday, November 10: Nobles Veterans’ Day—No School

•   Tuesday, November 11- Thursday, November 13: Advisor/Parent Meeting Day. Please arrange with your child’s advisor.

•   Monday, November 17: Parents' Association Meeting, , 8-9:30 a.m. Castle Library

•   Wednesday, November 26—Sunday, November 30: Thanksgiving Break!

•   Monday, December 1:  School resumes; Winter afternoon program begins.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Suzie Montgomery and Nathalie Ducharest

Class III Parent Reps

Dear Class III Parents,

It is hard to believe that October is almost over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! It was wonderful to see so may of you at our October Parent Coffee and Parent Social and as the fall sports season winds to a close, we hope that you will see you all again soon at Nobles/Milton Day on November 7 from noon until 4 p.m. It is a great family day filled with school spirit and exciting athletic competition. Go Dawgs!

Also, on November 13, there is another opportunity to gather with the entire Nobles community at Nobles Night from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and if you are looking for some casual conversation and exercise then please join us for the PA's Monday morning walks on the Nobles cross country course. The group meets most Mondays right after drop off near the baseball diamond.

A few other opportunities and dates to note:

11/1  Fall MainStage Play "Right You Are If You Think You Are" Vinik Theatre

11/ 3  Optional Seminar on Athletic Recruiting and the College Process 7-8:30 p.m. Towles Auditorium

11/8  Bruins Alumni Hockey Game to Benefit Achieve 5-7pm
11/10 No School Veterans Day

11/12 and 11/13  Nobles Dance Concert

11/26 Thanksgiving Break Starts and Classes Resume 12/1 


Heidi McNeill  and Anne Umphrey

Class I Parent Reps

October was a busy and bittersweet month for Class I, as they officially finished their (last) first quarter, enjoyed their final visits to such fall favorites as the Multicultural Fair, Fall Fest, Friday Night Lights, and of course, celebrated their final Nobles Halloween.

Our seniors ended the month with a "ghoulishly great" Halloween Lunch in the Castle. The extensive PA collection of spooky decorations plus fantastic creative energy from Class I parents transformed the lower Castle dining room into a haunted haven! Our Class I students enjoyed their delicious lunch of Bloodied Monster Fingers, Zombie Patties, and an awesome Goblin Sundae Bar! A HUGE thank you to all the Class I parents whose time and generosity made this event the best yet. 

November has arrived and brought with it much college talk, but also the promise of Thanksgiving and the holidays in sight. Please remember that the Class I yearbook ads were due November 1. If you have not submitted your ad, please contact Violet Richard 

Also note that the deadline for ordering your 2015-2015 yearbook is November 21. Contact Christine Hong at to chit your order or you can order online using this link school code:  40579.  Don't wait, order today!

Looking forward, our next Class I event is the Class I parent social on Friday, November 21, from 6:30-9:30 pm. It's always a fun night catching up with friends and we will have delicious heavy hors d'oeuvres and a roaring fire to enjoy in our beautiful Castle. Keep an eye out in the weekly messages for an rsvp link.   

Thank you for all your help with our Class I events.  We wish you and your families a warm and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

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Dedham, Massachusetts
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