Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

February 2011

Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter February 2011

Extreme Parenting? Or a Race to Nowhere? by Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School


Ben Snyder

When Sarah and I first became parents almost 22 years ago, I recall someone saying to us, “Well, there really isn’t a manual for parenting – so you just need to trust your instincts and go for it.” Today, a quick search for “parenting manual” on Amazon will lead you to more than 1,400 "parenting manuals." So what is a parent to do? One could spend every waking minute reading these manuals and ultimately never have time to actually be a parent.

In the past week two significant bits of parenting advice caught my attention. The first was an article in the Wall Street Journal that has been summarized in the popular press as advocating “extreme parenting”. The second was a film Sarah and I saw calledA Race to Nowhere (, which questions the efficacy of parenting that pushes kids from an early age to be top students, musicians and athletes at the expense of family, friends, play and creativity (and strongly advocates scaling back the time committed to becoming "the best"). These widely discussed points of view could not be more different, yet both will surely create a following of parents who feel that one or the other represents some sort of "answer" to their daily parenting dilemmas.

In working with parents (and working through the challenges of being a parent myself), I have seen these approaches implemented to varying degrees. I’ve seen parents who are more "laid back" who have children who are "driven" and want the structure and expectations of "extreme parenting." I’ve seen parents who are "extreme" in their parenting and are constantly battling with children who don’t meet those parental expectations. And it feels as if I’ve seen and felt every shade of gray in between.

“Should I push him harder?”

“Do I need to back off?”

“Am I more interested in X’s success in Y than she is herself?”

“I know it is brutally competitive out there. Am I cheating my child if I don’t do all I can to foster traditional forms of achievement?”

And the list goes on.

My bias in all of this revolves around the significant time I’ve spent with high school kids who feel they have been pushed too hard to be someone they are not. When there is significant dissonance between parental expectations and adolescent identity, there is always at least some emotional trauma that I have seen (in the worst cases) lead to permanently fractured families and long term personal identity issues.

There is no "answer" to these ongoing dilemmas we face as parents. My advice would be to try to figure out who your child is becoming – what makes her motor run? What challenges does he enjoy most? – in the context of understanding that we all grow up according to our own developmental arc (I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but when I was 15 I had no idea of what my career would be, let alone have any sense of urgency about working toward it in high school!). I’d also suggest that you keep the long view in mind both in terms of the kind of a relationship you want with your children in 10, 20, 30 years and the fact that over time their interests and maturity will evolve.

Beyond that, I think the advice we got 22 years ago was pretty spot on: don’t think there is a manual for parenting; trust your instincts and go for it. And if you want to hear more about the debate swirling around extreme parenting, click here.

From the Foster Gallery


"Running" by Laura McCarty
"Running" by Laura McCarty

During the month of February, “Prior Lives: Found Object Sculpture by Laura McCarty,” will be on exhibition in the Foster Gallery. 

Found objects form the foundations of McCarty’s vibrant constructions.  With a palette of wood, copper, printed tin and more, she works in textures and colors reminiscent of a traveling circus or a summer fleamarket.  In McCarty’s able hands, materials as mundane as license plates, old tin and antique trinkets become transformed as metal mimics fabric and hard edges become soft pleats.  McCarty’s sculptures take the forms of common symbols such as birds, airplanes and figures.  Our communal history and associations with these materials become a vocabulary with which McCarty explores ideas of identity, history and memory.

A resident of Walpole, Laura McCarty has exhibited her work in galleries and art centers throughout New England. In 2007 and 2008 she received awards from the Mystic Arts Center, Mystic, Conn., and the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. McCarty received a Bachelor's degree in Art from Framingham State University.

"Prior Lives: Found Object Sculpture by Laura McCarty" will be on display in the Foster Gallery, Feb. 2 – March 4.  We invite you to join us for an opening reception with the artist on Friday, Feb. 11, in the Foster Gallery from 4-6 p.m.  This event is open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.  For more information go to

Visit the Parents' Calendar for Event Details & Information

99% Perspiration by John Gifford, Head of the Middle School


John Gifford in classroom

"Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."
-Thomas Edison

Every December, I request and, because my wife is good to me, I receive two compilations of the year’s “Best American Science Writing." The essays are far ranging in their topics from cutting-edge genetics research (which I struggle to understand) to high-level physics (which I never understand). Nobles students think I’m a little… colorful when they hear me excitedly discuss a particularly interesting article. By way of example, there was a fascinating story about a company that was introducing spider DNA into goats in an effort to mass produce a milk/spiders' silk material. The milk/silk they were attempting to create would be stronger than steel and completely organic. The company folded before they could make it work, although they sold the science to another company that is still giving it a go.

This year, I had high expectations for an article entitled “The Truth about Grit” by Jonah Lehrer. The author explained how researchers were working to define “grit” and to explain why it was valuable. One anecdote from the essay that I found interesting: Researchers isolated a large group of fifth-grade students and gave them an aptitude test. At its conclusion they split the group in two and to one group they praised the students specifically for their hard work, i.e. “Congratulations, you really worked hard on this test”. With the other sample set, they praised the students for their intelligence, “Congratulations, you are clearly very smart.” They then gave the same group a test which was much harder, designed for eighth-grade students – not fifth graders. The sample set that was praised for their effort scored better than the sample set that was praised for their intelligence. The conclusion is easy to draw: If students feel good about the effort that they put in, they are more likely to continue to work hard. Young people who have been praised for their “grit” are less likely to give up quickly when the going gets tough. They realize that serious effort is both praiseworthy and a successful strategy. 

I believe that all students, with a little effort, can recite my “Big Three.” 1. Be Good to Each Other, 2. Be Honest and 3. Work Hard. We need, both at home and at school, to continue to find the moments to celebrate effort. I understand that because we give grades, for example, we could be taken to task for valuing results too much. (In my class, I tell my students to look at the grade as a way of charting their own performance. Some do, but all are interested in what the student next to them “got” when tests are handed back.) I am unapologetic, however, that we work both to value effort and provide the reality of grades to Nobles Middle Schoolers. The efforts that I have seen to minimize grades always fall short, with Middle Schoolers quickly designing their own methods of ranking.

I have discussed the "Grit" article with the members of the Core Faculty. We are looking for even more opportunities to ensure that we talk about the value of effort with our advisees and our classes. As always, however, we need to hit young people with these ideas from all sides: it is a great topic for parents and guardians to address as well. Adults often strive to “make things look easy.” Perhaps sharing a few stories with your children about when your own success was due to a supreme effort and not an innate talent could go a long way.

The Incessant Echo of What We Do and Say by Erika Guy, Dean of Students

In 1993 there was a very heated and public exchange between professional basketball players Karl Malone and Charles Barkley. Barkley’s assertion in a Nike ad that “I am not a role model” prompted Malone to write an essay forSports Illustrated insisting that role models do not get to choose to be role models. His message to Barkley was as follows:

“Charles, you can deny being a role model all you want, but I don't think it's your decision to make. We don't choose to be role models, we are chosen. Our only choice is whether to be a good role model or a bad one.”

Those of us in the educational world are all too familiar with the truth behind Malone’s words. We don’t get to choose. Our every word, action, inconsistency and ambivalence is noted and remembered by the adolescents whose lives we inhabit daily. Because this is our chosen profession, we are reminded regularly of our duty to keep this important responsibility at the forefront of our minds and our actions. As parents, you are equally if not as formally, charged with the very same responsibility. We share this awesome burden but do not often talk about it.

A while back I was reminded of the delicate nuance of the very actions/decisions that for better or worse, can define us. I was walking along the road on the way to the MAC on a crowded game day. A car slowed beside the individuals charged with parking duties. As the parkers directed the car onto McLeod Field, the individual in the car asserted that she was simply dropping off food at the MAC and was not parking. They waved her on. As I continued down the hill, I noted the very same car circling the rink parking lot seeking a space. Squeezing out a “less than legal” space, the driver hustled into the building just behind me. When I saw her I turned and asked: “Weren’t you the person who was just dropping things off?” She mumbled some answer. “Why did you lie?” I asked, to which she muttered that she was late. I then turned and said: “We work with kids and our behavior and our integrity are always under scrutiny.” Needless to say, she could not have gotten away from me fast enough.

I have no clue if she was a Nobles parent or not, but the lesson here is clear. Our actions are THE most important things we model for our children and our students. It is NOT about what we say, it is what we do that matters. When we cut corners, lie, or simply obfuscate the truth, we set the stage for them. We give them permission. The circumstances and/or the degrees of seriousness don’t really matter. The truth is that the integrity of our actions make a difference, for better or for worse. In this instance the fact that the person lied to gain an advantage was all that mattered. As Malone so clearly articulated: our only choice is whether to be a good role model or a bad one.

Adolescents are hyper sensitive about the ambiguities in our messages. What value do our messages of respect have when we mock others behind their back or disrespect others when they are out of earshot? What possible lessons might kids learn about honesty when their adult role models craft stories to gain advantage in even the most mundane of circumstances (i.e. parking!). What must our students/children think if we invent things in even these insignificant moments?

If it helps us all to be better people, let me remind you that the young are always watching us and that there is a hypnotic effect to the ease of charismatic power. You are indeed role models. Let us all help each other to use this power responsibly.

Thanks for reading,
Erika Guy

Join Us for a Parents' Outing


The PA has organized an outing for 10 a.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Garden in Lincoln. A private, guided snowshoe tour of the outdoor sculpture garden or a private guided tour of the indoor exhibits are the featured activities. Museum Director Dennis Kois is scheduled to meet the group and an optional lunch in the museum's cafe follows. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jill Dalby Ellison at

Become a Host Family for a Newly Admitted Nobles Family


The Admissions Office, in partnership with the Parents' Association, is looking for host families (current grades 7-11) for incoming Fall 2011 students and their families. The role of the host family is to provide a connection between new families and the larger Nobles community by creating an accessible and welcoming environment. 

Host Parents will be asked to attend either a welcome reception for new Upper School families (Monday evening, April 25) or attend the Middle School orientation dinner on May 10. Attendance will depend on which reception their new family will attend. After these gatherings, we ask host families to follow up with a few phone calls and/or e-mails during the summer and fall. There is no financial expense involved with this position – it requires only a small time commitment, energy and enthusiasm!

We encourage ALL families (grades 7-11) to consider volunteering and we look forward to hearing from you. If you enjoyed having a host family welcome you into the Nobles community last year, please consider becoming a host family this year. And if you have hosted before, please join us again. This program gives us all a chance to promote the welcoming and generous spirit that defines Nobles.

To volunteer, visit the password-protected Parents’ page of the Nobles website. Once you visit, look for the sign-in box at the top, right hand corner. Once you've reached the Parents' page, look for the blue box on the right-hand side of the page, select “Click Here for Volunteer Forms” and then click on the “2011 Volunteer Registration Form-Host Program for New Nobles Families.” This form takes only three minutes to fill out and will facilitate the matching process. We will match each host family with one or two new families based on a common interest, geographic locale, etc. We look forward to working with you in the coming year. 

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail Deborah Kenealy at

Deborah Kenealy and Rosita Fine, Co-Chairs, Host Program for New Nobles Families

From the NTC


Greetings from the Nobles Theatre Collective! We are very excited about the upcoming winter plays and hope to see you at one or more of the events.

• Four Student-Directed Plays: The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang;It’s Called Sugar Plum by Israel Horovitz; Within Reason by Ava Geyer '10; and The Edge by Craig Pospisil. Thursday, Feb. 3, and Friday, Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m., in Towles Auditorium. Core directors - Haley DeLuca, Jeffrey Fishman, Ava Geyer and Rosalind Watson (all Class I students) and a cast of 11 students. Performances will run about one hour and 30 minutes in total and include some mild mature language and scenarios.

• The Middle School Production: Alice in Wonderland - Thursday, Feb. 17, and Friday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m., in Towles Auditorium. Directed by KellyJean Mullan, Performing Arts Department faculty member. Cast and crew of 12 from Classes V and VI. Performances run for one hour and are recommended for all ages.

• The Winter Mainstage Production: Big Love By Charles L. Mee. Adapted by Jillian Grunnah – Wednesday, Feb. 23, and Thursday, Feb. 24, at 6:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 26, at 2 p.m. All performances are in Vinik Theatre. Directed by Jillian Grunnah, Performing Arts Department Faculty member and brought to life by a student/faculty team of 23 set designers, stage managers, technicians and performers. Performances will run one hour and 30 minutes and are recommended for new and experienced theatergoers of all ages. There is no charge for admission. Below is a synopsis of the play:

Brides flee their grooms and seek refuge in a villa on the coast of Italy. The grooms catch up with the brides and mayhem ensues. Based on Aeschylus' The Suppliant Women.

We look forward to seeing you at the shows.

Lisa Pisano,
Miguel Urena,
NTC parent reps

Empty Bowls


Nobles is hosting an Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Dedham Food Pantry on Feb. 26, from 1-4 p.m., in the Castle. As the focus of the Afternoon Ceramics Program this season, students have been hard at work making bowls and planning this event. In exchange for a suggested donation, guests will share a meal of soup and take home the empty handmade bowl they have picked out as a reminder that others go hungry. All of the proceeds will go to the Dedham food pantry, which helps feed 200 families in the area.

Host Families Needed for Japanese Visiting Students


2010 SIT students with Emma Davis ’11 (L) and Maggie Stimpson ’15.
2010 SIT students with Emma Davis ’11 (L) and Maggie Stimpson ’15.

Host families are needed for Japanese visiting students, from March 21 through May 8, 2011.  

Our sister school in Japan will send three students to Nobles for seven weeks this spring. They will attend classes and participate in after-school activities, but the best part of their visit has always been their homestay experience. Would your family host one student and have a cultural exchange at home? They are well-mannered, interesting and outgoing young Japanese students, and they speak English pretty well. 

Ideally, it will be great if each student can stay with one family for two weeks: March 25-April 8; April 8-22; April 22-May 6. One-week hosting is also appreciated. If interested, click here to download and print the host family signup form and send it to Tomoko Grahamat by Feb 4. 

Tomoko Graham
Japanese program

2011-2012 Nobles Parents' Association Board Positions


The Nominating Committee for the Parents’ Association will soon begin to identify officers and committee chairs for next year’s board. Please give some thought as to how you might like to serve on the Parents’ Association during the 2011–2012 academic year. In addition to yourself, please submit the names of other parents whom you might recommend to serve on the Parents’ Association Board. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved with your child's school!  Please reply by Feb. 10.

Click HERE to submit the 2011–2012 PA Nomination Form.

From the PA Co-Chairs


Melanie Mace (left) and Fiona Roman
Melanie Mace (left) and Fiona Roman

For us, much of the joy of being involved at Nobles results from the opportunity to collaborate with students, faculty and staff to serve Nobles and the broader community.

As we enter this last, full month of winter, we would like to thank all those who have assisted with and attended school events. We would especially like to thank all those who came out in support of the athletes at the Nobles/Cotting School basketball game on Jan. 7. It was a great evening of friendship and sportsmanship. The success of the jointly sponsored food sale at the event will allow the Student Community Service Board and the PA to make a $650 donation to Cotting’s sister school in Haiti, Wings of Hope.

Please join us for the next two exciting PA events.

A Winter Tour at DeCordova: Feb. 15, 2011
On Tuesday, Feb. 15, the PA will sponsor a trip to the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln. Whether you enjoy the outdoors on these bright, crisp winter days, or prefer to appreciate their beauty from a vantage point indoors, this trip is for you! Choose whether you would like to take a guided snowshoe tour through DeCordova’s famed sculpture park or view the Museum’s indoor collection. We will be welcomed by DeCordova’s Director, Dennis Kois, and led by his knowledgeable staff. Either way, you may elect to stay for lunch in the Museum Café. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jill Ellison

A Nobles History Lesson: Feb. 16, 2011
Attend the next PA meeting and celebrate our shared history. School Historian Joyce Eldridge and Archivist Isa Schaff will present their work compiling the history of Nobles on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 8-9:30 a.m. in the Castle Library. In preparation for the school's sesquicentennial in 2016, Joyce is currently writing about the past 50 years at Nobles. This volume will be the sequel to the book written by Richard Flood, entitled The Story of Noble and Greenough School, which describes Nobles' first century (1866-1966). As School Archivist, Isa is engaged in cataloguing a fascinating array of artifacts which bring Nobles' history to life. Come and hear Joyce's stories, view Isa's favorite finds and enjoy a tour of Nobles' living historical artifact, the iconic Castle.

Parents of recent graduates have been invited to join us for both of these events, so come and reconnect with old friends.

Lastly, it’s time to start thinking about next year. The Nominating Committee for the Parents’ Association will soon begin to identify officers and committee chairs for next year’s board. Please give some thought to how you would like to serve in 2011-'12. In addition to indicating your preference, please submit the names of other parents whom you would recommend to serve on the PA Board. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in your child’s school.Click here to submit the 2011-'12 PA Nomination Form.

Spring is coming! Enjoy these beautiful winter days while they last.

Fiona Roman ( and Melanie Mace (
Parents’ Association Co-Chairs

February 2011: Class III Notes


From left: Valerie Kolligian Thayer and Kris Ganong
From left: Valerie Kolligian Thayer and Kris Ganong

February is another busy month at Nobles!

We would like to invite you to a Parent Coffee on Feb. 3, at 8 a.m., in the Castle. This gathering will provide an opportunity to connect with parents of your children’s friends and classmates in a casual setting. We hope you can join us!

By now your student should have received an email from Tara Cocozza with an invitation to the Class III Head of School Dinner and Dance to be held on Saturday, March 5, from 6:30-10:30 p.m., in the Castle. A copy of the invitation was also sent to parents. This is a festive event, and mandatory for all Class III students; however, students must still RSVP to Lauren Bergeron by using the link in Tara’s email. Please encourage your son or daughter to RSVP as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 18. In addition, please be aware that your account will be chitted $20 per student for the event. If your child has not received an invitation, please let us know.

Thank you to all of the parents who have volunteered to help out with the dinner dance. We still need volunteers to help with set up on Saturday, March 5, starting at 10 a.m. Please email Valerie at if you can help us hang lights, set tables and transform the Castle. We would be extremely grateful!

Finally, please note that our spring parent gathering will now be held on Saturday, April 30. Time and location will be announced shortly.

Other Nobles dates to keep in mind:

Thursday, Feb. 3, and Friday, Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. - Student Directed plays in Towles Auditorium

Monday, Feb. 21 – Presidents’ Day, School Closed

Tuesday, Feb. 22 – Faculty Retreat, School Closed

Winter Mainstage Play in Vinik Theater:
Wednesday, Feb. 23, and Thursday, Feb. 24, at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26 - Nobles/Milton Games

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Kris Ganong - 
Valerie Kolligian Thayer -

February 2011: Class IV Notes


From left: Betsy Allen, Kathy Fitzgerald and Suzie Montgomery
From left: Betsy Allen, Kathy Fitzgerald and Suzie Montgomery

Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians,

It was wonderful to see so many of you at both the January PA meeting and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. On Jan. 17, many Class IV families participated in service projects at various sites. Nobles students, parents, siblings and faculty members helped to make a difference for people in need.

We are in the midst of a very snowy New England winter. In fact Nobles students have not experienced a five-day week since early December! We want to remind you to check the Nobles website frequently when the weather is questionable. Even when students have school, afternoon/evening programs will be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather.

Noteworthy February days for parents and students include:

• Tuesday, Feb. 8-Thursday, Feb, 10 - Spring Musical Auditions

• Monday, Feb. 21- NO SCHOOL - President's Day

• Tuesday, Feb. 22 - NO CLASSES - Faculty Retreat

• Wednesday, Feb. 23-Saturday, Feb. 26 - Winter Mainstage Play

• Friday, Feb. 26-Saturday, Feb. 26 - Nobles/Milton Games

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Betsy M. Allen – mother of Jason -  
Kathy Fitzgerald – mother of Audra & Julia -   
Suzie Montgomery – mother of Max -

February 2011: Class I Notes


From L: Yvette Shakespeare, Amy McLaughlin-Hatch, Lori Giandomenico
From L: Yvette Shakespeare, Amy McLaughlin-Hatch, Lori Giandomenico

Parents, we hope you are able to attend our final Parent Coffee on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at Panera Bread in Dedham.  If not, there are several occasions when we can get together over the next few months as our students enter their senior spring at Nobles. Be sure to do your best to attend.

The next class event for students is Friday, Feb.11, when we will be hosting the “Just Desserts” event at the Castle for our Class I students. This is a dessert extravaganza served after lunch. Gail Radley has graciously offered to chair this event and if you would like to make a contribution or volunteer, please email Gail at
The second and final Class I Surprise Lunch will be held on Friday, March 4.  Shyla Shrinath and Sadhana Downs have graciously offer to co-chair this wonderful event and more details to volunteer and contribute will be forthcoming.  Do not forget to read the Friday email updates. If you are interested, please let us know.  

We still need parents to step forward and chair the ever popular "The Way We Were" on Tuesday, May 31. If you have any interest, please contact us. 
Lastly, be sure to mark your calendars for our final parent event of the year, the Class I Parent Dinner on April 1.  If you have an interest in hosting this event, please let us know.  We welcome your suggestions.

Again we appreciate all the time and contributions the Nobles parents make to allow our seniors to have a memorable last year at Nobles. All of you make our jobs as Class I Parent Reps so enjoyable and easy!   Thanks again for all you do!
Yvette Shakespeare -
Amy McLaughlin-Hatch - 
Lori Giandomenico -

February 2011: Class II Notes


From left: Lisa Soule and Lynn Gilbert
From left: Lisa Soule and Lynn Gilbert

For those of you who may looking at different opportunities for your children this summer, “Where There Be Dragons” will be at school on Tuesday, Feb. 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Gleason Hall to talk with the students. You may visit the program’s website at:

On Saturday, Feb. 5, Nobles will sponsor a “College Counseling School for Class II Parents and Guardians” from 9 a.m. until noon in the Baker Building. Contact Director of College Counseling Michael Denning at if you have any questions about this event. All of our students have begun meeting with their college counselors. Feel free to call the College Counseling Office with any questions you may have.

ACT tests will be given (off campus) on Saturday, Feb. 12. Check with the College Counseling Office if you have any questions.

The next Parents’ Association meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 16, in the Castle from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

There will be NO SCHOOL on Monday, Feb. 21, and Tuesday, Feb. 22, in honor of Presidents’ Day. These may be good days for college visits!

If you have an interest in hosting the Class II parent dinner this Spring, please contact Lynn Gilbert ( and Lisa Soule (

We are in the process of planning the Surprise Lunch for the Class II students in March and would love to have as many people get involved as are interested. We will let you know when the first planning meeting will take place, but in the meantime you may contact Lynda MacDonald ( and Jane Rigoli (, who have kindly offered to head up this activity .

Lastly, come support your athletes on Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, for the Nobles/Milton games.

Your Class II Parent Representatives,
Lynn Gilbert - 
Lisa Soule -

February 2011: Middle School Notes


From left, Heather Zink, Anu Gulati, Heather Woodworth & Carol Taiclet
From left, Heather Zink, Anu Gulati, Heather Woodworth & Carol Taiclet


With the winter well upon us, this is the time to come out and support our budding thespians in the both the Middle and Upper School plays. Also, we have several opportunities to connect with other parents this month. We hope you can make it to some of these events.

  • Thursday, Feb. 3, and Friday, Feb. 4: 6.30-8.30 p.m. Class I students Haley DeLuca, Jeffrey Fishman, Ava Geyer and Rosalind Watson will be directing the student plays. The plays being performed are: The Actor's Nightmare by Christopher Durang, It’s Called The Sugar Plum by Israel Horovitz, Within Reason by Ava Geyer '11 and The Edge by Craig Pospisil.
  • Friday, Feb. 4: 5:30-7:30 p.m.The Middle School will have a Coffeehouse in Morrison Forum. Pizza and hot chocolate will be served.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 8: Middle School Parent Coffee, 8-9:30 a.m., in the Castle Library.
  • Thursday, Feb. 10: Parent Book Club 8-10 a.m., to discuss Abigail Adams by Woody Holton.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 15: 9 a.m.-noon, Meet other parents at the DeCordova
    Museum in Lincoln, enjoy a private welcome from DeCordova Museum
    Director Dennis Kois and then take a guided snowshoe tour of the renowned
    sculpture garden or remain inside and take a guided tour of the museum's
    collections. For details, contact Jill Ellison at 508-358-7671
  • Wednesday, Feb. 16: 8-9:30 a.m., Parents' Association Meeting in the Castle Library
  • Thursday, Feb. 17, and Friday, Feb. 18: 6:30 p.m. Join the Middle School in its production ofAlice in Wonderland, directed by Kelly Jean Mullan, Performing Arts faculty member.
  • Monday, Feb. 21, and Tuesday, Feb. 22: School closed for Presidents' Day and Faculty Retreat.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 26:  Winter Mainstage Play at the Vinik Theatre. The Nobles Theatre Collective presents its winter mainstage production Big Love, by Charles L. Mee, adaptation and direction by Jillian Grunnah, Performing Arts faculty member. Based on Aeschylus'The Suppliant Women. Curtain times are: Wednesday, Feb. 23 and Thursday, Feb. 24 at 6.30 p.m; Friday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m
  • Friday, Feb. 25: Nobles/Milton Games. For details visit the athletic calendar at
  • Monday, Feb. 28: 6:45-8 p.m. Morrison Forum. Class V Parent Meeting with Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School and Thomas Forteith, Middle School English teacher. Course selections for 2011-'12 and the 2011 Class V Washington, D.C. trip will be discussed.

Class V Reps
Anu Gulati (
Heather Zink (

Class VI Reps
Carol Taiclet (
Heather Woodworth (

Class I Co-Dean's Report by Meghan Cleary Hamilton and Nahyon Lee


Class I CoDeans

Dear Class I Parents:

Happy (belated) New Year! Vacation seems like a distant memory as second semester classes and Afternoon Programs are well underway here on campus. From our perspective, the senior class seems to be in good spirits. With first semester grades closed and most college applications submitted, the stress level in Gleason Hall has waned. We thought it would be a good idea to use this newsletter submission as an opportunity to highlight a few upcoming events for Class I students and parents during the final semester at Nobles. 

As you know, Class I students have a wonderful opportunity in the fourth quarter to dive into an area of interest that falls outside the realm of the traditional Nobles curriculum. This year, about 80 students have applied for Senior Projects. During the month of February, the Senior Projects Committee (made up of six faculty members) will be evaluating the students’ preliminary proposals; students will hear by the end of February if their proposals have passed. If their preliminary proposals have been accepted by the Committee, students need to do the following: 1) submit the final proposal form (found online) with the necessary adjustments and signatures – this will be their official proposal 2) submit a supervisor form (found online) if they are doing an internship off campus 3) inform the teachers of the classes they’ll drop before March break (we also suggest thanking those teachers at that time) and 4) enjoy their project. 

The Senior Projects can be a wonderful part of the Nobles experience. However, not all students choose to take part in it, and by no means do we wish to underrate those decisions. We are pleased that there are so many students who wish to take full advantage of their classroom experience and the Nobles faculty. Whether your student has decided to do a Senior Project or not, we hope that you will all take part of Senior Projects Night on Tuesday, May 31

In addition, on Tuesday, April 26, at 7 p.m., we will host a Class I Parent/Guardian Evening on "Transitions." Our guest will be Dr. Richard Kadison, Chief of Mental Health Services at Harvard University Health Services. He will speak to parents and guardians on the transition students and their families will be making over the next six months as they move on from Nobles and into their new communities. He will focus on helping students and parents prepare for the transition to college, discuss key things to do to help "stay healthy on campus" and provide warning signs and data about the common problems that students face. He is the author of the book College of the Overwhelmed, if you are interested in reading the book before his visit. While we certainly have relevant topics in mind, if there is anything specific you would like to be covered during this event, please contact Meghan Hamilton ( with your ideas. We welcome your input. 

With all this snow, cold weather, and little sunlight, students are bound to be grumpy at times. However, we hope that Class I students will take advantage of everything around them and not let the winter blues get in the way of enjoying their last semester at Nobles. Whether it is stepping up in Assembly and singing for their first time, telling a funny story with a memorable lesson to the underclassmen, leading their clubs in new and fun activities, or building relationships with classmates in a different circle of friends, we encourage your son/daughter not to wait until the final weeks to take those steps. May and graduation will be here before they know it, so we want to help them live their final semester to the fullest and leave behind a class legacy and an individual legacy of which they can be proud. 

If you have any questions about events or activities in the upcoming months, please do not hesitate to contact us. 2011 will be a memorable year for you and your kids.

Meghan Cleary Hamilton and Nahyon Lee

Class III Dean's Report by Tara Cocozza


Tara Cocozza
Tara Cocozza

As I sit here writing this e-newsletter submission, we are facing yet another snowstorm and the possibility of a surprise long weekend due to a snow day! We haven’t had a winter like this one in a few years, but despite the messy commutes, huge snow banks, and cold days, everyone seems to be in a surprisingly cheery mood for January. Why? There is something about the potential for a snow day that raises everyone’s spirits. The thought of having a surprise day off to do whatever one pleases is a mini-luxury. In the halls and in my classes, I’ve never seen the students as interested in the weather as they have been since we returned from break; it’s as if they all discovered a new interest in meteorology, staying as up-to-date as possible on storm tracks and snow potential and reporting gleefully when something is afoot.

Where am I headed with this, you may ask? This period of time between January and March vacation can be a long stretch for students. They will find that their courses cover a significant amount of material in these next few months, and undoubtedly, the concentrated nature and intensity of this time period will have an effect on them. It’s the little things that make a big difference, and looking forward to special events, such as that potential snow day, makes this stretch far more tolerable. In addition to the many athletic contests, musical performances and plays that occur between now and March, Nobles also tries to sponsor a few other events, such as the MLK Day of Service (Jan. 17) and the MSA Dance (Jan. 29), to bring the community together. Class III, in particular, has a special event approaching on Saturday, March 5. As is the tradition for Class III each year, Bob Henderson will host the Class III Head of School Dinner and Dance in the Castle on March 5, from 6:30-10:30 p.m.

The Head of School Dinner and Dance is a mandatory event for all Class III students, as it marks the midway point of their Upper School career at Nobles. Since this is a special occasion, there is a dress code for the evening: boys should attend in a jacket, tie and nice pants, and girls should attend in a dress or in a skirt and nice top. For boarding students, the dorm will be open that evening and boarders are invited to stay if they want to do so. Invitations will be sent to the students via email on Feb. 1, and all students need to respond by Feb. 18. Please encourage your child to respond before the deadline. I would like to thank all of the parents who are working very hard to make this event memorable, and if you are not involved but would like to be, please contact Valerie Thayer or Kris Ganong.

On a separate and unrelated note, now is the time for Class III students to decide if they would like to study away from Nobles next year. As I hope your children have shared with you, Class III students have had many visitors during their class meetings and have learned about a wide variety of opportunities to study away from Nobles during their junior year. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to: SYA (Student Year Abroad); the Mountain School in Vermont; the Island School in the Bahamas; High Mountain Institute in Colorado; the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C.; Chewonki in Maine; and CITYTerm in New York City. If your child is interested in studying away from Nobles next year, he/she should communicate that interest to me and to his/her advisor within the next month.

Stay warm and safe during these winter months. I, like the students, am off to check the weather updates and to watch the school cancellations on TV, with the secret hope of seeing Noble and Greenough flash across the screen.

Tara Cocozza

From Community Service


“With open hearts and open hands, we gave what we could, and a little became a lot. 
-From Give A Little by Wendy Smith

Our student groups continue their efforts that prove to us that small things add up and truly make a difference. Here is how you can help.

The Human Rights Club is collecting items to help female burn victims in Afghanistan. The Herat Supply Drive begins on Jan. 27, and will run throughFeb. 11. They are collecting women’s clothing, gauze and sterile bandages, Advil, Aleve, and paper tape. Contact faculty advisors Erin Twohig and Jamileh Jemison for more information.

The Romania Trip is having a baby shower! They are hoping to fill their suitcases with items for abandoned infants and foster children who they will be visiting in March. Donations will be accepted Feb. 14 –March 4. They mare looking for Infant/Children’s Tylenol, Surgical gloves, 3M Surgical Tape, Similac Powder Baby Formula, Desitin diaper crème, baby shampoo, Dove soap, baby lotion, powder, and wipes. They are also in need of new or gently used baby clothes (onesies, sizes 6-12 months), hats and mittens (infant to 12 years) and children’s sneakers (all sizes). Once you've donated, be sure to enter your child's name into the raffle box (located next to the crib) for a chance to win one of two prizes: a pair of tickets to see DISPATCH in concert OR a suite of gifts cards to shops and restaurants in Dedham ($100 value). Please contact trip leader Lauren Bergeron for more information.

Many thanks to our MLK blanket makers. Our first delivery to Pine Street Inn has been made. The blankets will be distributed by their outreach van to Boston-area homeless men and women.

Thank you for your support and to all in the Nobles Community who continue to “make ripples” and improve the lifes of others.

-Linda Hurley and Louis Barassi

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