On August 29, at the annual faculty and staff opening meeting, Head of School Dr. Catherine Hall presented Milena Musto, assistant to the dean of admission and director of admission, with the 2022 Cora Hidalgo Holland award.
The annual Cora Hidalgo Holland Award commemorates the kindness and warmth of the Nobles parent for whom it is named, and to express the deep gratitude of the Nobles community to a member of the school staff whose work has been excellent, whose dedication has been exceptional, and whose character has made this a better place in which to live and work for all of us.
Hall read the following tribute, highlighting Musto’s kindness, consummate professionalism and collegiality. Hall’s remarks follow:
I am honored to present this year’s Cora Hidalgo Holland Award to Milena Musto.
Since 1998, Milena has been a cornerstone of our Nobles community and an anchor of the admission office. She is as skilled in her work as she is kind a colleague.
Milena’s skills and talents are endless. She works exceedingly hard to ensure her work is done and done well, but she is also that colleague who will routinely offer to help ensure others’ work is done well too! Milena has extraordinary abilities in so many areas, it is no surprise she is asked to help across myriad parts of the school, knowing she will not only come through but will knock it out of the park.
Milena is also known for her tremendous kindness and collegiality. If you want to have a better day, bump into Milena for even two minutes. Her empathy, warmth, and humor make her someone others naturally seek out, knowing how genuinely eager she is to help, offer a word of support, or make you smile. I count myself among the many Milena fans, and know that any conversation I have with her will make the rest of my day that much better!
Milena is also someone who solves problems, big and small, all without a wrinkle and always with her warm smile. I regularly hear stories about the messy and complex problems she tackles, and the way she still leaves those who asked for her help feeling better for asking!
I turn to some of Milena’s closest colleagues to sing more of her praises:
Brooke Asnis, dean of admission, reflects: “For people who interact with our Admission Office, Milena is often the face of Nobles, answering their questions on the phone and welcoming them in person with her incredible warmth of personality. Dedicated, reliable and positive, she is always looking for ways to help, playing a critical role in all of our projects and events and sharing her ideas to improve our work. Milena is a thoughtful problem-solver; her proverbial wheels are always turning. As an example, when we first learned of the Orange Line shutdown, Milena immediately thought of our students who rely on the T to get to school and offered her thoughts for ways we might help to support them. She is a consummate, steady professional, and as a person, she is self-effacing, humble and cheerful. We are all honored to work with her and grateful for her dedication to Nobles and loyal friendship.”
Cat Kershaw, director of admission, adds: “Milena is an even better friend than she is a colleague, and that’s saying a lot because I can’t think of anyone who is more efficient and productive in the execution of her work – it’s truly impressive. The consummate team player, Milena is always willing to take on more tasks and work with others to bring new ideas to life. Her significant value to the admission office is well-documented and undeniable. But above all else, it’s her warmth, kindness and constant cheerfulness that really make all of us so incredibly lucky to work with Milena.”
And lastly, Michael Denning, head of the upper school adds: “It has been my privilege and good fortune to work with Milena for so many years. When you talk with Milena, her kind and caring demeanor makes you think that your concern or challenge is all that matters to her–that is such a gift! A tremendous problem solver who sees the importance of both the big picture and the smallest of details, Milena is also one of those people who when you ask her to help with something, you are able to stop worrying about it because you know it will be done right and well. In that sense, Milena is the embodiment of Ben Franklin’s aphorism, ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person (to do it).’ I will never be able to adequately thank Milena for all the support she has offered to me and so many others I have sent her way. She is a too-unsung hero, and I am so pleased to be able to help as we honor her for her amazing contributions to our community.”
Milena Musto lives our mission each and every day at Nobles, and we are a much better school community for her presence over the last 2+ decades. I am honored to work with her and proud to count her as a colleague.