With just two weeks until school resumes, here are recent stories we’ve posted this summer. For all the latest, make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we post daily pictures of the summer construction and faculty summer stipend trips.
Anyone who saw the School this spring will not recognize it this summer. For the big picture, this is what’s happening: the original school building, 52 East 62nd Street, stands completely gutted on the five floors between the Upper and Lower Gyms. We are in the final year of the five-stage physical transformation of Browning! Click here to read a midsummer update from Headmaster Clement, as well as a series of pictures taken by Jeremy Katz ’04, director of communications design, which show the progress of work to date.
The Summer Buzzer, which can be viewed online by clicking here, is chock full of features focused on the School’s first Biodiversity Day, the Form II trip to Washington, D.C., Faculty Symposium, Graduation and the PA Spring Benefit. Our cover story features James Chanos who retired from the Board of Trustees after 17 years of service, 15 as President.
Earlier this year, Headmaster Clement announced his decision to retire as Headmaster on June 30, 2016, his 28th year at Browning. The Board has established a search committee who recently sent out an update to the community on their efforts to recruit the sixth Head of Browning. Click here to read the letter.
Prior to the end of the school year, the fifth grade traveled to the Brooklyn Navy Yard workshop of Construction Kids to build Portuguese Caravel models. This two-day trip began the final stage of a three-phase project that concluded the class’s study of the Age of Exploration.
The month-long project began with a research phase focused on the technological advances that made the Caravel so important to the Age of Exploration. The boys began phase two by making hand-drawn designs individually. Then, working in groups, they created virtual caravels with the computer program, Minecraft. The final phase, physical construction, was begun at Construction Kids and completed during regularly scheduled art, technology, and history classes. Using a variety of tools and media (hand saws, sanders, plaster, hot glue guns, and acrylic paint to name a few) the boys brought their ships to life. Click here to view photos and watch a short video.
On Thursday, June 25, a mixer was held for young alumni from the Classes of 2000-2011 at Rooftop 760 in New York City. Twelve schools participated in this event: Browning, Brearley, Chapin, Collegiate, Dalton, Fieldston, Horace Mann, Nightingale-Bamford, Riverdale, Sacred Heart, Spence and Trinity. More than 700 guests attended. Special thanks to Collegiate for organizing. The Alumni Association wishes everyone a great summer! Please click here to view the photos.
During graduation exercises on June 10 at Christ Church, Form VI boys, parents and the entire Browning community gathered to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2015. Headmaster Clement, President of the Board of Trustees Jim Chanos and Upper School Head Jim Reynolds presented diplomas to each member of the graduating class. Mr. Clement remarked upon the accomplishments of every Form VI Browning boy during his years at the School. Basil Chalabi, Class of 2015 President, also offered parting remarks and best wishes to his fellow graduates. He was pleased to note that the senior class reached 100% participation in their class gift effort, raising a total of $2,274.05. These funds are allocated toward restoring the conference table in the Cook Room.
Guest speaker was 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee P’15, a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate. Ms. Gbowee offered inspirational and uplifting stories to the graduating class, imbued with wisdom, humor and a zest for life. She is founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, founder of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, and co-founder and former executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa.
Ms. Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a non-violent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003, is chronicled in her memoir, “Mighty Be Our Powers,” and in the documentary, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” produced by Abigail Disney. In addition, Ms. Gbowee is the Newsweek Daily Beast’s Africa columnist. She holds a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.) and a doctor of laws from Rhodes University in South Africa and University of Alberta in Canada. Ms. Gbowee was honored as a flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She is the mother of six children, including Arthur Mensah ’15.
Congratulations to the entire graduating class and their families! Click here to view photos and watch a video of Ms. Gbowee's speech.
As in prior years, Form VI boys proudly presented their senior projects to the faculty and Form V boys. The metropolitan community benefited from the varied nature of these projects, with the boys volunteering their time at Seamen’s Church Institute, New York Public Library, Future Leaders Institute, New York Common Pantry, Wild Bird Fund, S.N.A.C.K., American Museum of Natural History, NYC Parks GreenThumb Project, The Asia Society and Oliver Scholars, among numerous other organizations. Some seniors said they may have been the recipient of their chosen organization’s generosity in the past, so they worked there to “pay it back.” Form V boys were provided with plenty of advice on how to plan for their own projects next year. The seniors’ recommendations to the younger class were clear: start early to find an organization and choose one that is of interest to you. Of course, a reality check was also in order, as one boy noted that even if it turns out to not be what you expected, “Just do it!” Clearly, these projects prepared the boys for the real world! Click here to read more details and view photos.
Lower School Closing took place on June 5 at Christ Church, as is tradition. Head of Lower School Laurie Gruhn welcomed the community and congratulated the boys on their accomplishments during the past school year, while Head of Middle School Chris Dunham welcomed those boys headed into fifth grade to Middle School at Browning. The Margery Morse Award winner, as well as the Betty Jean Johnson Poetry Award winners, were recognized.
The fourth grade boys, in particular, showed their maturity by standing proudly at the podium, recounting their memories of Lower School and thanking those who contributed to their success, especially their teachers, parents and families.
The theme of this year’s closing was “Let’s Go on a Safari.” Musical selections included such songs as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Never Smile at a Crocodile” and “Talk to the Animals,” to name but a few. Under the direction of Lower School music teacher Lucy Warner, the boys were joined by the Lower School “Strings of Spring” Orchestra.
During the farewell section of the program, Headmaster Clement thanked Ms. Warner for her incredible work with the boys, including musical direction, accompaniment and choreography. Thanks also to Lower School music instructors Gemma Baehr, Lucie Gelinas, Marc Daine, Michael Serman ’06 and Jay Tilton. The colorful program cover art was accomplished by members of the third and fourth grades. Organist Steven Pilkington provided the processional and recessional.
Congratulations to the fourth grade boys for individually stating their memories of Lower School and offering thanks to teachers and family. Congratulations! Click here to view photos and read Ms. Gruhn's remarks.
On Dutch Day, June 2, the third grade boys presented a program to the Browning community describing what they learned about New Amsterdam and Colonial America. The boys acquired a great deal of knowledge in the course of their studies, as evidenced by the roles they played as individuals who lived in New Amsterdam. On Dutch Day, they discussed their characters with parents, faculty and staff, encouraging them to read the reports they wrote as well.
Head of Lower School Laurie Gruhn noted, “I had an opportunity to read a few of the boys' reports, and they were fantastic! The detailed writing was among the finest I had read in a very long time.”
When asked what they most enjoyed about this particular project, some boys replied that they loved dressing in costumes and wigs, others said conducting the research for their papers, and some noted it was a combination of both. Whatever the case, those who spoke with the boys could not help but be impressed! View photos.