Browning boys and faculty members participated in Community Day on December 18. Assistant Head of School, Laurie Gruhn explained, “Today, a new tradition was started at Browning! Building on the intraschool morning prior to Thanksgiving Break, boys and faculty members now have a full Community Day. It was a day to celebrate community, both in our school and beyond our walls. Starting with recognizing where we all come from, to coming together as a community, and then reaching out as a community, it was aptly called Community Day!”
Event coordinator and science teacher Dr. Betty Noel elaborated on the details, explaining that the first activity involved the boys adding a pin to a shared Google Map indicating where their family is from. Then during second period, the boys played traditional intraschool games, including board games, Pictionary, charades, etc. A scavenger hunt took place during third period (the iPad app, Klikaklu, was used by the boys who had to identify and photograph Browning items based on riddles), followed by a community lunch in the Cafeteria and Lower Gym. After lunch, the boys separated by division. The Lower and Middle School boys returned to their homerooms, while the Upper School boys helped set up for an assembly in the Lower Gym. The Lower School boys also made sandwiches for the local New York Common Pantry.
Videos were shown at all division levels. Lower School boys watched “Flyaway Home,” Middle School boys enjoyed “Time for School,” “and Upper School boys saw “Fruitvale Station,” a powerful and emotional film discussed by two special guest speakers.
“A lot of planning went into creating this day,” noted Dr. Noel. “Special thanks to our division heads Laurie Gruhn, Chris Dunham and Jim Reynolds.” Ms. Gruhn added, “As a community, we are incredibly grateful to the Diversity Committee (faculty members Giurissa Grace, Janet Lien, Sarah Murphy, Megan Ryan and Brett Wisniewski), as well as faculty members Rachel Gerber, Susan Kehoe, Susan Levine and Dan Ragsdale.”
Ms. Gruhn added, “We also recognize the enormous efforts of Melinda Aponte and her Cater to You crew, Ken Marshall and the maintenance staff, as well as the entire technology department who made the map and scavenger hunt possible. Most of all, applause goes to Ms. Noel, the overall event coordinator of this day, who oversaw every detail and logistic, from groups, to rooms, to the hunt, to the map, etc. It was simply fantastic, a special day, indeed. Well done, one and all!” View photos.
Second grade Browning boys were “transported” to the year 1917 on December 17 when they visited the New York Transit Museum housed in an historic 1936 IND subway station in downtown Brooklyn. Accompanied by their teachers Rachel Gerber and Jackie Pellenberg, associate teacher Hallie Fischberg, and parent chaperones, they traveled on a school bus to this fascinating museum, the largest in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history. Click Here to view photos and read Director of Publications Melanie McMahon's report on their trip.
On December 3, four Upper School boys, along with Multicultural Club advisor Glenn Walker, attended the People of Color Conference (PoCC)/Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) held this year in Indianapolis, Ind. The theme of the conference this year was "Pit Stops and Victory Laps - Going the Distance, Driving Change, Leading the Race toward Equity and Excellence."
SDLC is an inclusive, multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders from around the country who focus on self-reflection, allyship and community building. The mission of PoCC is to equip educators at every level with knowledge, skills and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.
This year's noted speakers were Michael Eric Dyson, public intellectual and best-selling author; Maysoon Zayid, comedian, actress and activist; Derald Wing Sue, psychologist and multicultural scholar; Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of Oliver Brown, the Brown v. Board of Education originator and civil rights activist; Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker and undocumented immigrant; and Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "Enrique's Journey." View photos.
On November 22, The Browning School's debate team attended the Horace Mann Invitational Debate Tournament. The Browning boys won in debates against the Riverdale Country School, Bronx Science High School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Benjamin Banneker Academy and Sunset Park High School, at one point receiving a near perfect score. Participants had an excellent time and held their ground against seasoned opponents. A total of 117 teams and 19 different schools competed. One Browning partnership of two Form IV boys placed in the top 16 in terms of number of wins, winning three of five rounds. A Form VI Browning boy served as an excellent judge and advisor to the team and should also be congratulated. View photo.
The Browning School’s 27th Annual Thanksgiving Assembly took place on November 25 at Christ Church. Members of the Drumming Circle performed "Improvisations from the New World" while attendees took their seats, followed by a warm welcome from Headmaster Clement. Mr. Clement noted that this is his 27th Thanksgiving assembly but the first Browning assembly the Pre-Primary boys have attended. He also mentioned that later in the program, the alumni in attendance would come forward. He referred to these youngest and oldest groups as the “alpha” and “omega” and remarked on how pleased he was that they, along with the rest of the boys in between, could be present for one of his favorite events of the school year.
Robert Frost’s "After Apple-Picking" was read by a Form IV boy, and the president of the Upper School Student Council offered Thanksgiving remarks. (Read Here.) He thanked the community for thinking of others at this time of year, particularly those who contributed to the success of the recent Thanksgiving Food Drive by the Middle School Student Council. The president of that council then took to the podium, noting that the food drive collected over 400 pounds of food to benefit the New York (formerly Yorkville) Common Pantry. He was pleased to add that this effort helps provide Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of local families in need. (Read Here.)
Music is an integral part of this gathering, and as is tradition, the Browning community sang "We Gather Together" in unison, led by an ensemble of faculty singers. Performances were presented by the Ovation Orchestra (J.S. Bach’s "An Wasserflüssen Babylon/By the Waters of Babylon"), the Grade Four Browning Balladeers (Lower School Music Specialist Lucy Warner’s "Give Thanks/Make New Friends") and Form II Handchimes ("An American Medley").
Director of College Guidance Sanford M. Pelz ’71 and the Class of 2015 welcomed returning alumni, always a favorite part of this annual program. The alumni introduced themselves and indicated the college they are currently attending. Finally, no Thanksgiving Assembly is ever complete without a special appearance by the Browning Panther mascot; this year he was dressed as a turkey and carried an assortment of tools as a nod to the ongoing construction at the School. Headmaster Clement read a poem, with the Panther by his side, about the many accomplishments of the Browning boys so far this year including publication of the fall edition of the Grytte student newspaper handed out that very day. Lastly the community sang "The Browning Song" with gusto, perhaps in anticipation of their well-deserved Thanksgiving recess. Well done, one and all! View photos.
On Tuesday, November 25, Browning hosted the annual Young Alumni Reunion, a Thanksgiving tradition. Young alumni from the Classes of 2010 through 2014 returned to attend the 27th Annual Thanksgiving Assembly held at Christ Church, where they were brought on stage and recognized by Headmaster Clement and Director of College Guidance Mr. Pelz '71. Each alum introduced himself and told the audience which college or university he went on to attend after Browning. Following the assembly, a reception for the young alumni, faculty and Form VI students was held in the cafeteria, compliments of Chef Aponte and her team. Please click here to view the photos. The Alumni Association is grateful to all who helped make this event possible, and hopes the entire Browning community had a great Thanksgiving holiday!
On Friday, November 21, Forms II to VI and several guests enjoyed a visit with and presentation by William Lobkowicz, a descendant of one of the oldest aristocratic families in the Czech Republic. He also happens to be the uncle of two Browning students. Mr. Lobkowicz has spent the past 25 years working to recover his family's properties (land, castles, art, furniture, artillery and original music manuscripts, including Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which was dedicated to an ancestor) first confiscated by the Nazis in World War II and then nationalized by the Communists after the war. He talked about his success in regaining and restoring the lost properties for the benefit of his country's cultural heritage. Through Mr. Lobkowicz's efforts, the Czech Republic has for the first time since the late 1930s great tangible and accessible artifacts from its own long, rich cultural history. View photos.