School News

School News
"A Bright Room Called Day" Premieres Tonight

Tickets are now on sale for the Browning-Brearley fall play, "A Bright Room Called Day." The drama will be presented tonight through October 25 at The Brearley School beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets can be reserved by emailing

"A Bright Room Called Day," one of Tony Kushner's first plays, is the story of Agnes and a group of artists living in pre-World War II Berlin just as the Nazis are coming into political power. Director Michael Baldwin notes, "As is Kushner's style, the play is fiercely political and imaginative, at times surreal, very human and relatable. The young men from Browning have been wonderful and are turning in stellar performances." Mr. Kushner also wrote "Angels in America" and "Lincoln." View photos.

Latin Class Visits Greek-Roman Galleries at Met

Form I boys journeyed to the Metropolitan Museum's Greek and Roman galleries for the first time as Latin students with Classics Department Chair John Young who reports as follows: Armed with sketchbooks and pencils, the boys learned about and sketched architectural artifacts to reinforce their lessons about Roman monuments. The highlighted pieces were the Ionic column from Sardis, the frescoes from Boscoreale, and the mosaic floor from near Antioch. The trip was made possible by our chaperones Ms. Witt, Ms. Chernoff-White, Ms. Obeid and Mr. Katz, who documented our trip in photos. Click here to view photos.

Central Park Serves as Resource for Study of Science

Fourth grade Browning boys, along with science teacher Emilie Wolf, took a field trip to Central Park recently to collect water samples from the pond. Ms. Wolf explained, "The boys will continue their experiment back in the lab, where they will use compound microscopes to determine the nature of the invisible organisms that live in pond water."

Science teacher Julia Kingsdale also took the Pre-Primary boys to Central Park. As she explained, the purpose of their trip was "to collect information 'in the field' for their study of trees. She added, "We gathered leaf and bark rubbings and estimated the age of a tree by measuring its circumference." View photos.

Form III Boys Travel to Pine Forest Camp

On Thursday morning, October 9, Form III boys pulled away on a coach bus from the curb of East 62nd St. on their way to Greeley, Pa., for the annual two-day Form III Pine Forest trip. Leading the boys were Head of Upper School James Reynolds, Classics Department Chair John Young and Michael Cohn, Browning's newest PE department member. Two hours later, the group arrived at the Pine Forest Camp for a day of canoeing and high-rope, zip-line and rock-wall experiences led by a team of outdoors facilitators from the Mountain Workshop.

Mr. Reynolds reports: The first day, activities focused on team building and personal challenges, and the boys had a great time on the lake and climbing elements. Evening events included a hilarious Win in in a Minute-style competition in which the boys were divided into teams and given challenges to complete in 60 seconds, which might help explain the photograph of students with Oreos on their foreheads! The boys had to get the cookies from there to their mouths without using their hands. The evening ended with a bonfire and S'mores.

Day two was dedicated to rafting down the Delaware River. The boys, most in wet suits, broke into groups of four to five and paddled six miles down the river. The weather was beautiful, and the surrounding riverbank cliffs of New York to the east and Pennsylvania to the west were spectacular. A highlight of the trip was the opportunity to see a bald eagle perched on a tree limb overhanging the river before it launched itself into full flight. The group returned to Browning in the late afternoon on Friday and headed off to the long weekend. The trip was a great success for all! View photos.

Here’s to Health at Browning!

The morning of October 9 was geared to ensuring Lower School boys are both healthy and wise. Two separate assemblies featured School Nurse Maureen Linehan and Kathryn Trentacosti, the nutritionist from Cater to You, Browning's food service provider.

Browning boys learned how to prevent germs from spreading during the upcoming cold and flu season, as well as how they can stay healthy all year long. Good nutrition, knowing all the colors that should be on one's plate, what comprises a healthy meal, hydration, exercise and sleep were but a few of the topics covered during these information sessions. View photos.

Parents Attend School-Sponsored Session On Cyber Safety

On October 7, Browning parents attended an information session at the School on the subject of “cyber safety” and what they can do to be sure their sons are safe.

The topics covered included the online dangers children are susceptible to and what to be aware of; teens and “sexting,” popular apps and how to use them safely; quick and easy settings to increase child safety online; how to set restrictions on iPhones, iPads and iPods, and cell phone monitoring. View the Parental Controls Checklist.

Presented by Liz Repking, founder of Cyber Safety Consulting (, the program addressed these issues in such a way that parents who might have been uncomfortable and even intimidated by the technology their sons use came away with a better sense of understanding and control.

PA President Ken Metz commented, "I think what I took away from the presentation, and what I hope most of the attending parents took away as well, is that there is no silver bullet in regard to this issue of cyber safety. There is no master website we can employ to keep our children safe in the cyber world. It will take knowledge, commitment and real work to stay involved with, and to stay ahead of, the constantly developing technology that our children are exposed to and use daily. It will take real effort on our part as parents."

History Chair Discusses Global Affairs at Upper School Assembly

History Department Chair Dr. Gerry Protheroe, who teaches world history and advanced European history at Browning, along with advising the Model UN, is an assistant professor at NYU’s Center for Global Studies. His keen knowledge of world history and current affairs was evident as he addressed the Upper School boys at their October 3 assembly. Director of Publications Melanie McMahon reports:

While his presentation covered the gamut, Dr. Protheroe's main focus was the important legacy of World War I as we face issues in the 21st century. He explained that while WWI and the Cold War seemed easy paradigms for older generations to grasp, today’s students are often unclear as to what is happening globally. Furthermore, back in the 1990s, “everything looked good.” “There was a great feeling of optimism,” said Dr. Protheroe. “Now that’s disappeared, so understanding the history of our past is essential to grasping the present state of global affairs.”

In respect to the Middle East situation today, Dr. Protheroe noted that back in 1918, there were one million soldiers in the Middle East because Britain thought it must destroy the Ottoman Empire. The British, he explained, hoped to get the Arabs on their side against the Ottoman Empire. He discussed the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916, a secret agreement that was concluded by two British and French diplomats, Sir Mark Sykes and Georges Picot, as well as the Balfour Declaration of November 1917, which led the Jewish community in Britain and America into believing that Britain would support the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East. In short, to better understand the Arab-Israeli conflict, he advised the boys to first study those two topics.

In turning to the threat of ISIS, Dr. Protheroe talked about Iraq in terms of its creation and historical figures Winston Churchill (Britain’s colonial secretary at that time), T. E. Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia) and Gertrude Bell (sometimes referred to as the “female Lawrence of Arabia.”) He called Iraq “Churchill’s folly,” referring to the creation of this monarchy after World War I that forced three “unfriendly” groups to live under a single ruler.  Christopher Catherwood’s book, “Churchill’s Folly” explores the creation of Iraq which consisted of Sunni Muslim Kurds and Arabs, and Shiite Muslims under the imposed Hashemite king Faisal.

Adolph Hitler and Vladimir Putin were also discussed and assessed by Dr. Protheroe in regard to their aggressive moves into Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine, respectively. The hostile actions of both men, according to Dr. Protheroe, were “products of perceived humiliation.” “Putin is not interested in a Soviet Union, he said, “but rather, a Czarist Russia.” He mentioned the destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in Ukraine this past July as an act of terror and an example of the serious crisis faced by Ukraine under Putin’s threat. “Just how far is Putin prepared to go?” he mused.

Before a final Q and A segment with the Upper School boys, Dr. Protheroe addressed the continuing dispute over the group of East China Sea islands called the Senkakus by Japan and Diaoyu by China. These islands are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan as well.

With so much strife going on globally, Dr. Protheroe recognizes it is difficult to make sense of the world as it is right now. He mentioned New York Times columnists David Brooks and Thomas Friedman who cover politics and foreign affairs, which led to this advice to the boys: The key to understanding all that’s happening in the world is to study history and read newspapers as closely as we can, especially as U.S. political parties and their leaders ultimately affect and, indeed, can hamper solutions to many of the world’s crises. View photo.

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