On Friday, January 23, Browning and Marymount hosted an alumni function together for the third year in a row at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, followed by a lively reception across the street at Marymount School. At the Met, guests had the opportunity to enjoy student-guided tours of "Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection" and Thomas Hart Benton's "America Today" Mural Rediscovered. At Marymount, guests enjoyed wine and cheese compliments of the two host schools. More than 100 guests from both schools attended. Special thanks to Marymount for being such gracious co-hosts! Please click here to view the photos.
Lucy Warner, Lower School music teacher, reports that on January 22, a Lower School recital assembly featured boys playing piano pieces ranging from "Star Wars" by John Williams to "Arabesque" by Burgmuller. A Lower School guitarist played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." All of these brave and talented young musicians were met with hearty applause from their audience consisting of all boys in Pre-Primary through Grade Four. The final such Lower School recital is scheduled for the morning of January 29. View photos.
On January 14, Headmaster Stephen M. Clement, III, along with Board of Trustees President James S. Chanos P ’07, ’09, ’11, announced to the faculty his decision to retire as Headmaster on June 30, 2016, his 28th year at Browning. Immediately after, a printed announcement including messages from both Headmaster Clement and Mr. Chanos was mailed to all constituents of the School. Click here to read this important news. The Board is establishing a search committee chaired by Valda M. Witt P ’20, ’22, ’26, a Vice President of the Board, and will keep constituents informed as the search process gets underway. Headmaster Clement states, “I look forward to working hard with the entire Browning community down to the wire on June 30, 2016!”
On January 20, all of the Form II Algebra I students learned the answer to the classic question, “Why do we learn this?” by experiencing the Engineers Teaching Algebra workshop. Former engineer Mark Love returned for his third consecutive year to conduct two 90-minute sessions with the Browning boys.
Mr. Love offered, “The boys really got involved in the project as a group, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy the process.”
Math Department Chair Michael Klein reports that the boys, using a pencil, paper and a calculator, applied their algebraic problem-solving skills to the installation of traffic lights at an intersection between the entrance to a shopping mall and the main thoroughfare. Variables were defined and simultaneous equations constructed to design a system to optimize traffic flow.
Mr. Klein explained, “Experiencing real-world applications of topics and skills learned in the classroom can be powerful motivation for students and augment their engagement in a subject. This workshop has low accessibility, yet high enrichment for the boys, and the feedback is always very positive. View photos.
Browning boys of all ages commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with separate assemblies for each division, beginning with a Lower School assembly on January 15 and Middle and Upper School assemblies on January 16. In each case, the importance of human rights was emphasized. After all, noted Glenn Walker, faculty advisor to the Multicultural Club, “people” are at the core of this nation-wide observance.
Lower School boys heard from Upper School boys who are members of the Multicultural Club. They learned the importance of treating each other fairly and joined together to sing three African-American spirituals, accompanied by Lower School music teacher Lucy Warner. Ms. Warner noted, “Two very important ways in which African-American slaves were able to endure their suffering and to persevere were through musical expression (singing, playing instruments, emoting suffering and happiness through songs) and their belief in an afterlife in heaven with no more hardship nor pain.” She added that the audience responded enthusiastically to the boys’ rousing, spirited renditions of the following: “When the Saints Go Marching In” (Pre-Primary and Grade One), “Peace Like a River” (Grades Three and Four), and “Oh, Won’t You Sit Down!” (Grade Two).
Middle School boys also heard from members of the Multicultural Club who read and commented on the School’s Diversity Statement, spoke about Dr. King’s life and impact on the world, and reported on their experience at the People of Color Conference (PoCC)/Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) this past December (read related story).
The Upper School assembly was similar in content to the Middle School’s program immediately before it, with the Multicultural Club members playing a major role. Head of Upper School Jim Reynolds reports: “The Upper School assembly involved the melding of issues of American civil rights within the context of human rights. After a moment of silence for “all who have died violently,” presenters from the Multicultural Club spoke of the work of Cesar Chavez, the immigrant and migrant worker activist who modeled his pursuit of unionization of migrant workers within the United Farm Workers Union on the non-violent, boycott-driven approach of Dr. King. That presentation was followed by an assembly-wide discussion of current issues such as the efficacy of stop-and-frisk policies, the persistence of racism as a fact of cultural life, and the pervasive use of racist language in contemporary youth culture. This conversation extended one that began during the December Community Day (read related story) discussions, and, as Mr. Walker noted, it is one that will continue at another assembly in the second semester.”
Headmaster Clement also took this time to speak to the Middle and Upper School boys about his retirement at the end of the 2015-16 school year, his 28th year at Browning, as announced earlier this week. View video and photos.
On January 13, the Spanish II and IV classes followed up their Spanish cultural lesson on El Greco with a visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to view the museum’s mini-retrospective on El Greco commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Renaissance artist’s death. Spanish teacher Giurissa Grace reports: “In Spanish class, our lesson centered on El Greco’s life, the major themes that emerged from his artwork and why he was misunderstood in his time. I invited Art Department Chair Nik Vlahos to accompany us on the field trip to focus on El Greco’s artistic techniques." Mr. Vlahos adds: “We looked at El Greco's art and spoke about how his contemporaries depicted space as well as how he was trained to depict space having studied as an iconographer. We looked at how El Greco fused these two very different ways of painting space and arrived at his own technique. Especially with the Vision of St. John there is a flat 'unrealistic' space that reinforces the concept of an otherworldly vision. We also paid close attention to his use of color and how it stays consistent from painting to painting.” View photos.
"Old tradition demands it," French teacher Dominique Bernard explains. "The sixth grade French students created scale models of famous French monuments and wrote essays recounting the history of their chosen edifices. As is the case every year, the boys creatively built and presented their excellent projects to their classmates! Chapeau les garçons!"
The boys chose to write about and create scale models of landmarks such as Tour Eiffel, Arch de triomphe, Pont du Gard and Chateaux de la Loire, among many others. View photos.