Leaving On A Jetplane for Spring Break

As the Upper School boys on the baseball, tennis and track teams prepared to leave for spring training in Florida yesterday, their suitcases in the lobby reminded me of the lyrics to a song most readers of the PA newsletter are too young to remember: “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.” “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane,” written in 1966 by John Denver, was recorded by him and later by Peter, Paul and Mary.

What a winter this has been! February in New York was the coldest it has been since one year in the Great Depression, and a quick survey of the faculty on Wednesday showed over half of us had been sick this semester. However, winter term ended on a great note at Browning with the Annual Art Show, and the “snowbird” athletes’ departure for five days in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

On a personal note, I have had a very busy winter. My announcement to retire in June of 2016 was quickly followed by the annual meeting of the Headmasters Association.  As president this year, I was so proud of our list of speakers, including Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institute and former Deputy Secretary of State; Adam Faulk, president of Williams College; and Vijay Prashad, professor of International Studies at Trinity College. The members of Headmasters had been encouraged to read Henry Kissinger’s “World Order” in advance. Last week, I was away from school leading the four-day accreditation visit to Regis, for NYSAIS. This venerable Jesuit high school celebrated its centennial last year and invited independent school educators to review their rigorous self study; Browning will be preparing its self study for NYSAIS next year.

Browning boys and teachers have had a busy winter, too.  Highlights in the Lower School have included the annual Spelling Bee, the New York Cares coat drive, sandwich making for the homeless through the New York Common Pantry, and an assembly featuring Vincent Lionti, father of Nicholas ’19 and violist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Michael Cedric Smith, a classical guitarist and father of Brogan ’17.

Every Middle School boy participated in a most impressive Math-Science Night with a record number of original experiments, as well as in the Modern Language Talent show featuring song, film and acting. A final victory placed the sixth grade basketball team in the School’s history books, as they enjoyed an undefeated (9-0) season!

In the Upper School, a very successful Model UN Team competed strongly at the ILMUNC competition at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Mock Trial team has won two competitions and been awarded a bye. The Round 4 match will be on Tuesday, April 14, at 5 p.m., at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse (100 Centre St). The college acceptance record of our current Form VI boys continues to be stronger and stronger.

What a winter. And guess what? Spring at Browning will be even busier!

March 13, 2015