“Leadership for Change” at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life is a two-week summer program for high-school students eager to study social-justice issues while living, learning, and socializing on the university’s Medford campus.
It’s fair to say these are challenging times. It’s also fair to say that few people have a better perspective on facing challenges with grit, grace, and perseverance than Travis Roy. That made Roy the ideal speaker for the current moment at an Upper School meeting this week.
The scholarly publication Academic Emergency Medicine, the official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, is the place to go if you’re interested in reading up on such topics as, say, “cervical spine motion restriction after blunt trauma” or “depression and functional outcomes in patients presenting to the emergency department with low back pain.”
Tuesday, September 8, was in many ways a typical first day of school: cheerful greetings, senior cars decorated to show Class of ’21 pride, a bit of confusion and first-day jitters, and sunny skies that lent poignance to summer’s end. But a closer look revealed a start of school like no other, with students and faculty alike wearing masks, washing their hands frequently, and maintaining a safe distance from one another, all with the goal of keeping our campus safe and avoiding an outbreak of COVID-19.
Head of School Ned Parsons was recently interviewed by NBC Boston reporter Brian Shactman on plans to reopen the school. In the 30-minute segment, Parsons answered questions about how schools can best proceed in these challenging times.
In response to the protests that erupted across the country following the killing of George Floyd, who died at the hands of the Minneapolis police, Head of School Ned Parsons sent the following message to the full Rivers School community. The message calls for people to stand together against prejudice and racial inequality and to take the time to educate themselves on the ways in which white privilege protects the systemic racism that still infects our country.
Following longstanding custom, students were celebrated for their accomplishments—academic, artistic, athletic, and personal—at this year’s Prize Day. And following this year’s brand-new customs, the entire ceremony took place virtually, with prize winners announced during a special video presentation on Thursday, May 28.
As this strange spring semester wound down, language faculty member Andrea Villagran found herself wondering about high school seniors—not just those at Rivers, or even those across the U.S., but students in this cohort around the world.
Lindsay Miller has an impressive basketball resume, and soon she’ll be adding one more item to the list: Miller was just named head girls’ varsity coach at Rivers, replacing outgoing athletic director and coach Bob Pipe.
The search for a new Rivers athletic director reached far and wide. Three hundred-plus candidates applied for the job; the pool was eventually narrowed down to four highly qualified aspirants. But in the end, the new AD was chosen from the ranks of current Rivers faculty. Head of School Ned Parsons announced on Wednesday that the position of athletic director will be filled by Keith Zalaski, a Rivers coach and faculty member since 2015.
How have members of the Rivers community responded to the coronavirus outbreak? Not surprisingly, with compassion, courage, and determination. They are making masks, sending out cards and letters, preparing meals and sandwiches, tutoring children, and working on the front lines with those who’ve contracted the virus.
For philanthropists—and philanthropists-in-training—it’s rarely just a matter of raising the money and writing a check. Charitable causes must be chosen and vetted with care, ensuring that they are not just well intentioned but effective. Donors need to know where their dollars are going and whether the recipients are fiscally responsible. Grant proposals must be reviewed for feasibility and impact.
When it became evident that Rivers would have to go virtual this spring, the first concern, naturally, was ensuring continued academic excellence. But no one—from top administrators on down—ever lost sight of the fact that that would not be the school’s entire response to the current crisis. After all, the ethos at Rivers is not just excellence, but Excellence with Humanity.
Sages & Seekers, the signature Rivers program that pairs tenth graders with older adults from surrounding communities, is all about connection. Students spend several one-on-one sessions with their “sages,” gleaning stories, insights, and anecdotes that become the basis for the program’s culminating project, a tribute essay that captures a life’s journey. The older volunteers typically make several trips to campus over the course of the spring trimester to meet with students in person.
Football season may seem far away, but it’s never far from the minds of the dedicated Rivers athletics staff. Athletic Director Bob Pipe was pleased to announce recently the promotion of Randdy Lindsey P’22, ’24, ’26 from associate head football coach to head football coach, effective immediately. Lindsey takes over from Tom Bourdeau, who will remain as assistant coach.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but at Rivers over the past few weeks, necessity joined forces with hard work, thoughtful collaboration, and just a touch of good luck to give rise to Rivers Remote, the school’s academic response to the coronavirus outbreak. This online-learning program, largely created and put in place over what was supposed to be the school’s spring break, had been up and running for three days as of last Friday, and although it’s still early, the massive effort seems to be paying off.
When the Rivers hockey teams take to the ice next season, there will be a couple of new hands at the helm—for both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Athletic Director Bob Pipe recently announced the appointment of Freddy Meyer as head boy’s hockey coach and Courtney Sheary as his opposite number for the girls’ hockey team.
Rivers made a strong showing at this year’s Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, announced in February. In total, students earned 20 awards in the prestigious competition: six Gold Keys, six Silver Keys, and eight Honorable Mentions.
While most educators would agree that it is important to teach students how to be leaders, few have thought more deeply about the best way to do that than Rivers Middle School teacher Melissa Dolan ’98.
Ever wonder about the legal or political ramifications of having a superpower? Maybe not, but that was exactly the task laid before 28 Rivers students when they paid a recent visit to Boston’s Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
Legally Blonde: The Musical is a show that demands strong lead performances, crackerjack ensemble work, and unflagging energy on the part of cast and crew. Fortunately, the Rivers School Nonesuch Players possess all those qualities, amply on display in the opening night performance of the Upper School musical on Feb. 20 at the Eleanor Welch Casey Theater at Regis College.
An LGBTQ activist, author, performer, and educator, Philip McAdoo has a long list of credentials and accomplishments to his name. But, he told an audience of Rivers parents at a Monday evening roundtable discussion, it was a much more personal experience that really brought all his work into focus.
Rivers field hockey coach and associate athletics director Janna Anctil was sitting at lunch when the word came, via Twitter. Her colleague Susanna Donahue was the first to offer congratulations and to share the news: Anctil had just been named New England Region Coach of the Year and Massachusetts State Coach of the Year by Max Field Hockey.
The first lesson to learn about Chinese New Year is that it isn’t just Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asia, not only in China, and each country brings its own customs and traditions to the party. To share some of those customs with Rivers students, the Asian American Pacific Islander Affinity Group this week welcomed Shirene Aman-Karim P’20 to campus. Aman-Karim, mother of Yasmin Myers ’20, explained how the new year is celebrated in her native Malaysia.
The week of February 10 is sure to be cold outside, but inside The Rivers School Conservatory, the forecast is definitely warm and sunny. From February 10 to 15, the Conservatory will play host to a Latin American Music Festival featuring performances, master classes, workshops, and more.
The path that led Marika Barnett to a Rivers classroom last week was a long and convoluted one. The 85-year-old Holocaust survivor—one of an ever-dwindling cohort—was born in Hungary in 1934, made it through the war years by dint of sheer luck and resourcefulness, losing many family members to the concentration camps, and arrived in America to start anew in 1957. Last Thursday, under the auspices of the Facing History and Ourselves program, Barnett came to campus to speak to students enrolled in an interdisciplinary course on the Holocaust.
Sports have their championship tourneys, musicians have their festivals and competitions, plays have their opening nights—and Model UN has CMUNCE, the Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition. “This really is the jewel of what we do—the highlight of the year,” says history teacher Arturo Bagley, who serves as one of Rivers’s Model UN coordinators and who accompanied the school’s team of eight students to the New York City competition last weekend.
The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is broad and deep, and there are many ways to honor that legacy: Solemnly, thoughtfully, sadly, hopefully. At the annual Rivers MLK Day assembly, held on Monday, student organizers chose to do it joyfully, commemorating the slain civil rights leader through music.
On Friday, January 10, at 7:00 p.m., friends, students, and colleagues will gather in Rivera Recital Hall to bid farewell to RSC string department chair and violinist Magdalena Richter. Richter’s music will be the focus of the evening, as she presents her final public performance before joining a contemplative order of Catholic nuns in Andover, Mass.
The Rivers School community was plunged into mourning this week over the sudden death of longtime math teacher Dan McCartney. According to his family, Dan passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, January 4, as a result of complications arising from his recent battle with a chronic illness.