Day 125: Milton, Head of Middle School and Assistant Head of School

[ By on April 22, 2013 ]

The Middle School opened its doors at Riverdale Country School eight years ago.  The excitement of this event was somewhat tempered that September of 2005 as we all watched the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on our fellow citizens and friends in places like New Orleans (NOLA). On the first day of school, an RCS eighth grader at the time, Ben (now a junior in college!) approached me about organizing a Dance-A-Thon to raise funds for relief efforts. He then organized his friends and the new Middle School into action.  Over $25,000 was raised for such relief efforts such as the rebuilding of a Middle School that was severely damaged and did not reopen until almost two years later.  A few years after that, we also wanted to be “on the ground” there and have since incorporated service learning trips to NOLA. The Dance-A-Thon is a main event in the Middle School each year and the tradition of donating raised funds to assist others is still very much alive and well.  And the beauty of all of this is that the idea came from young students such as Ben who inspired both adults and classmates to participate and demonstrate that communities can come together and make a difference.

I am thrilled and honored that our community continues its work with New Orleans and our motto is that we will always go until we are no longer needed.  Last week, a group of adults, thirty-one students representing every grade from 6th -12th grade, and I traveled there for the fifth consecutive year. Our work involved the restoration and rebuilding of houses, working with students from two schools that we have adopted, participating in work on a youth farm in City Park, and experiencing the vibrant culture and wonderful food of NOLA.  Even after eight years, there is still much work to be done there.  However, after each trip, all of us are inspired by the people of that great city who are generous with their time and who always give us the best of southern hospitality.  We know that many of them lost a great deal and had their lives changed forever, yet they have shown tremendous resilience, they are a strong and determined group who love their city, and they are working hard to see it return to its glory.  We travel to do what we can there but it is we who leave having learned and gained more and having been inspired by the great people of NOLA.

Milton lives in the Bronx. He loves traveling with his family, loves his job, and loves working with young people.

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