Parent Update: Oct. 18, 2018

Family Days Reminder
We are looking forward to seeing you on campus for fall Family Days, Oct. 19–20!

Please come to Alumni Hall on Friday or Saturday when you arrive to pick up your registration packets, name tags, class schedule, and teacher-conference information. We encourage you to wear your name tags throughout the weekend and then recycle them in the baskets you’ll find in Alumni Hall and around campus. 

There will be lots of walking as you follow your student’s schedule and attend the many Family Day events. Please dress comfortably. The current weather forecast calls for sunny skies, a slight chance of rain, and temperatures in the mid to low 50s during the day and low 40s in the evening.

If you you haven’t registered yet, no problem! Just come to Alumni Hall and make yourself a name tag. Once there, you’ll receive a packet that contains the conference locations of your student’s teachers. You can sign up for conferences outside each teacher’s conference location.

A special college-counseling session will be offered on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 18, for families of juniors.

Please note that there is road construction on Interstate 91 (northbound and southbound) that may delay your arrival at NMH. Please plan accordingly.

Please follow this link for helpful information about Family Days and to see the schedule of events. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Julia Farmer.

The N-Word in the Classroom
Questions about the n-word — who gets to use it and under which criteria — have long been a part of pedagogical and social commentaries, particularly with the rise and proliferation of hip-hop since the 1980s. An unofficial policy at NMH typically has been that in academic spaces the n-word should not be spoken aloud by anyone, and that teachers are responsible for providing context to both the word itself and the ideas rooted in the word. 

Upon hearing her interview on NEPR last winter, English Department Chair John Corrigan spoke to the Office of Multicultural Affairs about bringing Dr. Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor to campus to work with humanities faculty. On Oct. 4, the English, history and social science, and religious studies and philosophy departments gathered for a two-hour workshop titled “The N-Word in the Classroom: Teaching Racist Language without Harm.” 

Dr. Pryor, associate professor of history at Smith College, led faculty members through some of the historical violence attached to the n-word and then focused much of her presentation on the pedagogical choices teachers can make when taking on harmful language in academic spaces. Pryor urged faculty members to work beyond an “avoidance” stance by setting initial ground rules, providing context for the word, and then scaffolding understanding for its use in literature or other historical documents. 

“Not saying the n-word speaks to how powerful the word itself is,” Pryor said, which in turn informs students about how the word operates most powerfully as an idea that “broadcasts the impossibility of black freedom.” Dr. Pryor said, “college classrooms [are] in crisis” around topics like the n-word, which is not a freedom-of-speech issue; rather, she suggested, these are pedagogical issues facing many teachers/professors who are seeing dramatically shifting demographics in their classes. She also mentioned that in her classroom at Smith, it is clear that her students have not previously learned how to navigate harmful language in texts or how to have productive conversations about their own discomfort with the n-word. 

Dr. Pryor is the daughter of comedian Richard Pryor, who famously — and unapologetically — used the n-word in his routines for years, until after a visit to Kenya, when he began to reverse his stance on the word. 

This workshop was another important step in an ongoing conversation at NMH to work toward greater consistency with our students when tackling complex texts, documents, and other resources.

NMH Fall Traditions Abound
When will it be? This is always the question on the minds of NMH students as we enter the cooler days of fall. The "it" is the NMH long tradition known as Mountain Day. On Oct. 8, as Head of School Charles A. Tierney III took the stage at Monday morning meeting, he shared words about being kind and respectful. Then he played a video message from his mother, Nana Tierney. She sweetly announced to the students that the following day would be Mountain Day; the students leapt from their seats and cheered with excitement

Each fall, students anxiously await the announcement of Mountain Day, a surprise holiday when classes are canceled and students and faculty head for the hills to enjoy the fall. On Oct. 9, seniors and postgraduates climbed the 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock, a rite of passage for the graduating class. Juniors, sophomores, and ninth graders hiked a three-mile section of the New England National Scenic Trail, formerly known as the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. 

And the following day, seniors and juniors used their collective strength in a tug-of-war spanning Shadow Lake in NMH’s 94th annual rope pull. It was hard fought, but the seniors again claimed the win, as they have done over the past nine decades in all but 15 rope pulls. 

According to NMH Archivist Peter Weis, “Inter-class and inter-dormitory competitions involving a ‘tug o’ war’ were certainly part of campus life in the 19th century, and D.L. Moody himself is reputed to have taken part in these contests. It was not until the spring of 1925 that the event resolved itself into an annual contest between the junior and senior classes. And in the fall of 1926, Shadow Lake became the venue of choice.” 

See photo galleries from both events

Deadlines for Yearbook Ads and Senior Portraits

The Gemini, NMH’s yearbook, is underway and the Nov. 30 deadline is approaching for senior photos, senior ads, and (for underclass students) purchasing a yearbook.

Orders: Each senior will get a yearbook free in May on Senior Day. Others may purchase the yearbook for $75 at (enter school code 4557). 

Senior ads: Families and friends are invited to purchase and design an ad to congratulate their graduate. The deadline to purchase a page is Nov. 30, the Friday after Thanksgiving break. A school break is a great time to look through old photos of your student as you design these special ads.  

You may want to check in our Flickr galleries to find photos of your student to include in your ad.

Ad costs are: $375 for a full page, $275 for a half page, $200 for a quarter page, and $140 for an eighth page.

Senior portraits for the yearbook ​are also due Nov. 30. While some students submit a formal photograph, others choose a candid photo. Here are some guidelines for senior photos.

● The student should be the only subject in the photograph.
● Photos must be submitted in .jpg format with at least 300 dpi resolution.
● Photos should be emailed to with the student's name in the subject line as they wish it to be published and their exact quote in the body of the email.
● Yearbook staff are available to photograph students for free in the weeks leading up to the deadline. Students should look for email announcements in November to sign up. 

Learn more about senior portraits, senior ads, and how to create an ad here. Please contact Diane Arena with questions.


Long weekend is here! Many students will soon leave for a deserved long weekend. Please note these important reminders

Parents Council: This body of current NMH parents works closely with the school. Click here to see members for 2018–19 and learn more about their mission. 

Host families needed: NMH is looking for day families to host Uruguayan exchange students in February 2019. Learn more about taking part in this enriching program.

Fall Diversity Summit: The fall Diversity Summit is upon us, on Oct. 26–28. See the line-up for the weekend and learn which students are required to attend.

Photos of student life: New photos and videos are added constantly to the NMH Flickr page. Checking it often will give you a window into school life, and you may see your student’s smiling face. Recent additions include: Mountain Day, Rope Pull, psych and engineering classes, fall scenics, and fall sports teams in action. 

Mid-semester grades: The first half of the fall semester officially ended Tuesday, Oct. 16. Please look for an email from Academic Dean Sarah Warren around Oct. 24 to let you know when mid-semester grades are available through NMHOnline.

Athletes of the Week: Congratulations to our most recent honorees, Riley Humphrey ’19 (outdoor team) and Emily Chou ’20 (JV field hockey), Siobhan Moore ’19 (varsity volleyball), and Fabian Windhagen ’21 (varsity soccer). Find out why each was selected for this honor.

Head of the Charles: Cheer on the boys’ and girls’ fours at the Head of the Charles Regatta. NMH will be racing in the men’s youth four and women’s youth four events on Sunday, Oct. 21. See the race schedule.

Flu shots: The O’Connor Health and Wellness Center is administering flu vaccine to students. Free vaccine is available 9 am–7 pm Monday–Friday. Students may just walk in, or may schedule an appointment by calling 413-498-3407.

Hockey teams play for a cure: On Sunday, Oct. 14, NMH varsity field hockey and boys’ varsity ice hockey players faced off to raise money for cancer research. Read more about, and see photos from, the match. 

Travel to West Africa this summer: Applications are open for this summer’s arts and culture trip in Ghana. NMH students will learn about African culture, philosophy, and daily life. Attend a trip meeting during Family Days on Oct. 20 at 9 am in Social Hall. Contact Jensi Rovang for more details. Applications are due Nov. 26.

Upcoming Events

10/19–20 NMH Family Days
10/19 Dr. Suniya Luthar presents research findings to parents
10/19–23 Long weekend
10/23 Students return (2–7:30 pm)
10/24 Classes resume
10/26 Admission Class Visit Day
10/26–28 Diversity Summit
10/27 Halloween dance
11/1–3 You Can’t Take it With You theater production
11/1–3 NMH Board of Trustees meeting
11/2–12/2 Convergence: Prints and Projections by Paul Lindale P’17, ’20 and Tekla McInerney
11/2 HUM II Brazil program departs
11/8–10 Dance concert
11/9 Fall athletic banquet

A bird's eye view