MM@M Strengthens Community

Gwen Snyder '16 sings an original song on Oct. 1 at MM@M Graphic by Alyce '16

Gwen Snyder ’16 sings an original song on Oct. 1 at MM@M Graphic by Alyce ’16

Morning Meeting at Marlborough (MM@M), a new addition to this year’s schedule, aims to provide an informal venue for students and faculty to share their talents and to bring the community together. The Upper School and the Middle Schools have separate Morning Meetings on most Wednesday mornings during the school year.

Based on Marlborough’s Strategic Plan and student input on a Student Academic Advisory Committee (SAAC) survey, MM@M, also referred to as M3, was formed out of the desire to create a community gathering unlike the agenda-driven All School Meetings and Class Meetings, that students could control and contribute to and that would help them unwind during the week.

At the first Upper School meeting of the year, English instructor Edward Miller performed two original songs on the piano and spoke about his experience as a musician and songwriter

In the Middle School’s first MM@M, Middle School President Kyra ’18 and Middle School Vice-President Kelsey ’18 showcased a slideshow of Vines, short videos posted to social media sites. Physical education instructor Christine Burke then ended the meeting with a yoga debrief, a tradition that will continue for every middle school MM@M.

One thing that both the Upper School and Middle School meetings have in common is the sounding of a gong to signal the start of each MM@M.

English instructor Jessica Chaintreuil, who coordinates MM@M in the Upper School, feels that gaining a stronger sense of school identity is an important part of each meeting.

“The purpose, to me, is to provide a sense of community through the means of storytelling. I want to celebrate a student’s non-academic side so that we get to know the members of our community in other ways,” Chaintreuil explained.

Some students were initially disappointed with MM@M replacing their Wednesday break time. However, others, including Kyra, felt that some of the unenthusiastic attitudes were not warranted.

“We had a lot of negative reactions before we even had [a Morning Meeting]. If you haven’t had something, you really can’t critique it until you try it,” Kyra said.

Similarly, Chaintreuil encouraged students to be more welcoming of new activities at Marlborough.

“I think that at Marlborough, at times, there is an unwillingness to be open to new things and to change, and we greet those new things with complaints or criticisms when we haven’t yet experienced them. I’m hoping that M3 will challenge that aspect of our culture and get us to be more receptive,” Chaintreuil said.

After the first Morning Meetings, several students in both the Upper School and Middle School felt that they had a lot more fun during the meeting than they originally thought they would.

“I think we got to see a different side of [Miller] in a more relaxed environment,” Molly ’17 observed.

Similarly, Miller enjoyed performing in front of the Upper School.

“I was pretty nervous initially. It was nice to have people really listening. Everyone was really focused…and respectful,” Miller commented.

Kyra felt that the first meeting was well received by her peers and hopes that the positive reactions will continue.

“Instead of grades being so separated from each other, I want the Middle School to work as one and be friendly and cohesive,” she indicated.

The facilitators of MM@M expressed a hope that more students would participate. Like Chaintreuil, performing arts instructor Holly Rothschild, who is involved in the planning of the Middle School meetings, encourages more students to share.

Specifically, Rothschild expressed her desire to see the Robotics Club present at a future Morning Meeting.

Students in the Upper School can get involved by contacting Chaintreuil, who is willing to offer help and guidance to anyone who wants to participate. Chaintreuil said that she will help students prepare and get in groups to perform.

In the Middle School, interested students should contact Terenzio or Warren. They will ensure that content is appropriate and then work with Rothschild on logistics.

The coordinators of MM@M have already lined up more acts and performances for the Morning Meetings. Molly ’17, a member of Chamber Choir, mentioned that the choir would be performing sometime around the Lunchtime Concert in late October. She is looking forward to singing at MM@M and believes that the other members of Chamber Choir feel the same way.

“Everyone in Chamber Choir wants everyone else to see how we perform as a group,” Molly said.