Holding veterans in the Light

galen cropped comm13From Galen Hamann, Director of Friends Education
I wanted to give an update on what I have been doing and learning this fall to consider how we as a school can live our peace testimony through relationship with those impacted by war, military families and education. This includes doing research on Veterans for Peace http://www.veteransforpeace.org/. I’ve learned a lot about Armistice Day and the history of Veterans Day and gained some ideas for how we might recognize it.

There also is the national network of the non-militarization of youth (www.nnomy.org). Although these groups do not have chapters in Rhode Island, they are good resources for how to recognize Veterans Day.

I also met with a current student and his father, who has served for 20+ years in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. We talked about the climate of MB in relation to the peace testimony and explored ways we can build relationships between veterans and this community.

Last week, a new student group, Students Supporting Those Affected by War, had a bake sale to raise money for wounded warriors. They also have been collecting a list of names of those impacted by war in the U.S. On Thursday, we will read those names at the beginning of upper school Meeting for Worship and invite people to hold them in the Light.

This Monday, at MB’s JV football game, junior Adam R., a leader of this new student club, will invite people to pause for a moment of silence to hold in the Light all those affected by war.

What else can we as a school do in the future?

Many students in this new club have suggested ideas – perhaps organizing a Community Service Day site connected to veterans, considering an upper school assembly, or sharing veterans’ stories with the wider school community.

Upper school English teacher Abby Phyfe also is working on a trip to the memorials in Washington for her Literature of War class next year. This new TRIP was recently approved. We plan to support this by making connections to the Friends Peace testimony.

As a Friends school, Moses Brown School has a long history of activism, involvement and advocacy for peace in the world.  In fact, one alumnus, Rufus Jones (1863-1948), co-founded the American Friends Service Committee during the First World War, as a way for young conscientious objectors to serve without joining the military. At the war’s end, Rufus and others were instrumental in organizing the Quäkerspeisung, the large-scale feeding effort that saved millions in Germany from starvation. During the years leading up to World War II, Jones went to Germany as part of a Quaker delegation to plead for better treatment and emigration opportunities for Jewish people. In 1947, he represented the AFSC in Stockholm when the Quakers were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

DSC01725More recently, Rob Wilson ’67 has worked as part of the Veterans’ Education Project to bring veterans’ stories to high school classrooms, including at MB. “It is gratifying to help these amazing men and women develop their stories, and to see them healing war’s emotional wounds through sharing with appreciative students,” Rob says. “I hope that VEP’s student and public audiences come away from our speakers’ stories with new understanding about war and its consequences and new empathy for veterans and military families. I hope they develop an eagerness to think critically about policies related to war and veterans’ issues and act on their conclusions, whatever they may be. The world would be a better place.”

As a Friends school, we have a responsibility to engage in relationship building, to have honest conversation about the ways in which war is impacting our communities, and to brainstorm how we work to live in a world without war and the militarization of society. This effort of engaging in diplomacy, of seeking to remove the causes of war, and efforts to end war is a way of honoring the sacrifice of veterans so that no one will have to be in harm’s way again. As alumni like Rob and Rufus, teachers like Abby Phyfe and Jules Burrows, and students like Rosemary, Adam, and Tyler work toward healing the wounds of war, I look forward to hearing more ideas from our community as to how we may do this. Please email me at ghamann@mosesbrown.org to share your thoughts.

Hear from students at MB today on their recent efforts:


MBinRep presents two strikingly different plays, connected by theme

By Steve KiddMBREP_Poster-01
middle and upper school drama instructor

We believe MBinRep to be unique. Tackling not one BUT TWO full length plays, we have been stretching our muscles and capacity to offer the most to all after school theater students.  Some members of our acting company will appear in both plays, while others have taken on tech jobs and other responsibilities in addition to their roles on stage.  Our students – both actors and techies – have worked very hard to produce these two very different productions and their efforts will culminate over the next two weeks.

Our two plays could not be more different in style and setting.

 La bête (“the beast” or “the fool”) is a contemporary comedy while Enemy of the People is a classic drama.
La bête is set in the spirit and style of Moliere’s 17th Century France, while Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s classic is set in 1950’s American-influenced-Norway.  La bête is a farce written in rhyming iambic pentameter and Enemy’s language was written to connect realistically to Ibsen’s audience in the late 19th century, and later adapted by Miller to make it “as alive to Americans as it undoubtedly was to Norwegians.”

Despite their vast differences, both share a very similar thematic aim: to examine the individuals’ passionate and daring pursuit for truth and integrity amidst opposition from figures of authority and the public. Enemy’s protagonist Dr. Stockman seeks truth and public understanding through science, while Elomire in La bête seeks similar recognition and social change through Art; and both meet similar fates.


The majority is never right until it does right.
It’s always the same, rights are sacred until it hurts for someone to use them.


With every day the peril is increased
Of yielding to this treacherous misrule
For fools contain inside of them a beast
That triumphs when the world is made a fool!

An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
Showtimes: Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 9 at 2:00 p.m.; and Friday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

La Bete by David Hirson
Showtimes: Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Student tickets are $5 for one show, $8 for both. Adult tickets are $8 or $10, for both. Get them at the bookstore or at the door.



Special Olympian visits second grade

In October Special Olympian Michael Lucca joined MB’s second grade to give a 2nd-grade-special-olympian_webpresentation about Special Olympics Of Rhode Island (SOORI) programs.

The only difference between Special Olympians and other athletes, explained Chris Hopkins, SOORI’s Director of Programs, is that it takes a little longer for them to learn the skills to play each sport due to certain disabilities.

Torch-2014_webThis year Rhode Island has 2,900 Special Olympians involved in 24 different sports year-round.

Michael, an athlete for 34 years, competes in skiing, basketball, track and field, and now works as a global messenger who travels to schools to educate students about the Special Olympics.