The Sailing & Marine Education Center will provide a waterfront classroom for marine and maritime education, a home for the school’s championship sailing team, and consistent support for the MB TRIPs initiative.

With anchorage for Friendship (a 36’ Union Cutter sailboat donated to the school by Dean Woodman ’46) and a classroom suitable for biology, environmental science, and maritime history, art, and literature, this satellite facility will expand opportunities for transformational travel and exploration on Narragansett Bay.

Reflection by Henry Todesco-Perkins ’15


Henry Todesco-Perkins ’15, first mate on the Friendship, four-year sailing team member

“For two years I participated in the summer camp program on the S/V Friendship, Moses Brown’s 36’ Union Cutter. With Captain Casey Charkowick, I spent many hours maintaining the ship and helping to run the program. It was a great experience for me, and I think MB should have a long-term program – even expand its fleet.

This experience is unique and contributes to all students’ knowledge of the Bay. Kids from MB and other schools who sailed on the Friendship appreciated being able to learn about the Bay up close. It was a unique experience – one you could only find at MB.

As a marine biology student, I support any marine education program. It’s critical to understand the Bay, both historically and in its present condition, and to understand the ocean and ecology that makes up so much of our state. Narragansett Bay is a very important part of Rhode Island and has so much to do with the founding and history of MB itself. Students need to understand what the Bay provides.

MB’s sailing team helped me appreciate the Bay, and taking MB’s Marine Biology elective and working on the Friendship taught me so much, beyond science and sailing to life lessons about how to lead and when to follow. All of that put me on a path to Maine Maritime Academy and a life on the water.”


Setting the Stage

Located at the center of our 33-acre campus, this 34,000-square-foot multifunctional facility is designed to be the physical heart of Moses Brown. Sitting at the crossroads of all three divisions, it connects to a fully-renovated Walter Jones Library and will become the new social, artistic, intellectual, and spiritual hub of campus.

The Woodman Center can be quickly reconfigured for performances, meeting for worship, art and cultural exhibitions, and social functions – and with a lobby café, new classrooms, costume and scene shops, and professional-grade sound and lighting, it is poised to transform life at Moses Brown.

Chloe Johnston 2

Chloe Johnston ’95, performer, professor, writer, director

“Like a lot of little girls, I wanted to be an actress. I was in A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep for years! At MB, I loved theater classes with Barry Marshall. But playwriting class changed things for me – suddenly we weren’t just interpreting a story, but creating the story. After MB, I headed to the University of Chicago – it seemed like a place for weird people, so it might be good for me. Young artists can take chances there. I started a company with my friends, and suddenly we were in American Theatre magazine. We had a good script, and people paid attention.

For me, it goes back to those early days in the Chicago ensemble scene, creating and performing tons of work every week. We didn’t choose between writing, performing, and directing. We did it all. Now that I teach acting, I sneak in a little devised work, encouraging students to make their own text, not to see themselves as ‘just’ actors. That mindset started in Barry’s classes at MB.

I also learned a lot from Tom Andrew. Jamie German made a huge impression on me: her honesty, her rigor, the way she lives her life…such an inspiration. In Jamie’s Seminar on Scientific Thought, we read texts that were so beautiful, they’re still with me now. Moses Brown also taught me that part of being a good teacher is simply listening to your students.”

Opening Doors

Moses Brown has put increased scholarship funding at the center of its vision so that we can continue to attract the most talented and diverse students. We believe that enhancing access to MB will allow us to enroll the best minds and expose our students to the broadest range of perspectives, thereby strengthening the educational experience for our entire community.


Josabet Zepeda ’15, MB Alumni Award Recipient 2015

“Going to Moses Brown wasn’t my choice. My mother wanted me to get the education she felt I deserved. My daycare teacher Ms. Benita saw in me the desire to learn from books instead of playing with toys. They saw something in me and wanted to make my life easier by making it a little harder at first.

Growing up in two worlds wasn’t easy. But I will never forget the words of encouragement from so many of my teachers going back to third grade. They saw what my mother and Ms. Benita had seen, and helped me to eventually see it as well. I learned to appreciate my two worlds and become a proud member of the MB community.

Going on the music trip in eighth grade, helping people in the Dominican Republic junior year, attending proms, and getting an Alumni Award would not have been possible without the scholarship and financial aid that Moses Brown offered me.

Thanks to MB, I made unbelievable friends and learned so much. Now in college, I see that things are different. My teachers aren’t there physically to support me every day, but their words and advice will stay with me forever; the experiences I had at MB shaped me into the person I am today.

I can now see what my mother, Ms. Benita, and all of my teachers saw in me since the beginning: a Light.”

The scoop on college life, straight from the source

By Julia Baker, Associate Director of College Counseling


Julia Baker

As a college counselor, my days are filled with helping students apply to college. At times, it feels like students, parents, and counselors are so focused on “getting in” that all of us forget to pause and ask the more important question, “What happens after I get there?”

MB’s College Counseling office attempted to demystify post-college application life this January when we hosted a panel of MB alumni now in college. Current MB juniors and seniors were invited to attend an informal discussion led by five recent MB grads: Josh Jaspers, Jake Slovin, Megan Fantes, and Jennifer Tudino from the Class of 2014 and Claudia Marzec from the Class of 2015.

The panelists were eager to reflect upon their college search, offer advice about the transition to campus life, and answer questions from students in the audience: seniors who are heading to college in the fall, and juniors about to embark upon the college process. Topics ranged from the more serious, like how academic advising works?, to the more lighthearted: how to choose a roommate? (Most students agree that it is better to be randomly assigned!)


Megan Fantes ’14 (Boston University), Jake Slovin ’14 (Hamilton College), Claudia Marzec ’15 (Saint Francis University), Jennifer Tudino ’14 (URI), Josh Jaspers ’14 (University of Virginia).

Alumni on the panel hailed from a wide-range of institutions, each bringing a unique perspective they were excited to discuss. Jennifer Tudino, a sophomore in the College of Pharmacy at URI, talked about the tough but wise decision to take organic chemistry over the summer to lighten her load during the school year.  Megan Fantes, a student in her second year at Boston University, talked about visiting the BU campus as an accepted student and immediately knowing it was “the one.” Jake Slovin, who is at Hamilton College, spoke about being accepted for the spring term and spending his first semester in London. A sophomore at the University of Virginia, Josh Jaspers gave advice on how to get involved in campus life at a large public university. Among other activities, Josh gives historical tours of UVA’s campus. Claudia Marzec discussed the athletic recruitment process that brought her to Saint Francis University, one of the few colleges that allows her to be a varsity athlete in field hockey and study physical therapy as a first year student.

Though each of the five panelists had a different path to college and a different experience once they got there, they shared a commonality:  the preparedness provided by MB. Every student on the panel spoke about the time-management, writing, and speaking skills ingrained in them during their MB years which helped ease the transition to college life.

Sofia D., a senior in the audience, found the panel to be a good use of time as she prepares to head to college in the fall. “I really enjoyed the panelists because the decision on attending a college or university is a large choice and sometimes it is reassuring to hear students who will speak about the reality of college life. By having past students talk about their experiences, it makes the thought process about making the big jump to college student much easier to visualize.”

I sometimes joke with my counselees that I became a college counselor because I never wanted to leave college. I also often tell students that one of my favorite parts of my job is reconnecting with former students, particularly those who ended up at a college where they did not initially see themselves. But while I could go on for hours imparting my own wisdom on college life (based on experiences that are, ahem, more than a decade old), I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that in in order for students to truly listen, some of the best advice comes straight from the source.

It seems like the panelists know this too, which is why they were glad to help. Perhaps Jennifer Tudino said it best when she responded to my invitation to serve on the panel. “I love talking to students applying to college about how I thought I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and ended up at the one place I thought I’d never be and really love it. When they hear that from a college counselor they are all like, ‘Yeah sure, you’re paid to say that,’ but it truly is a reality coming from me.”

(Julia, along with Helen Montague, Annie Reznik, and Jill Stockman, comprise the Moses Brown College Counseling Office.)

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:

“Oh no, not another box of yearbooks…” Tales from MB’s archive project

ArchivesCrew2(MB archive crew, above and below.)

ArchivesCrew1This summer, MB librarians Ruffin Powell and Anne Krive enlisted a hard-working crew of students and alumni to open up and explore the contents of the “vault” in the basement of the Walter Jones Library. They spent weeks sorting and examining all that’s there, and assessing what can be displayed and shared in the future. They discovered some amazing things — along with a lot of dirt and dust and debris. It was quite a process! With work completed, they shared some of the funny thoughts (including hashtags!) they had while sorting through it all:

Peter Z. ’18

“Moses Brown had the first indoor astro turf ever!” #MBarchives

“Yay boxes of moldy books!” #MBarchives

“Don’t you love it when important items are bound by tightly bound ribbon?” #thestruggleisreal #MBarchives

ArchivesCrew3Sara Gilkenson ’14

“Oh no, not another box of yearbooks..”

“Woah! The will of George Washington’s mother! What’s this doing in here?”

“Oh no! Whose grand idea was it to package these books so poorly? Good thing the archive crew is here to clean up this mess!”

“I feel like a book doctor. I have my mask, my gloves and plenty of books that need an operation” #preservation

“I don’t even have to hit the gym anymore! Man, is archiving a muscle workout! I’m more ripped than the old books now” #strong

ItemsRhys G. ’17

“If you are interested in seeing young pictures of your old teachers, there are countless boxes down in the archives.” #MBArchives

“Wanna see a copy of the 1997 Commencement? Wanna know who graduated back in 1847? The archives of MB have all of the information you need!”

“How many archivists does it take to screw in a light bulb? I don’t know, but it takes 5 to take out the trash filled with broken glass” #why #MBArchives

Eliza Radeka ’14

“Newspaper clipping found in a 1946 yearbook: ‘Nazis Quit, War in Europe Ends.’” #historylesson #mbarchives

“Moses Brown School suffered a cholera outbreak in 1832. The school had to be closed temporarily!”

“Dust and mold weren’t the only things we found in the archives… We came across everything from old books to class rings. “

“The most important lesson I learned in archives… This is what will happen if you don’t take care of your books!” (below, yikes)



Inspiring Service: Jake Bliss ’93

With Moses Brown students having just returned from their annual March DR trip, we’d like to share a beautiful piece that young alumna Kayla Imperatore ’12 wrote about Jake Bliss ’93, who passed away in the fall of 2012. Jake worked with Kayla and other MB alumni leading trips to the Dominican Republic with his sister Molly ’86. After MB, Jake attended Yale, then went on to get his M.D. from Tulane and become an orthopedic surgeon. Jake was a lifelong Quaker who generously donated his time to helping the homeless of Santa Barbara, California and migrant Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic. As we reflect on the work MB students did in the DR this year, we remember Jake’s work and impact, still felt. In fact, an award is now in place at MB, in Jake’s name. Two students will be selected each year in honor of Jake and his commitment to adventurous service. Here, Kayla shares with us what it was like to meet and know Jake:

Image“I met Jake the first morning of our medical service trip in the Dominican Republic. He was tall with red hair and a scruffy red beard. He was one of the doctors on the trip and was with his sister, Molly, another doctor, and his best friend, Jesse. Watching Jake walk to his seat on the bus, I noticed there was something off about him; his walk was normal but slow, almost robotic in a way. His voice, like his walk, was also noticeably slower than normal. I have to admit, his actions startled me but also intrigued me at the same time. I wanted to what caused him to speak this way, and I quickly found out the reason. As he sat down on the bus, he introduced himself. ‘Hello everybody, my name is Jake,’ he said in a slow but deep voice. ‘You may wonder why I talk funny,’ he joked. ‘I was diagnosed with ALS, also know as Lou Gehrig’s disease,’ he continued. The fact that he was so up-front about his disease and even joked about it, instantly comforted us. Jake explained that he used to work as an orthopedic surgeon, but could no longer operate because his hands were too weak. He was here on the service trip because it was something he had always wanted to do. Later, I found out that his friend Jesse had taken the year off from work to be with Jake, to travel and to accomplish tasks on his bucket list. They had already been on some crazy adventures like sky-diving, and now they were on to the next task on the list: joining a group of ten Moses Brown students, Dominican doctors, American doctors, and translators to set up medical clinics in the poor villages of La Romana.

“Being in the company of Jake became very special, as he made each person he talked to feel important. He always told stories about his days as a surgeon, usually in a gory, sarcastic way that made us cringe and laugh at the same time. Each morning it took about an hour on the bus to get to the poor villages where we set up the clinics, and each day he tried to sit next to someone different. Though the bus rides were long, they were always entertaining in the presence of Jake. It wasn’t until I worked with Jake though, that I truly understood him.

“My job was to be Jake’s scribe. He was the doctor, and I watched him and took notes as he observed the patient. I wrote Imagedown everything Jake told me; the symptoms, diagnosis, and suggested treatment for the patient. I also helped the translator, Juan Carlos, because his English was in its beginning stages and he often needed help understanding what Jake was saying. Juan Carlos then translated Jake’s questions into Spanish so that the patient could understand. After seeing a few patients, Jake began to ask me if I could come up with a diagnosis after seeing the symptoms, or what medications I would recommend. I wasn’t always right, but I felt so appreciative that he trusted me and wanted my opinion, even though he was the doctor. I remember for one patient, Jake was listening to a woman’s lungs through his stethoscope and he asked me to come listen. ‘Here,’ he said, handing me his stethoscope. The sound through the stethoscope was raspy and coarse. ‘Now listen to my lungs,’ he said, turning around so I could put the stethoscope on his back. ‘Do you hear how wheezy her lungs sound compared to my lungs?’ he asked. I was so excited and so grateful that he trusted me, and went out of his way to teach me as he tried to help his patients. Even though I was just a scribe, I felt so much more important in that moment.

“After each patient, I would grab my Purell bottle and put a small dollop in my hands and then hand the bottle over to Jake. As the bottle became almost empty, Jake struggled to squeeze the liquid out and joked at the condition of his disease, ‘You know it’s bad when I don’t even have the strength to squeeze a Purell bottle anymore.’  His sister Molly overheard him and gave him a disapproving look. ‘My sister doesn’t like when I say things like that,’ he explained jokingly. I laughed, but I couldn’t help but think about how Molly felt whenever her brother joked about his deteriorating condition.

“Later that day, Jake and I worked on the worst case of the week; an elderly man with a severe form of gangrene on his leg, which might have needed to be amputated. Since the case was so bad, the other doctors had to assist us. My job was to hold all of the materials and to write down the diagnosis and treatment of the patient. The smell was so bad that we had to rub minty Vaseline-Imagelike gel under our noses to resist the putrid smell. Since Jake could not perform the procedure on this patient, he calmly and confidently directed his sister Molly and his friend Jesse as they took over for him. Though the sight and the smell of the procedure was enough to make someone want to look away, I was mesmerized by Jake’s positive spirit.  He was unable to do the procedure himself, but he told jokes and entertained us the whole time.

“I admired Jake’s ability to just enjoy the moment; to laugh, to take risks, and to make others smile. I am a person who overthinks everything, who worries constantly about things beyond her control, who often thinks about the negative things before the positive. Therefore, I appreciated Jake’s ability to let go of his worries; to know that he may not have much longer in the future, but at least he has now. I think back to that life-changing time spent in the Dominican Republic and even though I only knew Jake for a week, he came into my life for a reason. I needed someone to show me the importance of the present, of being happy, smiling, laughing, learning, helping others, taking risks, of feeling free of any stress or worry. To this day, living in the moment and not letting my worries dictate my happiness has been a struggle. In some ways, these worries help me to achieve success and to have a determined work ethic. However, I often struggle to enjoy my moments of success, and instead find myself thinking about what I must accomplish next.

“The combination of helping the Dominicans in need and being around Jake’s lively, positive spirit made me so incredibly happy. I don’t really know the words to explain the feeling that I had while I was in the Dominican Republic. All at once, I felt relaxed, Imagepure, happy, and passionate for life – a feeling I had never really experienced before. Amazed by Jake’s ability to live in the moment instead of dwelling on how much more the future might hold for him, a part of me changed. I have always heard people say the clichéd expression ‘life is short,’ but being in Jake’s presence gave the expression a new meaning. Sure, life really is short, but it’s what you decide to do with it that matters most.”

Kayla Imperatore, MB Class of 2012, is now a student at Northeastern University. “My trip to the DR changed my life and so did my time with Jake and Molly,” Kayla says. She continues to return to the Dominican Republic every year and is even thinking about working there for her four-month Northeastern co-op. Kayla made her fourth trip to the DR in March.