Noble and Greenough School
The Noble and Greenough School, commonly known as Nobles, is a coeducational, nonsectarian day and five-day boarding school for students in grades seven through twelve. It is near Boston on a 187-acre (0.76 km2) campus that borders the Charles River in Dedham, Massachusetts. The current enrollment of 614 students includes a balance of boys and girls. The boarding program hosts 45 students who live on campus five days a week. The majority of students are from Massachusetts, neighboring states and occasionally from abroad. In recent history, all members of the senior class go on to accredited four-year colleges and universities. In 2010, Nobles was ranked as the 18th best prep school in the United States by Forbes. Nobles has 134 faculty members, with a student to faculty ratio of approximately 6:1. The average class size is 12. Tuition for the 2018–2019 academic year is $50,200 for day students and $56,000 for five-day boarding students. Nobles' historic athletic rival is Milton Academy.
|Noble and Greenough School|
10 Campus Drive
|Type||Private, day & boarding, college-prep|
|Motto||Spes Sibi Quisque|
—Virgil in the Aeneid
("Each person finds hope within himself or herself.")
|Founder||George Washington Copp Noble|
|Headmistress||Catherine J. Hall, Ph.D.|
|Number of students||~614|
|Color(s)||Navy Blue and White|
|Part of a series on|
Nobles was founded in 1866 by George Washington Copp Noble, in Boston, Massachusetts, as an all-boys preparatory school for Harvard University. It became known as Noble & Greenough in 1892. During World War I, the school merged with Boston-based Volkman School, which had faced a drastically declining student population due to the headmaster's German origins. There is a monument to the Volkman School on the Nobles campus. In 1922, the school moved from Boston to its current location in Dedham. The property had been a family's estate. The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The school discontinued the lower school at this time, which caused parents to start the Dexter School, to fill the gap created. In 1975, Nobles began admitting girls.
|Headmaster||Tenure||Events / Bio|
|1.||George Washington Copp Noble||1866–1920||Founder of the school|
|2.||Charles Wiggins II||1920–1943||School Relocates to Dedham, Massachusetts. School discontinues lower school.|
|3.||Eliot T. Putnam||1943–1971||Son-in-law of Charles Wiggins|
|4.||Edward "Ted" S. Gleason||1971–1987||School begins to admit girls|
|5.||Richard "Dick" H. Baker||1987–2000|
|6.||Robert P. Henderson||2000–2017||Oversaw the building of the MAC, arts center, new library, renovation of baker, castle remodel, and more.|
|7.||Catherine J. Hall||2017–present|
Noble and Greenough School includes grades 7–12. Students in grade 12 are known as members of Class I, this continues on down to seventh grade students who are known as members of Class VI, or more informally as the "sixies". The eighth grade students, members of class V, are also informally known as "fifthies", The Middle school is located in the Pratt Middle School building. The Upper School, grades 9–12, is in the main building, known as the Shattuck Schoolhouse.
The school covers 187 acres (0.76 km2) in Dedham, Massachusetts. The grounds include nine athletic fields, two gyms, and a sizable length of the Charles River.
Nobles alumni have been prominently featured in recent news coverage. Sarah Parsons '05 scored four goals in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games for the USA's Olympic women's hockey team. Helen Resor '04 was also on this team. Ayla Brown '06 was on the American television show American Idol as one of the final 13 contestants. Andrea Ross '09 sang in the Concert for Diana and is currently on tour performing in a musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Michelle Picard '11 is on the USA's Olympic women's hockey team and competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. John Fitzgerald Kennedy (John F. Kennedy) also attended Noble and Greenough School when he was in 7th and 8th Grade but could not graduate.
In September 2006, Nobles completed a state of the art, $20 million, 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) Arts Center, which houses theatrical productions as well as musical performances. The theatre was funded by the Viniks; thus the new venue was named the Vinik Theatre. This was part of an $86 million capital campaign ending in 2008 that significantly improved faculty compensation as well as other aspects of the school. Additional theaters in the school include: Lawrence Auditorium in the main building, Vinik Theatre in the arts building, and Towles Theater in the Baker science building. In 2012, Nobles approved the construction of a dance studio adjacent to the Arts Center. Construction started in June 2013 and was completed in January 2014.
The Noble and Greenough Middle School
The Noble and Greenough Middle School consists of exactly 122 students in the 7th and 8th grades, with approximately 60 students in each grade. The Middle School has a different afternoon activities program from the Upper School. Not all students start in the Middle School at Nobles.
Athletics at Nobles
Nobles is a member of the highly competitive Independent School League. The school has 25 varsity teams. Boys and girls participate in soccer, cross-country, hockey, basketball, squash, skiing, golf, lacrosse, tennis, crew, and the newly formed ultimate frisbee team. Boys also participate in football, wrestling, and baseball, while girls participate in volleyball, field hockey and softball.
Nobles and Milton Academy historically have a Nobles/Milton Day each athletic season. On this day, usually nearing, or on the last game of the season, the two schools compete in almost every sport. Students are known to "get psyched" by face-painting, reciting chants, and wearing team colors.
- 86% (132 out of 154) of varsity teams have had a winning record
- 64% (99 out of 154) of varsity teams have finished in the top 3 of the ISL
- 50 varsity teams have won ISL Championships
- 75% (42 out of 56) of eligible varsity teams were invited to New England tournaments
- 15 varsity teams have won New England Championships
Over the past 12 years (2001–2013):
- 82% (219 out of 266) of varsity teams have had a winning record
- 54% (143 out of 266) of varsity teams have finished in the top 3 of the ISL
- 73 varsity teams have won ISL Championships
- 71% (68 out of 96) of eligible varsity teams were invited to New England tournaments
- 21 varsity teams have won New England Championships
2012–2013 championship summary:
- 6 ISL titles: girls' squash, girls' basketball, girls' hockey, golf, girls' alpine skiing, field hockey
- 2 New England Championships: girls' basketball and girls' hockey
Nobles students populate a variety of performing arts groups. Additionally, Nobles' active theatre program produces four faculty-directed mainstage plays and an average of three student-directed productions each year. Many of these groups rehearse during "M-Block", a period of time twice each week set aside for performing arts groups to rehearse. Others practice outside of regular school hours. Performing arts groups include:
- The Nobleonians, a male a cappella group
- The Greensleeves, a female a cappella group
- Noteorious, a student-run, co-ed a cappella group
- Imani, a co-ed group specializing in multicultural and world music, open to students and faculty
- chamber singers
- concert choir
- Jazz Band ("Jam Band" in the Middle School), a group composed of mostly brass and percussive (keyboard, drum) instruments. Previous repertoire of the Jazz Band has included "25 or 6 to 4," "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," and "Africa" by Toto.
- blues band
- drum ensemble
- Nobles orchestra
- string ensemble
- guitar ensemble
- wind ensemble
- chamber music, a spring offering for small ensembles
- middle school equivalents to many of the above groups
All Nobles students take at least one semester of introductory-level visual arts as a graduation requirement. Students are instructed in photography (darkroom and digital), painting, drawing, ceramics, and digital design.
Students' art can be found on display in the Dawson Gallery, Schmid Gallery, and on Exposure, Nobles' visual arts website. Additionally, the Foster Gallery showcases the work of external, regional artists. Finally, Calliopé, a student-run literary and arts magazine, produces two to three issues each year.
There are several publications at the Noble and Greenough School. The official school newspaper, The Nobleman, is student-run, overseen by faculty advisors, and funded by the school. In typically 20-page issues, the paper covers a range of topics from local school events to global issues. There are also many smaller publications such as Calliope (arts), Nobellium (science), and Cogito (international affairs).
Clubs and organizations
A variety of student-run clubs and organizations at Nobles meet both during and after regular school hours. These groups include a Chess, Weiqi, Debate, Outing club, computer science club, and more. As well as student boards for community service and multicultural students. The Nobleman, a student newspaper, and the Nobles Theatre Collective reflect student-generated interest in writing and the arts. Many take place during "X - Block", "M - Block", and in after-school meetings.
The Nobles outing club is run by math teacher, senior master, and avid outdoorsman, Richard Nickerson. The club sponsors hiking, and rock climbing trips as well as other outdoor excursions throughout the year on the weekends.
There are many affinity groups for minority students at nobles. These include B2B (brother to brother, men of color), S2S (sister to sister, women of color), Kehilla (Jewish students), A2A (Asian to Asian), and Q2Q (queer students).
Morning Assembly: Every morning Noble's students begin the day with an all-school assembly. Many Wednesday mornings have a 'long assembly' that features distinguished speakers or performers.
Christmas Carol: Every year before the winter break, the sixies (first year middle-schoolers) put on a rendition of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol.
"Power of Light" Along with the "Christmas Carol" part of the sixie students perform the "Power of Light" a story about two Jewish children escaping from the Nazis in World War II.*
- In 2014 and 2018, a rendition of a Yiddish folk tale, "Things Could Always Be Worse." was put on instead.
The Nobleman: The Nobleman is the school newspaper, run mostly by first class students.
Castle Secret Passageways: There are rumored to be many secret passages in the Castle. When the building served as the boys' dormitory, many would sneak out in the night to explore the building. The legend that surrounds this tradition is that there is a passageway that has never been found by anyone, but is supposed to extend from the castle, underground, to the other side of the Charles River. The student who finds this passage is supposed to be granted free tuition to the school until they graduate.
Rivalry: The Noble and Greenough School has a rivalry with Milton Academy (also a member of the ISL) which becomes most prominent every fall during Nobles/Milton Weekend. Athletic teams from both schools play each other on the same campus (alternating yearly) creating a festive and heated environment. Courtesy of the 1975 Nobles Dictionary, "Milton: Nobles' satanic alter-ego." ... "Milton Game: the fame that determines the success of the season, as well as the fund drive." The Nobles/Milton football game is one of the oldest annual rivalries in the nation, beginning in 1886. The rivalry continues at the graduate level. Beginning in 1984, the graduate soccer teams from the two schools have met on the same afternoon as the school varsity teams play. As far as is known, this is the only rivalry of this nature that endures to present time.
The Classics: The school was started as a preparatory school for Harvard University. At the time one of the requirements for admission to Harvard was a thorough knowledge of Latin and Greek. Therefore, the students at Noble and Greenough primarily studied the Classics. This is still reflected in the middle school, which requires Latin in the seventh grade via a hybrid English-Latin class called English Via Latin. After the required seventh grade English Via Latin class, Latin is available as a course throughout middle and high school.
Wiggins Papers: Students of the junior class submit a portfolio of writing every year in expository, creative, and personal narrative styles. The most impressive are chosen for the Wiggins Prize.
Senior Projects: In the spring of their senior year, students have the option of dropping classes to undertake a project of their own design.
Notable alumni of Noble and Greenough include:
- Justin Alfond, class of 1994, President of the Maine State Senate
- Arthur Everett Austin Jr., director of the Wadsworth Atheneum
- Michael Beach, class of 1982, actor featured in ER, Third Watch
- Ayla Brown, singer and daughter of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
- Michael Jude Christodal, class of 1986, recording artist, songwriter
- Chris Cleary, class of 1998, professional soccer player
- Harry Crosby, founder of the Black Sun Press
- Kate Churchill, class of 1986, Producer of the movie, "Spotlight"
- Robert Dunham, American actor
- Keith Elam, member of Gang Starr, aka Guru
- Selden Edwards, class of 1959, best-selling novelist
- Mark Fayne, class of 2006, hockey player for New Jersey Devils of NHL
- Richard P. Freeman, class of 1888, U.S. Representative
- Seth Goldman, class of 1983, co-founder, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea
- Wycliffe Grousbeck, class of 1979, co-owner of the Boston Celtics
- Tucker Halpern, class of 2009, a founding member of the electronic music group Sofi Tukker
- Jimmy Hayes (ice hockey) Professional hockey player Pittsburgh Penguins
- Kevin Hayes, class of 2011, professional hockey player, Philadelphia Flyers
- Melvin Johnson, class of 1927, weapons designer, Harvard professor
- Jonathan Kozol, class of 1954, educator, activist & author
- Mr. Lif, rap artist
- Clarence Cook Little, class of 1906, biologist and President of University of Michigan
- Royal Little, class of 1915, founder of Fortune 500 company Textron and "Father of Conglomerates"
- A. Lawrence Lowell, class of 1873, President of Harvard (1909–1933)
- Percival Lowell, class of 1872, astronomer
- Ralph Lowell, class of 1907, banker and philanthropist
- Francis Peabody Magoun, World War I ace and scholar of languages and literature
- Samuel Eliot Morison, class of 1901, American historian and author
- Albert Nickerson, class of 1929, former chief executive of Mobil Oil and chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of New York
- Sarah Parsons, class of 2005, member of the 2006 Olympic ice hockey team
- William Phillips, class of 1896, United States diplomat
- Seth Priebatsch, class of 2007, entrepreneur, founder of Scvngr
- Roger Putnam, American politician and businessman
- Jeff Raider , class of 1999, Co-CEO Harry's Razors and Warby Parker Eyeglasses
- Helen Resor, class of 2004, member of the 2006 Olympic ice hockey team
- Alexander H. Rice Jr., class of 1894, physician and explorer of South America
- Leverett Saltonstall, class of 1910, Governor of Massachusetts (1939–1945) and United States Senator (1945–1967)
- Francis Sargent, class of 1935, Governor of Massachusetts (1969–1975)
- Henry Lee Shattuck, class of 1897, attorney, philanthropist and politician
- Mayo A. Shattuck III, American businessman, CEO of Constellation Energy
- Louis Agassiz Shaw, inventor of the iron lung, Harvard professor
- Viveca Paulin, class of 1987, actress and producer, Night at the Roxbury (1998), Nail Polish (2006)
- Courtney Sims, class of 2003, NBA Basketball player
- Warren Cummings Smith, class of 2011, 2014 Winter Olympics alpine skier
- Robert Storer (b. 1893) Harvard University football player and World War I war hero
- Karen Thatcher, class of 2002, Olympic women's hockey player for Team USA
- J. Rupert Thompson, class of 1986, reality television show producer
- Chris Tierney, class of 2004, professional soccer player, New England Revolution
- Amor Towles, class of 1983, best-selling novelist
- George Clapp Vaillant, anthropologist and author
- Dan Weinstein, class of 1999, Olympic speed skater
- James N. Wood, class of 1959, former President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust
- Miles Wood, class of 2015, professional ice hockey player for the New Jersey Devils
- Hart Perry, Prominent Rowing Coach at Kent School and president of USRowing (formerly National Association of Amateur Oarsmen)
- "With the Help of Others". blog.nobles.edu. September 12, 2013.