by Tucker Hamlin on Monday, April 9th, 2012
Standing at 6 feet and having mastered the art of Irish Step Dancing as a child, Josh Ellis is one of the most recognizable faces around campus, and his glowing personality and large presence can often be felt from the moment he walks into a room. No matter what the situation, if there is one person to lighten your day, it’s Josh.
Josh is an extremely kind and caring person. “He’s a great friend,” Duncan Bowden (II) said, “the type of kid who always has your back.” Josh loves listening to people and hearing what they have to say. “Since I love it when my friends do it for me,” Josh stated, “I try my absolute best to give my peers the attention each one them deserves.”
Josh’s charismatic personality carries beyond the classroom and student center as he provides a sense of leadership and commitment in the swimming pool and on the baseball diamond. Making varsity as a freshman in both Diving and Baseball, Josh has been a major contributor to not only the success of the teams, but also to the spirit and camaraderie Josh dedicates himself to athletic competition and fights through the common misconception that he is too weak because of his skinny frame. Josh boasts that “In reality, I have a killer six pack.”
However, much of what Josh does and what he stands for is unrecognizable to many of the students of Milton Academy. Along with dancing since he was a child, Josh has been extremely dedicated to his involvement in community service both at school and at his church. Isabel Wise (II), professes “Josh is the most giving person I have ever met.” As well, Josh has spent the past several years volunteering his time in Saint Rock, Haiti with his Church. “Josh’s decision to devote his time and energy serving a community beyond his own is a quality that I greatly admire,” his advisor, Ms. Jean-Baptiste remarked.
Josh is a strong willed member of the Milton community with nothing too big to get in his way and stand up for. As Isabel put it, “there has never been a time when Josh sacrificed what he believed in or what he knew was right in order to protect his social status.” Josh’s personality and devotion has and will continue to bring him success in all aspects of his life including his chance to be the next head monitor, and as Ms. Jean-Baptiste reiterated, “Josh has an iron will, and if he puts his mind to a task and adds the faith in his soul, there is nothing too big for Josh to accomplish.”
During the school day, every Milton Academy Student sits through academically rigorous classes. With teachers mediating most of the conversations in the classroom, teachers have the dominant voice. Furthermore, their dominant voices migrate into our outside-of-the-classroom lives, with the adults in our community structuring our rules, activities, and schedules. Although their input and impressive organization help support our success as individuals, we need our voice to be heard fully in order to ensure our Milton Academy experience is ours—not theirs. The role of the Self-Governing Association is to provide the students with the necessary tools to personalize their Milton Academy experience. Sitting at the helm of the SGA, the co-Head Monitors function as the literal voice of the students. Having weekly meetings with adult leaders in our community, the co-Head Monitors provide the adults with students’ perspectives on certain issues. In short, the co-Head Monitors feed off the ideas and concerns of the Milton Academy student community as a whole, voicing these opinions to adult leaders, and ultimately putting the word “self” in our Self-Governing Association.
Some great Milton Academy traditions I’d love to uphold are Gotcha, the Food Drive, and Hoops for Haiti. These three traditions provide our school with ways in which to have fun, and ways in which to give back to our greater community. I want to bring back a tradition that was once on the Milton Academy campus: color wars. Each student will be randomly assigned either orange or blue as a color, denoting what team he or she is on. Throughout the school year, the Head Monitors, with lots of help from the SGA, will organize different “wars” between the two different teams of students. For example, we could have a recycling “war” during the Green Cup Challenge. Not only will this “war” be a fun one, with the winning team getting a prize, but it will also support our sustainable efforts around Milton Academy. By having different “wars” throughout the school year, we can have fun while making an impact. With all the hard work we do inside the classroom, we need plenty of activities to help alleviate the stress of our everyday lives.
What do you think is the most memorable thing about a Head Monitor from a student’s perspective? From the faculty’s perspective?
I’ve been at Milton Academy for the last three years, and the most memorable thing about each Head Monitor from a student’s perspective has been his or her ability to unify the school through different activities. From fundraisers to Gotcha, the Head Monitors, with the help of the members of the SGA, have been able to make school a fun, productive, and charitable environment, an environment that not only betters our school community but also improves the lives of people from our surrounding neighborhoods. From a faculty’s perspective, the most memorable thing would be the Head Monitor’s devotion to bettering the Milton Academy community as a whole.
How would you facilitate cohesion between the faculty, the administration, and different grades?
One of my favorite things to do is saying hello to everyone who passes by me. Some of my friends pester me when I walk with them or sit with them in the Student Center; they say, “do you have to say hi to everyone?” To be honest: yes, I do need to say hi to everyone. I’ve found that it’s amazing how quickly one can brighten another’s day by simply saying, “hey, how are you?” A simple four words to get a smile out of another student or teacher passing through the halls, why doesn’t everyone do it? My approachability and willingness to listen will help me communicate with everyone in the Upper School, even those whom I have never met. Furthermore, by being in close communication with the students, I will be able to articulate our questions and concerns to the administration and faculty in scheduled weekly meetings. As your Head Monitor, I will make it my duty to ensure that everyone will have an equal voice. I don’t want to be the leader of our student body; rather, I want to be the leader among our student body who helps to guide your thoughts and ideas to the right people.
What do you think is the biggest struggle facing our community and what role do you see SGA plays or could play in solving this issue?
Being on the Community Service Board, I’ve witnessed the incredible impact our student body can make by devoting a few free periods a week to those who are less fortunate. Milton Academy provides those in our immediate neighborhoods with some of our resources; however, Milton Academy does not make nearly as big an impact internationally. Milton Academy needs a sister school, a school with which Milton Academy students can correspond. By having an international connection, Milton Academy can help pop the clichéd “Milton Bubble” while ameliorating the lives of those who are less fortunate. My proposition is to help the SGA initiate a connection with a school in the Saint Rock area in Haiti. With this connection, students can initiate Pen Pal friendships to last a lifetime or come together as a community for fundraisers. The SGA will play a pivotal role in making this connection successful by organizing these potential fundraisers and Pen Pals. The possibilities are endless when dealing with Milton Academy students. We can do anything we put our minds to.
Being fully involved in a number of extracurricular activities on campus, I have witnessed how Milton Academy students function in many environments: in a class, in a club, on a stage or on a sports field. Our success as well-rounded individuals is due to our commitment to goals and to our resources around us. Yes, we have stellar academic buildings, impressive sports fields, and resourceful performance stages; however, a number of schools possess those same resources. Our most important resource remains unique to Milton Academy: the students around us. Each individual offers expertise in a different environment. I came from a conservative all-boys school where voicing one’s true opinion was frowned upon. The liberalness that exists in our day-to-day lives at Milton Academy has changed my perspective as a student. I’ve found that it’s not only the teachers that offer insight but also the students with whom we share a classroom. In order to continue Milton Academy’s success in producing flourishing individuals, we need to ensure that our voices are being heard, inside and outside the classroom. Milton Academy is our school; let’s make sure to keep it that way.
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