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Middlesex School
Middlesex School clocktower
Fides, Veritas, Labor
Concord, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates 42°30′2.3″N 71°22′10.2″W / 42.500639°N 71.3695°W / 42.500639; -71.3695Coordinates: 42°30′2.3″N 71°22′10.2″W / 42.500639°N 71.3695°W / 42.500639; -71.3695
School type Private, boarding, coeducational
Established 1901
Head of school Kathleen C. Giles
Faculty ~85
Enrollment ~350
Average class size 12
Student:teacher ratio 1:5
Campus size 350 acres (1.4 km2)
Campus Small town
Color(s) Cardinal and white          
Mascot Zebra
Average SAT scores 2070
Newspaper The Anvil
Endowment $125 million
Tuition $44,320 (boarder), $35,450(day student)
The Circle, Middlesex School, Concord, Massachusetts
Clay Centennial Center, Middlesex School, Concord, Massachusetts

Middlesex School is an independent preparatory school for grades 9 - 12 located in Concord, Massachusetts, USA. It was founded in 1901 by Frederick Winsor, who headed the school until 1937. Formerly an all-boys' school, Middlesex became coeducational in 1974. The school was named for the county Middlesex where it is located. Middlesex is a member of the Independent School League.



From its inception, Middlesex was intended to be different from the other academies and "church schools" of the day. Frederick Winsor, a Roxbury Latin School alumnus who founded Middlesex in 1901, wanted the school to be non-denominational, where students from different religious backgrounds could learn.[1] From the very beginning, his mission was "to find the promise in every student."

The design for Middlesex's campus was created by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York's Central Park, Boston's Emerald Necklace and Stanford University. The school's main buildings, which surround The Circle, were designed by Boston firm, Peabody & Stearns[2]. Completed in 2003, The Clay Centennial Center is the newest addition to The Circle. The building hosts science and math classrooms as well as an observatory with an 18-inch (460 mm)telescope.


Among Middlesex's many traditions, one has remained virtually unchanged: every member of Class I (senior) since the first graduating class of 1904 has carved a plaque, which is displayed permanently on a wall of one of the school's main buildings. Students have latitude in the subject matter of their carvings. Common subjects include students' places of origin, favorite sports, interests in music, and meaningful experiences. Carving a plaque is a graduation requirement, and students may not graduate unless they have completed and handed in their plaque[3].


Most of the major campus buildings face The Circle, the School’s most enduring and familiar feature. It was exacted as part of the original campus design by the Olmsted Brothers.

  • Eliot Hall - The main academic and administration building, in which most English, history, and foreign language classes are held. Eliot also houses the Terry Room, a social space for students and waiting room for prospective applicants.
  • Clay Centennial Center - Completed in 2003, it houses state-of-the art laboratories and science and math classes classrooms. The observatory features a Centurion18, an eighteen-inch, reflective optic, research-grade telescope, accompanied by a rooftop observation deck with seven computer-controlled telescopes.
  • Ware Hall - the School’s dining hall and administration building. designed in 1904 by Willard T. Sears[4], the main dining room features flags from every nation represented by a Middlesex student. Ware also houses the Cruz Health Center and the school store. The Student Center (or, “Stu-Fac,” as it is called) is a lounge where students congregate between classes and after study hours.
  • Memorial Chapel - A non-denominational chapel, originally dedicated to the Middlesex graduates who had died during World War I, though later rededicated to also honor those graduates who had given their lives in World War II. Renovated in 2003, the Chapel also features a choral practice space and a pipe organ. The school congregates here to hear a speech by a different senior each week.
  • Warburg Library - Contains more than 37,000 volumes and 100 periodicals. The library is a popular place among students to study throughout the day and during evening study hours. Ongoing exhibits, book talks, and film festivals are held in the Library throughout the year. Students can also borrow DVDs and videos from the Library’s collection.
  • Cornelius Ayer Wood ’13 Arts Building - home to Middlesex’s 400+ seat theatre, where drama productions and biweekly all-school assemblies are held. The building also features two drawing studios, space for set-building, pottery and photography studios, a black box theatre, exhibition galleries, and a woodworking studio, where students carve their plaques.
  • Orr Gymnasium - Houses a fitness center, wrestling room, dance studio, twelve squash courts, Pratt Rink and Atkins Cage, which features two basketball courts. In the Spring, Pratt Rink is converted into four indoor tennis courts. The Middlesex Athletic Hall of Fame is also located here.
  • Athletic Facilities - Two turf fields, six grass fields, baseball and softball diamonds, outdoor tennis courts, and a boathouse. Middlesex facilities have been used by Boston-area college teams, as well as several countries’ national teams, including the U.S. men's soccer team.
  • Bateman’s Pond - Body of water that stretches half a mile from end to end. The crews’ lower boats use the pond for their practices. Students also use the pond for swimming, fishing, and canoeing. Walking trails and bike paths surround the pond and extend into Estabrook Woods.

There are four boys’ dorms and five girls’ dorms. Two or three faculty members live with their families in apartments within the buildings. All dorm rooms are wired for telephone and internet access, and each dorm has a common room equipped with a television and DVD player.

Boys' Houses

  • Bryant-Paine (B.P.)
  • Clay
  • Atkins (Formerly East)
  • Robert Winsor (R.W.)

Girls' Houses

  • Hallowell
  • Higginson
  • Kravis
  • LeBaron Briggs (L.B.)
  • Peabody


Boys' Lacrosse (2005)

For the better part of six decades, the athletic offerings were simple: nearly all of the boys played football in the fall, ice hockey in the winter, and had a choice of baseball or crew in the spring. Over the years, more sports were added and the roster has grown considerably. Middlesex now fields 24 varsity teams.

Underclassmen are required to play three seasons of competitive sport each year. Although upperclassmen's requirements are progressively more lenient, students still participate beyond the minimum sporting requirement.

Middlesex is a member of the sixteen-school Independent School League. In 2005-2006, football, girls' cross country, and girls' crew won New England championships; golf and boys' lacrosse won Independent School League championships; and boys' soccer, boys' hockey, and girls' field hockey each advanced to play in the postseason. As of 2009, the girls' cross country team has won 5 consecutive Division IV New England Championships. In recent years, Middlesex athletes have earned Boston Globe All-Scholastic, All-New England, and All-America honors.[5] From 2000-2009, over 150 Middlesex graduates have gone on to compete in a variety of sports at Division I, II, and III institutions, including Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Stanford University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Boston College, and many NESCAC schools.[6] In recent years, girls' and boy's lacrosse and girls' crew have sent many athletes to compete in college programs.

St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island is Middlesex's traditional rival. Three times a year athletes from the visiting school travel two hours by bus to compete against rival teams. The schools alternate each year to host the games, which conclude each regular athletic season.

Fall Season

  • Cross-Country (|)
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Soccer (|)

Winter Season

  • Alpine Skiing (*)
  • Basketball (|)
  • Dance (*)
  • Ice Hockey (|)
  • Squash (|)
  • Wrestling

Spring Season

  • Baseball
  • Crew (|)
  • Golf (*)
  • Lacrosse (|)
  • Softball
  • Tennis (|)
  • Track (*)

(*) -- Denotes Co-ed teams (|) -- Denotes separate boys and girls teams

Music and drama

Into the Woods (2005)

For nearly 50 years, Middlesex was renowned for its performances of Gilbert & Sullivan musicals. Today, the school performs at least one major drama and one musical each year. Recent graduates have attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and Carnegie-Mellon University's prestigious acting program.

Almost one fourth of the student body sings in one of the choruses. The Chapel Chorus, which does not require its members to audition, is the school's largest vocal group. Middlesex a cappella groups typically participate in the Wick Choral Festival each February and produce an annual CD of their work.

The Middlesex Jazz Orchestra plays jazz of various eras and composes its own pieces, which are then played at school functions. Work is recorded and produced on a CD each year.

"Rank by Rank" (Hymn 26) is the school's official hymn. However, "Jerusalem" (Hymn 110), in spite of its obvious religious undertones, is the school's preferred hymn. It is sung at the conclusion of nearly every chapel meeting.

Middlesex School also is the site for Middlesex School Summer Arts (MSSA), a summer arts camp for children ages 9–16.

Recent Theatrical Productions

Heads of School

The Terry Room, Eliot Hall

In its century-long history, Middlesex has been led by only five individuals. Frederick Winsor, founded the School in 1901 and served as Head until 1937. Winsor was followed by Lawrence "Monk" Terry, who headed the school until 1964. David Sheldon was a member of the Middlesex faculty when he was tapped to be the third Head. Under Sheldon's stewardship, the School became coeducational (in 1974) and began admitting students of color. Deirdre Ling became the first female Head in 1990. During her tenure, Middlesex constructed a number of new facilities, added a non-Western language (Chinese) to the curriculum, wired the campus for the Internet, and celebrated the School's centennial. In 2003, Kathleen C. Giles became the fifth Head.

Estabrook Woods Controversy

Estabrook Woods

The Estabrook Woods

The Estabrook Woods is a wild tract of more than 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) of woodland, hills, ledge, and swamp two miles (3 km) north of the Town of Concord.[7] It is the largest contiguous and undeveloped woodland within thirty miles of Boston.[8] However, the woods have a history of human disturbance dating back to the Algonquin Native Americans who used controlled burning to clear tracts of land.[9] Later, colonists cleared much of Estabrook for agriculture and pastures, although vegetation has since rejuvenated.[9]

Henry David Thoreau is intimately associated with this area, which he called Easterbrooks Country. In his October 20, 1857 journal entry, one of several on the woodland, he writes: “What a wild and rich domain that Easterbrooks Country! Not a cultivated, hardly a cultivatable field in it, and yet it delights all natural persons.”[10] The woods are also home to the Estabrook Road, which Minutemen used at the start of the Revolutionary War.[11]

Though accessible to the public, most of Estabrook is privately owned by Harvard University (672 acres) and Middlesex School (180 acres).

Estabrook Site Plan (2004)

The Controversy

In the early 1990s, Middlesex announced plans to develop Parcel A, a 40-acre (160,000 m2) tract in Estabrook, half of which is protected wetland. Over the course of 15 years, Concord residents and a group of Middlesex students and alumni resisted efforts by the school to develop this land. Middlesex argued that the campus needed more athletic fields and tennis courts to compete favorably with rival schools.[12]

Middlesex Graduates for Estabrook and Common Sense, a student group, countered that the intrinsic value of Estabrook outweighed the benefits of developing the land. In particular, they pointed to a 1963 article in the Middlesex Alumni Bulletin in which then-president Lawrence Terry considered the educational resources that the Estabrook Woods offered, especially for biology students.[13] Furthermore, according to a 2000 survey conducted by Common Sense, most Middlesex students opposed the project.[14]

In June 2005, after a $1 million process to gain approval, Middlesex began construction in Estabrook, to be completed in 2007.[15] It included 8 tennis courts, 2 artificial turf fields, sports shelter, and waterless toilets connected to the main campus by a 300-foot (91 m) bridge over protected wetlands. In all, roughly 11 acres (45,000 m2) was developed.[16]

Middlesex trustees previously turned down a $4.5 million offer to fund a joint environmental studies program in Estabrook with Harvard University. Middlesex felt that their share of the offer ($1.8 million) would not be sufficient to fund the program.[12]

In 2017, a conservation restriction on Parcel B (another 40-acre (160,000 m2) tract of land) will expire. Middlesex has not announced plans to develop Parcel B.[16]

Notable alumni

Popular culture


  1. ^ Fortmiller, H Jr. (2003) Find the Promise. The Middlesex School Press. ISBN 0-9726746-0-8
  2. ^ Morgan, Keith N., editor, Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, et al. (2009). Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston.. University of Virginia Press. pp. p. 455. ISBN 978-0-8139-2709-1.  
  3. ^ Middlesex School Handbook
  4. ^ Morgan, Keith N., editor, Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, et al. (2009). Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston.. University of Virginia Press. pp. p. 455. ISBN 978-0-8139-2709-1.  
  5. ^ "Middlesex Athletic Archives". Retrieved 2009-09-08.  
  6. ^ "Middlesex Alumni in Sports". Retrieved 2009-09-08.  
  7. ^ Description of Estabrook Woods, Concord, Mass
  8. ^ Middlesex School Plans in Estabrook Woods
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Barefooted Brooks Clark, Estabrook Woods
  11. ^ Middlesex alums protest school's plan to use Estabrook Woods - The Boston Globe
  12. ^ a b School under fire for taking bite out of woods - The Boston Globe
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ School under fire for taking bite out of woods - The Boston Globe
  16. ^ a b Sally Haeney. Boston Globe. March 5, 2006. Pg 1.

External links



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