Brown School Student Profiles


John Thomas, Salutatorian, Somerville High School
John Thomas is an exemplar of a dedicated student-athlete. He is an avid runner and member of the Somerville Cross Country and Track teams, serving as Captain for the last two years. He was on the 4x400 team that won the Division 1 MA championships and qualified for the national meet in New York. John has also contributed to the community through running, most significantly co-organizing and running the 2010 Cross Mass Trek that raised $3,000 for the Somerville Homeless Coalition. John’s achievements extend into the classroom. His grades have placed him as the #2 student in the Class of 2011, and earned him membership in the National Honor Society, and status as an AP Scholar with Distinction. John will begin studying engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Fall, where he will also continue to run track.


Kyler Evitt: Harvard, UPenn, and Brown University all recognized that Kyler Evitt (Brown School Class of 2003,  Somerville High School Class of 2009) is a self-motivated individual who can do anything he sets his mind to. As a student, athlete, actor and participant in the vocational program at Somerville High School, Kyler had a diverse high school experience that is typical of what is available in Somerville.  Kyler shares a genuine appreciation for the wide array of classes and educational opportunities, from Advanced Placement choices to technical career courses like Drafting, available in the Somerville Public Schools; Kyler is also appreciative of the diverse student body which prepared him to interact socially and professionally with people of many different backgrounds. Kyler, who started at Brown University in the Fall of 2010, remembers that Somerville High School was "big enough to include students of all kinds, but small enough to encourage positive exchange and companionship between each." Kyler participated in Track and Cross Country teams, the National Honor Society, and various clubs such as the Science League and the Future Teachers of America. His experiences in the Somerville Public Schools also nurtured in Kyler a passion for giving back. "I want to teach because I like sharing what I know. I have lived in Somerville all of my life and have watched it grow and develop, and now I want to play a role in working towards an even brighter future for my city."

Maya Nitzberg, Brown School Class of 1998, Somerville High School Class of 2004 Maya Nitzberg (UMass Amherst Class of 2008) wants to be a leader in her community. Currently working as the Coordinator of the Afterschool Program at Somerville's Winter Hill Community School, she sees herself as "someone students can connect too, someone who strives to motivate students to do and be the best that they can be." Maya says her commitment to community and her identity as a leader was encouraged in the small, warm environment of the Brown School. It gave her a perspective on the world not just on Somerville." Her favorite memory is of creating a rainforest in the hallway at the Brown School. "This made me feel like part of a community at the smallest level, the hallway level." Maya continues, "At the Brown School everyone knew everyone, and the teachers really cared about my progress."

Maya went on to attend Somerville High School where she was involved in many activities such as being a peer mediator, student government, drama, the musical as a costume designer as well as volunteering. She remembers the feelings of school spirit and how kids would come together at sports games and class assemblies, demonstrating their pride in their community; "Everyone appreciated each others' diversity," Maya reflects. The value of diversity in education influences Maya's work for the Somerville Public Schools. "Bringing the student body together and creating a positive environment is what I strive for here at the Winter Hill. It is an amazing experience to work with a population coming from all over the world: Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Brazil and India are just a few places we represent. Through events such as our annual Talent Show and Multicultural Festival, students from grades Kindergarten-8th Grade can come together and are reminded of how diverse this school is and leave prouder to be part of this eclectic and supportive school-community. Last year, our Multicultural Festival brought over 100 families together in our school cafeteria. There was dancing, student performances and samples of food from all over the world. Ultimately, celebrating diversity among our students will cultivate an understanding of varying perspectives from different backgrounds and they will learn to function in a multiethnic, multicultural environment with an open mind and an open heart."

Josh Glenn Kayden’s love of music was nurtured at the Brown School: When I was in fourth grade I remember the Strings Teacher, Ms. Ranucci, coming to my class with many different types of instruments. She demonstrated them all for us, and encouraged us to try them too. We made horrible sounds, but she told us all we were doing great. I don’t remember why I chose the cello on that day (maybe because you got to sit down while you played it), but I DO remember Ms. Ranucci cultivating our curiosity and making us feel like we had accomplished something musical on that first day when we sawed away at the instruments. Josh Glenn Kayden graduated from Somerville High School in 2008 and is studying education and theater at Tufts University.

Leonard Traini, Brown School Class of 1963

"I never felt threatened, always felt safe, and knew I was in the good hands of outstanding teachers who were monumental in preparing me for the future," reflects Leonard Trani, a graduate of Somerville's Brown School, the former Western Junior High, and a member of the Somerville High School Class of 1969. After a 32 year career as an Airline Steward, Trani influenced by his teachers in Somerville, achieved his goal of becoming an English teacher. He has since taught at Lawrence and is about to complete an additional year at Methuen. He often thinks about Somerville and what a "kick" it would be to end his working career in the same place that helped him launch into one. "I relish the education I received in Somerville. My teachers required me to take an active role in my education. Long before the Internet, I was part of a generation that had to go to the library on the way home from school in order to get information. I'm glad they instilled in me the need of taking on that personal responsibility and ownership in order to have a promising future."

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Uploaded on August 12, 2009, 1:10 pm