Noble and Greenough School

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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.[2] The current enrollment of 614 students includes a balance of boys and girls.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] Nobles' historic athletic rival is Milton Academy.

Noble and Greenough School
Noble and Greenough School Seal.jpg
10 Campus Drive


United States
TypePrivate, day & boarding, college-prep
MottoSpes Sibi Quisque
Virgil in the Aeneid
("Each person finds hope within himself or herself."[1])
FounderGeorge Washington Copp Noble
HeadmistressCatherine J. Hall, Ph.D.
Number of students~614
Color(s)Navy Blue and White
Athletics conferenceISL
NewspaperThe Nobleman


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 previously been the estate of Albert W. Nickerson. The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.[5] The school discontinued its 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 SchoolEdit

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 NoblesEdit

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.

Former Boston College hockey players, goalie, John Muse (AHL), and forwards, Miles Wood (NHL), Jimmy Hayes (NHL) and younger brother Kevin Hayes (NHL), attended Nobles. Chris Huxley, Harvard Captain

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.

Over the past seven years (2006–2013):[2]

  • 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

Performing artsEdit

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.
  • The Nobles Jazz Aristo-Catz (an advanced and selective Jazz ensemble focused on improvisation.)
  • 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

Visual artsEdit

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).

There is also Nobles magazine, published three times a year for graduates, past and current parents and grandparents, students and supporters of the Noble and Greenough School.[6]

Clubs and organizationsEdit

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.

Outing clubEdit

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.

Affinity groupsEdit

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 GraduatesEdit

Notable alumni of Noble and Greenough include:


  1. ^ "With the Help of Others". September 12, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c
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External linksEdit

Coordinates: 42°15′40″N 71°11′08″W / 42.26111°N 71.18556°W / 42.26111; -71.18556