Noni Pratt ’76 was one of the first girls at Middlesex School, joining as a new junior the first year the school became co-ed. While she can’t remember the direct inspiration behind her plaque design, an open mouthed bird covered in golden glitter, she did explain a few of the symbols present in the plaque. Noni reflects happily that Middlesex “took theatre and the arts seriously,” and she was heavily involved in these activities during her two years at the school. The inspiration for putting glitter on her plaque came from her role as Ariel in that year’s school play, The Tempest. Ariel was “a sprite figure that sprinkled golden glitter” in the production, and Noni’s connection to the character caused her to dust her plaque in sparkling gold glitter. She noted that adding this glitter was fairly “controversial,” and even though some plaques were done in color, at the time it was unheard of to add glitter.
Noni mentioned that the bird also holds a connection to Ariel and The Tempest, but doesn’t remember exactly what the relation was. The open mouth of the bird is an intentional symbol though, and it represents open communication, specifically the communication between the administration and the girls on campus. Because they were the first group of graduating girls, Middlesex wanted to make sure they were happy and held frequent personal dialogue with the girls. Noni remembers being very appreciative of the “open communication with faculty and administration” that she categorized as “strong, unique, and a product of a particular time in the school’s history.”
It was clear through my conversation with Noni that her plaque has huge symbolic significance for her time at Middlesex. Creatively combining her love for theatre and the arts with her passion for communication, her plaque serves as a unique expression of her short yet impactful time at Middlesex.
-Written by Jivan MX ’16