In May of 2019, MSB students and staff culminated their year-long Capstone Project on lives and works of American authors. Focusing on the Transcendentalist movement, the group visited important locations in and near Boston, Massachusetts. Capstone 2019, Author Studies: Lives, Works and Influence, was designed to introduce students to American authors of the 19th-20th centuries. Additionally, it aims to give students an opportunity to delve into the author’s lives and works. Students would gain an understanding of the impact time, place and current (now historic) events had on their writings. Additionally, students explored the influence of these authors’ writing had and continue to have on society. All Capstone participants:

  • Read a minimum of two (2) books/works by the author from the approved list;
  • Researched and wrote an Author’s Portrait highlighting the author’s life, works, influence and impact history had on their writings;
  • Used and accurately sited multiple, high-quality, primary and secondary sources to research the author and his/her work;
  • Completed and presented a polished, cumulative, multi-media presentation using the HoverCam Pilot 3 Digital Podium HCP3 system to introduce their author;
  • Participate in the on-site component in Massachusetts to be immersed in the world of 19th and 20th century authors.


Authors studied in 2018-2019 included:  Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Author Miller.


Research Groups:


Henry David Thoreau:

Ms. Arnold, Mr. Haley, Mia, Malikye, Nicole and Hunter undertook the study of complex thinker and writer Henry David Thoreau.  Their first challenge was reading Thoreau’s Walden, and developing an understanding of Thoreau’s transcendentalist philosophies. Next, they explored how he applied them to his life during his time living on Walden Pond. The group further read and researched extensively including Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. While on-site we had the opportunity to experience the life Henry David Thoreau loved.  We saw a replica of the home he built for himself. We hiked in the woods where Thoreau wandered, fish where he fished, and swm where he swam. And we can all say, we agree with Thoreau who said:

"We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the site of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying tress, the thunder-cloud and the rain." - Henry David Thoreau 


Nathaniel Hawthorne:

Zyshaun, Khylie, Rylea and Lexie undertook the study of Nathaniel Hawthorne under the guidance of Ms. Goodsite. The group read The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. They explored themes of Transcendentalism, conflict, morality and ethics, alienation from society, fate, family, justice and judgment, and religion. While on-site, we toured the House of Seven Gables that served a s the setting of Hawthorne's famous book. We were struck by the great wisdom of Hawthorne that we learned about throughout this tour, including our favorite quote:

"Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not."-Nathaniel Hawthorne


Louisa May Alcott:

Mrs. Popp, Ms. Oestricker, Anastasia, Thomas, Kiwan, Ravin and Svetlana undertook studied author, feminist, and abolitionist Louisa May Alcott.  Students enjoyed exploring Alcott’s classics starting with:  Little Women. While on-site we had the opportunity to tour the Alcott house in Concord. There, we learned more about her fascinating life, friendships with Emerson and Thoreau, and her lasting impact on our society.  While exploring her world, we've learned so much, we aren't surprised that Alcott said,

"Education is not confined to books, and the finest characters often graduate from no college, but make experience their master, and life their book." -Louisa May Alcott


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Mr. Doyel, Mrs. Cusumano, Noelle, Nathan and Chloe undertook the study of the America’s Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Students enjoyed exploring Wadsworth’s classics including Paul Revere’s Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and The Courtship of Miles Standish.  While on-site we had the opportunity to see visit Paul Revere’s house. We also saw Old North Church and the famous bell tower where Paul Revere hung his famous lantern. We spent the day exploring the sites along the Freedom Trail, and can’t help but agree with Longfellow who said:

"Lives of great men all remind us.  We can make our lives sublime.  And departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Arthur Miller:

Mr. Mueller, Mr. McKeown, Ms. Hart, Jalan, Leigah, Dionna and Neil undertook the study of play-write Arthur Miller. Students studied Miller’s modern interpretation of the Salem Witch trials through The Crucible. They also explored the time and culture Miller was living in when he wrote his famous play. We visited the Rebecca Nurse Homestead and heard the story of the old, sickly woman hanged for witchcraft. We visited the Salem Witch Museum and learned about the Hysteria, 15 months February 1692-May 1693. During this time about 200 people were accused of witchcraft, 19 of whom were found guilty and executed by hanging. Additionally, a man was crushed to death by rocks during interrogation and at least five people died in jail

  Of his play, The Crucible, Arthur Miller said,

"The Crucible became by far my most frequently produced play, both abroad and at home.  Its meaning is somewhat different in different places and moments.  I can almost tell what the political situation in a country is when the play is suddenly a hit. There it is either a warning of tyranny on the way or a reminder of tyranny just past." - Arthur Miller