Co-ed independent day school in Boston's Back Bay for academically adventurous students in grades 9–12

Past Assemblies

Fall 2023

OCTOBER

  • October 5: Corey DePina, Cape Verdean Musician and Poet; Director of Programs at Zumix

  • October 12: Stan Letarte, Cybersecurity

  • October 19: Carla Brodley '81, Inclusive Computing

  • October 26: Hispanic Heritage Assembly

NOVEMBER

  • November 2: Sharon Grimberg P '23, Documentarian

  • November 16: Mitch Ryerson, Playground Designer

  • November 21: Thanksgiving Assembly

  • November 30: Trio Gaia Ensemble

DECEMBER

  • December 7: Alan Shapiro, Poet; Eric Davis Tribute Reading

  • December 14: Holiday Assembly

Spring 2023

JANUARY

  • January 12: Benjamin Zander, musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Youth Philharmonic Orchestra 

FEBRUARY

  • February 2: Mark Storella, former United States ambassador to Zambia
  • February 9: Projects Assembly
  • February 16: David Altshuler, executive vice president of global research and chief scientific officer at Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • February 23: Jimena Canales, historian of science

MARCH

  • March 9: Tahmid Rahman '13, software engineer, Google
  • March 30: Spanish and Japanese exchange visitor presentations

APRIL

  • April 6: Senior Projects Assembly
  • April 20: Ken Ilgunas, author of This Land is Our Land, Walden on Wheels, and other books
  • April 27: Sarah Millholland, MIT professor of astrophysics

MAY 

  • May 4: Commonwealth Latino Hispanic Association Cultural Fair 

Fall 2022

OCTOBER

  • October 6: Charles Fried, former United States Solicitor General and current Harvard Law professor 
  • October 13: Rabbi Carl Perkins
  • October 20: Zoe Beatty ’09, jewelry designer

NOVEMBER

  • November 3: Christopher Barsi, engineer and physics teacher 
  • November 17: Deborah Rudnick ’90, environmental scientist 
  • November 22: Thanksgiving Assembly, a harvest celebration

DECEMBER

  • December 1: Mneesha Gellman, author and founder of the Emerson Prison Initiative 
  • December 8: Sooyun Coco Kim, flutist
  • December 15: Holiday Assembly, A Saturnalia Celebration

Spring 2022

JANUARY

  • January 4: James Peterson, Mental Health & Wellness Speaker 
  • January 6: Commonwealth Shakespeare Competition 
  • January 11: Poetry Out Loud Competition 
  • January 13: Alec Levenson '84, Economist 
  • January 20: No school, exams

FEBRUARY

  • February 3: Robert Lewis, Jr., Founder and President of The BASE 
  • February 10: Valentine's Assembly
  • February 17: Projects Assembly
  • February 24: Jon Hiatt '66, Former General Counsel and Chief of Staff of the AFL-CIO 

MARCH

  • March 3: Elijah Patterson, Advocate for Incarcerated People with Black + Pink
  • March 17: No school, spring break 
  • March 24: No school, spring break 
  • March 31: Rocky Cotard, visual artist 

APRIL

  • April 7: Projects Assembly, seniors and exchanges
  • April 14: Oliver Homberg, founder of Boston Microgreens
  • April 21: Anita Klaussen, Traveler and Circumnavigator
  • April 28: Peter Der Manuelian, Egyptologist

MAY 

  • May 3: Summer Reading Review
  • May 10: Capstone Presentation
  • May 12:  Chamber Music Assembly
  • May 17: Pre-Hancock Meeting
  • May 24: Capstone Presentation
  • May 26: Acting Assembly 
  • May 31: Capstone Presentation

JUNE

  • June 2: Fiction Assembly

Fall 2021

OCTOBER

  • October 7: Elizabeth Parada, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant
  • October 14: Reverend Irene Monroe, LGBTQ Advocate, Theologian, and Speaker
  • October 21: Steve Liss '73, Documentary Filmmaker    
  • October 26: Simon Gronowski, Holocaust Survivor 

NOVEMBER

  • November 18: Mira Bernstein '89, P'20, Algorithmic Bias Researcher
  • November 23: Thanksgiving Assembly, A Harvest Celebration

DECEMBER

  • December 2: Dr. Carl Wunsch, Oceanography and Climate Change
  • December 9: Wesley Morgan '06, Journalist Covering Afghanistan
  • December 16: Holiday assembly, Making Light

Spring 2021

January   

  • January 7: Shakespeare Competition (Commonwealth students perform Shakespeare monologues in a contest to determine who represents the school at the regional English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition)
  • January 14: Poetry Out Loud

February

  • February 4: Niloofar Haeri '70 (Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Chair in Islamic Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Author of Say What Your Longing Heart Desires: Women, Prayer & Poetry in Iran)
  • February 11: Valentine Assembly
  • February 18: Projects Assembly (Students share their experiences from Project Week)
  • February 25: Marie-Claire Beaulieu & Anthony Bucci (Respectively, Associate Professor of Classics, and Lecturer in Computer Science at Tufts University)

March

  • March 4: Matthew Kraning '04 (Co-founder and chief technology officer of Expanse)
  • March 11: Michelle Wu (Boston City Councillor and declared candidate for Mayor of Boston)

April

  • April 1: William Collis ’03 (Co-founder, Oxygen Esports and Genji Analytics; author, The Book of Esports
  • April 8: Senior Projects Assembly   
  • April 15: Christian Picciolini (Author, White American Youth and Breaking Hate
  • April 22: Sam Brinton (LGBTQ activist and advocate, survivor of conversion therapy) 
  • April 29: Paul Briggs (Sculptor and Teacher)

May

  • May 6: Fiction Assembly (Commonwealth fiction writing students read from their work)
  • May 13: Music Assembly (Commonwealth musicians perform)
  • May 20: Acting Assembly (Commonwealth actors perform)

Fall 2020

September   

  • September 10: Summer Reading Discussion (Student-faculty discussion groups about shared summer reading)
  • September 17: Community Discussions (Student-faculty discussions of school issues)
  • September 24: Roy DeBerry '66 (Executive Director of the Hill Country Project; co-author of Voices from the Mississippi Hill Country: The Benton County Civil Rights Movement)

October

  • October 1: Saida Grundy (Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Boston University)
  • October 8: Judith Sanford Harris '70 (Elder of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe)
  • October 15: Anna Ornstein (Auschwitz survivor, psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, author, speaker, and scholar)
  • October 22: Mark Ludwig (musician and scholar of Entartete Musik, "degenerate music" banned by the Nazis)
  • October 29: Halloween Assembly: A Halloween celebration

November

  • November 5: Sumbul Siddiqui (Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • November 19: Prof. Miranda Fricker (Presidential Professor of Philosophy, The Graduate Center at City University of New York, specializing in moral philosophy, social epistemology, and feminist philosophy) 
  • November 25: Thanksgiving Assembly: A Harvest Celebration

December

  • December 3: William Gross (Commissioner of Police, City of Boston)    
  • December 17: Holiday Assembly: A Celebration of the Season

Spring 2020

January 

  • January 9: Shakespeare Competition (Commonwealth students perform Shakespeare monologues in a contest to determine who represents Commonwealth at the regional English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition.)

February

  • February 6: Eric Ingersoll ‘78 (Managing Director at LucidCatalyst; entrepreneur and consultant focusing on renewables, energy storage, oil & gas, and nuclear, with a special emphasis on advanced nuclear technologies.)
  • February 13: Valentine Assembly
  • February 20: Projects Assembly (Students share their Project Week experiences)
  • February 27: Sandeep Das and Suhail Yusuf Khan (Sandeep is a Grammy-winning Indian tabla player (he played with Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble), and Suhail is a distinguished player of the Indian sarangi.)

April

  • April 2: Major Jackson (Richard Dennis Green and Gold University Distinguished Professor at the University of Vermont and Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review. Author of three collections of poetry, including Leaving Saturn, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle.) 
  • April 9: Senior Projects Assembly
  • April 16: Jacob Kreilkamp '91 (Attorney at L.A. firm of Munger, Tolles, and Olson; Successfully represented gang members against the Orange County District Attorney’s office (OCDA) and Orange Police Department (OPD) for violations of the individuals’ right to procedural due process)
  • April 23: Whitney Phillips (Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Syracuse University; Author of This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture)
  • April 30: Natasha Dow Schull (Cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University; Author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas)

May

  • May 7: Fiction Assembly
  • May 14: Music Assembly
  • May 21: Acting Assembly

Fall 2019

October

  • October 3: Jeri Robinson (Member, Boston School Committee; Retired VP, Early Childhood and Family Learning at Boston Children's Museum; Alumna of the Urban School, a 1960s Commonwealth School program) 
  • October 10: Tara Swart (Bieber) (Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloane School of Business, neuroscientist, medical doctor, author, executive advisor. Author of The Source: The Secrets of the Universe, the Science of the Brain)
  • October 17: Christopher Willard (Dr. Willard leads trainings and workshops nationally and internationally, serving about sixty schools, corporations, hospitals, NGO’s, nonprofits, universities and other institutions annually to integrate mindfulness and positive psychology into their organizations.)
  • October 24: Dr. Rebecca Henderson (John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School in the General Management and Strategy units. Research fellow at NBER. Author of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire)

November

  • November 4: Paul Tough (Author, Speaker, Journalist. Author of The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us.)
  • November 7: Performance of Defamation, Canamac Productions ("The Defamation experience begins with a riveting courtroom drama that explores the highly charged issues of race, class, religion, gender and the law with a twist: your audience is the jury. Defamation is a play that explores the highly charged issues of race, religion, gender, class and the law with a twist: the audience is the jury. Through deliberations and post-show discussions, audiences engage in civil discourse that challenges pre-conceived notions." Special schedule will allow for a two hour performance and discussions.)
  • November 14: David Arnold (Photojournalist at Double Exposure, which documents through historical and contemporary photograph the effects of environmental change.)
  • November 27: Thanksgiving Assembly (A Harvest Celebration)

December

  • December 10: Eric Foner (DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University, specializes in the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and 19th-century America. Author of The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution.)
  • December 12: Jaime Cheah '95 (Director, High Throughput Sciences Facility, The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT)
  • December 19: Holiday Assembly (A Celebration of the Season)