Coming up on 25 years since he graduated from MICDS, Emmy-award winning actor Sterling K. Brown ’94 wanted a taste of what life is like on campus today. Between reuniting with former teachers, coaches and classmates; seeing the new facilities; and meeting current students, we’d say his day was jam-packed with all the feels (on our end, it was almost like watching an episode of NBC’s This is Us, if we’re being completely honest. Some of us even packed the tissues). Here’s a play by play of what happened.
Sterling took a tour of campus, where he stopped at places both familiar and new. His first stop—McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall, the new state-of-the-art STEM facility.
He was impressed with the new digs, especially Brauer Auditorium, where the entire Upper School campus now gathers for assemblies. He imagined what it might be like to be a student at MICDS today. The opportunities are endless!
From right outside McDonnell Gymnasium, Sterling caught a glimpse of the beautiful new Steward Family Aquatic Center, a 27,505 square-foot structure that honors the architectural context of McDonnell Gymnasium. It’s home to the William R. Orthwein Sr. Pool, a 40-meter by 25-yard pool featuring a 10-lane stretch pool with a moveable bulkhead for simultaneous uses. Sterling thought all those things were pretty cool.
Right outside the pool is the new MICDS Hall of Fame, where Sterling was greeted by a few star-struck students. He certainly made their day!
During his time with students, in walked Carolyn Hood, one of MICDS’ longstanding Upper School drama teachers who taught Sterling. The two of them had a wonderful time reminiscing and talking about all things life and theater. We can tell there is still a bond between them—the perfect example of that strong teacher-student relationship we hold dearly here at MICDS.
Speaking of strong teacher-student relationships, in a separate visit, Sterling saw his other drama teacher, Patrick Huber, who also still teaches at MICDS. The smile on Sterling’s face says it all, and it was as if no time had passed between them.
Between the Hall of Fame and a trip to the fields, there were a lot more smiles, hugs and selfies shared by all.
From there, Sterling had the chance to visit the new James A. Baur ’69 Press Box, Ron Holtman Stadium and O’Hara Field. He was even met with a few surprises. In the press box, he was greeted by Athletic Director Josh Smith, who projected one of Sterling’s yearbook football photos onto the field’s big screen. That alone gave Sterling a good, hearty laugh! Of course, how fitting—Sterling’s football number was 25, which coincides with the number of years since he graduated, come 2019. We gifted him with a new jersey to add to his collection of MICDS memorabilia.
During his time on campus, Sterling also had the chance to catch up with former (and legendary) football coach Ron Holtman. They swapped stories from the “good ‘ol days” and chatted about some of the best players who have come through the MICDS football program since then. What a perfect pair!
Next, Sterling stopped by an admission event to speak to a group of prospective Middle School students who were visiting MICDS. He told them some sound advice based on his own experience—to get involved in a variety of different activities, from student government to athletics and theater, in order discover their passions. He advised the students to not just do what comes easy to them, but to discover their passion and follow it.
What’s a trip to MICDS without a stop at the Lower School?! While at Beasley, Sterling surprised and reunited with former classmate and 4th Grade teacher Chris Brennan ’94. The two had a lot to catch up on, and during their walk, they also got to meet a few of Chris’ students. Lucky Beasles!
Finally, Sterling ended his tour where it all began—Orthwein Theatre. Things got pretty real, as he reminisced about his days on stage at Country Day School and MICDS. In fact, Sterling was the first African American student to play a lead role in a School theater performance. His senior year, Sterling played Riff in the Troubadours’ performance of West Side Story. While on stage, Sterling even sang a portion of a song from Godspell—Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.
For both Sterling and us, it was a whirlwind trip through campus to say the least, and we are incredibly grateful for the time he took out of his busy schedule to be with us. We are proud to call Sterling K. Brown one of our own. He truly embodies what we mean at MICDS when we talk about pursuing your passions and living out our bold Mission. Thanks for making our day, our lives and our work here at MICDS brighter, Sterling! And best of luck as you continue your pursuit of purpose and service. This is Sterling. This is MICDS.