Buckingham Browne & Nichols

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Buckingham Browne & Nichols
Address 80 Gerrys Landing Road
Town Cambridge, Massachusetts
Country U.S.
Browne & Nichols established 1883
The Buckingham School established 1889
Merger 1974
Conference Independent School League
Type Private coeducational
Religious Affiliation Secular
Grades Pre-K to 12 (on three campuses)
Enrollment 997 [1]
Student-to-teacher ratio 4:1 [2]
Average SAT score 2000 [3]
Accreditation NEASC [4]
Nickname BB&N
Mascot Knight
Colors Blue & Gold
Motto Honestas, Litterae, Comitas ("Honor, Scholarship, and Kindness")
Song Jerusalem
Magazine The Point of View
Newspaper The Vanguard
Yearbook The Perspective
Website www.bbns.org

Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, often referred to as BB&N, is a private day school on three campuses in Cambridge, Massachusetts, educating students from pre-kindergarten (called "Beginners") to 12th grade. BB&N was established by the 1974 merger of two independent schools, Buckingham School, founded in 1889, and Browne & Nichols School, founded in 1883.[1] The Upper School, grades 9–12, is located at 80 Gerry's Landing Road on the banks of the Charles River. The Middle School, grades 7–8, is on Sparks Street, and the Lower School, grades pre-K–6, is on Buckingham Street. Boston Magazine ranked BB&N #5 in a list of the top private high schools in greater Boston for 2009 and, in late 2007, the Wall Street Journal listed BB&N as one of the 50 best schools in the world for its success in preparing students to enter top American universities.[2][3] BB&N received another kind of attention in 2006 when Forbes magazine found it to be the ninth most expensive private school in the country, the only day school in the top ten.[4] The school has produced three of the 27 Presidential Scholars from Massachusetts since the inception of the program in 1964 and is a member of the G20 Schools group.[5]


The "Bivouac", a ten-day camping trip at the school's property in Harrisville, New Hampshire, at the beginning of each freshmen year is a 56-year tradition.The freshman class is bussed up to the Bivouac location (the former Camp Marienfeld) near Mount Monadnock. Students cook over open fires, bathe in a lake, build latrines, and participate in nature hikes and ropes courses, while getting to know their classmates.[6] The original Bivouac was at a site in Maine made available to B&N through a faculty member, Gibby Graves.


BB&N is home to a school newspaper (The Vanguard), a political opinion magazine (The Point of View), and a school art and literature magazine (The Spectator).

The Vanguard[edit]

BB&N's newspaper, the Vanguard.

The school's official student-run newspaper, The Vanguard regularly wins gold medals from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a for-profit section of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism that offers "critiques" of print publications for a yearly fee.[7] Founded in 1973 by John Decker, the school-funded paper publishes eight issues a year. Repeating monthly features include Notable Quotables, Horns & Halos, Readers Respond, 5 Things, and Face-Off. The paper features on- and off-campus news, features, arts, sports, cartoons, editorials, photos, and columns.

The editor at large of The New Republic, Peter Beinart, is a former Vanguard writer, Mindy Kaling was the comedic (and often cutting) back page columnist for two years, and former Harvard Crimson President and current Wall St. Journal contributor Lauren Schuker served as Editorials Editor. The Vanguard has featured interviews with Bill Clinton, Howard Dean and Sylvia Poggioli, an alumna of the school. Stephen Burgard, director of the Northeastern Univ. School of Journalism, was among the staffers for the paper's B&N predecessor, The B&N News.

The Point of View[edit]

The official political opinion magazine of BB&N is "The Point of View," or POV, and is BB&N's only full color publication. Publishing a magazine each trimester, the POV is entirely student run. The POV's major sections are "The News," in which student writers contribute their opinions on large news stories of recent times, "Food for Thought," in which writers contribute pieces that are thought provoking, "Controversy," in which students voice their opinions on highly controversial issues, and "Opinion," in which the POV's columnists and the occasional writer contribute articles on a range of topics. With the exception of a few contributors, the POV's writers are for the most part liberal, which is reflective of the political leanings of the school (The POV's final page is home to a column, "Rebuttal," in which one of the POV's conservative writers voices his or her opinion on a topic).

The Spectator[edit]

The official arts and literature magazine of BB&N is "The Spectator," which has often included many pieces recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The Spectator prints twice a year and is entirely student run. Unlike BB&N's other publications, The Spectator accepts submissions rather than having writers (or artists). Submissions are reviewed by the staff of The Spectator without looking at the name of the student who submitted the work. In past issues, The Spectator has accepted musical submissions by adding a page of photographable codes that lead viewers to a YouTube page where the student performance is shown.

The Spark[edit]

The Spark is the newspaper for the BB&N Middle School. It is published 4 times per year and is written entirely by students.


BB&N's Nicholas Athletic Center from the side.
The entrance to the Nicholas Athletic Center.

Participation in sports is mandatory at BB&N, though students can obtain waivers under some circumstances. A member of the Independent School League, the school has a traditional rivalry with the Belmont Hill School.


The team has won several ISL championships for basketball. Both the girls and boys team have combined to see nine 1,000 point scorers and many players go on to play at the collegiate level.


The name of the school's rowing team, the Knights, has its origins in a 1920s Boston Globe article which referred to the team, undefeated against the likes of Harvard, MIT and Kent School, as "the Black Knights of the Charles" – a reference to the rowing team of the United States Military Academy, the "Black Knights of the Hudson."[citation needed] In addition to taking the team name, Browne & Nichols also took black and white as its colors after the article. Buckingham School's colors, blue and gold, were made official school colors after the merger. Currently, the men's rowing team of BB&N still retains its historic black and white colors, contrary to the colors of other existing teams. The Browne & Nichols crew program is one of the oldest high school crew programs in the nation, with a reputation for a high level of competition and speed. The school was the first American schoolboy crew to win the Henley Royal Regatta in Henley-on-Thames, England, winning the Thames Challenge Cup in 1929.[8][9] The Washington Post commented:

"The Thames Challenge Cup, prize of England's famous rowing tournament, was captured today by eight young thumbnail oarsmen from the Browne and Nichols School...The American boys, after each victory, gave a fine display of school spirit and overflowing "pep" which added to their already great popularity on the river...Their success was the more impressive when it is considered that the average age of the oarsmen is younger than the average of their defeated rivals. The boys will be received by the American Ambassador at London Monday and then will begin an educational tour of England."[10]

Under the tutelage of coach Kathy Smith, BB&N Girls crew won the League Championship and set a course record in 1993.


Over the years, one of BB&N's most successful sports has been baseball. The team has won multiple ISL titles and there are many college baseball rosters with former BB&N baseball players. Probably BB&N's most well known alum for his athletics, Zak Farkes, is currently in the Boston Red Sox minor league organization at Single A Greenville, SC. MLB pitcher Rich Hill trained on BB&N facilities during the summer of 2006, and ESPN's Peter Gammons credited his training there with his improved performance (and specifically change up) the following season. They continued their success by winning ISL titles in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, the knights finished their season at 23–0, going undefeated for the first time in school history.


The BB&N Fencing Team competes against private and public school teams and clubs throughout Massachusetts. The team was started by Jeff George ('02), who brought the idea to Rick Forsteire, the athletic director at the time. These discussions took place in the spring of 1999, and the initial foil squads were formed that fall. The team fields Épée, Sabre, and Foil squads for both men and women. Over the years, the team has had numerous individual state champions, a national Division III champion and, in 2013 and 2014, won the Massachusetts High School State Championship.


The co-ed Golf team won their first ISL Kingman Tournament title in 2008. The team has produced three individual Globe All-Scholastic winners (MVP of the league award) and three individual ISL Kingman Tournament champions.[citation needed]


In 2004, the boys' tennis team won the New England Class B Tournament [6] and in 2005, the tennis team won the ISL Championship. The tennis team finished second in the New England Class B Tournament in 2007.[ISLTennis.com]


An interior view of the Nicholas Athletic Center.

In 2004, the boys' soccer team, led by head coach Jesse Sarzana, won the New England Class A Championship. The soccer team won the first outright ISL title in school history in 2007 on their way to a class A finals appearance. The team won their second ISL championship in 2009 but lost in the class A semi-finals.


Since 2006, the varsity football team has a combined record of 48–10. In 2006, they won the NEPSAC Class B Super Bowl by defeating previously undefeated Canterbury, 22–8. They were 8–1 the following season but were not invited to a bowl game due to their presence in the Class B and Class D bowls in two of the previous three years. In 2008, BB&N responded with a perfect 8–0 season, and went on to win the NEPSAC Class A Super Bowl and ISL Title by defeating Lawrence Academy, 20–13. As a result, they finished the season ranked 4th nationally in prep school polls.[11] "It is a tradition of excellence" – The Boston Globe. The Knights went 7–0 in the 2009 campaign before hosting a rematch with Lawrence Academy, 7–0 at the time also, for the ISL Championship. The Spartans were able to avenge the previous year's defeat to the BB&N Knights, prevailing 28–26 to capture the ISL title and qualify for placement into the 2009 NEPSAC Class A Bowl Game. This win derailed BB&N's hopes of repeating as ISL Champions and completing back-to-back undefeated seasons. The 2010 edition of the Knights finished 8–1 after cruising to a 35–14 win over Rye Country Day School in the NEPSAC Jack Etter Bowl, named for BB&N's long time athletic director. Numerous BB&N alumni have gone on to play college football, many at the Division I level, at schools such as Boston College, Northwestern, Wake Forest Duke, as well as numerous Ivy League and other FCS-level schools.

Other sports[edit]

In 2004, the varsity sailing team was undefeated in the regular season. In the past four years, BB&N wrestling has had 6 league champions, 4 league runners-up, and multiple league placers, and has had multiple representatives at the national tournament and New England tournament.

Notable alumni[edit]

Browne & Nichols[edit]



Virginia Pye, class of 1978, fiction writer, author of River of Dust

Vytas J. Basksys, class of 1978, concert pianist


  1. ^ "Buckingham Browne & Nichols". Buckingham Browne & Nichols. 2008. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  2. ^ "Boston Magazine Ranking". Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Wall Street Journal Feeder Schools". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "America's Most Expensive Private High Schools". Forbes. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Presidential Scholars". presidentialscholars.org. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Freshman Bivouac". Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Columbia Scholastic Press Association presents 1987 Scholastic Gold Circle Awards". Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Columbia Beaten by English Crew ... Browne & Nichols Wins.", Special Cable to the New York Times, The New York Times, July 6, 1929. p 9.
  9. ^ "BOSTON PREPS CAPTURE CUP IN HENLEY REGATTA.", The Chicago Daily Tribune Chicago, Ill.: Jul 7, 1929. ; p. A4
  10. ^ THAMES BOAT FEATURE TO U.S. LADS; Brown-Nichols School Wins Challenge Cup in Upset.", The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Jul 7, 1929. ; p. M16.
  11. ^ "Prep Schools High School Football". Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  12. ^ Robert Fiske's Biography
  13. ^ BOSTON BALLET ANNOUNCES NEW APPOINTMENTS. The Boston Globe. Boston, Mass.: Aug 16, 1989. p 81.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′45″N 71°07′47″W / 42.3791°N 71.1296°W / 42.3791; -71.1296