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Ernie Ostine, Facilities Services, 1978–2023

Ernie Ostine, Facilities Services, 1978–2023

A member of the Facilities Grounds and Events team for 45 years, Ernie Ostine has been the longest-tenured member of the grounds team, exceeding his closest colleague by nearly a decade. After emigrating from Haiti, Milton Academy was his first and only job in the United States. I’m also quite sure that he also had the longest first day of anyone sitting here. His first day at Milton, February 8, 1978, was a snow storm; after coming to campus that morning, he did not leave for 72 hours. Actually, he walked to campus in the middle of the storm because he thought if he did not show up, he would no longer be employed here.

Ernie has often shared with colleagues that he truly loves Milton Academy and the opportunities it offers to students. He has always seen the value in what the school provides to everyone who touches it, and wanted to be a part of the school’s success. Ernie also appreciates everyone who works here and the role they play in making the student experience possible. He has always made friends far and wide across campus. Ernie particularly loves senior projects season each year, happily anticipating students’ visits to the facilities garage, where they would ask him about how to fabricate or fix something. Ernie also enjoys sharing his knowledge of how to repair cars with multiple faculty and staff members.

Known for his infectious laugh, his love of people, and his greeting of “Sir” or “Mrs.” to everyone he encountered—his way of demonstrating respect, as he was taught growing up in Haiti—Ernie showed a level of energy and precision in his work that exceeded expectations. The Facilities Department often called him “MacGyver” because he could fix anything with whatever was on hand, even in the middle of a snow storm. This was a skill he brought to Milton after years working in Haiti for oil companies; out on oil rigs, there was no parts store to go to—he just made do with what he had and fabricated his own parts to fix things.

While he could not join us here today, please take a moment in joining me in recognizing Ernie for his extraordinary tenure at our school, as well as his spirit, ingenuity, and commitment to Milton Academy and all it represents. Thank you.

Nick Parnell
Director, Facilities Services

The Community Issue

What do we owe to one another, our communities, and the world? In this issue, we take a look at what “community” means to Milton and the ways in which the school goes beyond the jargon to create genuine, mutually beneficial, lasting connections.