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Head of School's Blog

Occasional musings from Head of School Brad Bates

Schools With a Soul

During my talk to the community on Carl Von Mertens Day, I spoke about my first visit to Dublin School when I interviewed here in 2007. I was looking to work at a school with a soul, a school that did not feel overly corporate and focused instead on the souls of the people within the community. We notice when places lack a soul but defining what gives a school or community a soul is more complicated.

I felt the soul of Dublin when I first visited and yet could not put my finger on why I felt it. I did sense a unique history, an authenticity, and met people who were fully focused on the growth of the students. The more time I spent at Dublin after starting as head here, the more I saw people like Carl who believed that they were part of something bigger than themselves.  

I give Moxie awards in part because I think they celebrate people, especially our students, who contribute to the soul of the community. Living in a community takes work and sacrifice and it is exciting when we see students learning what it means to be a citizen and community member. They learn that the community will be what we make of it collectively.

This is all a long introduction to a wonderful email I received from an alumna from the Class of 2022. I love receiving reports that students are thriving after Dublin AND also miss Dublin a great deal. We want to launch our students from Dublin into the next chapters of their lives. Here is what I read to the school after passing out some great Moxie awards:

"If you need an idea for an empty morning meeting, maybe read this part of my letter: Please send my love to the community, I miss seeing everyone's smiles. I hope this year is full of joy and laughter and silliness. I hope there are many games of manhunt, morning meeting skits, and building ski jumps on the quad. I hope everyone is exploring, making mistakes, and having lots of type 2 fun. I wish I could see every senior presentation and all the memes taped up in the bathroom and all the inside jokes. Boarders, I hope you're having movie nights and spa days and begging your dorm parents to hijack a bus and take you to Chipotle. Day students, I hope you're making milk and cookies as chaotic as possible, taking trips to Ocean State Job Lots for weird hats, and giving your boarder friends a second home. Dublin is hard, and it will push you, but lean in! The faculty and proctors are truly the best built-in support system you will ever have, so reach out to them! Go on a run with Villaamil, celebrate Chanukah with the Peyton Levines, dance with Ms. Foreman, play Mario Kart with Mr. Kendall, etc. etc. All of this is to say that Dublin is a very special place, and I know that high school is weird and awkward and kinda annoying sometimes, but as far as high school goes, Dublin is pretty good."

ps. I love this painting of an owl by parent Lynn Ostermann and had to use it!