Our Academic awards ceremony took place on Friday afternoon in the beautiful church in town. Many students won prizes for their work, reflecting many different types of success in academics over the past year. It was so exciting to see their pride at being recognized before the commuity.
Here is an excerpt of my talk at this event. I hope it provides a flavor of this lovely moment.
“Happiness comes from freedom and freedom comes from courage.” My World History I students will tell you that Pericles said this in describing Athens in its glory, and in Athens courage meant participation in the affairs of the city-state as well as in the military. He describes Athenians as versatile, generous, open; as people who live not only by their laws but also by the unwritten code of morals, as people who banish their cares in athletics and affairs of the spirit, in drama and dance, who value wealth for usefulness rather than ostentation, and who see knowledge and discussion as the precondition for any wise action, chaotic and time consuming as that may be. This courage to be involved requires confidence, education, and the desire to speak up. Dublin School, another little city on a hill, embodies these values too, and I dare say Pericles would commend us for the spirit of participation, of education, and of freedom that we have achieved in this past year of learning together.
This has been an extraordinary year of learning and curiosity at Dublin School. Boundaries between classrooms and athletic fields, the woods, the labs, the dorms and the stages, the practice rooms and study halls have been fluid learning has been happening in so many ways, places, and times. Robotics fostered powerful learning, and so did Chemistry class, birdwalks, jazzrock and portfolio, mountain biking and French and Spanish and Latin, soccerfields and morning meeting, school trips and English classes, Mindfest, film club and Math, AP history and Mayfair. All have stimulated the life of the mind and have all been arenas for learning, and it has been a very joyous year. A sense of fun and exploration has permeated our classrooms through the variety of ways learning has been approached, from the traditional exercises, tests and essays to arts threaded curriculum projects to the challenges of inquiry based learning and even a flipped classroom. And a spirit of learning and hard work have permeated our extracurricular activities from athletics to Model UN and Earth Day. We have hosted a series of seminars for the adults in the community at Dublin this year as well. I have been impressed to find students coming to my office to seek support for learning projects over and above our regular schedule, as intense as it is. Requests for independent studies for courses we can’t offer have come to me to be pursued during the school year, and for the summer, and even for March break. Dublin students are seeking to extend their educations throughout their lives, and this shows that they have found learning to be motivating and meaningful. We are now developing some courses online to help students pursue their education during the summer and the faculty have numerous plans for their own learning too. Dublin School is becoming a center of a much bigger web of learning, less and less limited by time and space, and this is tremendously exciting. For it is true to our mission and true to the time in which we are living that learning is a lifelong process for each of us as we cultivate our talents and sensibilities, our different intelligences, as we hone and create the selves we strive to become and to improve the worlds we inhabit.