Wow, things really ramp up here on campus as we speed into graduation! I just returned from Millinocket, Maine where I spent forty-eight hours with the junior class talking about their senior year and rafting the high waters of the Penobscot River. I like to take this trip every May to start preparing the next class of seniors for helping the faculty to run the school. School culture is important at Dublin, in fact it may be the most important thing, and I want the seniors to be intentional about how they shape and manage that culture.
Have you noticed that we are being forced into a world filled with “likes” and “don’t likes?” I fear that social media is forcing us to lose our sense of nuance, our tolerance for ambiguity, and our willingness to live fully in the present without the need for a photo opportunity.
I may be in the process of becoming a curmudgeon so I will stop there and say that I found it refreshing when the United States’ top Olympic triathlete, Joe Malloy, visited the school last week to talk about his career in endurance sports.
Ella and the "bot."
Wow, what a week! While I catch my breath let me attempt to share with you what I witnessed from my Head of School perspective.
The recent presidential election brought about an unprecedented level of vitriol, hate and anger in our country. As a history teacher I had to go back to the election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to find such a divisive campaign. As an educator I am deeply disturbed by the number of stories coming from college and high school campuses that talk about students being threatened based on their race, gender identity, religion, sexuality and beliefs. Now more than ever schools like Dublin must engage in intense conversation and encourage active listening.
In 2016, Denis Maguire joined the faculty and took over the DUT program with Phinney. Maguire, an accomplished player at Bowdoin had high hopes in his first year. He expected the high level techniques and strategies that he had learned at Bowdoin and in club ultimate to translate instantly to the Dublin field. While some did, most did not, and Maguire realized that the team simply wasn’t ready for what he thought would work. As the 2016 season progressed, Maguire and Phinney refocused on developing throwing fundamentals and implementing a zone defense to counteract the potent offenses that they faced. While the team made progress through 2016, competitive results lagged — games were closer than before but the overall record reflected our inexperience.
If you walk up the stairs to the Wing and Hollow loft, the upstairs open-plan room in one of our boys’ dormitories, you will meet this a builder’s studio. Bordered with snow boots, winter gear, and general storage items, you will see tools, duct tape, coils of wires, and a stunning army-style robotic suit. On recent nights, you will see students in Wing and Hollow marveling at the suit, trying it on, testing its movement function, and helping the designer photograph his work.
Dublin AP Environmental Studies students are partnering with the the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University New England in their Monadnock Ecological Research and Education (MERE) Project. Through several long-term ecological research projects, the MERE Project is working to develop an in-depth understanding of Mount Monadnock’s current ecological patterns and processes. As climate changes in the years to come, the MERE Project will monitor its progression by looking at what changes occur to the composition of the natural communities of Mount Monadnock.
Mayfair Weekend had a new addition this year - The 2017 Parent/Student Dublin Open on the Horgan Tennis Courts. Organized as a kind of round robin doubles tournament, over 20 students, parents and teachers participated in this new favorite. Partners were drawn randomly for each pro-set and the winners were determined by the most games won, regardless of partner. Yates Desel '17, Calvin Bates '17, Owen Morner '18 and Sara Hamilton P'18,P'20 went on to compete in the finals with Calvin and Sara taking the win. A special thank you goes out to Robert Desel P'17 for organizing this inaugural tournament.
One of the options for Seniors at Dublin School is to engage in a year-ong Senior Project. Senior Project offers students the opportunity to engage in rigorous study centered around a question or topic that is of special interest to them. The course has both a scholarly and a creative, or applied, component and students are given college-level expectations of independence, time management, and advanced analytical and creative problem solving.
As the Louise Shonk Kelly Recital Hall is about to undergo renovation, this morning (May 15th) was our traditional Moving Down Day Ceremony where seniors leave Morning Meeting for the last time and the junior class replaces them in the front rows.
Our robotics season is over and yet the planning for next year has already begun. We use the same iterative design in the program that we use for the robot. It starts with a retrospective on what was done in the past, what worked and what didn’t, and what are new areas to explore next time? That’s how the season began last fall and it is how we will prepare for next fall. We had ambitious ideas for this year and although not all of them worked out, both students and mentors learned from the experience. We will use that information to formulate the next iteration of how we proceed.
“Steam powered” is a play on words. The challenge this year for FIRST Robotics was named Steamworks and was a steampunk themed game with dirigible-like air ships. It is also a reference to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and the trending inclusion of arts into the acronym. Innovation requires creativity in order to find a new perspective on problem solving. Math and science are the core of the program and being able to nurture an idea from a formula into a three foot cube of a robot takes imagination!
Imagine being a Freshman in a new school. Imagine walking around after returning from a three-day camping trip, but you are returning to a place where you know no one except those you’ve just bonded with on the trip, but they’ve all gone off to their dorms. You are a day student, and you aren’t sure where to go. You are tired from your recent adventure in the wilderness, your hair is tangled with campfire smoke and unwashed sweat, and you are not sure what to do: call your parents? Check the student center? Meet your fellow Freshmen somewhere?
According to Dublin alumna, Jillian Steele '13 it can. Jillian's work recently took center stage during the senior art show at the Wood-Gerry Gallery at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). A stunning collection of "halter" type necklaces, which would have looked equally at home in a NYC store window on 5th Avenue, Jillian carefully combined leather, stone, metal and wood into wearable art that does more than just look pretty.
When Sophomore Ann Ratta (East Kingston, NH) was 11 she saw an ad in the local newspaper to work at a therapeutic riding barn and instantly knew it was something she needed to do. Unfortunately, she had to put her dream on hold until she turned 14. Now she works at two different programs during summer and school breaks. It is consuming work but Ann can’t get enough of it.
On Sunday, April 30th, a group of 18 Dublin School students, faculty, and even one parent, took part in the Run of the Charles, a 24-mile canoe race on the Charles River, from Dedham, MA to the outskirts of Boston. With so much student interest in Reach the Beach and the Canadian Ski Marathon, this race provided a unique opportunity to round out our extra-curricular endurance offerings. It proved to be a formidable test of strength and will, with miles of slow-moving, upwind stretches of river. In addition to paddling, teams were required to navigate a series of 6 portages, ranging in length from 200 yards to ½ mile.
Paige Brnger a member of the class of 2012, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English to high school students in the Slovak Republic. Page is a Senior at Wheaton College —double majoring in secondary education/teaching and American history, with a minor in art history— and is a May Fellow and Trustee Scholar. At Dublin, Page was a Proctor, won the Community Service Award in 2011 and was committed to theater and crew.
Senior Geoff Erickson (Concord, NH) has been riding horses from before he was born. Geoff’s mother, Martha (leader of the Dublin equestrian program) was still competing and jumping horses when she was six months pregnant with Geoff. Born to the horse, Geoff actually started riding before he could walk. His love of riding and the barn life has led to riding broncos and breaking and training horses.
Almost two years, he decided that riding horses was not enough. Geoff decided he wanted to try Bull Riding, rodeo’s biggest challenge.
When Dublin senior John Sandstedt found a pile of old 16MM film reels above the woodshop, what looked like a bunch of old junk to most people, looked like a worthwhile challenge to John. Having restored old film before; often after rebuilding the associated projectors to view them, John thought the old film could be valuable to the School if he could digitize them. After checking that he had permission to try, John set to work buying the necessary projector components on Amazon, tinkering in his makeshift workshop in his dormitory, all the time following meticulous procedures not to further damage the delicate strips of film.
Kristin M. Schild is a recently minted Dartmouth PhD, whose primary area of focus has been in understanding the ice dynamics of outlet glaciers in Greenland, Alaska and Antarctica through on site measurements and satellite remote sensing. She gave a fascinating talk on her work in remote parts of the world and the life of being a working scientist.
She began by talking about a recent paper that led to cross-over discoveries in her area of study. A group of seismologists were studying earthquakes looking for patterns that would allow them to predict earthquake activity. They found that a number of long wave earthquakes were happening in and around Greenland. Greenland however does not sit on any existing faults. Equally puzzling was the fact that earthquake activity was highly concentrated in the summer months which would not occur due to normal plate activity. A collaboration between glaciologist and seismologists led to a theory that the earthquakes were caused by glacial motion.
Amani Natson, from Hillside, New Jersey, is a self-described “calm, sarcastic” junior who loves Chemistry, Dance, especially jazz, and Lacrosse.
When she was a freshman, she would not have identified herself as a lacrosse athlete, but over the years, she has come to identify herself as a very specific kind of lacrosse athlete: a goalie: the end of the line, the last stop for defense.
Andrew Forsthoefel, author of the newly released book Walking to Listen, has accepted Dublin School’s invitation to speak at graduation this year. Mr. Forsthoefel is an author, speaker, and peace activist living in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. Mr. Forsthoefel is a graduate of the St. Andrews School (where both Mr. Bates and Mr. Brown taught previously) and Middlebury College.