Shamrock Weekends always seem to bring good fortune to campus!
May and Tele do not like it when I blog...
Writing in the red chairs.
Frutillar, Chilean Patagonia
I want to tell you a story this morning about a young man who attended Dublin School many years ago and died as a result of wounds he received fighting in Vietnam, about his devoted younger brother Jack, about a Dublin headmaster who never forgot, and about a 1970 muscle car called a Chevrolet Chevelle.
When I first arrived at Dublin in the summer of 2008 Mr. Fox, the acting and interim Headmaster of Dublin School invited me and everyone else who was on campus that July day to an informal ceremony in the School House. There, Mr. Fox reached into his pocket and pulled out a key and said, “congratulations, the keys to the school are yours.” I felt a real weight at that moment, a weight that would only grow as I looked around the School House and asked Mr. Fox about the five names inscribed on the hearth in the School House living room. “Those are the names of the Dublin School boys who died in World War Two, in the very early days of the school.”
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.
The "A" Team.
Jenny teaching ballet class.
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.
Faculty Professional Development
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.
Sunrise on Wight Ski Hill.
In the Class C NEPSAC Championship races the top five boys and girls from eleven schools including Dublin School, Ethel Walker School, Pingree, New Hampton, Worcester Academy, Wilbraham and Monson Academy, Bancroft, Bradford Christian School, Gunnery, Cushing Academy and Vermont Academy competed in both slalom and GS at Wachusett Mountain. Dublin’s preparation and training showed great results winning podium finishes in both classes with the girls placing third overall and the boys placing second overall. Dublin Wildcat’s Mya Kerwin (Hancock, NH) won the giant slalom and came in second in the slalom. Silas Howe (Amherst, NH) finished 4th in GS and 12th in slalom. Sean Brown (Hampton Falls, NH) was 10th in GS and 8th in slalom.
Outspoken and opinionated, Amy Lowell was famous for breaking boundaries. Unafraid of controversy, she lived life on her terms. Contemporaries described her as an electric amateur actress who dominated a room but who was also handicapped by her physical appearance. Short and overweight from a glandular imbalance, she was famous for smoking cigars continuously.
This winter, eight Dublin students have spent part of each night curled up with Moby-Dick, a book famous for inducing seasickness in even the strongest stomachs. The story--an "ungodly, godlike" captain desperate to wreak vengeance on the sperm whale that took his leg--has drawn the class into deep waters: history, biology, psychology, religion, metaphysics, allegory...all subjects have a place aboard Herman Melville's Pequod.
On February 1st, the search for the famed "White Whale" finally overflowed its two covers and led its pursuers south to New Bedford, Massachusetts, home of the world-renowned Whaling Museum.
“I took as little math as possible in high school and college,” says Mr. John Emerson, Algebra Instructor, and Learning Specialist. “While I didn’t struggle with arithmetic, I really struggled with math.”
Emerson has been teaching high school algebra for twelve years now— “and [he] still get[s] frustrated with precalculus problems!” he adds.
Every winter, Dublin School—alongside many New Hampshire public, private, parochial, and home schools—submits work to the Scholastic Writing Awards. The Scholastic Writing Awards invites students across the state to submit work in categories ranging from critical essay to flash fiction to poetry to science fiction and fantasy and more. After students blindly submit work, panelists search for works that “best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.” This year, of over 780 submissions, only approximately 160 pieces received distinction.
“People ask me what I like to do, and I say that I like to fly helicopters,” says Miles Morgan,’18. “And it seems so wild to people that this eighteen-year-old is flying.”
“I’ve always been interested in flying,” he says. “I’ve liked reading about it, looking at pictures, and every family vacation somehow took us to the Air & Space Museum because I wanted to go. But I always thought it would be an impossible feat for me to actually become a pilot.”
On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick visited Dublin School. In a wide-ranging conversation with Head of School, Brad Bates, they discussed Governor Patrick's upbringing, life and the impact of education. They first met when Brad was a young faculty member at St. Andrew's School where he taught Governor Patrick's daughter.
Head of School Brad Bates competed at the Nordic Masters World Championships in Minneapolis MN on January 21st and 22nd. The Masters World Cup is only held once every ten years in the United States and this year's location gave Brad an opportunity to fulfill a long-term goal and to visit some alumni in the upper mid-west. In fact, former head and Dublin founder's son, Michael Lehmann, flew in to serve as a part of Brad's support team for his two day's of racing.
Max Clary ’10 has used the challenges and tragedies in his own life to motivate him to help others. By the age of 12, Clary had lost both of his parents; his father died of suicide when Max was very young, and his mother, who had struggled with drug addiction, was killed by her boyfriend. In adolescence, Clary’s own life started spiraling out of control. “I began using drugs, got into trouble, and started failing out of school”. Max resolved to turn his life around, and won a scholarship to the Dublin School.
On Monday, January 15th, Dublin students took over morning meeting to present an eloquent statement on Martin Luther King's life and legacy. Celeste Hopson (Newark, NJ), Emma Williams (Concord, NH), and Amani Natson (Vauxhall, NJ) started by talking about King's example of love, forgiveness, and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
Then over 20 students read Langston Hughes poem - Let America Be America Again.
The Writing Center is run by eleven juniors and seniors who are dedicated to helping other writers develop as writers. These eleven tutors, some of whom have been involved with the Writing Center for three years, went through a training process that involved learning about the Center’s goals, studying The Task’s eight principles, talking through potential scenarios, reviewing grammar and punctuation rules, and practicing tutoring with mock tutoring sessions.
During the last week of winter break, while the snow forecast looked increasingly ominous, the temperatures plummeted, and the winds began to howl, many in the Dublin area readied themselves for work days inside, fortified by walls of snow.
Dublin’s History Department—Mr. Lindsay Brown, Department Chair, along with Ms. Sarah Doenmez, Academic Dean, Ms. Michelle Knapp, History Instructor and ESL Director, Mr. Rodrigo Villaamil, History Instructor, and Mr. Brooks Johnson, History Instructor and Dean of Students—braved the subzero weather and took off for Washington, D.C. At first, their flight was canceled, but they were very determined to get to their destination; in fact, most of them left Dublin at 4 am, driving through the snow-slicked streets, to make their rescheduled flight.
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton's mother told him to cut the grass. He thought he would put it off until the next day until his mother made it clear that she expected him to do it that afternoon. He idolized his mother and trudged out to start the mower. It would be the last time he would cut his mother's lawn for almost 30 years.
Better known to us as Nico’s (2019) dad, Enrique “Ricky” Posner added another dimension to his Dublin relationship when in June of 2017 he was named to the Dublin School board of trustees. Ricky is very familiar with the prep school experience having graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall (where his brothers also attended) and where Nico’s sister is a junior.
In joining the Dublin board, Ricky said: “I am thrilled to have an opportunity to get closer to the school.” Likewise, we are delighted to have him and look forward to all he can contribute to our school. Ricky brings an international perspective to Dublin’s trustee leadership team. He and his wife Isabel live in Madrid Spain, but now are splitting their time between there and NYC. He is an entrepreneur and investor with experience in a variety of start-up ventures in the fields of wireless communications, software development, 3D animation, biotechnology, and e-commerce. Ricky is a director of Anglo Scientific, Phasor Solutions, and Microtest Diagnostics.
Dublin School’s Math Tutoring Program does not have a home base or an office; it exists everywhere on campus. It is two students settled into the corner of the Schoolhouse, reviewing homework problems over hot cocoa, besides flickering fireplace flames; it is two students working in a math classroom in the PRISM Building after dinner time, when the campus is quietly studying; it is two students meeting in the Dining Hall’s cafe, asking questions over pencil-scratched notes and Dublin’s famous “Wrap Day” wraps.
P.J. O’Rourke, famous satarist and father of Olivia O'Rourke '19 (a member of the Dublin Nordic Ski Team) recently appeared on the NPR’s popular quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” The conversation turned to the Winter Olympics in Korea and the safety concerns over the Olympics being held in South Korea, when PJ said, “Glad I don’t cross-country-ski.”
The last week of December before Holiday Break was full of poetry. The Fountain Arts Building corridors conducted echoing strands of Emily Dickinson’s, Langston Hughes’, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s, Simon Ortiz’s, and Helen Mort’s poetry. Students stood in stairwells, on stages, and in locker groves to recite with their friends and classmates.
At Dublin, all English 11 and AP English Language and Competition courses do a three-and-a-half week unit on Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition that holds competitions in every state. As the organization advertises, since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers across America. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom audition level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals. Contestants are evaluated for their voice and articulation, physical presence, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.
“None of my schools have ever been the same,” says Adunni Abrams ’18.
“I experienced four different types of schools, two of which gave me polar opposite experiences,” she says. “In one, Poly Prep, I was the only black kid in a predominantly white school. In another, North Star Academy, I was a black kid who didn’t have the same cultural experiences as my classmates. Even though I went to school with people who looked like me, I felt like a stranger. At Maple Leaf International School, I was with a bunch of white kids who acted more Trinidadian than I did, and attending that school helped me acknowledge stereotypes.”
“This isn’t a robot. [...] This is a lesson in humility, hard work, and collaboration [...] This is the Rosetta stone to help translate the future [...] It’s a machine to build the people who will change the world,” says the voice in a FIRST Robotics video, cutting to images of high schoolers from all over the world cheering each other on, solving problems, gathered over a control panel, building together.
The All-State Music Festival is a three-day event held in April at the Capital Center for the Arts which features the most talented young musicians in the state. The festival is sponsored by the New Hampshire Music Educators Association and highlights musicianship in three different disciplines - choral, concert band, and orchestra.
In order to qualify, students are required to audition in a massive audition weekend in late November. The audition process is like a scene out of America Has Talent, where hundreds of students are in the same room, warming up, judging the competition, trying to calm their nerves and preparing for their evaluation moment. Over 2000 musicians are then winnowed down to 120 choir members, 80 concert band members, and 50 orchestra members.
On Friday, December 1, Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama performed at Dublin as a part of the Dublin Inspires series. It was an evening of song and reflection as Saporiti and Aoyama played some of the songs from their long concept work called the No-No Boys. Both performers are of Asian American heritage, and their work reflects the Asian American experience with a particular focus on the incarceration of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. They performed a series of songs, coupled with period photographs, which told the affecting stories of individuals among the 110,000 people who were displaced by Executive Order 9066.
This week, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) announced that Jill Hutchins, Dean of Enrollment at Dublin School, will join its Board of Trustees. TABS is a powerful, far-reaching association that serves boarding schools in the United States, Canada, and around the globe. They declare their mission as such: “The Association of Boarding Schools [...] leads a domestic and international effort to promote awareness and understanding of boarding schools and to expand the applicant pool for member institutions. ... TABS is the voice for independent boarding schools, their historical contribution to our world, and the current and compelling benefits of living and learning in an academic community.”
On Wednesday, November 29th, NH's First Lady Valerie Sununu visited Dublin School for an extended morning meeting.
Mrs. Sununu has an Ed.M. in human development and psychology from Harvard University’s School of Education. Mrs. Sununu maintains a private practice as a learning specialist, focusing on children, ages 3-18. As first lady, Mrs. Sununu works to raise awareness and increase funding for several causes that support education, childhood development, reading, local and small businesses, and addiction recovery.
Jonathan Phinney, Learning Specialist, and English Instructor, was recently published in Saint Ann’s Review. His short story, “A Quiet Story,” begins: “Scott left the house in a rush. Everything was gray and strewn with some kind of debris: the tattered Christmas decorations hanging from unpainted houses, the peeling sign in front of the supermarket, the ripped-up spruce shrubs in front of the bank from the big storm back in November. Even the way the snow banks melted along the sides of the road looked like ruin.”
A lab period in “The Local Landscape” course means wandering through an old growth forest, studying the trees, stone walls, and topography. A lab period means getting outside and asking questions of everything on the horizon.
This is the first year that “The Local Landscape” has been offered at Dublin School. The course creator and instructor, Ms. Katie Curtis, used to teach a similar Geology and Environmental Science course at Falmouth Academy, which led her and her students to explore the beaches of the Cape at least once a week. Here, nestled near the base of Monadnock, Dublin students explore forests, streams, and mountains.
Be sure to thank James Kirk, class of ’08, the next time you select a playlist to work out to at the gym. “I help Spotify build systems that learn how people enjoy music” he says, and then “…use that knowledge to automatically create fun, satisfying listener experiences”. After graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, James moved to Boston where he started working at Spotify as a machine learning engineer.
In locating the new Slopeside Dormitory, we had to remove the old Arts Building which served in recent years as our Outing Club. The Outing Club was home to our Mountain Biking, Nordic Skiing, Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding programs. We originally intended to put the new Outing Club into the basement of the Slopeside Dormitory but thought better due to the impact on the height of the building and the potential for fumes and fire from ski waxing.