The view from Eagle Rocks, the highest point on campus.
Inside the PRISM Center in the Evans Building.
Skiing to the Dublin General Store!
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.
The first Friday after spring break, the Students of Color Alliance (SoCA), held an evening unconference for the entire school. The event, titled SoCA’s a Seat at the Table Conference, began with a Morning Meeting presentation, opened with an after-dinner introduction to the upcoming sessions in the Recital Hall, and centered around three different sessions with six different options for topics—Cultural Appropriation versus Cultural Appreciation; Stereotypes; Representation in the Media; Interracial Couples; Internalized Racism; and Privilege—all of which were scattered throughout the building. The event closed with an informal all-school debrief.
The conference was student-planned, student-run, and student-led. Each session of the conference, held in separate classrooms, was run by two SoCA leaders; a faculty member sat outside of the student circle and listened but did not facilitate. The session topics had been voted on by the school before spring break, and sessions maintained an unconference atmosphere because each allowed participants to write anonymous questions for the facilitators to consider and voice to the group.
Ainsley Morrison, ’21, having begun work with Dublin School’s Robotics Team for the first time this year, discovered “a really big learning experience,” especially considering that Morrison had had no experience with Robotics prior to coming to Dublin.
An upperclassman told Morrison to join the team, and, in the spirit of “trying to join and try a bunch of new things,” Morrison showed up to the first meeting.
Today we started our day at 6 in the morning and started our journey to Isabella Island. To get to the island, we took a 2-hour boat ride across the bright, blue sea. Surprisingly, no one got sick! When we got to shore, we immediately saw sea lions and crabs. To my surprise, we saw a baby sea lion.
When we arrived at our hotel, I was so excited because there were hammocks and a breakfast buffet. We ate our breakfast, slathered on 5 pounds of sunscreen and headed off to walk around the island. On the way, we tried to avoid the sun, by hugging trees and buildings that were shielding us. On our walk, we saw flamingos, iguanas, waves of the ocean and a beautiful old church.
Dusty, footsore, a little weary, a little sunburned, still smiling, the travelers have packed their bags for home. After goodbyes (and some tears) in Chaukori, we bobbed and weaved and squeezed through any number of mountain passes on our way to a “glamping” site a few miles from Nainital. The real glamour of the place was the location: a pine woods at the intersection of two canyons, fenced in to keep leopards and Himalayan black bears at bay.
There we met up with Suraj, a former HIC student in Chaukori, now graduated and studying Geography at the university in Nainital. Mr. Nemitz had given Suraj his first guitar lesson back in 2014, but the riffs he was playing now around our campfire—from Robert Johnson to the Red Hot Chili Peppers—showed he’d made the instrument his own. Who knew the American R&B tradition had found a foothold in these highest of mountains! With Zoe on the ukulele and Mr. Walters on the harmonica, the whole group sang old favorites around the fire and made up new verses to our own “Himalayan Blues”:
Today we rose early to travel to Tortuga Bay, a vast, white-sand beach accessed through a string of cactus lined paths. After a hike through the heat, we cooled off in a still water inlet feeding into the Pacific. Miguel and Felipe led us on a kayaking expedition to catch a glimpse of the marine life near the warm water of the coves. Donning our snorkeling gear, we were rewarded with the colorful shapes of several native fish as well as a giant tortoise.
We started our day with packing up camp and leaving Quito. After an hour or so bus ride, full of chatter and music, we ended up back at the Quito airport and went through customs. Finally, the squad boarded the plane and took a two-ish hour flight to the islands. Once we landed and got our passports stamped, we ran off to catch a bus. As we looked out the window it wasn't anything like Quito; it was very vast and dry, stretching for miles without any habitation in site. The bus took us to a ferry where many admired the varying blues of the ocean as we went to Santa Cruz Island.
The mountaineer’s curse: the higher one goes, the higher one wants to go. The high point of our stay in Munsiari was the tip-top of Mt. Khalia, 12,600 feet—by no means the biggest of the Himalayas, but the best of all perches to see them from. Under clear skies, not a breath of wind, the whole snaggle-toothed horizon was ours to take in, from Nanda Devi in the west to towering Nepali peaks in the east. The craggy faces of those inaccessible giants were suddenly right there to dance with, cheek to cheek…if only we had enough breath left to ask them.
Monday morning we arrived in Quito, Ecuador. The city seemed to be dead, no sounds, or people in sight, but then again it was 1 AM in the morning. When we awoke, we were able to see that our assumption of a ghostly city was just that. Though it was only about 8 AM in the morning, the people of the city were lively, and everything around us was colorful.
Over the past two days, Rodrigo, Erika, Anne and I made our ways down the steep hills and through the narrow, busy streets of Bariloche to visit two of our Patagonian partner schools.
We were warmly welcomed on the first morning by administrators and teachers from all three partner schools, showered with greetings, kisses on cheeks, and feasted with pastries and sandwiches. We shared our ideas and dreams, constraints and concerns, in building a shared program. How many students could visit at a time? How much Spanish should Dublin students have had before coming? Could we design exchanges around themes like environmental studies or history? What role should an accompanying teacher play? What courses are most important at Dublin for Argentinian students? Could we also exchange teachers, and if so, for how long? These questions and more launched us into classroom visits.
Mornings begin early at Himalayan Inter College. Mr. Rautella’s whistle cuts through the stillness at exactly 5:00 AM sharp (5:30 on Sundays so students can, you know, “sleep in”). Soon after you can hear evidence of the hostel students sluggishly beginning their morning routine. A door creaks as the younger students head for the bathroom, through the caged enclosure placed around their outdoor corridor to prevent any leopards from entering while they sleep. There is no snooze button in the Himalaya. A second whistle soon after calls the children out to the courtyard where they do their morning exercise routine, a mixture of jogging and stretching, all in the cover of darkness.
That was the question many faculty members were asking us as we frantically worked to finish up comments, grades, faculty contracts, magazines, and mailings before Rodrigo Villaamil, Sarah Doenmez, Anne Mackey, and I boarded a plane to Argentina. We were going to Bariloche Argentina as part of the EE Ford Spanish program to continue building our partnership between Dublin School and three private schools there - Instituto Primo Capraro, Colegio San Patricio, and Woodville in Bono Vince. Twenty-four hours after leaving campus, we found ourselves in morning rush hour traffic in Buenos Aires and two hours after that we were sitting at Cafe Clara in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires. Sleepy but excited, our ideas and questions surrounding Dublin’s Spanish program flowed freely, and the possibilities these partnerships might offer became more obvious. We knew why we were there.
“If I had to describe myself, it would be as somebody who is changing, more than anything,” says James Bostrup ’21.
Bostrup, a freshman at Dublin School, elaborates, saying, “I’m always working toward something different or something new. Changing describes me totally because I’m able to see so much more of it here at Dublin—I finally have the choice to be this, to have the freedom to change.”
On Saturdays from as early as January and as late as April, different groups of students and faculty can be found collecting sap, tapping trees, adjusting the lines that run to the sugarbush. STEM classes have tested the maple syrup; one year, during Mind Fest, a class studied the history of maple sugaring; the school has invested in refractometers and hydrometers; many students and faculty members have been involved in the process of creating Dublin School’s maple syrup.
As a part of our expanding Spanish program, Dublin has been working with three schools located in the City of Bariloche, Argentina to create cross-cultural opportunities for our students. We have partnered with three private schools in Bariloche: the Woodville School, Colegio San Patricio, and Instituto Primo Capraro. All three schools have previously created cross-cultural exchanges in Aspen, Colorado and we have modeled our work on this prior experience.
In February, six students (two from each school) and a teacher spent three weeks as part of the Dublin community. They lived life as Dublin students, going to Morning Meeting, attending a full class schedule and participating in sports and evening activities. They brought a lot of life and energy to the Dublin campus and developed lasting friendships throughout the community.
The Dublin contingent has headed north: two queasy stomachs notwithstanding, we caught a 6 a.m. train from Delhi to Kathgodam, passing from agricultural villages on the floodplain of the Ganges to the first line of the Himalayan foothills make their northern wall. Noses were pressed to train windows to watch monkeys climbing over the station telephone wires, but other images were tougher to take: makeshift shelters atop Delhi landfills; women collecting cow dung for fuel and fertilizer; dogs, pigs, and cattle struggling to eke out a living: the hardship of life in these rural places was all too clear.
When the pilot comes on the intercom to say, “We have received word that the airport is now closed,” that’s the moment you know, there’s no turning back. After three hours of cooling our jets on a snowy Boston runway, Qatar Airways flight 578 to Doha somehow miraculously took off, and with it, fifteen Dublin School adventurers bound for India. At this point, time began to scramble. Dinner took place around midnight, somewhere over the Atlantic. Our flight path made a beeline over London, Brussels, Cologne. Some of us slept, others read. Ella Rutledge was watching Thor: Ragnarok for the third time. Then Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul. Breakfast—or was it lunch? Ella Rutledge is on her fourth straight viewing of Thor: Ragnarok: “Totally worth it,” she says.
Lilly and Aggie after their first race.
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.