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.
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.
Convocation, the official beginning of the academic year, was held on a beautiful Sunday evening at the Dublin Congregational Church. Academic Dean, Sarah Doenmez introduced the evening and was followed by Senior Caroline Robbins, the Dubliners, Senior Harrison Atlas, and Arts Chair Jenny Foreman.
In a summer of major campus construction (four major renovations or new buildings are in-process right now), it's easy to ignore the less obvious improvements that are happening around campus. However, if you wander down to the Nordic Center and listen carefully, you will hear the sounds of chain saws, nail guns and a mini-excavator echoing through the woods. Backtracking along marker flags through the woods will bring you to a remarkably Dublin construction project.
As if building a new “Slopeside” Dormitory, expanding the Louise Shonk Kelly Recital Hall and rebuilding the David E. Howe Administration Building were not enough, the Dublin School Board of Trustees has approved commencing construction on the Dublin School PRISM Center. This project is a creative reuse and expansion of the existing library building. The project will bring together the mathematics, science and computer science disciplines into one space for the first time.
One of the universal truths of the music scene is that guitar players tend to attract each other. Alex Antonellis (Harwich, MA) was looking out of his window in the fall and saw Grady Allen (Shepherdstown, WV) trudging across the quad with a guitar case in tow. Alex ran out of his dorm and before long, Alex and Grady were busy jamming, sharing ideas and talking about their love for different forms of modern rock music, particularly heavy metal and grunge. They enlisted a singer and a base player and signed up to play at an open mike night at the Dublin community center.
Dublin Alpine ski team is running a summer ski camp at Mammoth Mountain, CA. Weather has been spectacular and the team has been working on slalom alpine fundamentals, brush gates and slalom gate drills. There has been lots of time for free skiing and the team has covered a lot of mountain terrain.
The second issue of Dublin's literary magazine - Layman's Way has been released. We have created a new website independent of the Dublin School website to host Layman's Way (https://laymans-way.org). The new issue features work from current Dublin students (Owen Mortner '18; Mia Brady '18; Katia Dermott '17; Clare Fowler '18; and, Wes Strubbe '18), recent alumni (Emily Bascom '15; Sydney Clarke '16; and Talia Cohen '15) and various friends of the school (Alice Fogel; John Sieracki; J. Kates; and Brooks Robards).
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.