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.
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.
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.
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.