We had a great evening at our Community Dinner and Convocation ceremony last night. Here is my introduction of the Convocation speakers:
Our convocation ceremony marks the beginning of the academic year at Dublin School, it symbolizes our collective coming together to learn from one another. We have only been together a week but I have already learned so much from you. This weekend I had an extensive Spanish lesson from Nicholas, learned a new card game from Blythe, solved riddles by Mylisha and Ms. Sintetos, and learned to cliff jump from Nate. However, most importantly I have learned about character from many of you. A number of recent books and articles have argued that the most important ingredient to a successful and fulfilling academic career has more to do with our character than with our knowledge or intelligence. This latest fad in academic theory is nothing new to those of us who have studied and experienced the ethos of Dublin School. Our motto, Truth and Courage, speaks to our founder Paul Lehmann's belief in building character in young men and women. He knew seventy-eight years ago what people are theorizing today, that character can be developed in high school students who are willing to learn and grow, and that character is fundamental to our own lives and those around us.
You might be asking yourself today, with sore muscles, bruises, scratches and blisters, why do our teachers hate us so much, does Mr. Nemitz have a sick sense of humor, why did they take us up granite cliffs, down rivers, and through trails filled with mud? These experiences were very much a part of your education and have more to do with AP English, Algebra 2 or advanced drawing than you may at first think. Tonight I challenge you to bring the same grit and character to your classes tomorrow that I saw over the weekend, the same courage that it takes many of you to travel halfway across the globe to study at Dublin, tackle a new sport, make new friends, or live away from home. This weekend I witnessed Yi Chen jump into a freezing cold river, Harry climb his first mountain, and Mekhi overcome her fears and conquer Mt. Lafayette.
We live in an often cynical world where it is easier to play cool and pretend you do not care. Character to me is about caring when it is not necessarily the cool or popular thing to do. I challenge you to care, to fully embrace the ideas in your classes, and support the curiosity of your classmates. We have a group of adults here who care deeply about you and are passionate about their subjects. Take them as seriously as they will take you.
Tonight we showcase four individuals of character, four individuals who care. You will not find an academic dean in this country like Sarah Doenmez who cares more about the learning of her students. Patrick Nichols is a deep and independent thinker who has overcome adversity to emerge as a leader on our campus. Sydney De Tomaso has taken full advantage of every opportunity offered to her at Dublin while enriching our community with her concern for others and contagious enthusiasm. Finally, you will not find a college counselor who cares more about learning about each of you and helping you make the right match as you pursue your next step in your education than Holly Macy.
It is an honor to welcome you to the school year and introduce these inspiring individuals.