Yesterday we had 58 kids and 144 total people visit campus for our Open House. This was an unprecedented number of people and broke our record of 44 from last year. The energy on campus was wonderful and I was so proud of our students and teachers as they showed off their school with true pride. As usual our students were at the center of the day and I was happily relegated to the last ten minutes of the three hour event. Since the day focused on the arts, academics, athletics and residential life I decided to talk about school's traditions.
I believe that when evaluating a boarding school or college it is a good idea to ask the people in these communities about their traditions. What are their favorite traditions and are there any that make them uncomfortable? Some of us have been in schools where some traditions are exclusive, secretive and divisive. At Dublin School we feel strongly that all traditions should hold "building community" as their ultimate outcome. There should be a mix of lighthearted and intense traditions. Traditions that are dated and that work against community should be immediately discontinued.
I shared some of my favorite traditions with our visitors and talked about how they worked to build community within our school. Here are some of my favorites:
1. All School Prom--yup, everyone goes. But most people do not have a date--they go in groups.
2. Mountain Day. This is my chance to have a power trip and call off classes for the day and have everyone climb Mount Monadnock.
3. House Cup. Think Harry Potter. Dormitory Olympics--fun stuff.
4. Moxie Awards. We give each other Moxie sodas to celebrate people with moxie!
5. Advisor lunch. Whether they eat in the Dining Hall or go to Doug's Dogs on the side of Route 101, the school boathouse or the Dublin General Store, Friday lunches are special.
6. Coffee House. A spring time favorite. We often have over thirty faculty and student performances in the Fountain Amphitheater.
7. Winterfest. From a lip-sync contest to ski races on our own slope to ice curling with maple syrup bottles, to human sled dog races we celebrate the middle of winter in style.
8. Mayfair. A chance for anyone who wants to dance to learn how to dance!
9. Camping Trips. First week of school everyone goes camping in groups of twelve.
10. Milk and Cookies. Every Tuesday night in the dorms. Great discussion time.
11. Reach the Beach. Teams of twelve teachers and students, 200 miles of running, epic fun.
12. Senior trip. Disneyland? No way! Our seniors choose a ten day service project somewhere in the country and go after it.