Our dogs May and Tele are not very happy that I am blogging on a Sunday afternoon despite my telling them that it has been a whole month since I wrote my last blog. I will take them for a walk on Beech Hill when I finish.
These have been busy times at Dublin School and we are settling into a routine heading toward the end of the fall trimester. We had a wonderful Family Weekend and were blessed with great weather. One of my favorite events of the weekend is the full schedule of mini-classes that our teachers deliver to the parents so that we can get a feel for the experience of our students. Rather than tell us what they are teaching, the faculty actually engages the families in a typical interactive lesson. The arts performances on Friday were stunning! I am amazed that our students can share their inner selves so publicly after only five weeks of rehearsals.
We were thrilled to host our first mountain bike race on the new "Moxie Race Trail" at the Nordic Center. It was a particularly proud moment since our students, staff and faculty spent many hours completing the trail this fall. The visiting teams loved the trail and enjoyed grabbing cans of soda from the Moxie Soda pyramid after the event!
We have had some great Morning Meetings in the newly renovated and expanded Louise Shonk Kelly Recital Hall. Class of 2011 alumna Meredith Hoffman visited Dublin last Thursday to share her journey from art student at the Rhode Island School of Design to designing sneakers at Converse and Nike. Meredith did a senior project at RISD on textiles and showed slides of her beautiful textile designs. The technology students were impressed with RISD's three dimensional textile printers that could print out full blankets and quilts! Meredith designs the fabrics on the outside of sneakers and brought six examples of shoes she had helped design. Our students were inspired to see how a young Dublin graduate was turning her passion for art into a career that allowed her to be creative and imaginative.
On Friday I traveled to Beacon Academy in Boston to attend a Symposium on Race and Class with ninth graders Exavion, Amelia, Isaac and Erin. Exavion attended Beacon after his eighth grade year in the Boston Public Schools. Beacon is designed as a gap year between middle school and high school to help prepare disadvantaged youth for independent schools. Exavion is our first graduate from Beacon to attend Dublin and we have been very impressed with the preparation he received at Beacon and the support they continue to provide while he is in school. The Symposium focused on the challenges and opportunities facing disadvantaged students when they are enrolled in independent schools. Some Beacon graduates spoke to the basic challenge of finding enough money to buy books, go to a movie on a weekend trip or buy the team sweatshirt when their team wins the championship. Others spoke about daily micro aggressions they face in classes or in their dormitories where they are made uncomfortable by ignorant comments or questions. We left the Symposium feeling educated and empowered to continue our work around equity and inclusion.
Finally, We had a fun day of meetings with the architect who is designing our new Michael and Mart Cornog Library, Susan Phillips-Hungerford. Susan designed the Recital Hall expansions and the the newest dormitory and recently signed on to help us design our new library, which will have expansive views of the Pack Monadnock Range to the east. We met with various stakeholder groups during the day, but my favorite meeting was also perhaps the most important--our meeting with the students. Susan and I asked them about our ideas to add some "fun" elements to the library and we were surprised by their response. One student leaned forward and said, "Mr. Bates, we want some hard wooden chairs, some hard wooden tables, books, and lamps. If we want fun we will go the Spencer Student Center." Susan and I loved their ideas and we are busy designing the new space so that we can try to complete it in time to get the Class of 2018 in there before graduation. Until next week...