Yesterday I drove down to Connecticut to watch our girls’ basketball team play in our first ever New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) basketball final. I have rarely seen a team improve so much over the course of a season and enter a tournament so determined to play well for one another, and especially for their seniors. While the game did not progress as they had hoped, they gave everything they had until the final buzzer. I will leave the game analysis to those who know the game better than I do, all I know is that I saw a ton of heart in that game and I could not be prouder of this team.
From Connecticut I drove to Lake Placid, New York to catch two of our Dublin skiers in the first day of racing at the US Cross Country Skiing Junior Nationals. I arrived in time to attend the opening ceremonies being held at the 1980 Olympic rink where the “miracle on ice” took place. I got chills walking into the rink and remembering watching that game alone in my grandmother’s house so many years ago. My father, Buddy Bates (Dublin class of 1953), was a volunteer at those games and I always think of him when visiting this great little town. I got even more chills when I watched the Alaska Team walk into the venue—we have our work cut out for us this week! It was a wonderful surprise when during the flame lighting ceremony the final torch was handed from an Olympic biathlete to former prep school ski racer and current Saint Lawrence University skier Lucy Hochshartner. Lucy’s father, David “Hock” Hochshartner, is the Head of School at the North Country School in Lake Placid, a wonderful junior boarding school that sends us wonderful students.
On Monday the Alumni and Development Office presented a great Morning Meeting in which they introduced themselves and talked about the power of philanthropy. The highlight for me was hearing Eric Russell’s story about how philanthropy has impacted his own family and allowed him and his seven siblings to attend an independent school in Philadelphia. I encourage you to read the related story in the eDubliner.
With my own coaching wrapping up last week I took an afternoon to visit the Robotics Team and saw them building a replica robot of the one they completed for their FIRST robotics Competition. Once again I marveled at the level of problem solving that this team has engaged in with their coaches and mentors to build a robot that can perform multiple tasks in a high intensity environment. I can’t wait to see them in action this month.
George Henry Werowinski delivered an inspiring Senior Presentation on his passion for woodworking. While everyone thought George Henry might speak about his well develop interest in endurance sports, he instead told a story about how woodworking has shaped who he is starting from a young age when he would attend junior woodworking workshops at Home Depot every Saturday with his father. After speaking, George Henry showed a time elapse video of one of his projects. For the surprise finale of his presentation he called up a member of each class and one faculty member for a little competition. Each contestant had to put together a small carpenter’s toolbox that George Henry had precut for them. The crowd went wild when ninth grader Will Robinson won.
A couple of weeks ago math teacher Katie Curtis asked me if I could spare some money to buy crampons for our students. Without asking why she needed them I replied “yes!” Last week Ms. Curtis spent her weekend off taking four intrepid students on a winter excursion up North Kinsman Mountain. They seemed to love the adventure and returned wanting more weekend trips to the White Mountains in the future. It is exciting to me that we have so many educators here who want to share their love of the out-of-doors with our students.
On the intellectual front, English instructor Alex Scalfano took a van load of students to Amherst College to hear author Zadie Smith speak about the writing process. The sophomore class read her novel White Teeth in the fall and many of the students loved the book and started reading some of her other novels. I personally love that Dublin students treat authors like “rock stars” more than they treat actual rock stars like “rock stars.” Mr. Scalfano commented that Ms. Smith and members of the audience were impressed that high school students had driven more than an hour away to hear an author speak. Go Dublin!
On Saturday morning as I was getting in an early morning ski high up on Beech Hill I heard voices coming through the trees. While I am getting older I do not often hear imaginary voices in my head. I was reassured and relieved when I saw Mr. Phinney and his Work Gang emerge from the woods with large tools in their hands. With the temperatures in the single digits and wind chills making it feel even colder I figured that the weekend duty team might have found some indoor pursuits for Work Gang this morning. I underestimated the grit and moxie of these kids--they were having a ball and staying warm by working hard. It didn’t hurt that Mr. Phinney took them out for hot cocoa and coffee to warm them up!
Finally, last weekend we wrapped up the final show of Once on this Island. Please check out the beautiful photos of our actors on our Smugmug page. Once again Jenny Foreman, Sophie Luxmoore and Patrick Marr orchestrated a wonderful show that literally put our students on center stage. What impressed me most about this show was the lengths the adults went to in order to involve the students in the production. We had students choreographing the scenes and dances, helping with the lighting and sound strategy, and working to make everything move smoothly backstage. I love how theater brings out the voices in our students and allows the audience to see them in a new light. I love how every performance is different as the actors inspire different reactions and energy in and from one another from night to night. I love how there is a before and an after for each student as nobody emerges from an intense show like this one unchanged. Under Ms. Forman these students always seem to grow, develop confidence and have a great deal of fun in the process.
I need a vacation! I am exhausted from all the wonderful things that have taken place this winter! Until next time…