Dear Dublin Families,
Greetings from the Dublin School campus where we are experiencing the lingering winds from the “bomb cyclone” of snow that hit the east coast of the United States this week. As I look out of the window in my temporary office toward the Pack Monadnock mountain range I feel as if I am sitting inside a giant snow globe with snow swirling all around me. At these times, I think of the Lehmann family and their desire to build a school in a beautiful and remote environment so young people would live in, and feel, the intensity of our region’s four very different seasons.
After a week of cross country skiing, epic family games of Bananagrams, reading, and catching up on rest, I am feeling rejuvenated as we head into 2018. I look forward to welcoming your students back to campus this coming week and continuing the winter trimester. I wanted to take a minute to talk a little about what happens at Dublin over the next two months. Our Academic Dean Sarah Doenmez likes to describe the winter trimester as the heart of our academic year; we are neither ramping up or winding down, instead we are wrestling with challenging ideas and pursuing deep understanding of the material we are covering. Outside of the classroom our basketball and snow-sport teams will jump into their competitions soon after they return; the cast and crew of City of Angels will prepare in earnest for their opening at the end of February; the Robotics Team will have witnessed the “reveal” of the kind of robot they will need to build for their competitions later this winter; and, our All-State musicians and Poetry Out Loud finalists will rehearse for their upcoming performances.
This morning I took a tour of our construction projects through the knee-high snow on campus. As I toured the spaces I was humbled as I thought about how much care, generosity, and planning has been invested in each one of these buildings. While the winter weather and shortage of subcontractors has put us behind schedule on our projects, I am very proud of the collective effort that is going into these buildings as we near the end of the construction phase. The new Slopeside Dormitory and the Programming, Robotics, Imagination, Science and Math Building (PRISM) remain our top priorities for completion and we hope to move into them this winter. Our students and faculty have been very patient with all of the construction and it has not always been easy to squeeze everyone into limited spaces this year. I think it is going to be a nice shock when we can suddenly spread out and occupy the new spaces.
The Slopeside Dormitory is truly stunning, with miles of mountainous views to the east and a view of the ski area to the west. The PRISM Building’s laboratories are already equipped with beautiful cabinetry, and the Maker Space is nearly complete. The Outing Club has a roof on it as the construction team works toward the goal of getting our skiers and snowboarders into the space before the end of the season. The ski lift has been extended to the new, higher summit and has plenty of snow for setting slalom gates for our skiers and snowboarders. The David Howe Administration and Admissions Building is coming along well-- we expect to move into the building this spring. I really miss my view of the quad and the daily lives of the students and can’t wait to open these new offices. The Michael and Mary Cornog Library has been fully designed and we will begin construction once the space for it is cleared out with the relocation of the science laboratories. Every one of these new spaces has been designed to build community and inspire curiosity. I want to thank our families for their generosity in supporting these transformational projects!
We hope you will consider joining us on campus for our annual WinterFest celebration on February 2nd and 3rd. We find that WinterFest is a great time to let off a little steam in the middle of a cold winter in New Hampshire. We have a gathering for our parents and guardians in the yurt at the Nordic Center and a full day of outdoor games for the students and faculty on Saturday. My favorite game is curling with maple syrup bottles on the hockey pond! We also love to have as many families as possible attend our winter musicals. This year’s musical, City of Angels, will be performed from February 22nd through the 25th. On February 10th we will welcome seven exchange students from our partner schools in Argentinian Patagonia as part of our E. E. Ford Spanish Language Program. We still have spots for a couple more students to travel to Bariloche, Argentina in August (approximate dates 9th – 23rd) to live in our visiting students’ homes and attend their schools for two weeks. We will also have separate trips to Bariloche during the same time period for any of our skiers who want to ski with our partner ski club, Club Andino Bariloche.
Probably the most important work we do at Dublin centers around our school culture. As we head into 2018, I find this work around inclusion, motivation, diversity, healthy relationships, drug and alcohol prevention, kindness, and growth as important as ever. Our community is not immune from the divisions that are racking our world and it is essential that we work to empower the good in every student and adult on our campus. Many people like to come up with new year’s resolutions at this time of year and I recently read an interesting article in the New York Times (Dec. 29, 2017) by David DeSteno about resolutions and the kind of culture we strive to build at Dublin School. DeSteno writes,
What these findings show is that pride, gratitude and compassion, whether we consciously realize it or not, reduce the human mind’s tendency to discount the value of the future. In so doing, they push us not only to cooperate with other people but also to help our own future selves. Feeling pride or compassion has been shown to increase perseverance on difficult tasks by over 30%. Likewise, gratitude and compassion have been tied to better academic performance, a greater willingness to exercise and eat healthily, and lower levels of consumerism, impulsivity and tobacco and alcohol use.
My hope is that as adults we can model the gratitude and compassion we wish to see in our young people, provide them with real opportunities to build their pride, “not arrogant, but proud of the skills they have,” educate them in a way that develops empathy and understanding, and engage them in the meaningful work that is at the core of our mission at Dublin School. Thank you for all your support and I hope to see you soon.
Happy New Year,