Happy Juneteenth

Photo by roc8jas/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by roc8jas/iStock / Getty Images

Happy Juneteenth!

On this day one hundred and fifty-four years ago Union General Gordon Granger delivered the following notice (referred to as Order #3) to the people of Galveston, Texas:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

June 19th is a seminal moment in our history that reminds us that our work is never done when it comes to addressing our history of oppression and slavery and our modern forms of structural racism. June 19th is both a celebration and a call to action when it comes to educating our current students about justice, racism, equality, and true emancipation. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, freeing the slaves in all areas under rebellion against the United States. The Civil War ended on April 9th, 1865, and the news did not reach many of the citizens of Texas until Order #3 was delivered. There is some debate about how the news was likely kept from the emancipated slaves before Granger arrived with an official order. When the order did arrive many freed citizens headed north in search of lost loved ones and economic opportunity. June 19th quickly emerged as an annual day of celebration in African-American communities around the United States and particularly in the southern States.

As a history teacher I used to ask my students when true equality was achieved in the United States. The more carefully they studied our history the more they argued that serious barriers to equality remained despite the best efforts of people working intentionally to remove those barriers. It is clear to me that there is a great deal of work to be done in our neighborhoods, our schools, our states, and our nation before the spirit of Juneteenth, a spirit of love triumphing over hate, a spirit of pursuing truth over ignorance, and a spirit of Americans working together to create a more perfect union for everyone in that union will prevail. Let us celebrate this important day and commit ourselves to this essential work.

How can I help?

Every year I receive notes about students and their behavior. Over the last eleven years I would say that not all of them have been glowing, but most certainly are. This year I have received more positive comments about our students than I have ever experienced in my career. We heard many compliments about how our seniors behaved on their recent service trip to Florida. And just recently I received the following letter from the man who takes care of Emmanuel Church, the Episcopalian Church that abuts our campus and that is used for its summer congregation. This note struck me since it refers to one of the first traditions that the Lehmann family brought to our school: the Work Gang. Paul Lehmann felt that Work Gang was possibly the “most important course in the school” because it taught the students something “new, useful, interesting.” Mr. Lehmann wanted the students to make their neighborhood a better place and frequently sent his students into the community to help out as needed. We continue this tradition today by helping out organizations like Emmanuel Church. I would love all of our students to graduate from Dublin and start building up their neighborhoods by asking, “How can I help?”

Here is the letter:


I’ve started several drafts of this letter – all trying to encapsulate the aid and positive attitude of the Dublin students I interacted with over the past 4 Saturdays.  While each group varied in size, their ability to make a difference and improve Emmanuel’s grounds has been significant. 

Last week I worked with Brooks and a small group… the week before, with Paul Wardlaw (and 2 other faculty).  While I do not remember the names of the other adults on other weekends, ALL were terrific.

A mainstay of support has been Andy Hungerford…

I am tempted to quantify “success” or “Achievement” by noting “x” truckloads of saplings, shrubs, wet leaves and sand removed from the property.  Yet what I value most is “attitude”…and what generated my broadest grin happened last Saturday.  As the small group ambled down the hill towards the church, the first student approached me and initiated the question: “How can I help?

Fessenden’s honored head, Frank Perrive might have considered the above: The Special Sauce” – qualities that are hard to quantify but make good kids great community members… I have seen firsthand, that Dublin School has some very special sauce, and I am most appreciative that your faculty, staff and students shared it with me.

Happy Friday

Emmanuel Church

Emmanuel Church

"This is not my second home."

“I am not going to stand up here and tell you this is my second home because actually, this is my home.” So said a departing senior during their audition to be chosen as a graduation speaker for their class. Each Dublin School graduating class gets to choose two of their peers and one of their teachers to speak at graduation. In preparation, each interested senior gives a short speech to their classmates during a senior pizza dinner with yours truly.


I never know what kind of attitude to expect from a departing class of seniors with just over two weeks left until graduation. Many times they are fully ready to leave and are pushing against the adults as they strive to show their readiness for more independence and responsibility. Last night’s group, our largest ever graduating class, spoke about how sad they were to leave each other and this place that they have grown to love. We even had three seniors who were so moved by the other speeches that they asked if they could give a speech. My assistant Anne Mackey and I tried not to cry while the seniors were talking about the experiences and people that shaped them during their time at Dublin. I could feel the power and the sense of community in the room.


“We are ready for bigger and better things ahead.” The same senior who talked about Dublin as their home concluded their speech with these words. I was reassured. We are always cautious about creating dependency in our work with students and I was thrilled to hear that at least one student is ready to launch from our campus on the shoulders of Mount Monadnock into an exciting future. I look forward to celebrating the Class of 2019 on June 1st and in the days to come.

Excited about Admissions!

Dublin School Admissions Team

Dublin School Admissions Team

We had a truly awesome revisit day yesterday! We had a record number of attendees and I could not be happier with the students and families that were here. When I met with the students at the end of the day I told them that when I met with admissions before the admission cycle began that I wanted them to find explorers, kind young people, and students who would help us build community on campus and beyond. By the looks of the crowd I spent time with yesterday our Admission team hit a home run. I also enjoyed meeting parents who care so deeply about their children and their child’s education. While our revisit day is early in the process we are thrilled to have already received so many exciting enrollments for next year. We are also receiving great enrollment news from our accepted students in places like Afghanistan, Egypt, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and California! I am so proud of the professionalism, integrity, and compassion that our Admission Team brings to our enrollment—it is no wonder they attract such great families to our school.

My message to our visitors centered around our belief that young people respond better to inspiration than to expectation. It is clear we are putting together a school of students who both inspire and are excited to be inspired. Can’t wait to hear more good news on the 10th!