When she was three, Devyn Itula, ’18, began finding her way in what would become one of her greatest passions: dance.
While she only took “baby classes” once or twice a week, her routine of dance classes evolved; by the time she was seven, she was taking classes three days a week. Classes varied from ballet to lyrical to jazz to, occasionally, tap. By the time she was eleven, Devyn was dancing competitively on a team that she would continue to work with through age fifteen.
If you walk up the stairs to the Wing and Hollow loft, the upstairs open-plan room in one of our boys’ dormitories, you will meet this a builder’s studio. Bordered with snow boots, winter gear, and general storage items, you will see tools, duct tape, coils of wires, and a stunning army-style robotic suit. On recent nights, you will see students in Wing and Hollow marveling at the suit, trying it on, testing its movement function, and helping the designer photograph his work.
Amani Natson, from Hillside, New Jersey, is a self-described “calm, sarcastic” junior who loves Chemistry, Dance, especially jazz, and Lacrosse.
When she was a freshman, she would not have identified herself as a lacrosse athlete, but over the years, she has come to identify herself as a very specific kind of lacrosse athlete: a goalie: the end of the line, the last stop for defense.
Lucy Selby is a ninth grade day student from Peterborough, New Hampshire. Lucy describes herself in these terms: “I am friend-and-family oriented and I know what I want to do and I know how to get there, so I can be really confident about what I’m passionate about.”
Two weeks ago, Dublin School’s five in-house finalists, who were chosen from a pool of twenty-five, did just that. And they told: beautifully, courageously, softly, triumphantly. These finalists spoke the words of Sherman Alexie, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, and more, but other voices emerged, other voices were paying attention. Destiny Goncalves, Owen Mortner, Mia Brady, Faith Lewis, and James Speaks were in conversation with their poet’s words, listening, considering, filling in spaces with their own stories. The result was mesmerizing.
With snow slicking the sidewalks, dusting the trees, and coating the nordic trails and bucolic campus hills, a special kind of energized quiet settles in. Cam Harrington, a senior beginning to reflect on his high school career as he is doubly immersed in the Play and festive arrangements with Dublin’s a cappella group, has been thinking about the sounds of Dublin.
“I think there’s a general hum to this campus that you can hear,” he says. “There’s an energy and an audible presence that changes across the seasons and trimesters. It changes, and you have to listen to it. Finals week, there is this huge shift. It is quiet. Focused. The hum changes. You realize then: you’ve been listening to this campus without realizing it for all of these days. And you notice when it quiets or changes.”
Bette Imhoff admits that, because Dublin does not have a field hockey program, she was hesitant about enrolling. She was used to Field Hockey being her fall sport; and, more, it was her favorite. Now, Bette is a junior who is interested in the sciences and pursuing a career in medicine and is what she says she never expected before arriving, before giving up one of her sports for the sake of others: a leader on the courts and fields. She is a dedicated, intense, and talented athlete who has found new passions while bolstering her leadership qualities along the way.
Caroline Robbins knows that, while she may be introverted, there are many new students at Dublin this year, and she would love to get to know them. “I like learning people’s stories and finding out what’s important to them,” she says.
“In those [getting-to-know-you] conversations, whether it’s a hello or people coming into my room during study hall or during sports, there are a lot of places I can get to know people and their stories.”
Caroline brought many stories to Dublin, herself, just last year.
“One of my main goals this year is to feel confident speaking in Spanish in class,” says junior Henry White. “I feel confident talking with Ms. DelVillar one-on-one, but I want to be able to talk and make mistakes in group discussions.”
Henry contends that some of his best language-learning experiences flow from failure-rich opportunities. Some of the moments that have generated the most inquiry have been moments that have made him feel stuck, unsure, caught in that frustrating, half-bright moment of scanning his memory and collections of word roots for the right word.
Matthew Levin-Nussbaum considers himself “a procrastinator who truly wants to learn.” In class, he is “all in.” In terms of academics, he is “a historian who enjoys the social sciences, and,” as he says with a sheepish shrug, “much to [his] disgrace and embarrassment, Mr. Scalfano has gotten [him] slightly interested in poetry.” Matthew hangs his head. “It's awful,” he smiles.
Ella Rutledge (Amesbury, MA) is a little nervous about the robotic season this year. On the surface everything would seem to be better: more coaching, being able to work during the afternoon sports block, a tradition of winning. But to Ella “everything was so good” last year. Her only disappointment last year was not being able to drive the robot in competition. She got hints that she might be able to last year but it never materialized. It’s “obviously a privilege” and something she desperately wants to do.
GH Werowinski (Acton MA) is probably like a lot of seniors at this time of year. He is focused on college. But unlike others his focus is not so much on where, but on what he plans to do there. He is interested in science going forward and as a result is taking three science courses this year: Physiology, AP Environmental Science and AP Physics. The bigger uncertainty for GH is in what sport he will play in college.
When GH came to Dublin three years ago that might have been the most unlikely result possible. In middle school, GH ran a bit of cross country, played some lacrosse and in the winter he did woodworking. He was not really committed to anything but he knew he wanted to try Nordic Skiing and Crew even if he really did not expect much, “When I came to Dublin I wasn’t very confident that I could do new things and be good at them. With the sailing team there was a very clear defining moment in our first race when I got picked to go to the varsity race. I slowly began to learn that I was capable of things that I didn’t think I was before. Basically, I got confidence with sailing that I could be good at something that I wasn’t good at just by pure work. I realized I could get better. I realized I could improve and I was shocked that that was possible.”
Maddie Pelissier is a self-proclaimed visual arts student, open-minded athlete, and “huge nerd” who joins us at Dublin after eleven years at Friends Academy in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. She is a freshman at Dublin School who is eager to meet new people and learn everything she can from a place she describes as so unlike any school she has seen.
Being open to learning and trying new activities is crucial for Maddie, who, with her sense of humor and candid optimism, has already, in just under three weeks of school, had a colorful journey when it comes to athletics.
Maddie had never done the sports that Dublin offers.
“I started with soccer. The first day, I kicked maybe four different people in the face with the ball. Including the coach. So, I switched to Dance,” Maddie explains with a laugh. “I really love it. I’ve made a lot of friends. I am terrible at it. I have two left feet and look like a dying duck. But I love it. I get really excited about it,” she smiles.
One aspect of life at Dublin that encourages Dieter’s process is the way that different disciplines nurture and bolster essential passions. Because, here, he is not only an artist. He does Theatre and Robotics, as well. He is a creator.
“I like to create things, yes,” says Dieter. “When it comes down to it, all of these different things that I do come down to creating and manipulating. Robotics gives me that opportunity. It’s engineering, but it’s an artistic form.” And there is crossover. Dieter makes art for the Robotics team. He designed the logo and helped design the website, in fact.
“Really, for me, it’s a desire to express my creativity in a whole bunch of different ways [that draws me to these fields],” he says. “Each of these is an endpoint to my desire.”