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Wow, what a week! While I catch my breath let me attempt to share with you what I witnessed from my Head of School perspective.
We couple the power of a classic college preparatory education with the ability and flexibility to dive deeper into a newly discovered passion.
We require rigorous and extensive course work in English, Mathematics, Science, History, a World Language, Technology and the Arts. But this is just the foundation. The excitement for our students is in being able to take their ideas and passions further.
For some that is in investing themselves heavily in AP Course work in the Sciences or Humanities. For others it is maximizing self-expression through both the Visual and Performing Arts. Others delve deeply into Technology and Robotics. They are fully supported through student requested electives, independent studies and a capstone Senior Project that offers students the opportunity to engage in a year-long rigorous study centered-around a question or topic that is of special interest to them.
But what if I don't have an academic passion right now?
We don't expect you to. We would rather see you be open to the possibilities than to have it all figured out. Nothing is more empowering to us as educators than when a student discovers that they really are passionate about something unexpected. At Dublin, that happens more times than not.
We offer an exceptional range of sports tailored for every type of athlete. Why? Because confidence gained through athletics leads to better self-esteem and a positive attitude in all other aspects of student life. In a world placing increasing emphasis on specialization, Dublin is a school where an athlete can play six different sports over their four years and still act in a play or dance in our contemporary dance program.
Whether you have played a lot of sports at a high level or not, you are going to be asked to participate - possibly in something that you have never done before. You won't be alone in that.
That doesn't mean that you have to play soccer. Although we would love it if you did! Maybe dance is your fall sport (did they just say dance is a sport?) Maybe it's mountain biking, sailing or running. We want you to find something to fall in love with and to be valued for. We will support you every step of the way. Student-athletes receive exceptional one-on-one instruction with committed coaches who instill a love of the game, sportsmanship, and a good work ethic.
We focus less on results and more on process. But don't get the impression that we don't want to win. We do. Even in dance! We attract athletes who want to compete at a high level. At Dublin, student-athletes have that opportunity.
Many of our finest athletes never considered themselves to be athletes before Dublin. Or maybe they thought they were just a tennis player and discovered that they were a whole lot more. We win our share of games and championships and many of our student-athletes continue to play their favorite sport in college. But unlike others that is an outcome and not the goal.
Did you know that researchers have discovered that artists have increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery? Who wouldn't want that? Involvement in the arts is also associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill.
High school students who take arts classes have higher math and verbal SAT scores than students who take no arts classes and they tend to increase linearly: the more arts classes, the higher the scores. Young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than students who do not participate.
At Dublin we believe the arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education. Beyond the qualities of creativity, self-expression, and communication, art is a type of work. This is what art has been from the beginning. Through art, we learn the meaning of the joy of work - work done to the best of one's ability, for its own sake, and for the satisfaction of a job well done.
You cannot touch art without touching values: values about home and family, work and play, the individual and society, nature and the environment, war and peace, beauty and ugliness, violence and love. The great art of the past and the present deals with these durable human concerns. When we study art of different cultures, we expose ourselves to the expression of a wide range of human values and concerns. We sensitize ourselves to values that shape all human efforts.
Our collective sense of place defines our community.
It’s the blending of a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, academic, social, and environmental – that lend to the distinct sense of belonging that occurs at Dublin. But mostly, it’s our people.
Ask a Dublin student what they value most about their school and the likely response will be “the close relationships between faculty and students.” Ask a faculty member at Dublin what they value most about their school and the likely response will be “the close relationships between faculty and students.” This is the core of the Dublin School difference.
Students at Dublin experience the comfort of knowing that they are in a place where they are supported, encouraged, and heard. When they are presented with the opportunity to try something that may be new or challenging, they have the courage to take the leap and step outside of their comfort zone. This is the magic that happens at Dublin — and you can feel it each time a student gets up at morning meeting to perform a song for the first time; each time a student joins their first work gang and experiences the rewards of building something with their own hands; and each time a student tries a new sport and it becomes their passion.
Dublin students challenge themselves by trying new things in a safe and supportive environment. If you have the courage to try new things, you just might fall in love with them—and that is what Dublin is all about.