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Showing posts from 2010


The ringing of sleigh bells announced their impending arrival, and then there they were, "invisible," but clearly present in my office. 

The stairs, halls and classrooms of Saint David's were bustling with little green and red creatures this morning, moving quickly and silently about the school--surprising and exciting all those in their path.  Pre-kindergarten elves, a long standing tradition, left the relative safety of their classroom this morning and moved stealthily, albeit a little tentatively, about the wider world signaling the beginning of Christmas week at Saint David's. Magically, my camera captured this shot of the elves in my office this morning seconds before they disappeared ...

Sometimes ...

... living in the western most borough of the great City of New York, one can often neglect to think about one's friends to the east.  This week, Mr. Imbelli and I ventured to the farthest reaches of the borough of Brooklyn to visit with alums on the beautiful, sprawling campus of Poly Prep, as well as alums a little closer to home at Packer Collegiate in historic downtown Brooklyn .  These visits represent my continuing efforts to reach all Saint David's alums at their high schools before they graduate. Pictured at left are Adrian '08 and Damian '07 at Packer; and below, Francis and Michael, Sean and Caleb all from '09 at Poly with David Harman, Headmaster.   The boys are all enjoying their time at their respective schools.  We gathered many ideas from the boys regarding their transition to high school and suggestions for improvements to our program.  I am proud of their accomplishments, their growth and their willingness to engage in constructive critique.

Are our Brains Being Rewired?

"Dazzled by the Net’s treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture" Nicholas Carr writes in his latest piece in Wired Magazine on the impact of evolving technologies on our learning, lives and culture.  "What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. In the process, we seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting," Carr contends.

Carr develops an interesting argument; one worth contemplating.  There is a strong case to be made for managing technology as we do all the tools we have at our disposal.  I'm not sure we as a culture, or as a society, have figured out exactly how to do that yet, especially with respect to emerging technologies and the sheer abundance of all kinds of information.  We are a little infatuated…

Young Alums Return

It's about 6:45 pm Tuesday and I'm enjoying the company of some 120 young alums in Hyman Hall, many of their teachers and the Class of 2011. Pictured here is Fr. O'Shea of the Passionists updating the boys on how the $33 thousand the Class of 2010 raised for disaster relief in Haiti last year has helped the lives of so many Haitians--people who the boys will never meet; but whose lives they have been changed forever. The boys represent leadership with a moral purpose.  We are proud of their outreach and commitment to the greater good.

Homecoming dinner, a delicious meal of braised beef, mashed potatoes, a mushroom gravy served with lightly cooked fresh vegetables, fresh rolls and plenty of soda followed a visit to the newly furnished Faculty Lounge after Chapel--the Class of 2010's legacy gift to their school.

It has become tradition at Saint David's to invite alumns from the last four graduating classes (high school alums) to the school on the Tuesday before Thank…

A Prayer for Thanksgiving ...

Thanksgiving festivities are in full swing at Saint David's.  Late yesterday and early this morning some 8th graders were distributing pies to families in the Lobby while the rest were busy on the 4th floor packing some 200 boxes with cans and food stuffs collected from all the grades over the past several weeks, in preparation for delivery tomorrow, along with frozen turkeys, ham, and bacon, to Incarnation Parish on the West Side and Bethel Gospel Assembly Church in Harlem.  Later this morning, I accepted an invitation to join Pilgrims (Omega) and Wampanoag (PreKindergarten) for their annual feast in the PreK room.  They were fully decked out in costumes, all sitting at table enjoying the "fruits of their friendship." It was a wonderful treat.
The pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts in 1621 would have been impressed had they visited our school this morning.  In all of our Chapels today, I shared a Thanksgiving prayer with the boys. …


Following the Saint David's Pathway today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Eighth grade boys found themselves standing before Duccio's c. 1300 AD painting of the Madonna and Child--a 2004 acquisition by the Met for a mere $45 million.

Holding her child gently in her left arm, Mary looks beyond her son with a palpable melancholy tenderness, while the baby reaches out his hand to brush the veil from her face. The formal rigidity and impersonal forms of Byzantine art give way in this piece to intimate gesture--the birth of a new way of perceiving and representing the world--a cultural transformation is underway in western art.  Remnants of the Byzantine style linger for sure--in the gold background, Mary's elongated fingers, and the non-childlike child--but the colors of their clothing, along with the sense of intimate human interaction, leave us with the distinct sense that the two figures exist in a real space, and in real time. An analogue to the human experience, Ducci…

Thanksgiving Begins ...

It shouldn't necessarily be this way, but the season for giving thanks has begun.  I'd like to think we were forever thankful.  However, this isn't a trait that comes easily to most of us, so a holiday season that encourages us to be thankful, for the blessings we enjoy, is the next best thing. 

At Cardinal Cooke yesterday evening, Saint David's 6th Grade volunteers began the season by serving a Thanksgiving meal to the center's residents.  With so many residents and so little space, Cardinal Cooke actually begins serving Thanksgiving Dinner to residents and their families this week and goes right on serving them all through next week.  Pictured here are some of the boys working a drink cart after first creating a festive ambiance by decorating the tables with centerpieces and walls with Thanksgiving images.

Meanwhile, back at school, the Class of 2011 with Mr. Ryan are busy coordinating the school-wide Saint David's Thanksgiving Food Drive, now in its ump…

At the setting of the sun ...

“They shall not grow old, As we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, Nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun And in the morning We will remember them.”  – Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

We recognize and thank current staff and faculty members Jack Sproule and Tom McLellan for their service in the Vietnam War and to all our alums who have served and are serving and to those who have fallen.  We are grateful for your selflessness.

Van Cortlandt and Verdi--Does it Get Any Better?

Saint David's Cross Country at Van Cortlandt Park is the photo at left.  A growing sport of interest amongst the Seventh and Eighth Grade boys, eleven are here seen beginning their cross country run at the Manhattan Middle School League Championship meet late yesterday.  After a grueling race, five Saint David's boys earned medals in this event: Blake K., Henry S., James W., Christopher W., and Henry T.  And then, early this morning, 7:45 AM, several of these same boys were playing Verdi's Nabucco on strings at the Ensemble's Morning Coffee Concert for parents and families.  Renaissance men in every sense, these young men managed to give virtuoso performances on and off the field.  Van Cortlandt and Verdi.  Does it get any better than that?

"The Blessings ...

... of a B Minus," Wendy Mogel's newest book challenges parents to examine their true goals and aspirations for their children, especially their teenage children.  Are our actions, our attempts to protect, support, and defend actually having the exact opposite desired effect?  "We [parents]," Dr. Mogel says, "worship the idols of our childrens' happiness."  We tend not to allow our children to fail, or to work through their problems.  We want them to succeed, to not feel pain, to avoid the struggle, to be perfect.  Parents, she says, intent on making their children happy, often rob them of the growth and maturity that comes with failure.

Mogel's philosphy, to use her own words, is “compassionate detachment,” defined as “viewing the upsetting aspects of adolescence as normal and necessary—as blessings that represent healthy growth, parents can put them in perspective and react thoughtfully instead of impulsively. Thus, bad grades, emotional outburst…

Nearly Now

Space is a fascinating concept.  I don't pretend to understand the full conceptualization of "space."  What I do understand is that it is being redefined.  Space for our children includes physical space, which we grew up with and are comfortable with, and a new virtual space, which for many of us is much less comfortable.  This virtual dimension is as much a part of our childrens' worlds as the physical dimension is ours.

This virtual space may bring with it many exciting possibilities.  It also brings with it many daunting challenges.  Our children are living now in this new space, a space that exists right before the present, just before "now."  This is the space where they text, twitter, and update their Facebook pages; it's a space that is not quite synchronous to now -- it's "nearly now."  This space is a difficult space to occupy.  Children can be easily led to believe, or feel, they are safe, protected in this space.   In Learning t…

Cardinal Cooke, Boys and The Good

Ten sixth graders and an eighth grader joined me tonight in community service at Cardinal Cooke.  The residents had a blast spending time with the boys, sharing stories and playing games.  In the photos we see SMcC and JC calling BINGO numbers, a group working with residents during the game, and TE imitating a perfect "host" on prize patrol.

The residents were totally taken by the boys' charm and wit.  With the help of many, including parent liaison Medill Harvey, the boys' teachers, and Adam Chazen at Cardinal Cooke, we are able to resch out and serve the greater good.  Reaching out to the community by giving of our time is important.

The boys volunteer for this program after school hours and must continue to meet their homework and all other obligations. It is a true giving of themselves.

Boys that Read

In this interesting article, How to Raise Boys Who Read, Thomas Spence makes the case for limiting electronic media, especially video games in the home if you want boys to read.  Providing boys attractive, powerfully stimulating "games" competes directly with books.  Shelve or limit the games and fill the shelves at home with books.

New England Redux

It was supposed to be a balmy 75 and sunny today. Instead, it was a cool, moist 57 in the steady shade. Having visited St. Paul's and Exeter in the spring just passed, we flew into Logan today and made our way first to see alums TJL '08 at Andover and then on to WP '09 at Brooks. Both boys are enjoying themselves thoroughly. My stated goal is to visit all Saint David's alums before they graduate high school.

Decisions about ongoing schools can be anxiety producing. What never ceases to amaze us, however, is how well it turns out. These are two different Saint David's boys at two very different New England schools--one 360 in size, the other 1,200, and the boys are thriving. They have both found homes post Saint David's that are challenging them intellectually, artistically and athletically.

WP is actively pursuing soccer, hockey and Lacrosse. At the same time, he is intimately involved in suggesting to the school that it allow he and others to paint a mural …

Know Thyself

Seventh Graders are on the Cape for the week.  Today, I sent them a "message from home:"

Dear Class of 2012, Mr. Barbieri, Mr. Kilkeary, Mr. Kessler, Ms. Marliave, Mr. Roman, Mr. Sunderwirth and Mr. Reeb: 

I thought that everything was turning for the worst.  First the 7th grade leave for Cape Cod and the school just doesn’t feel the same, then the Yankees blow it, begin to self-destruct, and sink further and further into the dark pit of hopelessness; but now, after last night’s game, they resurrect, like Phoenix from the ashes, and that sense of hope, that feeling that once again all is right with the world, has returned—and to top it off, tomorrow, you will be back.  We have missed you at Saint David’s. 

May the remainder of your time on the Cape generate many lasting memories.
God speed for the journey home.
Your headmaster,
Dr. O’Halloran

Thursday, October 21, 2010: New York

PS.  This morning, the rich ruby color has returned to the previously sullen cheeks of one 4th floo…

Mitch Spinach

This morning, Hillary Feerick, daughter of long time faculty member and friend to many, the late Mr. Raymond Feerick, shared a book she recently co-authored withher husband, Jeff Hillenbrand. Kindergarten boys were enthralled.  The energy, optimism and unyielding passion for "knowing" that kindergarteners exude on a consistent basis is a joy.  "The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach" and its related websitehttp://www.mitchspinach.comcelebrate nutritious foods, and the powers that healthy eating bestow upon the protagonist.  Mitch, otherwise seen as a regular kid at school, is secretly called upon to solve cases.  The boys loved it.  The book is dedicated to Ray.

St. Jogue

This morning at 8 AM mass, which was offered in memory of a grandfather of a current 6th grader, I realized that today is the feast of St. Jogue.  Known as the first Catholic priest to enter New York back in 1642, Isaac Jogue, a Jesuit, and his colleague died horrible deaths.   What is fascinating about his story is not so much his death, rather his life choice.  After achieving much fame and notoriety in France after his first "mission" to the new world, he gave up what would have been an "easy life" to return to the harshness, confusion, and brutality of the "new world."  How many of us have that level of conviction? How many of us could resist the easier course? and, while we are on the topic of easy, I'd like someone to help me define "an easy life."    Life, I'm not sure, is ever easy; it gets complicated quickly.  Fun, enjoyable, fulfilling, complex--all yes; but easy, I'm not so sure.  If you have it,though, and can bottle it,…

Mimi's Building Blocks and Saint David's: The boys at Work for the Greater Good

In celebration of our 60th year, we are embarking on a number of ambitious projects that reflect concretely the school's mission illuminated.  Today in my office, after many months of planning, members of the student council meet with Mimi O'Hagan.  A friend of the school, Mimi has been building schools in Ethiopia where no schools previously existed--specifically in the northern province of Tigray.  To date, Mimi's efforts, with the support of Save the Children, have resulted in the construction of four schools. What better way to celebrate the birthday anniversary of this school than to reach out and help establish another.  The boys committed to this effort today.

Their goal, and the goal of Saint David's is to support the construction of an elementary school in northern Ethiopia.  This is an ambitious undertaking; but one that will yield much fruit.  More information to follow.  Stay tuned to this blog.  It will be a school-wide initiative.  Pictured are Franny, C…

Research Supporting K-8

Some interesting research out of Columbia University regarding the advantage of the K-8 education model over the middle school model.  The research has limitations in that it was based predominately on standardized testing as a measure of student success and only included NYC Public Schools. Shelly Banjo highlights the research in the September 1, 2010 issue of the Wall Street JournalMiddle Schools Fail Kids, Study Says. More extensive details of the study are reported in Columbia Study Finds Students in Standalone Middle Schools Lag Behind K-8 Peers in Research: Breakthroughs in Knowledge and Ideas at Columbia, September 2, 2010.

Double Goals

Consistent with our theme this year, the aesthetic, and within the context of our 5th phase of the Curriculum Initiative, we are working with the Positive Coaching Alliance to provide critical evaluative feedback about aspects of our athletic program.  We have a strong and robust program; but we don't rest on our laurels.  Today, the fist of several visits scheduled for this school-year is underway.  The Alliance will be observing not only all of our coaches at work; but each of our myriad programs in progress.  Critical professional development feedback directly related to coaching methods and strategies, followed by a series of tailored professional development workshops will define this year's professional activity in the Athletic Department. 

If interested in a good related read start with The Double Goal Coach, by Jim Thompson.

This professional development is, in part, made possible though the Albert H. Gordon Professional Development Athletic Fund.

Opening Letter to the School Community

From 400 feet above sea level, floating on a gentle breeze at sunrise, Saint David’s administrators experienced the world from a completely new perspective this summer. Accompanied by a little nervousness, a mild dose of trepidation, and surrounded by the moist, chilly, pre-dawn air of a late summer’s day, each prepared a 90,000 cubic foot hot air balloon for flight. It wasn’t easy, but sometimes to really see something, to fully recognize and appreciate the world about us, we have to change our “usual” perspective. This year, our school and each of our sons will also take a “flight” of sorts. For our sons, it will be a flight on which they learn to see more and differently; for our school it will be a very special, anniversary flight.

In opening the doors of Saint David’s School this year, we will do so in celebration of her 60th year. This important milestone will be recognized with customary fanfare and ritual, not least of which will be the 60th Anniversary Mass at St. Ignatius Lo…

Citizens of the World

As our boys become men, they will do so at a time when actions and events in one part of the globe are instantaneously felt everywhere. Like our parents and grandparents, our sons will be citizens of their native lands but, unlike them, they will also be citizens of the world. In order to thrive, they will need a sound foundation in their own history, culture, values, and beliefs, and will need to possess qualities of mind that enable them to embrace, understand, and appreciate difference in all of its manifestations. Our sons will compete on the global stage across all professions and fields of study. No matter their chosen career, they will communicate, travel, interact, and work with people from "worlds" that differ greatly from theirs. The “new essentials” of the future will require the ability to access, organize, synthesize, and legitimize information efficiently and effectively. Our boys will have to think creatively, present coherently in both verbal and graphic form…

A Learning Revolution?

Each summer Saint David's faculty are asked to read and reflect upon a book that explores one of the themes being developed at the school.  Recently, Gardner's Five Minds for the Future and Hallowell's Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, and David Perkins' Smart Schools: From Training Memories to Educating Minds have served as summer reads.  This summer's reading assignment was not a book; instead “summer reading” was a “summer watching.”  The assignment aimed to explore one of our ongoing curricular sub themes: “Education for a New Era.”  
For the past several years at Saint David's, as one component of our major Curriculum Initiative, we have been critically examining potential implications of the changing socio-economic-cultural landscape at the dawn of this new century.  What may need to change within our curriculum to meet the demands of a new era? What should not? have been two of our essential questions.
Ken Robinson is an internationally known speaker and…

Jane and Harold

Saint David's faculty were asked to read Howard Gardner's book Five Minds for the Future two summers ago. In it, Gardner identifies the five minds (habits of mind/ways of thinking) he sees as essential for success in the future. As I watched Jane McGonigal's TED Talk below, I couldn't help but reflect on Gardner's work. Gaming taps into all of these minds--the disciplined, creative, synthesizing, respectful and ethical--and it ads yet another dimension. Gaming takes content that we have traditionally viewed in linear structures, two dimensional perspectives, to 3-D. Our older boys are already playing World of Warcraft and other games like it. Gaming just may be at the forefront of the development of life-like virtual worlds. The third generation of the web will probably embed us all in a three dimensional virtual world transforming social interaction online from what we understand it to be today--lineal--to fully engaged, three dimensional, dynamic social settings.…

Spartans or Athenians?

In light of the classical roots of our Saint David's curriculum, I enjoyed reading this April 2010 article in Time Magazine about the teaching of empathy.  The author, Maia Szalavitz, makes the point that empathy can and needs to be taught.  She cites the ancient Greeks comparing the ways of Sparta with the ways of Athens when it came to child-rearing and education--Athens obviously, being the better choice. She argues that empathy starts with teaching young children to understand their own feelings and behaviors thereby giving them the tools to understand the feelings and behaviors of others.  This resonates at Saint David's where we make reference to another classical ideal--one found etched in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi--"Know Thyself."  We lean toward the Athenians.

The Power of Social Media and Information ...

... has never been so great.  The world is changing, rapidly.  Clay Shirky makes a strong argument here regarding the power of information, technology and collective, collaborative work, but his more important embedded message is our changing culture and the importance of "sense of community" and "social pacts or constraints," as opposed to contracts.  There is an inherent generosity in the human spirit.  Emerging technologies tap and celebrate this generosity--what Shirky refers to as communal value.  This is fascinating.  For schools we have to tap into social media technologies more than we do.

Teacher Adventures Worth Following

Two groups of Saint David's teachers are embarking on fascinating adventures this summer and both are keeping blogs of their travels.  You can follow their journeys by checking out their blogs.  Second Grade teacher Jenn Horton and First Grade teacher Sara Thorpe are venturing west, following the Oregon Trail in preparation for enhancing a unit of study for the second grade boys next year.  Simultaneously, Ed Carr and Charlie Goulding, in a repeat excursion of sorts--last summer they biked from NYC to the Keys of Florida--are bicycling their way from Vancouver, Canada to Santa Barbara, California.  May their travels be rewarding.

Books in the Home?

According to a recent 20 year-study conducted by Mariah Evans at the University of Nevada, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain.  Books in the home--a 500 book or more home library--had an equally significant impact on the level of education children achieved as parents' education levels, trumping variables such as parents' wealth and the literacy levels of parents.  This is further evidence that, from an educational perspective, the most important thing we can do as parents is read to our children, supply them with books and make the home a literature rich environment.

A New Segregation Debate?

Newsweek recently published (June 22, 2010) an interesting article on whether the separation of boys and girls can help to solve the massive problem confronting American public education, especially with regard to the sigificant disparity between male and female high school graduation rates and college attendance/admittance rates.  Inherent in the debate are many issues related to the merits of separate schooling for boys and girls on a public policy level; but the largest issue, only touched on in the article by its author Jesse Ellison, is the issue of choice.  At the heart of all the efforts to reform public education in this country is choice, including this issue.  Proponents want choice, those fighting it don't.  When the people have choice, they have power.

Saint David's on the Links

Beautiful day at Hollow Brook Golf Club in northern Westchester County, town of Cortlandt Manor. Pictured here at the 9th green are master teacher Bob McLaughlan and his sons Rob '77, Matt '81, and Andy '84. They joined 53 other alums, parents, students and faculty for the 3rd Annual Golf Classic.  The ninth was a great hole for Bob--a birdie!  His sons had to work hard to keep up --
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"The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men"

On the same day the school received a letter from the Passionsits, it also received Fr. Richard Frechette's new book about his work in Haiti.  Both are interesting reads.  I especially enjoyed Fr. Rick's opening thoughts in his book about the resilience of life.  He makes referencee to the fighting spirit of the salmon and the resilience of the leaves of deciduous trees. The boys of Saint David's School, under the leadership of our Student Council chose Haiti relief as the focus of their efforts this year.  Each year the graduating class with the student council choose a charity to support.  Their efforts were obviously appreciated and deeply beneficial to the work of the Passionists' and to the people of Haiti.

The State of New York

I had the great pleasure of welcoming Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch and alums and friends of Saint David's to a private club in midtown for our Alumni Council's 4th Annual Networking Event.  Loud applause filled the room when I informed the gathered alumni that I had just arrived from Randall's Island where Saint David's Red Baseball team managed to achieve a clear and convincing win against Allen-Stevenson, securing their claim to the league championship title.  To top it off, they did so with back-to-back undefeated seasons, making this the school's third title in as many years.  More applause followed.

This was a great place to start the evening because the remarks that followed told a very different story.  Lieutenant Governor Ravitch spoke directly to the failing economy of the state and the nation and the difficult nature of the road ahead. In sum, Mr. Ravitch expressed most concern about New York and other states' "disinvestment in higher edu…

Theo Home

After a hit to center by Max C. Theo H. brings in Saint David's 2nd run at the top of 2. Then Max, after a hit, infield single to 3rd by Austin R., brings it home to close out the inning 3-0.

Red Baseball.

Vinnie Boombats on the mound at the bottom of the first inning ... championship game against Allen-Stevenson. Score 1-0 Saint David's. Nick C brings in the first run.

We Are the World

At Spring Concert this morning, 8th grade members of the Chamber Singers, James P., Dylan M., John V., Tommy R., Austen R., Max C., Vincent M., James L., and Andrew Turner, with special guest appearance by Jon R.! chose to sing "We are the World."

Beautifully sung, the song captured the Class of 2010's special spirit. They truly have reached out and connected themselves to the world.  Always a generous class, having started the now traditional Pennies for Puppies program while 4th graders, through their incredible efforts this year with the most successful Thanksgiving Food Drive in the school's history and their Haiti campaign, the Class of 2010 has led the school in "making the world a better place"--the good at work.

Live Free or Die II

After Exeter, it was a quick drive north west to St. Paul's in Concord. After a visit to the head and admissions director, it was off to spend some time with Browning P., second year. A highly effective tour guide, Browning has developed a singular reputation for impressing parents, their sons and daughters, with his knowledge and love of all things related to St. Paul's. Browning was the consummate host, giving us a grand tour of St. Paul's campus and campus life.

In keeping with New Hampshire's state motto, I'm working my way through "How the Scots Invented the Modern World" by Herman--quite a thesis statement, but a nice companion for the flight up and back none-the-less.

Pictured are Browning with Mr. Imbelli and me in front of St. Paul's Library, by the beautiful pond.

Live Free or Die

Flew out of LaGuardia early this morning with Mr. Imbelli for visits to Exeter and St. Paul's in Southern New Hampshire. Beautiful day for traveling to see alumni on my ongoing mission to visit all high school alums before they graduate high school. First stop, Exeter, to visit with Giacomo M., third year. I met with Giacomo's headmaster while Mr. Imbelli met with the Admissions Director. Giacomo continues to pursue his interests in math, science and music--his great passion. Giacomo performs in a jazz ensemble and is currently composing for the piano and orchestra. He is enjoying his experience thoroughly, even though this is his hardest term to date.

Pictured are Giacomo with Mr. Imbelli and me, in front of Jeremiah Smith Hall. We are so appreciative that Giacomo gave up a significant part of his "Headmaster's Holiday" to spend time with us. Right after this photo we left for St. Paul's.

25 Years Later

Friday evening, May 7, 37 of 40 alums from the Class of 1984 returned to Saint David's School for their class reunion.   This was an unprecedented gathering.  Traveling from Italy, London, California and Virginia, plus many places in between, these alums joined their former teachers for Chapel and a reception.  It was an exciting evening of sharing stories and reconnecting with friends, and a testament to the strength of Saint David’s and her connection to her alums.
Dr. Czuchlewski returned to give a very apt Chapel Talk, where he reflected on the different roles faith can play at different times in our lives.  Many of the alums had not sat in chapel since graduating 8th grade 25 years earlier.  It was an emotional experience. Following Chapel, the more than fifty guests moved to the Hume Library for cocktails.  Several former and current teachers who taught the boys gathered for the occasion too, including William Cantwell, Paul Czuchlewski, George Davison, Michael Imbelli, Gary …

An Exhibition of Teaching and Learning

Friday afternoon, May 7, after the boys were dismissed to their weekends, the faculty of Saint David's School assembled in the upper gymnasium of our 94th Street Gym for TfU (Teaching for Understanding) Expo.  The culminating experience of a year's long work, the Expo was a celebration of teaching and learning by the faculty for the faculty. 

Arranged into 17 teams at the beginning of this school year, the entire faculty worked throughout the year to 'reversion' 17 units of study using a framework developed by Harvard University's Project Zero.  Friday, each team set up their "booth" and positioned their displays and presentations synthesizing a year's worth of work.  We then rotated, following a complex but effective system, though each of the booths to experience the work of our peers.  The atmosphere was electric and the camaraderie of the group unmatched.

It's Not Every Day ...

... that one is visited by a contra-base recorder.  Recorder teacher Susan Iadone, in preparation for a recital with the boys this coming May 27th, visited my office today with her contra-base recorder.  Weighing some 35lbs and standing 10 feet high (the base part of the recorder is not pictured), the recorder, one of very few in the world, is made of Rosewood; it's also worth a pretty penny.  Being a lover of wind instruments this was facinating.

Grandparents and Boys -- A Quick Musing

The role of extended family in the education and raising of children is important. Last Friday was Grandparents and Special Friends Day for the PK, K and Omega grades. In welcoming grandparents and special friends to Saint David's that Friday morning, I touched on our mission, "that they be good men." To reinforce the reason we have Grandparents Day and to explore how it ties to our mission, I shared a brief story. It follows:

At First Communion last Friday for the Second Grade, I noticed a beautiful dress worn by the sister of one communicant. Midnight black with red trim, the dress was covered with Chinese characters, off-white, each approximately one half inch in height. Its unusual, unique style was quite stunning to look at.  I examined the dress from a distance trying to determine whether the characters printed on it repeated themselves suggesting a repeating phrase of some kind; or not, suggesting a story or extended message. Or were they just graphic images for de…

The Girls of Nightingale ...

... joined the boys of Saint David's for a morning gathering of music making April 29th.  It was a delight to see the boys perform, with such gusto and confidence, especially the theme song to Mission Impossible.  Mr. Hough proudly conducted the ensemble.  The girls were wonderful guests and talented musicians.  It was a focused social with a purpose--playing music together!  Thank you, girls.


The habit most associated with charity as a virtue—generosity—is the giving freely of time, talent, skill, or resources without the expectation of something in return.  It’s a noble notion, literally.  The etymology of the word, from the Latin root, literally means “kin” or “clan.”  The earliest usage of the word reflected an aristocratic sense of being of noble lineage or “high birth.”  Over time the meaning changed.  Generosity began to identify a nobility of spirit, rather than family heritage; to signify character traits and actions associated with the ideals of actual nobility such as gallantry, courage, strength, gentleness, and fairness.  Today, the meaning of “generous” has changed further to mean munificence, open-handedness, and the liberal giving of money and possessions. Over the course of centuries, the meaning of generous has shifted from an ascribed status restricted purely to the “nobility,” that was either truly earned or not, to be an achieved status of admirable per…

A New York Moment--Stanford White: Architect

Inside the magnificent Veterans Room at the Park Avenue (7th Regiment) Armory Thursday evening last, Sam White presented a captivating talk on the life and work of his grandfather Stanford White.  It was a fitting venue for this 4th annual social event organized by the Alumni Parents Council under the dedicated leadership of Dorothy Faux and Linda Foran.  With more than 100 people in attendance, Sam not only explained in detail the room we were occupying, designed by his late great grandfather, but also walked us through his great grandfather's life's work--the Farragut Monument, Villard House, Payne Whitney House, Church of the Ascension, Newport Casino Theatre, Metropolitan Club, Madison Square Garden, Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, The Century Association, Herald Building, NYU's Guild Library, Tiffany and Co., NY, to name a few.

The Seventh Regiment was known most famously for its service during the Civil War.  Its Armory is an incredibly interesting New York City landma…