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Showing posts from April, 2010

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…

Some Days I Love My Job ...

... more than others.  Today was one of those days -- Headmaster for a Day -- a day that someone else carries the heavy mantle of power!  My third grade companion, Jackson B. began this day early in the morning welcoming everyone to school with a handshake and a smile.  After some 500 handshakes it was off to 7th and 8th grade Chapel to hear Mr. Kilkeary deliver an eloquent, morally rich reason why we should all "love our neighbor".  Following another round of handshakes beneath the "frescoed" Shepherd David, we took a tour of the classrooms to announce the much anticipated "HM For a Day Policies" -- always a highlight of this special day.

We began these announcements in the Pre-kindergarten and worked our way up through the school to the 8th grade.  It is fair to say, in response to the first of the policies announced by the Headmaster -- no homework tonight, not a stitch -- that our ascent in altitude was equally calibrated with the applause and cheers …

Earth Day All Day, Every Day!

Without contributing to the often politicized nature of issues environmental, I think we can all comfortably agree that learning to respect and appreciate the limited resources of our planet; to be conscious of our need to conserve, and in certain cases protect these resources is something we can all agree on. Earth Day has a special meaning at Saint David's and a long history of celebration. We were one of the first schools involved in the first NYC Earth Day in 1970.

This morning, Saint David's Chamber Singers under Phyllis C's direction, assembled on the sidewalk to welcome everyone to school in song. The boys' performance, enjoyed by the hundreds spread across our 89th Street sidewalk included: Kum Ba Chur Atzeyl, a Hebrew folk song about waking up, Now I Walk in Beauty (Text Navajo; music G. Smith), Old Brown Earth (words and music Pete Seeger), I Thank You, God (text E. E. Cummings, music E. E. Levine), This We Know (Text Chief Seattle; music R. Jeffers), Music …

Does it Get Any Better?

As we head home from Randall's Island on what is now a beautiful sunny, spring day, we do so victorious on two counts. Down 2-1 after 5 innings, White scores 3 runs off clutch hits. Briggs B. knocks in two to put us ahead. Colin J. ties it up with a single to left field. John W., commanding the mound, closes out the game with 2 of his 10 strike outs. Final score after an incredible comeback, 4-2 Saint David's.

Red v Buckley: Earth Day Closeout

Red outplays Buckley with a second run in the top of the 6th by William G.  Exceptionally strong defense and closing pitcher Nicholas C. prevent any chance of a Buckley comeback. Vincent M. pitches a confident, strategic 5 innings.  Game concludes with a line drive catch by JJ, 2-1 Saint David's.  As the sun sets on this Earth Day Thursday, this headmaster stands speechless and spellbound! Buckley plays a hard game.  The win did not come easily.

Mid-game Update 4/22/10 Red v Buckley: Intense.

Red vs Buckley. Top of the 4th. 1-1. Solid pitching by Vincent M.  A confident Will B. behind the plate. Good solid defense, especially middle infield; Arthur C. in particular with several assists and a nice fly ball catch at the top of the 3rd. Tense game. Buckley's offense is unexpected, shaking a little of Red's confidence, but I think we'll hold 'em.

White v Buckley: Earth Day Showdown at Randall's

Bleak afternoon weather wise. White team holding Buckley. Bottom of the second.  0-0.  Colin J. behind the plate holding the game.  John W. pitching strong. Good base running; some nice hits--Jimmy P. with a double.
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We can do everything that your students can do ...

... but we can do it in two languages.” Recently, an independent school colleague of mine was visiting a school in Lima, Peru.  During an interview at the school, one of the students commented: We can do everything that your students can do; but we can do it in two languages.  As our boys enter the world of work in 2020-2030, this will be their reality.  They will be competing for jobs, not only with friends and neighbors as our grandparents did, or with people from nearby towns and cities as our parents did, or even with a national pool as many of us did; they will be competing with people from all over the world; and many of them will have proficiency in more than one language.

As we truly begin to think about and come to terms with the impact of a new century, a new reality, on our existing institutional infastructures and practices, our culture and society, we will be challenged.  One of Saint David's most important and ongoing strategic initiativies has been our curriculum i…

Moon Bears and Haiti

I love it when boys get involved in their extended communities.  Today, in the midst of dealing with several typical headmaster issues, two second grade boys appear unannounced at my office door.  George N. then proceeds to present me with a beautifully penned letter addressed to the Government of China acknowledging their recent efforts to "protect" the moon bear. 
Asiatic black bears, commonly called “moon bears,” suffer terribly on Chinese “bear farms” where crude catheters are implanted into the bear's gall bladder through a hole made in the abdominal wall. The bile, extracted or "farmed" from the bear's gall bladder is used in Traditional Medicine practices throughout China and other parts of Asia. 
I can honestly say I know very little about the moon bear and its plight.  But George and the second graders are very aware.  They were looking for signatures to attach to their letter of petition.  They feel that the Chinese Government is not doing enough an…

A Lighthouse or a Clubhouse?

Saint David's School is a lighthouse.

One of the aspects I enjoy most about my work is the opportunity to spend time with children.  They constantly remind us of our inadequacies and shortcomings, are full of optimism, and have this insatiable thirst for knowledge.  Eating lunch today with the 1st grade was no exception.  After listening to a thousand stories about double, triple and super-x squared black diamond ski experiences during spring break, over rigatoni with meat sauce, one of my little neighbors asked, "So, Dr. O'Halloran, what do you ski?" "The Bunny Hill," I replied.  This, it goes without saying, became quite the novelty for the rest of lunch.

At a Saint David's function tonight in thanking a particular group for all their efforts, I told the story of the lighthouse and the clubhouse.  One day, a community of concerned coastal dwelling townsfolk who lived by a rocky reef and shoal pooled their resources and decided to build a lighthouse to…

That Guy in the Glass

We reopened on this beautiful spring morning in full swing as if not a day had passed since we broke March 19. Saint David's has traditionally chosen the two consecutive week option for spring break, as opposed to the alternate week in late winter and week in mid-spring option.  Two consecutive weeks allows for real recharge--for the boys and their teachers. With that said, I love the days the boys return after vacations.  Without them, after all, we don't really have a school ... just a building.

One of the books I'm currently reading is Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood by Jeffrey Marx.  In it, the author makes reference to a poem he read as a child hanging outside the Baltimore Colts 1974 locker room entitled "That Guy in the Glass."  It follows:

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your mot…