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Showing posts from November, 2010

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. …

Duccio

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…