Welcome to the Headmaster's Blog where you'll find updates, thoughts, and events regarding Saint David's School, the education of boys, and other items of interest. This is by no means meant to be a complete account of all that happens at Saint David's. Please refer to the school's website for more complete details -- it's more a Headmaster's musings.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trinity

May 17th saw a visit with Saint David's alums on the West Side.  We have 7 boys from the class of '09 at Trinity, Jeffrey, William, Daniel, Serge, Christopher, John and Garrett; 4 from the class of '10, Jonathan, Jorge, Ryan, and Jon; and one, Nicholas, graduating Trinity this year from the class of '07.  It was an enjoyable and productive visit with the boys. They are doing well, and happy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Farewell to the Chaplain

Spring, 2011

Dear Saint David’s School Community:

Traveling widely and moving often, St. Ignatius Loyola had no real definitive plans when he left the castle home of his family, Loyola, in 1522. In keeping with the founder of his order, our beloved Chaplain, Father Steve Katsouros is leaving us, but unlike Ignatius, he has a plan. The Jesuit superiors and Father Katsouros have discerned and decided it’s time for him to put to use his doctoral studies, and so in August 2011, Father Katsouros will become the Director of the Institute of Catholic Educational Leadership in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. USF is one of the 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education in the United States. This is obviously an exciting move for Father Katsouros, even though a sad one for us.

Father Katsouros succeeded Monsignor Thomas Leonard as the school’s Chaplain in 2003 and has served these past 8 years with distinction. He was as much at home judging the Nightingale-Bamford Lecture series each year as he was hearing the confessions of our sons, making him a true Renaissance man. It will be his incredible sermons, though, that will leave their mark on the fabric of this school. Father Katsouros’ words engaged the boys and connected them to the biblical stories by carefully weaving the lessons of scripture with the most modern of cinema heroes to find the moral perspective—whether it be Harry Potter and his friends or Nemo of Finding Nemo fame. Providentially, Father Katsouros’ last mass at Saint David’s was the school’s 60th Anniversary Liturgy at St. Ignatius Loyola—how fitting that more than 1,000 members of our community were in attendance.

St. Ignatius called Montserrat, Manresa, Barcelona, Salamanca, Jerusalem, and Paris “home” at different times in his life. For our Chaplain, it has been Washington, DC, Cambridge, Chicago, Jersey City, New York City, and now, San Francisco. We wish Father Katsouros every happiness as he continues his mission-focused journey. We were incredibly fortunate to have him here with us, in our home, for such a significant span of time. May he inspire, educate and comfort all those he ministers to in the future, as he has done for those in his past. Please join me in expressing our collective affection and esteem for our Chaplain. I remain,

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Senatus Populusque Romanus: A Special Accomplishment

Vexilloid of the Roman EmpireSPQR, The Senate and People of Rome, referred originally to the government of the ancient Roman Republic. It appeared on coins, at the end of official public documents, in dedications of monuments and public works, and it was emblazoned on the standards of the Roman legions.  In a letter I received this week from Mary Washington University in Virginia, this ancient initial appeared blazoned across the letterhead surrounded by laurel.  My interest, obviously, was piqued.

Each year, for the past several, Saint David's boys have participated in what's know as the National Latin Exam. They have always tended to do very well.  This year, however, was a little different.  Of the 18,100 students from across the world--the United States, Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, China, Guam, Japan, Malaysia, Virgin Islands, Iran, and Zimbabwe--who sat for this exam, only 328 students scored a perfect paper.  In and of itself this is quite remarkable.  What is even more remarkable though, is that of this 328, three were from Saint David's School:  Aidan Sheinberg '12, Felix Schliemann '12, and Alexander Hutchinson '12.

Congratulations boys, on a remarkable accomplishment, and kudos to their teachers, Dr. King and Mr. Romanosky!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Loyola


We visited Loyola today to catch up with Saint David's alums.  We have seven alums currently attending Loyola--seniors: Christopher, John, Joseph, David and Andrew; sophomore Hunter, and freshman Max. 

After Mr. Imbelli and I spent some time meeting with the boys regarding their transition from Saint David's to high school and critiquing their experiences, we shared stories and memories.  Chris is off to George Washington, John to NYU, Joseph to Penn State, David to Boston College, and Andrew to Macalester.  It was a lot of fun catching up with the boys and I thank them for their candor and time.

"Nightingales"

Although not found naturally in the Americas, Nightingales were both present and visible throughout first grade classrooms at Saint David's School Friday.  Reciprocating the boys' visit to their classrooms earlier in the year, the first grade girls of Nightingale-Bamford visited the boys on the boys' home turf.  Connecting with and developing close bonds and relationships with neighbors is an important part of a Saint David's boy's education.  In addition to our first grade tradition with Nightingale, we have the 8th grade lecture series and the orchestra coffee concerts.  Saint David's also works with Spence girls in the 3rd grade, and Marymount girls across multiple grades for a piano recital at Steinway Hall.

I know that it is typically Nightingales that sing frequently during the evening hours, but this Friday, it was the boys and the girls "singing together" that caught my eye--and what sweet song it was.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Taft, Choate & Pomfret

The sweet smells of spring filled the Connecticut air Tuesday, May 3 as I drove north to visit alums at three New England boarding schools.  An early arrival at Watertown found me quickly catching up with Willy McMullin, Headmaster, on Saint David's boys at Taft.  In all, there are 11 boys currently attending Taft represented at all four grade levels.  It's a much bigger school than Saint David's with more than 460 boarders and some 150 day students.  Taft boasts a beautiful campus that is now enjoying the fruits of significant plant upgrades.  The distinguishing characteristic, in addition to the architecture of place, is the central hall--main street--theme of the school.  Taft prides itself on this focus on centrality, giving this "big school" in the words of the head, "a small feel." Pictured is the entrance to Taft and the new dining hall; the boys sitting with me in the Faculty Room discussing their respective transitions to high school, their suggestions for ways to further strengthen Saint David's, achievements, advice and a little spirited banter.  The final shot is of the boys in Lincoln Hall (named after another important president to Taft).


Taft's Lincoln Hall with Saint David's Alums



Choate's Hill House
After leaving the boys at Taft it was a short drive to Choate in Wallingford for lunch with Andres and Harry, a junior and senior respectively for a conversation much like the one described above.  Later Kristoffer, a junior too, was able to catch up for a few minutes during math class.  Henry and Michael are also at Choate, but our schedules prevented us from catching up this visit.  During my stay, India, Hunter, '09 Briggs,'11 and Gardner's '16, sister happened to walk by our meeting room and noticed a familiar face and dropped in to say hello.  It is a small world.

The boys at Choate, and India, all appeared to be happy and healthy.  They expressed their love for Saint David's and for their teachers and classmates.  Some humorous stories were shared, and then it was time to move on to my last stop on this tour.  Harry is off to Sewanee, Tennessee for college.








My afternoon was spent at Pomfret in Pomfret with Christian, a sophomore, and William a senior.  Pictured are a few shots of the chapel and the dormitories of the main quad that look out over the new athletic fields and a beautiful vista beyond.  After meeting with Headmaster Brad Hastings it was on to meet with the boys in the Headmaster's Study where I learned that William is off to George Washington University next year.  Both boys were happy and very much at home.

Saint David's, I concluded after my 13 hour stomp, is exceptionally well-represented in the great state of Connecticut.  My thanks to all!





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Monday, May 2, 2011

Classical Music: Alive and Kicking

Friday morning April 29th saw the girls of the Nightingale-Bamford School join the boys of Saint David's School for an open rehearsal "Coffee Concert" in Hyman Hall.  A tradition now, parents from both schools gathered again to enjoy this early morning combined activity.  The two schools played together Antonín Dvořák's 1893 Largo from New World Symphony, after a beautiful introductory piece by the girls.

The boys finished off the morning's get-together with a strong rendition of Edvard Grieg's 1876 In the Hall of the Mountain King.  From the back row, Mrs. Hutcheson, Nightingale's Head and I marveled at the intensity of this early morning rehearsal by the 2nd through 8th graders.  What a way to start a day! The classical music was kicking in large part, I think, because of the presence of our special neighbors from a few blocks north.

Below is my amateur recording of some of the joint performance, for your enjoyment:

video


Sunday, May 1, 2011

George F. Baker Houses

This past Wednesday, April 27, Saint David's Alumni Parents Council organized a stunning spring social at the New York home of Richard H. Jenrette.  Designed in 1917 by Delano & Aldrich, the same architects that designed all three townhouses that now comprise the main buildings of the Saint David's School (12 through 16 East 89th Street), the Baker houses represent stunning examples of brick Georgian-style townhouses.  Just twenty feet across the front, the Jenrette home is 70 feet deep stretching almost to the back of the property line.  Ceilings within are some 20 feet high with large rooms extending from either side of a central spiral stairwell hall, lit by a skylight, on all three of the principal floors.  Filled with American nineteenth century art, the house was an absolute treasure to explore.  The more than one hundred alum parents enjoyed the evening tremendously.

An ardent preservationist, Mr. Jenrette purchased the houses in the late 1980s.  67 E 93rd serves as his NYC home, while 69 E 93rd serves as the headquarters of his foundation "Classical American Homes Preservation Trust" dedicated to American nineteenth century art and architecture.  Identified by the New York Times as "the last gentleman of Wall Street," Mr. Jenrette was clearly a man of generosity when it came to allowing Saint David's the opportunity to view his home.  Following are a few photos I snapped while exploring.

View of the central spiral stairwell from the 3rd floor.


Mr. Jenrette's library on the 2nd floor includes an incredible collection of New York related topics divided by genre, for example: New York Architecture, New York mysteries, New York history--fascinating! Pictured here is the east wall.


The main living room on the 3rd floor.


Main Library, boasting portraits of George Baker, Sr., painted from life, by Frank O. Salisbury; and portraits of Messieurs Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette, and Chalsty by Peter Egeli


Looking out from the Main Library.


My personal favorites from the home: French made wall paper panels depicting scenes of the New World (1818).  In the panel below, a view of Manhattan island from New Jersey; the panel on top, West Point. These were obviously painted in France from memory or description.





The event was made possible through the generosity of Michael and Winnie Feng, parents of Andrew '99, and Margize Howell, parent of Clark Wright '04 and Pearce Wright '09 , who is also the Executive Director of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust; Mr. Richard H. Jenrette, and Alumni Parent Council Chairs, Linda Foran, parent of Taylor and Logan, and Dorothy Faux, parent of Tyler and Rawson.




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