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Showing posts from May, 2018

Inspired by the Masters

Warhol, Banksy, Close, Kandinksy, Basquiat and Lichtenstein were a few of the masters of modern art who inspired our eighth graders' Arco projects this year.

For the final major project in their humanities class, the boys are challenged to create an original piece of work in the spirit of a famous artist.

Under the guidance of their teacher and Art Historian, Nancy Iannicelli, boys research the artist, and write a brief biography as well as a reflection on their process in creating the work which includes challenges that they faced from conception to realization.

Last week, the boys presented their artwork and the rationale behind it, without divulging the identity of the artist they were inspired by, to teachers and art professionals who served as judges. Later that

The boys' works were exceptional and thematically wide ranging. Some referenced the school they will soon be graduated from; others spoke to social or geopolitical issues; while still others focused on personal …

Writer Peter Hirsch '82 Speaks at Father-Son Dinner

Lawrence Hirsch told stories: Kangaroo intestines were successfully used to set a shoulder injury he sustained after being stabbed by a soldier with a bayonet, who had failed in his previous attempts to shoot him.

The yarns he could spin with alacrity! Presented as truth, often embellished or fictional, they unspooled in ways that were entertaining and always contained a message. He loved to tell stories.

Lawrence's son, Peter Hirsch '82, captivated all of us with his own storytelling gifts and wise words about the father-son relationship, at our annual Seventh Grade Father/Son Dinner on Wednesday night.

Peter is the Emmy and Peabody Award-Winning Head Writer of the Curious George and Arthur series. He is also a Saint David's alum who traces his first significant piece of writing to an eighth grade short story assignment at Saint David's. Although he never set out to be a television writer, after being offered a chance to write scripts for Arthur, Peter found that t…

A Day of Knights

I recently had the honor of dubbing each of our third graders a Knight of Saint David's. This Saint David's tradition marks the boys' acceptance of their call to be leaders -- to be all that they can be-- as they prepare to transition to the Upper School. This year's transition will be exceptional: in September our boys will enter a school re-imagined and redesigned through our expansion.

The Knights prepare for this ceremony through interdisciplinary study of medieval times: its traditions, customs, symbols. I loved the boys' Coats of Arms: they were creative, symbolic and meaningful, and reflected the insignia and symbols of the middle ages.

As is custom, the ceremony was followed by an all-out Medieval Feast which featured us all joining in song, a concert by our Fifth Grade Recorder Troupe, and entertainment courtesy of our
eighth graders.

All in all, it was a most magnificent ceremony and feast! The day is made possible each year through the work of so many…

Fourth Graders Support The Seeing Eye

Pennies for Puppies is our fourth graders' signature service project in which the boys support The Seeing Eye, a non profit organization that breeds and raises puppies to become Seeing Eye dogs, trains guide dogs, and instructs blind people on the proper use and care of the dogs.

Not only does this project entail their planning, marketing and executing a bake sale fundraiser; our boys also learn in depth about the organization, the roles of guide dogs, and meet with people who are visually impaired to learn about their experience.

Last week they visited The Seeing Eye's facility in Morristown, New Jersey, for a tour and discussion and to present The Seeing Eye with a check for the more than $2,300 their bake sale raised.

Spirituality manifested through action for the good is a cornerstone of a Saint David's education. Through Pennies for Puppies, the boys also have an opportunity to appreciate and learn from difference.

Learning From Each Other - A Prep for Prep Panel Discussion

On Friday, Dan Tobon '97, who participated in Prep for Prep, and Javier Piggee '97, who entered Saint David's in the first grade, visited the school to share their experiences with our current sixth graders, who will welcome two new classmates from Prep for Prep in September. They were joined by John C. Dearie '95, Assistant Director of Development, who spoke from the perspective of a student who welcomed Prep for Prep classmates when he was in seventh grade.  Saint David's has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Prep for Prep, which prepares New York City's most promising students of color to excel academically and socially at leading independent schools.

Dan and Javier reminisced about the strong bonds they formed at Saint David's and the impact of their teachers, and noted our school's welcoming, warm community. The panel discussed the potential challenges faced by these students, such as long commutes, and offered advice to our sixth grader…

"A Man for Others"

Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J., was the featured speaker at Saint David's Networking Event on Wednesday evening at a midtown venue.

Father O'Donovan, former President of Georgetown University, spoke passionately about the growing refugee crisis and his current work as Director of Mission for the Jesuit Refugee Service, which advocates for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons worldwide, working to meet their educational, health, and social needs. He encouraged all to remain informed about the issues in the world and to take deeper roles within our personal communities of family and friends.

He also took several questions from the alumni, alumni parents, current parents, and faculty in attendance. One involved Catholicism's relations with other world religions. Father O'Donovan stressed how important and valuable it is to sit down to a meal with people from differing religious background, which enables you to learn so much, both through the conversa…

LAX Champs Again!

Red Lacrosse won the 2018 MPMSL title yesterday evening in a 10-4 victory over St. Bernard's on Randall's Island. The team was undefeated this season, and this marks back-to-back MPMSL titles for Red.

Throughout the season, our boys have demonstrated great skills, mastery, confidence, and the good sportsmanship that honors the game.

Congratulations to all the players and coaches Evangelista and Russo!

On Mars

In a new robotics unit, our sixth graders are employing their knowledge of astronomy from their recent Digital Universe Field Study.
The boys are building, programming, and operating their own model Mars rovers, using LEGO Mindstorms. They work in small, collaborative teams to solve a series of challenges, such as dropping off supplies or moving objects on the planet. 
This project requires the boys to think critically as they test and revise mechanical systems and digital sensors, and build and debug code. They are free to take risks, since it is easy to take apart designs that aren't working  and to try something different--allowing them to work according to the engineering design process.

Connecting With Others Through the Gbowee Backpack Initiative

In preparation for Confirmation each year, sixth graders engage in a service project. This year, as in 2017, the boys participated in the Gbowee Peace Foundation's Backpack Initiative, which provides backpacks, supplies and money for uniforms for high achieving young scholars in impoverished areas of Liberia. Earlier in the year the boys met with Nobel Laureate and founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation, Leymah Gbowee, to talk about the program and its impact on the children in her country.

The boys decided to plan, market and run a bake sale to raise money for the initiative. They calculated how much they would need to raise to purchase and fill a backpack, and based on the money raised in the sale, how many backpacks they would be able to donate. Their bake sale raised more than $1,200, enabling the purchase of 48 backpacks.

This week in religion class, the boys wrote letters to the children who will receive the backpacks, which will soon be delivered to Liberia. Our boys are …

What's Your Ideal Classroom?

Our expansion project has provided a unique opportunity for our first grade boys to participate in an engaging hands-on measurement math investigation.

First the boys were read the following letter from Lower School Head Ms. Davidson:

Saint David's needs our help!
Ms. Davidson has asked the first grade class to design
the "ideal classroom" for next year!

As a class, we are going to learn how workers measure new space,
brainstorm ideas on what we would love to see in our classroom, and
create a blueprint to propose to Ms. Davidson!

Boys then brainstormed a list of items that they would need in their classroom (desks, etc), as well as those they would want (pet corner, massage chairs).

The next day, our expansion project Construction Supervisor Pete Provenza spoke to the boys about the construction project, and showed measuring tools and actual blueprints. In groups, the first graders then created their very own blueprint of their “ideal classroom,” representing each foot of s…

An Evening Tour at St. Patrick's

This year's Alumni Parents Council Cultural Event treated the Saint David's alumni parent community to a private tour of St. Patrick's Cathedral, granting us an inside look at the history and restoration of the great Cathedral.

Mr. Loual Puliafito, the Director of Development at St. Pat's, organized the evening and welcomed us all. He noted that the generation that built the Cathedral was trying to make their families' lives better, that St. Patrick's resulted from their hard work and sacrifice, and its creation stood as a gift from one generation to the next.

We learned how in the mid-nineteenth century, John Hughes, seminarian, founder of Fordham University, and the first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, convinced 100 of of the wealthiest people in the city to give him $1000 each to build a new beautiful Gothic Cathedral during a time of explosive growth in Catholicism in New York. The cornerstone was laid 1858 (although its exact location remains …