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.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Setting Sail on the H.M.S. Pinafore

At the end of the school year I always look forward to one of the most enjoyable Saint David's traditions, the Fifth Grade Musical. This year, the boys performed Gilbert and Sullivan's delightful operetta H.M.S. Pinafore. Produced by teachers Jamie MacNeille and Emma McFarland, directed by Phyllis Clark and conducted by Jeff Moore, the show entertained in spades!

The boys sang and delivered their lines with humor, confidence, and talent. Congratulations to all in the cast and crew; this show was a huge team effort--and it was a smash hit!
Music and drama are integral to our embrace of balance and the aesthetic at Saint David's.  We anticipate even greater programmatic opportunities for our boys to explore the performing arts, both onstage and in the tech/lighting/production areas when our new performing arts center opens in the fall.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer Learning

It's officially summer vacation, but learning continues at Saint David's, with our summer programs in full swing.

Last week, 12 boys from the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020 participated in Saint David's Summer Art Camp, taught by Ms. Jenna Boccella with assistance from Ms. Nancy Iannicelli.

The boys learned and practiced fundamental watercolor skills as well as concepts of plein air landscape sketching and painting at St. Thomas More each day before heading outdoors to the Cooper Hewitt Garden or Central Park Sailboat Pond to enjoy a leisurely lunch, socializing and watercolor sketching on site.

On the final day of the week-long camp, they added finishing touches to their works and chose two favorite pieces to share with their families.

They identified a challenge they faced, a key skill or concept they learned, and a work or detail that they were proud of from the week's endeavors.

This week, through our partnership with the DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor, rising sixth and seventh graders are participating in The World of Enzymes. The camp builds on basic concepts of biochemistry and molecular biology and enables students to use advanced techniques to manipulate DNA.

The boys are building molecular models, using enzymes to cut and splice DNA, analyzing DNA fragments and making a personal DNA fingerprint. On Friday, they will explain their week's activities to visiting parents and family members.

And, next week, our partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute will enable boys to discover the Secrets of the Civil War, as they study a topic about the war through research and exploration of primary sources in the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

These are unique enrichment opportunities for our boys to stretch intellectually, analytically, and aesthetically, as they take advantage of Saint David's partnerships and the school's location in the city.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

In Salamanca, Spain

Rising eighth graders participating in our Spain Summer Study trip arrived in Salamanca early Sunday.

This is the eighth year of Saint David's Spain Summer Study program, which is sponsored by the Spanish provincial government and University of Salamanca.

The trip provides a highly educational and rich cultural experience for our boys. Each morning they participate in Spanish language immersion classes tailored to each boy's individual level of fluency, and spend their afternoons and evenings enjoying a variety of cultural experiences in which they converse with native speakers.

These two weeks of cultural study and Spanish language instruction give our boys the opportunity to attain new levels of proficiency in the language and are certain to be an enriching milestone in their lives.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Break Through

It's official: The wall separating our compression-era reduced lobby and the new one is down, as we begin this summer's work connecting the school's three townhouses to our new space in Graham House.  All systems are go and the entire school is now a construction zone.

The Class of 2018

Thirty-eight boys became our newest cohort of alumni this past Friday after Board Chair Dan Connolly '77 and I handed them their diplomas at the 2018 Commencement ceremony.

They are a good-natured, intellectually curious group, a special class that has demonstrated the embodiment of all that we can be (omnium nobis) in each of our our school's pillars: academics, athletics, arts, and spirituality. The boys now leave Saint David's as young men, who will go on to be all that they will be (nunc in futurum).

As is custom, each graduating class leaves a legacy gift to the school. This year's is the new Eighth Grade Commons in Graham House, which will be named "Il Duomo" and dedicated in loving memory to Rovena Kilkeary.

Congratulations, Class of 2018! Be sure to visit your alma mater this fall--you'll love "Il Duomo" and the other amazing new spaces you'll enjoy during alumni events.

Monday, June 4, 2018


Last week's Spring Gathering began with a Chapel talk given by Stephanie Berardesca, former longtime assistant to Headmasters Hume and Maiocco, and current Assistant to the Board of Trustees.

Stephanie's Chapel honored personal heroes of Saint David's; people who, by embracing their profession and calling, have had great impact on others. One was former teacher Bill Ryan, a humble and erudite man who inspired so many of his students, including a graduate who, years later, dedicated his doctoral thesis to Mr. Ryan because, "he had never had another teacher who had influenced him more than his fourth grade teacher."

Of our former longtime Chaplain Monsignor Thomas Leonard h' 06, to whom we dedicated the Chapel, Stephanie said: "In Monsignor Leonard’s attitude and commitment, his patience and love for those of us in his flock, I would say that there are probably more than a few whose lives have been personally and deeply impacted by the attention of this one man, and that this impact was felt not only when they were young men, but into their adult years as well."

Chapel was followed by a Graham House tour for all of the alumni and alumni parents present. So many of our alumni community were amazed by the new spaces and marveled at how their alma mater was evolving.

The evening concluded with the Dedication of the Chapel--the heart of Saint David's--which is the only space in our school untouched by the construction project. Msgr. Leonard expressed how joyous it has been for him to serve Saint David's, noted how integral the boys teachers are in their lives, and called upon the alumni present to fulfill the school's mission by effecting positive change in the world.

I loved seeing our alumni community together again, and all of the reunion classes, particularly members of our very first graduating class, the Class of 1958, who traveled back to Saint David's to mark their sixtieth anniversary.

It was an exciting, energizing evening for all of us; a reaffirmation of Saint David's values, and a celebration of the past and future of this great school.