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.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Leymah Gbowee Gives Chapel Talk at Saint David's

Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation, Leymah Gbowee, gave Monday morning Chapel for our seventh and eighth graders. Both classes of boys had participated when in Grade Six in the GPF's Backpack Initiative, which provides backpacks and supplies to high achieving Liberian students in need.

Last year, the boys organized, managed, and ran a bake sale that raised more than $1,200, enabling them to purchase 48 backpacks. In religion class they wrote letters to the children who were to receive them.  Ms. Gbowee thanked the boys for their efforts in support of GPF.  She showed where in Liberia the boys' backpacks and letters were distributed, and the network of young volunteers involved in the process.

She also asked for our boys' prayers ahead of her address to the UN General Assembly about sustainability goals, raising peace builders, ending extreme poverty, and providing increased opportunities for girls. Ms. Gbowee expressed her hope that some of the boys will continue to volunteer for the organization in the years ahead as she expands the initiative to Ghana.

This was an inspiring way for our oldest boys to begin the week: to see and appreciate that working to address poverty and inequity in the world requires dedication, sustained effort and commitment.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Our beautiful new Upper School Library!

The new Library Suite, which includes a commons area between the Lower and Upper School Libraries, affirms Saint David's commitment to the classical tradition.

Here our boys can read quietly, collaborate on projects, conduct research, and learn to utilize the tools of technology in support of their scholarship.

Research has indicated better comprehension and engagement when reading printed texts. Our belief in the power of books and the written word remains steadfast! It will serve our boys well.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Boys Back at Their Alma Mater

With their secondary schools closed in observance of Yom Kippur on Wednesday, several young alumni took the opportunity to visit Saint David's.

They made the rounds of our newly expanded school and met up with their Saint David's teachers, expressing awe about the new spaces and excitement about all that is happening at their elementary school.

We loved seeing Alex H '17, John S '17, Paul L '18, Will M '17, Donovan S '15, Ryan E '15, Edoardo C '15, Charlie C '18, Jack C '18, Richard P '18, Caspar S '17, Billy G '17, Brody P '17, Lucas R '17, Nicholas v P '17.

Our door is always open to them and to all our Saint David's alumni!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Puer viri pater est

The following excerpts are from my Opening Letter to the Saint David's Community:

It’s been a dream for 45 years and an active goal for 12, and here we are—a newly reimagined, redesigned, and expanded campus on 89th Street.  A cast of thousands got us here.  It was an awe-inspiring collection of remarkable talent and unbridled commitment that enabled the school to complete this major construction project on budget, and to open on time.  Our new spaces will allow the program, its teachers, and our boys to fulfill their endless potential...

...Despite all this newness, we will never lose sight of what truly defines Saint David’s: our mission.  In keeping with our Classical tradition, Saint David’s will continue to balance the education of our boys across her four pillars: the academic, athletic, artistic, and spiritual.  Our academic, athletic, and artistic programs are strong.  Of this there is no doubt.  Our boys successfully matriculate to schools that demand much of them academically, athletically, and artistically.  To be honest, one can find this at many great schools.  What distinguishes Saint David’s is that we are equally committed to the spiritual—to the development of the character of our boys—one that is informed by faith, shaped by practice, and celebrated by community.

The education of a boy’s character is the whole work of the school.  It is everything that happens here.  It is the reason, I would argue, we do school.  Character is not achieved through divine providence, but through the quality and consistency of what our boys choose to do—their actions. 

For a boy to thrive in his twenty-first century world, he must learn to be a man who believes that his highest obligation is not to himself, but to others—to move from viewing the world as all about ‘me,’ through one that’s all about ‘you,’ to a world that’s all about ‘us.’  

Today, unfortunately, he is too often surrounded by a popular culture that celebrates the antithesis of these values.  A Saint David’s education must be an antidote to popular trends.  A Saint David’s boy must learn to think critically, debate intelligently, and act respectfully. 

School must be a place where boys can make mistakes and learn from them.  Our founders did not articulate …that they be perfect men, but rather… that they be good men. 

My letter opened with the Latin idiom “Puer viri pater est”—the boy is father to the man.  You’ll find the phrase etched in the bench located on the Second Floor Mezzanine...

...The experiences of childhood, both positive and negative, create impressions that become deeply etched in our minds.  It has been said often that past is experience, present is experiment, and future is expectation.  A boy, by gathering his experiences into his experiments, can achieve his expectations and, by extension, become the father of his own manhood. 

The Opening Letter in its entirety can be found on the website at this link.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Celebrating Boys!

Yesterday was the first day in a school that, after two-and-a-half years of tight-belt compression, stretched into beautifully expanded space. Exhale. We were ready. So were the boys!

Often wide-eyed, they oohed and aahed, and then got to business greeting their classmates and teachers, who helped them navigate their way to their classrooms; some familiar, others brand new. Teaching and learning began.

Each morning, I will continue to greet our boys at the same townhouse door, the black door of Building 16, as has been custom for decades. Saint David's is the same school at its core, with the same values and mission that have guided us for nearly 70 years, now housed in a beautiful new program-driven facility that will enable our community to be all that we can be.

This year's school-wide theme is simple--boys. They are who we teach, what we do. And boyhood is what we treasure.

Welcome to Year 68.