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Showing posts from June, 2019

Graham Family Visits Saint David's

Last week, Thomas Graham’s Great Granddaughter, Madeline Graham, visited with her mother and friends from the neighborhood.  Madeline and her mother, Frances, enjoyed seeing how Saint David's has converted Thomas Graham’s residential hotel into a school. They also were thrilled at the number of our summer camp boys currently using the spaces throughout Graham House.

Other meaningful moments included seeing the “Graham House” mosaic in the lobby and the two framed reprints of advertisements for Thomas Graham’s Hotel, which hang in our basement elevator lobby. Most of all, they expressed appreciation to Saint David's for maintaining the warmth and vibrancy of Graham House in all of the new spaces.

It was wonderful to meet them and made for an incredibly special morning.  Special thanks to our neighbors, Emily and John Andren, for helping coordinate this visit.

Salmanca Study Tour for Saint David's Rising Eighth Graders

Rising eighth graders are enjoying their first days in Spain, on the Salamanca Study Tour. Their teachers report that the boys have already discovered--to their delight--the deliciousness of tortilla de patata and Cola Cao!

During these two weeks in Spain, the boys will spend their mornings in Spanish classes tailored to their individual levels of fluency. Afternoons will feature cultural excursions related to their studies, which immerse them in the life and traditions of Spain. The boys will also have the opportunity to play soccer with a local youth soccer team, enabling them to converse and engage naturally with Spanish peers.

The Spain Summer Study is sponsored by the Spanish provincial government and the University of Salamanca. It is one way that Saint David's provides learning programs that go far beyond 89th Street and widen the lens through which our boys' experience different people, places, and viewpoints.

Saint David's Boys Program Mars Rovers

Sixth graders recently honed their coding and engineering skills using LEGO Mindstorms as they built, programmed, and operated model Mars rovers. Working with partners, they completed a series of challenges that rovers would have to perform on Mars: collect rock samples, launch a satellite, and gather astronauts from one base to transport them to another.

This project harnesses boys' natural intellectual curiosity in active, collaborative, and creative ways. They are free to take risks as they test and revise their designs through the iterative engineering design process. It is challenging and the boys love it!

Here are excerpts from some of their robotics journals:

"I learned how to make the robot follow a line and stop at certain colors. This was very challenging at points, but my partner and I persevered through all of the challenges."

"You have to trust your partner; you can't be afraid to ask for help. Once we asked for help, we were able to fix our prob…

Navy SEAL Bill Berrien '82 Gives Chapel on Service to Saint David's Boys

Former Navy SEAL and Saint David's Alumnus Bill Berrien '82 fascinated all during his Chapel Talk Tuesday morning to our seventh and eighth graders.

A SEAL for nine years, Bill was a member of two platoons in South America as well as part of a Joint Special Operations unit. He shared his SEAL Trident with the boys, talked about the intensity of training, and noted he remains close to many with whom he served.

Connecting his service to the values that Saint David's espouses, he encouraged the boys to always be students--curious throughout their lives, to find the best in everyone, appreciate setbacks, and to learn from failures. In the video above, he addresses the first.

He closed by planting these "seeds" for our boys to consider: that life is a journey to be embraced broadly with openness to a variety of opportunities; being a service leader is of utmost importance; the unknown should be embraced; and, finally, that the boys be their own best friend, compassi…

NY Giant Justin Tuck Inspires at Saint David's Networking Event

New York Giant, philanthropist, financier and author Justin Tuck was the guest speaker for Saint David's Networking Event, held last week in our Otto-Bernstein Performing Arts Theatre.

Justin shared with us the story of his recruitment to Notre Dame and credited his success and fortune to having been prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when it presented, and even moreso to having had the support of "the right people in my life who steered me the right way. The only reason I am the man I am is that I had the fortune of having other men and women who could guide me." These included a father who impressed upon him that the only value in being powerful or successful is the good that you can effect with it.

Motivated throughout his life by his faith, family, a thirst for knowledge and love for athletics, Justin noted that the values of Saint David's resonated deeply with him and that our school is "making the ball more in the right direction early" f…

Saint David's Seventh Graders See "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Broadway

Our seventh graders, having recently studied Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird in English class, were thrilled to see the new stage version live on Broadway last week with their teachers. The boys were captivated by the show, which prompted thoughtful questions and comments afterward.

Post show, they were treated to a special talk-back led by cast members. The discussion explored the ways in which the play differs from the novel and how Aaron Sorkin's writing addresses important current-day issues and dynamics. The school is grateful to current parent Tom Kitt and To Kill A Mockingbird company manager Megan Curren for arranging the talk-back.

Taking advantage of New York City's cultural institutions enhances the learning that occurs within the classroom. Undoubtedly, yesterday's show enabled characters from the book to come alive in new and possibly unexpected ways for our boys. All of this deepens thinking and critical analysis of ideas and issues.

Spring Concert

Our boys in the Philharmonic Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Chamber Singers performed at this year's spring concert with talent, exuberance, and passion. With our new theater's acoustics allowing notes and voices to soar, the program featured a diversity of works from composers such as Bizet, Rachmaninoff, Journey, Vivaldi, and Woody Guthrie (and a couple of fun sing-alongs, too)!

What a joy to begin a beautiful spring day experiencing the fruits of our boys' many hours of practice, their dedication to their music, to their fellow musicians, and to their school. We embrace the ideal of balance at Saint David's and believe a boy should fully express and realize his potential for good in several facets of life: as a scholar, artist, athlete, and moral person. Our strong music program is a prime example of that conviction.

The Capstone Arco Project in Eighth Grade Humanities

ARCO is the final summary project in our eighth graders' humanities class; a signature learning experience that infuses scholarship with history, art, analysis and rhetoric. For this competition, boys create an original piece of art that is inspired by a famous artist's work. They write a brief biography of the artist and a reflection on the process they used to create their piece.

Last Monday, the boys presented their projects to a panel of judges consisting of teachers and art professionals. That evening, the boys' families attended a reception, the Salon de diplomes, in which the boys commented on their work. The winners will be announced prior to graduation.

I am always impressed by the maturity of our boys as  I listen to each speak with confidence about his project--explaining why he selected a certain artist or work, analyzing the approach he took, the problems he encountered along the way, and the lessons he learned. Soon these young men will be Saint David's…