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, December 14, 2010


The ringing of sleigh bells announced their impending arrival, and then there they were, "invisible," but clearly present in my office. 

The stairs, halls and classrooms of Saint David's were bustling with little green and red creatures this morning, moving quickly and silently about the school--surprising and exciting all those in their path.  Pre-kindergarten elves, a long standing tradition, left the relative safety of their classroom this morning and moved stealthily, albeit a little tentatively, about the wider world signaling the beginning of Christmas week at Saint David's. Magically, my camera captured this shot of the elves in my office this morning seconds before they disappeared ...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sometimes ...

... living in the western most borough of the great City of New York, one can often neglect to think about one's friends to the east.  This week, Mr. Imbelli and I ventured to the farthest reaches of the borough of Brooklyn to visit with alums on the beautiful, sprawling campus of Poly Prep, as well as alums a little closer to home at Packer Collegiate in historic downtown Brooklyn .  These visits represent my continuing efforts to reach all Saint David's alums at their high schools before they graduate. Pictured at left are Adrian '08 and Damian '07 at Packer; and below, Francis and Michael, Sean and Caleb all from '09 at Poly with David Harman, Headmaster.   The boys are all enjoying their time at their respective schools.  We gathered many ideas from the boys regarding their transition to high school and suggestions for improvements to our program.  I am proud of their accomplishments, their growth and their willingness to engage in constructive critique.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Are our Brains Being Rewired?

"Dazzled by the Net’s treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture" Nicholas Carr writes in his latest piece in Wired Magazine on the impact of evolving technologies on our learning, lives and culture.  "What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. In the process, we seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting," Carr contends.

Carr develops an interesting argument; one worth contemplating.  There is a strong case to be made for managing technology as we do all the tools we have at our disposal.  I'm not sure we as a culture, or as a society, have figured out exactly how to do that yet, especially with respect to emerging technologies and the sheer abundance of all kinds of information.  We are a little infatuated right now, and our consumer culture is feeding the frenzy.  There is something to be said for employing the classical tradition of balance.

Reading deeply and examining books or comprehensive, thoughtfully developed and reasoned text will always be an intellectually challenging pursuit, and an absolutely essential skill.  When compared to the cursory skimming of bits and pieces of data and text that Web 2.0 encourages and almost celebrates, it doesn't take one long to realize that much of what is happening has been fleeting; it can't be sustained as is and it will self-correct in time.   What the impact of this "revolution" will ultimately be and what it will all look like on the other side, though, is anybody's guess.  I do believe we are at the dawn of another seismic shift (See Empires of the Mind) in our culture, but I'm not sure I buy into all of Carr's argument.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Young Alums Return

It's about 6:45 pm Tuesday and I'm enjoying the company of some 120 young alums in Hyman Hall, many of their teachers and the Class of 2011. Pictured here is Fr. O'Shea of the Passionists updating the boys on how the $33 thousand the Class of 2010 raised for disaster relief in Haiti last year has helped the lives of so many Haitians--people who the boys will never meet; but whose lives they have been changed forever. The boys represent leadership with a moral purpose.  We are proud of their outreach and commitment to the greater good.

Homecoming dinner, a delicious meal of braised beef, mashed potatoes, a mushroom gravy served with lightly cooked fresh vegetables, fresh rolls and plenty of soda followed a visit to the newly furnished Faculty Lounge after Chapel--the Class of 2010's legacy gift to their school.

It has become tradition at Saint David's to invite alumns from the last four graduating classes (high school alums) to the school on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to enjoy Chapel and a meal with the Class of 2011 and their teachers--to share stories of high school, the application process and to prove that it really does all work out in the end.  Chapel tonight was given by Keats Sexton, '01. After Saint David's, Keats attended Regis, Georgetown and now works for UBS.  He reflected on the lessons learned at Saint David's that have carried him through all the years since, and shared two pieces of advice with the boys regarding their futures, namely: seize opportunities when presented and pursue your passions.

Our gathering tonight of some 170 faculty and alums, all in a festive mood, happy to be back, reflecting, celebrating and catching up with friends is a testament to the importance of community.

Tomorrow, one of the longest running and most anticipated of the school's traditions--the 45th Annual Odds and Evens Alumni and Faculty Soccer Game will be held.  Evens (even year graduates) have managed to squeak out a victory over the Odds for the last seven years in a row.  The odds may be on the Odds tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving ...

Thanksgiving festivities are in full swing at Saint David's.  Late yesterday and early this morning some 8th graders were distributing pies to families in the Lobby while the rest were busy on the 4th floor packing some 200 boxes with cans and food stuffs collected from all the grades over the past several weeks, in preparation for delivery tomorrow, along with frozen turkeys, ham, and bacon, to Incarnation Parish on the West Side and Bethel Gospel Assembly Church in Harlem.  Later this morning, I accepted an invitation to join Pilgrims (Omega) and Wampanoag (PreKindergarten) for their annual feast in the PreK room.  They were fully decked out in costumes, all sitting at table enjoying the "fruits of their friendship." It was a wonderful treat.

The pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts in 1621 would have been impressed had they visited our school this morning.  In all of our Chapels today, I shared a Thanksgiving prayer with the boys.  It follows:
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Let us pause and give thanks
for all we have been given.
In the silence of our hearts,
let us reflect on the many
Gifts we so often take for granted -
for family, for food, for freedom.

With uplifted hearts, as we gather around
our table this Thanksgiving, let us give thanks -
not only for the gift of food,
but for the great gifts of life itself -
friendship, love, laughter, health and hope.

On this Thanksgiving holiday
A day that unites us as a nation
We thank God for the goodness of the human spirit -
for people who make our world a better place -
for those who search for peace where only war is known
for a world where good can always triumph over evil
Where hope trumps despair
and the laughter of children
overcomes the many sounds of fear.

We thank you
For all those who will gather at our table,
Who by their presence in our homes
have added to the quality of our lives and brightness of this Thanksgiving day.

Let us give thanks
for the food
we are about to eat
and the company
we are about to keep.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The inspiration for this prayer is loosely based on one my daughter brought home from her school.  The original author is unknown.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Following the Saint David's Pathway today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Eighth grade boys found themselves standing before Duccio's c. 1300 AD painting of the Madonna and Child--a 2004 acquisition by the Met for a mere $45 million.

Holding her child gently in her left arm, Mary looks beyond her son with a palpable melancholy tenderness, while the baby reaches out his hand to brush the veil from her face. The formal rigidity and impersonal forms of Byzantine art give way in this piece to intimate gesture--the birth of a new way of perceiving and representing the world--a cultural transformation is underway in western art.  Remnants of the Byzantine style linger for sure--in the gold background, Mary's elongated fingers, and the non-childlike child--but the colors of their clothing, along with the sense of intimate human interaction, leave us with the distinct sense that the two figures exist in a real space, and in real time. An analogue to the human experience, Duccio captures the emotional bond between mother and child and marks the dawn of a new era.  Duccio is departing from pre-existing convention.  He's challenging the accepted norms of his time.

Considered the founder of Sienese painting, Duccio in Madonna and Child, defines a sense of space.  By including a simple parapet wall along the base of his painting, Duccio separates the fictive world of the painting from the real world of the viewer.  Art can do this.  It has the ability to take us places far from our "real" world and yet help us see our own reality more clearly, more profoundly.  True beauty lies in "truth"  and we need art to help us see truth.  As we contemplate this year of "The Aesthetic" at Saint David's, Duccio has a role to play. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Begins ...

It shouldn't necessarily be this way, but the season for giving thanks has begun.  I'd like to think we were forever thankful.  However, this isn't a trait that comes easily to most of us, so a holiday season that encourages us to be thankful, for the blessings we enjoy, is the next best thing. 

At Cardinal Cooke yesterday evening, Saint David's 6th Grade volunteers began the season by serving a Thanksgiving meal to the center's residents.  With so many residents and so little space, Cardinal Cooke actually begins serving Thanksgiving Dinner to residents and their families this week and goes right on serving them all through next week.  Pictured here are some of the boys working a drink cart after first creating a festive ambiance by decorating the tables with centerpieces and walls with Thanksgiving images.

Meanwhile, back at school, the Class of 2011 with Mr. Ryan are busy coordinating the school-wide Saint David's Thanksgiving Food Drive, now in its umpteenth year.  If you haven't yet, bring in those cans and dry goods boxes.  Saint David's, through your generosity, manages to provide hundreds of New York City families a turkey and all the trimmings, ensuring they have a fully stocked table on the fourth Thursday of this November.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

At the setting of the sun ...

“They shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.” 
– Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

We recognize and thank current staff and faculty members Jack Sproule and Tom McLellan for their service in the Vietnam War and to all our alums who have served and are serving and to those who have fallen.  We are grateful for your selflessness.

Van Cortlandt and Verdi--Does it Get Any Better?

Saint David's Cross Country at Van Cortlandt Park is the photo at left.  A growing sport of interest amongst the Seventh and Eighth Grade boys, eleven are here seen beginning their cross country run at the Manhattan Middle School League Championship meet late yesterday.  After a grueling race, five Saint David's boys earned medals in this event: Blake K., Henry S., James W., Christopher W., and Henry T.  And then, early this morning, 7:45 AM, several of these same boys were playing Verdi's Nabucco on strings at the Ensemble's Morning Coffee Concert for parents and families.  Renaissance men in every sense, these young men managed to give virtuoso performances on and off the field.  Van Cortlandt and Verdi.  Does it get any better than that?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"The Blessings ...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gCvRXpUuvYk/TL0GJ7ssbKI/AAAAAAAAAQ4/wWyVVitBLEI/s1600/b_minus_cover.jpg... of a B Minus," Wendy Mogel's newest book challenges parents to examine their true goals and aspirations for their children, especially their teenage children.  Are our actions, our attempts to protect, support, and defend actually having the exact opposite desired effect?  "We [parents]," Dr. Mogel says, "worship the idols of our childrens' happiness."  We tend not to allow our children to fail, or to work through their problems.  We want them to succeed, to not feel pain, to avoid the struggle, to be perfect.  Parents, she says, intent on making their children happy, often rob them of the growth and maturity that comes with failure.

Mogel's philosphy, to use her own words, is “compassionate detachment,” defined as “viewing the upsetting aspects of adolescence as normal and necessary—as blessings that represent healthy growth, parents can put them in perspective and react thoughtfully instead of impulsively. Thus, bad grades, emotional outbursts, rudeness, breaking the rules, staying up late and experimentation become signs that a teen is on course, not headed for disaster.”

We learn the most I think, especially about ourselves, not from our successes but from our mistakes, our failures.

Food for thought and a book well worth the read.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nearly Now

Space is a fascinating concept.  I don't pretend to understand the full conceptualization of "space."  What I do understand is that it is being redefined.  Space for our children includes physical space, which we grew up with and are comfortable with, and a new virtual space, which for many of us is much less comfortable.  This virtual dimension is as much a part of our childrens' worlds as the physical dimension is ours.

This virtual space may bring with it many exciting possibilities.  It also brings with it many daunting challenges.  Our children are living now in this new space, a space that exists right before the present, just before "now."  This is the space where they text, twitter, and update their Facebook pages; it's a space that is not quite synchronous to now -- it's "nearly now."  This space is a difficult space to occupy.  Children can be easily led to believe, or feel, they are safe, protected in this space.   In Learning to Change, Changing to Learn, the Consortium for School Networking, refers to this "nearly now" space as an interesting space, a gentle space, one that can allow research, reflection, repetition, one that's not so pressured.  Maybe this is so; however, I tend to think, especially because it is not defined, controlled, or protected, that this space has the potential to do great harm.  It can even be dangerous.  Learning to Change ...  ends with a statement that we are seeing the death of education and the birth of learning.  I'm not so sure about this either.  There is no doubt that our culture is in the midst of revolution, similar, I believe, to the last great seismic shift (see Empires of the Mind: A Virtual Revolution), but as with the last revolution we will begin to organize and effectively control these "new tools" of the revolution, just as we did the new tools of the Industrial Revolution.  It will take time though.  Until we have effectively managed these new tools, we have to protect and safeguard our children.

Schools have a responsibility to be counter-cultural institutions at times like this.  The culture may be quickly moving in one direction, but is it the right direction?  What are the true forces at play, driving all the different levels of change?  We must critically evaluate what is happening, ask ourselves why and determine the importance.  While we can't ignore progress and change, we can't afford to allow it to go unchecked either.  There are now countless examples, Choate being one of the most recent, where children are being harmed or harming. (Choate, by the way, handled the situation responsibly and directly).  It is essential to critique and monitor, to be agents that effect positive change.  Watch what your children are doing online, monitor their "virtual" social interactions as carefully as you do their physical ones.  Educate your children about this "nearly now" and just how quickly, suddenly it can become the "now."  They will not make that connection themselves.  To them, it's private, protected; but we know it really isn't.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cardinal Cooke, Boys and The Good

Ten sixth graders and an eighth grader joined me tonight in community service at Cardinal Cooke.  The residents had a blast spending time with the boys, sharing stories and playing games.  In the photos we see SMcC and JC calling BINGO numbers, a group working with residents during the game, and TE imitating a perfect "host" on prize patrol.

The residents were totally taken by the boys' charm and wit.  With the help of many, including parent liaison Medill Harvey, the boys' teachers, and Adam Chazen at Cardinal Cooke, we are able to resch out and serve the greater good.  Reaching out to the community by giving of our time is important.

The boys volunteer for this program after school hours and must continue to meet their homework and all other obligations. It is a true giving of themselves.

Boys that Read

In this interesting article, How to Raise Boys Who Read, Thomas Spence makes the case for limiting electronic media, especially video games in the home if you want boys to read.  Providing boys attractive, powerfully stimulating "games" competes directly with books.  Shelve or limit the games and fill the shelves at home with books.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New England Redux

It was supposed to be a balmy 75 and sunny today. Instead, it was a cool, moist 57 in the steady shade. Having visited St. Paul's and Exeter in the spring just passed, we flew into Logan today and made our way first to see alums TJL '08 at Andover and then on to WP '09 at Brooks. Both boys are enjoying themselves thoroughly. My stated goal is to visit all Saint David's alums before they graduate high school.

Decisions about ongoing schools can be anxiety producing. What never ceases to amaze us, however, is how well it turns out. These are two different Saint David's boys at two very different New England schools--one 360 in size, the other 1,200, and the boys are thriving. They have both found homes post Saint David's that are challenging them intellectually, artistically and athletically.

WP is actively pursuing soccer, hockey and Lacrosse. At the same time, he is intimately involved in suggesting to the school that it allow he and others to paint a mural on an otherwise bland piece of wall. He is clearly confident and secure. WP has enjoyed reading "A Long Way Gone" and "In the Time of the Butterflies." Both of which he highly recommends.

For TJL, he felt well prepared for Oedipus Rex and Antigone, remembering fondly his dramatic performances and study of the same at Saint David's. He is playing varsity squash and golf and is active on the water polo team. Although far from home, TJL feels close to family with his sister at Harvard. He was a charming and engaging host over lunch and discussed the benefits of the Italian Study Tour and its unmatched interdisciplinary focus to date. So enthusiastic, in fact, was TJL, that he hardly had time to take a bite of lunch. TJL has also chosen, after several years of French, to switch to Spanish for "practical reasons." On the flight home, I suggested to Mike that "practical reasons" might have more to do with "the female composition of the current Spanish class;" but we'll never know for sure.
It was clearly evident that TJL too felt confident and prepared, and despite the distance, has maintained close relationships with Saint David's alums in other boarding and day schools.

All told our "redux" was a success and we thank our two hosts and their headmasters/heads of school, for spending so much time with us and for welcoming us into their "homes."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Know Thyself

Seventh Graders are on the Cape for the week.  Today, I sent them a "message from home:"

Dear Class of 2012, Mr. Barbieri, Mr. Kilkeary, Mr. Kessler, Ms. Marliave, Mr. Roman, Mr. Sunderwirth and Mr. Reeb: 

I thought that everything was turning for the worst.  First the 7th grade leave for Cape Cod and the school just doesn’t feel the same, then the Yankees blow it, begin to self-destruct, and sink further and further into the dark pit of hopelessness; but now, after last night’s game, they resurrect, like Phoenix from the ashes, and that sense of hope, that feeling that once again all is right with the world, has returned—and to top it off, tomorrow, you will be back.  We have missed you at Saint David’s. 

May the remainder of your time on the Cape generate many lasting memories.
God speed for the journey home.
Your headmaster,
Dr. O’Halloran

Thursday, October 21, 2010: New York

PS.  This morning, the rich ruby color has returned to the previously sullen cheeks of one 4th floor English master.  Yes, he breathes again ...

The trip to date has been splendid.  All are healthy and happy.  Also today, the sixth grade left for their overnight to Ramapo.  All have arrived safely.  They are settling in. Whether it's science, nature, journaling, drawing, and hiking on Cape Cod or leadership, high ropes, and group dynamic exercises in the tree tops of Rhinebeck, New York, Saint David's boys are exploring their world, their relationships, and most importantly, "themselves."  Know Thyself.

Mitch Spinach

This morning, Hillary Feerick, daughter of long time faculty member and friend to many, the late Mr. Raymond Feerick, shared a book she recently co-authored with her husband, Jeff Hillenbrand.  Kindergarten boys were enthralled.  The energy, optimism and unyielding passion for "knowing" that kindergarteners exude on a consistent basis is a joy.  "The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach" and its related website http://www.mitchspinach.com celebrate nutritious foods, and the powers that healthy eating bestow upon the protagonist.  Mitch, otherwise seen as a regular kid at school, is secretly called upon to solve cases.  The boys loved it.  The book is dedicated to Ray.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

St. Jogue

This morning at 8 AM mass, which was offered in memory of a grandfather of a current 6th grader, I realized that today is the feast of St. Jogue.  Known as the first Catholic priest to enter New York back in 1642Isaac Jogue, a Jesuit, and his colleague died horrible deaths.   What is fascinating about his story is not so much his death, rather his life choice.  After achieving much fame and notoriety in France after his first "mission" to the new world, he gave up what would have been an "easy life" to return to the harshness, confusion, and brutality of the "new world."  How many of us have that level of conviction? How many of us could resist the easier course? and, while we are on the topic of easy, I'd like someone to help me define "an easy life."    Life, I'm not sure, is ever easy; it gets complicated quickly.  Fun, enjoyable, fulfilling, complex--all yes; but easy, I'm not so sure.  If you have it, though, and can bottle it, I'll take some of that "easy."

What I enjoyed most about this morning was meeting the 6th grader's two uncles, both Saint David's alums, with their respective families, who were all enjoying this time together, reflecting, remembering.  That sense of family, of community, and of belonging are essential to working through the more difficult days in life.  I have been reminded of that several times recently.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mimi's Building Blocks and Saint David's: The boys at Work for the Greater Good

In celebration of our 60th year, we are embarking on a number of ambitious projects that reflect concretely the school's mission illuminated.  Today in my office, after many months of planning, members of the student council meet with Mimi O'Hagan.  A friend of the school, Mimi has been building schools in Ethiopia where no schools previously existed--specifically in the northern province of Tigray.  To date, Mimi's efforts, with the support of Save the Children, have resulted in the construction of four schools. What better way to celebrate the birthday anniversary of this school than to reach out and help establish another.  The boys committed to this effort today.

Their goal, and the goal of Saint David's is to support the construction of an elementary school in northern Ethiopia.  This is an ambitious undertaking; but one that will yield much fruit.  More information to follow.  Stay tuned to this blog.  It will be a school-wide initiative.  Pictured are Franny, Chris, and John, all members of the Student Council, in my office with Mimi.  A great day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Research Supporting K-8

Some interesting research out of Columbia University regarding the advantage of the K-8 education model over the middle school model.  The research has limitations in that it was based predominately on standardized testing as a measure of student success and only included NYC Public Schools. Shelly Banjo highlights the research in the September 1, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal Middle Schools Fail Kids, Study Says. More extensive details of the study are reported in Columbia Study Finds Students in Standalone Middle Schools Lag Behind K-8 Peers in Research: Breakthroughs in Knowledge and Ideas at Columbia, September 2, 2010.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Double Goals

Consistent with our theme this year, the aesthetic, and within the context of our 5th phase of the Curriculum Initiative, we are working with the Positive Coaching Alliance to provide critical evaluative feedback about aspects of our athletic program.  We have a strong and robust program; but we don't rest on our laurels.  Today, the fist of several visits scheduled for this school-year is underway.  The Alliance will be observing not only all of our coaches at work; but each of our myriad programs in progress.  Critical professional development feedback directly related to coaching methods and strategies, followed by a series of tailored professional development workshops will define this year's professional activity in the Athletic Department. 

If interested in a good related read start with The Double Goal Coach, by Jim Thompson.

This professional development is, in part, made possible though the Albert H. Gordon Professional Development Athletic Fund.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Opening Letter to the School Community

From 400 feet above sea level, floating on a gentle breeze at sunrise, Saint David’s administrators experienced the world from a completely new perspective this summer. Accompanied by a little nervousness, a mild dose of trepidation, and surrounded by the moist, chilly, pre-dawn air of a late summer’s day, each prepared a 90,000 cubic foot hot air balloon for flight. It wasn’t easy, but sometimes to really see something, to fully recognize and appreciate the world about us, we have to change our “usual” perspective. This year, our school and each of our sons will also take a “flight” of sorts. For our sons, it will be a flight on which they learn to see more and differently; for our school it will be a very special, anniversary flight.

In opening the doors of Saint David’s School this year, we will do so in celebration of her 60th year. This important milestone will be recognized with customary fanfare and ritual, not least of which will be the 60th Anniversary Mass at St. Ignatius Loyola on February 11; more importantly, we will use this time as a unique opportunity to reflect upon what truly makes our school special. It is often too easy, as life presses forward, to lose focus, rest on our laurels, taking for granted one’s purpose and reason for being. Anniversaries provide us the opportunity, the obligation really, to reflect thoughtfully upon our purpose, to remind ourselves what we are about, and expand the vision to the community and the world.

The collective wisdom of our founders established Saint David’s in 1951 with a single class of 4 boys and 1 teacher. Today, those 4 are now 400 and the 1 teacher, 128; the single townhouse purchased from R. Fulton Cutting is now all three of the Delano and Aldrich designed homes, the adjacent 1893 Graham House, and the multi-level Athletic Facility on 94th Street. Throughout the past 60 years one constant has remained our keystone: the school’s mission. Rooted in the original intent of the founders—the classical tradition of balance, rigorous academic pursuit, critical analysis of ideas and issues, deliberate moral introspection, the religious traditions of the Roman Catholic faith, the sense of true community, the aesthetic and athletic, the sole focus on elementary education, and the commitment to educating boys who aspire to be good men—the mission has been the school’s guide and the source of her incredible growth and strength.

Each year we have culled a mantra from this mission, a theme to help us more deeply understand our larger purpose. In light of the anniversary year, our chosen theme, “the aesthetic,” is a fitting one. Defined at its simplest, the aesthetic is that ability to recognize and appreciate beauty in all its manifestations. Each of us can easily become caught up in the immediacy of what each work day or school day demands, and in so doing, often miss the beauty of the larger, more important context, as well as the beauty that often lies in the most simple line, gesture or detail. “Beauty,” Dante once said, “awakens the soul to act.” To see it though we often have to change our vantage point.

At the heart of what it means to be educated lies an ability to be able to change perspective. It requires an openness of mind, a cognitive flexibility, a stomach for risk, and a passion for deeper knowledge and greater understanding. To the ancient Greeks this search for beauty was life’s quest and to find it they believed that you also had to learn to see the “unbeauty.” The aesthetic is as much about the “ugly” as it is the beautiful. To fully recognize and appreciate beauty, one has to know its opposite. If truth and beauty lie in justice, then our boys need to know injustice to fully appreciate “the aesthetic.” If it lies in freedom, then they need to know slavery and servitude, and if it lies in mutual respect for all, then they must come to recognize the less than enlightened forms of human nature—bigotry, indifference.

Without the ability to steer, administrators were at the complete mercy of their environment during their balloon flight this summer. Relying on the knowledge and experience of their pilot, they had to establish trust, learn new skills, overcome anxiety, and accept the challenges set before them. To do so and be successful, they had to change their perspective completely and become aware of their new, larger surroundings—the shifting patterns of the wind, the moisture content of the air, the topography of the ground. These new, larger surroundings were always there, but had gone largely unnoticed. With a little guidance and a change in perspective, a whole new world opened up. Circumstances somewhat compelled them to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of the journey, since their ability to control was limited.

Aided by keen observation and knowledge of atmospheric conditions, the balloon pilots were able to navigate the stratified air currents of the early dawn hours. Similarly, our boys will have their own challenges this year, and they too will have to come to rely on the knowledge and experience of their teachers, establish trust, learn new skills, and function effectively as a team. They will also have to learn to change their perspective, widen their field of vision, and focus on the beauty around them.

This summer, on a visit to Davidson College, North Carolina, I learned about synthetic biology, just one emerging field that has the potential to radically change the “world as we know it.” Novel problem solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, and non-linear thinking are the skills in demand in this emerging field of science; and I sense it’s not just here. These are the new skills in demand across a wide spectrum of human endeavors. As we continue our Curriculum Initiative, Saint David’s is itself modeling these very skills.

In their work this year, the faculty will continue to address the how questions: How do we know the boys are understanding what we are teaching? How do we know our teaching is effective? Begun last year, this fifth phase (6th year) of the Initiative will extend deeper into the curriculum and build upon the work done last year with Professor Mary McFarland of Harvard University’s Project Zero educational research group in redesigning some 17 units of study. We will use the new framework to redesign twice this number of units again this year.

The earlier introduction of foreign language to the lower grades, after its successful pilot last year, will expand further this school year. Building on the program in Kindergarten and Omega, Spanish will move into the Pre-Kindergarten and the first grade, solidifying it across all the earliest grades. In addition to the 17 new units1, math and science will continue to receive special attention this year. In our continuing efforts to fully develop a virtual dimension to the school, all homework and assignments will be accessible on-line and the website will be further expanded to better facilitate communication across all constituent groups within our community.

This summer, building on faculty required readings from previous summers, Gardner’s Five Minds for the Future, Hallowell’s The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, and Perkins’ Smart Schools, to name a few of the more recent, faculty were asked to view and critique a February 2010 talk by Ken Robinson2 on his notion regarding the need for an education revolution. The piece provoked healthy professional discourse over the summer that will continue throughout the year. Critically refining our curriculum to meet changing needs remains an exciting challenge.

The Faculty Initiative continues to enjoy great success in attracting and retaining exceptional people. Saint David’s remains highly competitive in the marketplace and our new, comprehensive Supervision and Evaluation program will enter its third full year of implementation. Modifications continue to be made. This year will see the school focus more on the mentorship of teachers new to the school and on refining the program for our senior masters. Fourteen teachers will work through their Milestone performance evaluations this year and an additional ten will prepare for next year.

Also, during the summer months, in addition to regular ongoing maintenance and improvements to the facility, several major projects were successfully completed, namely the addition of an instructional space, the renovation of an art room, a pottery studio and office space for the athletic coaching faculty. Furthermore, new office space was provided for the math and science departments.

Captured by the stratified winds found only at dawn and dusk, the balloons flown by the administrators this summer, slowly, gently lifted, then floated across the farmlands of central Jersey. Guided by experienced professionals, theirs was an exciting journey of perspective-changing discovery. This is my hope for our sons; we don’t know for certain what the future holds, but the light of our mission, like that of a lighthouse guiding its seafarers safely on their journey, or our balloon pilots guiding our administrators on their flight, will continue to show the way. And if the last 60 years are any indication, our path though challenging at times, in the end, will be one of joy and illumination. So let’s join together and enjoy the “flight!” I remain,

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Citizens of the World

As our boys become men, they will do so at a time when actions and events in one part of the globe are instantaneously felt everywhere. Like our parents and grandparents, our sons will be citizens of their native lands but, unlike them, they will also be citizens of the world. In order to thrive, they will need a sound foundation in their own history, culture, values, and beliefs, and will need to possess qualities of mind that enable them to embrace, understand, and appreciate difference in all of its manifestations. Our sons will compete on the global stage across all professions and fields of study. No matter their chosen career, they will communicate, travel, interact, and work with people from "worlds" that differ greatly from theirs. The “new essentials” of the future will require the ability to access, organize, synthesize, and legitimize information efficiently and effectively. Our boys will have to think creatively, present coherently in both verbal and graphic forms, to embrace and adapt to changes, especially of a technological nature. They will be called upon to demonstrate cognitive flexibility, to possess facility with language, and to think and make decisions from a global perspective. Combined with a strong sense of the moral and ethical, these new essentials don’t necessarily replace the old ones; they simply require a new paradigm.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Learning Revolution?

Each summer Saint David's faculty are asked to read and reflect upon a book that explores one of the themes being developed at the school.  Recently, Gardner's Five Minds for the Future and Hallowell's Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, and David Perkins' Smart Schools: From Training Memories to Educating Minds have served as summer reads.  This summer's reading assignment was not a book; instead “summer reading” was a “summer watching.”  The assignment aimed to explore one of our ongoing curricular sub themes: “Education for a New Era.”  

For the past several years at Saint David's, as one component of our major Curriculum Initiative, we have been critically examining potential implications of the changing socio-economic-cultural landscape at the dawn of this new century.  What may need to change within our curriculum to meet the demands of a new era? What should not? have been two of our essential questions.

Ken Robinson is an internationally known speaker and thinker who comments regularly on the state of education, among other things.  In his most recent talk, given at TED in February 2010, Robinson presents some provocative ideas on this very topic.  Faculty were asked to watch and critique/react to the 18 minute talk.  Within their response, whether they agreed with Robinson's underlying premise, or not, faculty were asked to explore potential implications for our Saint David's School mission and program moving forward?

Responses were incredibly telling.  We are a school in possession of a mission that is, clearly, fluid, flexible, and strong--flexible enough to respond to changing times, yet strong enough to stand the test of time.  It was clear from the faculty's responses that, true to form, we accept the challenges ahead with a healthy dose of historical perspective and of current realities.  There was an obvious respect for Robinson's "theory" and his educated speculation; but it was clearly balanced with a healthy degree of pragmatism too.  

What is both fascinating and alarming is that we are, as a nation, not necessarily as a school, moving in the opposite direction.  Pressure mounts.  In a recent Newsweek article entitled The Creativity Crisis, the authors cite work by an Indiana University researcher on a recent visit to China where he was asked by the faculty of a major Chinese university to identify trends in American education.  In answering, he described America's focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing.  The Chinese then responded: ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.”

More on this, and the faculty's reactions, to come in the weeks ahead ...

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jane and Harold

Saint David's faculty were asked to read Howard Gardner's book Five Minds for the Future two summers ago. In it, Gardner identifies the five minds (habits of mind/ways of thinking) he sees as essential for success in the future. As I watched Jane McGonigal's TED Talk below, I couldn't help but reflect on Gardner's work. Gaming taps into all of these minds--the disciplined, creative, synthesizing, respectful and ethical--and it ads yet another dimension. Gaming takes content that we have traditionally viewed in linear structures, two dimensional perspectives, to 3-D. Our older boys are already playing World of Warcraft and other games like it. Gaming just may be at the forefront of the development of life-like virtual worlds. The third generation of the web will probably embed us all in a three dimensional virtual world transforming social interaction online from what we understand it to be today--lineal--to fully engaged, three dimensional, dynamic social settings. It's already begun and the implications for education--teaching and learning--have the potential to be profound. Our challenge will be to keep pace with the quickly evolving technology and to sort out how these "new tools" can best be used.

Or maybe they will change the paradigm completely!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spartans or Athenians?

In light of the classical roots of our Saint David's curriculum, I enjoyed reading this April 2010 article in Time Magazine about the teaching of empathy.  The author, Maia Szalavitz, makes the point that empathy can and needs to be taught.  She cites the ancient Greeks comparing the ways of Sparta with the ways of Athens when it came to child-rearing and education--Athens obviously, being the better choice. She argues that empathy starts with teaching young children to understand their own feelings and behaviors thereby giving them the tools to understand the feelings and behaviors of others.  This resonates at Saint David's where we make reference to another classical ideal--one found etched in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi--"Know Thyself."  We lean toward the Athenians.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Power of Social Media and Information ...

... has never been so great.  The world is changing, rapidly.  Clay Shirky makes a strong argument here regarding the power of information, technology and collective, collaborative work, but his more important embedded message is our changing culture and the importance of "sense of community" and "social pacts or constraints," as opposed to contracts.  There is an inherent generosity in the human spirit.  Emerging technologies tap and celebrate this generosity--what Shirky refers to as communal value.  This is fascinating.  For schools we have to tap into social media technologies more than we do.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teacher Adventures Worth Following

Two groups of Saint David's teachers are embarking on fascinating adventures this summer and both are keeping blogs of their travels.  You can follow their journeys by checking out their blogs.  Second Grade teacher Jenn Horton and First Grade teacher Sara Thorpe are venturing west, following the Oregon Trail in preparation for enhancing a unit of study for the second grade boys next year.  Simultaneously, Ed Carr and Charlie Goulding, in a repeat excursion of sorts--last summer they biked from NYC to the Keys of Florida--are bicycling their way from Vancouver, Canada to Santa Barbara, California.  May their travels be rewarding.

Books in the Home?

According to a recent 20 year-study conducted by Mariah Evans at the University of Nevada, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain.  Books in the home--a 500 book or more home library--had an equally significant impact on the level of education children achieved as parents' education levels, trumping variables such as parents' wealth and the literacy levels of parents.  This is further evidence that, from an educational perspective, the most important thing we can do as parents is read to our children, supply them with books and make the home a literature rich environment.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A New Segregation Debate?

Newsweek recently published (June 22, 2010) an interesting article on whether the separation of boys and girls can help to solve the massive problem confronting American public education, especially with regard to the sigificant disparity between male and female high school graduation rates and college attendance/admittance rates.  Inherent in the debate are many issues related to the merits of separate schooling for boys and girls on a public policy level; but the largest issue, only touched on in the article by its author Jesse Ellison, is the issue of choice.  At the heart of all the efforts to reform public education in this country is choice, including this issue.  Proponents want choice, those fighting it don't.  When the people have choice, they have power.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saint David's on the Links

Beautiful day at Hollow Brook Golf Club in northern Westchester County, town of Cortlandt Manor. Pictured here at the 9th green are master teacher Bob McLaughlan and his sons Rob '77, Matt '81, and Andy '84. They joined 53 other alums, parents, students and faculty for the 3rd Annual Golf Classic.  The ninth was a great hole for Bob--a birdie!  His sons had to work hard to keep up --
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men"

On the same day the school received a letter from the Passionsits, it also received Fr. Richard Frechette's new book about his work in Haiti.  Both are interesting reads.  I especially enjoyed Fr. Rick's opening thoughts in his book about the resilience of life.  He makes referencee to the fighting spirit of the salmon and the resilience of the leaves of deciduous trees. The boys of Saint David's School, under the leadership of our Student Council chose Haiti relief as the focus of their efforts this year.  Each year the graduating class with the student council choose a charity to support.  Their efforts were obviously appreciated and deeply beneficial to the work of the Passionists' and to the people of Haiti.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The State of New York

I had the great pleasure of welcoming Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch and alums and friends of Saint David's to a private club in midtown for our Alumni Council's 4th Annual Networking Event.  Loud applause filled the room when I informed the gathered alumni that I had just arrived from Randall's Island where Saint David's Red Baseball team managed to achieve a clear and convincing win against Allen-Stevenson, securing their claim to the league championship title.  To top it off, they did so with back-to-back undefeated seasons, making this the school's third title in as many years.  More applause followed.

This was a great place to start the evening because the remarks that followed told a very different story.  Lieutenant Governor Ravitch spoke directly to the failing economy of the state and the nation and the difficult nature of the road ahead. In sum, Mr. Ravitch expressed most concern about New York and other states' "disinvestment in higher education and state infrastructure," especially transportation, which he considers to be the very means for pulling ourselves out of the mess.  Many current practices and habits, he said, will have to change dramatically, and painfully, before we see things truly improve.  Even more concerning to the Lieutenant Governor is the country's negative and growing scorn of politics.  At the heart of democracy, he said, lies politics.  We can't have a democracy without it.  The rhetoric of our culture, he passionately expressed, will have to change for a much needed new generation of leaders to enter the political process.  Mr. Ravitch graciously took a series of thought provoking questions from the audience.

Under the leadership of David DeLuca '77, and with the support of Alumni Director John Dearie, the Alumni Council provided members of our extended community with a unique and intimate experience with one of our state's most important leaders.

Theo Home

After a hit to center by Max C. Theo H. brings in Saint David's 2nd run at the top of 2. Then Max, after a hit, infield single to 3rd by Austin R., brings it home to close out the inning 3-0.

Red Baseball.

Vinnie Boombats on the mound at the bottom of the first inning ... championship game against Allen-Stevenson. Score 1-0 Saint David's. Nick C brings in the first run.

We Are the World

At Spring Concert this morning, 8th grade members of the Chamber Singers, James P., Dylan M., John V., Tommy R., Austen R., Max C., Vincent M., James L., and Andrew Turner, with special guest appearance by Jon R.! chose to sing "We are the World."

Beautifully sung, the song captured the Class of 2010's special spirit. They truly have reached out and connected themselves to the world.  Always a generous class, having started the now traditional Pennies for Puppies program while 4th graders, through their incredible efforts this year with the most successful Thanksgiving Food Drive in the school's history and their Haiti campaign, the Class of 2010 has led the school in "making the world a better place"--the good at work.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Live Free or Die II

After Exeter, it was a quick drive north west to St. Paul's in Concord. After a visit to the head and admissions director, it was off to spend some time with Browning P., second year. A highly effective tour guide, Browning has developed a singular reputation for impressing parents, their sons and daughters, with his knowledge and love of all things related to St. Paul's. Browning was the consummate host, giving us a grand tour of St. Paul's campus and campus life.

In keeping with New Hampshire's state motto, I'm working my way through "How the Scots Invented the Modern World" by Herman--quite a thesis statement, but a nice companion for the flight up and back none-the-less.

Pictured are Browning with Mr. Imbelli and me in front of St. Paul's Library, by the beautiful pond.

Live Free or Die

Flew out of LaGuardia early this morning with Mr. Imbelli for visits to Exeter and St. Paul's in Southern New Hampshire. Beautiful day for traveling to see alumni on my ongoing mission to visit all high school alums before they graduate high school. First stop, Exeter, to visit with Giacomo M., third year. I met with Giacomo's headmaster while Mr. Imbelli met with the Admissions Director. Giacomo continues to pursue his interests in math, science and music--his great passion. Giacomo performs in a jazz ensemble and is currently composing for the piano and orchestra. He is enjoying his experience thoroughly, even though this is his hardest term to date.

Pictured are Giacomo with Mr. Imbelli and me, in front of Jeremiah Smith Hall. We are so appreciative that Giacomo gave up a significant part of his "Headmaster's Holiday" to spend time with us. Right after this photo we left for St. Paul's.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

25 Years Later

Friday evening, May 7, 37 of 40 alums from the Class of 1984 returned to Saint David's School for their class reunion.   This was an unprecedented gathering.  Traveling from Italy, London, California and Virginia, plus many places in between, these alums joined their former teachers for Chapel and a reception.  It was an exciting evening of sharing stories and reconnecting with friends, and a testament to the strength of Saint David’s and her connection to her alums.

Dr. Czuchlewski returned to give a very apt Chapel Talk, where he reflected on the different roles faith can play at different times in our lives.  Many of the alums had not sat in chapel since graduating 8th grade 25 years earlier.  It was an emotional experience. Following Chapel, the more than fifty guests moved to the Hume Library for cocktails.  Several former and current teachers who taught the boys gathered for the occasion too, including William Cantwell, Paul Czuchlewski, George Davison, Michael Imbelli, Gary Kessler, Joe Kilkeary, Rovena Kilkeary, Robert McLaughlin, and Thea Osborne.

Superbly organized by Arthur Samuels III (Sam) '84 and Christopher Dorrian '84, and coordinated by Alumni Director John Dearie '95, the event could not have been more successful.

An Exhibition of Teaching and Learning

Friday afternoon, May 7, after the boys were dismissed to their weekends, the faculty of Saint David's School assembled in the upper gymnasium of our 94th Street Gym for TfU (Teaching for Understanding) Expo.  The culminating experience of a year's long work, the Expo was a celebration of teaching and learning by the faculty for the faculty. 

Arranged into 17 teams at the beginning of this school year, the entire faculty worked throughout the year to 'reversion' 17 units of study using a framework developed by Harvard University's Project Zero.  Friday, each team set up their "booth" and positioned their displays and presentations synthesizing a year's worth of work.  We then rotated, following a complex but effective system, though each of the booths to experience the work of our peers.  The atmosphere was electric and the camaraderie of the group unmatched.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Not Every Day ...

... that one is visited by a contra-base recorder.  Recorder teacher Susan Iadone, in preparation for a recital with the boys this coming May 27th, visited my office today with her contra-base recorder.  Weighing some 35lbs and standing 10 feet high (the base part of the recorder is not pictured), the recorder, one of very few in the world, is made of Rosewood; it's also worth a pretty penny.  Being a lover of wind instruments this was facinating.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Grandparents and Boys -- A Quick Musing

The role of extended family in the education and raising of children is important. Last Friday was Grandparents and Special Friends Day for the PK, K and Omega grades. In welcoming grandparents and special friends to Saint David's that Friday morning, I touched on our mission, "that they be good men." To reinforce the reason we have Grandparents Day and to explore how it ties to our mission, I shared a brief story. It follows:

At First Communion last Friday for the Second Grade, I noticed a beautiful dress worn by the sister of one communicant. Midnight black with red trim, the dress was covered with Chinese characters, off-white, each approximately one half inch in height. Its unusual, unique style was quite stunning to look at.  I examined the dress from a distance trying to determine whether the characters printed on it repeated themselves suggesting a repeating phrase of some kind; or not, suggesting a story or extended message. Or were they just graphic images for decoration? I decided to approach the 10 year old and introduce myself. I asked about the dress: "Do you know what your dress says?" The answer was a kind but apologetic, "No, sorry." Not ready to give up so easily, and sensing that there was at least a glimmer of interest in my query, I asked if the dress were a gift. She answered that her grandmother had given it to her. Realizing that a grandmother may be present at an event such as this, I inquired as to whether her grandmother was present. She was. Through an interpreter, I discovered that the dress did in fact tell a story—a proverb, if you will. Loosely translated it said: "At nighttime, just before bed, as I stand at the foot of my bed and look up, I see the moon; and when I look down, I see myself, inside myself, my life."

In this simple message written on a dress, translated for me by a wise grandmother, is in fact the reason why grandparents and special friends are so important. Moms and dads are often extremely busy with the present—making ends meet, getting though each busy day—dealing with the pragmatics of raising children. Grandparents though, a little removed from the day-to-day, and a little wiser having seen so much of life, are often the ones who take the time to help our children look up to see the moon and the stars, to hold onto that awe, the wonder of childhood for as long as possible; and who, because of their objectivity, knowledge and experience, can help a child find, or in some cases remember, who they are.

"The good" can be found here, in interactions and connections between the generations. This is why we have Gandparents and Special Friends Day at Saint David's.

The photo attached: PK taking a bow after a rather moving performance.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Girls of Nightingale ...

 ... joined the boys of Saint David's for a morning gathering of music making April 29th.  It was a delight to see the boys perform, with such gusto and confidence, especially the theme song to Mission Impossible.  Mr. Hough proudly conducted the ensemble.  The girls were wonderful guests and talented musicians.  It was a focused social with a purpose--playing music together!  Thank you, girls.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The habit most associated with charity as a virtue—generosity—is the giving freely of time, talent, skill, or resources without the expectation of something in return.  It’s a noble notion, literally.  The etymology of the word, from the Latin root, literally means “kin” or “clan.”  The earliest usage of the word reflected an aristocratic sense of being of noble lineage or “high birth.”  Over time the meaning changed.  Generosity began to identify a nobility of spirit, rather than family heritage; to signify character traits and actions associated with the ideals of actual nobility such as gallantry, courage, strength, gentleness, and fairness.  Today, the meaning of “generous” has changed further to mean munificence, open-handedness, and the liberal giving of money and possessions. Over the course of centuries, the meaning of generous has shifted from an ascribed status restricted purely to the “nobility,” that was either truly earned or not, to be an achieved status of admirable personal quality and action, that is achievable, although not easily, by anyone*.
As I continue to reflect on our school’s theme for the year this word generous surfaces often.  I like the democratization of the word’s meaning over time.  It is no longer given by right; but truly earned by actions and behavior, by habit.  But it has to be achieved.  To achieve, to earn something takes effort, work.  Work is hard. Today, I escorted sixth grade boys, members of the Headmaster’s Service Club, on their final visit to Cardinal Cooke.  They played trivia bingo and conversed, and shared stories with the residents. They worked hard.

The boys gave freely of their time to visit with the old, the sick and the infirm.  They exercised patience, kindness, gentleness, and a selflessness--all in the late afternoon, after school had closed for the day.  They have done this every month for a year.

If part of “the good” can be found in the virtue “charity” by way of “generosity,” then the sixth grade volunteer members of the HM Service Club have found this part of "the good" for sure; and they achieved it the hard way.  They worked for it.  Thank you boys for your exceptional, generous and noble service to our extended community.  We are all richer for it.

* History of the usage of 'generosity,' in part, from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A New York Moment--Stanford White: Architect

Inside the magnificent Veterans Room at the Park Avenue (7th Regiment) Armory Thursday evening last, Sam White presented a captivating talk on the life and work of his grandfather Stanford White.  It was a fitting venue for this 4th annual social event organized by the Alumni Parents Council under the dedicated leadership of Dorothy Faux and Linda Foran.  With more than 100 people in attendance, Sam not only explained in detail the room we were occupying, designed by his late great grandfather, but also walked us through his great grandfather's life's work--the Farragut Monument, Villard House, Payne Whitney House, Church of the Ascension, Newport Casino Theatre, Metropolitan Club, Madison Square Garden, Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, The Century Association, Herald Building, NYU's Guild Library, Tiffany and Co., NY, to name a few.

The Seventh Regiment was known most famously for its service during the Civil War.  Its Armory is an incredibly interesting New York City landmark.  Within it, the Veterans Room, designed by White and his firm in the late 1870s-early 1880s, has been described as "Greek, Moresque, and Celtic, with a dash of Egyptian, Persian, and Japanese."  The Veterans Room and adjacent Library capture White's distinctive style and the Regiments unique character.  An architect that incorporated an eclectic array of media and style, White is credited with an American architectual movement.  His life, as Sam states in his book, was "extravagant" and his death "sensational," tragic.  At the height of Stanford White's influence and impact, an assassin's bullet took his life.

Sam, an alum from the class of 1960 is one of five brothers that graduated from Saint David's in the late '50s through early '60s.  Sam and his wife, Elizabeth, co-authored the book Stanford White: Architect.  The Council hosts several events each year aimed at bringing the extended Saint David's community together.  Listening to the incredible story of Stanford White as told by his great grandson inside the room he designed at a defining time in American Architectural and cultural history was a classic New York Moment.  In my opening remarks that evening welcoming Sam, I quoted his headmaster, Mr. Hume, "Sam was one of our earliest graduates to go on to such incredible success."  That success was truly evident this night.