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Showing posts from 2013

Saint David’s Grad to Play Intercollegiate Division III Football

Sam Healy (’09) will attend Claremont McKenna College in southern California next September where he was recruited to play quarterback.
The football program at Claremont–ranked the 9th Best Liberal Arts College in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report—competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.
Sam recently graduated from Ethical Culture Fieldston School where he set two single-game passing records and finished in several of the school’s top-5 all-time passing categories.He also was a three-year starting lacrosse mid-fielder for the Eagles during which time he was named to the First Team NY Post All-City team.
Sam is currently attending Loomis Chaffee School (Windsor, CT) as a post-graduate student athlete where he played for the Pelicans football team.  
We are proud of Sam's achievements.  He chose a path less traveled.

Christmas at Saint David's

Throughout the halls of Saint David's today, second graders spread good cheer.  Assembling in nooks and crannies, on stairwells, in the lobby and outside my office, the boys sang Christmas carols, old and new.  Ahh ... Christmastide. 'Tis the season.

The Spirit of the Season

Last night when we gathered in the Hume library amidst a glowing fireplace, dimmed lights, and holiday decorations, the spirit of Christmas met the spirit of Saint David's as alumni and alumni parents joined with our faculty for a joyous evening.

We were there not only to celebrate the Season and each other's presence in our lives but also to recognize and honor Dr. Alberto Acosta, Class of 1971, as Alumnus of the Year, for his many contributions to the life of the school.

Alumni Council Chair from 2011-2013, Alberto has been an incredible force in taking our alumni to another level through his stewardship and ability to bring together people who love Saint David's.

Accepting the award, Alberto spoke of the importance of Saint David's in his life: how the school fostered a love of learning and the ability to think in an analytical and creative fashion. He also spoke of the school's values, its emphasis on the importance of doing the right thing, community service,…

Rhetoric and Analysis

Five Eighth Grade finalists recently presented art lectures to Eighth Grade girls from The Nightingale-Bamford School.

For the Lectures, each member of the Eighth Grade researched a notable work by a renowned artist, and prepared a lecture and PowerPoint presentation on the work.  Boys selected relevant tools from traditional elements of analysis which included the in-depth critique of a variety of components of the work including its historical setting, and the artist's use of gesture, geometric simplification, iconography, line, color, and balance, among others.

Five finalists were selected from the preliminary rounds by a panel of internal judges.  The finalists competed on Friday morning before a panel of predominantly external judges that included faculty members, administrators, trustees, and art experts.

The girls of Nightingale, the boys' peers from the Eighth Grade and the boys of the Seventh Grade all looked on ... and what a show it was!

Each of the boys was judged …

In Class? Second Grade at the Museum

Last week, second grade boys visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as part of our curriculum's  imperative to "break down the walls of the classroom" and provide all of our boys with greater opportunities for out-of-school learning experience--one important outgrowth of the Curriculum Initiative.

At the Met, boys experienced a guided tour, chaperoned by two of their art teachers, Ms. Boccella and  Ms. Fidler, and their homeroom teachers. The program, called “Faces and Masks,” reinforced and enhanced what the boys have been learning about in their art classes back at school.

The tour specifically focused on African, Native American, and Pre-Colombian masks, (which is what the boys have been studying at school) along with Western works of art featuring faces.

The boys concluded their time at the museum with a drawing activity that asked them to zoom in on particular details of a mask that appealed to them.

It has been said that when viewing art, it is important to stand o…

Mission: Carnegie Hall

Saint David's boys are preparing for the stage at Carnegie Hall.

Under the direction of our own maestro Phil Hough, The Saint David's Philharmonic Ensemble has been hard at work rehearsing for their upcoming performance.

Last Wednesday, Ensemble Alumni, in keeping with our Thanksgiving and homecoming traditions, joined our current boys for an early morning rehearsal of the pieces they will play together on one of the most famous stages in the world this January, including La Réjouissance by Handel and the Theme from Mission: Impossible—an all-time favorite.

The returning Ensemble alumni expressed genuine excitement about the chance to play with their former Saint David's classmates and continue to be a part of the school in this unique and special experience.  They lifted the spirits of all present and added a certain level of gravitas to the whole experience and event.

As the performance date draws near, anticipation is mounting for what will be a wonderful opportunity for…

Young Alumni Homecoming

A chilly, driving rain didn't deter a record number of alums in secondary school and our current eighth graders from attending last night's Young Alumni Chapel talk and Dinner--a Thanksgiving tradition that provides an opportunity for our eighth graders to share an evening with alumni who are in high school.  

In his Chapel talk, which opened the evening, Lucas Jenkins '04 focused on the meaning of the school's motto, our mission's ultimate aspiration "...that they be good men." Addressing the Class of 2014, he said they had "a great opportunity to be school leaders" in living the mission. 
Lucas then reminded the young alumni present of their "privilege and responsibility to represent the school, to carry its motto and live up to it on a daily basis." He also noted that oftentimes making the right choice, or doing the right thing, isn't easy, and that "a good man acts accordingly, not when it is expected, but when it is difficu…

A Pre-Thanksgiving Feast

Pre-K "Native Americans" and Omega "Pilgrims" shared a Thanksgiving Feast this morning.

The event began with the Pre-K boys saying a prayer of thanks and Omega boys reciting a poem about "The First Thanksgiving." The boys then got down to business: enjoying their feast of popcorn, cookies, and  pretzel/marshmallow peace pipes!

In their respective classes, the boys have been learning about the history of the upcoming holiday.  In addition to building on what they have learned, this was also an opportunity for both classes to build their own sense of community through a shared experience.

Our Omega boys represent the leaders of the first floor, while our Pre-K boys are our youngest.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Below is a short video excerpt of part of the feast.

In Thanks, Giving Back

Eighth grade boys are busy today organizing pies and canned goods that comprise our annual school-wide Thanksgiving Food Drive.

This year, the boys sold 613 pies — an all time record — to raise money for the purchase of 100 turkeys that will be delivered, along with the food from the canned goods drive, to families in need on Wednesday.

The food will be delivered locally to Incarnation Church, as well as the churches of two of our staff members: Bethel Gospel Assembly and Lion of Judah.  The Thanksgiving Food Drive, our school's oldest community service project, is a month-long effort spearheaded by the eighth graders and their teachers Tom Ryan and Gene Romanosky.

In gratitude for our many blessings, the project represents a commitment on behalf of Saint David's to the greater good and to giving back.

Exciting News

During the winter, Mark K. Shriver, author of A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver, will be speaking with the seventh graders and their fathers at a new special annual event.

We have invited Mr. Shriver to Saint David's to discuss his book over dinner and share his extraordinary father-son relationship with an audience of Saint David's fathers and sons.

The father-son relationship is a unique and special one.  Saint David's has added this event to its "curriculum" in an effort to explore on an annual basis "what it means to be a good man" and other mission inspired themes and topics around manhood, fatherhood, and "sonhood," at a time in the father-son relationship that is both timely and apropos--the seventh grade. 

Excerpt from the publisher: "In this intimate portrait of an extraordinary father–son relationship, Mark K. Shriver discovers the moral principles that guided his legendary father and applies them to his o…

3-D Printers, Software Developers, and Programmers

There's a lot of STE(A)M right now at Saint David's. Seventh graders have been thinking 3-dimensionally, designing, creating and printings bookmarks using the 3D printer and first grader boys have been busy with Lego WeDo Robotic Kits.

For the seventh grade project, boys had to critique the form and function of an effective bookmark, and explore the way a 3D printer prints (by adding layer upon layer) in order to execute a successful bookmark design. They were challenged to incorporate three-dimensional elements into their bookmark design. Two of the designs are shown here.

One design cleverly contained the word "Library," which when viewed from behind looks like a stack of books!

In addition to the bookmark design project, seventh graders learned skills employed by software developers to design and improve a selection of video games using Scratch.

While our seventh graders are challenging themselves to utilize the "z" axis in one part of the curriculum, ou…

Maybe 50; Definitely 20

The great Saint David's Annual pre-Thanksgiving Tradition, The Turkey Run, ran Tuesday.  It was a beautiful, crisp morning at Riverside Park when the second graders arrived and began their warm-up routine.  Nervous energy was palpable, and spirits were high. 

As the Ferrari's, Maserati's and Lamborghini's took their starting slots, the air became literally electric--filled with the hightened anticipation that typically accompanies such an exciting race and historic event.  It was just phenomenal! 

This year's running was the 20th at Riverside and we believe close to the 50th annual running.  No one currently in the school is quite certain, with any degree of confidence, of the exact start date of the Turkey Run.  Was it 62, 63, or 64?  If you know, let us know!

Below is a short piece I captured--pre firing of the starter's gun.

Giving Thanks with Cardinal Cooke

Sixth graders made their way up 5th Avenue Tuesday after school to join residents of Cardinal Cooke in helping them celebrate Thanksgiving.  The boys set the tables and served residents, their family and friends, in what has become a great giving tradition.

In addition to making conversation with residents and their families, the boys had a lot of work to do ensuring residents with special dietary requirements and feeding limitations were appropriately served and cared for.

I was proud of the boys' incredible patience, good humor and flexibility in a busy, complex environment.  Serving the greater good is an important component of a Saint David's boy's education. On Tuesday it blossomed.


Alex '13 dropped by to say hello early this week.  Loving his intense study of Latin and his new found passion in the Improv Club at Browning, Alex has begun making Electronic Dance Music in his spare time, with an eye to marketing it. 

I was also pleased to hear he's sticking with the violin and will be joining his Alma Mater on stage at Carnegie Hall this winter.

Pharoahs to Farmers: Critical Analysis

This week two classes of Saint David's boys went on field trips closely associated with what they have been studying this fall.

On Tuesday, our fourth graders participated in a guided tour of the Ancient Egypt wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, museum guides engaged the boys, inviting them to look closely at and critically analyze the works of art, often asking them open ended questions based on observation.

The boys have been studying Ancient Egypt as part of their fourth grade history course focusing on the question "What is a civilization?"  Visiting the museum enabled the boys to engage visually with what they had learned in class.

In Omega, our young boys have been learning about the importance of farming. Yesterday, they visited the outdoor Farmers Market in Union Square, where they and their teachers met with the head of our catering services provider who guided our boys around the market, discussing the difference between fruits and vegetables (They w…

Champion of the Common Good

Recently recognized by his current school, Loomis Chaffee, William H., Saint David's alum '13, has taken the mission of his alma mater and exercised it with tangible impact.  From the Loomis' school magazine:

"On a Saturday, three freshmen boys approached a faculty member and turned in a large sum of money. The money was said to have been found in the meadows, dropped by some unknown individual, and was discovered by these freshmen boys: Will H. [and two others].

"Instead of keeping the money, they decided to hand it in. This act displays great self-control, as well as admirable honesty. When asked about their mindset when they found the money, they reflected upon how they only thought about finding the nearest dean or faculty member and never even considered taking the money."

Congratulations, Will for flying the flag so high.

Scenes from 5th Grade Science (Engineering)

Boys build and revise wind turbines as part of our study of simple machines and energy.

The boys were so excited to see their machines come to life--so much more engaging and real than only the printed word of the text--a balance of both "essential components" is what we are aiming for. Incorporating more engineering into our curricular offerings is a major theme of the year.

It's all happening here!

For Our Veterans

On this day when we remember and honor all who have served and sacrificed for our country, two veterans spoke to our second graders about their service. Jack Sproule, Director of Finance and Administration, spoke of his time in the Vietnam War; Cesar Sanchez, husband of second grade teacher Courtney Sanchez, presented on his two deployments with the Navy on the USS Constellation, an aircraft carrier deployed in the Persian Gulf.

Not present, but also honored, was former master teacher (and now development associate) Tom McLellan, who served in Korea. 

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, and the boys were encouraged to talk about Veterans Day with their families this evening.  Later in the day the boys wrote letters to Mr. Sproule and Mr. Sanchez, posing further questions and also expressing their thanks.

As a school, we express our gratitude to Jack, Cesar, and Tom, and to the following Saint David's alumni who have served in the military:

Joseph A. Gimm…

Professional Development on Election Day

On Election Day, Saint David’s faculty attended a series of dynamic hands-on workshops, led by members of the tech department and fellow faculty, related to the incorporation of technology tools into their classes. Faculty were introduced to new digital tools, which they had the opportunity to explore hands-on. They discussed how their students might use these tools in ways that could make learning more efficient and/or deepen student understanding.

Among the sessions was one on 3D printing with the MakerBot Replicator, a 3-D printer. During this workshop, faculty experimented with manipulating two-dimensional shapes into 3-D and learned the steps to print an object or design from the computer to the MakerBot Replicator.

A particularly lively session on iPad apps included Sonic Pics, which allows you to take photos and record your voice over the photo to create a story or provide an explanation. Teachers experimented with the app, creating their own visual/audio narratives, and discus…

Saint David's Kalina School Opens

I have great news to report! Last month, after three years of fundraising and more than a year of construction, our school in Ethiopia, built by Saint David's boys in partnership with Save the Children and with the support of Mimi's Building Blocks, opened.  The new school welcomed 288 boys and girls in pre-school through grade 4.

For the first time ever, Kalina children are able to attend school in a permanent facility with classrooms, administrative rooms, and latrines--previously they attended an open-air dass school. Their new school, The Saint David's Kalina School, uses a "one shift system" in which the children and their teachers remain in class from 8 AM through 12:15 PM each day.

The new faculty includes 2 male teachers, 5 females teachers and 1 male principal.  All teachers are from the local area and most have completed Save the Children's Literacy Boost teacher component training; two were trained in basic school health and nutrition.

A Saint Davi…

Riverdale and Calhoun

I visited Calhoun today with Mr. Imbelli to see Brad '10 in his senior year.  Brad is the only Saint David's alum in recent memory to attend Calhoun.  He has enjoyed his time there immensely.  After adjusting to a  dramatic philosophical change in culture, Brad has flourished. 

A recent highlight Brad shared was a semester he spent at The Island School in the Bahamas, where he engaged in a science focused process of inquiry around discovering sustainable solutions to real world problems and where he participated in project-based outreach programs with the peoples of Eleuthera.

Brad is looking at small liberal arts colleges in the Northeast.

When I got back to school, Axel '13 dropped by to touch base.  At Riverdale now, Axel has made a smooth transition to high school; he loves the campus freedom and seems to be enjoying his studies.  After waiving a sport this fall, he's now looking forward to winter prep for spring lacrosse. It was great to see both boys -- one …

An Ode

In the last week of October, 2013, an established fixture in the psyche of all Saint David's boys past and present, closed its doors.  The deli on the corner of 89th and Madison, not necessarily known for its Madison Avenue chic, but none-the-less a staple supplier of hearty food and other less healthy condiments, has become embedded over the decades, in the lore of the School.

As with any loss there is an intangible sense of sadness around its closure, and yet, it's no surprise that it has come to this.

In an effort to capture, reflect, celebrate, honor and maybe in a strange way glorify this fixture in the life of Saint David's boys, I penned a little ode in the style of the ancient poet Pindar.  He would often in his poems write of and honor youth and the things they valued.  I thought it fitting today to present this ode as my chapel talk for All-Saint's and Halloween.

An Ode to Our GTD
If ever a boy hungered or thirst With all his wits aside, sparing himself Neither …

Critters at the Cape: Design Thinking in Action

This year, during the seventh grade's interdisciplinary week-long experience on Cape Cod, the boys participated in a STE(A)M related project.  The goal:  Construct a critter, using what they have learned about the environment, adaptation, evolution, art, and design.

For this new project, created by teacher Gary Kessler and based on work he had done over the summer on spherical shapes, the boys worked in teams of two or four using paper plate spheres and other materials to create their unique creatures that met the criteria outlined.

The boys discussed and proposed an appropriate environment for their creature and the special adaptations, or processes by which the critters would be fitted to that environment. As you can imagine the debates were quite spirited.

Once the projects were completed, the teams prepared a presentation of their critter and their rationale for its existence.  The presentations were then video recorded.

Boys were so engaged in this project that severa…

St. George's, Westminster, Millbrook, and Loomis

With a day off from school, George, Coop, Tau,  and Hayden dropped by to visit yesterday.  All freshmen at their respective high schools, they were in great spirits.

Hayden is making a name for himself running cross-country ... "raising more than a few marveling eyebrows at the season opening Choate Invitational ... turning heads ..." and Tau is busy working in Millbrook's zoo, George is enjoying activity on the lake, Coop is dealing with Loomis' recent "lesson" taught, according to Khalid, by Canterbury, with all the grace and humor of a true Saint David's boy!

It was great to see them.

Inwood: Caves and Wigwams

Yesterday, the second grade took their first field trip for this school year!  The boys traveled to Inwood Park’sNatural Classroom to build on their knowledge of the Lenape tribe, indigenous peoples to this area.  

The boys have been studying the ways of the Lanape through our partnership with the New-York Historical Society for the past several weeks now. The trip was a planned chance to link their classroom studies to physically engaging experiences.

To prepare for this trip, in addition to critiquing artifacts with N-YHS curators and studying texts, second graders built their own longhouses and wigwams in class (photo below),  and explored the various ways the Lenape were a resourceful people.  

On the trip, New York State Park Rangers escorted the boys through the Inwood Park 'living exhibit.' Rangers further explored with the boys how the Lenape’s life was heavily influenced by geography and natural resources.

The day was a success: imagine the boys' delight when…