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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'Toto Performance' and Ethiopia

The Upper School Spring Concert in May, 2012 featured a performance of Toto’s “Africa” by the Chamber Singers and the Percussion Ensemble. The boys loved performing this song, and were excited about the connection to our fund-raising drive to build a school in Ethiopia.

After hearing their performance last spring, the school decided to professionally record the song and, in the first week of October in 2012 we transformed the fifth floor music suite into a recording studio.

With the expert assistance and guidance of alum Joe Carroll '70, the boys took turns putting on headphones and laying down tracks. Our in-house recording engineer, Benjamin Garner, and our photographer, Melanie Fidler, helped us create this music video.

The boys proudly dedicated the video to their families, their fellow students, the faculty of Saint David's, and the future students of the school in Ethiopia.

The video is available for download and a donation at the following address:
Download and Donate Africa Video.

A preview follows:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Project VOICE and Saint David's

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye, Co-Directors of Project V.O.I.C.E., visited Saint David's today to deliver a "Living Poetry" performance for boys in Grades Six through Eight. 

The two Spoken Word Poets have performed internationally and travel around the world to provide Spoken Word performances and run poetry workshops in schools. They performed their poems, rich in imagery, humor, and insight, both individually and jointly for the boys. 

Sarah and Phil began with a poem about spoken poetry itself, noting its ubiquity: "poetry rose with the first sunrise" and is "found in the words of Gandhi." They sought to demystify the writing of poetry for the boys, emphasizing that the most important thing is to write frequently to develop a habit of writing, and that while poetry need not be factual it must be truthful. Defining for the boys the nuanced difference between "fact" and "truth" in this genre was a fascinating aspect of their presentation.

Tips offered to Saint David's young poets were that it's okay to write "bad" poems, that the trick is to write through them; and that a Spoken Word Poet should ask himself three questions: "What do I want to write about?", "How will I write about it?" and finally, "How will I perform it?" 

Following the performance, Sarah and Phil answered questions from the boys and, later, met with sixth graders in their classrooms where they conducted the first of two poetry writing workshops. 

Today's special program is an outgrowth of the school's Curriculum Initiative, which expanded the school's creative writing curriculum and the school's ongoing commitment to the development of rhetoric in a variety of forms.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Big Three

Alums have been stopping in to say hello.  I call the latest wave, 'The Big Three'. They are all so tall

Antonio Bolfo ’95 graduated from Riverdale and Rhode Island School of Design after leaving Saint David's.  He entered law enforcement before becoming a photo journalist. Antonio was off to Syria to cover the war the day after his visit for a major news organization. His words of wisdom expressed in my office: "Never loose sight of those things that distract you; your digressions," for you never know where they might lead you.

Sam H. ’09 is now a senior at The Fieldston School.  He has decided to do a PG year. He played starting QB for Fieldston this year and wants to further pursue football.  All things are good. We had such a great chat.

Robert A. ’09 is a senior at Kent School.  He plays basketball, has been enjoying his studies. He is most excited about rowing crew this summer in Philly.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Boys at the Back

Author of The War Against Boys, Christina Hoff Sommers, opined in a recent NYT article about the struggle of boys in academic circles and traditional school environments.  Citing recent research out of The Journal of Human Resources she makes a strong case for boy focused strategies--something Saint David's has embraced and celebrated for quite some time.  It is well worth the read.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A True Community Shares

Nearly 200 members of the Saint David's community gathered at a midtown venue yesterday evening to hear Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of FOX News and Chairman of FOX Television Stations, speak about "The News in America Today" for this year's Saint David's School Networking Event. 

Known for his candid, direct style; and rarely reticent about expressing his views and opinions, Mr. Ailes spoke of his introduction to the media business working on The Mike Douglas Show in the sixties, where he first encountered Richard Nixon, crediting an exchange the two had over the role television would play in determining election outcomes with truly beginning his career in broadcasting.

From covering man's first steps on the moon in 1969 (he broadcasted the first interplanetary shot in history, which would feature Neil Armstrong's legendary exclamation: "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."), to his successful embrace of Rupert Murdoch's challenge to build a channel that could beat the competition, he spoke of success resulting from commitment, hard work, and what he termed his greatest talent: "I hire good people; they do a great job."

Mr. Ailes also addressed the seismic shifts in the way news can be delivered as the result of rapidly evolving technological advances and the challenges these present, noting "an atmosphere of radical growth and change," and the continued importance of excellence, integrity, teamwork and positive attitude as essential qualities for success, along with having good mentors.

Following his talk, attendees broke out into networking affinity groups that covered five professions, each led by a Saint David's community member: Hospitality, facilitated by Richard Coraine; Finance, by Martin Vulliez '86, Education, by Arthur Samuels III, '84;  Media, by Annika Pergament; and Recruiting, by Carolina Dorson Ponzer.  Alumns, current and past parents then "networked".

The annual networking event, an occasion for alumni, current parents and parents of alumni to network together is now in its sixth installment, and growing stronger each year. Last evening, which happened to fall on Founders Day, the date that the school was founded in 1951, marked yet another example of the "true community" that is Saint David's, members coming together to share insights, provide information about various industries and professions, and offer advice and support to each other.