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Puer viri pater est

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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