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Showing posts from April, 2019

Saint David's Father and Son Dinner Featuring Mark Whitaker

Our annual Seventh Grade father and son dinner provides the opportunity for seventh graders and their fathers to share an evening exploring what it means to be a good man, the relationship between parent and son, and other mission-related themes.

The speaker at this year's event was author, journalist and media executive Mark Whitaker, who spoke about his memoir My Long Trip Home, in which he delves into the story of his family, in particular, his father. The son of a bi-racial couple who wed in 1956 (a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in some states), Mark spent many years estranged from his father, a brilliant African Studies scholar who struggled throughout his life with alcoholism.


Later, they would reconcile, but it was only after his father had passed away that Mark realized he wanted to write a book about this man who had had a groundbreaking career despite all his problems, and try to understand him better. Ultimately, the process deepened Mark'…

Boys Experience Democracy in Action

Saint David's sixth graders are in our nation's capital, where their study of American history culminates.


Over these three days, the boys are deepening their understanding of American history and government as they experience democracy in action. Sites they are visiting include Mount Vernon, the Monuments, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, and Arlington National Cemetery.


In a clear example of the critical analysis of ideas and issues central to our school's mission, the boys critically reflect on the themes of democracy when they visit each site, exploring our government's promise and challenges, its underlying values and issues, and the lessons of history. Their observations and analyses will inform the poems they write in English class.


This trip is also a great bonding experience for our boys, as they spend time in D.C. with each other and with their teachers exploring deep and important i…

Dinosaur Study by Omega Paleontologists

The Omega boys' integrated study of dinosaurs culminated in this morning's Dinosaur Presentation, one of my favorite Saint David's experiences.


During their spring study, the boys had opportunities to work in groups, use maps, conduct research, and explore the concepts of time periods and archaeology. Their study also included a field trip to the Dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.


In this morning's show, they presented facts about dinosaurs, recited poems, and sang songs. Some featured special verses written by Omega students reflecting their learning about dinosaurs, and others were among their favorites from music class, including one in Spanish.


The knowledge, confidence, singing ability, and stage presence of the presenters impressed us all. Well done, boys! The field of paleontology is well served by you!

Special thanks to Omega teachers Emily Cawley and Katy Jonas, and to Choral Director Phyllis Clark and Music Chair Jeff Moore for work…

Saint David's Partnership with DNA Learning Center for Barcoding Study

Through our school's partnership with the DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor, our eighth graders are working with Ms. Lee of DNALC and Saint David's science teacher Mr. Bell on a hands-on DNA unit that involves a series of increasingly complex labs conducted over several weeks, and culminates with an original DNA barcoding research project.

As the video shows, the boys are following the protocols and using the same tools for DNA extraction, including pipetters (highly precise tools that measure and transfer liquids) and centrifuges, used by DNA researchers in labs around the world.


The partnership with DNALC connects our boys in real and meaningful ways to the science of DNA, and, as our eighth grader notes, "It's a lot of fun!"

Peace and Release - The Remarkable Experience of "Les Colombes"

Friday evening's Alumni Parents Cultural Event -- a special showing at the opening of Michael Pendry's Les Colombes at the Church of the Heavenly Rest -- was truly a gift to the spirit.


The remarkable evening began with an introduction by the artist himself. Mr. Pendry spoke of how his work, which is part of the Art for Peace project, began in Munich in 2014, where he drew inspiration from the doves in the ceiling of that city's Church of the Holy Spirit.


Doves, Christianity's symbol of the Holy Spirit, are also symbols of peace. The duality resonated with Mr. Pendry, leading to the creation of a traveling installation that consists of approximately 1,500 weightless doves, suspended from overhead netting in a 45-foot pattern.  Traveling the world, Les Colombes has appeared in houses of worship in Munich, Jerusalem, London, and Salisbury. It is currently short listed in the UK for a best contemporary installation award.


In each city where Les Colombes is shown, the or…

Dr. Derrick Gay Performs Special Concert for Our Boys

I've reported on our multi-year partnership with Dr. Derrick Gay, internationally renowned educational consultant on issues of global citizenship, diversity, and inclusion. Over these past three years, Dr. Gay has led a series of workshops with faculty and staff, parents, and students, as we continue to cultivate cultural competency and an ever stronger inclusive community.


Yesterday, to further his dialogue with the boys, Dr. Gay showed a different side to his persona, providing a musical concert and a discussion about opera. A highly regarded musician, Dr. Gay has traveled the world singing opera and playing the viola. It is one of his deepest passions and informs everything in his life. 


The musical selections he sang ranged from Broadway classics to Mozart. He was accompanied by Music Chair Jeff Moore on the piano, with Choral Director Phyllis Clark joining him for beautifully sung duets.


The boys learned how singing is a mix of the intellectual, emotional, and the ath…

A Puppet Show and Book Talk with Author David Ezra Stein

Last week, children's book author/illustrator David Ezra Stein visited Saint David's School for a special presentation in the Otto-Bernstein Performing Arts Theatre. He and his wife Miriam entertained our Pre-Primary and Grades One and Two boys with "Interrupting Chicken; the Puppet Show," based on his book Interrupting Chicken, which received a 2011 Caldecott Honor.

The boys were delighted by the show and fascinated as David and Miriam explained how they had created the puppets and the mechanism that controls their movements. David then read aloud his latest book: Interrupting Chicken: The Elephant of Surprise, and talked in detail about the writing/drawing process behind it. Riveted by the show and presentation, the boys eagerly asked questions about David's approach to writing, and all received signed copies of his book.


By the end of this spring, all grades will experience an author visit, thanks to the vision and efforts of PA Author Series Co-Chairs Liz Ca…

Cultivating Character With a Strong Sense of Self

I would like to share the following article about Saint David's Sophrosyne values-centered health and wellness program. Written by Dr. Evan Morse, it appears in the current issue of Saint David's Magazine.


In adolescence, boys enter an exciting yet vulnerable period of rapid social and emotional development in which they begin to form an independent identity as they encounter the wider world. Students at Saint David’s are faced with a very large world as both digital natives and residents of a global metropolis. In recognition of these challenges, Saint David’s has continued to refine the Sophrosyne program. Sophrosyne is a values-centered course that helps boys navigate social, health, and wellness issues while developing a strong sense of self. In the later years, the classes focus on particular risk factors and strategies, but the extension of the program into the Lower School reflects that the true core of the program is character education. In every grade level, Sophrosyn…