Headmaster's Communications: Opening Letters 2010

P . DAVID O’HALLORAN, PH.D. HEADMASTER Wednesday, September 8, 2010 Dear Saint David’s 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. SAINT DAVID ’ S SCHOOL 12 EAST 89TH STREET, NEW YORK , NEW YORK 10128-0678 TEL. 212-369-0058 WWW.SAINTDAVIDS. ORG