Our Community of Learners

Following the success of our 125th anniversary’s First Thursday alumni speaker assemblies and events, Dwight-Englewood has continued to “Celebrate Our Story” and create new ones with the help of our 2014-2015 speaker series, “The Road to Well-Being.” Happiness and well-being are the two themes that Head of School Dr. Rodney De Jarnett has emphasized this school year, since “happiness comes first. If you’re really happy, then everything else follows. And happy students retain 30-40% more information!”

In our Spring-Summer 2014 theme of “Our Community of Learners,” we featured seven families that represent our myriad perspectives. We not only have alumni parents and grandparents whose children/grandchildren are current Dwightees, but also new families starting their own legacies at D-E; students from an array of modern-day family structures, some of whom are well on their way to becoming D-E “Lifers” – those who attend all three divisions. Here is just a small representation of how we in our community, as stated in our Mission, “…seek excellence, honor integrity, and embrace diversity in order to meet the challenges of a changing world and make it better.”

Why D-E?

For some families, D-E was an obvious choice, as the school was very much ingrained in the family history – as was the case for the Borg family; Malcolm ESB ’56 and Sandra D ’57 met here; two of their children Stephen ’86 and Jennifer ’83 attended after going to Elisabeth Morrow School; and now, Alexander ’17 and Austin ’19, Stephen’s two eldest sons, have followed in their dad’s footsteps: “I attended Dwight from 7th to 12th grade (its grade levels at that time). At D-E, I grew and matured from an adolescent to a young adult. I left well prepared for Dartmouth and life. I send my kids (two there now, one entering next year) to D-E because of the quality of education and the school’s core values. I credit the faculty, administration and staff for both of these attributes.” Or they happened to be looking for a place to teach where they could also send their children, as was the case for Upper School Psychology teacher Daniel Carragher: “We had friends who sent their kids to D-E, so it was on our radar. Needless to say, we heard LOTS of great things. It just so happened that I was starting to think about going back to work part-time after being a stay-at-home dad for three years. I was teaching adjunct at NYU, but Steven came across an ad for a part-time psychology teacher in the US at D-E and I went for it – and I’m so glad I did!”

Our Core Values, Their Identity

While D-E has strived to keep up with the changing times and technological advances of our day, the school has always kept its traditional background, rooted by its Core Values: Respect, Honesty, Judgment, Community, Courage and Commitment. These six words are often cited by parents as the reason why they chose D-E, and for the Ozdens in particular, they also hit home with Rabia and Aykut’s upbringing in their native Turkey: “D-E’s core values are not unlike how we were raised in and inherited from our Turkish culture. We are very family-oriented, respectful of others and committed to doing our best in our jobs and responsibilities. We see the same at D-E and are very pleased with that. We are happy that Naz ’22 and Nehir ’22 have more room to explore their identities than [we did at their age] and are fortunate to be in a school like D-E that allows and assists with that. One crucial step in identity development is being supported and not ashamed, criticized or punished for [that exploration]. We see that approach in D-E.” Throughout this issue, you’ll read the stories of a few families – faculty, single-parent, same-sex – who call D-E their second home. Click on each of the family photos below to read each of these fascinating stories. And while we collectively celebrated D-E’s storied past last school year, it’s clear we can’t help but eagerly think about what the next 125 will bring. Special thanks to all the families who agreed to be featured in this way on D-E Today! The Borg Family; the Carragher-Haim Family, the Charles Family, the Kong Family, the Lee Family, the Skolnik Family, and the Ozden Family.

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