Yesterday school was closed in observance of Yom Kippur. This morning in our all school Friday assembly, we were treated to a visit from Rabbi Roy Feldman who described the High Holy Days to us in great detail and offered the community an inspiring message.
Today marks the final day of one of the strangest school years in our school’s history. But it turned out to be one of its finest. The strength and determination of the St. Bernard’s faculty, staff, parents, and most of all, students brought us through the challenges of the pandemic to finish the year with pride and optimism for what lies ahead.
Last week the 9th grade boys, along with teachers Madame de Haugoubart and Dr. Mitchell, were treated to a private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum was closed to all visitors so the group had the entire space to themselves.
On Monday evening, it was announced that Joy S. Hurd, IV, will become the next headmaster of St. Bernard's School, beginning in July 2022. Mr. Hurd is currently the head of school at Lake Forest Country Day School, in Illinois.
St. Bernard’s boys usually learn to play the recorder in third grade. But with all of the COVID restrictions around musical instruments, the Music Department went down a different path and are teaching the boys to play an instrument that lifts everyone’s spirits: a ukulele.
Mr. Parsons and Mr. Jacala have been teaching the fifth grade about the earth’s atmosphere and climate change. To complement this study, fifth grade boys are now proud owners of their own terrariums which they made themselves in science class.
Grade VI spends the year studying American history. In a typical year, the boys visit historic sites in New York, West Point, and Gettysburg. While those trips are not taking place this year, there is much to learn in the classroom. And as we witnessed in this morning’s assembly, the rest of the school absorbed a great deal from watching the boys give recitations from the Teaching Theater pulpit.
Our third grade scientists are in the middle of a unit on plate tectonics (the study of the plate movements beneath the earth’s surface). The boys built structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows with the goal of building a tower that can withstand an earthquake.
The Old Boys Dinner has been held every year since 1916. The pandemic kept Old Boys from gathering in the school gyms this year, but a virtual Old Boys Dinner proved to be a fine bridge to keep the tradition going through these unusual times.
Mid-December, Middle School and Upper School students attended sessions with educators from the Museum of the City of New York to discuss civic engagement and the Civil Rights Movement in New York City.
During the usual fall semester, St. Bernard’s plays host to class reunions and the Junior Old Boys Lunch. We often travel to other cities for receptions which keep Old Boys outside of New York City engaged with what is happening on East 98th Street. While our in-person Old Boys events are paused, one silver lining of connecting virtually is the ability to invite Old Boys back to Friday assembly as guest speakers. Four Old Boys across different professions showcased their skills to St. Bernard’s boys, participating from their homes here in the tri-state area, and as far away as California and France.