What Advice Do I Have for Our Graduates?

My final words to the Dwight Class of 2015 during graduation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art were woven together with a single over-arching message in mind: Find a mentor or mentors on your path through college, graduate school, and in life.

My own early experiences were shaped dramatically by inspiring mentors. In turn, having served as a mentor to countless Dwight students over the last half-century, I have been reminded time and again that this particular role is among the most gratifying for me as both an educator and as Chancellor.

With pride in their numerous accomplishments at Dwight and unbridled enthusiasm for what lies ahead for our newest alumni, I bid them farewell with the following remarks:

As graduating seniors, you have shared a common Dwight experience built on our school’s three pillars of personalized learning, community, and global vision. At the same time, each of you has taken your own, unique journey based on your personal talents and spark of genius. Guiding you along both paths have been administrators and faculty members who have cared deeply about your growth and success, and who have served as inspiring mentors along the way.

With this support, you have embraced your passions, found your purpose, and persevered. Now, you must challenge yourself to think and to dream even bigger ― and to make the impossible possible.  

This next step requires that you find a mentor for the new path that you will walk at college or university…for the path that you will walk in life. Sometimes, a mentor arrives unannounced, but more often appears when a student is ready. Dwight graduates who found such mentors have achieved many noteworthy accomplishments. Among them are young alumni, who only a few years after high school with mentors by their side, are already leaving their mark on the world. One launched a company to increase the efficiency of commercial solar energy systems. Another is leading an avant-garde movement in architecture by merging the monumental works of great artists into design projects. There is a young entrepreneur who built a pharmaceutical testing company that is dramatically reducing the time needed for FDA drug approvals. And another became the youngest American director to win the student category at the Cannes Film Festival.

What do they all have in common? All were willing to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and had mentors to light their way. 

Class of 2015, your collective caring spirit, singular achievements, and strong work ethic will leave their mark on Dwight for many years to come. During the past year alone, with your insights, we launched the Spark of Innovation Program. The Dwight School Foundation will now be providing innovation grants to students and teachers who are envisioning exciting new pathways for the future, bringing the stars closer in reach. You will always be a part of that.

I encourage you to make the impossible possible. Keep your spark of genius alive. Be true to yourself…and remember that you’ll always have a home at Dwight.

 

 

How Do Students Benefit from Being Part of a Global Network?

Stretching across three continents, five Dwight Schools educate 2,000 students in New York, London, Seoul, Shanghai, and on Vancouver Island. We share the same singular commitment to igniting the spark of genius in every child, so that no matter where in the world students attend Dwight, they are inspired to find their passions and excel in their own unique ways.  Being part of a global network enhances opportunities for students to do so, as demonstrated by three seniors who recently traveled to our new Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School. They were inspired to contribute personally to the burgeoning school community and together, they designed a means to introduce their peers in China to the International Baccalaureate’s CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service) program. This trip, as you can read here, was mutually enriching for all.

Journeys like this are but one of innumerable benefits students reap as part of a global network. They also participate in grade-wide exchange programs, curricular collaborations, leadership conferences, online learning, athletic competitions, and cross-campus concerts and traveling art exhibits. With ever-advancing technologies, there is no limit to how students can connect, share ideas, and develop innovative solutions to global challenges. In Dwight’s network of IB World Schools, students have the added benefit of learning a universal curriculum, providing countless opportunities for them to work and learn together on common units of inquiry across date and time zones.

The IB was founded to develop students to be internationally minded, sensitive to other cultures and perspectives, proficient in several languages, and critical thinkers who can help make our world a better place. It provides the ideal framework for creating today’s global citizens, who will become tomorrow’s agile, highly desirable job candidates poised for success in our increasingly competitive global marketplace.

The advantages of being part of a global network extend well beyond commencement. Dwight alumni around the world provide professional support to fellow graduates, mentor students, and connect socially in ways that bind those who share a common educational experience together for a lifetime.