From the Headmaster

He Can Be... The Morning Handshake

Alfred F. Dugan III
Princeton Academy Eighth Grade at PBC


Every morning at Princeton Academy begins with a handshake. There is no better way to celebrate the sunrise than by welcoming a young man into school with a simple greeting: “Good morning… How are you?... Have a great day!”. 
In How to Raise A Boy, Michael Reichert focuses on the power of connection to build good men. The Morning Handshake is a symbol of this, literally and figuratively. At Princeton Academy, connection starts the moment a boy walks through our doors. Each boy is seen, heard, valued and known. What is more important to us as humans than to acknowledge one’s presence and respect one’s identity while simultaneously being mutually acknowledged and respected for the individuals that we are? I, like my colleagues, take deep pride in knowing each boy’s name, his essence and his story. This is where the connection begins, so He Can Be…
The handshake, a simple gesture of connection, is becoming increasingly rare in today’s fast-paced, on-demand society. Resoundingly, we hear how genuinely impressive it is when our young men shake the hand and look into the eye of someone they are meeting. From secondary school admission representatives to visiting families, this is an authentic Princeton Academy trademark.
The Morning Handshake is also a helping hand. When we extend our arm to one another, we are offering that person our support. It is my hope that our young men feel this each and every day and then pay it forward in their own lives. We want our young men to know that every encounter with another person is a new opportunity to express love, compassion and kindness. I once heard a Princeton Academy student define a “gentleman” as someone who puts others before himself. At Princeton Academy we strive to be men for others and offering a hand to welcome or to support is what we do.
On a personal note, the Morning Handshake puts the wind in my sails; better than a cup of coffee and the best way to start the day. Please feel free to join me anytime on the front steps to greet our boys and inaugurate the dawn of a new day.
In the spirit of the Morning Handshake, let us begin this year fresh and connected. Good morning, Princeton Academy…
Carpe Diem,

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