From the Head of School

Building Lifelong Learners

  • Letters from the Head of School
Alfred F. Dugan III

I have a riddle: What do you get when you deconstruct a pumpkin catapult and reuse all materials to create a giant-sized xylophone? Still thinking? Answer: A Xylopult!

And oh yes, do not forget to add the creativity and energy of a fifth-grader, the dynamic facilitation of PASH educators and the mission-driven Goal 3 inspiration of a social awareness which impels to action.

Boys learn best by doing. When given the opportunity to think, imagine and create, they will build beyond boundaries. When challenged to solve a problem, they will leverage the might of their minds and the hope of their hearts to think critically and compassionately. When believed in, #HeCanBe…

Here’s what it looks like: 

In autumn, Grade 5 boys build (power tools outside, sawing, measuring, hammering - the real thing) empire-sized catapults to launch pumpkins and compete for eternal honor and glory to see who's jack-o-lantern-to-be can fly the farthest. In so doing, they learn and apply the core concepts of Physics that they will master again at some point later in their academic journeys, perhaps in an Advanced Placement course in secondary school. The best part - they had a blast doing it and will never forget the experience; this is how lifelong learners are made.

The boys deconstruct the catapults and store the parts through the winter, mindful that nothing should be wasted and all can be reused. Meanwhile, educators collaborate and design a second phase to the pumpkin catapult project that will integrate Science, Math, Music, Art and Spanish.

The vernal motion of the season gives life to spring on campus. These same Grade 5 boys watch a documentary film titled Landfill Harmonic and learn about the lives of their brothers and sisters who live in a community in Paraguay where girls and boys, women and men live by a landfill and make magical music from objects that the rest of the world has decided to throw away. With empathy and inspiration, our children of the Sacred Heart set out to emulate the moving example of their Paraguayan peers.

The saved parts of the pumpkin catapults are transformed into six-foot wooden xylophones - of course! They are beautifully decorated with signs of peace, love and Hawk Pride and then suspended between trees in front of campus for all to enjoy. Music is joyfully made by our boys, and thus they are joined in harmony with their peers in another part of the world, across time and space and circumstance, bridging differences to contribute their verses to the song of humanity. From catapults to xylophones, our young men will carry the beauty of infinite possibilities with them forever. 

Way to go, gentlemen - you are amazing. Thank you to all of our educators who devote themselves with heart and soul to bringing out the best in our boys. This is what building lifelong learners looks like.

  • Goal 3
  • #HeCanBe
  • lifelong learners

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