After a nearly decade-long battle with cancer, Mike Dawes passed on to “that better home a waitin’ in the sky” depicted in his beloved country music. I first met Mike in June of 1989 under the chandelier in the Mansion at Hyde School in Bath, Maine when he dropped Mike, Jr. off for summer school. As President of Hyde Schools, I’ve made both good and bad decisions, but I like to think that my best move was to successfully hire Mike Dawes. (He played a little hard to get.) Blessed to have been Mike’s friend and colleague ever since, he taught me a phrase that I will forever associate with him: If you want to have a friend, you’ve got to be a friend. Whether your friends are few or many in number, just think about the kind of world it would be if all of us acted in our friendships as Mike Dawes did with all of us.
The doors opened to 120+ kindergarten and 1st graders at Hyde-Brooklyn. If you New Yorkers are ever having a bad day, go spend a morning there, as Laura and I did in December. Those kids are guaranteed to have you leaving with a smile on your face.
With the opening of the school year, we dedicated outstanding new facilities at both Bath and Woodstock. As a result, Bath athletes join their Woodstock counterparts in playing on a brand new artificial turf field, complete with newly resurfaced track. Meanwhile, in Woodstock, we opened the doors to a completely refurbished Westhaver Hall, now an awesome dormitory with new faculty apartments.
Bath and Woodstock hosted Visiting Committees from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) for our ten-year accreditation. Both schools were re-accredited and received especially enthusiastic commendations for community-wide commitment to mission and the dedication of the faculty.
The Visiting Committee also gave high marks for the commitment and expertise of our Board of Governors. During their fall meeting at Woodstock, the members of the Board broke for lunch with the student members of our newly formed Hyde Leadership Society. After a few remarks from Chair Jeff Black ’79, each shared their own experiences of what brought them to Hyde and how their respective Hyde experiences have informed their business lives. The kids (and faculty) were all ears and came away seeing new possibilities for their own time at Hyde.
My father and I flew to Washington to take in the dedication of Hyde-DC’s new home. After an $18M renovation – my father likened it to “waving a magic wand through every room of an old school building” – the former Taft Junior High now boasts what a DCPS official called “the best science labs of any public school in the city.” Having never hosted a home basketball game, the Pride will do so on their new home court next month. We will also have our own playing field right across the street. It was a happy day for all. And speaking of happy, may this adjective apply to your 2011.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld