Students Bond During Orientation: Creating Community at Dwight Global

Dwight Global’s student orientation had one overarching goal: To allow students to engage in light-hearted activities while learning about their school and bonding with each other and their teachers. 

The orientation, held September 10-12, was simultaneously hosted online and in-person on campus at Dwight School in New York. Students in grades 7-12 participated in a mix of academic, cultural, and social events, during which they began forging lasting friendships.   

“The key to effective online learning is to create a close-knit community of learners among students, staff and teachers,” said Louisa Childs, Head of School at Dwight Global. “Orientation begins the community building that continues throughout the entire school year.” 

The orientation began with opening remarks from Blake Spahn, Vice Chancellor, and Louisa Childs, Head of School. Students Emily Schmidt ‘24 and Julian Kinchen ‘25 also gave rousing performances of the Dwight School Song. Terry Christgau, Director of Dwight's Upper School Theater Program, then led an improvisational acting session with students, a Dwight Global tradition that made them laugh and put them at ease. Many of Christgau’s students have gone on to work in film and television, and he excels at using improv techniques to “break the ice” while teaching students how to act.     

On Saturday, the in-person students visited Central Park, where they had a scavenger hunt. They had to find certain landmarks in the park, such as the Bow Bridge and Belvedere Castle, and take group photos in front of them. Saturday also featured workshops on time management, academic integrity, and college preparation. The students also did a virtual escape room challenge and created videos on what they hope to get out of Dwight Global this school year. The in-person students also visited nearby Columbia University and Barnard College, guided by Dwight’s team of college counselors. In the evening, the students enjoyed festivities and games during a party on the rooftop terrace of Dwight New York. They also visited the Observatory deck atop Rockefeller Center, which has sweeping views of the city.  

On Sunday, Dwight students had a “Meet the Faculty” day, where they met teachers in each department and discussed the year ahead.  Counselors also discussed wellness and how students can maintain good mental health. The day concluded with an inspirational talk from Dwight Global parents Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker, actors, activists, and entrepreneurs who discussed their work with students. Koko Stella Lawson, Program Manager at Dwight Global, said parents are choosing Dwight Global because of its superior online education and proven success. Many parents like the school’s flexible schedule, which allows student-athletes and artists to pursue their passions while getting a first-rate education. The widespread adoption of online learning last year, moreover, showed parents and students that virtual learning, when done correctly, is extremely effective. 

“Dwight Global is the acknowledged leader in online learning,” said Ms. Lawson. “We are thrilled to be starting the school year with more great teachers, terrific classes, and talented students.”