They came to New York from all over … from across the country and around the world. Why? To meet their teachers, deans, and each other. We’re talking about Dwight Global Online School students who gathered on Dwight’s Upper West Side campus for four days of orientation. This in-person program designed to connect students who attend classes from wherever they call home, along with other in-residence experiences, sets Dwight Global apart from other online schools.
Boy, were they busy! Orientation was chock-full of activities ― academic, cultural, and social ― from the first moment they were welcomed with a formal convocation by Chancellor Stephen Spahn, Vice Chancellor Blake Spahn, and Board Members Kirk Spahn and Raymond Ravaglia. After a tour of Dwight’s campus, students broke up for an exuberant scavenger hunt related to Dwight traditions and history.
What followed was a bit of the unexpected: Director of Dwight’s Upper School Theater Program, Terry Christgau, led the group in an improv class, together with New York students passionate about performance who are enrolled in the School’s Master Theater Program ― talk about an icebreaker!
“I really enjoyed the improv session with Mr. Christgau. I was hesitant to participate, but it was really cool to see everyone come together, especially since a lot of kids (like myself) were new to Dwight and didn’t know the other students yet,” shares sophomore Sofi, who lives in Virginia. “People forgot about any awkwardness and Mr. Christgau did a really good job of encouraging and helping everyone along when they felt nervous. Plus, when we started doing scenes, I saw that even the people who didn't want to get up and perform were laughing. It was a really good way of being creative and getting to know other students.”
During orientation, a panel of returning Dwight Global students shared their tips for learning online, time management, and other helpful topics with new students. And Jill Ortman, Director of College Counseling, and her team, introduced our college guidance program, which begins early at Dwight in ninth grade, paving a four-year path to success.
On the heels of this college guidance session, students headed downtown to NYU for a special visit arranged by the university’s President Emeritus, John Sexton, where they met with recent alums ― an All American scholar-athlete and a performer-scholar ― who pursued their passions while at NYU. A number of Dwight Global students are doing the same in high school, competing in sports such as tennis at the highest levels, acting on TV shows, and preparing for professional careers in ballet, all while receiving a personalized education at Dwight Global.
At an activities fair, students learned about the wide range of Dwight opportunities available beyond the classroom ― another facet that distinguishes Dwight Global from other online schools. Extracurriculars include game design, a student newspaper, peer mentoring, WISER (a club that supports the education of girls in Kenya), National Honor Society, book and creative writing clubs, and Spark Tank (Dwight’s incubator designed to teach entrepreneurial, innovation, and leadership skills). In addition, students heard about some of the international trips they could take, including one to the annual Global Issues Network Conference (GIN) in Luxembourg. It didn’t take long for students to sign up for activities that sparked their interest and begin planning what comes next.
An orientation in New York City would not be complete without seeing the bright lights of Times Square; taking in a show, Stomp!; visiting one of the world’s greatest educational institutions ― the Museum of Natural History ― and exploring different neighborhoods. As they walked, talked, and dined their way through Washington Square, the West Village, Soho, Little Italy, and Chinatown, Dwight Global students connected and kicked off the academic year together!