Dwight, a New York City landmark private school, is a leader in global education recognized worldwide for igniting the spark of genius in every child. We are proud of our rich history, which dates back to 1872, and numerous advances that have distinguished Dwight as a pioneering International Baccalaureate World School. While innovation drives us ever forward, our commitment to personalizing the educational journey for every student remains at the heart of everything we do.
Dwight Facts & Figures
Dwight stands apart from other independent schools as a leader with a long list of firsts in New York City and around the world. Discover more about our milestones and global community.
One of Dwight’s longest-standing traditions, which has been extended across our global network of Schools in recent years, is the Camerer Essay Competition. It is named for Dr. Emil E. Camerer, who was a prominent educator in his day and Dwight’s Headmaster from 1895-1926.
Dr. Camerer’s impressive tenure began not long after Dwight became part of The New York Preparatory School in 1889, which operated a division in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn. Upon joining forces with Dwight, the Manhattan division relocated to Dwight’s then-home, 15 West 43rd Street, and Dwight retained its name as a new third division. Together, they comprised the largest private preparatory school in the U.S. at that time. Over time, Dwight criss-crossed Manhattan a few more times, landing in our current and permanent home at 18 West 89th Street in 1993.
How Does the Competition Work?
Early in the academic year, each one of our participating campuses initiates its own School-wide competition for students in grades 9-11, who write personal essays sharing their experiences, reflections, and creative talents. They submit these narratives to their English teachers, who select the best in each grade to share with all faculty in their English Department for another round of review and judging.
The winning entries are then entered into our global competition, which is just one of many Dwight cross-campus programs and collaborations that connect our students around the world. This year, students from every School participated: New York, London, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, and Global Online participated.
Administrators from across our network have the difficult task of judging the well-crafted essays, which are always as diverse, unique, and impressive as the students who write them. Vice Chancellor Blake Spahn then has the honor of announcing our winners. Please click below to find out which students have been named our 2023 global winners.
Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners!
Dwight ignited the Winter season with its scholar-athletes dominating the swimming pool, fencing arena, basketball court, and cross country course.
Our Lions exhibited relentless determination to secure a spot in the postseason, while continuously improving their skills. Their success story doesn’t end there: the girls on our Varsity Swim team made Dwight history by winning the ISAL Championships for the first time! Read on for a closer look at the many accomplishments of our athletes and share in their Lion pride!
Boys Varsity Basketball: Coaches David Brown, Evan Pickman, and Perun Kovacevic
Our Boys Varsity Basketball team wrapped up another successful season. Despite being a young team with so many players having graduated last year, they finished in second place with a record of 14-10, which was a testament to their hard work and determination. Coach Brown was ecstatic about their 20-point victory over long-standing rival, Collegiate, where Spencer Zeppieri ’23 opened the scoring with a strong performance. The players put on a show, showcasing their incredible talent and teamwork. Our other seniors had an outstanding year with significant growth: Matthew deGraft-Johnson became a consistent presence in the paint and a strong rebounder; while Nick Padilla was the heartbeat of the team, showcasing his talents on both sides of the ball. Jack Koczan ’23 was the ultimate teammate, providing support to fellow players on and off the court. But our Lions’ success didn't end with the regular season — they made it to the ACIS playoffs championship game and the quarterfinals of the NYSAIS State Championship Tournament, proving their impressive skills and resilience. Looking ahead, our Lions are committed to developing and improving as a unit, building on this year's growth and success. With their determination, who knows what they'll achieve next year!
Boys JV Basketball: Coach Robert Brooks
It was quite a season for our Boys JV Basketball team, even with many new faces, the team’s returning core was able to lead the Lions to such a successful season. It took some time to gel as a group, learn the playbook and work together, however they persevered. The Lions made it to the semi-finals of the league playoffs, illustrating that their efforts and dedication paid off. One memorable moment of the season was when the team came together after a tough loss of 52-89 against Columbia Prep. Despite the disappointment, they shared stories, laughed, and reflected on what they had accomplished together. Connor Janiak ’26, Jake Sender ’26, Theo Cornick ’26, and Ben Sylla ’27 studied and executed plays along with holding the defense all season long. This experience was a reminder of how strong and resilient the team was. Overall, it was an exciting season, with a record 7-9 filled with surprises, close games, buzzer beaters, and comebacks. Coach Brooks was proud of their progress and is excited to see how players will continue to work on their game this summer and come back stronger and more dominant in the league next year.
Boys MS Basketball: Coaches Jonathan Ascher and Ben Castaldo
The Boys Middle School basketball team had an exciting season marked by some unforgettable moments on the court. The team had a solid record of 7-3. One highlight was the game against Bay Ridge Prep, where almost every player scored a basket. Their collective reaction was one of sheer joy and camaraderie, showing how much they valued each other's contributions. The team's youth was a defining characteristic of the season, as many of the players were still learning the fundamentals of the game; however, they showed great potential and willingness, while making significant progress. It was inspiring to see the players develop and improve their skills with each game, as they grew in confidence and ability, and we hope to see some of them continue on to join Dwight’s JV and Varsity teams in the future!
Girls Varsity Basketball: Coaches Brett Madarasz and Jordan Rivera
The Girls Varsity Basketball team wrapped up one exciting season! With an 11-14 record, they secured the fourth seed in the ISAL playoffs. In the quarterfinals game against Brooklyn Friends, the team triumphed with an incredible buzzer-beating shot by Elle Brown ’25, resulting in a nail-biting 45-44 victory. The energy in the arena was electric, and the team's hard work paid off in a moment that will go down in history. While they fell short in the semifinals against LREI, the leadership of Senior Co-Captain Olivia Salerno and Junior Co-Captain Mia Abramson was crucial, providing excellent defense and basketball IQ. The dynamic backcourt duo of freshman Eloise Oppy and sophomore Grace Capiraso contributed greatly to the team's scoring, with Eloise racking up an impressive 362 points and Grace with 86. But they weren't the only ones bringing their A-game. Sophomores Danielle Reische and Elle Brown also provided significant scoring support, finishing the season with 100 and 136 points, respectively. Junior Tabby Hill and sophomore Lulu Dryer dominated in rebounding and defending the middle of the paint. The team is already eager to return to the court, with the students not graduating roaring to go and the prospect of another thrilling season on the horizon. With this year’s success and incredible talent, who knows what heights they'll reach in the next one? One thing's for sure — it's going to be epic!
Girls JV Basketball: Coaches Cyrus De Guzman and Camille Pangalangan
This season was a period of intense growth and development for the Girls JV Basketball team. Every game presented an opportunity to learn and to push themselves to new limits. While the team faced several challenges, they never let that hold them back. Captain Vanessa Greenwald '24 was always leading the charge and keeping the team in high spirits; they never lost sight of their goals. Ella Heimerback '26 also shone on the court, holding down the defensive line and receiving praise from opposing coaches for her tenacity and skill. But one game in particular stood out from the rest — a nail-biting match against Avenues. The teams were evenly matched, and the tension was palpable. In the end, the Lions didn't come out on top, but it was the hardest they had ever played, demonstrating their sheer determination to win. Looking ahead to next season, Lions have their sights on being even better and climbing up the standings. With the progress and development they made this season, the coaching staff is confident that they have the potential to achieve their goal.
Girls MS Basketball: Coach Peter Boylan
Our Girls Middle School Basketball players had a unique season focused on building team chemistry and fundamental skills. Each day, they arrived with a competitive spirit and a commitment to both fun and productivity. Eighth grader Sayana Patel’s top 5 Spotify playlist and bonding on the team bus rides were always fun and vibrant experiences. Before each game, Rylie Saltzman ‘27 delivered pregame pump-up speeches accompanied by pop music, which helped rally the team together. Coach Boylan also incorporated various activities to inspire and excite the players. The girls' dedication and hard work paid off in the final game of the season against Birch Wathen Lenox, as they played their hearts out until the very end but came up just short with a score of 22-24. This game was a testament to their teamwork and positive attitudes throughout the season, ending with a 4-4 record. With such a strong foundation, these Lions are poised for a successful future and we hope to see some on our JV and Varsity teams in the future.
Varsity Swim: Coaches Elizabeth Heiss, Christian Carpio-Ramos, and Brandon Saavedra
Congratulations to our Varsity Swim team, especially the female members for winning the 2023 ISAL Championship this year! The success was the result of the collective effort of both the boys and girls teams, who trained hard and dedicated themselves to extra practices. The team supported each other from the beginning of meets to the very end, with the goal of winning both the ACIS and ISAL Championships and qualifying for the NYSAIS Championship. Although the boys team competed hard, they fell just short of the league championships, but this was not for lack of effort.
For the first time in school history, the girls team won the ISAL Championship, placed second in the ACIS Championship, and finished fifth in the NYSAIS Championship! This was a remarkable achievement, and the team deserves recognition for their hard work and dedication.
Throughout the season, every student-athlete displayed a positive attitude, and their hard work was seen in their achievements. Annika Dhingra ’23 will be missed for her contributions and commitment to the team. Everyone’s dedication and support for each other made this season unforgettable. We are proud of all of our Lions and look forward to even more historic performances in the future.
MS Swim: Coaches Brandon Saavedra and Undine Groeger
Our Middle School swim team had a great season that was all about building confidence and honing their techniques. Many of the swimmers were new to competitive swimming, but they quickly realized their capabilities during their first meet against Grace Church, Lycée Français, and Berkeley Carroll. Not only did they handle the competition well, but they also won their first meet, which was a thrilling moment for everyone! As the season progressed, swimmers continued to improve and exceeded their own expectations. The coaches were impressed and are excited about these students joining the Varsity team and setting an example for the incoming Middle School team. With their newfound confidence and commitment, they are eagerly looking forward to even more competition next year. Our Lions worked hard and their dedication paid off. We can't wait to see what the future holds for these talented young swimmers.
Varsity Fencing: Coach Ted Belcher
This year marked an exciting return of our competitive Varsity Fencing team after last year's club season. At the start, the team needed to find their rhythm and learn how to support each other. Despite varying skill levels and competitive drives, they eventually came together and competed at an exceptional level. The season kicked off with Xuan Stabb ’23 winning the first match 5-0 against Grace Church and letting out a victorious yell that shook the windows of the Fencers Club, a moment that everyone will remember! The team's biggest achievement was going undefeated, winning every match by double digits. Key contributors, such as Xuan and Em Brandon ’23, were each responsible for over 20 points per match, when a team only needs 28 points to win. Over the course of the season, the team grew immensely in terms of skill and a familial bond. Although they will miss their two graduating seniors, older students are poised to lead the team to another great season next year. With the momentum and confidence gained this winter, fencers are eager to continue their winning streak and build upon their team bond. Coach Belcher is proud and excited to see what the future holds for Varsity Fencing.
Varsity Indoor Track: Coach Julie Wolf
One of the most inspiring moments was watching the runners on our Varsity Indoor Track team work hard every day, pushing themselves to improve and supporting each other along the way. Jack Yoon ’23 strove to beat his personal records and those of his teammates all season long, which he did a few times. Ana Figaredo ’25 qualified for NYSAIS with her times — proof of her impressive personal growth as an athlete. It was wonderful to see the progress they made and the strides each one took to reach their goals. Their hard work and dedication paid off, and they should be proud of their accomplishments. Looking ahead, there is much to be excited about for Dwight runners, who are roaring into more competition as members of our spring Track and Field team.
Our 2023 Dwight Schools Global Concert marked many seminal moments: the return to our annual music festival in person in New York after three years, Dwight’s milestone 150th anniversary, and the beginning of our School’s next chapter.
Welcoming an audience of over 600 Dwight community members to the beautiful Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Eric Novod, Head of Performing Arts, declared, “Tonight we celebrate, we enjoy, we listen, we sing, we play, and we certainly do not take for granted just how truly special these joyous moments are for every single one of us — on stage, backstage, and in the audience. The next 150-year journey in the storied history of the Dwight Schools is off to an exciting start!”
Exciting indeed, as more than 180 students from Dwight in New York, London, Seoul, Dubai, and Dwight Global Online School took to the stage to share their talents, passion for music, and Lion-sized spirit in what is our most-anticipated cross-campus collaboration of the year. While our global community has remained closely connected throughout the pandemic and we continued our annual concert tradition virtually in innovative ways, the coming together of students and music faculty in New York again was magical. They were joined by high school students from Franklin School, Dwight’s affiliate in Jersey City, which opened last fall to welcome its first students. While musicians from Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School were unable to participate in person, their recorded pieces have been incorporated into a concert video we look forward to sharing soon.
In Global Harmony
In the months leading up to the concert, students from each School rehearsed on their own campus, yet it wasn’t until they gathered in person for a few days of intensive rehearsals to finetune their collaborative performances that the program took its final shape. During that time, students connected with friends they’ve met previously and make new ones, experiencing special moments while pursuing their sparks of genius side by side.
In addition to clocking many hours together in rehearsals with our global music faculty, students who flew to New York visited a number of sights in The Big Apple — and everyone enjoyed some down time when they went to a Broadway show, Kimberly Akimbo, mid-week and a special dinner on the eve of the concert.
When their big day arrived and the first chord of music was struck, the audience was taken on a spirited musical journey around the world, which spanned genres: classical, traditional Indian, rock, pop, jazz, and Broadway pieces. Each School performed its own set with ensembles and featured soloists, who showcased their artistry, including students studying at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music Pre-college Programs. Parents, family members, faculty, staff, and our global Heads of School were impressed and quite proud.
Our youngest performers were 30 members of our Fifth Grade Choir here in New York, who sang “Constellations,” an original piece of music composed by Jacob Bruner ’23 with lyrics written by the fifth graders. The name of the song was inspired by the stars in our Dwight crest, representing infinite sparks of genius of students worldwide! This performance experience provided them with a taste of special global concert opportunities to come.
“New Horizons” concluded with a rousing finale that included Dwight Schools Orchestra, Band, and Choir in which everyone was on stage performing a piece entitled “River,” which was conducted beautifully and expertly by Dwight Global student Chuyi Luo ’23. Chuyi, who is studying composition at Juilliard, is a conducting fellow with the New York Youth Symphony. “River” was arranged by alumnus Andrew Abrahamsen ’14. Andrew debuted his own composition in 2014 at our global concert from the Carnegie Hall stage. Now, almost a decade later, his passion for music is sparking inspiration in the next generation of Dwight students through our Music Conservatory, where he is a composition and piano instructor.
Pausing to Honor Dwight Family Members
During this special evening, Dianne Drew, Head of School and Global Education Director for all Dwight Schools, took to the stage during intermission and said, “Both our 150-year history and future are written thanks to the incredible dedication of our wonderful faculty and staff around the world, and we are delighted to honor those who have been members of our Dwight family for 20 years or more.” Each one has made innumerable contributions in igniting sparks of genius in our students and we are grateful for their long-term service. They are:
Jan Kraft, Director of Music at Dwight School London: 20 years
Alicia Morris, Director of Admissions and Placement for K, and Associate Head of the Early Childhood Division: 20 years
Octavio Mercado, a member of our Maintenance team: 22 years
Sabrina Hecker, Timothy House Teacher: 23 years
Ellen Sayers, DP Art Teacher, Head of Visual Arts, and Dean of Eleventh Grade: 23 years
Annette Harchik, Quest Teacher for Kindergarten-grade 8: 24 years
Caroline Venturini, Executive Assistant to Head of School and Main Office Manager: 24 years
There are several members of our Dwight family whose years of service mark a quarter of a century or exceed that milestone:
Barry Gragg, DP Physics Teacher and Head of Upper School Science: 25 years
Terrence Christgau, MYP Theater Teacher, and Director of the Master Theater Program and Upper School Theater Productions: 26 years
Arthur Samuels, College Counselor: 31 years
Sandra Darzy, Study Center Supervisor: 32 years
Enver Purovic, Security Guard: 34 years
Luz Giraldo, DP Spanish Teacher: 35 years
Ms. Drew added, “I would be woefully remiss to end our recognition here. Chancellor Stephen Spahn and Vice Chancellor Blake Spahn are also among our longest-serving Dwight family members: Blake for 27 years and Stephen for an amazing 56 years! They have been supported by their better halves, as Connie Spahn worked in Admissions at Dwight for more than a quarter of a century and Maryll Spahn has continued the family tradition.”
Ms. Drew went on to say, “Our global network of Schools stands apart due to the exceptional learning opportunities that we offer students worldwide, as well as the extraordinary strength and continuity of leadership. Chancellor Spahn has taken Dwight from a small boys school to a global powerhouse and ignited a truly countless number of student sparks. Blake, himself a Dwight alumnus, is extending that vision, propelling it far into our next 150 years.”
Before returning to the music, we applauded all of our honorees for their long-term commitment and never-ending creativity, which have helped to shape our School today. And as the evening’s celebration came to end, we had crossed over together into exciting new horizons!
Take a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsal:
And see below for an album of more concert photos.
Dwight’s inspiring faculty encourage students to believe in their own talents, pursue their passions, and take intellectual risks through the IB. No other curriculum fits better with our mission of igniting the spark of genius in every child — and vision of educating critical thinkers and innovative global leaders. The academic breadth and depth of the IB are simply unparalleled, which is why it is recognized worldwide as the “gold standard” in college preparation.