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Welcome to
Dwight New York

One of New York City’s oldest independent schools ― our history dates back to 1872 ― Dwight is proud of its rich traditions, illustrious alumni, and numerous advances in education. Yet it is our present and future that I am most excited by because innovation is part of our DNA. Dwight is a frontier IB World School, was the first in the Americas to offer all four International Baccalaureate programs, and was a pioneer in launching a student incubator empowering young entrepreneurs to bring their own ideas to market through our Spark Tank Program.

Early Childhood

Kindergarten is an important milestone in a child’s life, filled with academic and social growth. Students are immersed in a classroom that is a safe place for them to learn, grow, and explore.



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Dwight Facts & Figures

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Global Campuses


To offer all IB Programs in the Americas


Trips & Exchanges
(U.S & Abroad)


Student Projects in Spark Tank Incubator


Student nursery - Grade 12


Years of leadership -
Chancellor stephen Spahn


Natonalities - 
14+ Languages taught


U.S School to be accredited by world academy of sport

News & Events

Dr. Emil E. Camerer
  • Upper School

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!

  • Global Network
Read More about The Envelope, Please … Announcing the Winners of Our 2023 Global Camerer Essay Competition
Winter Lions Battle and Swimmers Roar with a Championship Win!
  • Middle School
  • Upper School

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. 

  • Athletics
Read More about Winter Lions Battle and Swimmers Roar with a Championship Win!
Our Global Concert Celebrated 150 Years and Sparked New Horizons

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.

  • Global Network
Read More about Our Global Concert Celebrated 150 Years and Sparked New Horizons
As Lady Macbeth, Mia Rasmussen ’25 Wins Our 2023 Shakespeare Competition!

When a dozen talented Dwight high school students faced off in the finals of this year’s Shakespeare Competition, sparks were flying! After grade-wide and semi-final rounds, they had impressed their English teachers, landing them in the culminating round and making it difficult for the judges to select a school-wide winner.

Our 2023 panel of judges included a former two-time Dwight Shakespeare champion himself, Bernardo Sequeira ’22, who won the New York City round of the national competition in 2020

It was sophomore Mia Rasmussen who clinched the title with her perfect rendition of Lady Macbeth. She, along with two other finalists, chose to interpret the same famously revealing monologue the Bard wrote for the brilliant and brutal Lady Macbeth from Act 5, Scene 1 of Macbeth. While sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth tries to wash the imaginary blood from her hands, implicating herself in the murder of Duncan, as she pleads in vain, “Out, damned spot; out, I say.”

Mia and her fellow Dwight competitors are just a few among 25,000 students across the country who participate in this event annually, which is not only a highlight of the academic calendar for our English Department, but also a very special tradition for our School. The event was launched by Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill MBE, former Head of the Anglo-American International School, which joined forces with Dwight in 1993. He also served as Head of the English Speaking Union, which has sponsored the nationwide competition since 1983, and introduced the oratory match-up at Anglo in 1975. Today, the ESU is celebrating the 40th anniversary year of this prestigious competition.

The rules require that students deliver passionate, compelling monologues without relying on accents, costumes, or props. Their performances are stripped down to showcase their mastery of the material and skills; they are judged on their voice, body movements, expression, and emotions. A number of contestants hone their acting sparks of genius in Dwight’s IB and after-school theater programs and productions. As they prepare for the finals, all are offered expert coaching from MYP and DP Theater Teacher Kim Guzowski, whose own passion for reading, performing, and directing Shakespeare is quite impressive.

Our community tuned into a YouTube premiere of the competition hosted by Michael Wiesenfeld, Head of the English Department; and judged by Laurel Aquadro, Dawn Kangas, Karen Ginman, and Terry Christgau, along with Bernardo, who is studying theater at Harvard.

We extend congratulations to all of our finalists listed below. The winner of each grade level is indicated with an asterisk (*). To watch their performances, click here.


Grade 9

Naila Broening-Chai*

Ella Knox

Oliver Wyatt


Grade 10

Olivia Beal

MacPhee Gleason

Mia Rasmussen*


Grade 11

Hayden Lucas

Allegra Masterson*

Brooke Radosevich


Grades 12

Ava Kimmel*

Julian Vasquez

Lily Ventura


Mia will now work with Mr. Christgau in preparation for the city-wide finals of the national competition and we wish her lion-size luck as she represents Dwight proudly next month!

Read More about As Lady Macbeth, Mia Rasmussen ’25 Wins Our 2023 Shakespeare Competition!
Polina Nikitina ’23 Shares Her Voice and Champions Her Home Country

Senior Polina Nikitina, a singer, songwriter, and accomplished musician new to Dwight this year, brought her impressive talent and spark to campus — and in very short order galvanized attention for her passion project entitled “Gotham.”

A powerfully evocative song and beautifully rendered music video, “Gotham” was created by Polina and her friend Martin as “an artistic movement to support Ukraine after being separated by the war in our home country,” she says. “We grew up together in Kyiv and were bandmates at school. Following Winter break last year, we were unable to return due to the Russian invasion. Our school was shut down and we were scattered. Martin landed in Italy and I went to Cyprus before coming to the U.S.”

Polina’s journey over the last year has been both extremely arduous and triumphant. She and her immediate family are safe, yet she is disconnected from her friends and home; she is flourishing academically and artistically at Dwight, yet her heart is with those left behind facing the one-year anniversary of the onslaught and continued devastation. 

A Long Road to Gotham
Polina, who has been writing songs since the age of seven, began working on “Gotham” last spring when she was taking online classes in Cyprus. “My family was helping back home financially, but I was thinking, ‘what can I do?’ I lost all of my friends because we were torn apart and I wasn't creating anything musically,” she shares. “The only thing I could think of writing about was Ukraine so that I could support the people I loved and my culture.” 

In a few months’ time, Polina’s family relocated to Miami and she decided to reach out to Martin, who writes music for films, to reconnect and suggested a collaboration. “It wasn’t until he sent me a snippet of music that I landed on my idea for ‘Gotham’,” she recounts. “His haunting melody sounded exactly like Gotham, as in Gotham City in ‘Batman’ movies, which I had gravitated toward previously for songwriting inspiration. It felt like Russia had turned our home cities into dangerous and ghostly places and this bit of music evoked that feeling, making it perfect for a song about Ukraine.” 

At times, it was difficult for Polina to envision ever completing the project. Unable to connect face to face, she and Martin communicated across time zones through text, which is most assuredly not conducive to the creative process. “While Martin was producing the track in Italy, I was in Miami writing the lyrics and recording under a blanket to be as quiet as I could while my family was asleep — while both of us were also trying to finish our junior year of high school, further delaying things,” reports Polina, whose voice on “Gotham” is just as haunting as the music. She also created the storyboards for the video and sketched some of the characters, which she then handed off to artist friends still in Ukraine to complete and animate. 

They all seemed destined to struggle. The time difference continued to be a barrier. “Every time our ideas didn't match, it took days or weeks for us to come to a solution. Sometimes we lost connection completely due to power outages in Ukraine. However, in the end, the process proved to be rewarding and we completed it after six months,” Polina shares. “As artists, ‘Gotham’ was our way of expressing patriotism and the pain we felt as a nation due to the continuous Russian crimes against us, while also presenting a shred of hope for our people. The video includes a number of Ukrainian cultural symbols and legends, and the song is dedicated to Ukraine and its bravery.”

Polina explains that when she came to New York  last fall, this video was also her way of advocating for her home country in a new one. Her hope was not only for her fellow countrymen and women to see it, but also for them to appreciate that someone had created something in English to raise greater awareness outside of Ukraine — and for those in the U.S. to see it. In fact, Polina wants as many people as possible around the world to watch the video. She shared the song with the Dwight community through 566 Records, our student-run label and music website; and has taken her project to Dwight’s Spark Tank, seeking an innovation grant to help with promotion to shine a greater spotlight on what’s happening.

Both experiences reflect the unique opportunities that Dwight students have, and Polina greatly appreciates having them as she finishes her high school career here. “I had heard a lot about Dwight and how great the School and teachers are, and it’s true,” Polina says. “Dwight is so supportive and I love all of my teachers.”

Arriving at Dwight and Flourishing in the Arts
Polina was studying at one of the only IB Schools in Ukraine when the war broke out and she finished her junior year virtually. Resilient and determined, she applied to Dwight, moved to New York just one day before school started last fall, and dove right in. It is no understatement to say that her accomplishments would be extraordinary for any teenager, let alone for anyone who has navigated the unfathomable challenges of displacement and separation from one’s home amid crisis.

At Dwight, Polina quickly gravitated toward our theater program, which has become a large part of her life on campus. She had always enjoyed acting in Ukraine and found that becoming another person on stage helped to build her confidence in all areas of life. So she was quick to audition for our fall Mainstage Theater production of “The Liar,” in which she was cast; and we’ll see her again in the upcoming spring musical, “Gypsy.” “When everyone rehearses together four days a week for a show, you become a community,” she says. “I'm really grateful for that and for Dwight’s great theater teachers, who are so passionate.”

As a songwriter, Polina is a storyteller, so it’s no surprise that one of her favorite classes is IB DP English and that she enjoys creative writing. Just like most of her songs, which draw on her own life experiences, Polina’s prose and poetry do the same. Another favorite class is IB DP Theater, where she and fellow students are creating their own works individually and collaboratively, which they will stage and design as well as perform before the year is out.

A Musical Destiny
Polina comes from a musical family, which she says “really impacted me and my way of thinking. My father is a professional bass guitarist, who always encouraged me to be creative and use my imagination.” 

At age eight, Polina began taking piano lessons and for eight years spent every day — hours upon hours weekly — in music pre-conservatory, graduating at age 16. “I dedicated many years to piano lessons, studying music theory, and music history, which have all shaped me as a musician,” says Polina, who has built on that foundation to play the piano for the songs she pens herself, which is her ultimate passion. 

It seems that Polina was always writing songs. “When I was very young, my mother noticed that I really liked playing around with words and challenged me with ‘Why don't you write me one song per day?’ I did and liked using my words to express my thoughts and draw on my experiences.” After forming a band at school that performed covers, Polina discovered that using her own voice literally and figuratively is what makes her happiest. “It’s about finding your voice and being heard,” she contends, “Young people, like myself, have stories to tell and while it’s great to perform them well, it’s more important that we are heard.” 

Polina’s voice in every way is definitely being heard — and amplified — through “Gotham,” which we strongly suspect will not be the last time.

To hear and see “Gotham,” click here.


Read More about Polina Nikitina ’23 Shares Her Voice and Champions Her Home Country
Enzo Palaci Zani ’22 Serves up a Volleyball Ace Abroad

It’s always a delight when we hear from alumni and that was no exception when Enzo Palaci Zani ’22 caught up with his former Varsity Boys Volleyball Coach Tiam Chuck with some exciting volleyball news of his own from the UK.

After being accepted into Northeastern, Enzo decided not to head straight to Boston last fall, but to hop across the pond for his first semester in London. “It was a very unique and exciting experience, which I’m thankful for. I have always felt that being surrounded by different cultures and meeting new people expands your view of the world and allows you to make connections across different countries,” he says, “which was certainly the experience of being a Dwight student. I had been surrounded by people from different backgrounds from all over the world for many years and enjoyed traveling on exchange programs with other Dwight Schools.”

The one-semester Northeastern program abroad for first-year students is designed to help them experience the local culture balanced by a manageable school workload. Enzo shared that going abroad on one’s own might be daunting at first, but the same may be true for any freshman going to college for the first time; “as time goes on, you realize that you’ve made a new home for yourself,” he explains. 

During his senior year at Dwight, Enzo, who was on our Boys Varsity Basketball team in winter, joined our School’s first-ever Boys Varsity Volleyball team in spring 2022 and quickly fell in love with the sport. He and fellow players made a very impressive run by also becoming the first-ever team to reach the NYSAIS State tournament in its inaugural year! “Enzo was an all-around team leader and big brother to all,” reports Coach Chuck. “He was put in an important position and rose to the occasion every time.”

Enzo brought his talent and passion for volleyball to England, where he had the time and opportunity to join one of the league club teams in England, the Wapping Wildcats, a club in the National Volleyball League (NVL). The coaches there taught Enzo new techniques and further developed his volleyball IQ. He says, “I would have loved to have had more time to play volleyball at Dwight and wish I could have started sooner. I had amazing Dwight coaches, which helped me to develop my game and without them I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play in England. They taught me very well and were extremely welcoming and supportive.

Although Enzo wasn’t able to finish the season with the Wapping Wildcats, it was amazing that he got to participate and learn how the NVL play and with only one season of competitive volleyball under his belt. He looks forward to trying out for the Northeastern team and continuing to hone his skills.

After asking Enzo what advice he has for future Dwight grads, he carefully considered his response, and said that despite how much pressure senior year may present, it’s important to remember that it is ultimately up to each student to follow their own path. Enzo has seen some peers forcing themselves quickly into an area of study they aren’t particularly interested in during their first college year rather than getting some general requirements out of the way and taking time to consider all the options. “A key piece of advice is to connect with your college advisor early to be as successful as possible.” 

Now enjoying his second semester stateside, Enzo is finding Northeastern to be a great fit and hopes to major in business when the time comes. “A business degree is very versatile, which will allow me to concentrate in any area that I enjoy such as fashion, sports, or even the culinary world.” 

Whatever he decides to pursue in the long run, Enzo will bring his well-earned Dwight Lion roar to succeed both on and off the court!

  • Alumni
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Makerspaces Open the Door to Hands-on Learning

Our design and engineering curriculum starts with our youngest students in preschool.

The program’s continuum extends through grade 12 — and each division has its own makerspace in which students can tinker, design, invent, and make things. As they discover a wide range of tools and materials available to them, students begin tapping into their unfettered imaginations, asking questions, collaborating, building — and never stop! They’re able to create artifacts of their learning for all of their classes; and develop numerous skills to communicate, ideate, prototype, and solve problems that are personally meaningful to them.

Student-entrepreneurs who want to take their projects beyond the makerspace or classroom — or launch new ones — can dive into Spark Tank after school and find the mentorship and resources to bring their ideas to fruition.

The Studio: Early Childhood Division

The Wonder Lab: Lower School

The Invention Studio: Middle School

The Spark Lab: Upper School


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 Dwight Lions Entangle in Commedia dell’Arte in The Liar

As the lights dimmed at 566 Columbus Avenue, home to Dwight’s Performing Arts Center, audiences took their seats and anticipated the chaotic, comedic journey they were about to embark upon in this fall’s Mainstage Theater Production of The Liar by Carlo Goldoni.

This Commedia dell’Arte piece set in 1700s Venice follows the story of Lelio , a charismatic young man looking for love – and our titular liar – as he weaves himself a web of white lies trying to find love upon returning home after 20 years in Rome, telling tales of his heroic escapades.

The Art of Commedia dell’Arte
To bring this complex comedic delight to life, Terry Christgau, Head of Upper School Theater Productions and Director of the Master Theater Program, first prepared our actors for the daunting task of taking on the highly physical art form of Commedia dell’Arte. This style of Italian theater began in the late Renaissance in marketplaces, where a motley group of characters developed — jugglers, acrobats, clowns, and archetypes who were, at the time, a modernization of characters from Roman comedies. As these characters grew in popularity through the 1500s and 1600s, they gained a foothold in France and then throughout Europe and into England. But what truly sets Commedia apart are the masks and physical transformations. These unique additions – similar to that of the work of mimes and clowns – soon became very familiar to audiences of that day and is a staple of this character-driven style of storytelling. 

Little White Lies
With absurdity and chaos propelling the flow of this comedy, it’s no surprise that the whirling web of lies begins right at the start as we take a journey to explore themes of deception, acceptance, and the meaning of integrity. To begin our story, Lelio, played by Lily Ventura ’23, immediately sets his sights on the lovely Rosauro, played by Ava Kimmel ’23, putting an elaborate scheme in place to win her heart with the help of his loyal servant, Arlecchino, played by Guilherme Sequeira ’24. But how far can Lelio’s lies take him before it all unravels? 

With the assistance of the shy Florinda, played by Polina Nikitina ’23 and Sophia Severson ’25; and the noble Ottavio, played by Olivia Beal ’25 and Zayneb Sumar ’25, the gentlemen and their loyal servants come to realize Lelio’s endless schemes and eventually untangle his web which, by Act Two, has grown far too large for our titular character to control.

An incredibly talented cast of students in grades 10-12 brought Goldoni’s farcical characters to life, effortlessly inhabiting them and telling a provocative story a modern audience may find quite unfamiliar. To top things off, this difficult form of theater is one that many professionals devote their lives to perfecting. The style, which became prevalent in the works of Shakespeare and Moliere, found its way into early films with actors like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and even into more recent TV shows like “The Nanny” and “Spongebob,” solidifying its place as an everlasting art form. “Commedia dell’arte, its stock characters, and the whole approach to theater — a mirror that we look into to see our own folly — remains an essential part of the human experience,” explains Mr. Christgau.

Work on this show began in early October with cast and crew alike dedicating hours and hours of time and energy after school, on weekends, and some even in the fall Master Theater Program session, working alongside a commedia dell’arte expert. During rehearsals, they perfected every ounce of timing and learned to truly inhabit this challenging style – after all, practice makes perfect! The final product left audiences breathless from laughter and impressed by the performances of this gifted group of young actors. All in all, the result was both a whirlwind and a lesson about the importance of honesty — and we give it two massive thumbs (or masks) up! 
Bravissimo to all in the cast and student crew: 

Florindo ..........................................................................Polina Nikitina ’23/Sophia Severson ’25*

Brighella ...................................................................................................... Brooke Radosevich ’24

Rosauro .....................................................................................................................Ava Kimmel ’23

Beatrice ........................................................................Natalie Martell ’23/Allegra Masterson ’24*

Lelio .......................................................................................................................... Lily Ventura ’23

Arlecchino...................................................................................................Guilherme Sequeira ’24

Columbina...........................................................................................................Mia Rasmussen ’25

Ottavio .......................................................................................Olivia Beal ’25/Zayneb Sumar ’25*

Pantalone ................................................................................................................ Maysa Souri ’24

Il Dottore ................................................................................................................. Acadia Colan ’24

Gondolier/Singer/Draper’s Apprentice...................................................................Esme Tublin ’25

Musician/Coachman...................................................................................................Oliver Wyatt ’26

Musician/Letter Carrier.......................................................................... Franny Gindi-Chiafullo ’24 

Production Stage Manager….......……….…………………………………….. Franny Gindi-Chiafullo ‘24 

Lighting Designer……….....………..............……………………………………………………..Ben O’Connor ’23

Student Design/Carpentry/Paint Crew…………......……….. Em Brandon ’23, Sylvia Cardew ’24,

  .........…………....…….....…...………………………………………………………..Charlene Luo ’24, Zoe Lenz ’24 

Stage Crew………..…...…...………....……...………………….……….Xuan Stabb ’23, Hannah Klamkin ’24,

……………......………………………….Olivia Mitchell-Burrell ’24, Mora Vazquez ’24, Freda Manu ’26

  • Performing Arts
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Fall Lions Roar Loudly and Win Championships!

Dwight kicked off the fall season with scholar-athletes taking the soccer pitch, volleyball court, and cross country course by storm.

Our Girls Varsity Soccer and Varsity Volleyball teams were unstoppable, with both taking home the ISAL Championship titles and the Volleyball squad also earning their spot in the NYSAIS Post Season Tournament for two consecutive seasons! Read on to see what our student-athletes and coaches achieved together with tons of Lion pride. 

Girls Varsity Soccer    
This fall was one for the record books, as the Girls Varsity Soccer team was undefeated in the ISAL and crowned the League Champions, with an overall record of 10-4-1. The players became very close throughout the season, building camaraderie and teamwork; and seniors really set an example for other student-athletes, carrying themselves with maturity and bringing a powerful presence to the pitch. We will miss all of them: Sofia Chenillo, Zoe Droulias, and Erica Frenette. Looking ahead, the team declares: "We're not done yet." With that, we’re eager to see how this translates next fall!

Boys Varsity Soccer    
Despite being an overall young team, the Boys Varsity Soccer squad stepped onto the pitch to compete in top form every second. With a record of 6-4 and earning a spot in the playoffs, the team worked hard to make their dreams of an ACIS League championship victory an eventual reality. Coach Max Tyers says, "after coming in third this season, we're hoping to win it all next season!" Stellar performances by seniors Jason Lopez, Dan Boekamp, Simon Mabott, and Jonah Saltzman helped the Lions this year. According to Coach Tyers, “future stars Johnny Goldenberg '24, Nico Faessler '25, and David Weisleder '25 are eager to take the reigns and guide the team to success next year.”

Boys JV Soccer    
Ending with a record of 5-2, is our Boys JV Soccer team who were able to enter the ISAL playoffs! The program included 25 players from four different grade levels which made playing together as a cohesive unit challenging, but by the end of the season they were just one large group that felt comfortable with each other on and off the field. Sam Kassel ‘25 shares that the team had begun to have fun once the team chemistry was established. Sam went on to say, "we had some good practices and played some great games together." The team is definitely looking forward to rematches with all of their opposition next season.

Middle School Soccer    
It was a memorable season for our Middle School Soccer team filled with lots of development, concluding with a record of 3-3-2. Coach Elijah Kerr says, "This fall was a journey as we all looked to improve as both individuals and soccer players. I'm very proud of the growth and determination this group showed to overcome their obstacles. I know that each player will go on to do great things as they continue down their paths." We're excited to see the skills these athletes have developed carry over into the next season.

Girls Varsity Volleyball
It was a rigorous and momentous season for Girls Varsity Volleyball this year, as they competed in tournaments and back-to-back games. It was a rollercoaster ride that ended with our Lions competing in both ISAL and ACIS Playoffs, becoming the ISAL League Champions and reclaiming the throne as the ISAL Playoff Champions! Seniors Lisa Canevari, Olivia Wamble, Layla Purovic, and Mica Quelle will forever be remembered for their impactful contributions to the program's success, as evidenced by the championship banners hanging in Dwight’s Athletic Center.

Girls JV Volleyball Blue & Red
Coaches Camile Pangalangan and Jan Gallao report how much fun they had coaching so many eager athletes; from the very first day it was clear to see that there was a lot of interest in the program, so naturally everyone aimed to put their best foot forward. With the program being predominantly filled with freshmen this year, the coaches were impressed by how quickly athletes were able to grasp fresh concepts and strategies. One of the most memorable victories for the team was winning a regular season game against Packer, which eventually won the ACIS Championships. As a result of their hard work, our JV Volleyball Lions made it into the ISAL Playoffs. While they didn’t triumph there, they are motivated to fight even harder next season. Coaches Jan and Camile, state that there is a deep pool of potential to draw from which will only continue to flourish along with the program.

Middle School Volleyball Blue & Red
Seventh graders worked hard during every practice and got better in every game. The eighth grade team finished the season with a record of 7-3, fourth place in the ISAL. Led by Captains Leah Kimyagarov ’27 and Kira Stratopoulos ’27, they were very close, played well together, and showed great teamwork on the court. Chloe Tonkin ’27 and Izabella Darby ’27 were excellent servers. We expect eighth graders to be a big part of our high school team next year and we look forward to all of our seventh graders returning next season.

Varsity Cross Country   
Success came to Varsity Cross Country, as the girls placed third in the ISAL league as a team and Jamie Knox ’25 won an individual boys championship. The runners ended up competing in the NYSAIS Championship Meet which was nothing short of amazing and, as a result, we are very proud. Jack Yoon ’23 took on more of a leadership role this season, as the only senior on a young team, so it was nice to see him guiding less experienced athletes. "People might assume Cross Country is an individual sport; however, at Dwight we pushed each other to our very best this year thanks to my amazing teammates and coaches," says Jack, who will be dearly missed next year. 

Middle School Cross Country   
This fall was a season of development, as our young Middle School Cross Country runners learned proper technique while building their endurance. Coach Doug Sklar is looking forward to growing the program next year and to further establishing the cross country culture at Dwight.  

With another successful fall season on the record books, we look forward to seeing what our winter Lions will achieve!

  • Athletics
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Meeting of The Minds

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