Building an Idea
It all began with Dyke Brown’s dream and vision to establish a school that would guide students into becoming well-rounded, responsible, and confident global citizens who would make meaningful contributions to the world around them. For more than 50 years now, Athenian students have benefitted from Dyke’s innovative approach to teaching: one that emphasizes the development of the full person, active participation, and that calls forth a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Much has changed since the School was built in 1964. Back then, students used typewriters instead of computers; delved into a printed encyclopedia instead of the internet; and had no idea that phones would become “smart.” The last 50 years have seen unprecedented advances in technology that we could not have imagined and that we now use regularly in our classrooms. And yet one very important aspect of our campus remains untouched by time—the spaces in which we teach.
We know that collaboration is the cornerstone of innovation and that it sparks intellectual exploration for our students and our teachers. But, the size and location of our classrooms make collaborative work cumbersome. The Main Hall is overflowing at Morning Meeting, the kitchen is too small to efficiently serve all of our students and faculty, and there are few places for students to gather and engage in spontaneous interactions. We build airplanes, robots, and engines in our Makers Studio, yet do so in cramped quarters in an out-of-the-way place.
As we look to the future, we must shape our campus with spaces that spur experimentation and foster connection. A shift in where we teach will enhance how we teach. Students will be able to move fluidly from their history seminar where they study the origins of flight, to their math class where they calculate the optimal wingspan of a hang glider—all without leaving the heart of campus. Students will be able to own their education as never before, collaborating in innovative ways in a variety of new shared spaces that are designed to keep up with ever-changing technologies. Creating more opportunities for interdisciplinary experiences will ensure that our students become adept problem-solvers, well prepared to thrive in college and to make meaningful contributions to the world before and after graduation.
The promise of The Athenian Campaign is to provide an opportunity to make a meaningful investment in the future—to support the development of innovators, active learners, risk-takers, and doers who make the imagined real. This $12 million dollar campaign will physically transform our campus and support the most extraordinary teaching and learning possible. I welcome your support and invite you to be part of this bold vision.
Eric Feron Niles, Head of School