What Does It Mean to Be an Athenian?

By Eric Niles, Head of School

Earlier this month we gathered as a school to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of Athenian’s founder, Dyke Brown.  Several former heads of school, Eleanor Dase and Steve Davenport, spoke eloquently about their interactions with Dyke Brown and the lessons he taught them about education and leadership.  I left in ongoing awe of my predecessors in this job—they speak with a calm clarity that indicates the wisdom they brought to this School—and the vision that Dyke Brown had for educating a “whole person” and preparing her for a meaningful life as a citizen of the world.  At the very end of the session, students were invited to write and submit a short note about what Athenian meant to them.  One student, recognising that she didn’t have enough time in the moment to do this assignment justice, went home and penned the poem below.  Elizabeth, an 8th grader and a budding poet, says it better than I could.  Dyke Brown would be rightfully proud.   

Athenian
by Elizabeth “Z” Romero

What does it mean to be an Athenian?
This is a question
that can’t be answered so easily,
because we aren’t all the same.
But, we are one.
We are our own people,
But we are one community.
We are Athenian.

We are intelligent.
That it is the reason that we are here.
We have potential
to impact the world and make a change.
We have the capacity to stand out
and show that we are the leaders of the world.
We are Athenian.

We are caring.
We travel the world to help those less fortunate.
We are loving
of everyone and everything, everywhere.
We are supportive
of everybody here, no matter what.
We are Athenian.

We are leaders.
We listen to everybody’s opinion.
We are followers
that listen to people’s ideas and follow through.
We are decision makers
and always consider the greater good.
We are Athenian.

Although we seem small and powerless,
we are small and powerful.
We are strong by ourselves
and we are strong together.
We will leave this school,
but we will never leave each other,
because we will always remember our time together.
We will keep in touch
and hear each other’s names everywhere.

Athenian alumni cures cancer.
Athenian alumni solves world hunger.
Athenian alumni invents a time machine.

Yes, we will go our separate ways
and we will do different things.
But we will always be together.
We are extraordinary.
We are individual.
We are one.
We are Athenian.