Thursday, December 15, 2016

Consider helping The Deck House School...

“We have produced, in our schools, a race of students who are brighter, more competitive and more ambitious than we were at the same age.  They expect – though they don’t always admit it  - a good deal of us, and if they don’t find it they will seek other standards.  We must be vibrant and exciting enough to reclaim their allegiance if we have lost it; we must be generous enough to give what we most prize; and we must be sensitive enough to sympathize without condescending.  We must also be strong enough to stand firm at the risk of being disagreed with.”

Edward T. Hall, Keepers of the House

Dear Friends,

Ned Hall was truly passionate about few things.  Three things which spring to mind are backgammon, politics and, of course, his beloved Deck House.  While I was rarely able to beat him at backgammon, and we certainly differed in our political views, I was always willing to listen to Ned and learn from him about Deck House and what he was trying to do here.

A bit of history: I often joke that the one formal role I haven’t filled during my 27 year history with the school is the one which I actually fulfill every day - that of student.  Since 1989 I have been Housemaster, Assistant Headmaster, teacher, board member, and Headmaster (twice).  Coming through our doors I have seen dozens of teachers, countless dogs and hundreds of Deck House boys.  Since joining the school I have seen four Presidents, four Governors, and three Red Sox World Series championships.  I watched the Berlin Wall fall, and I lived through Y2K; in short, it’s been a long time.  Through all of these transitions, however, I have held firm to those beliefs and values Ned taught me all those years ago.

Ned believed Deck House was family and this belief shone through all aspects of the school’s routine and structure.  Family meals, chores, and a sense of community all were, and still are, integral aspects of how the school day was structured.  This routine, coupled with his passion to make sure that every boy who came here felt both special and a part of something, was admirable. It’s hard to argue with the success he enjoyed.  While some of the School’s early traditions now seem quaint, I would argue that the core of these principles remains strong.

What’s most amazing about the quotation used to open this letter is that Ned wrote and delivered this speech to a National Association of Independent Schools gathering 50 years ago, 13 years before he even opened the Deck House.  Once he opened this school, Ned finally had a place where young men could simultaneously question and respect

authority, where they could find their voice, and where they could both gain independence and learn dependence.

Societally, many things have changed since then, but here at The Deck House most things have stayed the same.  We still cook our own meals, we still have morning chores, and we still gather as a family around the dinner table every night.  Also, as the letter below sent to us from a recent Alum shows, we still have the same sense of connection and community Ned so felt so strongly about all those years ago. 

“I feel it's overdue to explain a lot of my situation. I left my older school, scared of what was next, angry and emotionally unstable. I believe I was mistreated, and labeled as a problem from the start. Nobody there ever stood by me. They looked down on me, and I was pulled into the office almost every other day all due to rumors I was selling drugs. I wasn't.

The atmosphere of peace and serenity at Deck House along with the love you guys poured out in supporting me helped me to recover significantly and learn acceptance of myself. You wanted me to graduate, you wanted me to see college and pursue my dreams. You were my friends. You cared.”

We do care.

The Deck House School has run for nearly 40 years now, and just like when Ned ran the school, the challenges of running a small school in in a highly competitive market continue.  Since 1979 the school has defied the financial experts by being both single gender and running at a capacity of 12.  To be blunt, however, we are only able to do that because we so strongly depend on you, our friends, to help make ends meet.  Without your continued donations to the school, we would not be able to develop the programming, retain the caring and competent staff, and be the mentors all Deck House students deserve. Ned’s speech was entitled Keepers of the House; by donating to the school, you can continue to be keepers of our house and be the reason we can help this latest generation of  “Ned’s Boys.”

Donations to the school can either be made by going to and clicking the donate button, or by sending a check to:

The Deck House School
PO Box 367
Edgecomb, ME 04556

Thank you,

Bar Clarke
Head of School