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DHS Principal Ellen Dunn to Students: Enjoy the Turkey Bowl and Remember, You Represent Your School

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Here’s what Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn told the school’s students in an announcement Wednesday morning about Thanksgiving and the Turkey Bowl: Have fun and remember that you’re a role model for those younger than you. She shared the text of her announcement with DHS parents in an email. Here’s what she said:

I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving from the entire DHS family to yours.  I would also like to share the announcement I made a few moments ago about the Turkey Bowl tomorrow. Good morning, DHS

Thanksgiving is such a beautiful holiday when life pauses and we take a moment to reflect on all for which we are grateful.  For me, it is an opportunity to give thanks for the exceptional faculty and staff at DHS who dedicate themselves to seeing that you reach your full potential and that you are prepared, when you leave us, to follow every dream. I am also thankful for all of you.  You brighten our days with your positive energy.  You work hard to reach every expectation we set for you and you challenge us to be the best we can be.

Ellen Dunn Darien High School Principal 02-08-17

Before DHS Walkout on Friday, Principal Ellen Dunn Sent Parents this Message

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Here is the full text of an email Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn sent to parents of students before the Friday, April 20 walkout from the school. Darienite.com asked Dunn for a copy of the email early Friday afternoon, then sent a reminder to Dunn on Tuesday that it hadn’t been sent, before receiving it on Tuesday. Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am concerned about a rumor heard this afternoon that some students are planning
to participate in the National Walkout on April 20, 2018 by leaving school at 10 am and traveling, by train, to NYC. With the exception of the delayed opening for PLCs on Friday, DHS will hold a regular school day. As you remember, we supported our students on March 14th when many of them chose to participate in a short, organized and appropriate response to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. We are proud of our students and believe in the power of their voices and in their freedom to hold and express varied opinions, however, we do not sanction further disruption to learning.

Ellen Dunn graduation 2017

DHS Principal Ellen Dunn to Class of 2017: Overcoming Your Struggles Will Shape You

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Here’s the full text, with a small exception, as prepared, of the speech Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn delivered Friday at the 2017 Commencement:

[The exception was a passage about cell phones, which got a laugh from the audience and a few extra words from Dunn.]

Good evening, Members of the Darien Board of Education, Dr. Dan Brenner, colleagues, parents, grandparents, guests and most distinguished members of the Darien High School Class of 2017. There is a long standing graduation tradition at DHS of students presenting a small token to the principal as they receive their diplomas. Tonight, I am told, you will each hand me a beautiful paper butterfly. Change Is Inevitable, So Is Struggle
A butterfly is a perfect symbol for this occasion. Your childhood dreams were carried on the wings of these fragile creatures, and you let your imaginations wonder at their flight.

Ellen Dunn Darien High School Teen Drinking Substance Abuse 02-12-17

DHS Principal Ellen Dunn on Drugs, Drinking, Disciplining Students and What Parents Can Do

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Even when Darien High School administrators are dropping the proverbial hammer down on your child in high school, the hammer is only proverbial, Principal Ellen Dunn told parents at a recent meeting — administrators are trying to help, and discipline can be a turning point for your kid. Or, as she put it: “The lucky ones get caught.” That was among the observations and advice Dunn had for parents at the “Truth and Consequences” panel presentation last Tuesday night in Darien High School Auditorium. Dunn, in fact, had so much to say from a perspective that few people in town have, that Darienite.com is publishing a near transcript of what she said. Among the points she made:

“We do not report disciplinary actions to schools.”

Panelists: High Rate of Teen Drinking in Darien Comes with High Stress, Lax Attitudes

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With only two days on the assignment as school resource officer at Darien High School, Officer Bryan Wallman said at a panel discussion Tuesday night that one of his first impressions is how competitive students are with their academics, and that it may be making them more stressful. DHS Principal Ellen Dunn, who’s been working at the school for years and was also on the panel, said she’s been noticing how students seem more open and unembarrassed to talk with adults about drinking at parties and about marijuana. Don’t renovate that basement if you’ve got teenagers who might want to host a party, she advised parents. Those were some of the observations from the panel at the “Truth and Consequences” public discussion about teenage drinking and binge drinking. Other panelists talked about what parents can do between the time they call an ambulance for an unconscious person found at or after a party, how they should think about legal risks if some teen gets injured at a party at their home where drinking is taking place, or how to approach communicating with a teenager.

Ellen Dunn Principal Graduation 6-17-16

DHS Graduation Speech: Principal Ellen Dunn

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Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn gave this “Presentation” speech (as prepared), for the Class of 2016 at their DHS graduation ceremony Thursday:

Good afternoon Members of the Darien Board of Education, Dr. Dan Brenner [superintendent of schools], colleagues, parents, grandparents, guests and most distinguished members of the Darien High School Class of 2016 … There is a long tradition at Darien High School of the graduates handing the principal a small gift as they receive their diplomas. I have been informed that the plan tonight is for each of you to give me a tiny origami star. You have selected the perfect gift. Stars capture our imaginations; they fuel our dreams and carry our wishes.