By Cole Dougherty ’18
Chaminade is a school not solely designed to prepare young men for a college setting; rather, it is a place that encourages students to experience tremendous personal growth. Few people understand this valued aspect of a Chaminade education better than the alumni who return to teach. Mr. Declan Hart’s ‘11 unique experience as a Flyer was critical in forming his own career path, which led him back to Chaminade as an educator.
Mr. Hart first entered Chaminade as a student in 2007, following in the footsteps of his father and older cousin. He created his own legacy, however, by forging an accomplished career with the band program. At the start of his freshman year, Mr. Hart entered the Flyers Band as a Euphonium player. Handling one of the most challenging brass instruments, he quickly learned the value of hard work and with the help of Mr. Robert Evans, the band’s conductor, who provided the young musician with private lessons. These sessions helped propel Mr. Hart towards success in his years to come.
The following year, Mr. Hart was playing for the Gold Band—the school’s top band. His work ethic had become devout, and his musical skills had become simply brilliant. In his junior year, Mr. Hart was selected for the New York State Symphonic Band for the Baritone Horn. In the past 20 years, only 11 students from Chaminade’s music program have received this honor. The acceptance into this prestigious New York band was just one of the several notable events that provided Mr. Hart with lasting Chaminade memories.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, Mr. Hart is serving as a Spanish teacher as well as assisting with the band program as he aims to inspire his students just as he was inspired by Mr. Evans.
“In the coming months, I hope to challenge my students,” explains Mr. Hart. “Of course, learning a foreign language is a challenge in itself, but I believe learning other languages can open someone’s mind to see things in a different perspective.”
In many cases at Chaminade High School, students will not necessarily remember the material presented, but rather what students remember and what truly matters to them is who presents the curriculum. If that person can provoke students to think deeper and more profoundly about what they are studying, then he has been successful as an educator to his students. Mr. Hart certainly has this necessary mentality, and his addition to the Chaminade family will only enhance the Flyers education for years to come.