The Gift Of John Dodig

What do you give a principal who has given everything to his school?

How about a photo of him in his best “giving” mode?

But not just any photo. This is John Dodig.

And as the wildly popular principal prepares to retire after 11 years at Staples High — and 47 in the field of education — the school’s PTA turned to one of Westport’s best and most creative photographers: Miggs Burroughs.

Dodig received the unique gift this morning, in a special ceremony in the sun-splashed courtyard. First Selectman Jim Marpe, administrators and colleagues spoke — and so, very eloquently, did current students Jaime Bairaktaris and Nick Massoud, and graduate Michael Sixsmith.

Each speaker had stories. But all circled back to a common theme: Dodig’s greatest gifts were his passion, compassion, empathy, vision, willingness to listen, ability to be bold, and deep love for every single teenager and adult in his building.

Which leads to the gift he got today. Burroughs — a 1963 Staples grad — is well known for his lenticular images. They’re 2 separate shots; they change, depending on the angle you’re viewing from. (You can see 16 of them in the tunnel connecting Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.)

One view of John Dodig's lenticular photo...

One view of John Dodig’s lenticular photo…

Burroughs took the photos last month. (Dodig did not know why he was being photographed.) One shot shows a crowd of students streaming around the principal, as he stands in the school’s foyer. That’s a typical spot for him; for over a decade he has greeted thousands of students every morning and between classes — asking how their latest game or performance went, complimenting them on an achievement, answering their questions or merely saying hello.

It’s a diverse mix of students — just as Dodig is fond of noting the diversity that really is a hallmark of Staples High. In the middle of it all, the principal wears his trademark smile.

...and the other.

…and the other.

The 2nd shot shows a lone student casually studying. She sits on the school seal that frames the foyer. The school motto — which Dodig has embraced and personified — stands out: “Respsect for Life.”

Burroughs produced 2 copies of the lenticular photo. One will hang at Staples. The other is Dodig’s to keep — and cherish — forever.


5 responses to “The Gift Of John Dodig

  1. Gerry Kuroghlian

    The perfect gift and so very appropriate. Thanks Miggs!

  2. Wendy Cusick

    This is Fantastic! I’ve met Miggs. He’s a great guy with a big heart. Mr. Dodig received the “coolest” gift. Great Job Miggs.
    To Mr. Dodig wish you well on your retirement> I’ve heard a lot of great things about you from “across the border”

  3. I never had the pleasure of meeting John Dodig–but I propose a hearty shootout for Miggs Burroughs whose incredible artistic contributions to Westport go on and on and continue to enrich us all, all over town. Another lovely Miggs gift for Westport. Thanks, Miggs.

  4. Sherri Wolfgang-Peyser

    That is the best present for Mr. Dodig–
    Art by Miggs!!!

  5. Kathleen Bennewitz

    The special power of art! A larger version of Migg’s “Morning with John” is already hanging at Staples for all to enjoy, near the Main office. It will be a lasting tribute to John as a new addition to the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection. Thank you Miggs and Staples HS PTA and presidents Wendy Hunter and Sue Rubin for this amazing double gift!