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Welcome Back!    
2014-2015 School Year
We enthusiastically opened our school year with 60 students who live in 34 towns and neighborhoods in the Massachusetts Bay area. Students attended 37 different schools before enrolling in Waldorf High School; an equal number of public as independent schools, as well as homeschools, charter, Catholic and international schools (see the lists at right).
 
Before the first day of classes on Wednesday, a group of 12th graders hosted the 9th graders at Sacco Bowl Haven in Somerville so they could begin to get to know one another. The 10th grade met on Tuesday with their class sponsor, Mr. O'Donnell, and guidance counselor, Mrs. King, for some community building exercises, community service (they adopted our little school garden -- thank you!) and some fun. In the evening on Tuesday, parents, students, faculty, staff and board members shared a pot-luck dinner for the School Warming. 
 
Director Mara White welcomed students and faculty to Waldorf High School's nineteenth school year during the first morning assembly on Wednesday, September 3rd, with a challenge. "I challenge us all, individually and as a community, to take up our daily tasks, our relationships with each other, our place in the world with courage! Courage to do what is right, though it may not be easy." Mrs. White presented a quote by Maya Angelou:
 
One isn't necessarily born with courage but one is born with the potential for it. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We cannot be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.
  
In their homerooms, with class sponsors, each of the grades read and discussed Waldorf High School's Shared Values, which was developed by the student body in 2004-2005, the year the school was incorporated as an independent entity. Each year the students review and reaffirm the Shared Values.

In our school, we value an environment that is friendly, open and relaxed. 

We believe that everyone, in all grades, has worth and something valuable to add to our community and that students should feel comfortable to speak up knowing that they will not be unfairly judged, receiving respect for their contributions.

We value an environment where no one has to compromise oneself because of peer pressure or manipulation, where students can express their individuality within the school guidelines, and where it is acceptable to support our school and value our academic standards.

We value a diverse community where everyone has equal opportunity and is safe from social harassment, which includes teasing, bullying, and sexual harassment, and where each person understands that the responsibility for assuring a safe environment rests with every one of us, that each person's participation is vital for building a just and vibrant community.

 
Members of the 12th grade hosted the 9th graders at Sacco's Bowl Haven in Davis Square in Somerville, on Tuesday, September 2nd, the day before classes began for bowling and pizza. Standing in back is 12th grader, Jonah Palmer. Seated on benches, from left are 9th graders, Zion Harris, Michael Leonard, Ethan Piani-Hohmann, Mo Terry, Ernie Brand, Jacob Siu-Zmuidzinas, Lexi Pilat, and Josue Recio. In front, 9th grader Isabel Ros, and 12th graders Kneide Nascimento and Ashley Cordero. (Missing from photo are 9th graders Olivia Ayer, Marcus Barker and Bo Moon.)
 
On Tuesday evening before classes began, the school community of students, parents, faculty, staff and board members gathered for the School Warming. Parents provided dishes for a delicious pot-luck dinner, Director Mara White introduced the faculty and staff; music, science and math teacher,Chuck Claus, led everyone in a song; and students and parents met with class sponsors. It was a particularly warm School Warming evening with high heat and humidity but also with great spirit from everyone for the beginning of a new school year.
 
After classes on Wednesday, the 12th graders led the school in getting-to-know you exercises (as in the circle above) which helps to build a sense of community even in the first days of school.

Congrats to Kuk James!    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Womsikuk (Kuk) James (left), Waldorf High School 9thgrader (a rising 10th grader), was selected as one of five winners for the national 2014 Young Native Writers Essay Contest, for his essay, “The Whales of Noepe.”

Kuk writes in his essay:

                  “The seal of my tribe, the Aquinnah Wampanoag, depicts a giant named Maushop holding a whale and standing on the sacred cliffs of Gay Head. The image of the whale is a part of the tribal seal because whales have been extremely important to the Aquinnah throughout their history. . .

                  “To me, whales are beautiful, profoundly intelligent creatures with which humans share an extremely close bond. They have very complex emotions and social structures, and they have languages which differ from place to place and species to species. I feel a deep connection with them.

                  “How I see whales is shaped by the history of my people. Perhaps the whales that I see now are relatives, descendants of my Aquinnah ancestors who chose to leave the land and be free in the water. Like my people, many species of whales were decimated, but they are resilient. Whales have not vanished, and with our help, they will survive.”

The Young Native Writers Essay Contest, inspired by The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation’s goal of promoting education and creating new opportunities for youth, is a national writing contest for Native American high school students. It is designed to encourage young Native Americans to write about their experiences as a member of a Native American community and the culture that inspires them. The voices that emerge from this program honor the legacy of every Native American who has ever lived. Partnering with Holland & Knight in this endeavor are the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Indian Education Association.

Kuk, who is of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) & Lakota, is one of five first place winners of the contest. Other winners are from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Cheyenne River Sioux and a Native Hawaiian.

In July, the winners and a select group of teachers, including Waldorf High School Humanities Teacher, Ellie Delaney, will participate in Scholar Week, an all-expense paid in-depth educational experience focusing on American Indian culture, research and writing, and exploring our Nation’s capital. During the week they will spend meaningful time with a visiting Native Scholar, staff from the National Museum of the American Indian and National Indian Education association, and members of the Holland & Knight team. Winners also receive a $2,500 scholarship to the college or university of their choice.

Kuk, and his sister, Ki’Sha, who is also a rising 10th grader at Waldorf High School, live with their mother, Mahtowin Munro, in Lexington. Congratulations, Kuk!
Alumnus, Chris Bednar, Gives Commencement Address at WHS 2014 Graduation    
Christian Bednar (right), a graduate of Waldorf High School’s first class in 2000, gave the Commencement Address. Chris received his BA from Saint Anselm College, his MA in English Teaching from Boston University, and his MA in English from U. Mass – Boston. He is the co-founder and owner of Boston Scholastic in Marblehead where he is also a tutor. He teaches developmental reading and writing at North Shore Community College and was appointed to the Mass. Community College Transformation Agenda Design Team in 2012 as part of a $20 million statewide initiative to contextualize and accelerate developmental and adult basic education curricula. He told the graduates:
 

“I hope . . . to unearth the ‘terrifying realization’ of the Waldorf experience – the gift:  Much of the world is working incessantly to compartmentalize, to box in, to limit. You will find no shortage of people to tell you what you should study based on narrowly defined measures of intelligence; no few others who will foolishly assert that because you want to do ‘X,’ you are wasting your time learning about ‘Y’ and that, after all, ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are entirely unrelated anyway; still others will be quick to attribute the radical moral or intellectual failings of some to an entire community --  whether the orientation of the community in question is religious, ethnic, racial, sexual, gendered, or anything else in nature matters little to this view. The hardest part will be when it comes from someone you love or admire. And when you don’t subscribe to such simplistic thinking, you are often stigmatized and derided as weak or indecisive.

“‘So where’s the gift?,’ you might ask. Waldorf communities take a much more expansive view: they permit, value, and facilitate difference, the incisive move that serves as a catalyst for individuals to cut through reductive understandings of the world that are not only intellectually lazy but also destructive. Waldorf communities are okay with the gray – the ‘maybe’ – the ‘I don’t like any of these options; I would like more information,’ even though there’s little stomach for this type of complex thinking in the world.

“The ability to tolerate – even thrive – in such an enigmatic landscape does something else as well: it allows, even obligates, you and me to an act that the world generally does value, at least ostensibly: love. We love fully and deeply because of, and in conjunction with, the thinking Waldorf advocates. It’s our ethical imperative, our fundamental directive. You see, if the world is composed of diametrically opposed entities – the ‘all rights’ and the ‘all wrongs’ – you need only love your small segment – your people – your idea. When this construct does not actualize – or ceases to exist – the scope of love demanded is almost unfathomable, at times even crushingly burdensome. And, this, I would argue, is an extraordinary gift. The teachers I had, those sitting here right now in support of you, shared with us (often in indirect ways) this radical vision for society – a vision that holds as absolute truth the sanctity of the individual – the individual as ‘individual.’ Some would call this madness.”

Thank you, Chris, for your inspiring words!
WHSMB gains Re-Accreditation    
 

 

We are pleased to announce WHSMB has received its joint re-accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).

In reaching its decision, NEASC’s Commission on Independent Schools and AWSNA’s Accreditation Review Committee reviewed Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay's Self-Study and the report written by the committee (Visiting Committee) who visited our school. The Self-Study, which over the course of a full year involved WHSMB faculty, staff, trustees, parents, students, and alumni, focused on reviewing and reflecting all aspects of our school, including our educational programs, faculty, administration, leadership, school governance, health and safety, and finances, and how they relate to our Mission and meet the Standards set by NEASC and AWSNA. The Visiting Committee, comprised of five teachers and administrators from other Waldorf and independent schools, observed at our school for four days in November to validate our Self-Study.

In the Introduction of its report, the Visiting Committee wrote:

“A consistent reflection of the mission of the Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay is evident to the Visiting Committee in the gesture of the teachers, in the mood in the classrooms, in the care of the facilities, the students’ interactions with their teachers and with one another, and in the observations of the parents. We see students who are met as individuals by their teachers who are dedicated to nurturing them. We see an integration of academic, artistic, and practical work. We see joy in learning and a strong sense of The Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay as a dynamic community. The Visiting Committee agrees that the school lives its mission statement.

The Visiting Committee Report identified many areas for commendation. The Commission particularly commends the entire school community for the “magic” you feel when you walk into the building and the strong program that is aligned with the mission. In addition, the Commission commended the devoted and hard-working faculty and staff, the obvious commitment to diversity in the student body, and the financial resources made available to each eligible student.

The school passed all of the standards and where the Visiting Committee made recommendations we did so with full confidence that the Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay will fully address the recommendations in a timely manner.”

We want to thank everyone who was involved in the Accreditation Process for their time and consideration in helping Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay during this important process.

Grease is the word    

 
Above: The whole school ensemble rehearsing "We Go Together"!
 
The students have been doing incredible work so far on our all-school musical,Grease! It is starting to come together! We are just finishing up the 4th week of our six week rehearsal process. There is so much to be done for this show and they are really rising to the task. Our show last year, Bye, Bye Birdie, had fewer ensemble numbers and in some ways a less complicated set, but this year we decided to take on more of a challenge for ourselves. Grease has more whole company numbers and the students have also been much more involved in the design and execution of the set this year. The set design crew has come up with some fantastic concepts and they are currently working on bringing them to life.
  
Our morning rehearsals are comprised of several things. We always do a large group warm up to get our bodies and voices energized and ready to work. We then do one of two things...we either do one full company rehearsal for big numbers such as "Summer Nights" and "We Go Together" or we will split up into smaller rehearsals and those students not needed to rehearse move on to their individual production crews (costumes, set design, carpentry, etc.) to keep working on the technical aspects of the show. Each and every student really gets to experience all sides of putting on a show which is very rare.
 
We hope you will all be able to join us on Friday, May 16th and Saturday, May 17th in the WHS Auditorium for what is sure to be an incredible show! Grease will be performed at 7:30 pm on both nights and tickets are $5 at the door.
 
  
Above: Students on the Painting Crew working on the flats for our backdrop.
Parents did have all the fun!    
Prom Night - Dinner and Auction

Thanks to the tremendous support from many, Waldorf High School’s spring auction and dinner, “Prom Night - Why let the kids have all the fun?”, met our fund raising goal and was a lot of fun! Music was provided by our DJ and WHS parent, John Hodgkinson. We also had performances by Chuck Claus, our auctioneer, teacher and Music Director of the upcoming all-school musical, Grease,  and Catherine Claus, the stage director of Grease and office assistant entertained us. The evening included lively conversation, laughter and dancing!

We are grateful to all of the businesses and individuals who donated goods and services spanning a wide variety of items from soup to nuts; a gnome, wine, jewelry, fresh eggs, a weekend in Vermont, tickets to a Tuvan Throat Singing performance, a Celtics game, a Red Sox game, Handel and Haydn, Cabaret, and The Tempest, an “Off the Eaten Path” food tour in the North End,  bird watching on Plum Island and more!

And, of course we are thankful to our enthusiastic bidders throughout the evening.

Altogether, with the Special Appeal for the Theresa Raizen Diversity Fund (see below), we made a record-breaking $40,000 at this year’s auction. All of our efforts support the programs and financial aid at Waldorf High School. As many visitors to our school comment, our students and teachers are vibrant, purposeful and engaged in their classes and with each other – well deserving of our support.

Challenge met: Theresa Raizen Diversity  Fund!

Two years ago, former Waldorf High School parent, colleague, and great supporter in all ways, Teresa Raizen, told us the story of having seen the first four robins of the season. With that vision and with hope and confidence she challenged those who attended the auction that year to contribute to Waldorf High School's Diversity Fund. That Fund has since been named the Theresa Raizen Diversity Fund in honor of her vision, dedication, and determination that Waldorf High School be inclusive to students from many backgrounds.

This year, we are most grateful to receive a matching grant of $10,000 from an Anonymous donor for the Teresa Raizen Diversity Fund. We are pleased to announce that we more than matched the grant in a Special Appeal at the auction so we are able to add over $21,230 to the Fund which makes a great step toward helping students attend our school.  Our Administrative Director, Mara White, spoke of the importance of this fund in providing every student the opportunity to participate in an equitable manner in everything the school offers.

If you would like to contribute to the Theresa Raizen Diversity Fund, please contact Development Director, Virginia Buhr.


Senior Internships    
What have our Seniors been up to?
 
Above from left to right: (Standing) Charlotte Cohen, Tigran Avetissyan, Hannah Morales. (Sitting) Deklan O'Connor, Fiona Ding, Auston James-Wyatt, Evan Dmitrieva. (Floor) Annabel Margolis-Borgeson, Sarah Warner.
 
Charlotte is in Kenya at the University of Nairobi. We will have to wait for an update on her adventures once she returns but it sounds like she is doing a few different things over there. We believe she observed a school and might even be getting to visit the Nairobi Animal Orphanage, which is home to lions, hyena, leopard, cheetah, warthog, buffalo, different species of apes, guinea fowls, and crested cranes...just to name a few.
 
Tigran is interning at Koa Lab in Cambridge. A space for founders to build independent companies Koa is a shared workspace in the heart of Harvard Square for promising start-ups. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Andy Palmer, the space provides a collaborative environment to power the next generation of innovation. They’re proud to help strengthen Cambridge’s roaring start-up ecosystem. They're involved with over fifty start up companies that deal with a myriad of different things, from FuseInsurance, a personal financial adviser for healthcare, to FetchNotes, "your mind's best friend".
 
Hannah is working at the St. Mary's Center for Women & Children in Dorchester. The center offers innovative and family-centered programs for women and children who have experienced trauma and are living in poverty. Placing families at the center of our efforts, St. Mary’s Center works in partnership with young women, many of them mothers, to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and achieve lasting, powerful change by building their emotional well being, educational achievements and economic independence. St. Mary's Center supports 600 women and children annually with shelter, clinical and educational services, job training, employment placement, and search for affordable permanent housing.
 
Deklan is a gardening intern at IDA (Idyll Dandy Arts) in Tennessee. IDA is an intentional queer community in the hollows of middle Tennessee. Their 200 acres provide space for ten residents as well as guests, interns, musicians, expansive gardens, and lots of projects. The internship is designed to help queer and trans people learn and develop gardening skills, as well as other rural skills. The work that is done by interns and residents alike is largely self-motivated. Interns are encouraged to take on their own projects, if they are inspired to do so.
 
Fiona is interning at the Winchester School of Chinese Culture in Belmont. Winchester School of Chinese Culture (WSCC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to teach the language and traditional culture of China through classroom instructions, the arts, and cultural events and to promote and engage in cultural exchanges and civic activities to develop and sustain community-school partnerships. To accomplish its mission, the school relies on experienced teachers, the cooperation and involvement of parents, the active participation of students, and the support of the community. The school seeks to provide students with a foundation for future learning and to cultivate a life-long interest in the language and cultural traditions of China by creating an enjoyable learning environment.
 
Auston is working with ABCD Boston (Action for Boston Community Development) in Dorchester. For 50 years ABCD has provided basic services and innovative programs that help empower individuals, families, and communities in Boston to overcome poverty, live with dignity, and achieve their full potential. They work to strengthen and educate families, promote self-sufficiency, and build community.

Evan is interning at Animatron, a really cool company based in Cambridge. The idea for Animatron came from a school project the founder's daughter needed to complete for school and they just couldn't find a website that did the job. So he came up with his own! That's how the idea for Animatron was born: a powerful and user-friendly website that allows you to animate right in your browser and collaborate with your friends or colleagues in real time. JetBrains (a company that makes the world’s best developer tools!) liked the idea so much that they funded the project and supported them in many other ways! Now, a few years later, Animatron has grown into a company of 15 awesome people working hard on redefining the world of animation software by building an entirely new way to create animated and interactive content for the modern web. What's the saying? If you want something done right, do it yourself.   

Annabel is working as a photographer's assistant at Mark Ostow Photography in Cambridge. Mark Ostow is a portrait photographer who shoots for many national publications and advertising campaigns. She is his second in command and is learning it all. She is going on photo shoots, helping with editing and developing...you name it, she's working on it!
 
Sarah is interning at the Wellesley Animal Hospital, which has been providing dependable veterinary services in Wellesley since 1995. The animal hospital treats cats, dogs, rabbits and even small rodents, offering services such as surgery, ultrasounds, diagnostic imaging, dentistry, small animal boarding and cremation.
Freshmen Visit Museum of Fine Arts    
In their History through Art class with Ms. Delaney, the 9th grade looked at how human beings have expressed themselves through various forms of art from prehistory to the 17th century Dutch Masters. They visited the Museum of Fine Arts to see original great works of art, some of which they had studied in class.
 
 
Juniors Aim for their Goal    
During their Parzival main lesson block with Mrs. White, the 11th grade spent one morning with our athletic director, Ralph Brooks, experiencing physically through archery and javelin throwing what it means to aim for something and then let go to reach a goal, an idea that they explored in class in with their study of the story of Parzival. Through studying Parzival's journey, they explored their own journey through life in aspects such as: separation from what we know, reflection on what we do, acknowledging our expanding orbits of experience, recognition of our effects on others and the world , and ultimately compassion for others as a necessary part of becoming truly human.
 
Seniors are on the Home Stretch!    
The 12th grade is engaged in a pivotal main lesson: Developing a World View: Ideas and Consciousness. In this class with Ms. Delaney, they explore questions such as, "What is a modern person?" "What do I believe?" "What do I know?" "Who am I?" From ancient times to the present, cultures and individuals have struggled to answer the perennial questions that help define the nature of the human being and our relationship to the world and to the spirit. In this survey course, seniors are reviewing the ideas of the past, exploring those of the present and looking to the possibilities of the future.
 
Looking to the possibilities of the future is just what the seniors will be doing after this main lesson block as they begin their 3-week Internships on March 10th. They will be joining the work environment in places such as non-profits, schools, businesses and health facilities. Seniors will make presentations about their Internship experience to parents and friends on Thursday, April 3rd, at 7:00 pm.

After their Internships, they will be involved in rehearsals for the all-school musical, Grease.During their last two weeks of their high school career they will have a two week interdisciplinary main lesson block led by Mr. Claus. 

Seniors also look forward to their last high school prom (May 10th), senior outings and other ceremonies before their graduation. The commencement ceremony will be held June 8th,  at 1:30 pm, at The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, Inc. (formerly The National Heritage Museum), 33 Marrett St. in Lexington.

Open House Information Sunday, October 26, 2:00-4:00 pm    

What makes Waldorf High School unique? Click to find out more!

WHS Soccer Season Wraps Up    
Boys Team Reaches Playoffs
The Boys Soccer Team reached playoffs in another successful soccer season for Waldorf High School. See inside for pictures of the Boys and Girls Soccer Teams in action.
WHS Students Getting Around in the World    
2013-2014 Student Exchanges
Currently four Waldorf High School eleventh graders are taking advantage of our foreign exchange program for the 2013 - 2014 school year.
Students Return from Class Trips    
YMCA Camp Hi-Rock, Nantucket Island, and Hermit Island
Each year WHS students participate in fun and educational overnight class trips to various locations in and around Massachusetts.
WHS Honors Community Members    
Distinquished Service Awards Presented
The Waldorf Academy Awards, our spring auction, provided the opportunity for the Board of Trustees and Faculty to honor some outstanding members of our community for their service, support and dedication to Waldorf High School.
The Waldorf Academy Awards: A Great Success!    
It was Fun and our Fundraising Goal was Surpassed
Feelin' the Sprit!    
WHS Chorus Performs at Winter Arts Evening
WHS Parents Offer Matching Gift    
Supporting WHS's Annual Fund Appeal
Seniors Ponder, "What Does the Future Hold for the Middle East?"    
Arab Spring: A Multidisciplinary Main Lesson for Seniors
WHS Student Named "All League Player"    
WHS Student Named "All League Player"

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