|Waldorf High School Honors Its First Decade With Gala |
On Saturday, December 9, Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay celebrated its ten-year birthday with a gala evening party hosted by the parent teacher organization. Over one hundred guests gathered in the school’s gymnasium which had been transformed with strings of twinkling lights, round tables draped with white linen and crowned with centerpieces of white and gold poinsettias. Alumni, teachers, board trustees, alumni parents, and friends enjoyed fine food and drink and the opportunity to reminisce about people and events over the past ten years. Sue Fallon, co-chair of the PTO, said, “This gala was a way for the parents to say thank you to our terrific faculty. I’m the mother of a graduate and a senior who have thrived at Waldorf High School.”
Founded in 1996 as part of the Waldorf School, Lexington, Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay graduated its first senior class in 2000. It was separately incorporated in 2004 and moved to the St. Luke’s Parish school building in Belmont. In his opening remarks to the gala’s guests on Saturday night, Gary Ruggiero, Board co-president, noted that the school’s ten-year birthday was a fitting occasion to come together as a community and celebrate how far the school has come. “We’re eagerly looking forward to our next decade and many more after that. We have a great facility and location in Belmont, our enrollment is growing, and we have a talented and experienced faculty.”
For many of the faculty, the best part of the gala was getting to visit with former students. “We are very proud of our alumni,” said Mary Ann Wells, Collegium chair and one of the founding teachers. “After graduation, in the midst of their busy college and work lives, they come back to visit us. We see that they have developed into flexible and confident thinkers who are engaged, active and creative.”
|The Annual Campaign—Giving to Inspired Learning |
Every year in the fall, the development committee of the Board of Trustees undertakes the primary fundraising effort supporting the educational program of Waldorf High School. It is a fact that the costs of a Waldorf education are not covered by tuition alone. Providing a challenging curriculum of academic and artistic courses in a small-school setting to an economically diverse student population presents significant financial challenges. Our campaign goal is to raise a total of $200,000 to fully fund our current programs and financial aid, and to invest in future curriculum developments.
In honor of our tenth anniversary, an anonymous donor connected with The Boston Foundation, has offered us a challenge grant of $100,000. This means that every dollar that we raise, up to $100,000, will be matched by the grant, thereby doubling your donation to Waldorf High School.
David O’Connor, alumni parent of Maeve O’Connor ’06, and board trustee, is the chair of the development committee which has been hard at work on the annual campaign throughout the fall. “I am happy to report that we have 100% participation in the campaign by the board of trustees and by the core faculty of the school. Teresa Raizen, our development director, members of the committee, and I are contacting all constituents of our community—alumni, current parents and alumni parents, and friends-- to tell them about the challenge grant and ask for their investment in our school. Through the extraordinary generosity of our circle of support, we have raised over $80,000 to date, and we are well on our way to successfully reaching our goal.”
“All parents will be contacted by a member of the development committee, either by phone or letter, and they will receive a gift/pledge form with which to make their donation or pledge. Last year, I’m proud to say, our parent level of participation reached 85%. I hope that we can exceed that level of participation this year. Every gift will make a big difference for our school—by strengthening our sense of community and by bringing in the challenge money. Please give as generously as you can to support our dedicated teachers who are inspiring our students to learn and develop into the human beings they are meant to be,” said Teresa Raizen.
|The Arts on Display at Waldorf High School |
At the Winter Arts Evening on December 12th, our community enjoyed a demonstration of the fruits of Waldorf education in and through the arts.
For viewing before and after the program, student drawings and paintings from the fine arts classes in grades 9 – 12 were displayed along one wall of the auditorium. Representing just a sample of our practical arts offerings was a selection of hand-made books from the bookbinding class and baskets in progress from the basketry course.
In the evening's program, students shared some of the artistic work that is typically woven into the Main Lesson blocks. The 11th and 12th grades combined to sing the Alle Psallite – Alleluia (13th Century motet) which they learned in connection with their study of Medieval History with Ms. Delaney. The 10th grade recited the poem, Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth, which they learned as part of their Main Lesson study of Embryology with Mrs. Ruggiero.
The beginner recorder ensemble, under the direction of Mr. O’Donnell, began the concert portion of the evening with Christmas Song/Shepherd’s Hey. Then the all-school chorus (comprised of all students and full-time faculty) took the stage to present several songs covering a wide range of musical traditions and languages, including Out Loud, arranged by senior Ben Cohen and featuring soloist Olivia Biller. Led by Mr. O’Donnell, the chorus was in great voice and sang with enthusiasm and a developing sense of musicality that shows our mandatory choral program is succeeding even with students who think they cannot sing.
All students at Waldorf High School also take an instrumental music class. For the concert, the jazz ensemble and the classical ensemble performed several pieces. Directed by Peter Stoltzman, the jazz ensemble played Blue Trane by John Coltrane and Cissy Strut by The Meters. Then the classical ensemble concluded the evening with selections of music by R. Schumann, Gluck-Mottl and J.S. Bach, under the baton of conductor Velleda Miragias.
The audience also enjoyed a taste of some of the musical activity that takes place outside of class, often during lunch periods and after school. The trio of Anshin and Kijin Higashibaba and Florence Van den Broek performed O Holy Night, accompanied by Olivia Biller on piano. On the other end of the musical spectrum, our community was treated to the performance of junior Jahan Rajabi's rock composition, Rock Jam, by Jahan and Adam Greenberg on guitars, Ben Cohen on piano and Mike Fallon on drums.
|Claire Nelson |
After high school, Claire Nelson went to Wellesley College where she majored in international relations with a concentration in environmental studies. During college Claire spent a month with the School for Field Studies in Queensland, Australia studying tropical reforestation and also lived in Belgium and Finland for a summer while she completed internships at the European Parliament and the Finnish Ministry of Education. In the spring of her junior year Claire studied at the University of Otago in the South Island of New Zealand, where she spent nearly every weekend hiking in the mountains. Before and after New Zealand, Claire also traveled to Australia, Kenya and Tanzania. Back at Wellesley for her senior year, Claire was on the executive board of the college's environmental group and was instrumental in setting up a college-wide Sustainability Advisory Committee. She wrote her honors thesis on community-based management and hunting methods of indigenous whaling and graduated with honors from Wellesley in 2005.
After finishing her bachelor's degree, Claire spent a month traveling in southwestern China, and in the fall of 2005 she began working as the Washington Coordinator for the Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, a non- governmental organization (NGO) based in Washington D.C. In the spring Claire returned to New Zealand where she traveled extensively around both islands and worked on post-tsunami planning policies with the Environment Bay of Plenty, a regional environmental council in the North Island. She returned to Gloucester, MA for the summer to prepare for her next move – to China.
Upon arriving in China, Claire spent September traveling on the western-Chinese portion of the Silk Road. Currently she is living in Beijing and is studying Mandarin part time while working on water conservation and energy efficiency at the U.S.-based environmental NGO, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She also works for the Quebec Labrador Foundation researching the activities of Chinese environmental NGOs. In her spare time Claire enjoys exploring the back streets of Beijing on her vintage bicycle, traveling around China and Asia, cooking, drinking Chinese tea, and outdoor activities, especially sailing and hiking.
|One Last Thing |
Late Breaking News: Gala Birthday Party Raised $7,000 for Annual Giving Campaign!
Yes, that's right, last Saturday night's party wasn't just a lot of fun. The PTO steering group ran a very successful silent auction and raffle, and many generous and significant donations were made to support the school through this event. After all of the event expenses were paid, we made a whopping $7,000 for the annual campaign. This will be doubled as a result of the matching challenge, and means $14,000 for the school.
"The faculty deeply appreciate and are touched by the gestures of care and support represented by the birthday gala. On behalf of all of us, I want to say thank you again to the PTO steering group for all of their hard work in putting on the gala, and thank you to our alumni, parents, trustees and friends for sharing in our celebration of this amazing milestone in our history," said Mara White, Administrative Director.
|Thoughts to Inspire |
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.
|Opportunities for Prospective Students and Parents to Visit |
Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay invites interested parents and students to visit classes, meet with faculty, and sit down with Waldorf High School students for a question and answer period. The next three information sessions will be
Tuesday, January 16
Monday, January 29
Monday, February 12
from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. Pre-registration is welcome but not required. Call 617-489-6600. For more information about the admissions process, please see our web site at Admissions.
|Community Announcements |
Anthroposophical Society in Greater Boston - Advent Festival and Holy Nights Observance
The Anthroposophical Society's Advent Festival will be held at The Chrysalis House on Saturday, December 23, beginning at 6 PM with a pot-luck supper. At 7:30 PM there will be a formal presentation by Mary Beth Melton with a view to deepening an understanding of Advent in the light of Anthroposophy. The evening will continue with a warm circle of sharing, where all are encouraged to offer music, poetry, and special insights related to the festival. The Chrysalis House is located at 845 Concord Turnpike, Arlington.
In observance of the Holy Nights (the twelve days between Christmas and January 6th), there will be gatherings in private homes in order to share readings and thoughts on the past and coming year. For more information, please call Kenneth and Joanna Ingham at 617-969-0388.
Third Annual Mendenhall Concert at Lexington Waldorf School
The annual Mendenhall Concert will take place on March 16, 2007 at the Waldorf School in Lexington. This concert will feature outstanding musician/teachers connected with the Waldorf elementary school, including a special performance by Waldorf School parent Robert Sheena of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
7th and 8th grade students and alumni musicians will also appear in concert. Proceeds benefit the Mendenhall Scholarship Fund for after-school private music lessons for elementary students.