Olivia ‘Livi” Schmahmann, class of 2019, is heading to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY this fall to study business and art. I recently had a moment to speak to Livi about her experience as a student at Waldorf High School. Here are some of the questions posed and Livi’s answers.
Can you identify any specific ways that Waldorf High School has prepared you for the next stage of your life? Waldorf High School taught me to work better with others, ask for help and understand what I need in a school setting. The hands-on learning in main lessons and electives gave me a different perspective on learning than I would have had somewhere else.
As one of the original members of your class you have been at Waldorf High School for four years. Your teachers speak to the amazing growth they have seen in you over this time. Do you have anything you want to add from your perspective? At Waldorf High School I learned to take pride in my work. For example in our main lesson books we were taught that borders and cursive writing are important. I learned to put effort into this work. Through learning in this community I learned to forget the unimportant things and focus on things that make me happy and things that will help me grow as a person.
Do you have a best memory from your time at Waldorf High School? There are so many: Hermit Island, studying Moby Dick on Nantucket, Immersives Week. Immersives Week was so awesome. It wasn’t a traditional class. We learned about animals and about interacting with them. We visited horses at Lovelane Farm and learned about the benefits of horseback riding for children with special needs. We visited the wolves at Wolf Hollow. It was so cool. I would not have had that experience anywhere else.
Do you have any advice you would like to give Waldorf High School underclassmen?
Embrace Waldorf education. It can be odd the way we do things and there are things that we don’t like to do, for example Chorus. Forget these small things. They will only hurt you. Chorus is fine. Just enjoy it. At Waldorf High School if you put in hard work it shows. Your teachers and your friends see you working hard. In the end you have a sense of accomplishment, a sense of “Wow, I’ve done something”.
Do you have any advice to someone considering enrolling in Waldorf High School? Do it! Waldorf is a school community unlike any other. The small size is really a benefit. It is so personalized and focused. You get so much individualized care. Each teacher knows you and forms a unique bond with you. There is so much hands on learning. At Waldorf you could be outside in Maine or in an acting class versus sitting in class taking notes at another school.
Any last thoughts you want to share with the Waldorf High School community today? I’m incredibly grateful to Waldorf High School and my friends for all the things they have done for me to support my growth and development.