Alumni News

(Link to the current issue of the Tuesday News)

Alum Alice Gauvin (8th Grade Class of 2007) Reflects on her Merriconeag Experience for her College Essay:

To Wonder at Beauty, Stand Guard over Truth

      One day in seventh grade, my teacher showed my class Raphael’s The School of Athens, a beautiful Renaissance fresco that portrays many of the greatest intellectuals of Western history. Ms. Fox identified first Plato, then Aristotle, and continued across the painting, and as she did, I realized with a thrill of recognition that I had already been introduced to each person over the course of my grade school studies. The myths, stories, math and science classes, plays and festivals that are the ingredients of the Waldorf curriculum had made me aware of these icons of learning. Now the painting and my teacher were bringing them vividly to life.
      This moment was exciting for me, but it was not an isolated occurrence. My five years in a Waldorf classroom were characterized by these “a-ha” moments, when the puzzle pieces of learning seemed to magically come together, and knowledge – in science, humanities, and arts – became interconnected parts of a whole.
      Two years later, I was a freshman at Portland High School, whose size and cultural diversity presented an exciting shift from the sanctuary of the Waldorf classroom. In my first World Civilization class, I looked forward to a lively discussion (as well as the chance to impress my teacher with my expertise in Classical history!) Early in the lecture, a hand went up, and someone asked, “Do we NEED to know that?” This question confused me at first, until I realized that it was code for: “Will that be on the test?” To me this was an alien concept.
      In grade school, knowledge had seemed like a privilege. Aside from spelling and math exercises, there were no tests or grades, creating the freedom, rather than the compulsion, to learn. There were no textbooks to study; we wrote and illustrated our own books based on daily lessons. Indeed, if one was not completely present and focused in class, there was no “catching up” later, and in this way I became a very attentive listener and auditory learner. Every teacher I have had throughout high school has noted that my attention and engagement contribute significantly to the classroom dynamic.
      Along with tests and textbooks, computers and internet research were also new to me in high school. My first written assignment – a brief history of a technological innovation – resulted in a report that was hand written in pen and ink on thick unlined paper and included elegant pencil renderings of a rather mundane Maine icon, the snowplow. To my classmates, with their sleek print outs and Power Points, I must have seemed from another planet.
      I was, however, a pragmatist, and quickly adapted to a more technological classroom. In fact, when I became a teacher’s aide to that World Civilization teacher, he was especially surprised and pleased by my design concepts and implementation of the Power Point presentations he used for his classes.
      I loved life in the busy hallways and cultural mix of Portland High, and I have since embraced Groton’s academic rigor. That I have been able to thrive in both places is due, I am sure, to those earlier lessons and values instilled by a Waldorf education: conscientious listening, careful craftsmanship, and the confidence to meet new and varied challenges.

     Among the challenges I have faced were my two very different teaching jobs, one as a part time French teacher at a local center for the arts during my sophomore year, and the other teaching refugee children English this past summer in Portland’s public school system. In both positions, my own zeal for learning was infectious - it inspired my students to be enthusiastic too. My eagerness as a student easily evolved into my affinity for teaching.
      Every day at my Waldorf School, I recited these words in our morning verse: "To wonder at beauty, stand guard over truth, revere what is noble, resolve for the good." These principles are represented in Raphael's fresco, which depicts the greatest thinkers of their times collected together under one exquisite domed roof. The beauty and the harmony of learning are perfectly illustrated in this work of art. The School of Athens remains emblematic of my Waldorf experience, and symbolizes my growing interest in education, both philosophically and as a societal, national, and international concern.


Alum Michael Dix Thomas (8th Grade Class of 1998) Stars

in the Comedy "Brendan"

Shy Irish immigrant Brendan Roche ( Michael Dix Thomas) finds his first American girlfriend in Rose ( April Singley) in the comedy ' Brendan,' presented by the American Irish Repertory Ensemble from Thursday through April 16 at the Studio Theater at Portland Stage Company.

For ticket information call 799-5327 or visit

Read the review in the Portland Press Herald


Sam Tarling is a National Champion! Sam Tarling, a sophomore skiing for Dartmouth College, won the men's 10 kilometer Nordic freestyle race Wednesday, March 9, on the opening day of the NCAA skiing championships at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Sam is a "graduate" of Merriconeag's 8th Grade Class of 2005 and is the son of Merriconeag High School's Nordic Coach, John Tarling.

To read the article in the Thursday, March 10 issue of the Portland Press Herald, click here



This season, Ian Moore, MWS 8th Grade Class of 2010, skied his way onto the New England Junior National Nordic Ski Team. Among the region’s high school and college Nordic skiers, the premiere racing circuit is the TD Bank Eastern Cup which consisted this year of eight races in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Lake Placid, NY and Vermont. Most importantly to many juniors, results from these races determine the athletes to represent New England at National Junior Olympics( Ian was named to the New England team on February 20, following the concluding race in Holderness, NH. He is one of only six Junior boys (age 14-15) to join the New England Junior National team (ages 14-20) which will compete in Minneapolis, MN, from March 4-13. Teams from throughout the Northern US and Alaska will race for the "Alaska Cup", which New England hopes to bring home for a third year, or "three-peat".

     Ian follows in some fine MWS Junior Olympians' footsteps (or ski tracks), namely Sam Tarling, Adele Espy, Lucy Garrec, and Lucas Milliken, all of whom benefitted enormously from the Nordic ski program at Merriconeag started and led by John Saccone. Keep it up, Merriconeag skiers and coaches! Submitted by Louisa Moore



Merriconeag Alum sweeps Nordic Races at 100th Dartmouth Winter Carnival

Sam Tarling (MWS 8th grade class of 2005), a sophomore at Dartmouth College, was on the podium celebrating back to back nordic ski victories last weekend at Dartmouth College’s 100th Winter Carnival. Although his father, John Tarling, was busy coaching Merriconeag’s high school team at the Western Maine Conference in Fryeburg, his mother and several other Merriconeag families watched as Sam won both the Men’s 10 km freestyle (skate) and 20 km classical races. Two of Sam’s former Merriconeag classmates and team members, Lucas Milliken (Bates College) and Kelsey Nichols (St. Lawrence University), also competed in the Dartmouth Carnival races. Submitted by Lynne Espy