High School News - Archives, 2010 - 2011
Commencement Exercises, 2011 - Graduates Take Wing!
Class of 2011: Alexa Perkins, Leif Anderson, Ben McCrave,
Phineas Samuelson, Jeremy Colson, Rebecca Wildes
June 11, in a celebratory, yet intimate ceremony, Merriconeag’s second
graduating class received their long-awaited diplomas. As is quickly becoming
the tradition, each senior entered the Community Hall to live music he or she
had specially chosen, from African drumming to a solo vocal rendition of the
Beatles’ “Blackbird.” After introductions by various faculty members, each of
the graduating seniors then gave a short address about one valued aspect or
another of their education. Leif Anderson spoke about memorable class trips;
Jeremy Colson about the arts and crafts they learned over the years; Benjamin
McCrave characterized the importance of participating on the athletic teams, and
how his experience abroad helped him understand the connection between language
and culture; Alexa Perkins shared her experience of coming to a Waldorf school
from the public sector; Phineas spoke about the challenges of learning German
and Russian; Becca Wildes gave “appreciations” to each of her classmates, and
extolled the virtues of attending a small school.
Come to the
Submitted by David Sloan
Merriconeag's Graduation Key Note Speaker, Jonathan Moore
Jonathan Moore has worked for over 50 years in humanitarian action, publlic service and education. In Washington he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Counselor to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Associate Attorney General in the Justice Department. He served as Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. As U.S. Coordinator and Ambassador at Large for Refugees, he directed U.S. assistance, resettlement and repatriation programs world-wide, concentrating on Indo-Chinese, Mozambican and Palestinian Refugees. As Ambassador to the United Nations and Representative to its Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Moore led negotiations against South African apartheid and to support African economic development.
Jonathan Moore is currently Associate at the Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School and is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis in Alexandria, Virginia.
It was after hearing Jonathan Moore speak at one of the high school forums this year, that the seniors invited him to be the key note speaker at their commencement.
Key Note Address:
Good afternoon. I am excited to be with you all
on this wonderful day. It is a privilege for me and I thank you for my being
Congratulations to the Senior Class:
A big thank you to the Senior Class for their gift of the The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. It was a real treat to see so many characters played by only six students creating scenes that were humorous and but also involving deep transcendentalist dialogue. Each senior shone in one of their final experiences at Merriconeag. Thanks also to Mr. Barham and Ms. Dettmer for helping the senior share this gift with us. Submitted by Jeff O'Brien
A “Mystic-al” Experience:
Submitted by David Sloan
Congratulations to the Merriconeag
Ultimate Frisbee Team! At the State Championship Meet on
Sunday the Merriconag Ultimate Team made it all the way to semi-finals (the
final four). They won an extremely hard-fought victory over Greely High School
to make it to the final four where they lost a gutsy game to Fryeburg. In the
game against Fryeburg, Merriconeag Ultimate (MU) did not give up! They were down
7-1 early and fought hard and with a lot of heart to end the season with a 15-10
loss. Best of all, for the second year in a row, Merriconeag
won the Spirit of the Game award! Congratulations to
Coach Young and MU for a great season.
To view a gallery of photos from the State Championships, please click here.
Poster by senior Jeremy Colson
Senior Class Play: The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail
This Thursday, June 2 & Friday, June 3, 7:00 PM
Admission is $5 at the door
On Wednesday, June 1, there is an open dress rehearsal at 9:30 AM in the community hall.
Grades 4 -11 will be attending. Parents and friends are most welcome to attend.
Senior Class Play: The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail
Thursday, June 2 & Friday, June 3, 7:00 PM, Community Hall
Admission is $5 at the door
Merriconeag Waldorf School’s senior class is enthusiastically preparing to perform Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee’s classic play, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. The play is a dramatic representation of a vital moment in our history, where the 29 year old Henry David Thoreau’s ardent refusal to pay his taxes- in protest to the United States government’s involvement in the Mexican War- landed him in prison in his home of Concord, Massachusetts. This famous act of civil disobedience- daring and unprecedented as it was- is merely the departure point in this celebrated drama. As the play progresses, we come to understand what motivates this brilliant, independent and ever-unorthodox writer and thinker.
Written and first produced in the 1970s the play is a story of protest as well as of enlightenment. By turns wise, funny, perplexing and sad, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is much more than the ruminations of one man in one place in one night. The play explores the crossroads of responsibility, conscience and democracy: the self, the choices we make as human beings and the dilemmas we face as members of society.
George Oppenheimer in Newsweek Magazine called it, “A Superior play, a literary work as well as a theatrical experience. Scene after scene moves you to laughter or close to tears.”
Submitted by David Barham
Seniors Present Fruits of their Internships:
This year's seniors may be
Merriconeag’s second graduating class, but they were the first students ever to
go on three- or four-week internships. And did they ever go! Four of the Class
of 2011 took advantage of the opportunity to travel—to Nevada, France, even
Tanzania in Africa! Last Friday, these pioneering seniors shared their
experiences with the rest of the high school. Leif Anderson spoke of his
memorable time working at a Creperie in Divonne-les-Bains, France and living
with long-time friends of Madame Whittlesey. For months before the actual
internship, Alexa Perkins spent many hours fund-raising over $1000 for an
orphanage in Tanzania. In mid-April, the entire Perkins family spent nearly a
month at the orphanage caring for the children. For his internship, Phineas
Samuelson worked at the Catholic Charities in Portland, assisting immigrants in
obtaining employment. Jeremy Colson also remained local, writing an online
user's manual for a local computer programmer who is writing software for bank
managers. Benjamin McCrave and Becca Wildes each flew out to Nevada; Ben
interned at a ski resort, and Becca worked at an animal shelter.
Submitted by David Sloan
Sophomore Brian Watko's oil pastel, Seascape 6: A Visual Opera of Soothing Delirium, to be exhibited in Augusta: The Maine Arts Commission, in partnership with First Lady Ann LePage, the Maine Art Education Association and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education issued a call for student art for inclusion in the Spring 2011 Maine Youth Excellence in Art exhibition at the Maine State Capitol Complex in Augusta. Brian Watko's oil pastel was submitted and chosen to represent artistic excellence from a K-12 student. Selected works will hang in various locations including the Capitol Building, The Burton M. Cross Building, and the Blaine House from late May until September/October. Selected artists, their families and teachers are invited to an opening reception at the Blaine House on Tuesday May 31st from 2-4:30 pm where student artists will receive a certificate and medallion in recognition of their artistic excellence. Congratulations, Brian!
From Pinch Pots to Pageant: The High School's contribution to this year's May Celebration and Medieval Faire was a great success. Students acted in the pageant, helped with games and archery, provided music, and made and sold pinch pots. The Faire was enlivened with high school energy and humor.
A big thank you to Mr. Barham for spearheading the pageant and to Ms. Burwell for her coordinating the making and selling of pinch pots.
Merriconeag Poets Honored at 2011 Poetry Festival
Poet Laureate, Wes McNair, visited Merriconeag on Sunday, May 1, to pay tribute
to the twenty student finalists he selected for Merriconeag’s Fourth Annual
Poetry Festival. Students from ten different schools received recognition, but
only perennial “poetry powerhouse” Scarborough and North Yarmouth Academy
fielded more multiple honorees than Merriconeag’s three finalists.
Seniors Leif Anderson and Jeremy Colson were
joined by freshman Emma Rhodes-Armstrong in yet another strong,
host school showing. In fact, since the Festival began, only Scarborough and
Merriconeag have had multiple finalists every year! Leif was a repeat finalist; he was awarded second place two years
Submitted by David Sloan
High School Coffee House Soars on
the Wings of “Merriconeag Air”
Congratulations to the class of 2011!
Colleges and Universities that have accepted Merriconeag seniors: Alfred University - School of Engineering, Antioch College, Bard College, Becker College, Bennington College, Centre College, Champlain College, Clark University, Colby Sawyer College, Colby College, Endicott College, Evergreen State College, Franklin Pierce College, Gettysburg College, Goucher College, Guilford College, Hampshire College, Hobart and William Smith College, Husson College, Kalamazoo University, Lasell College, Lewis and Clark College, Johnson and Wales College, Skidmore College, St. John’s College, (NM), St. Lawrence University, Roger Williams College, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of New Hampshire, University of Maine – Orono, University of Maine – Orono, School of Engineering, University of Maine – Farmington, University of Southern Maine, University of Puget Sound, University of Vermont, Warren Wilson College.
High School Students Garner More Literary Glory!
Two Merriconeag students have had their poetry accepted in a regional poetry contest sponsored by The Telling Room in Portland. Junior Evelyn Pennoyer and senior Alexa Perkins, whose essay also recently won the high school division of the Slow Food Writing Contest, will be honored at a celebration of all of the contributing young authors at the Portland Public Library on Thursday, May 5, at 7pm. Their winning poems follow:
Sailing by Evelyn Pennoyer
I sit, tied to the dock,
11 Stages of Play by Alexa Perkins
Dartmouth Model UN Conference, April 1 - 3
Twelve students in the Model
UN class headed out a day early and beat the snowstorm to Hanover, NH for the
Dartmouth Model UN Conference 1-3 April. The students took advantage of the
extra morning to have “skype” conversations with international experts in Geneva
(on Sudan), Berne (on Swiss history), Nairobi (on the Horn of Africa and Uganda)
and Costa Rica (on Panama and Trafficking in Women), and to finalize position
papers for the event. The good folks at the Chieftain Inn turned over their
common area to us (including the kitchen, living room, dining room and at one
point the office!), and it became our own personal “delegates lounge”!
And best of all, in the words of one of the
delegates, everyone “had a blast”. From all reports, the Delegates’ Social on
Saturday night was good fun, too!
A Student View of The Dartmouth Model UN Conference by Sophomore Brian Watko
This past weekend, twelve MWHS students participated in the Sixth Annual Dartmouth Model United Nations Conference in Hanover, New Hampshire. Phineas Samuelson, Tyler O’Brien, Sophie Simmons, Cyrus Fenderson, Devon-Murphy Anderson, Wyatt McCurdy, Emelie Chace-Donahue, Connor Beckett, Carson Davis, Ben Tindall and I made up delegations of Uganda, Switzerland, Panama and Sudan in eight committees as well as a judge on the International Court of Justice and President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence.
Our journey began
abruptly Thursday evening. Although we were scheduled to set off on Friday the
1st around midday, an unexpected April blizzard threatened to prevent us from
reaching our destination. Taking the initiative, our fearless
chaperones/supervisors David Whittlesey and Johanna Flath refused to risk the
elements and instead brought us to the Dartmouth area the night before. By
morning, the snowless New Hampshire landscape was transformed into a snowy scene
straight out of winter. Friday was spent on the rapid completion of unfinished
position papers, with trips to the college’s library and video conferences with
subject experts around the globe.
At six o’clock, all the
participants convened in the Hopkins Center building. Representatives from
twenty-five schools hailing from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts,
New York, Rhode Island, California, and Osnabrűck, Germany were in attendance.
After an opening speech by the University of Michigan’s Political Science
Professor, Allan C. Stam, DartMUN was called to order. Soon, the crawling mass
of students in Western business attire flooded the sidewalks of Hanover to reach
The next three days were
spent by all members of our two-year old club in fierce debate. Alliances were
formed, rivalries brewed, resolutions were written, passed and failed. While the
average hustle and bustle of any Model UN conference went on in General
Assemblies, those in one of the two Crisis Committees had to deal with a new
kind of stress. Delegates were “kidnapped” by men in black suits, received death
threats via video conference and e-mail, , and were pitted against the
inevitable outbreak of what was essentially a third world war.
Andrew Hastings ‘14 received an Honorable Mention for his
representation of Panama in the Department of
International Security, Cyrus Fenderson and Wyatt McCurdy, both ‘12, made out
with the Outstanding Delegate award for their portrayals of Uganda in the
African Union and the World Trade Organization, respectively. Finally, Devon
Murphy-Anderson, ‘13, received the Best Delegate award (along with the
prestigous Golden Gavel) for her representation of Panama in the Social,
Humanitarian , and Cultural Commitee. All in all, it was an excellent turnout
for all who participated; and not too shabby for a club that’s only two years
Merriconeag Poetry Festival Finalists
Selected: Three Merriconeag Students are among the twenty finalists that Wes McNair, Maine’s new Poet Laureate, has
selected from ten area high schools, in the contest portion of the Fourth Annual
Merriconeag Poetry Festival. Freshman Emma Rhodes-Armstrong and seniors Jeremy
Colson and Leif Anderson will be honored with the other student-poets at an
awards ceremony and reception in the Community Hall on May 1. This is the second
time Leif has been selected as a finalist during his high school
Congratulations to Zoe Chace-Donahue who was named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All State Girls High School Nordic Ski Team. To see the list, click here.
The Western Maine Conference All Star Boys' Nordic Team featured Merriconeag's Jack Pierce. The girls' team included Merriconeag's Emelie Chace-Donahue and Zoe Chace-Donahue. Congratulations to all of our all-stars for a job well done! Read the article in the Forecaster.
Monday, March 28th was
the beginning of new Morning Lessons. We have two guest teachers for the
next three weeks. Connie Gerwin is teaching "Probability" to the 9th grade and
David Levi is teaching "Rise of the West" to the 11th grade. Mr. Sloan will be
teaching Greek History to the 10th grade.
The 12th graders have embarked on their three week internships. Becca Wildes is working at an animal shelter in Nevada. Benjamin McCrave is job shadowing with the ski patrol in the Rocky mountains. Leif Anderson is learning how to flip crepes in France. Ali Perkins will be at an orphanage in Tanzania. Phineas Samuelson is working with immigrants in Portland. Jeremy Colson is programming computers locally. We are looking forward welcoming them back and hearing of their experiences. They return after April vacation.
What Does it Mean to be Free? Theme Week, March 21 through March 23: Last week our high school students spent their second theme week of the year in a variety of activities, contemplating the question, What does it mean to be free? Teagan Wu (10th grade), Emma Rhodes-Armstrong (9th grade) and Wyatt Dowling (11th grade) write about their experiences below.
"There Is No
Easy Walk to Freedom Anywhere” by Teagan Wu
Are We Really Free? by Emma Rhodes-Armstrong
Many of these experiences, particularly the visit to the prison, changed our views of what freedom can mean, and made many of us reconsider the truth of our preconceptions. Overall, from discussions and debates to prisons and musicals, the Theme Week has been an eye-opener, and a great success.
Inmates by Wyatt Dowling
Essayists impress in Slow Food Portland's inaugural Young Food Writers Competition: As we mentioned back on March 1, Merriconeag Senior,
Ali Perkins won the Grand Prize in the grades 9 - 12 Slow Food Portland Young Writers Contest. We are also pleased to report that Merriconeag Fourth Grader, Wilson Haims received Honorable Mention in the contest. Ali read her essay at a gathering at Space Gallery in Portland on March 10 and she was featured in the March 16 edition of the Portland Press Herald. To read the article which includes Ali's essay, please click here.
Model UN Conference in Wilton, NH:
On 19 March, 14 MWHS students participated in the High
Mowing School Model UN Conference in Wilton, NH. The students made up
delegations from 7 different countries, three in the Security Council Session
that debated “ the situation in the Middle East: the Palestinian-Israeli Peace
process”, and “UN Security Council reform”; and four in the General Assembly
that tackled “making International Aid more effective” and “improving the
International Criminal Court”.
and for making us welcome for the night as well. After dinner and the conference closure, we joined some of the High Mowing students around a fire pit for “s’mores” under a huge full moon. We closed the long day watching the movie “Inception” – all in all, a fine day!
Submitted by David Whittlesey
High School Forum - Ambassador Jonathan
We are so grateful for
the visit to Merriconeag School by this highly respected international
Student Perspective on the forum: Don’t let his age fool you.
Ambassador Jonathan Moore’s mind is sharper than most others you will
encounter. This becomes clear as soon as he begins speaking and presenting his
ideas coherently, lucidly and without hesitation. In addition to, and perhaps
because of, his great experience on both the domestic and international level,
Ambassador Moore provides startling insights of our world today and what steps
must be taken to live in a healthy and sustainable manner. One of the most
surprising parallels he drew was between the rich-poor gap and the speed and
ease at which information travels. He pointed out the effect on poor people of
having ready access to images and videos depicting lives of opulence and waste.
This appears blatantly obvious but it is an aspect I, and I know most of my
peers, never thought of before. Ambassador Moore’s main point, one he came back
to again and again, was that we Americans, as individuals and as a nation, need
to accept a role of responsibility, not entitlement. We as individuals rely on
all the members of our community, whether it be our family, neighborhood or the
planet, and we must think of our communities in return, not only of ourselves.
Submitted by Ben Tindall, Grade 10
The following thank you letter from some of our students in our high school's Model UN Club recently appeared in the Maine Chapter of the United Nations Association Newsletter:
On January 15, it was
a great a great pleasure for us to attend the luncheon and talk by Edward
Elmendorf which was part of the UNA annual meeting. The four of us are part of a
class of 14 students at the Merriconeag Waldorf High School in New Gloucester
who are participating in a Model UN class, and will attend MUN Conferences at
High Mowing School and Dartmouth later this year. This was a real opportunity to
get a first-hand view about the role of the UN from someone who has been
directly involved for several decades, and to meet and talk with UNA members
about the UN today. (We also had a delicious meal for which we are most
David Sloan has more poems published:
As you may recall, David Sloan, Merriconeag High School’s Humanities and Drama teacher, is an accomplished poet. He recently had two poems, The Spaces Between and The Fire Starter published in the Winter 2011 edition of The Cafe Review.
In the fall, David's poem, Lines in Algonquin, won Honorable Mention in Carpe Articulum Literary Review’s 2010 Poetry Competition. David has also had poems
published in the Northern New England Review, and was a prizewinner in the Friends of Acadia Nature Poetry Contest.
Merriconeag Waldorf High School Cross Country Coach, Tom Ryan has been named Coach of the Year by the Maine Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. This is in addition to his being named Girls XC Coach of the year by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram in November. Coach Ryan will be presented the award at the annual luncheon of the Maine Track and Cross Country Coaches Association on March 19th. Congratulations, Coach!
Merriconeag Girls are Class C Nordic State Champions
At the Class C State Championships in Rangeley last week, Merriconeag Girls came in first to become the Class C Nordic State Champions. Placing the top four in places 1-7 in the classic race was a real accomplishment.
Zoe Chace-Donahue became Class C State Champion in both Classic and Freestyle. A great performance!
Emelie Chace-Donahue and Teagan Wu raced well with Emelie runner up in both races and Teagan getting just blocked out of a third place in the classic race. Carlin Tindall saved her best race for the classic to seal the win for the girls. Strong performances by Sierra Jeffers and Lily Tupper rounded out a great week in Rangeley for the Girls Team. Congratulations to our State Champs and their wonderful coach, John Tarling!
High School Nordic Skiing
Merriconeag High School's Nordic Ski Team in Rangeley on Thursday
Congratulations to our Nordic Skiers! The High School Nordic Ski Team capped off another successful season last week. At the Class C state championships in Rangeley, the Girls came in first to become Class C State Champions and the boys team also skied very well finishing 4th in Class C (out of 14 teams).
Jack Pierce, the boys pace setter all season, scorched the freestyle with a second place finish and was close to a number of racers in finishing eighth in the classic race. Eli McCurdy skied two solid races. Ben McCrave had a solid skate race and John Burgess had his best race all year in the classic race. Ben Tindall closed his first year at MHS in fine fashion and Phineas Samuelson closes his last year out with two hard efforts.
Our seniors, Phineas Samuelson and Ben McCrave were the first skiers when I came on board and we owe them much appreciation for hanging in as the team developed. Their hard work and dedication to the team will be missed.
We thank Soren Donisvitch for attending the States as an alternate in place of Brian Watko, who was unable to attend due a schedule conflict. Brian earned a spot as alternate but, unfortunately, could not be with us in Rangeley. Hadi Jacobs also earned a spot on the girls team but was unable to be there as well. Soren, Brian and Haydi all played an important role and contributed to the team's year long success. Coach John Tarling
For high school race results, go to Maine High School Skiing.
Merriconeag Senior Wins Grand Prize in Writing Contest: Congratulations to Senior Ali Perkins whose essay won the grand prize for grades 9 - 12 in the Slow Food Portland Young Writers Contest. Ali won a full CSA share (up to $500 value) for her family from the CSA of her choice for the 2011 growing season. She has been invited to read her essay at the upcoming Slow Food Writers Night Event at the Space Gallery in Portland on Thursday,March 10. Ali's essay will also be published in an upcoming edition of the Portland Press Herald.
High School Nordic Skiing
Merriconeag High School's Nordic Ski Team at Starks Hill in Fryeburg on Saturday
The Western Maine Conference
nordic skiing championships were held this past week. The skate race was last
Wednesday in Gray and the classic race was Saturday in Fryeburg. All of our
skiers skied very well. The boys finished 6th overall (3rd in class C). They
finished ahead of Greely, Waynflete, Cape Elizabeth, and Gray/New Gloucester.
The Girls finished 3rd overall (1st in class C). They finished ahead of every
school except Yarmouth and Falmouth.
Tarling: We were very fortunate to have two great days of racing for the
WMC Championships. Saturday at Starks Hill in Fryeburg was cold at the start.
First up the boys race: The boys have been working hard all year and given the
youth on the team they can look forward to a bright future in HS Skiing.
Saturday the team was again led by Jack Pierce. He has led the team all year and
finished again in 12th place, matching his finish in the skate race. Eli McCurdy
and Ben Tindall continued their season-long battle and Eli ended up just edging
Ben. John Burgess and Phineas Samuelson both skied with effort and helped the
boys to a respectable 6 place. Considering the teams ranked behind the boys,
this is a good sign for the future.
The food on Saturday was a real treat, thanks to all who pitched in with food and transportation. This week we will ski Tuesday, skate, and participate the the Yarmouth Fun Relay (skate again) at Pratts Brook on Wednesday.
A special thanks to Adele Espy for all her waxing help and support on Friday and Saturday. Her help is greatly
The team will be participating in the Class C State Championships in Rangeley
the week of school vacation.
Recap: Geezers Versus Students II
Student Version by Brian Watko:
Last Friday, a frenzied crowd of basketball enthusiasts watched as a conflict of epic proportions unfolded before their very eyes. Two teams met on the court for the second time with some unfinished business. Only two years ago, a squad of intrepid geezers clashed with a horde of vicious high schoolers, only to depart the Freeport Junior High School Gymnasium crushed. A debt unpaid, both sides were ready to play once again, and this time it was personal.
Eager to retain their glory, the students put together a commendable force of high school players: Cyrus Fenderson, Sophie Simmons, Tyler O’Brien, Devon-Murphy-Anderson, Connor Beckett, Emma Dolan, and Wyatt Mccurdy. If this wasn’t enough, an equally powerful lineup of middle schoolers joined the team, to ensure certain victory: Jacob Haldeman, Natalie Murphy, Joe Armstrong, Bekah Rhein, Lincoln Samuelson, Phoebe Dolan, Josh Dow, Anna Evans, Hugh Voorhees, Lily Kolle, and Gaby Gaspardi. Prior injuries kept Haley Johnson and Peter Watko from playing, but their teammates were trained to the peak of perfection by coaches David Sloan and Richard Evans. Read more.
Geezer Version by Michael Fenderson:
Merriconeag's faculty basketball team, warmly dubbed "The Geezers", came back in the final minutes to pull out the winover the students in the second annual Student-Faculty Basketball Game. The non-stop action was, according to many an appreciativefan of both teams, great fun and a 'most amazing game'! The student team, made up of high schoolers and players from 7th and 8th grades, coached by David Sloan and Assistant Coach Richard Evans, led most of the way and kept the scrappy, well seasoned Geezersguessing right down to the last baskets.
Cheering the efforts of all players, the gym resounded with "Go Students" and "Go Geezers" throughout the contest. Both benches were filled with many new players this year but in the end, it was Nancy 'Downtown' Roderick, the Geezer backcourt specialist who sank final running jumpshot. Read more.
High School Forum — 350 and Counting: The 2011 High School Forum season opened with a conversation on
Climate Change. Jesse Pyles,
sustainability director at Unity College and a Senior student, Jean, came to our
High School Friday January 28th to talk about 350.org.
Don't Miss Merriconeag's Only Basketball Game This
Our Town - Our Community
The high school plays are
always a highlight of the year, a time when we join together as a whole school
and see old friends. It is a time when we open ourselves up to being carried
into another world. I find that I don't want to miss a single
Our Town is Coming to This Town
Merriconeag’s freshman and
sophomore classes are enthusiastically preparing to perform Thornton Wilder’s
classic play on Thursday and Friday, January 27 and 28. Wilder sets his masterpiece in a seemingly undistinguished, small New
Hampshire town at the beginning of the twentieth century, but he fills the play
with the vast, heart-wrenching themes we all encounter in life. As the
all-seeing Stage Manager/Narrator says, explaining why he’s going to bury a copy
of the play in a time capsule, “People a thousand years from now’ll know a few
simple facts about us. . .this is the way we were: in our growing up and in our
marrying and in our living and in our dying.”
Is There Life After Waldorf: Alumni Panel Discussion
Friday, January 7, 7:00 p.m., Community Hall
Is There Life After Waldorf? On
Friday, January 7, meet four fascinating Alums from Waldorf high schools across
the Northeast as they relate how Waldorf education made a difference in their
lives. By popular demand, Dr. Trevor Braden, a
veteran our last Panel Evening two years ago and graduate of Garden City Waldorf
School in Long Island, NY, is back! He will be joined by Leila Forman, Theodore
Groh, and Brooke Adams, who submitted brief autobiographical sketches below. The
evening begins at 7 p.m. in the Community Hall, and any current or prospective
parents and students are invited. Bring along any friends who want to know more
about Waldorf high school education!
Theodore Groh was born and raised on a organic/biodynamic farm in Wilton New Hampshire and attended Pine Hill Waldorf School, and High Mowing Waldorf high school. Theodore just finished a run for the New Hampshire State Legislature, and is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science from Saint Anselms College in Manchester New Hampshire.
Brooke Dennee-Sommers attended Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Shelburne, Vermont from pre-school ("morning garden") through eighth grade and High Mowing School in Wilton, New Hampshire for eleventh and twelfth grade. Brooke currently works as a project manager for a health research consulting company in Boston, Massachusetts.
Leila Forman attended Green Meadow Waldorf School in
Chestnut Ridge, NY from 6th grade through senior year of high school. She loved
her experience in the Waldorf school and felt like it was her second home. So
much so, in fact, that after graduating from college with a degree in French
Literature she decided to return and spent a year on the faculty teaching French
to 10th-12th graders.
Food Drive this Week
The High School is sponsoring a food drive to benefit area food pantries. Please bring in donations of non-perishable foods. Collection boxes have been placed in the upper grades building, the lower grades building, the early childhood center, the office, and the community hall. The food drive ends this Friday, December 17th.
Fall Cross-Country Kudos Continue: An article David Sloan submitted to the national AWSNA
site about the girls' cross country championship is running on the front page of Why Waldorf Works.org.
Fall Cross-Country All Stars Honored: Merriconeag runners were in the news again as the Forecaster reported on the fall cross-country all stars. The Western Maine Conference boy’s first team featured Merriconeag’s Jack Pierce. Zoe Chace-Donahue qualified for the girls’ second team and Phineas Samuelson was included in the the All-Academic team line up. The Maine Track and Cross Country Coaches All-State boys’ team named Jack Pierce as an honorable mention. Congratulations to all! To read the article in the Forecaster, click here.
The Race to Nowhere
December 2, 7:00 pm, Community Hall
Click on image below to view the movie trailer.
Merriconeag Waldorf School proudly presents the Maine premiere of the
documentary, The Race to Nowhere. Tickets are $10 and available only
online at rtnmerriconeag.eventbrite.com.
This movie is being promoted to the general public, so be sure to
buy your tickets soon.
Please help us promote this movie far and wide. Who should see this film? Anyone who shares a stake in the future of education, which means everyone! The film is appropriate for parent groups, school faculties, student groups, participants in education conferences, PTAs, health care organizations, universities, business groups, faith-based or interfaith organizations,media/film centers, civic groups and policy makers. The film can raise powerful conversations and lead to action among these groups. Following the showing on December 2nd, there will be a discussion of the film fascilitated by David Sloan and David Barham.
Please note that the movie is PG13. We believe it is appropriate for high school and up.
Shepherds Play: The play, usually performed by members of the faculty and adults in the community, will be presented with a unique twist this year. We warmly invite the entire community to join us at 11:00 - 12:00 on December 17, 2010 in the Community Hall to witness this simple, yet profound offering which speaks to what it means to be truly human. Read more. Submitted by David Barham
Au Revoir Jehan et Constance:
Friday night, ninth and tenth graders and
their families gathered at the Murphy-Anderson’s Community House in order to say
Au Revoir to our French exchange students Constance Fayol and Jehan Foulke,
returning to their home in Lyon, France, after 3 months at Merriconeag Waldorf
High School. A delicious,s generous potluck was shared, followed by piano duets
with Devon and Constance, (who had just completed her first 3 months of piano
lessons with M. Seavey!), and Augustine Hoffmann our French Student recently
arrived from Avignon. Augustine delighted us with her self- composed French song
and guitar solo.
Québec City, S’il Vous Plait:
From the ninth to the thirteenth
of November, 2010, our eleventh graders said more often “merci, excusez-moi, and
s’il vous plait”, than “thank you, excuse me and please!” That’s because they
were living in the Francophone world of nearby ancient Québec city.
The high school composting and recycling team under the guidance of Cordelia Lane, Lucy Ahearne and Ian Gamble composted 69 pounds of compost at the Fall Fair and recycled 21 pounds of waste. There was still 61 pounds of trash. So 60% of our waste was either recycled or composted! This is a great first step as we explore ways to reduce our waste at events. Special thanks to Cordelia, Lucy, Ian and students and parents from the high school for making this an easy and fun task.
High School Theme Week 2010 - Maine Diversity
For three days, October 25th-27th, the High School lived “to the beat of a different drummer”…literally! Our eighth grade guests joined high school students in learning skills quite different from what Merriconeag usually offers. Under the umbrella theme of Maine Diversity, the students were able to choose two workshops from a wide spectrum.
The week started with a presentation by Adelaide Manirakiza, a war widow refugee from Burundi now living in Portland and working for Living with Peace. This non-profit organization helps orient immigrants, recently arrived in Maine, to various social, economic and cultural aspects of life in Portland and Lewiston. Mrs Manirakiza brought a family portrait of her four daughters whom she succeeded in bringing to Maine out of war-torn Burundi after she herself received her asylum. She talked of her struggles as a war widow who eventually succeeded in changing the status of war widows and orphans in her own country. She talked of the importance of learning the new language of her host country, and of her strong faith, both helping her to slowly put her family life together and find a job in Maine.
After this strong and moving presentation, the students went to experience their workshops. The first set of workshops offered a choice between improvisational drumming with our ever energetic Rick Cormier, learning the technique of Shibori Japanese stitching and dyeing with Kelley Barham, carving wood totems with local craftsman Eric Ritter, or experiencing the joyful movements of African dance with Regina Kusche, accompanied on the drum by Annegret Baier.
The second set of choices led some students to practice Capoeira, offered by Mastre Joao Carlos Bordallo from Brazil. Capoeira is an ancient Brazilian martial art/dance initially started by the slaves. Other students chose wall mural painting with our very own artists Rosemary Burwell and Johanna Flath. In another workshop, Colombian Maine resident Adelaida Gaviria invited the students to understand the tragic effects of the Drug Trade on Columbian families as well as American families. Shamou, an impressive Persian drummer renowned in Maine musical circles, led his workshop acquainting the students with Samba rhythm.
For three days the very full High School vibrated with colors, movements and music coming from all directions. Huge thanks to all the workshop leaders for their wonderful participation in our Theme Week! Regine Whittlesey, High School French
Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Steiner’s Door…
It might seem like a stretch from reality, but even the brick high school building at Pineland seemed to come alive with an ancient, tribal air last week in Rick Cormier’s drumming class during Merriconeag High School’s International Theme Days. A truly devoted musician who heads the Different Drummers Drum Circle in Yarmouth, the agelessly energetic Rick Cormier has been teaching improvisational drumming at Merriconeag since the high school’s establishment. The group was a varied one: some members had been practicing percussion with him for up to four years, while others had hardly ever drummed in their lives. Yet skill level does not prevent one from drumming; as Rick was told was by an eminent African drummer, all drumming consists of is “finding a beat, losing it, and finding it again.”
In order for an improvisational drum circle to sound complete, it needs three components: the heartbeat, embellishment, and a lead. Of these three, the heartbeat is the most crucial; a simple, spacious beat of few notes. The spaces left by the heartbeat are filled by the more elaborate embellishment beats. The lead beat goes over these two, connecting them while also creating a totally new sound.
During the three days with Rick, the group also practiced creating the varied tones of the drum and the different playing styles of various cultures. Everything was incorporated in the group exercises, most often taking the form of alternating triads, which were then performed for the pleasure of the whole high school community. Brian Watko, 10th Grade
Capoeira—Cartwheels for Kicks
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Capoeira workshop. I knew a little bit about Capoeira, but not much. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form, which combines elements of dance, music, as well as martial arts. It was created by African slaves in Brazil, with the purpose of teaching other slaves how to fight, and in doing so, escape. However, the slave’s masters did not let these slaves train, so the
slaves disguised their training as a dance. Many of the moves use the feet; there is, in fact, a style of Capoeira in which arms and hands are not used at all in order to replicate bound arms. Several moves we learned involved cartwheels, spins and other acrobatic moves. The result is a very beautiful, very fun art form. By the end we had all learned a lot and were very, very sore. Tyler O’Brien, 11th Grade
African Dance and Drums
I could not have been happier that I chose to do the African Dance elective for this year’s “theme week.” It was a very energetic fun class and all the participants seemed to really enjoy themselves. We learned some traditional dance moves, starting with the right posture, then adding steps and arm movements. For the second two days we had a live drummer accompanying our dance routine, which added so much. We also learned a children’s game and song that seriously challenged our multitasking skills. A big thanks to our teacher, Regina Kusche, and our drummer, Annegret Baier, for such a fun part of our “theme week.” Evelyn Pennoyer, 11th Grade
Another Reason to Say No to Drugs
In nearly all drug talks that are given by parents, teachers, policemen or social workers, the reason not to become involved in any sort of drugs is all about you. Don’t do drugs because they are bad for you. Don’t do drugs because you could become addicted. Because they could lead you to harder, more dangerous drugs. Because you could get suspended or expelled. All of these scenarios, which are recited countless times every day to teens around the world, deal with all the reasons drugs can ruin your health, reputation, etc. In our workshop on the Colombian drug trade, Adelaida Gaviria gave us a different perspective on drugs and reasons to refuse to participate in the use of these drugs. Adelaida grew up on a farm in Columbia and experienced drug violence first hand as did many, many other individuals just like her. Two of her friends’ brothers were killed as teenagers after becoming involved in the drug trade. Her neighbor was killed for refusing to cooperate with the drug lords and her old boyfriend was killed for refusing to stash cocaine in flower packages being sent to the United States.
This view is one that the vast majority of drug consumers never dream of; that their actions have consequences thousands of miles away. That buying a joint in Freeport, Maine directly contributes to violence and death in places like Colombia. Only a small percentage of drug money goes to the actual product; the vast majority goes towards buying weapons that incite fear in those who oppose the drug trade. The hope is that when we are in a situation where we may be tempted to buy or accept drugs from someone, may it be a friend or not, that we will think not only about ourselves, but also of the lives of people we could save by refusing. Ben Tindall, 10th Grade
Shibori—An Art to Dye For
Shibori is the Japanese art of stitching and dyeing fabrics. The result of Shibori looks very much like an intricate form of tie-dye. During the High School Theme Week, Kelly Barham guided a group of students through the process to eventually dye beautiful kerchiefs, shirts, bags and pillowcases. The group started by making their own brew of indigo dye. We then stitched patterns into the cloth and pulled tight. String was also used to wrap tightly around sections of the cloth. After we dyed and rinsed the cloth, we took out the stitching and the group was able to exclaim over the beautiful patterns that we had created. The Shibori group also came up with song lyrics and other words that reminded them of blue, further expanding on their three-day-long study of the color blue, indigo and dyeing cloth. Lily Tupper, 9th Grade
The Colors of Diversity
During Theme Week at the high school, each student from the high school and eighth grade chose two workshops to participate in. One that I chose was the “Wall Murals” workshop. I don’t consider myself the best artist (despite going to a Waldorf school) but I enjoy painting so I thought I’d give it a try. The workshop leaders’ (Rose Mary Burwell and Johanna Flath) goal was to create a full six-panel wall mural in a meager five hours spread out over three days. The first day, all 15 people who were taking the workshop sat down at a table together to discuss what we wanted to do with our time. Since the theme of the week was “Ethnic diversity in Maine,” we decided we wanted something at least somewhat representing this idea. We agreed upon some common factors that needed to be in each panel, such as a railroad, some overarching themes such as going from dull colors to bright colors, and we decided to leave the rest up to smaller groups. We divided these groups randomly and started sketching out what would go on the murals. After the first hour, we were given the plywood that the finished product was to be on. We began to try to find ways to connect our ideas at the edges. The second day, we started right in with paints and experimented with mixing and matching different colors. Each group worked separately on their panel. By the end of the session, we could see where this whole project was going and I, for one, liked what I saw. The third day was a frantic rush to finish everything in just one hour. Much of the time was spent on making the continuity between panels work out. With completely different color schemes used by different groups, this part proved difficult indeed. With the paint still wet and finishing touches being added on the fly, we presented our artwork to the rest of the high school on the third day.
Cyrus Fenderson, 11th Grade
High School Theme Days Celebrate Ethnic Diversity in Maine: The high school students are enjoying a 3 day week of theme days entitled, Ethnic Diversity in Maine. The eighth graders joined the high school for this session which began on Monday and will end at 12:30 on Wednesday.
The keynote speaker for the Theme Days is Adelaide Manirakiza. Mrs. Manirakiza is a war widow from Burundi. She works for an organization called Living with Peace. Living With Peace addresses issues and concerns that affect the ability of immigrants to acculturate to their new lives in Maine and to successfully orient to the social, economic and cultural aspects of life in Portland and Lewiston. Living with Peace is a dynamic, community organization that seeks to invest in the future of our immigrants by building and sharing resources with a coalition of support providers. Living with Peace is a network of resources to ease and smooth the way in this new world for all newly immigrated people to Maine from any country.
In addition to the keynote speaker there are eight workshops with an international theme (each student will be taking two). The workshops are:
Seniors Study Transcendentalists: As part of their study of the American Transcendentalists, the senior class sauntered down to Concord, Massachusetts on Sunday, October 17 through Tuesday, October 19. Meeting up with their senior compatriots at the Waldorf High School of Mass Bay, the students explored the haunts and homes of two of the more famous of the nineteenth century writers, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Stepping into the recreated cabin in the parking lot of Walden Woods on Monday morning, the students were instantly transported back to the year 1846 and a young Henry David, one year into what would become his two year, two month and two day sojourn at the pond, met them and engaged them in discussion and question answering. We followed Mr. Thoreau into the woods and to the actual sight where his cabin had been built 165 years ago. At that point the historian playing Henry broke character and answered a wider range of questions about Thoreau and his times. This was followed by the reading of a children's book at the actual cabin sight (Henry Builds a Cabin by DB Johnson) and a period of quiet contemplation and journal writing. Few things in life are as pleasant as a walk along the shores of Walden Pond on an autumn afternoon... To read the whole article & see more photos, please follow this link.
Passamaquody Lives: In our first high school forum of the year, students had the great honor to welcome Passamaquody Storyteller, Allen J. Sockabasin, author of An Upriver Passamaquody and of the delightful children’s book Thanks to the Animals. Mr. Sockabasin started by showing our high schoolers a 30-minute film on the history of Native Americans, particularly of the Passamaquody people of Maine, stressing the importance of language preservation. The Native Americans for centuries lived in villages that depended on subsistence living through gathering, hunting, fishing and working in the woods, with an emphasis on sharing and helping one another. They met many hardships through racism and dubious “progress” that brought an end to their traditional way of life, especially their language, their religion and their self-governance.
Mr. Sockabasin’s spoke with great sadness as he talked to a subdued audience about his life-long struggle to try to preserve the traditional language and cultural way of life of his Passamaquody ancestors.
After an hour of reflecting and answering numerous questions asked by the high school students, who seemed
very moved and keen to understand his struggles, Mr.Sockabasin grabbed his mandolin and invited our students to join in an impromptu musical fest... To read the whole article & see more photos, please follow this link.
Auto Mechanics at Portland Motor Club was a Hit: A group of students from Merriconeag Waldorf High School chose what must have been one of the coolest electives ever at a Waldorf school — “Introduction to Auto Mechanics” taught by Portland Motor Club owner, muscle car enthusiast and Merriconeag parent, Bill Waldron. Read more at the Portland Motor Club Blog.
To learn more about Portland Motor Club watch their new video.
Designing Schools for Nature Connection & Community Involvement:
Tues, July 7, 7:00 - 8:30 pm,
Community Hall, 57 Desert Rd, Freeport.
$10/person suggested donation.
Join us for an evening of exploration with Matt Bibeau, Co-Director of the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children, into how we can support the transition towards providing children with abundant opportunities to connect and learn with nature.
This event is co-hosted by Merriconeag and The Resilience Hub of Portland Maine.
Circus Smirkus at Merriconeag:
Monday, August 3 & Tuesday, August 4, 1:00 & 6:00 pm,
Grade School Campus, 57 Desert Rd, Freeport.
THE BIG TOP TOUR IS COMING TO TOWN
with our own high school student, Sarah Norden,
as part of the amazing cast!
TICKETS ON SALE AT ROYAL RIVER NATURAL FOODS BEGINNING JUNE 10TH!