High School News

Read all the latest news in our newsletter, The Tuesday News.

High School News Archives, 2013 - 2014

High School News Archives, 2012 - 2013

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New Gloucester Campus, 83 Pineland Drive. Call 207.865.3900, Ext. 103

or email, admissionsdirector@merriconeag.org to schedule.

Commencement Exercises 2015

The Class of 2015

(l to r) Lars Gundersen, Isabella Pignatello, Lincoln Samuelson,

Samantha Pierce, Graham Roeber, Fiona Chace-Donahue,

Zachary Neveu, Jesse Saffeir

     All graduations are special, but the ceremony at Merriconeag Waldorf School is unique. Because our graduating classes are small, each student gets to put his or her personal stamp on the proceedings. To start with, each student enters onto the stage to live music of their own choosing. 
      After a brief welcome from Christine Sloan, the Faculty took to the stage and sang “Homeward Bound” (Marta Keene) to the graduating seniors. Each student was then introduced by a faculty member of their choosing and every one of the eight faculty introductions were one of a kind - as unique as the student being introduced. 
After their introduction each student spoke about meaningful experiences from their years at Merriconeag and the many ways the school had touched their lives. 
      This year’s graduation speaker was alumnus Matthew Ritger whose wonderful keynote address is included below. Other highlights from the ceremony were the Fifth Grade's offering of "Hitori" and the High School Chorus singing "Gone, Gone, Gone". The graduates ended the program with “One Day” by Matisyahu.


Merriconeag's Commencement Key Note Speaker,

Matthew Ritger

     Matthew is a writer, teacher and researcher. He is currently a PhD candidate at Princeton University, studying literature of the English Renaissance. Previously he taught courses on Shakespeare and creative writing workshops in the English department at Cornell University, where he also received his MFA. Matthew's literary criticism appears regularly in the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is at work on a first novel.

     Matthew is an alumnus of Jill Fox's first class; he graduated from the eighth grade in 2002. Matthew's brother Ben graduated from Merriconeag Waldorf High School in 2011, where his sister Julia is now a junior and his brother Davis a sophomore. Matthew's stepmother Suzie Peirson is currently the school's sixth grade teacher.

2015 Key Note Address

     Thank you Mr. Sloan, for that introduction, and thank you all, I just want to say what an honor it is to be back here today at the American Eagle Waldorf School. Did I get the name wrong? Let’s try this again. I’m so humbled to return today to the Lynn Thurrell and Lynn Thurrell’s Husband School for Waldorf Students. No?

     For those of you who might not know, after almost thirty years, Merriconeag has decided to rename itself. Welcome to The Phillips Andover Waldorf Academy.

     Now look, I know you’re all tired of Grandma and Grandpa making their tuition checks out to the American Legion. And I know some of you are tired of explaining the difference between Abercrombie, American Eagle, and Merriconeag.

     But I know a lot of you were thinking what I was thinking when you first heard the new name: Who is Maine Coast and what kind of a donation did he have to give to get the whole school named after him?

     One of the things I began to learn at this school is how to make meaning, and how much meaning a word can bear. Even so, I can only imagine the care and thought and love with which the original faculty must have considered their branding strategy, all those years agowhen they chose the word Merriconeag, and decided to make our mascot the Fighting Sand-dollar. 

     Not fighting, excuse me. The non-competitive Sand-dollar.

     Then again, maybe I’m not so sorry to see the name go, and not just because choosing to use a transliterated Native American place name seems oddly close to choosing cultural appropriation, but because those

transliterations are so often slippery. Consulting Ahbenahki dictionaries, I did find that Merriconeag means “place of safe passage,” which is lovely, but also “place of easy portage” as well as “place of lazy portage.”

     Having survived many of Miss Fox’s canoe trips along with my friends Tica and Page who are in the audience today, I can assure you that this is not a place of lazy portage.

     In any case, congratulations to the Maine Coast Waldorf School on your new name. I hope you like it. 

     And congratulations to the final high school class to graduate from the Merriconeag Waldorf High School, and thank you, as well, for scraping the bottom of the barrel so thoroughly as to invite me here today. I have to admit that when I first got the call I thought: Wow, what an incredible opportunity to embarrass Julia and Davis.

     And then I thought: Me?

     Even when I consider only my own fellow graduates of the eighth grade class of 2002 as other possibilities, I’m amazed at how accomplished, and how much more interesting than me they are: My friend Charlie started his own company, called Flowfold, which makes wallets out of discarded sails. My friend Jean lives off the grid in Tanzania. How many of you can say that your fifth grade girlfriend now lives in a mud hut in Africa?

     Franklin is in business school in California and Dylan is in law school in Vermont. Tica is getting a masters in divinity while making music; Page is getting a masters in education while teaching high school. Several have even done things I thought only grown ups could do, like get married.

     And by the way, I can assure you that I know all of this because I keep in close touch with all my former classmates, and not because I just looked them up on Facebook last night.

     I’m making this digression into the many successful paths of my former classmates for two reasons, but not really for the sake of the seniors before you today: Waldorf graduates, especially these ones, are confident, and curious, and need little reassuring that they will find their way in the world. Waldorf parents, however, tend to need a lot reassuring. That’s one reason.

     The other is for the graduates: I start by giving you lots of other examples because I do not want you to think that I am the example, just by virtue of my being up here today. That was your folly. If I ever “make it,” if I ever publish the novel I’m writing or get the professorship at the college I dream about, maybe then I’ll be able to give graduation speeches about “Doing what you love,” but until then, all I can tell you is: Don’t do what I love.

     Okay. So my talk today is a tough one, and not only because I don’t think I’m qualified to give you any advice, but because I don’t really believe in advice. I believe in poetry, which is never good advice, even when it sounds like it: Poetry is always asking you to question, to think critically, to reconsider.

     So that’s what I’m going to give you today: Poetry, in the form of some lines from Shakespeare. Most of these are not famous lines, in fact, most come from his least famous works, but thinking about these words has stuck with me, and helped me, and I hope the same will be true for you.

     Also, remember that if it does sound like I’m giving you advice, what I am actually giving you are very aggressive mis-readings of Shakespeare. You can always go and find these lines for yourselvesfragments which are themselves the process of a textual archaeology ongoing for the last 400 years. Read more. . .


News from June 9, 2015

Museum - The 12th Grade Play: Thank you to the Class of 2015 for their versatile and compelling performances! They managed to provide a wacky and thought-provoking experience of the modern art world and those who inhabit it. Special thanks to Rose Mary Burwell for her monumental, unsung efforts behind the scenes to create a visually stunning set.  Below are a few photos from the Wednesday performance captured by Tricia Toms.



2015 National French Contest: Last February, all French students from Grades 10, 11 and 12 participated in a National French Contest organized by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). I choose to have my students try their hands in this contest to get a feel how they fare among Maine schools and nationally. Out of 16 students who took this test, we had 8 finalists, some of them placing in top national ranks. 

  • In grade 10 (level HS 2) we have 3 finalists: Fiona Libby and Sarah Norden placed themselves in the 95th percentile nationally and were awarded a gold medal. Emma Goldberg-Courtney was awarded a silver medal for being in the 90th percentile nationally.
  • In grade 11 (level HS 3) we have 2 finalists, Fiona Ahearne placed in the 80th percentile nationally and was awarded a bronze medal and Julia Ritger received a "Certificat d'Honneur".
  • In grade 12 (level HS 4) we have 3 finalists: Zachary Neveu and Jesse Saffeir both placed in the 95th percentile nationally and were both awarded a gold medal. Samantha Pierce, placed in the 80th percentile nationally and received a Bronze medal.
  • Sarah Norden and Fiona Libby placed respectively #1 and 2 in the Maine Chapter ranking, Jesse Saffeir and Zachary Neveu also placed respectively #1 and 2 in the Maine Chapter ranking.

     I applaud all of my students for their hard work all year long and congratulate the National French Laureates for their impressive accomplishments! Madame Whittlesey
(Note: Emma is missing from our photo as she is presently on her exchange in Geneva, Switzerland.)


Merriconeag Sophomore to Perform at Carnegie Hall:Merriconeag sophomore Cassandra Albano is an alto singer with Musica de Filia, an all-female choir. She will be performing at the 2015 Choirs of America Nationals at Carnegie Hall in New York City, June 25 to 27.

     Musica de Filia, (Daughters of Music) was founded in 1997 and directed by Jaye Churchill. The singers learn and perform a variety of choral musical styles, including traditional and contemporary American, classical, sacred, holiday and foreign-language literature.

     Congratulations to Cassandra!

See article in the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Sentry


News from June 2, 2015

The 10th and 11th grades recently traveled to Acadia National Park for their spring trip. The 11th grade studied the flora of the park as part of their Botany morning lesson. The 10th graders surveyed a 20,000 square foot section of the park and are making topographical maps of the location. Both grades spent time nature journaling and painting the landscape in watercolors. A half day was given to the park for community service as we did some needed trail maintenance. 






MWS High Schoolers Participate in Top Maine Music Programs:

Maine Acoustic Festival: in late March, Samantha Pierce (’15), Fiona Ahearne (’16), and Tucker Pierce (’17) were selected to participate and perform in this statewide annual event that celebrates traditional acoustic music styles. The weekend-long festival selects a small number of Maine’s acoustic students to work with some of the very best musicians and teachers in New England and beyond, taking the jam session to new heights. 


Maine All-State Music Festival: Fiona Ahearne ’16 earned the honor to study and perform with the All-State Orchestra in May, where she shared the stage with 90 of Maine’s most dedicated classical high school musicians. Fiona said about her experience: “Everyone there was so good at their instrument! It was powerful and inspiring, and also humbling, to play with so many talented young people, and to work with Norman Huynh, who is the assistant conductor for the PSO. It was intense—we practiced 18 hours in 3 days—but it was very rewarding.” 



Mozart Mentors Orchestra: Calla Barton ‘18, Louise Ahearne ’18, and Fiona Ahearne ’16, played throughout the year with this small orchestra which pairs professional musicians with students, helping them to prepare pieces and perform with larger ensembles such as The Bowdoin Chorus, The Oratorio Choral, and the Downeast Singers. Performances this year included Mozart’s Requiem, J.S.Bach’s Saint John Passion, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. 

Submitted by Lucy Ahearne



News from May 26, 2015

The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance has announced the finalists for the 2015 Maine Literary Awards and three Merriconeag Waldorf High School students are among the finalists: Lila Bossi (Youth Competition, Fiction), Sarah Norden and Dylan Wu (Youth Competition, Poetry). Congratulations and good luck to our three accomplished finalists!

     The Maine Literary Awards is an annual competition sponsored and coordinated by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Nominations are open to all Maine residents, including seasonal residents. The statewide competition is for published books, as well as drama, short works (either published or unpublished), and student writing. Maine writers may self-nominate, or be nominated by others. The finalists for the 2015 Maine Literary Awards can be found HERE.


Moby-Dick Field Trip 2015: The ninth grade, upon completion of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick or, The Whale, headed south to live more deeply into the whaling life. Our first stop was the Mystic Aquarium to turn our mind to all things aquatic. That night, we piled all 11 students onto a king sized bed, made up some microwave popcorn and watched the 1956 movie version of Moby-Dick (starring Gregory Peck, directed by John Huston and with a screenplay by Ray Bradbury!). The majority of the next day was spent at Mystic Seaport where we were guided by Mary K Bercaw Edwards, a Melville scholar who has read Moby-Dick no fewer than 35 times cover to cover! She toured the group through every corner of the newly refurbished Charles W. Morgan, the last surviving wooden whaling ship. The next day we visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum to see where Melville himself shipped out on a whaling boat in 1841, ten years before he wrote Moby-Dick. We spent the night sleeping on the floor in classrooms at the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm in Beverly, Massachusetts and had a fabulous dinner and provocative conversation at the House of Peace in Ipswich. The final activity of the trip was a four hour whale watch off the coast of Gloucester where we were treated to the sight of three humpback whales which swam right up to the side of the boat. We slept in our own beds that night (Thursday) and met back up on Friday for community service with the Somali farmers involved in the Cultivating Communities project up in Lisbon. 
      Truly, the world is our classroom, and the power of Melville’s masterpiece was deepened by these real world explorations. David Barham, Regine Whittlesey, Kevin Reynaud, chaperones


Nepal Fundraiser Update:  At our beautiful May Fair, some High School students and I set up a visual display explaining our efforts to collect some money in order to help with relief efforts after the devastating April earthquakes in Nepal. Our community responded nicely, asking many questions and many people contributed as best they could to our fundraiser. At the end of the Fair, the students and I happily counted our collection: $348,35! I deposited this money in the "Nepal Relief Fund" bank account I had specially opened for this purpose. The following Saturday, my husband and I hosted one of our monthly House Concerts, at which point I put a collection box next to the same Nepal display I had used at school. The concert goers were also happy to contribute and that night, I collected another $562.  I am happy to report that on Saturday, May 23rd, I sent a check for $900 to The Himalayan Children Fund Project to benefit Nepalese relief efforts. I will keep the Nepal Relief Fund open in order to keep collecting funds as the months go on, since the needs for reconstruction, shelter, food, water and medicine are enormous and will unfortunately last for many months to come. If you did not get a chance to give at the May Fair and you would like to contribute, it is still possible: you can send me a check payable to Nepal Relief Fund. I can send you a receipt as it is tax deductible. Put the check in an envelope addressed to Madame Whittlesey, Merriconeag Waldorf High School. You can give the envelope to Susan at the HS or Lisa at the Grade school.
      I would like to thank all the Merriconeag students and families who have kindly helped raise money for this very needed international relief project. I will keep you posted when I hear from my friends at Shree Mangal Dvip Boarding School in Boudhanath, Kathmandu, a beautiful place benefiting Himalayan children. Do not hesitate to check their web site:http://beta.himalayanchildren.org/
Dhan'yavāda (= Thank you!)

Namaste! Madame Whittlesey, Merriconeag High School French Teacher


News from May 12, 2015

An Evening to Remember: Seniors Share Independent Projects 
Last Thursday evening, the school community enjoyed a rich series of offerings featuring presentations by the Class of 2015 about their months'-long work on their independent projects. The seniors' interests crossed a range of disciplines: technology, crafts, the political process, medical research, and harbor piloting. Each twelfth grader's well-prepared remarks were notable for their clarity, conciseness and level of engagement. Each senior (except Isabella Pignatello, who is away for the term) described his or her project below:

Fiona Chace-Donahue: I dove into learning about brain injury, specifically brain injury prevention and education. I spent most of my time working with and learning from Brain Injury Voices, winner of the 2014 H.A.V.E. award, an organization based out of New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Portland. I attended conferences, gave presentations, co-facilitated brain injury support groups and led brain-related
art groups. Thanks to my wonderful mentor Carole Starr, I was able to achieve a better understanding of, and greater appreciation for, the workings of the brain.


Lars Gundersen: I examined single-use bag legislation from around the world for

my senior project. This project included researching and writing a paper on the topic, writing a single-use bag law that I think would be the best option for Maine to adopt, working on local municipal bag legislation efforts in York and Freeport, and doing an informal survey of bag usage in local communities. My goal in this project was not only to discover what the best bag legislation options for Maine municipalities are, but also to come up with the most effective way to gain support for environmental legislation in general.


Zachary Neveu: I created an electronic instrument I call an ocular overtone, which

creates both sounds and images. My goal was to create an instrument that felt rugged and performed reliably. The final instrument is contained within a diamond plate toolbox, and exceeds my expectations of what I could accomplish in one year. This project required a lot of late nights, and a lot of squinting to see the miniscule components. I gained a huge appreciation for the amount of design iterations and troubleshooting that must go into every industrial project, especially in the electronics sector. I would like to thank my parents for their support on this project, as well as my in-school mentor, Mr. O'Brien.

Samantha Pierce: For my senior project, I studied glassblowing. I was inspired to do this when I saw some glassblowers at work in Quebec on our eleventh grade trip, and had been wanting to try it ever since. I began my project by making a paperweight, and from there I moved on to glasses, vases, candleholders, and solid shapes. I really enjoyed working with the hot glass and learning how to manipulate it. I took classes with Ben Coombs at Casco Bay Glassworks. Even though I may or may not continue deepening my skill level, I enjoyed gaining a new perspective on the challenges of working with a new medium.


Graham Roeber: My senior project focused on getting my Coast Guard captain's license. This will allow me to pilot up to a one hundred ton vessel with paying customers on board. I've had the idea for this project for many years, but it wasn't until last summer when I was working as a dockhand that I decided to finally complete this project. It took most of the year to sort through the paperwork and bureaucracy, but I finally received my license last week. I look forward in the future to upgrading this license so that I can captain larger ships further offshore.


Jesse Saffeir: I wanted to learn a practical skill for my senior project, and as I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine, I chose to become an Emergency Medical Technician. I took a semester-long EMT course at SMCC, where I learned basic life support skills, from splinting to CPR to delivering babies. During this time I also rode along with several ambulance services, assisting paramedics and practicing the skills I learned in class. After passing a series of written and practical tests, I became a nationally certified EMT. I will put these skills to use this summer by volunteering on a search and rescue team at Acadia National Park.


Lincoln Samuelson: I learned how to code an interactive website, including how to code three different coding languages: HTML, the building blocks of all websites, CSS, which helps make websites more interactive, and Java script, which makes the website fully interactive. So I decided to code an interactive website, but not just any website that would do something boring. My website, ideasareawesomee.com, brings people together to share their brilliance with one another. So please go to my website and post ideas! Also please come to the Slovak Boys Choir concert this Friday, May 15 for a fun night of singing and to help support the community!


Prom 2015: The Prom on Saturday evening was a huge success, thanks to the efforts of organizer Fiona Chace-Donahue, caterers Jo D. and Jesse Saffeir, servers Pat Phillips, Jason Donahue and the rest of the senior class, cleaning crew Lisa Mainella and Hans Gundersen, master DJ Zach Neveu, chaperones Ms. Labbe , Madame Whittlesey and Mr. Sloan, Susan Sonntag, as usual, for her invaluable administrative support, and all the parents who prepared delectable desserts. The "Under the Seas" theme was enhanced by images of undersea life projected on white-clad screens surrounding the community hall dance floor. All in all, a most "sea-worthy" evening!


News from May 5, 2015

Merriconeag Sophomore Earns "Silver" in Merriconeag Poetry Festival: Tenth grader Sabrina Small was selected by nationally acclaimed poet Jeffrey Harrison as the second place winner in this year's Merriconeag Poetry Festival. Freshman Payton Sullivan from Waynflete won top honors, and Caroline Dyhrberg from Falmouth High School took third. Unfortunately, Sabrina was unable to attend the Festival, as she is currently enjoying part of her spring term abroad at the Edinburgh Waldorf School in Scotland. However, classmate Riley Smith read Sabrina's prize-winning piece, "All I Knew Then,." She joined the nineteen other finalists who read their work at the Festival on Sunday.
      As part of the program, Judge Jeffrey Harrison spoke about the "Power of Poetry" and read three of his own poems. He cautioned the young poets in attendance that "feelings alone do not make a poem. Self-expression is one aspect of poetry, but emotion needs to be shaped into art in order to be transferred to the reader. "
      He added, "It’s worth remembering that the root of the word poetry means 'to make.' The power of poetry depends not only on the material but on what you make out of it. Much of that making happens in the imagination, which transforms raw content and emotion into art, through vivid imagery, compelling language, rhythm, and the alchemy of metaphor."
      All of the finalists received gift certificates donated by Longfellow Books in Portland, Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, and Sherman's Books and Stationery in Freeport. 
      Two other Merriconeag students, senior Samantha Pierce and junior Fiona Ahearne, participated in the Festival by playing violin and cello pieces to begin and end the program.

High School Math Teacher, Jeff O'Brien has chapter published in a new math book: Jamie York (author of the "Making Math Meaningful" series) has a new book, "A Sourcebook for Teaching High School Math". The book has resources for teachers on most of the topics in the Waldorf High School Mathematics Curriculum. The chapter on Surveying was written by our own Jeff O'Brien. Jeff presented his method of teaching surveying to 10th graders to the math teachers in the high school teacher training program in 2009 and has been working with Jamie on this project since then. The book is available at www.JamieYorkPress.com. Mr. O'Brien will be taking our tenth graders to Acadia in two weeks to do their surveying project.


News from April 28, 2015

On Thursday April 19, the 7th grade class joined the High School to participate in a Forum with Susan Goodwillie Stedman, who worked for many years in the civil rights movement and on international issues at the United Nations, with the Ford Foundation in West Africa and New York, and as Executive Director of Refugees International in Washington, D.C. Mrs Stedman, or Susie as she prefers, spoke with the group about her wide-ranging experience in national and international affairs and then stayed on for lunch with the Model UN Class.

     Susie holds a BA degree from Stanford University, and MAs from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She has written several books, including Voices From the Future—Children Speak Out about Violence in America; Now Hear This: The Life of Hugh S. Knowles, Acoustical Engineer and Entrepreneur; and she worked closely with Dorothy Height in creating Height’s memoir, Open Wide the Freedom Gates.

     In addition to regular involvement with MeMUNC (which her late husband Bruce, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, initiated 17 years ago) she has served on the boards of The Morris Farm and Mid-Coast Senior College and was the founding Board President of the Heartwood Regional Theatre Company.

     The students were inspired by Susie’s enthusiastic and humorous presentation of her career and what she has learned along the way: follow your passion, take risks, and don’t be afraid to take on challenges that seem beyond your grasp. David Whittlesey, Model UN Teacher


News from April 14, 2015

The 8th Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival

Sunday, May 3, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Community Hall, 57 Desert Rd, Freeport
      For the past eight years, Merriconeag Waldorf High School has been encouraging young people to express themselves through poetry. Each year, the school has asked acclaimed, Maine-connected judges to select twenty student-poets from regional high schools as finalists for their Merriconeag Poetry Festival, held the first Sunday in May. 
      Nationally-known poets such as President Obama’s choice for Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco, current Maine Poet Laureate Wes McNair and past laureate Betsy Sholl, have served as judges, as well as other admired Maine poets such as Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Annie Finch, Megan Grumbling and Adrian Blevins. This year Jeffrey Harrison, winner of Tupelo’s Dorset Prize for his collection Into Daylight, has chosen the latest finalists for the Eighth Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival, which will be held on Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m. in the Community Hall of the school’s Desert Road campus.
      During the Festival, winning poets will meet Judge Harrison, hear him speak about the power of poetry and read some of his own work. They will read their winning poems, receive a booklet comprised of all the finalists’ pieces, and receive as well as a gift certificate provided by a local bookstore: Longfellow in Portland, Gulf of Maine in Brunswick, and Sherman’s in Freeport. The top three prize-winners will have their poems displayed on a large poster that will be distributed to the more than forty public and private high schools whose students were invited to submit work.
      This year’s finalists, in no particular order, include, from Falmouth: senior and two-time finalist Caroline Dyhrberg, juniors Max Brautigan and Ellie Sapat, and sophomore Althea Finch-Brand; from Yarmouth: junior Amanda Dettmann and tenth grader Ava Seid; from Deering: senior Courtney Valente and junior Ciham Tum; from Catherine McAuley: sophomores Madeline Beaulieu, Indigo Fulham-Fitzgerald, Maggie Lawless, Allison Tillotson, and Meredith Wheeler, another two-time finalist; from Waynflete: ninth graders Riley Mayes and Payton Sullivan; from Morse High School: senior Kayla Barr; from The Hyde School: sophomore Emma Levensohn; from Merriconeag Waldorf High School: tenth grader, Sabrina Small; from Cape Elizabeth High: sophomore Anna Friberg; and from Gorham High: junior Mallory Campbell.


News from April 7, 2015

Merriconeag Twelfth Graders' College Acceptances:
In keeping with the tradition established by Merriconeag's very first graduating classes, our Class of 2015 has been accepted at a wide range of very fine institutions of higher learning. They include the following list:


Bard College Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Bates College Rochester Institute of Technology
Clark University Roger Williams College
Colby College Savannah College of Art and Design
Connecticut College Seton Hall University
Earlham College Skidmore College
Emmanuel College Simmons College
Goucher College University of Maine, Presque Isle
Loyola College University of Maine, Orono
Maine Maritime Academy University of Vermont
Mount Holyoke College Wentworth Institute of Technology
New England College Wheaton College (MA)
Northeastern University Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Bon Appétit... and Bonne Chance! In their last French class prior to leaving for their Internships, MWHS Seniors prepared and shared a French meal together. The generous Pierce family shared their beautiful kitchen so that the five of us could work and eat together. Samantha, Jesse, Zach, as well as our friendly Intern Kevin and myself prepared a wonderful and tasty lunch consisting of Chicken à la Basquaise, served on a bed of brown rice; the generous dessert was "Floating Islands" with a sprinkle of homemade caramel and toasted almonds. Quite delicious! Partaking of a homemade meal with much laughter and a flowing French conversation is a wonderful way to end this 3rd quarter.

     Best wishes to all our Seniors on their various and rich Internships experiences! Looking forward to hear about them in a month! Madame Whittlesey


News from March 31, 2015

More Poetry Laurels for Merriconeag Students: Two more Merriconeag students have earned honors for their poetic efforts. Senior Jesse Saffeir won third place in the statewide Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival contest for her poem “What the Flames Saw.” Winning poets have been invited to read their work on Friday evening, April 17, to kick off the two-day event, which will be held at the University of Maine, Augusta, sponsor of the annual Festival.
      The other accolade went to sophomore Sabrina Small, the only Merriconeag student selected to join nineteen other finalists in the Eighth Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival, for her poem “All I Knew Then.” Her work will be read at the Festival on Sunday, May 3, even though Sabrina will be attending the Edinburgh Waldorf School during that time. The public is invited to attend the event, during which Festival judge and nationally acclaimed poet Jeffrey Harrison, winner of the Dorset Prize for his collection Into Daylight, will speak about the power of poetry and read some of his own work. 
      The twenty finalists will receive gift certificates from local bookstores (Longfellow in Portland, Sherman’s in Freeport, and Gulf of Maine in Brunswick), a booklet comprised of all their winning poems, and a poster displaying the top three poems. 

10th graders spent last Wednesday morning sampling cuisine from Greece as part of their block on Greek History with Ms. Agudelo.






News from March 17, 2015

Senior Food Drive: The senior class is organizing a food drive to benefit the Good Shepard Food Bank. The spring is one of the best times to do a food drive as many organizations do them around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but very few organizations do them in the spring. Please consider donating any canned or other non-perishable foods to this great cause.There will be collection bins at both the lower & high schools until Friday March 27th.Attached is a PDF of all the foods the food bank is in need of most:Shoppinglist.


The High School Coffee House last Friday was a wonderful evening. It was well-attended by families from EC through alumni. The desserts were delicious, the coffee was smooth, and the menu also included an appealing balance of literary, musical and dance presentations. It may have been the final performance of the Slovak Boys Choir. Thanks to the many people, students and faculty alike, who helped to make the event a success. We are happy to report that over $350 was raised to support the Siddhartha School in India and our own Model United Nations Club. Jeff O'Brien


This past weekend four of our skiers headed to Fort Kent as part of the Maine U16 Nordic team. Congratulations to Olivia Skillings, Eli Gundersen, Nick Neveu and Tucker Pierce for being part of this elite group of skiers. Cheers to Olivia (1st Maine girl in skate) and Tucker (1st Maine boy in skate, classic and sprint) for being part of the 3rd place relay team in the final event on Sunday. Hats off to all our skiers - the Maine team placed second overall for the weekend championship!


The Mask you Live in

April 2, 2015, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Yarmouth High School Performing Arts Center, Yarmouth

Merriconeag Waldorf School is co-sponsoring this film, The Mask you Live in, with Maine Boys to Men and Yarmouth High School. The film explores American masculinity and it is from the team behind Miss Representation, a film we previously co-sponsored, .This event is recommended for audience members 17 and older.  Admission is free but space is limited so registration is required. Register today by clicking here. To view the film trailer,click here.


News from March 10, 2015

Merriconeag's One Acts Festival Performance of Hamlette by Allison Williams: Bravo to all of our talented thespians, who participated in the Maine One-Act Festival held at Freeport High School over the weekend. If their open dress rehearsal was any indication, their delightful performance of Hamlette was one of the Festival’s great crowd-pleasers. Merriconeag placed third in Class B of the regional round; Sabrina Small, Sarah Norden, and Phoebe Dolan each received "All Festival Cast" recognition for outstanding individual performance! Kudos also to Marjolaine Whittlesey and Michael Dix Thomas, both for their inspired choice of play (wacky!) and their expert co-direction (wildly imaginative!).


Sophomore Sarah Norden is finalist in Smith College Regional Poetry Contest: Congratulations again to Sarah Norden, who was just selected as one of three finalists in the prestigious Smith College Regional Poetry Contest, open to all sophomore and junior female students in New England and New York. Although Sarah will not be able to accept Smith’s invitation to read her winning poem at a ceremony in April because she is departing for France on her exchange this weekend, you can hear one of her classmates read “To Her Landlocked Lover” at the Coffee House. See more: http://www.smith.edu/poetrycenter/highschoolprize.html/



News from March 3, 2015

High School Coffee House

Friday, March 13, 7:00 p.m.

Community Hall, 57 Desert Rd, Freeport

Tired of Rotten Luck? Come to the High School Coffee House
Do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, better known as “fear of Friday the 13th?” Come to the highly anticipated High School Coffee House on Friday, March 13, at 7 p.m. in the Community Hall, to reverse your deepest, darkest anxieties! Tri-hosts Fiona Ahearne, Phoebe Dolan and Chris Gordon will guide you safely—knock on wood—through the evening (as long as you have a rabbit’s foot in your pocket). Compelling poetry, short story excerpts, memorable dance and musical numbers will scare away any silly superstitions (however, don’t expect any salt to be served, and all mirrors in the bathrooms will be removed during the evening; also, avoid black cats at all cost, and for goodness’ sake, keep your umbrellas outside, even if it’s raining!). Delectable desserts of all kinds will be on sale, to benefit our intrepid Model UN club and our sponsored student attending the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India
     We’re especially hoping so see as many seventh and eighth graders and their parents in attendance as possible, so much so that we’re keeping our fingers crossed and wishing on the first star we see tonight! David Sloan

Merriconeag's One Acts Festival Performances of Hamlette by Allison Williams

Open Dress Rehearsal: Thursday March 5th, 7:00 p.m., Community Hall, 57 Desert Rd, FREE.

Regional Competition Performance: Friday, March 6th, 6:00 p.m.*, Freeport Performing Arts Center, Freeport, Maine. Cost is $5/student, $8/adult at the door.

What are the One Acts? The Maine One Act Festival or "One Acts," is an interscholastic drama competition for high school students coordinated by the Maine Principals Association. Regional Festivals are held each year around the state in early March, with the winning teams from each class (Class A and B) going on to compete at the State Festival in late March. Although a school places (1st, 2nd, etc.) as a whole team, individual students can be named to the All Festival Cast or be awarded recognition for costume and set design, and even student directing. These festivals are a great opportunity for students interested in theater to study the craft and interact with other teenage artists.

     This is Merriconeag's second year competing in the One Acts and we are taking our production of Hamlette to the regional competition at Freeport High School this coming Friday. The cast and crew are made up entirely of students from our high school. We invite the community to come watch our open dress rehearsal on Thursday, March 5th, 7:00 p.m.in the Community Hall. We will have feedback forms for the audience and would greatly appreciate the chance to present our play to a live crowd, as well as get your feedback before competition time! Hamlette, a comedic and female-lead reinterpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, is appropriate for 6th grade and up. Questions can be sent to Jeff O'Brien at the high school, who is coordinating this year's production.

* At the regional competition, audience members are expected to attend the entire block of three plays. Merriconeag is in the 6:00-9:00 block on Friday, March 6, along with Edward Little High School and Casco Bay High School.

Gender Identity & Transgender Equality Forum, February 25: This past Wednesday at the High School, we had a forum on the topic of Gender Identity and Transgender Equality, from a transgender (Female to Male) senior student at Waynflete, AJ Yarn. The forum was arranged by the highschool’s P.R.I.D.E Club as a way to introduce the community of Merriconeag to the topic in a simple, accessible fashion. AJ started off by introducing himself and diving quickly into the topic, asking us to look at a handout. Labeled “The Spectrum”, the handout had a visual representation of the spectrums of biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, gender presentation, and sexual orientation. He asked us to mark where we felt each of us were on the spectrums as we wished. Questions began to pop up around the circle from both students and teachers, some relating directly to AJ, and some to the terminology in the handout. Time went by quickly with AJ’s humorous nature and articulate presentation, and he joined us up at the Commons for any extra questions and some laughs. Sabrina Small

High School Nordic:
 A number of our skiers participated in the U16/Eastern High School qualifier this past Saturday at Black Mt. in Rumford. In the U16 (under 16) division, congratulations to Tucker Pierce and Olivia Skillings for placing first, and to Nick Neveu and Eli Gundersen, who will all represent Maine on the U16 state team in later this month. Also, hats off to Forrest McCurdy, Samantha Pierce and Fiona Ahearne, who were named to the EHS team. Both the U16 and EHS skiers will be competing in weekend championships later in March at Fort Kent and Black Mtrespectively. Both these championship weekends (U16 and EHS) involve teams from all over New England, with each state having their own teams of 24 girl and boy skiers, with each team trying to secure the overall championship.






News from February 24, 2015

Merriconeag Boys & Girls are Class C Nordic Team State Champions

(The girls' FIFTH consecutive championship & the boys’ THIRD!)

Both teams were honored with the highly regarded Good Sportsmanship Award for Class C!

Samantha Pierce and Forrest McCurdy are the Classical Class C Champions.

Fiona Ahearne and Forrest McCurdy are the Freestyle Class C Champions.

Congratulations to our skiers and Coach Tarling!


News from February 10, 2015

Merriconeag Boys & Girls are WMC Nordic Team

Co-Champions with Freeport Boys & Yarmouth Girls

Merriconeag Waldorf High School skiers are conference co-champions with Freeport and Yarmouth: It was an exciting week for local high school nordic skiers in the Western Maine Conference (WMC), with teams competing in two races to determine the conference champion. On Wednesday teams competed in a classic race at Libby Hill in Gray and on Saturday they competed in a freestyle (skate) race at Stark's Hill in Fryeburg. The two races were conducted in a pursuit format, which means that the second race is run as if it is a continuation of the first race, with each skier starting off at the exact time they were off the lead in the previous race. The final results are determined by the order of the finish. The pursuit makes for exciting match-ups and the WMC championship series had plenty of excitement. Read more...


Seniors Earn Writing Awards:
      Congratulations to two of our seniors, whose creative writing has earned them recent recognition. Fiona Chace-Donahue had two of her poems and her college essay appear on the websiteteenink.com. The essay, entitled “A Monster of a Headache,” was selected as an “editor’s choice.” Jesse Saffeir had her poem “Metamorphoses” chosen as a Gold Key finalist at the regional level of the Scholastic Writing Awards. Her poem will be forwarded to join a select national pool of entrants, and judging will take place in mid-March. If Jesse’s poem advances further, it could be anthologized in a national publication, and Jesse could be eligible for scholarship awards. 

    As an interesting sidelight, ex-Merriconeag student Joe Armstrong, now at Brunswick High School, also earned Gold Key honors for a short story he wrote in English class last year as a Merriconeag sophomore!


News from February 3, 2015

Merriconeag sophomore, Cassandra Albano of South Portland (left in photo) recently represented the Skating Club of Boston's Team Excel's Synchronized Skating Team at the Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships in Lake Placid, New York. The team came in sixth in the qualifying round. Cassandra was the only skater from Maine to take part on the team. Congratulations, Cassandra!

See the coverage in The Forecaster


Pippin: Although the weather affected last-minute preparations for Pippin, nothing could squelch the verve and charm and enthusiasm with which the Classes of 2017 and 2018 performed the challenging musical. Bravo to co-directors Mr. Barham and Lisa Bossi, “pit band” Nancy Roderick, Katy Stetson, Chris Chasse, Kemal Lowenthal, Kelly Barham and the small army of helpers that contributed to the production’s success.. Here are a few highlights captured by Keelyn Wu.


News from January 27, 2015

Please note the changes in the "Pippin" performance schedule!

Merriconeag's 9th & 10th Graders present

the musical, "Pippin"

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday evening -

January 28, 29, 30, 7:00 pm
Thursday morning, January 29, 11:00 am 
Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport
Donations at the door.


News from January 20, 2015

Merriconeag's 9th & 10th Graders present

the musical, "Pippin"

Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday evening -

January 27, 28, 30, 7:00 pm
Thursday morning, January 29, 11:00 am 
Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport
Donations at the door.

We’ve got magic to do, just for you!

     Pippin, the young son of Charlemagne is looking for a life filled with magic and meaning, an extraordinary life, a life where his spirit can run free. But it just isn’t that easy to find his corner of the sky. He tries war, politics, frolicking, art, religion- all to no avail. Yet he never gives up and by the finale, Pippin realizes that even if he isn’t a river or a giant bird, he can find within that which he had been seeking outside. 
      Merriconeag Waldorf School's classes of 2017 & 2018 present the extraordinary musical Pippin, alive with eleven songs, dancing and magic. Performances are Tuesday, January 27 at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, January 28 at 7:00 pm, Thursday, January 29 at 11:00 am and Friday, January 30 at 7:00 pm. Donations to defray production costs will be gratefully accepted at the door.

We’ve got miracle plays to play, we’ve got parts to perform,

hearts to warm, Kings and things to take by storm…


Merriconeag sophomore, Sarah Norden, will be running away with the circus this summer! Sarah has been chosen to tour the Northeast with Circus Smirkus, the Greensboro, VT based award-winning international youth circus that promotes the skills, culture and traditions of the traveling circus.
.     Sarah has most recently been training with Circus Atlantic, which is the recreational program of Circus Conservatory of America (CCA) located on Thompson's Point in Portland. Prior to working with Circus Atlantic she attended Smirkus Summer Camp in Vermont for many summers as well as trained at various circus arts facilities in New England.

     Sarah's passion for the circus arts was initially sparked when the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour first performed at Merriconeag Waldorf School eleven years ago. Her love of the circus arts was fostered through the Circus Arts Curriculum at Merriconeag which provided her with an avenue to develop her artistic expression.

     Sarah is the first student from Merriconeag Waldorf School chosen to be a Trouper in the Big Top Tour Congratulations Sarah - we are looking forward to seeing you perform when the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour rolls into Freeport this August!


News from January 13, 2015

High School Robotics: Over the weekend The Merriconeag High School Robotics Team—“Free Range Robots”—competed at the Greely Vex Tournament. The team’s robot, Bobby Jo, sporting a scissor lift, four-wheel drive and a claw, made it through the elimination round before losing in the quarterfinals. Bravo, Merriconeag engineers! Team members included Zach Neveu, Sarah Norden, Ava Haag, Calla Barton, Chloe Olson, Maxime Rumiel, Liam Bonaparte, Nick Neveu.

     The High School robotics club was started in 2013 with a grant from the technology education company Intelitek, which provided the basic materials that are needed to take part in the VEX robotics competition: a microcontroller, motors, sensors, and structural components. Each team is tasked to design, build, and program a robot that can meet a particular set of challenges, which are different every year. This year the challenge was called Skyrise (You can find a video of the challenge athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxCy93hcGuI). All robots were built to pick up and transport cones and cubes, stacking them about the playing field for points. Teams compete with allies, so that the playing field is crowded with four robots all the time. Teams compete in local competitions and earn the chance to qualify for tournaments at the state, national, and global levels.

     Though our team, Free Range Robots, has not yet won a tournament, we have significantly improved our performance at every competition. Robotics club meets for two hours each week during study hall and occasionally on weekends. This year we also picked up a sponsorship with Lanco Assembly Systems, a robotics company based in Westbrook, which has enabled our team to don snazzy t-shirts at all events and to buy some much-needed parts.

"This year our team included more girls than boys, making it one of the few majority-girls robotics clubs in the state. We experienced massive improvements this year thanks to increased know-how, a larger team and a grant to buy new parts." - Zachary Neveu

"A robot is not just metal, nuts and bolts. A robot is a work of creativity and imagination. I discovered this while being part of the team. Someone once said that you must not just book by its cover." - Chloe Olsen

"The robotics competition at Greely Middle School on Saturday was very fun, and inspiring. It was very cool to see how each team's robot were like our robot in some ways and very different in others and which designs were more effective." - Nick Neveu


News from January 6, 2015

Poetry Out Loud School Finalist Selected: An event of note during the last week of school before the vacation was the final Poetry Out Loud school competition. Congratulations to Sylvia Holland! Not only will she represent Merriconeag at the POL regionals in February; she is only the school’s second ninth grader to do so in the high school’s history.
      Poetry Out Loud began as a national competition in 2006; it was the brainchild of then Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, and has been jointly sponsored ever since by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Students recite poems by heart that they have selected from the Poetry Out Loud anthology on line. At the individual school level, contestants must present two poems each. Students who reach the regional competition must prepare three. State winners receive cash prizes, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., and the opportunity to win major college scholarships.


News from December 16, 2014

Poetry Out Loud School Finalists Selected: Five students have survived the preliminary Poetry Out Loud class contests and will be competing this week for the honor of representing Merriconeag in the regional competition next month in Biddeford. Congratulations to ninth grader Sylvia Holland, sophomores Sylvie Fenderson and Dylan Wu (who tied), junior Phoebe Dolan and senior Lincoln Samuelson. Each of them advanced to the final round, which will be held during the chorus period (8:20-9:05) on Thursday, December 18, in the high school. Parents are warmly invited to attend. Thanks in advance to Craig Giddens and Sarah Hyde, teachers and speech artists who will once again serve as judges.
      Poetry Out Loud began as a national competition in 2006; it was the brainchild of then Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, and has been jointly sponsored ever since by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Students recite poems by heart that they have selected from the Poetry Out Loud anthology on line. At the individual school level, contestants must present two poems each. Students who reach the regional competition must prepare three. State winners receive cash prizes, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., and the opportunity to win major college scholarships.


Merriconeag sophomore, Cassandra Albano, represented the Skating Club of Boston’s Team Excel’s Synchronized Skating team. She competed in the open juvenile division at the 2014 Boston Synchronized Skating Classic on Nov. 22 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The team is preparing to skate in the 20th annual Cape Cod Synchronized Skating Classic in December.

To see the story in the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Sentry, click here.



News from December 2, 2014

From the High School Faculty Chair: This past week I hope you all enjoyed family, feasting, and skiing (or shoveling!) It gave many of us time to reflect upon just how much we have much to be grateful for, not the least of which is being an essential part of this extraordinary Waldorf community. Seven years ago we had just started the high school, with a total of fifteen ninth and tenth graders. At that stage it would have been a real stretch to imagine any single class whose enrollment would exceed that number, yet here we are! It is a measure of the school’s vitality that we continue to be a desirable destination for so many exchange students. Last week we bid bon voyage to Tounga Gonthier and Isaia Piette. This coming week Tucker Pierce’s exchange—Jannis Greissl—arrives. We also continue to attract enrollment possibilities from outside the school. In the next few weeks, several interested families will be visiting. David Sloan


Merriconeag Waldorf High School Humanities teacher, Kristin Agudelo, has an article in the current issue of the Research Bulletin (Autumn/Winter 2014) which is published by the Research Institute for Waldorf Education. Kristin's article is entitled, "Encountering Sophia in the Classroom: Gender Inclusion in the Waldorf Curriculum." Congratulations, Kristin!

To learn more about the Research Institute, click here.


Merriconeag Musicians Mesh with Mozart: Last month, three Merriconeag High School students had the honor of joining a 145-member ensemble in three sold-out performances of Mozart’s Requiem at Bowdoin College. Calla Barton ‘18, Fiona Ahearne ’16, and Louise Ahearne ’18, were recommended to the Mozart Mentors Orchestra by their private instructors. These teachers then work with the students to prepare for pieces performed through the year with groups such as the Oratorio Chorale, Bowdoin College Chorus, and others. Shaina Graff, Merriconeag High School strings teacher, is one of the professional mentors and served as first violinist in the performances.

     Calla, Fiona and Louise enjoyed the experience of playing alongside professional musicians (including the grammy-recipient guest musicians), college students, and under the direction of an amazing young female conductor. To watch and listen to their performance, click here. (the Requiem itself begins at about 7 minutes in).


News from November 12, 2014

High School Cross Country: Eight members of our Class C

Maine State cross-country running team traveled to Connecticut

for the New England Cross Country Championships. It was a

tough course with a big hill, and the competition was impressive.

Everyone went into this race with the intention of each individual

doing their best, and some of our runners had very good races.

While our team finished at the back of the pack, the benefits were

still many to this intrepid group of runners. Having trained and

performed at a high level all season long, the coach and kids felt

it was a real privilege to make the trip, and everyone thought it was a

positive experience to participate in this high level race. Read more> 
Full results and more can be found on the results page of the blog.


News from November 4, 2014

Merriconeag high school boys are Class C XC State Champions!

Four top-ten finishes. Five all-time PRs. Eight course PRs. Ten team medals.

And of course, one first-time-ever boys Class C cross country championship trophy.

Yes, Belfast was good to Merriconeag! Read more below.

High School Cross Country: First and foremost, congratulations to our

boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams, both of whom so admirably

represented Merriconeag Waldorf High School at the Maine State

Class C Championships in Belfast on Saturday.

The girls finished fourth in the state, and the boys are Merriconeag’s

newest STATE CHAMPIONS! Special kudos to Coach Morgan Lake Adams;

with the exception of Orono High School (student population: 359), whose

girls’ team finished first and boys’ team second at Belfast, small but mighty

Merriconeag (student population: 44) can claim to have the most successful combined cross-country program in the Class C division of the state of Maine! Bravo to all! Read more> 
Full results and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

Coming up next are the New England Championships this Saturday, November 8 in Manchester, CT.

Go Team!

Our Team in the News: The Tri-Town Weekly has an article on the Class C (and B) State Meet.

The Portland Press Herald's story on the boys' race includes a quotation from our own Lars

Gundersen. The Bangor Daily News covers the boys' race and the girls' race. And of course,

there is the usual extensive coverage over at milesplit, including an interview with Tucker and

more race photos.

Cross country: Freeport, Merriconeag take Class B, C titles
By Adam Birt, Tri-Town Weekly, November 3, 2014

Boys’ cross country: Scarborough, Freeport and Merriconeag take state titles
By Glenn Jordan, Portland Press Herald, November 1, 2014

Different strategies fuel successful efforts for boys cross country champions
By Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News, Nov. 01, 2014p.m.

There is also the usual extensive coverage over at milesplit, including an interview with

Tucker Pierce and more race photos.


News from October 28, 2014

Congratulations to Merriconeag high school boys and girls cross country teams!

Both were runner-up at the Western Maine Class C Regional Championship

on Saturday at Twin Brook in Cumberland. Read more below.

High School Cross Country:
 The skies finally cleared on Saturday for the Western Maine Regional Cross Country Championship at Twin Brook in Cumberland. Merriconeag runners were in fine form, with both the boys' and the girls' teams placing second in Class C. It was a thriller, with the boys tying Boothbay for first in regular scoring, however Boothbay came out ahead in the tie-breaker. Girls were a solid second and both teams have good momentum heading into the states race this coming Saturday at Belfast. Both the boys' and girls' teams finished with three runners in the top 10 and four in the top 20! Well done! Read more>

Check out this article on Milesplit, which name checks several of our runners- Tucker, Zach, Nick, Olivia and Sam. Olivia and Tucker are interviewed as well. There are also photos from both races, and a video from the boys' race.

Coming up next is the Class C State Championship at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast .

The schedule is:
Class C Boys - 11:00, Girls – 11:45 (this is our division!)
Class A Boys – 12:30, Girls – 1:15
Class B Boys – 2:00, Girls – 2:45
Full results and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.


During PSAT exams, our French Intern Kevin Reynaud took the three French Exchange students to the Maine Wildlife Refuge in Grey. In a beautiful sunny Autumnal day, Pauline, Isaïa, Tounga and Kevin enjoyed discovering the Maine fauna. They particularly loved observing the albino raccoon and the moose. They want to thank Merriconeag to give them this opportunity to discover this very special Maine place.



On Thursday October 23rd, I asked two students to accompany me to the Independent School Fair hosted by Breakwater School in Portland. 10th grader Sabrina Small, a former Breakwater student, and 9th grader Eli Gundersen came along with me to represent Merriconeag among about twenty other independent schools. They proved to be wonderful Ambassadors of our school, talking with great enthusiasm and clarity about their Merriconeag experience to prospective 8th graders and their families. We hope see some of these children come and shadow at our High School in the near future. I want to thank Eli and Sabrina for their kind and positive participation to this important outreach. Madame Whittlesey


News from October 21, 2014

Spirit Day at MWHS: Last Thursday, October 16, the high school celebrated Spirit Day, a day recognized by high
schools across the country. It was sponsored by our high school's new GSTA (Gay-Straight-Trans Alliance) group.A number of kids dressed in purple to signify that they oppose the bullying of LGBT kids. 



The Wit and Wisdom of the Class of 2015: For the past two weeks, the seniors have been exploring a number of authors chiefly responsible for awakening the literary genius of nineteenth century America—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman among them. Each writer exhorted people to find their own voices, to rely upon their own individual genius. In the spirit of this celebration of the self, I asked students to write an “original sentence,” that is, some thought that they believed had never been expressed in quite the same words that they chose. Below you will find the fruits of their efforts. David Sloan

“I want to live where the sky rains quivering drops of mercury and the sun and the moon perfectly co-exist and all the beings live by one simple rule: love each other.” Fiona Chace-Donahue

“Storms are remembered for how they change the world around them. This is the same for people.”Mindy Dixon

“If a society is a glass of water, then dishonesty, is the unrelenting sun that siphons it slowly into oblivion.” Lars Gundersen

“It would be easy to believe in God if God had a crooked right thumb and a firm handshake.” Zach Neveu

“They observed a new species of animal rolling about, or Rich and Al thought at least, but it turned out to be just a little child scratching its back on the roots of a tree.” Samantha Pierce

“Driving in the car alone is one of the best forms of meditation; your conscious mind is occupied with keeping you alive, while your subconscious is free to go anywhere it chooses without interruption.” Isabella Pignatello

“Life is like mushroom roulette; you never know when you might drop dead.” Graham Roeber

“If you devote your life to fishing for praise, you will probably reel in a lot of soggy shoes, but if you devote your life to fishing for soggy shoes, you probably won’t receive much praise either.” Jesse Saffeir

“We speak about living in nature, but quickly forget, then return to our concrete castles in the middle of our walled-in kingdoms of steel.” Lincoln Samuelson


Community Service Continues: On Thursday, October 16, high school students joined community service work crews on campus, at local farms, and in Portland. Here are some highlights from the day.


High School Cross Country: This past week our team was at the WMC Championship at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. This is a race comprised of all WMC (Western Maine Conference) schools, so it is large in number of schools and in number of runners. With Sebago Lake and the spectacular fall colors in view, it was a terrific day for runners and spectators alike. Results in this race are divided into large and small school divisions. Our runners ran hard, with the boys placing second and the girls placing third in the small school division. As we near the end of the season, every race is a big one. Read more>

Coming up next is the State Regional race on Saturday at Twin Brook on Tuttle Rd in Cumberland. The schedule is:
Class C - Boys – 10:00, Girls – 10:35 (these are our races!)
Class A - Boys – 12:00, Girls – 12:35
Class B - Boys - 2:30, Girls – 3:05

Full results and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.


News from October 14, 2014

High School Cross Country: Last week the cross country team had their final race of the regular season at Cape Elizabeth on Friday afternoon, racing against Cape, Gray-New Gloucester and Poland. Both of our Merriconeag teams ran strong, with both boys and girls placing second behind Cape (girls tied for first with regular scorers but lost on the tie-breaker). Olivia and Samantha came in one-two in the girls race.Read more>

Coming up this Friday is the much heralded WMC Championship at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

Races are:
3:00 – Girls Varsity
3:30 – Boys Varsity
4:00 – Girls JV
4:30 – Boys JV

Full results and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.


News from October 7, 2014

9th & 10th Grades Study Geology in Acadia National Park:  From Monday, September 29 through Thursday, October 2 the 31 ninth and tenth graders lived in Acadia National Park studying the intricacies of the geology and the effects of glaciation. Former Merriconeag teacher Cristina Post, a specialist in the geology of Mount Desert Island joined Susan Sonntag, Rose Mary Burwell, Nathan Doan, David Barham and Jeff O'Brien. The students hiked The Bubbles as well as Dorr Mountain, observed the glacial moraine by Jordan Pond and learned why Sand Beach is made up of sand rather than the more typical boulders found on most Maine beaches (hint: it has something to do with how calcium carbonate breaks down in cold water). There was much to be learned about how a mile and a half high glacier, covering the land for thousands of years compressed the Earth over 330 feet down and how the Earthhas rebounded since the last glacier melted 18,000 years ago. There is something wonderful about coming to a new and more profound understanding of the ground beneath your very feet!

     On Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to hiking, the students had two artistic workshops. One half the group painted with Mrs. Burwell, one day on Sand Beach and one day at the beautiful bridge next to Bubble Pond. The other half had a poetry workshop on Tuesday and a prose writing workshop based on Aldo Leopold's powerful essay, Thinking Like a Mountain. Both of these were led by Mr. Barham. On Wednesday night around the final campfire, the students each shared either their poem or their essay with the others. Though many were nervous about sharing their writings, a beautiful intimacy was created as everyone read. On Thursday morning, beneath the only sun we saw the whole time we were out, all of the paintings were laid out on the beach and we could take in all of the color and beauty at once. Additionally, to round it all off, the guitars and mandolins came out each night around the campfire and songs filled the air.

     Based on the immensely successful formula used for the twelfth grade marine biology study at Hermit Island, the incorporation of painting and writing alongside the science felt vital and true to the heart of Waldorf education. Being connected to the geology of Acadia through hiking its gorgeous trails, hearing the specific details from an expert on geology, painting its beauty, capturing the wild majesty in language and simply living day and night in the park for four days allowed for a depth and heart-knowledge that simply can not be "taught" in the classroom, no matter how masterful the teacher. For Waldorf education, the notion, "The world is my classroom," is not just a bumper sticker. We learn when we care and are moved and we care and are moved when what we learn is in a meaningful context.

     All part of Thinking Like a Mountain. Rest assured, we will take to the woods again as soon as we are able. 
David Barham  Click here to read some of the poems from Acadia


11th Grade trip to Quebec city, Canada: The annual 11th Grade trip to Quebec was once more a smashing success! The 11th grade class took advantage of it small size to enjoy wonderful closeness in the van as well as during every minute of the day! Our six adventurers enjoyed running in a fierce wind, looking for the secret tomb of a lost Royal French Heir, they enjoyed playing a historical game related to the 18th century battles of Quebec, picnicking on top of the Plains of Abraham or in the bright autumnal park of the Canyon of Ste Anne, visiting diverse museums to discover more about Samuel de Champlain and life in the early French colonies, walking respectfully along the aisles of the magnificent Basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupré... The days were peacefully filled with culture, history and delicious food, leaving some space for some free time to discover quaint boutiques in the narrow cobblestone streets of old Quebec, admiring some talented craftsmen and sipping hot chocolate at leisure. This 11th Grade class was enthusiastic, interested, curious, joyous and oh, so kind to each other. It was a real pleasure to be their guide and chaperon. Our little group of 8, including our wonderful intern Kevin Reynaud, was more like a small group of friends enjoying the sights of this French American jewel than a formal school group. I want to thank my students for being such a wonderful group to be with and Kevin for being a joyful, most helpful assistant during this trip.Can't wait to do this trip again! Madame Whittlesey


Mudflats and Mingling—The Twelfth Grade Hermit Island Trip: As part of their zoology block last month, the Class of 2015 spent an entire week studying marine biology at Hermit Island, along with over a hundred Waldorf students from eight Waldorf schools. The week was crammed with activities—joint morning lessons, tidepool explorations, poetry and painting workshops, microscope and dune ecology labs, campfires and contra dances. Below are few brief highlights singled out by our seniors:

At Hermit Island my favorite part about Hermit Island was meeting up with all of my old friends and making many new ones. I very much enjoyed how it boosted our class; what an amazing start to this year! Our class seems so much closer together than we have in a long time. Lincoln Samuelson

We learned about lobsters, seaweed, octopi and enjoyed campfires, delicious food and many laughs. The ocean sparkled and we splashed in the waves after covering ourselves in mud. If there had been a singing competition, we would have won with our fabulous rendition of “Bratislava Lover.” Fiona Chace-Donahue

After the mudflat lab we all got together and had a mud-smearing fight. After we were covered head to toe in mud, we ran into the ocean where we body surfed and swam around. It started to rain, and a double rainbow appeared over the water. Jesse Saffeir

Hermit Island was a wonderful time to get to know both the creatures and the people that surround us. From watching skeleton shrimp under a microscope to sitting at the edge of a cliff under the clear blue sky, the trip was a meaningful experience. I particularly enjoyed learning about how simple life can be: just a passive sponge clinging to a rock, and how amazing it is that we have become the complicated creatures that we are. Zachary Neveu

One of the most engaging aspects of the Hermit Island camping trip—the contra dance—kick-started pretty late in the week. Striving to connect and entertain a large quantity of the student body, this activity on the last evening of the trip definitely served to help the week go out with a bang.Mindy Dixon

favorite part about the Hermit Island trip was our campsite. It was on a rocky bluff overlooking all of Casco Bay, the “luxury suite” of campsites. We enjoyed watching the waves crashing on the rocks, as well as the bio-luminescence at night. It was a picture perfect Maine setting for our week of marine biology. Graham Roeber

In addition to spending time meeting fellow Waldorf students, we were able to spend time as a class, eating, cooking, cleaning, watching the stars and around the campfire. I very much enjoyed this time spent as a class, and I think that we returned even closer than ever. Lars Gundersen

One of my favorite Hermit Island memories was when we got a whole group of kids together to play Ultimate Frisbee on the beach. It was a great chance to get to know some of the kids a little bit, and it was perfect weather. After we played, a bunch of us jumped right in the ocean and the waves were big enough for us to do some body surfing, which was a blast. Isabella Pignatello

What I enjoyed about Hermit Island was the beautiful scenery and our campsite on the water’s edge where we could see the sunset every night. It was fun to be able to share the week with so many other Waldorf seniors. Samantha Pierce


A few highlights from our celebration on Friday, October 3rd:



High School Cross Country: Festival of Champions: Belfast Invitational (10.4.14)
The Merriconeag cross country teams traveled up to Belfast Saturday. Despite the unrelenting drizzle, conditions on the grassy course did not get too slick, and the flat course brought several PRs and impressive performances. The blue and gold handled the fragmented schedule (there were six different races that ran consecutively) with aplomb. And for the first time in school history, Merriconeag had a race champion. So many thanks this week- to the family members and friends who cheered everyone on, to Susan for taking on the assistant coaching role, to the Skillings for our envy-inducing giant tent, to Fiona C-D for helping with all the numbers and tags, and especially to Eliza and Clara who took splits for six different races with hardly a break in between. Check out the full re-cap after the jump: Read more »

Nick Neveu won the freshman boys' race with the fastest freshman time of the day

(not to mention a huge PR).

Don't miss Nick's interview with Milesplit.


Here's a link to Olivia Skillins interview on Milesplit.


Full results and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

Next up: Fri 10/10, Cape Elizabeth hosts Gray, Merr, Pol. Please note: This week boys 4:00, girls 4:30.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.


News from September 30, 2014

High School Cross Country: This past week the cross country team travelled to Gray-New Gloucester for a race with GNG, Kennebunk and Lake Region. Results were stellar this week, with Merriconeag runners coming in first for boys and girls (Tucker and Olivia) and both teams placed first in the team scoring. We also saw strong efforts all the way through the team. Full results  and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

The team’s next contest is a big one – the Festival of Champions in Belfast on Saturday, October 4 - which will see over 1800 runners on the course throughout the day! Races are as follows:
11:00 AM - Unseeded Boys
11:45 PM - Unseeded Girls
12:30 PM - Freshmen Boys
1:15 PM - Freshmen Girls
2:00 PM - Seeded Boys
2:40 PM - Seeded Girls
3:20 PM - Awards Ceremony in Gym
Note: Teams should report to the start area 20 minutes before the above times for check in and team introductions.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.


Welcome Baby: High School Art Teacher Johanna Flath, her husband, Eric, and son, Zev, welcomed Isla Katrina Ritter, 7lbs-6oz, into their family at 9:41 am on September 22. 




News from September 23, 2014

High School Cross Country: Fortunately the seniors returned from Hermit Island in time for the race at Freeport on Friday, which saw both the boys and girls teams placing second, with York boys and girls coming in first. Merriconeag finished with four boys and four girls placing in the top 10, with congratulations to Olivia for her first place finish! Many racers also set PRs in the Freeport race.

Full results  and more can be found on the results page of the blog.

The Next Races: This week the team will be racing at Gray-New Gloucester on Friday, along with Kennebunk and Lake Region. The boys run first at 4:30, with the girls to follow at 5:00.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.

Come out and cheer for the team!

Photos courtesy of Kevin Morris, Photographer


News from September 16, 2014

High School Cross Country

The High School Cross Country helped out as the middle school hosted a huge race this past week (awesome race everyone!), and the following day hosted Greely, Kennebunk, NYA and Poland. Our team ran hard, resulting in second place finishes for both the boys and the girls teams. Thanks to everyone that came out to support our runners, to the parents for providing post-race snacks for all and for helping to direct runners on the course, and many thanks to Coach Morgan Lake-Adams for a great job organizing the team and preparing our kids. Full results can be found on the results page of the blog.

The Next Races: This week sees the team racing at Freeport, along with Poland and York. The boys run first at 4:30, with the girls to follow at 5:00. Click here for the complete race schedule.

Throughout the season, everyone can keep on top of the running team happenings via the blog.

Come out and cheer for the team!

Photos courtesy of Kevin Morris, Photographer


News from September 9, 2014

We kicked off the year celebrating the Classes of 2015, 2019, and 2026 at our annual Wildflower Assembly!



A Swan Song to Start the School Year
      Last week the entire high school took its annual opening-of-school camping trip to Swan Island, just south of Richmond. While half the students kayaked around the island, the other half were ferried over to the island, hiked the mile-and-a-half to the campsite, then performed community service for the ranger, cleaning out a shed. The groups switched activities in the afternoon, then participated in senior-led “Wilderlympics” events, including a competition that involved stuffing as many marshmellow in one’s mouth as possible and attempting to say clearly “Chubby Bunny,” a trivia contest and choreographed team cheers. Around a memorable evening campfire, students and teachers shared goals and hopes for the year. The next morning, the Wilderlympics concluded with the most “Waldorfian” of events—fairy house building—before returning to school for the cross-country teams’ first race of the season. Below, several students shared brief impressions of the trip:

Perhaps the most memorable experience for me was when a couple of my friends and I decided to take a "shortcut" while paddle boarding. The wind was blowing and it was slow out in the open so we decided to cut through some reeds. Unfortunately it became quite shallow and it took a good 25 minutes to go through, having to pick up our paddle boards at one point. Although we were quite tired at the end of it, it certainly was adventurously fun!
Dylan Wu, Tenth Grade

The warm weather made for some lovely kayaking on the Kennebec river and everyone had a great time trying out paddle boards with varying degrees of success. Luckily the water wasn’t too cold if you fell in. 
Samantha Pierce, Twelfth Grade

The camping trip to Swan Island that kicked off the school year included many exhilarating activates, everything from leapfrog relay races to fairy house building competitions. It was also a great opportunity to meet and bond with all of the students, exchange students and new teachers.Nicholas Neveu, Ninth Grade

I really enjoyed the kayaking and paddle boarding. It was a great way for us to meet people we didn't already to know and to have a fun afternoon with those we did. Forrest McCurdy, Eleventh Grade

Although the exceptionally nice weather did invite the mosquitos into our lean-tos, it made for an abundance of fun outdoors. At night, the clear sky gave a full picture of the stars, and the afternoon swimming was prime.
Lila Bossi, Tenth Grade

Despite torrid conditions, the athletes competing in the annual wilderlympics remained phlegmatic throughout the senior-planned games, and effortlessly negotiated its many challenges. Thanks to every team’s uncanny ability to sell block crayons in the Block Crayon Commercial Competition, Stockmar is sending a scouting team to the school, and will be discussing hiring students for their marketing team. Stay tuned for more info on that. Congratulations to Kyrgyzstan, which clinched first place in the medal count for the first time in the country’s olympic history, and to all the other teams who represented their countries well. Thanks to all for a great trip. Lars Gundersen, Twelfth Grade

I really enjoyed paddle boarding and kayaking a lot. The water was the perfect temperature; it was especially funny when Eli kept tipping everybody over. I also really loved getting to know everybody better at the campfire and during mealtime. I made many new friends and learned more about everyone, even the people I've known since kindergarten. Sarah Kinzer, Ninth Grade

Kayaking on the beautiful, still water with the sun beating down on us was the perfect beginning to our annual high school camping trip. Heartfelt feelings and inspiring goals were shared as we sat around the fire, and it seemed as though a spell was cast over us. Sophie Ichizawa, Eleventh Grade