News Archives

September 2009 -June 2010

Be sure to check out additional news and read the high school newsletter, The Masthead, on the High School News page:  High School News - Merriconeag Waldorf School

New Programs at Merriconeag

    There are many exciting new offerings at Merriconeag for the upcoming 2010-11 school year. Call the Admission Office today, 207-865-3900 Ext. 103, to find out more about our High School Boarding Option with Tuition Discount, our Parent-Infant Classes, and our Two-Day Nursery Option.



Summer Programs at Merriconeag

We are pleased to offer four, week-long camps on our beautiful 75 acre campus in Freeport this summer. Register now for our Buttercup Summer Garden, Summer Adventure Camps I & II, or our Circus Arts Camp. The camps are open to anyone and provide families new to the school with a wonderful opportunity to experience a taste of Waldorf.

     he deadline for registration for the July Camps is Monday, June 14th. The deadline for registration for Circus Arts Camp is Friday, July 9th


The Eighth Grade Class of 2010

David Barham's Speech to the 8th Grade Class of 2010
Rose Assembly, June 11, 2010

     Ten years ago more or less today, I gave a graduation speech to an eighth grade Class of 2000. It flowed out of me completely formed while I lay in bed with a 103º fever, drenched with sweat unable to even lift my head. I wrote down the thoughts that feverishly pursued me in my half sleep- half delirium on my laptop. I had never been quite so sick before and certainly not since. Compared to this speech, that one was easy!
      So I begin daunted by the fact that in preparation for this moment, I never got sick. I had to pull this together out of my own healthy, fully awake consciousness. Much harder!
      I feel like we have done a lot of living in these two short-long (long-short?) years we have been together. When we began together as a class in September 2008, the 43rd President was still in office, the United States had not yet taken the next leap on its path towards fulfilling its promise and electing the first African-American President. In these two short-long years, the global economy has gone berserk, oil has begun gushing out of the Gulf of Mexico, comprehensive health care reform has been passed, and so much more.
      I have thought so hard about what words of wisdom to say to you at such a moment as this. I have said many words to you over these past two years and perhaps the pressure of knowing this is my final chance to address you all as a group made it seem all the more challenging to pick just the right last words for this occasion. What advice could I give you about how to live in these wild times we find ourselves in?
      Then I realized something- I realized that throughout this year, a number of voices have already been telling you how to live. . There’s only been one problem: The words we have heard have been absolutely contradictory and impossible to reconcile- each telling us something totally different about where to find meaning and value within our lives.
      For example, there was Lola, Lola the Living Doll. Lola had a lot to tell us about what was important and how we should live our lives. Lola told us that when we are bored, we should buy a few things- the toys and joys that Megabucks bring. She and her lovely friends told us that our friends would desert us when the going gets rough and that we should put our trust and faith in more reliable stuff- like a black limousine, a suite at the Ritz, a gambling casino, a luxury yacht and a portfolio of stock (clearly Lola and her friends did not live through the recent recession!). Lola told us that power and pleasure would set us free. The Grey Gentleman who brought Lola to Momo (Agent BLW slash 553 slash C) said that all that matters in life is to climb the ladder of success and that when a person climbs that ladder, she is more powerful, owns more things and that automatically, everything else follows- friendship, respect, love etc. Agent BLW’s fellow Grey Gentleman have all sorts of advice about how we should and should not spend our precious time.
      They are very clear that we should not be wasting our time in meaningless pursuits. We ask, which types of pursuits are meaningless and they tell us that certainly singing, reading, time spent with friends and daydreaming by the window are a waste of time. But even more- bringing flowers to someone to make them smile, helping our parents with housework, even caring for a pet are all needless extravagances, and demonstrate that we are wasting time in a totally irresponsible manner.
      The Chairman himself took it even further. He told us that we could have Eternal Life, the Wealth of the World, Infinite Knowledge, that we could establish a Global Order of Peace and Prosperity and be worshipped as the Savior of the World!
      Wow! Savior of the World! Powerful words of advice on how to live from these folks. Not all that different in essence from the words you will hear out there in the world from those trying to sell you something.
But these are not the only words we heard this year. Ouwa, Bamuthi and Mopani from the extraordinary novels we read by Laurens van der Post, A Story Like the Wind and A Far Off Place painted a very different picture of the world and our possible place in it.
      Mopani told us that nothing that we do in life is ever wasted. Everything in life matters and ultimately has a place, an impact and a meaning. He reminds us that the journey in the world without will not provide us the resolution we seek- what we search for can only be found in the inner journey. Mopani tells us that the only real crisis out of which all evil comes is a crisis of meaning. While Lola tells us to buy stuff, Mopani tells us that a terrible invasion of meaninglessness and a feeling of not belonging is the sickness of our day. It is not lack of money- it is lack of meaning that is the problem. I can tell you from direct experience in my own life that “Meaning will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no meaning.”
      Douglas Gerwin reminded the graduating seniors about Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken and about two roads diverging in a yellow wood. You will have to make innumerable choices at innumerable forks- which road will you take? The road of Lola? Or the road of Mopani? The road of stuff and diversion? Or the road of meaning?
And now I am reaching the end of my talk. I want to say something very serious here. I want to remind you that even at your young age, you have been tested and challenged. Right before I came, you lost your once trusted class teacher under very difficult circumstances, along with a number of dear friends and classmates that had been on this eye of the needle journey alongside you. For many people, the response to having one’s trust broken or betrayed is to become closed or cynical. To believe the Lolas of the world that material stuff will serve better than human relationships that can be destroyed or ideals that can make you vulnerable. Though you may have felt that way at times, you have grown ever more open hearted and willing to trust. The world needs people like you that have learned the lesson that what is broken can be fixed (and perhaps made even better), that there are cracks in everything- that is how the light gets in.
      You have sung one song many times now about a much loved ship that sinks to the bottom of the ocean and through the devoted work of a small band of men who love her she is made to rise again. I only have a last moment here, so I need to say this in language plain and clear: You are the Mary Ellen Carter- collectively as a class and each one of you as individuals who carry the lessons learned when you were awash. So my dear class, go forth, don’t hide what you learned in the watery depths. Take this solid knowledge, this secret wisdom you have earned about transformation and resurrection and let it shine out into the world.
      Hold tight to these words when the waves get rough:
Rise Again, Rise Again
Though your heart it be broken and life about to end
No matter what you’ve lost,
Be it a home, a love, a friend
Like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!

Merriconeag's Historic First 12th Grade Graduation

James Black Lyscars, Lily Call O'Brien, William Baxter Morse, Norajean Ferris and Zakary Asher Konstantino

     Merriconeag Waldorf School’s celebration of 25 years as a Waldorf school culminated on Saturday, June 5, 2010 with the historic graduation of its first 12th grade class. As the first seniors walked down the aisle in the Community Hall, they realized the dream of the school’s founding board and parents who shepherded the school through humble beginnings in 1984 and nourished the seed that has flourished and grown into an accomplished Early Childhood through Grade 12 school.

Thoughts From a Parent on our First 12th Grade Graduation

     As with so many aspects of Waldorf Education, Merriconeag's historic first high school graduation was far too beautiful to put into words. As each student entered into the community hall, to music chosen by him or her self, we all realized that this was going to be an extraordinarily special graduation. To give one example, each graduating senior was introduced by a different member of the faculty. The introductions were incredible. The teachers truly knew these students, cared about them, cried for them. What a gift it was for these students to have these faculty members in their lives. To have teachers that knew them so well, could speak about them so eloquently, is a truly unique gift that Merriconeag has given to these students!
      The Key Note Speaker, Douglas Gerwin, spoke of the “fork in the road” and the choices that lie ahead for our graduates. He used the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken” as his inspiration, and during his talk gave each of the graduates a compass to help them “chart their course.”
      William Morse and Lily O’Brien presented their Class gift to the school at the end of the ceremony. They spoke of the strength of the Merriconeag Community, the depth and richness of their Waldorf High School experience, and their longing to see the whole school united on one campus. They bore witness to the fact that a Waldorf School is committed to the education of the whole child, from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. They have a dream of seeing the two campuses united on Desert Road, and as their gift, the Class of 2010 has started a building fund for Merriconeag High School.
      It was an honor to be present at the graduation and it is a gift to be part of this community. Margaret Samuelson

"Bridge School"

     Four of the five graduating seniors on stage, last Saturday, were in the original “Bridge School.” They were a hopeful group of about 9 students and their parents who started a 9th grade class in 2006, trusting that the Merriconeag Waldorf High School would be forming the following year, and that somehow their class would be incorporated into a combined 9th and 10th grade. There were no guarantees or promises that this would come about as they hoped. Many people discouraged them from holding on to the idea of a combined 9th and 10th grade start to the new high school. It was a huge leap of faith for those pioneering parents and these students.
      It reminds me of the signs near bridges in the winter…
                                               “Warning! Bridges Freeze before Roadways”
      Bridges can be risky…they often span rushing water or deep gullies; they can be quickly covered in ice, or enveloped in fog. They take imagination, ingenuity, and courage to build. They need extra maintenance! But they do allow one to travel from where you are to where you aspire to be.
      These five seniors were asked a last week, what gifts their Waldorf Education had given them. One replied that being a pioneer had taught patience…everything was for the first time, you were part of the creating, and you had to respect the pace that each one needed, in order to get to where they needed to go, together.
In their 12th grade play “The Good Doctor” by Neil Simon, these five seniors portrayed over 20 characters in seven delightful vignettes, beautifully staged, impeccably timed, with rich characterizations. But what stood out for me was the amazing ensemble work that one usually sees in well rehearsed repertory groups. This can only be accomplished with the deepest trust, understanding and appreciation for each other. This class has built more than a bridge; they have built a community and pioneered a high school. Christine Sloan

Patty Be Praised!

     If your son or daughter has brought home Merriconeag's first all-school yearbook, you have probably been impressed by the high quality of the publication known as The Gyre. Editor Lily O'Brien, photo editor Jake Lyscars, and their associates Zoe Chace-Donahue and Teagan Wu deserve kudos for their creative and constant efforts. However, no one has done more to bring the yearbook to fruition than Patty Bright. For the past three years, Patty has volunteered her valuable time and expertise to work with the high school yearbook staff. She has taught them layout techniques, helped them choose and elaborate an annual theme (this year, the beautifully developed "Threads" motif), and guided them through the process of expanding the yearbook to include the entire school. For her tireless generosity and commitment to making the yearbook a highly anticipated part of the end-of-year whirl, Patty be praised. David Sloan

Who's New for Next Year...

     We are pleased to announce that Margaret Samuelson will be our First Grade Assistant in the morning and afternoon program. She will be working closely with our new First Grade Teacher, Robert Pennington, who has already been teaching at the school this spring with the First Grade afternoon program and the Third Grade Building and Garden block.
      As we announced earlier this spring, Kirsti Hiebert will be working again with Kam Anderson in the Nursery program.


Eighth Grade Class Trip

The 8th Grade Aboard the J & E Riggin

Our 8th Grade spent a wonderful week in May sailing on beautiful Penobscot Bay on the schooner, J&E Riggin .

The Doctor Is (Finally) In!

     The Class of 2010 has a full plate this week. Today after school they will meet with faculty members to receive Rudolf Steiner's "leaving verse." On Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Community Hall, they will perform an open dress rehearsal of Neil Simon's The Good Doctor, which students and their parents are invited to attend for free. The seniors will also perform the play on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m. The suggested donation for those performances is $5 ($15 for families). However, two scenes in the play involve the theme of seduction and a "lady of the night," which might not be suitable for younger children. The play runs just under two hours, with a ten-minute intermission.
      On Saturday, the school community is invited to attend Merriconeag's first high school graduation. The Commencement Exercises will begin at 2 p.m. in the Community Hall, with Douglas Gerwin serving as the keynote speaker. A reception will follow the ceremony. David Sloan

A Thing of Beauty

     The Community Hall is the gathering center, the performance hall, the festival host, the celebration heart of our campus. This past weekend, another amazing addition, thanks to the generous and artistic contributions of Cindy Thompson and Matt Rawdon, was designed and installed on our stage.
      Our stage has been enhanced for years with Cindy’s beautiful fabric stage pieces created by Transformit. The hope had always been to include a proscenium arch and stage curtain to enhance the space and create more theatrical options in the room. Thanks to extra 8th grade class funds over the past five years, and Cindy and Matt’s extraordinary gift of design and installation, we now have a magnificent setting for future plays, concerts, talks and performances.
      Please don’t miss a chance to pop into the Community Hall this week…maybe see the 4th grade strings concert, (Tuesday evening), the 12th grade play, (Wednesday dress rehearsal and Thursday and Friday Productions at 7:00), or the 12th Grade Graduation on Saturday at 2:00! Or just slip in at the end of school and see the magnificent change to our stage!
      Thank you, Cindy and Matt, and the families of the past five eighth grades, who have made this improvement happen in the Community Hall. Look for fresh paint in the Hall and Gallery this summer! Christine Sloan

The Doctor Is (Almost) In

     Merriconeag’s first senior class warmly invites the school community to attend performances of The Good Doctor, by Neil Simon, next Thursday and Friday evenings, June 3 and 4, in the Community Hall.  The play, loosely adapted from several Anton Chekhov short stories, is really a series of vignettes related only by their Russian character.  Although none of the scenes contains objectionable content or language, parents of children younger than sixth grade or seventh grades should use discretion; one vignette is about the world’s greatest seducer of married women; in another, a father’s birthday gift to his nineteen-year-old son is an encounter with a “lady of the night.”  Tickets will be on sale at the door for $5.  One other opportunity to see the play will take place at a  free “open dress rehearsal” on Wednesday evening, June 2, also at 7 p.m.

The Seniors Make the Most of Montreal

     Merriconeag’s soon-to-be graduating twelfth graders class found Montreal the (nearly) perfect setting for their senior trip. Norajean Ferris, Zak Konstantino, Jake Lyscars, William Morse, Lily O’Brien and their chaperones Ms. Buck and Mr. Sloan enjoyed three sunny, unseasonably warm days as they biked up to the top of Mont-Royal, sampled a variety of international meals, ooh-ed and aah-ed at the impossible theatrics/acrobatics of the Cirque du Soleil, visited the Botanical Gardens and Biodome, and rehearsed their senior play in a conveniently empty amphitheater in the Parc du Fontaine. The only small shadow over the trip—aside from Lily being questioned by the metro police after she innocently jumped one of their non-working turnstiles, and nearly losing Norajean when the metro doors closed prematurely, which would have left her on the platform—was the huge, jackhammering, monster machine that workers used to tear up the sidewalk directly beneath our hostel windows. . .at 6:30 a.m.! All in all, le voyage a été magnifique! David Sloan

Momo Makes Merry

Congratulations and thanks to the 8th grade, their teacher and parents for a wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking production of Momo and the Thieves of Time.



Fifth Grade Pentathlon

     It was the tradition in Ancient Greece for the Olympians to gather for one month prior to the games in order to practice together. During that time and throughout the games themselves all enmity between the city states was laid to rest. The athletes focused on improving their skills and offering prayers to the gods who would bless their efforts.
      Though it was not Ancient Greece and we do not suffer any hostilities, we did gather as 5 disparate Waldorf schools to eat, play, and practice together before officially opening the Pentathlon. Each class gave its artistic offering before the 77 students were mixed between 6 city states in preparation for the morrow's events.
      For two fair days the gods smiled upon us with blue skies and bug chasing breezes. For two days we were warmly welcomed by students, parents, and faculty of the Bay School. And like the ancients the athletes ran, leapt, wrestled, and threw discus and javelin in a multi-lingual milieu. The gods and all watching were gratified. Lynn Thurrell


O Artemis,
Beautiful goddess of the hunt,
So graceful, strong, and free,
I ask that you might grant me
Thy speed and strength and grace,
That I may launch myself into the sky
Flying high above the long jump pit.
Help me to release the discus
That it might soar high into the heavens
Carrying the words of my prayer to you.
O Artemis,
Youngest daughter of Zeus,
I ask but one thing more,
That thon might bless this day
With sun and warmth.

Ciara Murphy-Anderson

Ode to Mr. Saccone

O Mr. Saccone, we thank thee for thine help.
Because of thee, our javelin and discus flew far.
We thank thee for your hard work to help us train.
We ran as fast as a jaguar,
Jumped as high as a kangaroo,
Were as graceful as a deer, all in honor of thee and the gods we serve.
If not for thee, our attempts in the games
Would have been as feeble as a baby birds.
Because of thee,
We stood in the sun receiving our medals and wreaths with glory.
O Mr. Saccone, we thank thee for thine help.

End of Year Report from the Development Office

     As Waldorf education reminds us, real success is not measured by the end product, but by the process of striving toward a goal. The dollars we raised this year through our many fundraising events were indeed impressive, but the real value is often discovered in the friendships and personal triumphs gained by our efforts. As many of you can attest, after the event is over, after the cleanup and the celebration ends, what remains is the self-satisfaction of a job well done, the pure joy of helping a cause, and the lasting friendships.
     I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this incredibly gifted and generous community, and I look forward to developing new friendships in the year ahead! I am always eager to hear your fundraising ideas (several of which are still in the planning stage, so not listed below), and I deeply appreciate all the ways in which you help support the school through your gifts of time, talent, and money.
      Please be in touch if you are willing and able to help with any of the following events next year. Whether you have just a couple hours total, or several hours per week, I would love to work with you to find a project that suits your interest and skills. If these reasons to volunteer aren’t persuasive enough, remember that volunteering in the development office of Merriconeag has the added benefit of yummy treats!
                                                                                                         With gratitude, Lynne Espy, Development Coordinator                                                                                        865-3900 Ext. 116

Parents Looking into Bus Service

     A group of parents is examining possibilities for bus service to MWS from various locations. The potential benefits include reduced traffic congestion, lowered fuel use and time savings. The cumulative effect of 75 cars making a 20 mile daily round trip is 30,000 miles travelled and 1,350 gallons of gasoline consumed per month!
      Please respond to a very short survey at Survey Monkey to determine the feasibility of bus service at MWS.
      Please reply by June 15; we want to hear from everyone! Thank you!  Alicia Heyburn

Merriconeag’s Circus Update


Playbill Cover Design Contest: Ninth Grader Eliza Smith-Sitnicki has been chosen to design this year’s Smirkus Freeport Playbill Cover. Thank you, Eliza, for sharing your talent with thousands of Circus-goers…look for her artwork in the Smirkus Playbill.

Homestay Hosts: There are just 3 spots left for hosting Smirkus Troupers during their three-night stay in Freeport from 8/3 to 8/6. You can feel a part of the excitement by providing a home-away-from-home for 2 Troupers. Hosting is a fun, helpful way to make this Circus happen. We have a fantastic Welcome Party for Host Families and Troupers only. We are also carefully planning the Homestay experience this year to optimize carpooling. Prior hosts rave: “My daughter felt like she was a part of the Circus with her ‘own’ Troupers. The Smirkus kids were fun and very polite. We’ll host every year that we can!” recalls Debbie Gaspardi. Please contact Drew Tieman, 207.272.4025 to sign up.

Host Children-in-Need to Attend the Circus: There are over 700 children awaiting full or partial sponsorship through our Magic Matinee Program. Kids from Make-a-Wish, Easter Seals, Big Brother/Sister of Bath & Brunswick, Woodford Family Services and several summer camp programs are relying upon help to make it to the Big Top. For every child’s ticket ($17) you donate, we will give you a free Smirkus Freeport shirt. Please contact Trace Salter, 207.756.9212, to take the joy of Smirkus far beyond the ring.

Work a shift under the Big Top: With 38 empty shifts on the Volunteer List, we have many vacant roles in our Cast of Clowns for this year’s Circus. Working under the Big Top is really fun and we show our appreciation by thanking you profusely and plying you with snacks and water while you’re with us. Even younger kids can feel like a roustabout by handing out a Playbill or two. Please look at the SmirkusCurrent Volunteer List and contact Trace Salter to join the Smirkus Freeport Crew.

Place an Ad: Reach out to 3,000 people by placing an ad in our Smirkus Freeport Playbill. For pricing take a look at our Ad Rate Sheet.  We can even negotiate a deal with the other Smirkus Presenter in Maine if you would like your ad to be placed in their Kennebunkport playbill at a 50% discount. Please pass referrals on to Trace Salter if you think any friends or contacts would be interested in reaching our sold-out audiences that are comprised of 65-75% local families. Rates are reasonable and this ad revenue is crucial to the success of our Smirkus presentation…thank you!


Eighth Grade Play - Momo and the Thieves of Time

     The eighth grade will present its play, Momo and the Thieves of Time, on Thursday, May 20 at 10:00 am and again at 7:00 pm. Everyone is invited to both performances. Admission is free.
      The play was written by long time Waldorf class teacher William Ward based on the book Momo and the Grey Gentlemen by Michael Ende, author of The Neverending Story. William, who has since died from a brain tumor, wrote a beautiful book about his illness called Traveling Light.
      The play is a surreal contemporary drama set within the cosmic struggle between kindly Professor Hora, the Guardian of Time, and the comic-demonic Grey Gentlemen who are out to steal and freeze Time. Momo, the mysterious orphan girl who lives in a ruined ampitheater, hears the music of the stars and lives in the Here and Now. She is an obstacle to the Grey Gentlemen's sinister plans. Even her friends, the Street Kids, are lured away and imprisoned as the pace of modern life accelerates. With the help of Professor Hora and the Timeless Turtle Cassiopeia, Momo courageously confronts evil and releases the frozen Hour Lilies. (And believe it or not, the whole thing is something of a musical!)
      We would love to have everyone in the community come out and see this unique production and support the eighth grade's final artistic offering as a class. David Barham



Café Merriconeag

"What if conversation is how things get done?"

- From the World Café: Shaping our Futures through Conversations that Matter

     What will the next generation of MWS look like? How will we grow together as a community? How will we bring the high school home? What do we need to do to improve our environment to continue to attract world-class faculty and families who care deeply about children’s education?

   This coming Saturday night, April 10th, from 6:30 - 9:00 PM, you are invited to join with faculty and friends, community and students as we explore the most important questions about the future of Merriconeag. The Community Hall will be set up as a café, with round tables and light refreshments. Participants at each table will be asked to respond to questions related to their experience of Merriconeag and vision for the future. Table hosts will record the reflections and ruminations on our “tablecloths”. . From our conversation will come the next steps toward creating the future of our school. This World Café event promises to be the foundation for the next generation of MWS—inspired by your experience, your wisdom, and your creativity. Don’t miss it!  For more information on the format of the evening, check out:  

     The evening will be facilitated by Margaret Cleveland, parent of MWS Senior, Jake Lyscars.

We are also delighted to invite Merriconeag alumni and high school students.

We look forward to see you all!

Brought to you by the MWS Board of Directors


Tuition Assistance Auction a Huge Success

Anne McLain, Aldona Shumway, Lynne Espy, & Barbara Kappelmann

Merriconeag’s 25th Birthday Party and Auction on Saturday night was a huge success: it was uproariously joyful, wildly profitable, and deeply gratifying. The final numbers are not yet calculated, but we know that we surpassed the $30,000 goal for the tuition assistance fund, which is a wonderful tribute to the remarkable generosity, hard work, and compassionate nature of this community. So many people helped make this event successful, and we are so very grateful to all of you. Here are a few scenes that were memorable and symbolic of this remarkable team effort:

  • The faculty’s performance of Jordan Seavey’s witty and beautiful song, written in honor of the school’s 25th anniversary, filled us with gratitude for this wonderful faculty and school.
  • Alumni Tica Douglas and Matthew Ritger (members of Jill Fox’s 2002 class) had the crowd alternately roaring with laughter and dabbing tears, as they reflected on the significance of their Merriconeag education.
  • Jim Ahearne and Nord Samuelson, our fabulous emcees for the night, used their wit and persuasion to raise over $18,000 in 30 minutes, during Merriconeag’s first-ever “Reverse Auction”, creating a collaborative, contagious jubilation.
  • Will Hight’s present.....that was service well beyond his job description.
  • The silent auction helped raise $9,185, more than half of it from local businesses – be sure to thank them with your patronage.
  • The food was delicious, the drinks plentiful, the champagne was free, and the Community Hall was transformed into the happiest birthday scene imaginable.
  • Perhaps the nicest image for me: seeing former parents, older alumni students, the current faculty, board members, dear friends of the school, and a large turnout of current ECC, grades and high school parents – all celebrating together.

The Auction Committee thanks everyone who contributed to the success of this event, and congratulates the raffle winners:

  •  Michelle Jean’s stunning birthday cake, in the shape of a present, was won by Jack Burgess.
  • The all day kayaking excursion, donated by Lincoln Canoe, was won by Patty Carton.
  • The 25/75 cash raffle (the total exceeded $8,000) was won by Jennifer Chace’s father                                                           

Please join me in thanking the wonderful 2010 Auction Committee:  Aldona Shumway, Barbara Kappelmann, Susan Caron, Anne McLain, Nancy Goldberg, Rosita Moore, Lucy Ahearne, Gina Sawin, Diane Campos, Mandy Andreson, Carina Wishman Freedner, Victoria Stefanakos, and Aly Fullagar, plus support from Ani Helmick, Patty Carton, Tracy and Scott Libby, Michelle Jean, Lisa and Adrian Bossi, Shannon Combar, Kathy Watko, and Will Hight. And special guests: Nord Samuelson and Jim Ahearne and Matthew Ritger and Tica Douglas.  ~Lynne Espy

To view more auction photos click here


A Mighty Celebration at Brunswick Winter Farmers' Market  

    In Brunswick, on Saturday mornings, in the Fort Andross Mill, there is a wonderful open space that hosts a “Winter Farmers’ Market.” Every Saturday, from 9 to 12:30, the place is bustling with farmers, chefs, artisan bakers, cheese makers, craftsman and more. In one of the main entrance corridors, musicians play throughout the morning, setting out there cases to collect coins and dollar bills. Children play in the aisles and parents sip coffee, eat pastries and talk with friends.

     Musicians have to book a slot at the Market well in advance with Craig, the “music maestro.” We were happy to get March 27th for our Merriconeag Blue Grass debut at the Mill. Two groups, Squash and Gourds, which includes the Pierce family and friends, and Fen, which includes Jack Pierce, William Morse and alum, Josh Espy, took turns playing for three hours to a packed hall of delighted shoppers. 

     Dan Pierce periodically sang the praises of Merriconeag Waldorf School between blue grass tunes. A number of us wore the

 “Ask me about Waldorf High School” buttons, and found ourselves answering questions and telling stories about our school to a very happy crowd. Our students and their friends charmed the crowd with their musical talent and their poise. They collected $185 in their fiddle case, and generously donated all of it to the tuition assistance auction! Thank you Squash and Gourds and Fen for sharing your wonderful talent and love of blue grass!  Christine Sloan

It is that time of the year when seniors are hearing admission decisions from colleges...

     So far, members of the Merriconeag Waldorf Class of 2010 have been accepted to Colby College, Warren Wilson College, Mount Holyoke College, Franklin Pierce College, University of Vermont, Merrimack College, University of New Hampshire, Bennington College, Colby-Sawyer College, and the University of Southern Maine. Congratulations to our Seniors. We will keep you posted as we hear more.


If You Missed Will Bristol on NPR's Live at 11 , It's Not Too Late to Catch the Show

     If you missed former student, Will Bristol's interview on NPR's Live at 11 on Thursday, March 11th, you may click the following link to hear a recording of the show: Will Bristol on NPR's Live at 11.

     Will was also recently recorded for Channel 6's show Area Code 207. We'll keep you posted as to when that will air.

High School Week - March 15 - 19   

    Many regularly scheduled classes have been cancelled this week at the high school and have been replaced with a variety of workshops and speakers and trip to Boston all of which fall under the theme of the week "Ways of Seeing". 

     Our keynote speaker is Greg Rec, a photojournalist for the Portland Press Herald.  Greg has covered Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently Haiti for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.  While living in Missoula, Montana, Greg also captured the first photos of the unibomber. He spoke this morning, Tuesday, March 16th.

    We will be offering five workshops. Each workshop meets on 4 days and meets for 90 minutes each day.  Each high school student will be participating in two workshops.  Electives, music and movement classes will continue to meet during high school week.

     The five workshops being offered are: Yoga - developing inward and outward seeing; Stage Combat - The Art of Illusion; Astronomy - How to see the planets constellations, black holes and super novas; Film – Seeing how the language of film has evolved; and, Graphic Design - seeing through advertising and creating a personal logo.

     In addition to the workshops and keynote speaker, Thursday, March 18th will be a day dedicated to Field Trips.  The high school will be taking the train to Boston. There will be a choice of field trips within Boston. The MIT Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum, Aquarium, Science Museum, The Atheneum, and the Freedom Trail are all possible field trip choices.

     On the afternoon of Friday, March 19th, there will be "a sharing" as each workshop group and field trip group shares its experience with the greater high school.


     Merriconeag Welcomes Robert Pennington as Next Year's First Grade Teacher

     The College of Teachers is happy to announce that Robert Pennington will join us as our next year’s first grade teacher. Robert recently received his Teacher Training Certification and Diploma in Rudolf Steiner Education at Taruna College, New Zealand. After completing his BFA at the University of New York’s Tisch School of Fine Arts Film Department, he worked for 20 years in documentary film making in New York City. Robert has special interests in biodynamic agriculture and building restoration and looks forward to moving back to New England. He plans to move to Maine this spring to begin preparing for next year, and settle his family after their recent move from New Zealand. Robert and his wife, Julie, (a native New Zealander, who has also completed the Teacher Training program) have two children who will be joining our Early Childhood program.

    Robert is currently staying with family in Ohio, and hopes to visit the school next week, and begin his house search. Once they complete their relocation to Maine, we will arrange social gatherings to welcome Robert and his family to Merriconeag.

 Will Bristol Interview on NPR's (90.1) Live at 11 on Thursday, March 11th

     Be sure to tune in to hear Will Bristol, classical pianist and former Merriconeag student, Thursday, March 11th at 11:00 am, when he will be interviewed by Suzanne Nance on NPR's (90.1) Live at 11. Will is considered to be one of the most promising pianists in the country. He was recently chosen to perform on NPR’s From the Top. That show will be taped at Merrill Auditorium in Portland on March 24th.  From the Top is the preeminent showcase for America’s best young musicians. We will let you know the air date for that show when it is scheduled.  A wonderful opportunity to hear Will perform is coming right up this Sunday, March 14th, 2:00 pm at Jewett Auditorium at the University of Maine Augusta. Click her to view the Will Bristol concert flyer.


Coffee in the Farmhouse with class teacher, Hugh Renwick - Tuesday, March 16, 9:00 a.m.

     What do we mean when we say Waldorf Education is a developmental approach?  Just how does the curriculum mirror the development of consciousness in the human being?  Drawing on 30 years of Waldorf teaching experience, Hugh Renwick will use the themes of the 7th grade curriculum to illustrate our school’s unique approach to history.  Learn why 13 year olds are eager to learn about the great artists and explorers who lived during the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration.  Come and hear about Leonardo da Vinci and his discovery of the laws of perspective and about Galileo and his telescope, and gain insight into your children’s education here at Merriconeag.  All are welcome!

Mardi Gras Ball Raises $500 for the People of Haiti

     A huge thank you to all who made the Eighth Grade Mardi Gras Ball/Community Dance/Haitian Fundraiser a roaring success.

Despite the crazy weather and the power outages, all who showed up had a wonderful time! Together we raised $500 to contribute to Dr. Paul Farmers' Partners in Health, which benefits the people of Haiti.
     Many eighth grade parents worked very hard to make the Community Hall beautiful and welcoming and to provide the food and beverages that sustained the dancers. Thank you to all of those wonderful parents and especially to Richard Evans, Karen Hastings, Sue Rhodes and Kelly Barham for the months of meetings, details and hard work. Their love for this project made all the difference in the world. A special thank you to all of the 8th and 9th graders who were willing to offer childcare free of charge to help raise money for the cause. 
     Local Portland band Giraffe Attack truly read the mood of the crowd and delivered a great night of live music. 

     Finally, my deepest thanks to my bandmates in the latest musical group to hit the greater Portland scene, Dr. Nerve-Sense & the Rhythmic System. Not only were all of these players great on their instruments (even those who just picked up their respective instrument for this gig!), but all were energetic, committed and gave their all. Bill Waldron, our pedal steel player, went above and beyond the call of duty in allowing us to use his incredible practice space (even when he wasn't there!) and tons of his equipment. All of us are grateful for his spirit. Here now is the rest of the band: Nancy Roderick (violin), Kelly Barham (drums), Michael Fenderson (guitar and vocals), Oliver Kinzer (lead guitar and vocals), David Beringer (bass and vocals), Jordan Seavey (piano, saxophone, vocals) and yours truly, David Barham (guitar and vocals). Nobody in the band wants it to end, so I imagine you haven't heard the last from us yet! 
     So let this be the start of hopefully many more such community celebrations. Let there be singing and dancing and eating and drinking and being together as a community. The eighth grade showed it can be done and we want to encourage (and maybe even challenge!) others to keep the spirit alive. Let's do it again!  David Barham, Class Teacher, Grade 8


David Barham Returns to Ak Lu'um Waldorf School in the Jungle of Quintana Roo     

      I wanted to let the Merriconeag community know a bit about my second trip in as many years down to Playa del Carmen, Mexico to mentor and consult with the fledgling Waldorf school there, Ak Lu'um. This is the school I wrote an article about for the last edition of Renewal. It was great to head down a second time and see where the school had grown and where it was struggling. 
      It remains challenging to create an independent school in Mexico. There is little suport for independence in education, teacher's salaries are very low, families are unable (or unwilling) to pay for the actual costs of private education and above all, one constantly runs into beaurocratic hassles from the Mexican education ministry (SEP). Despite all of these challenges (plus the global recession and the challenging jungle environment), my dear friends Siobhan, Richard and Gaby are continuing to do extraordinary work. Everything about the school is inpiring and one wants nothing more than for the school to be a success. 
I attended classes every day for the week I was there and then gave a two hour teaching session to the teachers after school. On the last day, I gave a lecture to the parents enlisting them as co-workers in the revolutionary enterprise that is Waldorf education. I would present in English and Siobhan would translate my words for the teachers who did not speak English. The staff is made up of Mexicans, Americans, and Europeans, most bilingual or even trilingual. Two new teachers who are native English speakers were particularly grateful to have the presentations in English and to be able to ask theirmany questions in their first language. All of the teachers go each summer to Cuernevaca, Mexico for three weeks of Waldorf teacher training in Spanish.
      The early childhood classes in the school are all full and overflowing, but numbers are down in the grades. Filling those classes is an important next step in their work. All week we spoke about the deep work of creating a Waldorf school. Waldorf schools are not only radical in the classroom, but also in thier organizational structure and the way we work together as colleagues. The teachers at Ak Lu'um are excited to deepen their collegial work as well as their pedagogical work. 
Each day we sang and did eurythmy together and that helped form a bond. I have been involved with this initiative, in one way or another, since the beginning, five years ago, and so I have become something of a mentor figure to the teachers. This trip I was very aware of the fact that I was easily learning as much from them as I was teaching. The warmth, enthusiasm and energy those teachers have is amazing and inspiring. 
      I was asked to be part of the Board of a newly forming non-profit (Friends of Ak Lu'um) that will try to raise money from Waldorf communities in the US to provide scholarships for Mayan and low income Mexican children to attend the school (and eventually other Waldorf schools in Mexico). I am excited to be part of that work as well and will let our community know more about how they might help as that project gets up and running. 
      Please check out the article in Renewal for more information on the school. (We have several copies of this issue available in our school offices or you may subscribe through the AWSNA website.) The school has a long road of hard work ahead of them, but they most certainly have the will and skill to meet the challenges and to provide an incredible education in a very special part of the world. 
      All in all, a most inspiring journey.  David Barham


Former Merriconeag Student Recounts How His Waldorf Education Prepared Him

to Think Critically and to Ask Tough Questions

Click here to read Alden Porter's February 13, 2010 Portland Press Herald editorial entitled Many Students Shunted Aside by System That Ignores Learning Styles.

Circus Smirkus Update

Hup hey! The auditions are finished and the new cast for this year's Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour has been announced. Four Mainers will be amongst the Troupers who come to Freeport on 8/5 & 8/6 for Wilderness Wonders: Outdoor Adventures Under the Big Top.

Become a Fan of Smirkus on Facebook and follow all the here.

2010 Big Top Tour Trouper Head Shots! Photos taken Feb 24, 2010 at Circus Smirkus Auditions.

For more click here.


A Note from the Admissions Office

     This is the “high season” for exploring schooling options for the fall.  I’m busy talking to lots of prospective parents, many of whom say that they learned about us from a Merriconeag family.  While we encourage parents to apply by February 12, many are just now starting to think about something different for their children, and IT IS NOT TOO LATE!  We typically receive and process applications throughout the spring and summer.  So thank you for all of your continuing efforts to spread the word about Waldorf Education.   I really appreciate your referrals.  - Lyn Baird

Happy Birthday!

     Save the Date! Come celebrate Merriconeag’s 25th birthday at the Tuition Assistance Fundraiser (and Party!) on Saturday evening, March 27th, 2010, 6:00 p.m. in our Community Hall. Just by coming to the party you are helping support tuition assistance!

     The evening will include a silent auction, party games, fabulous raffle items plus a cash raffle, delicious food, birthday cupcakes, live music, and dancing. We want EVERYONE to come, and we encourage you to bring your friends free of charge. This is an adult-only party, and we will be providing names of babysitters, should you need them.

     Another way to help the cause is by donating goods or services to the silent auction which will be a part of the evening. We are a creative community with a wealth of talents to offer; from sticky buns to knight’s cloaks, landscaping to massage. If you have something to offer and would like a donation form, please contact Aldona Shumway.

     We are also looking to make connections with local businesses. If you know of a local business that might like to support Merriconeag, stop by either office for a solicitation packet containing an official request letter, donation form and information about advertising in the on-line catalogue.

     Finally, if you’d like to help out but aren’t quite sure how, the Tuition Assistance  Fundraising Committee meets in the Farmhouse – we are meeting tomorrow - Wednesday Feb. 24th, right after drop-off (8:30 or 8:45).  We have lots of tasks, and are looking for helpers!  We are a fun group to work with and would really value your input. (Plus, we serve yummy food at the meetings!).

Come join us:

Co-chairs:  Barbara Kappelmann & Aldona Shumway

Solicitations: Anne McLain, Victoria Stefanakos, Carina Wishman-Freedner

Business Sponsorships:  Lynne Espy and Trace Salter

Graphic Arts:  Susan Caron

Food:  Nancy Goldberg

Drinks:  Rosita Moore

Music:  Lucy Ahearne

Volunteer Coordinator:  Stacie Hamilton-Waldron

Athletic News at Merriconeag:

High School Nordic Ski Team

     The Merriconeag High School Nordic Ski Teams did very well at the State Class C Meet in Fort Kent.  The three Merriconeag Girl skiers came in 1st, 4th, and 6th in the classic race, and 2nd, 4th, and 7th in the skate race.  The girls team finished 2nd in the state supplying the school with it's first plaque as a runner-up state champion. Amazing!

     On the boys' side, Merriconeag's skiers skied through some illnesses.  In the classic race, they finished 18th, 35th, 37th, 40th, and 45th.  In the skate race, the scores were 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 34th.  The boys' team finished 6th in the state. 

     Congratulations to both the Boys and the Girls teams. Well done!

Maine Junior Ski Club 2010 Championships - Saturday, February 13th

Team Scores

Girls Classic: First Place                         Girls Skate: Third Place                       

Boys Classic: First Place                          Boys Skate: Second Place       

     There may not be a lot of snow on the ground but the Merriconeag Middle School Skiers found some last Saturday at “States” in Fryeburg and boy, did they put it to good use! It was a gorgeous day. By the time tents were up and one run was in, people were peeling off the layers. Families and skiers alike were well -fed with bagels and cream cheese in the morning, chili and veggie soups for lunch and cookies and hot chocolate throughout the day. Our wax team, Bjorn Laukli, Jason Donahue, Doug Martin, Tom Henze, Jim Ahearne, and Peter Moore worked relentlessly to have all the skis ready at the just the right time, not an easy feat as the temperature rose throughout the day. Meanwhile, the other coaches, Amy Ireland, Louisa Moore, and the fearless John Saccone helped the skiers prepare, keep limber, keep warm, eat enough but not too much! and even ice a few sore muscles when needed. And skiers, well, the skiers were amazing! Along with 12 other teams, the Merriconeag girls raced Skate first, and our own Elizabeth Martin placed in the top ten. Then the boys skate raced. Ian Moore and Kellan Humphries flew into first and second places, respectively, Elijah McCurdy sailed in at tenth place, and teammates John Burgess and Graham Roeber were not far behind. Next, the girls raced Classic and this time Elizabeth Martin pumped it up a notch and took second place while her teammate Isabella Munro followed close behind and took third.  Three more Merriconeag girls, Lily Johnston, Katrine Laulki, and Natalie Murphy, were in the top twenty for Classic. And to finish off the day, the boys raced Classic and it was a sight to behold, with our eighth grade skiers “going for Gold”. Ian Moore, first place, Kellan Humphries, second place, John Burgess, third place, and Elijah McCurdy, fifth place. My favorite description of that race, as the boys flew around the second bend, was, “well, now they’ve hit rock star status.” And it did sound like it from the screaming classmates who encouraged all the Merriconeag racers from the sidelines. One special guy on the sidelines was Ben Tupper our ever-faithful Carpool Coach- thanks for your commitment to the team!

     Thank you SO MUCH to all the coaches; waxers; Andrea Cooper, Jo D Saffeir, and Jennifer Chace who organized the food and the equipment that kept us going all day; enthusiastic cheerleaders; and skiers. Thank you, all ski team members, for sharing the joy that you find, in gliding over the snow on a beautiful day in Maine!

Middle School Nordic Ski Team

Text Box:  Our middle school Nordic ski team hosted the February 11th Race at Pineland. While some schools were seeing bare ground and letting their thoughts wander to spring in Mid-February, Coach Bjorn Laukli made sure that Merriconeag Middle School Ski Team hosted its scheduled ski race, though few believed it possible!  In fact, it would not have been possible, without the generous welcome by Pineland Farms, and the shoveling of snow by head-lamped dads Jeff Tindall, Peter Moore and Bjorn the night before. Skiers from six teams - over 100 skiers plus their families- walked across grass and mud to reach the starting line. Merriconeag skiers greeted the other teams, and our cheering section even added some beautiful African song.

      Congratulations to both the girls' and boys' teams for skiing beautifully and coming in first once again.  Thanks to the many MWS parents who hiked out to the course, helped with start and finish timing, and brought your warm support!  The growth of these skiers, their discovery of their own skill and fun regardless of conditions, and their support of one another has been beautiful to see.


Middle School Basketball

    Merriconeag Basketball team played their last game of the season at Trinity Middle School in Lewiston on Monday, February 1st. Once again, the team played valiantly. Team members had their share of injuries and illness but despite that they arrived at each game poised and ready to take to the court. The games were a example of great sportsmanship. The players played cohesively and had each others best interest at heart. Even though the numbers on the scoreboard never concluded in our favor, there were some very close games.

     Remarkably Coach Newlin and Coach Evans managed to ignite the 5 boys and 6 girls for every practice and game. Parents appreciated how our coaches interacted and encouraged these players and were extremely grateful for their time and guidance.


Circus Smirkus 2010 - Thursday, August 5th & Friday, August 6th

Wilderness Wonders: Outdoor Adventures Under the Big Top

Text Box:  The Hare has scampered away…the Tortoise has lumbered on home.  And now the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour will travel over majestic mountains and across racing rivers in a series of daring adventures in a forest of fun. Grab your backpack, set your compass and join the intrepid Smirkus Scouts in celebrating the great outdoors, inside the circus ring. Hike the wilderness alongside Trailblazing Tumblers, soar with Alpine Aerialists, and trek through the trees with Juggling Lumberjacks. You’ll explore the “FUNtier,” as Circus Smirkus celebrates the wonders of nature, with merrymaking, mirth and a touch of magic, in a fantastically fabulous four-season spectacle!

     This fantabulous entertainment is beautiful community outreach, bringing over 3,000 people to our campus every year. It is also an important fund raiser for the school, bringing in proceeds of more than $100,000 over the past five years for Merriconeag’s operating budget, tuition assistance endowment fund and circus arts program.

     It takes more than a few clowns to bring the Circus to town so please give a standing ovation for this year’s Smirkus Freeport Ringleaders: Steve Cumback helping bring in Sponsors; Aly Fullagar recruiting our Volunteers to work under the Big Top; Barbara Guffin overseeing Playbill Ad Sales and Drew Tieman organizing Trouper Homestays. We’ll be in touch over the coming weeks and months with news. In the meantime, please call me with any questions or suggestions: Trace Salter, Smirkus Freeport Coordinator, tel 207/319.7734, See you down the road!

Big Time Vaudeville Show Series

Michael Trautman’s Big Time Vaudeville show came to Merriconeag on Saturday night and wowed the audience with the magical, mystical and comical talent of Michael Trautman, Michael Miclon, Leland Faulkner, Over A Cardboard Sea and Smirkus Troupers Shane Miclon and Jared Mongeau, who debuted his 2010 Smirkus audition piece. It was delightful, original and –at times—rapturous entertainment at very affordable prices ($25/family). Keep in mind that the school gets a percentage of the box office so spread the word: this is fabulous fun and tremendous community outreach. And put March 13th on your calendar for the next Big Time Vaudeville Show. You’ll help support local talent and the school!



                             Two Merriconeag Alumni Make the USA's World Junior Nordic Team

     Two Merriconeag alumni, Sam Tarling and Adele Espy, qualified earlier this month in Anchorage, Alaska for the  USA's World Junior Nordic Team, and are currently racing in Hinterzarten, Germany at the Junior World Ski Championships. Of the 6 men and 6 women selected for this Junior World Team (age 19 and under), only three are from New England, two of which are from
Maine - and those two, Sam and Adele, are Merriconeag Waldorf School alumni (8th grade Class of 2005)!
      Sam and Adele were charter members of Merriconeag's first middle school Nordic team (started in 2003-04), and Sam's dad, John Tarling, was the first coach. John is now coaching Merriconeag High School's team. Several other classmates from that pioneering team are also very accomplished Nordic skiers, including (but not limited to) Lucas Milliken (racing for Bates College) and Kelsey Nichols (racing for Saint Lawrence University). Sam also races for

Adele Espy & Sam Tarling in their U.S. Ski Team Uniforms in Germany

Dartmouth College and Adele deferred from Middlebury College for a gap year to train full time with the Sun Valley Olympic Development Team. Congratulations to all of our alumni skiers!

Winter Assembly, December 16, 2009

Be sure to check out more of the beautiful photos taken by Peter Taylor at the Winter Assembly:

Photo Galleries - Merriconeag Waldorf School


Text Box:  CHRISTMAS CAROLING!  It was an incredible gathering of people! 

On Tuesday evening, December 22, well over 70 students, alumni, teachers, staff, parents and extended family members caroled merrily in the frosty night air, up and down Main Street in Brunswick. Jordan Seavey led us into the Gulf of Main Bookstore, Hannafords Grocery, and several other establishments who all seemed delighted at our enthusiastic singing. At the end of the tour, Josh Davis, the owner of Gelato Fiasco, invited all of us inside for cookies. It was great fun, wonderful outreach, and a real bonding experience for all who shivered and hugged to keep warm. Thank you, Jordan for carrying the evening with your unwavering enthusiasm! Christine Sloan


May the Gift of Community Bring Peace to your Hearts and Joy to your Homes

     There is so much excitement in the air, as parents, teachers and children prepare for the Holidays. Cookies are baked, gifts are wrapped, candles are lit and songs are rehearsed. Whether you are celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or Ramadan, this season honors are strivings to find our inner light, our shining compass, in a time of darkness in the world and sometimes in our hearts. It is not unusual to experience at this time of year, a deep inner questioning, a longing for days past when life wasn’t so complicated.

     Last night, the Merriconeag Board gathered for their December meeting in the Farmhouse. We start our meetings with an opening reflection, and John Saccone shared this excerpt from Peace is Every Step, ,by Thich Nhat Hanh.

    “We can get in touch with the refreshing, healing elements within and around us thanks to the loving support of other people. If we have a good community of friends, we are very fortunate. To create a good community, we first have to transform ourselves into a good element of the community. After that, we can go to another person and help him or her become an element of the community. We build our network of friends that way. We have to think of friends and community as investments, as our most important asset. They can comfort us and help us in difficult times, and they can share our joy and happiness.”

     May the gift of community, family and friends bring peace to your hearts and joy to your homes.  Happy Holidays!  Christine Sloan

Waldorf International!

      Never has it been truer that Merriconeag Waldorf High School is part of a vibrant, international movement.  Merriconeag's exchange program is breaking new ground this winter, beginning December 30 when Liza Simmons and Cyrus Fenderson become our first-ever exchange students to France.  They will attend the Ecole Perceval in Chatou, near Paris, for a two-month sojourn, and then will host Amelie Martineau and Estelle Douchet this spring.  In addition, when we return from the holidays, Benjamin McCrave and his family will host Adrien Strasburger until mid-March, at which time Benjamin and Adrien will travel together back to France, where Benjamin will also attend Ecole Perceval until late May. 

    Then in February, Jacob Kolda's family will be hosting Rafael Schiafone for three months, after which Jacob will fly to Germany towards the end of the school year and spend much of the summer with the Schiafones.  Another German student--Axel Richert--will be following in the footsteps of his sister Frederike, who visited Merriconeag last year. Axel will be staying with the Waldrons, who are once again generously sharing their home from February into April.  Finally, Tyler O'Brien, whose family hosted Maurizio Bundgen last year, will spend three months in Germany from mid-February to mid-May.  This flurry of exchanges is, we hope, only the beginning of ongoing opportunities for future generations of Merriconeag high school students to experience the riches of another culture first-hand. 

David Sloan

Announcing the Merriconeag Marketplace  

Do you shop online?  Start using the new Merriconeag Marketplace and you can support us with every purchase! With over 2,000 internet merchants, daily specials, and “same as direct” pricing, you are sure to find the right gift in our new marketplace. Send flowers or organic tea to a friend, buy a book or book a flight, find great holiday gifts at great prices, and support Merriconeag all at the same time.  Click here to begin shopping or follow these easy steps:

It’s that easy!  A portion of every purchase will be donated to Merriconeag to support our operations.  Hey, you are going to shop online anyway, right?  Support Merriconeag at the same time! Tell your family and friends and help us make this a big success.  And many thanks for your support in this new online fund raising effort.    

Bob Neveu, Board President

Macbeth Comes to Merriconeag

 On Thursday, December 10th, Merriconeag Waldorf School students in grades 7 through 12 were treated to Acorn Productions fabulous presentation of Macbeth in the school’s community hall. David Barham, Merriconeag’s eighth grade teacher, invited the talented group to perform after his class read and studied Macbeth in the fall. Acorn’s production is performed with minimal sets and costumes. The teenage audience was held spellbound as the play was brought to life by the professional theater troupe

     Drama is an essential part of the Waldorf curriculum, with each class in grades 1 – 12 performing a play. The eighth graders often perform one of Shakespeare’s plays as their class play.

Actors Karen Ball & Paul Haley as Macbeth & Lady Macbeth

Don’t Miss David Barham’s Article in Renewal Magazine

     In February of 2009, our current eighth grade teacher, David Barham, traveled to the jungles of Playa de Carmen, Mexico. He was invited there by the founder of the Ak Lu’um Waldorf School, Siobhan Bowers, to observe and mentor their teachers. David has written a wonderful article about the challenges of this small independent school in Mexico entitled, Ak Lu’um: A Waldorf School Carved out of the Yucatan Jungle and it is featured in the current issue (Fall/Winter2009-Vol 18, No.2) of Renewal magazine. We have several copies of this issue available in our school offices or you may subscribe through the AWSNA website.

     Before becoming a teacher at Merriconeag, David Barham was a class and subject teacher at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, New Hampshire. He also taught at a Waldorf school in Mexico and was a Waldorf high school teacher at High Mowing School, also located in Wilton. David is married and has a son and two stepchildren, all with long involvements in Waldorf Education.

Cross Country News


Our high school cross country runners did a fantastic job at the state meet on Saturday, November 7th. The boy's team finished fourth in the state class C meet.  Jack Pierce, Juan Mensones, Teagan Wu and Zoe Chace-Donahue all finished in the top twenty. It was a fabulous finish to a wonderful season. Jeff O'Brien

Photo: Merriconeag Ninth Grader, Juan Mesones




Fall Fair and Open House 2009

     We stepped outside the box this year and combined our Fall Fair and Open House. The Crafters went back to the Middle Grades Building where they had resided in pre-Community Hall days and we showcased our students in performances on the stage in a relaxed and expanded café. Change is always risky but the sun shone upon usand we are very pleased with the results.

     As always, there are so many of you who contributed to the success of this event. We thank our right-hand-man

Steve Cumback, Fair Chair Extraordinaire, for his smile,

Fourth Grade's Decorations at the Fair                               laughter, numerous skills, and for making the work a delight for three years in a row. Gratitude and kudos go to Steve’s wife, Meredith Smithson, for her wonderful support.

     We thank our talented activity coordinators for their courage to take a leadership role and their devotion and willingness to lead their groups through many weeks of preparation to the end of fair day.

     Children’s Indoor Crafts           Michelle Jean & Jennifer Pope

     Parent Made Handcrafts           Susan Caron, Anne Taylor, Melissa Hoy

     Café                                               Alicia Heyburn & Drew Tieman                      

     Outdoor Games                          Will Johnston & Rosita Moore                                                   

     Outdoor Decorations &              Aldona Shumway

          Pocket People                                                                               

     Lunch                                             Caroline Norden, Guy Durichek, Linda Kelly & Kathy Watko  

     Preview Night                               Jo D Saffeir

     Staffing                                          Mary Bloch & Pat Sanford

     Squirrel’s Attic                              Aly Fullagar

     Independent Crafters                 Tracy Libby

     Our gratitude extends to all of you - parents, students, and faculty - who, in the midst of your extremely busy lives, contributed hours, food, goods, physical strength, busy hands, and goodwill to the success of this year’s combined event.

     Our entertainment highlighted our music curriculum. We thank our 4th & 5th grade violinists & cellists led by Nancy Roderick & Richard Francis and our 5th & 6th grade chorus led by Jordan Seavey. Thanks to the Early Childhood Faculty who presented The Frog Prince puppet story. We appreciate our “Pocket People” who kept young fair goers delighted. We thank Chris, Dave & Jeremy Colson, Kevin McElroy & Friends (a.k.a.The Band) for warming up the café with their lively music.

     In the midst of the hubbub of our daily lives we are often blind to what is right before us.  I saw it all anew on Saturday when I overheard a teenage visitor to our campus say to one of our alums, “Wow, you can actually go to school here?”      Deeda Burgess

High School Teacher, David Sloan, Featured

       in the 2009 5th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival     


     David Sloan will be among fourteen poets, ten visual artists, and four performing artists who will participate in the 5th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival, October 16 and 17, 2009 in downtown Belfast, Maine. One of the only community-based, non-academic poetry festivals in the country, the event features established, professionally recognized poets and artists from throughout Maine along with emerging poets to create a lively mix. A unique feature of the Festival all five years has been the Gallery Walk, in which the audience moves among seven downtown galleries to view the collaborative exhibits by artist/poet teams and hear the accompanying poetry.

     David Sloan helped found, and is the lead teacher at Merriconeag Waldorf High School - Maine's only Waldorf high school. He graduated from the Stonecoast MFA program in poetry, and is the author of two books on Waldorf education—Stages of Imagination: Working Dramatically with Adolescents, and Life Lessons: Reaching Teenagers through Literature. He has also had numerous articles published in Renewal, and poetry in Western Poetry Quarterly and Infinity Limited.

     Please click here for more information on the festival: Belfast Poetry Festival.


Eighth Grade Teacher, David Barham, Plays Key Role in Freeport Players' Side Man

See photo & read the review

Michaelmas Celebration 2009

     This year’s Michaelmas celebration, on Friday, October 9, enjoyed the backdrop of a dramatic and quickly changing sky. Clouds moved in and out with droplets of threatening rain that held off till late in the day. As the four younger grades prepared for their pageant, David Barham told the story of Nelson Mandela, to the 5th through 10th grades.  Then all the students, faculty and parents joined together to witness the Pageant at the edge of the woods, complete with meteors, gnomes, village folks and a dragon. The seventh and eighth grade opened the play with song and rhythmic clapping.

     The festival of Michaelmas speaks to all ages, and this year, we moved from colorful storytelling in the pageant for the younger children, to the courageous biography of a modern Michaelmas hero, Nelson Mandela. David Barham was able to set the scene of apartheid in South Africa, portray the courage and optimism of one individual, and demonstrate how the deeds of one can affect a nation, and even the world. Thank you, David, for this powerful story.

     The harvest soup, productive work crews and the delicious baked potatoes and apple cider at the end of the day completed the celebration with both nourishment and hard work! Many thanks to all the parents and teachers who helped weed gardens, clear woods, prepare food and celebrate the dramatic beauty of the day. Will Hight was so grateful for the help with outdoor work that he would like to do this once a month!

    A special thanks to all the teachers who worked long hours on the pageant and music. Christine Sloan

Merriconeag Community Kicks off Celebration of 25 Years of Waldorf Education in Southern Maine

     On Friday evening, October 2nd, the Community Hall felt like a lively family reunion! Teachers, parents and supporters from the earliest days of Merriconeag returned to celebrate our 25th year anniversary with new parents, board members, faculty and staff. After the initial greetings, warm embraces, and delicious refreshments, Jordan Seavey's latest musical inspiration hit the stage. Every section of the school, from Early Childhood to Administration stepped out from backstage and sang their own unique verse describing their work in the school, and then joined together in the refrain, “Gather round and spread good cheer as we celebrate this our 25th year!” Any lack of ability was made up for by our unlimited enthusiasm. Many thanks to Jordan for his clever song writing and faith in his colleagues to pull it off!

     A delightful slide show of our School’s history, assembled and narrated by Lynne Espy with Lyn Baird’s invaluable help, told Merriconeag’s story with warmth and humor, and so clearly illustrated the amazing growth and accomplishments in these 25 years. Patrice Maynard, one of Merriconeag’s founding parents and now Director of Development for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), could have been a stand-up comic. Her stories of the early days of Merriconeag, including tales of long drives with Mrs. Thurrell to the teacher training program in New Hampshire had the entire audience roaring with laughter. Patrice led us from the tales of the past, to the strength of our school today and then gave us the vision to imagine the future. We ended the evening with more conversation, rich desserts and heartfelt wishes to bring old friends back to campus for other celebrations this year.

       This evening was supported by many volunteers who prepared food, brought flowers, and prepared the spaces for the celebration. Special thanks to Sarah Pierce and Valerie Konstantino who organized the refreshments, Jordan for his song writing abilities, Merriconeag High School students for their music, Lynne and Lyn for the slide show and Patrice for taking us back to the past and into the future in one evening!

Christine Sloan

Welcome to the 25th Year of Merriconeag Waldorf School  

     The art of storytelling is central in Waldorf education. Whether bringing the wonders of the changing seasons to the kindergarten classroom with nature stories, or retelling dramatic tales of Odysseus to the tenth grade, the hidden mysteries of the world and of ourselves are often revealed through the art of telling the perfect story.

     But even outside of the classroom, this is an important year for storytelling in the Merriconeag School Community. It is our year to tell the story of the founding of our school, share the memories of the many people who had the vision and will power to build our school over these many years, and reveal the grace and sacrifice that brought forward this work in Freeport, Maine serving the children here today and the children who will find our school in years to come.

     People of all cultures recognize this gift of storytelling as a binding force in the weaving of societies. Hearing personal tales of adventure, struggle and loss deepens our compassion for each other and our own self knowledge. In a recent interview on NPR, Eduardo Galeano, a well known author and dissident from Uruguay, described how even in his native culture, where storytelling had once been the center of social interaction, the hectic “western lifestyle” had nearly destroyed this rich tradition. Only in the coffee houses of Uruguay could he still find people taking the time to share their stories in the slow and easy pace that fostered careful listening.

     This year, let us all practice the slow and easy listening of these coffee houses in our daily interaction on the path, and in our gatherings to honor our history and the people who have helped build our school community. On September 29th, we will have our first such celebration when we honor the life of our dear colleague, Ron Richardson, who passed away on July 9th, 2009. We will gather at 6:30 to see a slide show and hear Ron’s biography shared by a dear friend and colleague from his “Chicago Days”. We will also enjoy music performed by the Sixth Grade, Richard Francis, Nancy Roderick, and Will Bristol along with poetry and eurythmy. We welcome families and friends who knew Ron over the years to join with us in celebrating his life. Christine Sloan

Memorial for Ron Richardson was held on September 29th, 6:30 PM, Community Hall

     On July 9th, our dear friend and colleague, Ron Richardson, died suddenly while attending a teacher's conference in Harlemville, New York.  All of us who knew Ron greatly mourn his passing.

     Families and friends of Merriconeag Waldorf School were invited to gather in a sharing of music, eurythmy, and poetry to honor and celebrate the life of Ron Richardson. The memorial took place on September 29th, at 6:30 PM in our Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport.

     Donations in memory of Ron can be made to the "Richardson Fund" and mailed to Terry Beal who is administrating the fund, at 84 Old County Road, Jefferson, Maine 04348. Please include your name, address, phone number and email address. Please note that donations to this fund are not tax deductible.


Two Eighth Graders Win New England Bike Race

     On Saturday, September 19th, two of our eighth grade students, Ian Moore and Kellan Humphries, placed first in theJunior Team category (ages 12 - 17) of the 12 hour Bradbury Mountain bike race in Pownal, Maine. Their elapsed time would have placed them in the top five of the professional Expert Men category. Combined, they rode 11 laps ofa 9.5 mile course, in an average of about 1 hour per lap. Our hearty congratulations to both boys for their amazing accomplishment.

Ian Moore & Kellan Humphries Finish First


Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour 2009 was a Smashing Success

Please click below to see fantastic photos and read the review:

2009 Big Top Tour Review

Association of Waldorf Schools of North America Film Project

     Merriconeag Waldorf School was chosen by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) as one of three schools to participate in their video project to promote the vocation of Waldorf teaching. This project has been in development for two years in an effort to make more visible the remarkable life path of working in a Waldorf school and to interest individuals in becoming teachers. AWSNA intends to use this video as part of a series of community evenings in schools across the continent and to make it available to audiences through their web site and other web locations.

     Merriconeag Waldorf School was chosen based on the beauty of our campus, the quality of our faculty and the overall atmosphere of our school community.

     Karl Schurman, class teacher at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in New York, and a veteran filmmaker,did the filming for this project. The focus of the filming will be on the teacher and their collegial life in the school, and will include an interview with them, a view of their work with their students, and a view of their work with their collegial group.