Tuesday News - May 24, 2011

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All submissions for the Tuesday News should be sent to publicrelations@merriconeag.org by Friday at 3:00 pm.

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The Journey Begins...

The Journey from Portable to Handcraft Building:
      On the afternoon of May 23, 2011, the handwork portable moved down the path, up the drive and away to a new home. As we wave goodbye to this old reliable friend, we make space for something new and begin the journey to our Handcraft Building.

     Since the handwork portable was purchased in 1993, the school made every effort to make this “temporary” space as functional and beautiful as the handwork creations that the students made in this space. Improvements included a new roof, ramp entryway, garden beds, interior paint, floor installation, cubbies and shelving. Repairs to the roof and furnace were constant, and the building finally reached the end of its useable lifespan as a classroom.

     We are including a timeline below to let you see where we have been and where we hope to be by January 2012.

Fall 1993:        First portable purchased, used at South Freeport campus as classroom for inaugural 2nd grade class.
Fall 1994:        Second portable purchased. Portables used at South Freeport campus for 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. The school learned that the town of Freeport would not allow further expansion on South Freeport site. The search for a permanent home for the school began.
1994:                Merriconeag purchased 19 acres of land on Desert Road, and eventually added 29 more acres – the future home of the portables!
Fall 1996:         Upper Grades building opens.
Fall 1996:         Both portables moved to Desert Road campus.
1998:                25 acre farm across street from school (Stevens Farm) was donated by a family foundation. Now used as Admin. Bldg.

Fall 2000:         Lower Grades building opens.
Fall 2003:         Early Childhood Center opens.
Winter 2004:   Community Hall opens.
Spring 2004:    Peterson Property (6 acres) purchased and donated by small group of parents
May 23, 2011:  The Handwork / Remedial portable removed.
Summer 2011: New Handcraft Building construction begins.
January 2012:  New Handcraft Building anticipated opening date.


Upcoming Events

2011 Spring Ensemble Concert:

This Wednesday, May 25, 6:30 PM, Community Hall

We cordially invite you to wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Join us for the 2011 Spring Ensemble Concert!
Students in grades 5 through 12 will be performing an evening of music for winds, strings, and voice on Wednesday, May 25 at the MWS Community Hall, beginning at 6:30 PM.
All students in grades 5 though 12 are required to attend and should arrive no later than 6:15. Instructions regarding instrument storage and seating will be announced upon the students' arrival.
Dress for the evening consists of assembly attire (described in the parent handbook) with vibrant spring colors encouraged. Boys, feel free to don jacket and tie, minding your sock (not white) and shoe choices. Girls, please mind the lengths of skirts and dresses, especially if your instrument happens to be 'cello.
We look forward to seeing you there! Submitted by Jordan Seavey


Senior Class Play: The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

Thursday, June 2 & Friday, June 3, 7:00 PM, Community Hall

Admission is $5 at the door

     Merriconeag Waldorf School’s senior class is enthusiastically preparing to perform Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee’s classic play, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. The play is a dramatic representation of a vital moment in our history, where the 29 year old Henry David Thoreau’s ardent refusal to pay his taxes- in protest to the United States government’s involvement in the Mexican War- landed him in prison in his home of Concord, Massachusetts. This famous act of civil disobedience- daring and unprecedented as it was- is merely the departure point in this celebrated drama. As the play progresses, we come to understand what motivates this brilliant, independent and ever-unorthodox writer and thinker.

     Written and first produced in the 1970s the play is a story of protest as well as of enlightenment. By turns wise, funny, perplexing and sad, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is much more than the ruminations of one man in one place in one night. The play explores the crossroads of responsibility, conscience and democracy, the self, the choices we make as human beings and the dilemmas we face as members of society.

     George Oppenheimer in Newsweek Magazine called it, “A Superior play, a literary work as well as a theatrical experience. Scene after scene moves you to laughter or close to tears.”

Submitted by David Barham




From the Admissions Office




Early Childhood Open House

Thursday, June 2, 9:00 - 11:00 am

Help Merriconeag to grow by spreading the word about next week’s Open House. Prospective parents are invited to bring their young children to visit our Early Childhood Center and enjoy some of the creative and practical activities that are part of the Waldorf nursery-kindergarten experience. While some teachers work side-by-side with the children, others will be free to converse with parents interested in learning about our unique approach. If anyone needs more information, please call Lyn Baird, 865-3900, ext.103 or email, admissionsdirector@merriconeag.org



News from the Grade School


The Sixteenth Waldorf School Pentathlon Festival, Camden, Maine, May 19th & 20th
An International Convocation

     The heritage and tradition of Olympus were brought alive in Camden last week through athleticism with reverence, through international goodwill and peace, through friendship and cooperation. The 16th Pentathlon Festival, hosted by the Ashwood Waldorf School at the Camden Snow Bowl, brought together close to 100 fifth graders from Waldorf Schools in Maine, New Hampshire and Québec as the culmination of their study of ancient Greece. The athletes participated in the five classic events: discus, javelin, long jump, sprinting and wrestling.   

     Over the course of two days in Camden, the children made nature and artistic offerings to the Gods and Goddesses they had studied, met the new friends with whom they had corresponded through their pen pal program, assembled in City-State teams comprised of children from every school and reveled in the mindful and supportive atmosphere fostered by their athleticism and grace. This was an occasion where there were no distinctions made for quantity but rather provisions made to honor reverence and form and where every child was awarded a medal and a laurel wreath, making it possible for every child to feel like a champion.

     The evening prior to the Pentathlon found all the children gathered together for an overnight in Camden. They heard stories about the heritage of the Olympic Games and how the warring factions of ancient Greece would take a break from hostilities every three years to join together in goodwill and cooperation in the pursuit of athletic excellence. Before going off to bed, the participants sang songs of peace and beauty. The next morning, dressed all in white, they put on their tunics and then assemble in their City-States with representatives from each school on every team. The Opening Ceremonies include a processional, nature offerings, a reading of odes written by the children, oaths made by the participants and judges and a lighting of the torch which was then passed from one child to the next as they raised it up to the sky in a gesture to the Gods and Goddesses of antiquity.

     The children raised their voices in unison, first in English and then in French, to announce the beginning of the games that fill the day, with each City-State rotating through the five stations, with additional time to practice the classic Greek circle dance that would have been part of the Closing Ceremonies had the heavens not opened up at that moment. Points were awarded to each child for grace and beauty in addition to the measurable result of their effort in each event. The children were unaware of their individual scores and learned only of the group total at the end of the day as they strived to better the points that were recorded during the practice weeks on their home territory, the goal being to try as hard as you can, to give your very best. The children naturally, without prodding, applauded one another and high-fived each other with respectful enthusiasm. For once, gravitas permeated an athletic event and the children experienced what it is to behold earnest and pure human effort in a truly majestic context.

    After the games concluded, children, teachers and families shared a homemade Greek feast and promised to stay in touch, inviting one another to visit and vowing to continue what has begun in heartfelt connection. These children will return to their playgrounds, to their front yards, to their soccer and lacrosse games, where reality sets in and competition returns with natural and often less-gentle playfulness. These children may not raise their baseball up to the Gods & Goddesses (as they did with their discus) before hurling it across home plate yet perhaps they will remember what it felt like to run with the winged sandals of Hermes, what it felt like to send a javelin soaring into the air like Zeus launching thunderbolts through the heavens, what it felt like to be part of the ancient and sacred heritage of the Olympics.

     This signature Waldorf School event was an exquisite blend of classroom work and outdoor preparation, guided so artfully and beautifully by Phyllis Hill and John Saccone. Many spectators commented on the reverence of our school’s students and how grounded they appeared in their heartfelt efforts to do their best. It was clear that our children were engaged by the content of their lessons. The rainy weather only added to their accomplishment, as they had to face challenges wrought by persevering through muck and slippery grass. Their mud-spattered tunics were proof-positive that these young athletes triumphed over the elements. Submitted by Trace Salter



News from the High School

Seniors Present Fruits of their Internships:

     This year's seniors may be Merriconeag’s second graduating class, but they were the first students ever to go on three- or four-week internships. And did they ever go! Four of the Class of 2011 took advantage of the opportunity to travel—to Nevada, France, even Tanzania in Africa! Last Friday, these pioneering seniors shared their experiences with the rest of the high school. Leif Anderson spoke of his memorable time working at a Creperie in Divonne-les-Bains, France and living with long-time friends of Madame Whittlesey. For months before the actual internship, Alexa Perkins spent many hours fund-raising over $1000 for an orphanage in Tanzania. In mid-April, the entire Perkins family spent nearly a month at the orphanage caring for the children. For his internship, Phineas Samuelson worked at the Catholic Charities in Portland, assisting immigrants in obtaining employment. Jeremy Colson also remained local, writing an online user's manual for a local computer programmer who is writing software for bank managers. Benjamin McCrave and Becca Wildes each flew out to Nevada; Ben interned at a ski resort, and Becca worked at an animal shelter.
      From their presentations, often accompanied by photos, the audience could appreciate the richness of each senior’s experience. Next year’s twelfth walked out of the talks abuzz with possibilities for their own internships!

Submitted by David Sloan


Sophomore Brian Watko's oil pastel, Seascape 6: A Visual Opera of Soothing Delirium, to be exhibited in Augusta: The Maine Arts Commission, in partnership with First Lady Ann LePage, the Maine Art Education Association and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education issued a call for student art for inclusion in the Spring 2011 Maine Youth Excellence in Art exhibition at the Maine State Capitol Complex in Augusta. Brian Watko's oil pastel was submitted and chosen to represent artistic excellence from a K-12 student. Selected works will hang in various locations including the Capitol Building, The Burton M. Cross Building, and the Blaine House from late May until September/October. Selected artists, their families and teachers are invited to an opening reception at the Blaine House on Tuesday May 31st from 2-4:30 pm where student artists will receive a certificate and medallion in recognition of their artistic excellence. Congratulations, Brian!


School Community Updates



The Early Childhood Center is hoping to find two retired dinghies that could be re-enlivened by the children in our play yards. Please call us at 865-3900, Ext. 105 if you know of any possibilities. Submitted by Kam Anderson

The senior class is looking for a few objects for The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail: a decent sized Mexican flag and a 12' (or thereabouts) length of natural colored rope, thick enough to impersonate a bell rope in a New England church. If you have either of these, please contact David Barham at 433-0124 or dmbarham@comcast.net.

The high school is looking for families to host an intern from France next year. Lucie James will be joining us next year. Lucie graduates from University this spring. She will be driving the vans and assisting in Madame Whittlesey's French classes. Lucie will have her own transportation, and if she is staying in your home, she could assist in transporting your students to and from school. If you are interested in hosting Lucie in your home for part of next year (or all of next year) or if you know of anyone who might be interested. Please contact Jeff O'Brien (688-8989 x202). Materials from Lucie, introducing herself to us, are available to interested families.

Found at the May Celebration: 35mm camera black lens cap. You may find it in the grade school office.



Athletic News - Sports Updates

High School Ultimate Frisbee:

    This Wednesday, May 25th, the Ultimate team has their last regular season game against Falmouth at 3:30 at the Cumberland Fairgrounds.
     The High School Ultimate State Tournament is on Sunday, May 29th, at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. The tournament starts early in the day and the frisbee team will likely play most of the day.





Read (Listen to or Watch) This

I Am, The Documentary

Go see it, if you can! This film has been playing at the Nickelodeon in Portland and the Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick. To view the trailer, click here.

     From the I Am website: I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.






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