"Tuesday News" - June 17, 2011

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Commencement Exercises, 2011 - Graduates Take Wing!

Class of 2011: Alexa Perkins, Leif Anderson, Ben McCrave,

Phineas Samuelson, Jeremy Colson, Rebecca Wildes

      Last Saturday, June 11, in a celebratory, yet intimate ceremony, Merriconeag’s second graduating class received their long-awaited diplomas. As is quickly becoming the tradition, each senior entered the Community Hall to live music he or she had specially chosen, from African drumming to a solo vocal rendition of the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” After introductions by various faculty members, each of the graduating seniors then gave a short address about one valued aspect or another of their education. Leif Anderson spoke about memorable class trips; Jeremy Colson about the arts and crafts they learned over the years; Benjamin McCrave characterized the importance of participating on the athletic teams, and how his experience abroad helped him understand the connection between language and culture; Alexa Perkins shared her experience of coming to a Waldorf school from the public sector; Phineas spoke about the challenges of learning German and Russian; Becca Wildes gave “appreciations” to each of her classmates, and extolled the virtues of attending a small school.
      After receiving their diplomas, Leif and Benjamin announced that for their class gift, they would donate the proceeds from their senior play to the fund begun last year by the first graduating class. The aim of the fund is to help finance a new high school on the Desert Road campus within the next few years.
      The keynote speaker, Jonathan Moore, former ambassador to the United Nations, invited the graduating seniors and the audience to consider the merits of public service. He offered several anecdotes from his many decades of work as a diplomat as evidence that, with the proper empathy, we can begin to heal the world.
      High School German teacher Eva McVicar, in her introduction of Phineas, shared a poem by Christopher Logue that perfectly captured the import of the ceremony.

Come to the Edge
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high.
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.

Submitted by David Sloan


Merriconeag's Graduation Key Note Speaker, Jonathan Moore

     Jonathan Moore has worked for over 50 years in humanitarian action, publlic service and education. In Washington he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Counselor to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Associate Attorney General in the Justice Department. He served as Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. As U.S. Coordinator and Ambassador at Large for Refugees, he directed U.S. assistance, resettlement and repatriation programs world-wide, concentrating on Indo-Chinese, Mozambican and Palestinian Refugees. As Ambassador to the United Nations and Representative to its Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Moore led negotiations against South African apartheid and to support African economic development.

    Jonathan Moore is currently Associate at the Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School and is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis in Alexandria, Virginia.

It was after hearing Jonathan Moore speak at one of the high school forums this year, that the seniors invited him to be the key note speaker at their commencement. 

Key Note Address:                                                              


     Good afternoon. I am excited to be with you all on this wonderful day. It is a privilege for me and I thank you for my being here.
      In the early days of the popular uprising in Egypt, a demonstrator in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, a forty-year-old electrician from Alexandria, exclaimed: “All I cared about before was making a living, but now people have started to care about each other. I feel like I have been born again!” Another surprised and elated revolutionary, a citizen of Adabaneya, Tunisia, observed: “The crisis gives a real sense of unity.”
      Hearing these voices brought two thoughts to mind. These brave resisters not only were fighting to throw off entrenched dictatorship and oppression, but in so doing, in the midst of their ancient differences and separations, they were discovering solidarity and caring which stemmed from mobilization in common cause, for mutual interest. And I recognized this was something U.S. politics lacked right now—a sense of unanimity and consensus characteristic of societies which are committed to inclusiveness and accommodation, and which are seeking some cohesive whole by respecting the opinions and addressing the needs of its various parts. Not factionalism, negativism, division, polarization. And not by giving up individual and group rights and freedom. But comity, not anomie. . . To read the complete transcript of the remarks, please click here.



Rose Assembly 2011

On Friday, June 10th our 8th and 12th graders were honored with a ceremony roses at our annual Rose Assembly in the Community Hall. The 7th grade delighted us all with a beautiful bell choir as their musical offering to the honorees. Prior to singing their musical selection, This Ain't Goodbye, the Eighth Grade presented their gift to the school which is a set of black-out curtains for the Community Hall. A reception in the Gallery followed the event.

Our 8th and 1st graders before the Rose Ceremony

The Eighth Grade Class of 2011: Tyler Barnhart, Fiona Chace-Donahue, Anna Evans, Virginia Fullagar, Gabriella Gaspardi, Lars Gundersen, Jacob Haldeman, Haley Johnson, Elizabeth Kolle, Elizabeth Martin, Daniel Morse, Isabella Munro, Natalie Murphy, Avery Murphy-Anderson, Zachary Neveu, Samantha Pierce, Graham Roeber, Jesse Saffeir, and Lincoln Samuelson.


Merriconeag Summer Camps
The following camps have enough enrollment to go forward this summer:

You can continue to register right up until they begin - as long as there continues to be room.

July 18th to the 22nd: Summer Garden, Summer Explorers, Beautiful Birds
July 25th to the 29th: Summer Garden, Summer Explorers
August 15th to the 19th: Circus Arts

Summer fun and enrichment for kids aged 3 ½ to 15
Experienced teachers and expert instructors
Need flexible schedule? Morning and full-day options available...just ask!

Please click on the names of each of the four camps for links to more information and to register:

Outdoor fun for younger children with Summer Garden and Summer Explorers Camp
A gentle, nature filled environment with magical play and discovery through nature study, crafts, water play, walking the woodland paths and playing games with Merriconeag teachers Kam Anderson and Oliver Kinzer.
Art and Nature play for Grade Schoolers with Beautiful Birds

Learning from nature and creating exquisite handwork in natural materials with art teacher Joanna Flath.

Big Top Inspired Fun with Circus Arts Camp

Performing arts workshops with renowned entertainer and teacher John Saccone, guest artists and Midcoast Gymnastics. Camp includes a VIP ticket & backstage tour for Circus Smirkus show



Upcoming Events

Please click here for the latest PDF of our 2011/2012 Vacation Calendar

Come one, come all! Merriconeag will host a Circus Smirkus Benefit Night at Flatbread on Tuesday, August 9 from 5 to 9 pm. Flatbread will kindly donate will donate $3.50 for each large flatbread and $1.75 for each small flatbread sold during the benefit to our Magic Matinee Program that brings over 700 children-in-need to the Circus. Please tell all your friends to join us for some delicious food for a worthy cause!


From the Circus Coordinator

Calling All Clowns: Step right up and throw your fedora in the ring! Volunteering at the Circus is the funnest job in town. We need roustabouts to help before and during the Big Top Tour shows at Merriconeag on Thursday, August 11th & Friday, August 12th. Please sign up here as soon as you have a sense of your summer schedule. Our charming and persistent Volunteer Coordinator, Aly Fullagar, will begin making phone calls to recruit people for a shift under the big top. Don't be surprised if you hear from Aly very soon since we hardly have anyone signed up. Many thanks and see you down the road,

Trace Salter, Circus Coordinator, circus@merriconeag.org



News from the Board Treasurer

     The Board has been busy with many exciting projects at Merriconeag. In May, Board and Faculty had a joint meeting to collaborate on revising the school’s mission statement and to discuss the exciting plans for the new Handcraft building. 

     At the June meeting, the Board continued its quest of helping to find ways to make Merriconeag tuition affordable to all, by unanimously approving to release up to $55,000 in additional funds from surplus for the Tiered Tuition Committee to use in assisting families with additional needs. In total, the school has set aside over $420,000 for school year 2011-2012 to provide tuition tier levels that best meet families’ financial circumstances.

     The Board also created the Tuition Structure committee charged with formulating policies designed to encourage full enrollment within an economically and socially diverse community.

     We are pleased to welcome Sean Fitzpatrick as a new member of the Board. Sean has two daughters, Rhea and Iris, and a background in advertising and marketing. Many thanks and good wishes go to two outgoing Board members, Valerie Konstantino and Michael Gurau for many years of service and dedication.

     Board meetings are open to all members of the community. We look forward to hearing your comments, views and ideas.

Submitted by Barbara Guffin, Board Treasurer

Revised Mission Statement, May 31, 2011

The mission of Merriconeag Waldorf School is to foster in our students a sense of wonder, meaning, and compassion in their lives, so that they may freely meet their destinies.

Inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s educational insights, we teach according to a developmental curriculum that honors each child’s unfolding individuality. To this end, we strive to educate the whole human being through a balance of will-strengthening, artistic and intellectual pursuits.

Our aim is to preserve in our students a spiritual openness that will enable them to develop creative, independent thinking, an abiding love of learning, and a deep sense of responsibility toward the world.

In pursuit of our mission, we are guided by the following intentions:

  • To foster a sense of community which extends to the world at large in the hope that Merriconeag will serve as a center of cultural renewal.
  • To celebrate the beauty of Merriconeag’s natural setting so that our stewardship will inspire others to live in harmony with the environment.
  • To deepen our essential humanity and make Merriconeag increasingly worthy of its original Wabanaki meaning.


New Handcraft Building

Construction on the new Handcraft Building begins next week, and there are several ways in which you can follow its progress, learn about the building details, and help out:
Follow the Building’s Progress:
Check our website (merriconeag.org) for updates, links to related articles about green buildings and the importance of handcrafts, and images from our time-lapse camera.
Save the Date: Raise the Roof Party on the evening of Saturday Sept. 17th
This event will be a community fundraiser and very fun party for all parents of the school, with live music and delicious food. Put it on your calendar now – it’s going to be a fun way to start the school year and get the building funded!
Did you know?
• Merriconeag high school interns are helping with the building project.
• The goal is for the building to be a “net-zero” energy user. Green in all ways except the color, which may be a red hue!
• Sandy Pearson has built the handwork program for the past 20+ years, and teaches handwork curriculum to Waldorf teachers from around the country.
• We are looking for business sponsors and foundations that support green construction and handcraft programs.
• The handwork program was housed in a portable for 18 years, and will finally have a permanent home worthy of its important role in this education.
• The Handcraft Building will be used for community outreach, where handcraft workshops and classes can be held on weekends and evenings.
• Every student at Merriconeag, from nursery through grade 12, is exposed to handwork. Think about how your child (and possibly you too!) have benefited from this exposure to handcrafts – send us your thoughts!
• Alumni students are being asked to send us stories, photos, and anecdotes, summarizing how their exposure to handcrafts has impacted their lives.
How you can get involved!
If you want to volunteer a few hours this summer or next fall, contact Sarah Pierce (there are very easy tasks that require no prior experience and can help save the school money). Contact Lynne Espy if you are interested in helping make the green features possible, and are interested in making a gift to the building fund. The fundraising effort has just begun, and will be in full swing by the fall.

Submitted by Lynne Espy, developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org 865-3900 Ext. 116, and Sarah Pierce, danandsarah.pierce@gmail.com, 926-5337


To read a wonderful AWSNA article entitled History, Humanity, and Handwork by Carmine Innaccone, please click here.




From the Grade School

The Outdoor Classroom - Brave and True Will I Be
      The First Graders completed the month of May with two glorious weeks of hiking, singing, stomping and crafting in our Outdoor Classroom – all 70 acres of it! In spite of the meteorological experience of all four seasons, we hung in for the full scheduled two weeks.

     Each day began with an observation walk, the children were asked to bring their findings back in memory and heart – not hands. We encountered snakes, frogs, butterflies, toads and 5 turkeys, one of which showed us his feathers with a spectacular fanning! The smell of the enlivened earth, the gulping sound of the bull frogs, the colorful sprouting of flowers, and the buzzing of bees, mosquitoes and mayflies brought sounds, movement and rhythm not found in a traditional classroom. With that said, I/We could have forgone the buzzing and biting of the mayflies and mosquitoes!

     We danced in the dell, enjoyed a friendly match of tug of war, crafted canoes in beeswax, painted a forest path in the rain, modeled snakes with clay, hand sewed a banner to mark our base camp and convened in a tipi for story, discussions, and review. We were also introduced to Mr. Bartholomew and became acquainted with his old gnome friends Edgar and Lolly. We heard of their adventures in the forest with, giants, witches, and eagles, etc., and received notes from them (always in a circle of stones and staked with a sharpened branch), we even built them a new home out of leaves, branches and bark – we also fed them! `
      The children not only encountered creature friends of the forest they were also visited by Monsieur Fenderson, Herr Kinzer, Mrs., Richardson, Mrs. Pennington, Mr. Saccone, and Mr. Seavey. Needless to say, the woods were treated to flutes leaving their nests, French and German song, and forest handwork, stories with African flute and dance, and games filled with laughter and cheer.

     The First Grade children worked very hard this year and the Outdoor Classroom provided an adventure, a new space without walls, chairs or desks, to explore form, work out social issues, and to operate and learn as a group. A way to truly experience the elements and brave the world – they handled themselves brilliantly, and I think, really enjoyed their new classroom. It wasn’t always easy for them to negotiate this spacious environment, but it afforded them the opportunity to test an important theme that will be explored throughout the second grade year: understanding and learning that one can choose to follow their higher impulses.

Submitted by Robert Pennington




The Eighth Grade Class Trip


     On Monday, May 30th, my 19 eighth graders and I headed off to Martha's Vineyard for our week-long end of the year class trip. This excursion was led by four young and energetic college grads representing Apogee Adventures. We had a wonderful time with them, biking an average of 20 miles a day around the island (our longest "challenge" ride was a bit over 40 miles), stopping at beaches for a brisk swim, and doing community service at an organic farm. There we weeded beds, transplanted vegetables and mucked out stalls. We did our own shopping each day, loading bags of groceries in our panniers. We slept in tents in a beautiful campground where we

played games, cooked our meals and spent the twilight hours around a campfire, sharing our ups and downs of the day and extending kudos to one and all for their efforts and good cheer. The weather was great, and everyone agreed on our return that it had been an awesome trip!

     Special thanks to Apogee Adventures for our four excellent leaders, for our comfortable tents and our touring bikes! And thanks, too, to all the Merriconeag families who purchased pizza from our class in 6th and 8th grade. The money we earned in this way covered much of the cost of the trip.  Submitted by Hugh Renwick



School Community Updates



Laura Ghedina, our new first grade teacher, is looking for a two bedroom apartment or a small house to rent next year with very reasonable rent - preferably below $900 a month and within a 15 minute drive of the school.

If you know of something, please contact Christine Sloan, administrator@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext 102, and she will let Laura know.

Catch the Bus? You have one more week to to weigh in on morning bus service to MWS. Please take a minute to fill out the 7 short questions. We will only be able to offer busing if we get enough interest to spread the cost, so rally friends and click below.Thank you!                                          

     Continuing our exploration of ways to build community while saving time, money and emissions we created a survey, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VB3DQR3, to assess interest in bus service to MWS.
If every family drove to and from school for both drop off and pick up it would total 3,884 daily miles, using 173 daily gallons fuel and producing 3,349 daily pounds CO2. Wow!

     Please fill out the short survey (link above) indicating your interest in this fee based service. Your response will determine whether we have enough support to contract with a transportation company for the 2011-12 school year.

Questions? Contact Alicia Heyburn aheyburn@hotmail.com





Merriconeag Waldorf School, in keeping with a core value of environmental stewardship, is encouraging families to carpool to school and events whenever possible. A great kick off event for this is the fantastic Circus Smirkus happening this summer. We’ve all seen the sea of automobiles that fill the parking lot and field beyond. We thank the many people who carpool already and encourage the rest to give or get a ride to the fun. GO MAINE is a free online tool that can help connect carpoolers for events or regular commutes. You can find it at www.gomaine.org. Submitted by Erik West






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