Friday News - June 14, 2013

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This is the last newsletter of the 2012 - 2013 school year. Happy Summer to all!

Commencement Exercises 2013

The Class of 2013

(l to r) Ben Tindall, Zoe Oswald, Teagan Wu, Skyler Samuelson, Nowell Stoddard,

Zoe Chace-Donahue, Holly Perkins, Emelie Chace-Donahue, Jack Pierce,

Phoebe Clewley, Devon Murphy-Anderson, Timothy Morse

      If you have never been to one of the Merriconeag graduations, I highly encourage you to come next year. All graduations are special, but the ceremony at Merriconeag is unique. Because our graduating classes are small, each student gets to put his or her personal stamp on the proceedings. To start with, each student enters onto the stage to live music of their own choosing. Some students marched to classical music, a boyfriend finger picking an old jazz standard or a sibling playing and singing a much beloved Beatles song. Some processed in to an old Robert Johnson blues tune or a set of dueling banjos. One student even sang The Banana Boat Song along with her brothers. Each student was introduced by a faculty member of their choosing. Every one of the twelve faculty introductions were one of a kind - as one of a kind as the student being introduced. Then each student got to speak about memories and meaningful experiences from their years at the school. Some spoke of class trips, others of foreign exchange, many spoke about the value of all the singing and art they did at school in their lives. Each spoke of the incredible connections made to teachers and especially to one another - a complex set of friendships cultivated over many many years. All spoke lovingly of their experiences - even when that meant nearly being buried alive in a debris hut on a class camping trip or waiting hours on the side of the road while a chartered bus basically fell apart.

     This year was particularly special in that a majority of the class had been at the school since kindergarten. That is 15 or 16 years out of an 18 or 19 year life so far! Fresh off the success of their class play, And Then There Were None, and their senior class trip to Provincetown, the class of 2013 clearly enjoyed themselves at their own special event. They sang as part of the high school chorus and also offered a playful a cappella version of Journey's old hit, Don't Stop Believing.

     No cookie cutter graduation this. The school is small but this allows for this unusually high level of input and creativity from each student. After a lifetime in Waldorf education, this was a most fitting ending for the class of 2013.

David Barham


Merriconeag's Commencement Key Note Speaker, Jordan Seavey

     Former and much beloved music teacher Jordan Seavey was this year's commencement keynote speaker. Mr. Seavey spoke about the significance of presence and told tales of his own ability to learn about music from long dead composers by being able to be inwardly still and present enough when listening to music that the composers actually offered up and revealed their secrets to him. He finished his address by sitting at the piano and playing an extended piece by Claude Debussy to demonstrate this practice of presence. Jordan's grace and focus spoke as loudly as any words he offered the graduates.

2013 Key Note Address

     Anyone endeavoring to manifest the ideals of Waldorf education will likely find him or herself studying the book How to Know Higher Worlds, by Rudolf Steiner. Steiner, as many of you know, was the originator of Waldorf education, establishing the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany nearly 100 years ago. Early on in my first year teaching here at Merriconeag, which was also my first year as a Waldorf teacher, which was also my first year as a teacher, I too found myself in possession of this book. And early on in this book, there is a brief passage which has led me to think a great deal about what it means to be an effective teacher, and also, more importantly, what it means to be an effective student. In it—and I’m both paraphrasing and extrapolating here—Steiner conjures the image of a student waiting outside the door of a great teacher, someone the student, out of reverence and admiration, wishes to emulate. He proposes that the awe and wonderment experienced by this student could be something useful, a special feeling, something to continue to try and kindle throughout one’s life. I remember when I first read this passage; I began to reflect upon all of the wonderful teachers—and I’ve been blessed with many throughout my education—whose understanding of a subject, or whose way of thinking, or, simply, whose style and being I’ve looked up to. These teachers have helped me, encouraged me, inspired me, been patient with me, and perceived things in me I didn’t even know were there myself. And although many of them have been truly extraordinary, it was during the phase of my life analogous to that which all of you are about to enter in your own, that I met the one teacher who most palpably elicited this feeling of awe and inspiration in me: my college piano professor, Laura Kargul.  Read more


Roses and Sashes Assembly 2013

On Friday, June 7th our 8th and 12th graders were honored with a ceremony of roses and commencement sashes at our annual assembly in the Community Hall.



The Eighth Graders Perform at the Roses & Sashes Assembly 2013

      The Eighth Grade Class of 2013: (l to r) Cassandra Albano, Lila Bossi, Sofie Deutsch, Kelley Fullagar, Ava Haag, Bennett Hight, Ethan Humphries, Sylvie Fenderson, Fiona Libby, Thomas Kolle, Sarah Norden, Ciara Murphpy-Anderson, Davis Ritger, Tucker Pierce, Jenaya Rogovin, Emma Goldberg-Courtney, Maxime Rumiel (behind Emma in photo) Riley Smith, Sarah Sutherland, Chandler Waldron, Dylan Wu.


                                                                         The First Graders sing a lovely song.


                                                                      The Class of 2014 surprised us all.

PHOTOS: Photos from this school year's events are available through Tricia Toms Photography. Tricia volunteers as Merriconeag’s official photographer for class and school events, and has photos for sale on her website: (50% of net photo sales from her website benefit Merriconeag’s Tuition Support.) Contact: Tricia Toms: 603-944-0797

VIDEOS: We will keep you posted about the availability of recent videos.


Circus Smirkus News     

Circus Smirkus is Coming to Town!

The Big Top Tour Returns!

Monday & Tuesday, August, 5th & 6th

Join us under the big top as Circus Smirkus returns to Merriconeag!

Get Your Tickets Today: Tickets are now available at Royal River Natural Foods in Freeport, Standard Baking Company in Portland and online (for an additional fee) at


Come on Down to Benefit Night at Flatbread Company in Portland on Tuesday, June 18th! There will be hula hoop and juggling contests with prizes from one of our new collaborators, Rainbow Toys! We'll be raffling off family passes to Monkey C Monkey Do and a fun family basket. Invite you friends and come join the party on June 18th to raise funds for our children in need.


Volunteer to Work a Show: Click  here to sign up to work a circus show or to volunteer behind the scenes (or give Aly Fullagar a call at 274-0057).


Like us on Facebook by clicking here and “share” circus news as the Big Top Tour travels around New England this summer!
Questions? Please contact Mary Martin: 865-3900, Ext. 113,


From the Business Office

gift card.jpgHelp raise money for Merriconeag by simply shopping for your groceries! You can purchase a Hannaford/Bow Street Market Gift Card during the summer too! Great news! Merriconeag has raised nearly $2100 from the sale of the Hannaford gift cards in just six months. We place our order for new cards and reloading existing cards every Thursday morning as long as we meet the minimum order of $1000. Grocery cards are a great way to buy your food supplies AND support the school. Simply mail your payment to the school and note new grocery card or reload on the memo line of your check.
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Also Available: Scrip Gift Cards 
Merriconeag is also a member of ScripZone, an online retailer of Gift Cards. With your purchase of gift cards, and there are hundreds to choose from, Merriconeag receives a percentage of the total amount of your purchase. We do accept credit cards!
Enrollment: Enrollment in ScripZone is easy to do right from your own computer.
1. Go to
2. Click on the NEW USER option
3. Create your own Secure Online Account; after registering
4. Enter our Unique Group ID: 207865MWS
Entering the Unique ID will link your purchases to Merriconeag, every purchase you make will result in benefit to the school.
Payment: Payment for your order can be made online by credit card, ACH (bank withdrawal) or by dropping a check off at the office. By paying through ACH you have the option of having your order delivered directly to your house. If you choose ACH, you will need to click on MyScripPayment Center to set up your account. 
Do I have to Enroll to participate? No, you do not have to enroll at ScripZone to participate. If you are interested in purchasing gift cards you can simply go to and scroll through the Retailer List located on the right side of the screen. Simply make a list of what you want and quantities and email to the business office. Your order will be processed once we receive a check. Alternatively, we can email a list of retailers to you.


School Community Updates

2013 FAB (Future Alumni Breakfast): On Thursday, June 6, the Alumni Committee held its 2nd annual FAB: Future Alumni Breakfast. The 12 seniors and their advisor, Jeff O'Brien, joined Alumni Committee hosts, Jacqui Koopman, Lynne Espy and Deeda Burgess, for a delicious breakfast in the gallery of the Community Hall. The breakfast celebrates their new status as alumni and we discuss how best to help them stay connected to the life of our school and to other Merriconeag alumni in the years to come.
      It is a joy to talk with these impressive young adults and to hear their enthusiasm for Waldorf education and their desire to give back to the school in many ways. We encourage them to visit us often and to continue to share their stories with us so we can share them with you.

Foundation Studies starting this fall at Merriconeag: What's it all about? - An exploration of Anthroposophy and the arts through Foundation Studies offered by the Center for Anthroposophy.
Just what is it that draws us to Waldorf Education? This program is designed for anyone wishing to understand the underlying philosophical basis for Waldorf Education. It has been offered in school communities from Blue Hill, Maine to Orange County, California - including many groups at Merriconeag.
Participants have varying levels of experience with Anthroposophy. Participants have included: Parents, Teachers preparing for Waldorf training, Board members, Community members, Teaching assistants and volunteers.
In our all too busy lives this program is designed to be manageable. It is offered in your own community, close to home, on a part time basis and at a reasonable cost. A minimum of 15 people is needed to form a "cluster". Participants bring their life, work and parenting experience into the content of anthroposophical inquiry, thus finding new meaning behind the phenomena of daily life. Shared questions, presentations and artistic renewal help develop a support network for both the local Waldorf school and the evolving adult relationships within the community.

To read the welcome letter and program click here.

Registrations taken at the website:

More questions? Contact Barbara Richardson 865/6482 or Tricia Toms 699-4101


2013 Merriconeag Summer Camps

Circus Camp is full and please note that we have cancelled

the first week of Buttercup, July 1 - 5

There is still some room in Buttercup, July 8 - 23 - reserve your place today!

For more information and to register, click here.


Athletic News

High School Ultimate Frisbee: On June 2 at the Cumberland Fairgrounds Merriconeag Ultimate played in the State Championships with great heart and treated all of their spectators to some very exciting games. Congratulations on a wonderful season, MU!

The 2013 Merriconeag HS Ultimate Team: (l to r) Simon (from Brunswick), John Burgess, Hugh Voorhees, Joe Newlin, Andrew Hastings, Nowell Stoddard, Isabella Pignatello, Zoe Oswald, Avery Murphy-Anderson, Devon Murphy-Anderson, Coach Rich Young, Sam Leavitt, Django Pignatello


(Click blue to link through)

Special Community Camps Link


Greater Community Link


Community Classifieds Link