Tuesday News - September 24, 2013

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

Upcoming Events
Michaelmas 2013

The days shorten, shadows lengthen, and the
Harvest is gathered. Morning mists are caught in spider webs, 
Meteors streak through the night skies.
We wonder at the blaze of leaves set afire by summer’s heat
Preparing our hearts to meet the
Dragon of winter’s cold.

This Friday, September 27, grades 2 through 12 along with their teachers will be celebrating the start of Michaelmas Season with a creative and playful improvisational pageant. This festive time of year marks the end of summer light and warmth, and calls upon all of us to find the strength and courage to bear that light, warmth and truth within ourselves and the students will be working in mixed aged groups to bring the Michaelmas story to life. Please feel free to join us at 2:00 p.m. on Friday the 27th to witness the fruits of our labor. If it is sunny weather we will be outside on the Desert Road Campus. If it is raining, you will find us in the Community Hall.
      We seek your help as the following items are needed prior to Friday: newspaper (lots and lots!), cardboard, clean empty cans, tissue paper, yarn and fabric remnants, tin foil, plastic wrap, silver duct tape, masking tape, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, craft paints, glue, colored paper, and anything you can contribute along these lines...

     You get the idea, time to empty out your recycling bins and dusty craft closets. There will be boxes in the office and community hall to leave your contributions. The more materials we gather the more creative our experience will be. The Michaelmas Festival Committee


Jack Petrash returns to Merriconeag for two outstanding events:

Dynamic Schooling to Meet the Future

A public talk by Jack Petrash
Friday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.
Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport
$10 suggested donation

It is impossible for us to know what the world will be like when today’s young children are ready to accept responsibility for our society and our planet. The only thing that we know for certain is that our children will inherit a world filled with complex problems and challenges. To meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world they will need to be strong, resilient, imaginative, determined, disciplined, kind, and clear thinking. Waldorf Schools are designed to develop a multiplicity of abilities in children, to engage their fully human intelligence and to provide students with a reservoir of strength and creativity and a healthy sense of self. How can we do this important work together?

Raising Strong, Resilient Children:

Hold Them Close and Then Let Them Go

Saturday Workshop with Jack Petrash
Saturday, October 19, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport

$30 per family, publicrelations@merriconeag.org to register
Parenting is not an easy assignment in our complex, modern world. We are often good at holding our children close OR at letting them go. The challenge is to hold both of those polarities simultaneously and doing so is an art that we will explore in our time together.

Jack Petrash has been a class teacher at the Washington Waldorf School for over thirty years. He is currently taking his fourth class on the extended journey from grade one to grade eight. Jack is also the founder and director of the Nova Institute, an organization that works to build a bridge between mainstream education and Waldorf Education. He is the author of Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out and his recent TEDx talk, Preparing Children for the Journey, has been seen by many parents and teachers in Waldorf communities in North America.

     In addition, Jack Petrash has worked with parent education, and particularly with fathers. His pieces have appeared in the Washington Post and on NPR. He is the author of Covering Home: Lessons on Fathering from the Game of Baseball and Navigating the Terrain of Childhood: A Guide to Meaningful Parenting and Heartfelt Discipline. Jack and his wife, Carol, have raised three children all of whom have gone through the Waldorf School from preschool to grade twelve.

Fall Fair News

Fall Fair and Open House, November 9, 2013

Fall Fair Meeting – come join us: Wednesday Sept. 25th at drop-off time in the farmhouse

     In a remarkable show of community spirit and generosity, each fall, Merriconeag parents and faculty pull off one of southern Maine’s most delightful fall fairs, right here on our campus. Children of all ages look forward to this wonderful tradition. We hold an Admissions Open House concurrently, so it is also a wonderful way to showcase the best of our school to the greater community. Everyone plays a role – whether you are co-chairing one of the committees, baking for the Café, or working a couple shifts on the day of the Fair, we all help make this day a success.

     Mark your calendars – and tell your friends from outside the school – it is one week later than in the past – on Saturday Nov. 9th. This is a long weekend (there is no school on Monday, Veterans Day) but please remember that the Fall Fair is considered a school day and an important part of your child’s and the whole family’s experience.

     We will have our organizational meeting on Wednesday Sept. 25th at drop-off, in the farmhouse. Anyone organizing a Fall Fair activity should come; anyone who is interested in learning how you can help should also come! The Fall Fair cannot happen without all of our wonderful volunteers! Treats and coffee provided.

Lynne Espy, developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 116, in the farmhouse
Mary Martin, events@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 113, in the portable office


Wednesday is Handcraft Day at Merriconeag!

     We are hoping more people can join the Wednesday afternoon Craft Blitzes which are happening every Wednesday afternoon (3:00 – 4:30) up until the Fall Fair (Nov. 9). Our handwork teacher, Julie Pennington, is offering free after school handcraft craft blitzes in our Handcraft Building on the main campus and we want you to come! Everyone is welcome - whether you are a novice or a very experienced handworker (knitting, sewing, felting, crocheting), a new parent or returning parent, this is a wonderful way to connect with other parents, deepen friendships, learn a new skill and get instructions and patterns for a new project. The items you make in this class will be sold at the Fall Fair, so on top of all these other reasons to come, you will feel good about supporting Merriconeag!
     Children in grades 4 and up are welcome to attend the sessions if they are able to participate. If you want to use the school’s aftercare instead, please call the Business Office well ahead of time to arrange payment and ensure space is available.


From the Business Office

gift card.jpgHelp raise money for Merriconeag by simply shopping for your groceries! Purchase a Hannaford/Bow Street Market Gift Card at school and we earn 5%.Great news! Merriconeag has raised over $2700 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 take your payment to Lisa in the Grade School office and note new grocery card or reload on the memo line of your check.We will let you know when the purchase/reload is done. Contact the Business Office, Ext. 151, with any questions.
Description: Description: 80%Logo-Announcement2.jpg

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 ScripZone.com
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 Scripzone.com 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.


News From the Early Childhood Center

Wool Washing & Worm Watching:

There was lots of fun wool washing and

worm watching last Friday morning at

the Early Childhood Center!





News From the High School

High School Trips—From Mollusks to Mooselookmeguntic, Cliff Bars to Baguettes!
      Last week Merriconeag high school students traveled in three different directions on very different odysseys. The seniors camped at Hermit Island with nearly one hundred twelfth graders from eight other Waldorf schools, studying marine biology, singing, sketching, painting, writing poetry, and contra dancing. Juniors drove to Quebec City for a week of French-Canadian urban immersion. The freshman and sophomores joined forces for several days of canoeing and camping in the Rangeley Lakes region. Descriptions of each trip follow:

Flowing Easy—Ninth/Tenth Grade Rangeley Lakes Canoe Trip: Imagine three gorgeous spots to camp and watch Venus and Mars rising, and then the full, fat moon screaming over the waters and casting deepest shadows—Sand Banks, Metallak and Students Island. Picture three lakes of pristine beauty where the loons cry lonesome on Lower Richardson, Upper Richardson and Mooselookmeguntic. Now envision two groups of mixed age paddlers, ninth and tenth graders—one northbound and one southbound, meeting for the second night together to share stories, songs, goofy laughter and a time of quiet contemplation and reflection.
      It was a trip of tremendous bounty—more quiet water, perfect weather and delicious food than a person has a right to expect! A landing floatplane and a circling bald eagle welcomed the northbound group to their second night's campsite. The ancient rhythm of paddling (and plenty of Cliff Bars!) kept the groups mellow and flowing easy. Flowing easy—that was the essential feeling of the trip. Nothing was too hard, the food delicious, sleeping comfortable and dreamy, the company robust and welcoming. The jokes, stories, songs, kind words and endless laughter still echo in my head as richly as the mountain scenery and sound of the gentle water.
      Here in Maine we live in a special place, and experiencing its beauty by canoe makes for a sacred journey. Going on a sacred journey with our ninth and tenth graders insures an experience not soon to be forgotten.
      And to top it all off? Upon arriving back home, I read the front page of the New York Times and one could swear the magic of our trip had an impact on world events. Not one, not two, but three headlines trumpeted remarkably unexpected and positive news: The new head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, criticized the Church for putting dogma before love and called for "an inclusive church, a home for all." In another article, "On Mideast, Heads Spin" the world witnessed a shift away from military action to diplomacy in places as difficult as Syria and Iran. "Diplomacy is suddenly alive again." Finally, a front-page article about America's reawakening textile industry ("Back from the dead") described manufacturing moving back from China, India and Mexico to our own factories in South Carolina and elsewhere. When was the last time the front page of the paper sang like that?
      Sometimes, the world is filled with beauty and good news. Perhaps it is time spent in nature with a paddle in hand that allows us the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
      And finally—an enormous thank you to Grady Hogan and Lucas Milliken, two noble and talented young men who served not only as guides through the wilderness, but as models for how to live a good life. Between young men such as these two and our 27 ninth and tenth graders, the future feels in good hands. David Barham

Student Views: On the second day of the canoe trip, it was a beautiful day as usual. We started to come upon our destination, Metallak Isalnd. As we paddled closer we noticed the other group had arrived before us. We got out of our canoes and joined them, sharing stories of the day before. That night the teachers placed us around the island for a moment of solitude. We sat alone watching the full moon and the setting sun reflecting off the still water. I thought about how lucky I was to be with such wonderful people and to be able to be outside, enjoying nature in all it's beauty. I am lucky to be in a school that treasures nature, fun and memorable experiences. Dylan Wu, Class of 2017

I lay there on the beach, all wrapped up in my sleeping bag against the growing cold of the night. I could hear whispers from the people that were around me, but they seemed distant and dull, because of all the layers I had covering my ears. The full moon shone high in the sky, surrounded by twinkling stars. The moonlight covered everything in a mysterious glow, making it possible to see the tiniest detail in everything around me. I shut my eyes, and breathed in the fresh air. A loon crooned softly, and soon there was a silence so silent it almost seemed loud. The talking and rustling of sleeping bags had teetered off. Stillness. All that could be heard was the silence. I pulled my hats down over my eyes, curled up in the sand, and quickly drifted off into my dreams. Ava Haag, Class of 2017

It was late evening on our second night of the canoe trip, and we had recently finished a filling, delicious dinner, when my friend and I decided to go for a relaxing stroll around Metallak Island. The sun was just setting in the west, leaving a golden path across the still water. We watched for a moment, then continued walking toward the corner of the island. As we rounded the little bend, we stopped in our tracks, staring wide-eyed up at the full moon that had just risen above the treetops. Slowly, we turned so we could look to the west to see the sunset, and east to see the moonrise. It was one of those moments that takes your breath away, and leaves you to realize just how lucky you really are. Fiona Libby, Class of 2017

One of the best moments of the trip for me was Wednesday night. Both groups met up at Metallak Island. That night just as it was getting dark, the teachers brought us one by one to a spot somewhere on the island and told us to think about why the school does these trips. We all sat at our spots, some more quietly than others, and watched the light fade and the stars come out. From my spot I watched the intense outline of the mountains and the trees against the orange light of the sky. It is not often that anyone can get complete peace and quiet, but this was one of those rare times. When we got back we all shared our opinions. Some said that the trips were for social reasons; others said it was to get us into the outdoors. The one that really caught my attention was that we don't often get a sense of real wonder. On these trips, we can all experience that sense of wonder. Julia Ritger, Class of 2016

Although I have lived in Maine my entire life, the breathtaking beauty of the mountains at sunset, and the moon's reflection on the water at night was a lot to take in. After spending so much time near the city, I have taken the nature around me for granted. But when I was pulled away from cars, radio, television and all the other distractions in life, it gave me an opportunity to take in what Maine has to offer- and I thought it was beautiful. Chris Gordon, Class of 2016

The ninth and tenth grade canoe trip on the Rangeley Lakes was a blast. I thoroughly enjoyed the many chances we had to dive into these wonderful sky blue lakes. All but a few went swimming off these glorious sandbar-like coastlines. They had a chill to them, even on these crystal clear fall afternoons. Phoebe Dolan, Class of 2016


Quebec? Fantastique! Viewing museum exhibitions on subjects as disparate as Samuel Champlain and the history of the video game; taking ghostly tours by candlelight in haunted cathedrals; wandering winding, cobblestone streets at all hours of the day and night; holding picnics on centuries-old battlements; shopping the latest French fashions in boutiques; gorging ourselves on baguettes, pain au chocolate, and (strangely enough) Lebanese food; running joyfully through steep canyon trails beside a rainbow-encrusted waterfall; sitting quietly inside a basilica that holds the cast-off crutches of hundreds of faithful pilgrims--these are just a few "snapshots" of our 11th grade trip to Quebec.
      If the other grades' trips were about journeys into nature, our trip was most definitely about the journey across cultures--from the US to Canada, from English to French, and (as we reviewed the history of Quebec), from Old World to New. Each of us stretched a little to accommodate the cultural difference, whether by attempting French for the first time in years, or (for the more fluent speakers) opting for the French-language earphones at one of the many exhibits we took in.
      Perhaps even more important than the cross-cultural experience, though, was the wonderful sense of camaraderie we enjoyed as a group. We quickly progressed from tentative sampling of each other's music on the van ride up (big winner for the week was the hip hop group "The Underachievers"), to creating silly hashtags for each of our activities (e.g. #gogetthebaguettes), to developing an ongoing mental list of best quotes of the trip (Lars won, hands down. Ask him why.). By Friday afternoon, this self-described "van full of misfits" was planning a post-graduation cross-country road trip because our time together had been so terrific. Thank you, Madame, for making it all possible. Vive la Nouvelle France! Kristin Agudelo

Student View: After seven hours in the van, we finally saw the sign that we had long awaited. “Bienvenue a Quebec,” it said with a fleur de lis next to it. When we arrived at the youth hostel, we were pleasantly surprised to find it clean, roomy and comfortable. After getting settled there, we got a chance to stretch our legs and check out the city. Shops, restaurants, and museums all caught our eyes, and the good news is that in the next four days we would have enough time to explore them all. The class spent time learning about Samuel de Champlain, the history of Quebec City and Province, and visited the Musee de la Civilization. The running team ran the grassy path around the entire city on top of the fortress walls. We all enjoyed a spectacular night-time ferry ride across the Saint Lawrence River to see the city lights, and took the funicular, a glass-sided, diagonal elevator, which traversed the huge hill on the way back to the hostel. The food was delicious; croissants for breakfast, baguette sandwiches for lunch, crepes for dinner, and a taste of Canadian putine as a snack. By the time that we got home, we all had spoken lots of French, had learned about the Acadian culture, and had become an even tighter knit eleventh grade class.

Zachary Neveu Class of 2015


"Bio-Blitz" at Hermit Island:  Now that my week at Hermit Island has come to a close, I’ve unpacked my bags, and caught up with some sorely lacking sleep, I have had a chance to reflect on each day.
Sunday afternoon we all hopped in the van, bags shoved in between legs, sleeping mats stowed under seats. We rumbled over the land bridge and onto the “island.” After maneuvering through a shoddily marked path, we crested a hill to find Mr. Sloan, deftly defending our campsite from the other Waldorf schools. After setting up camp we settled down for dinner and ended the night with a campfire.
      Monday morning, we headed to the main area of the Island where all the Waldorf schools gathered together for main lesson. After being assigned a group (each group named after a marine créature—I was a proud member of the Atlantic Dogwinkles!) everyone squeezed onto benches and studied the scientific phylum mollusca. After that, my group walked to beach with Mr. Sloan to reflect and write ocean-related poetry.
      After lunch, we all collected again into our groups and took the precarious march down to the tide pools. Once there, we received the directions for a "bio-blitz." Essentially a bio-blitz is when you scramble over the seaweed-clad rocks and through tide pools observing and identifying as many species as possible. It was incredible to discover what a diverse and complex population such a small area could house.
      During our Tuesday main lesson we focused on the phylum annelida, spending two hours learning about different worm species—the most fascinating ones being parasitic. We also learn quite a bit about octopid. Interestingly, after reproduction the female kills the male, waits until her young is born, and stays by them until she starves to death. For Tuesday’s second class we plodded our way through the dunes and onto the beach, where we painted the surrounding oceanscape with water colors.
      That evening all the different Waldorf schools gathered around a campfire and each one sang a song. Our class, mainly Andrew Hastings, actually wrote a fabulous number, accompanied by John Burgess and Dana Kuniholm, who composed their own guitar music. The other schools performed everything from the classic folk song “Wagon Wheel” to a rendition of “Blurred Lines.”
      Wednesday we studied phyla cycliophora and anthropoda. Ms. Labbe then walked us through the process of dune creation and its importance in ocean-front sustainability. Thursday we studied phylum echinodermata, which includes species such as urchins, sand dollars, and sea stars. After that we pulled out the microscopes and studied barnacles and sea stars on a microscopic level.
      Thursday evening all the schools came together for a fantastic contra dance. We packed into a wood floored room and, appropriately accompanied by a folk band called "Hermit Crabs," stomped, shuffled, and twirled the hours away. Afterward, the teachers then informed us they had a surprise. So we crept through the still night, following the hushed footsteps of our leader. Arriving at an estuary, we were instructed to lie down and swept our hands through the black water. As we did so, tens of tiny lights shone in the water. We learned they were tiny bioluminescent organisms.
      On Friday we packed together all of our wet, muddy, and smelly clothes.
After many exchanged names and sad hugs, we said farewell to all of the great friends we had made from so many different states and piled back into the van. Driving home I felt somewhat forlorn and wished I could spend just one more week at Hermit Island. Jonathan Gross, Class of 2014


Athletic News

High School Cross Country

Last week Merriconeag did not participate in a meet due to high school trips.  The team is back racing this Friday, Sept. 27th. at Libby Hill on Libby Hill Rd in Gray, next to the Gray/New Gloucester Middle School. We love our fans! Please come out and join the fun! As always, any meet photos would be appreciated.

Click here for the complete race schedule.

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

Middle School Cross Country

Races this week:

Monday, Sept. 23, Girls run @ 4;00 p.m., boys @ 4:30. Lake Region hosts Merriconeag, Greely, Poland, Sacopee Valley.

Thursday, Sept. 26. Girls race at 4:00, boys at 4:30. Merriconeag hosts Freeport, Durham, Yarmouth, & Greely.

Come out and cheer for the team!


School Community Updates

Help Merriconeag Grow by Becoming a Key Player in our Outreach Efforts:   We need new helpers this year to spread the word about our events by distributing posters in your town. We have lists of key places but you may always add your favorite spots to them! Please contact publicrelations@merriconeag.org, ASAP if you can help with this important work.

 The speed limit in all parking lots is 5 miles per hour. If you will be getting out of your car, please pull into a parking space. Standing cars are not allowed as they impede the flow of traffic. A parked car needs to be in a parking space. At the grade school campus, u-turns are not allowed. Only parents of first and second graders may park alongside the driveway by the lower school building. Please ensure your car is parked facing the correct direction.
      The sidewalk below the Community Hall has been extended for drop off and pick up ease. There is no parking allowed along the sidewalk between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning, or between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon. Please remain in your car when you are in line for drop off and pick up.
      Parking and use of the barn lot is reserved for faculty and staff use only. When visiting the farmhouse, please park in the first lot on the ECC/Admissions driveway (60 Desert Road). 
      Parking lots are inherently hazardous places, and with the activity and congestion that accompany the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times we must all use utmost care, courtesy and attention while in these areas.

Willow Pond Farm Apples are Back!

Apples are again being delivered to Merriconeag's Early Childhood Center on Fridays before 11:30am. Orders must be placed with Willow Pond Farm (willowpf@aol.comby Thursday at 2:00 p.m.. Please leave payment in the envelope on the file cabinet in the Early Childhood Office PRIOR to delivery. For more details see the Community Classifieds.


Read (Listen to or Watch) This

Education without electronics, the unplugged classroom still works
"At the Waldorf School, they don’t denounce technology, but they don’t use for its own sake either. Looking back on your education, do you remember great devices or great teachers?"
Mark Atwater/ Engineering.com/September 12, 2013

(Click blue to link through)


Greater Community Link


Community Classifieds Link