Tuesday News - October 8, 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

Reminder to Parents in Grades 6, 7, 8:  At tomorrow's 6th, 7th, 8th grades parent evening an experienced group of teachers will join forces to address the mystery of Adolescence! This is not to be missed! As parents, you have the intensity of the teenage experience for 5 or 6 years under our roofs. You will hear from a group of teachers who have chosen to expand the experience of working with adolescents to 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years!
      Please join your class teachers, Jen Chace, Jill Fox, Phyllis Hill, and their colleagues, David Sloan, David Beringer and Karyn Kurland (academic coach and tutor) as they share their insights from the “big picture” of the adolescent journey to the daily experience of the classroom. This will include information about structured study hall, executive functioning, habits, skills and brain development.
      Bring your questions, observations joyful stories and concerns….what you have been noticing, what you should be watching for… as we explore the wonder and challenges of adolescence together. We strongly encourage both parents to attend. Snacks will be provided at the 6:45 social time..


Jack Petrash:

One Amazing Man, Two Outstanding Events!

A public talk: Dynamic Schooling to Meet the Future

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?

Saturday Workshop: Raising Strong, Resilient Children.

Hold Them Close and Then Let Them Go

Saturday, October 19, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport

$30 per family (Adults only. The family price is to encourage both parents to come)

To register for the workshop: publicrelations@merriconeag.org
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.


High School Information Evening

Wednesday, October 23, 7:00 p.m.

Freeport Campus, 57 Desert Road

Our annual High School Information Night is a great opportunity for all interested parents – as well as students in middle grades and up – to learn more about the merits of a Waldorf high school education. At this event, current Merriconeag high school students and teachers will discuss our unique program and what makes it so engaging and meaningful. Beth Caputi, our college guidance counselor, will share her experience of working with Waldorf students, and why colleges are eager to have them. Bring your friends and join us on October 23rd!



Wednesday is Handcraft Day at Merriconeag: We are hoping more people can join the free Wednesday afternoon Craft Blitzes led by our handwork teacher, Julie Pennington, every Wednesday afternoon (3:00 – 4:30) up until the Fall Fair (Nov. 9).

We are having a blast and encourage anyone (fathers and boys too!) to join us. Each week we start a new project, so you get the chance to learn a new handcraft skill, and you will likely also meet new friends!

     Very reasonably priced childcare for young children can be arranged through the business office, if you call ahead to ensure there is space. Children in grades 4 and up are welcome to join in the craft blitz if they are able - it was wonderful to have some young people around the table.


From the Development Office

Grandparents and Special Friends Day: All grandparents listed on your families’ school information forms have been sent invitation to the Oct. 25 Grandparents Day. If they do not receive it by mid-week, or if you have any questions, please contact Lynne Espy.

     A number of families (particularly families new to the school) did not enter grandparent information into the RenWeb database, and therefore we have no way to invite your child’s grandparents or special friends to this wonderful event. If there is someone you would like to invite (aunt, uncle, surrogate grandparent, or even a neighbor who is a special friend of your child), please send us their complete name and address so we can mail them an invitation. We get wonderful feedback from grandparents about this day; it gives them a rare glimpse into Waldorf education, as demonstrated through the delightful performances by their grandchildren and special young friends.

     A few more volunteers are still needed for Grandparents Day; this involves helping with refreshment setup and cleanup, organizing nametags, and greeting guests. You would need to be available from 8:15am – 12:30pm (you can watch the performance).

Lynne Espy, developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 116


Fall Fair and Open House, November 9, 2013

Fall Fair & Open House Update: The Fall Fair is only one month away!

We are very excited about bringing back the time-tested favorites. There is something for everyone: At the gently used Outerwear Sale parents can pick up great deals on winter coats, hats, rain gear, sizes 2 - adult. At young children’s crafts, children aged 3 – 7 can make Waldorf-inspired craft projects. For the youngest children, a secret treasure can be found in the pockets of the “Pocket Person”, and small homemade items can be purchased with a few coins at the Squirrel’s Attic. Everyone loves the creative, outdoor games, and puppet shows are always popular. We will also have lots of food, including grilled German sausages, French Crepes, Rudolf’s Diner (soups and bread), and the Café, for a sweet or savory snack. Older students and adults can watch – or make - more challenging craft projects in the Handcraft Room this year, and shoppers of all ages can buy something beautiful at the Merriconeag Marketplace in the Community Hall – which will include over a dozen artisans from both our community and the greater community.

     The Fall Fair requires the help of everyone in our school community; and we hope every parent will be able to pitch in, by working a shift the day of the Fair, contributing to the food at the café or lunch, and donating items for the craft activities and gently used outerwear sale.

     We also need a few more Fair co-Chairs. Please review the list below to see which activities still need help. If you want to help in another area, just let us know – we can always use more volunteers!
Fall Fair Co-Chairs still needed (and primary tasks):
• Children’s Outdoor games – help Adrian Bossi with setup, oversight
• Outdoor Decorations – help Carina Wishman-Freedner find pumpkins, hay bales, cornstalks and mum plants to make our grounds festive
• Indoor Decorations - we need helpers to hang lights and artwork
• Waldorf School Supplies - help Mandy Andreson with pricing and set up
• Parent Made Crafts: help Justyna Benton with pricing and set up

     Please consider how you would like to bring your talents and whatever time you can spare to this fun, fall event.

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

It's that time of year again to get your baking caps on. The Falling Leaves Cafe is calling out for savories and sweets! If your last initial is from A-L, we'd be delighted if you'd be willing to donate something savory. From M-Z, we'd love something sweet. Of course this is up to you, and we are most thankful for whatever you can offer. It seemed to work well that way last year so there is a nice variety of each. You can even make something as easy as peanut butter sandwiches, hummus roll-ups, or even cubed cheese which are great for the little ones to carry around. There will be more information about when and where to drop items off as we get closer to the fair. Please send your intentions to Sarah at SBarmby@aol.com Thank you so much in advance for helping to support the cafe!

Outerwear Needed for Fall Fair Outerwear Sale: Please donate your gently used outerwear of all sizes to the Fall Fair (note: “gently used” means that you would consider buying it for your own children).Drop off donations in one of the marked bins in The Community Hall, grade buildings or the ECC. We greatly appreciate long underwear, wool sweaters, fleece pullovers & jackets, rain pants and jackets, rain hats, snowpants and jackets, snowsuits, rainboots, snow boots, hats, scarves, neckers, mittens, gloves. (Not needed, but thanks anyway: Nordic ski equipment, helmets, sleds, ice skatesrecreational equipment of any kind, stained or torn items, pets, in laws - even the nice ones)


Michaelmas 2013 - Part II:

Many Hands for Many Harvests
      Michaelmas is a little-known fall festival on this continent, but Waldorf schools worldwide traditionally celebrate September 29 as the triumph of St. Michael over the dragon. Because of its proximity to the fall equinox, Michaelmas also commemorates the end of the growing season, which is why nearly 100 of Merriconeag's sixth through twelfth graders canceled their regular afternoon classes last Thursday to help with the harvest at four local farms in the area.
      Almost half of the students traveled to Cultivating Community's Littlefield Farm in Lisbon, where over two dozen immigrant farmers lease garden plots and grow vegetables that they sell in local farmers' markets. Students worked with farmers from Kenya and Somalia, picking the last of the tomatoes, rolling up irrigation tubes and putting the beds to sleep.
      Cultivating Community connects Maine's newest Americans—primarily immigrants from East Africa and Central America—with the land, skills, and resources needed to start farm-based enterprises. Its mission includes "feeding the hungry, empowering our youth, and healing the planet." Students came away from the experience both awed and admiring. One senior commented that "these people are leaping hurdles that only exist in our nightmares. They are pulling themselves up by their pitchforks. I was farming beside a true hero." David Sloan


Last Thursday in the spirit of Michaelmas, a mixed aged group of 6th -12th grade Merriconeag students headed to Crystal Spring Farm on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick to lend a helping hand during their busy harvest time. The October day itself was simply spectacular, incredibly warm and colorful. Students and faculty were met by Crystal Spring’s farmer and operator Seth Kroeck. Seth shared information with us on the farm’s operations and programs and explained what our task would be during our visit.
We joined Seth and student interns on the farm and enthusiastically put our many hands to work weeding. The rows were long but students were amazed when we truly worked together how much we were able to accomplish. When the weeding was finished (or perhaps Seth took pity on us) we split into two harvesting teams. One group crossed Pleasant Hill Road and harvested bucket upon bucket of beautiful orange carrots. The other moved over a few rows and worked on harvesting beets. Seth expressed his gratitude to our students. We returned to campus tired, thirsty and satisfied...with plenty of dirt under our fingernails! Nancy Roderick

On Thursday, October 3 a group eleven mixed grade students drove to New Leaf Farm in Durham. For the drivers it felt like a homecoming visit, arriving to be warmly greeted by Steve Sinisi, Chris, and Dave Colson. We went straight to work picking two varieties of dried beans and folding up yards of plastic from hoop houses. Our work was praised and rewarded with cold slices of watermelon munched on in the shade. A very rewarding beautiful Indian summer afternoon enjoyed by all. Rose Mary Burwell



Under the bright blue sky last Thursday afternoon milkweed seeds lazily floated through the warm sunlight, but there was no lazy floating on the part of the sixth through twelfth grade students at Milkweed Farm in Brunswick..These guest farm workers were firmly rooted on the ground, and delved eager hands into the earth at the guidance of Lucretia Woodruff, who owns the farm with her husband Michael. Two groups were designated. One group was assigned to clear out the hoop houses that were home to tomatoes, and needed the last of the golden and green fruits picked for eating and the plants pulled out so that they could do their important work in the compost. The second group harvested the last of the squash and melons (most of which would go to feed the cows, who love squash- who knew?), pulled up the plants and the compostable plastic earth-warming weed-retardant, weeded the sweet potatoes and then dug into the soft, rich, October earth to find these orange jewels. Lucretia was able to tell us all a little bit about Biodynamic Farming - for Milkweed is a Biodynamic farm- and so we all went away with a deeper understanding not only of what incredible work goes on to put food on our table, but also with some new knowledge of how the seeds planted by Rudolf Steiner not only blossomed into a world-wide educational movement, but a worldwide agricultural movement as well. It was an afternoon of true, purposeful work, with some nice conversations, some giggling, and take-home trophy for all of dirt under the fingernails! Marta Rackmales


More School News

Roman Soldiers Camp in the Back Woods: As part of their study of Roman History, Merriconeag's Sixth Grade camped Roman soldier style in the woords on the grade school campus. Camping trips are important for so many reasons, both curricular and social and this trip saw success in both areas. Hopefully, the sixth grade students were left with a feeling understanding of the determination and fortitude required of the Roman soldier.

     When it was time to ship out the sixth grade students donned their packs. Organized in rows of four they marched down the path to the bridge led by a "standard" of blaze orange, where they practiced moving into rows of two, and over the fields into the woods, where they moved into a single file line. Roman soldiers don't chat as they march and so the class was silent as we followed a student leader out about twenty minutes from the field, through easy and rough terrain. We eventually landed in what the leading student thought was the perfect camping place. We heard voices for and voices against and it clear that we would continue on our journey. One student said, "We're Romans. We don't settle for anything less than the best. Let's keep looking!" We eventually wound our way to the campground and everyone agreed it had the best facilities - thankfully! That 45 minutes or so of silent marching, single file, was quite moving. No one had to be reminded, no one fooled around; they really carried the mood beautifully.

     Camp set-up in groups of four, dinner, a trip to see the stars in the field, hot chamomile tea and songs around the fire, and lastly the first chapter of Eagle of the Ninth (a story of a Roman soldier) put us in the mood for bed. Sort of. There of course was much chatting and socializing, but most children settled down rather quickly. I heard children calling out, "I just saw two shooting stars!" and "Wow, I can see a UFO!" It was so wonderful to lie on the pine needle covered ground in a warm sleeping bag, looking up at the clear night sky, listening to the students voices whispering and sharing their excitement.

     It seemed only moments had passed when Herr Kinzer started the morning fire and we could see stars fading before our eyes. We enjoyed hot cocoa and breakfast in our pjs while the sun rose. Breaking camp was ever so much speedier with no tents to take down. After tidying and gathering firewood for the next group, we marched out of the woods and to the field to perform some training exercises. Finally made our way back up to the school. The rest of the morning lesson time was spent back on our farm. (We were playing at Roman soldiers being called away from our farm and returning after battle.) The garden has only tomatoes and greens left. The rest has been fully harvested, re-dug and raked. Our hard work was rewarded with a lunch of delicious homemade soup and bread.


Merriconeag Students Dazzle the Audience: For the second year in a row, talented Merriconeag students led by John Saccone were asked to entertain auction attendees at The Portland Company’s indoor street fair and auction hosted by Portland Ovations. These talented kids added to the pulsing urban atmosphere with their spontaneous entertainment beginning outside in the warm sunshine, as the doors opened. While some wowed the crowds as they juggled with large knives, others performed various acrobatic stunts, performed amazing

feats with the diabolo, and loosened up those coming from work as “Blue Man” wove in and out of the performers with his creative shinnanigans. They then took the show inside as many continued their talented acts among the audience.
      We here at Merriconeag are thrilled that these students are asked to perform by Portland Ovations , along with such acts as Portland Ballet and musicians from 317 Main St. Bravo to Olivia Skillings , Nick Neveu, Ryan Kappelmann, Sophia Laukli, Eli Gundersen, Davis Ritger , Maxime Karamanoglu and john Saccone. Also special thanks to JoJo and Ari Zeitlan for joining the fun with your wonderful talent!


Athletic News

High School Cross Country: Instead of traveling up to Belfast, last Friday found the Merriconeag teams making a return trip (just down the road) to Freeport. It proved to be yet another great meet for both the girls and boys with a huge number of PRs and season bests. Merriconeag definitely benefited from the dry conditions on the trails and the fast course. With great weather and a healthy spectator turn out of spectators, the team couldn't ask for much more. Thank you to our growing middle school support system for helping with splits, taking photos and, of course, the very loud cheering.

     On the girls' side, Sam Pierce again led Merriconeag, passing her teammates after a conservative first mile to set a season's best. Carlin Tindall was not far behind, blasting through the 22 minute barrier to set a new PR on the flat course. Accompanying her through the first half was Fiona Ahearne, who moved up several spots on the Merriconeag record board with a new PR. Lily Tupper also managed to dig deep for a PR of over a minute, running aggressively throughout the race. The familiar pair of Sylvie Fenderson and Emma Goldberg-Courtney worked together from the very fast first mile through the last stretch, where Sylvie again just edged Emma. Not far behind them was Fiona Libby, who caught Emma Dolan after a very fast final mile. Fiona set a PR of almost two minutes, while Emma D ran a season best time by over a minute. The girls finished second to Freeport, beating out Class C rival Traip (Fryeburg, Wells and Richmond did not score).

     On the boys' side, another familiar narrative unfolded with Zach Neveu and Tucker Pierce starting off right behind the leaders. Both managed to shave off large chunks of time with new personal bests, with Zach finishing third and Tucker right behind in fourth. Dylan Wu was next for Merriconeag, running a very strong final mile to have his best race of the season by over a minute to break the 18 minute barrier. Lars Gundersen also showed great improvement, going well under 19 minutes for the first time with another great run. Tucker, Dylan and Lars all made jumps up the top ten times list. Finishing in the final scoring position for the third meet in a row was John Burgess, who continued the acceleration trend by setting a huge PR. Graham Roeber was not far behind, holding on to the pace after a very fast first mile to set the tenth personal best of the day for Merriconeag. Lincoln Samuelson also went out fast, weathering the final mile for an overall improvement over his previous effort at Freeport. The boys finished in a very close third- five points behind Freeport and six behind Fryeburg- beating Traip and Wells (Richmond did not score).

Full results can be found here. Hope to see you all next week at our home meet at Pineland!
Note: In the results, Graham is listed as Davis.

This Friday, October 11, Merriconeag hosts Freeport, NYA, and Yarmouth at Pineland. A home race! Please come out and join the fun!

Click here for the complete race schedule.

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


Middle School Cross Country

It was a slow week last week on the middle school cross-country front. The one event of the week was on Monday at the annual Greely Relays, a fun one-mile relay event out at Twin Brook in Cumberland. Merriconeag entered four co-ed teams of five runners each, competing casually against multiple teams from Raymond, Greely, Falmouth, Waynflete, Sacopee Valley, Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Durham and perhaps one or two I have forgotten in the meantime.

     This Thursday, 10/10, the team travels to Gray for our next official event with the host team (GNG), Greely, Jordan Small MS (Raymond), and Sacopee Valley. Girls run at 4:00, boys at 4:30. We'd love to see you out there!

Asst. Coach John Olson


School Community Updates

Great Circus Press:

Check out this recent article about Circus Atlantic and their after school program at Merriconeag:

Sharing tricks of the trade
From a master coach, local students are challenging their bodies and minds in the pursuit of the circus arts.

By Matthew Stilphen, Tri Town Weekly, October 1, 2013

This article is about The Circus Conservatory of America coming to Portland:

Circus College Comes to Town
A fool may be born every minute, but it takes four years to become a jester auguste.
By Frances Killea, Portland Montly, October 2013

Early Childhood is looking for substitute teachers for this school year: Interest and experience with little ones (birth to age seven) would be ideal. If you are interested in working in our Waldorf Early Childhood environment, please email Kam Anderson, EC Section Chair, kanderson@merriconeag.org

Willow Pond Farm Apples are Back:

Click here for more information and to order


Still Need Help with postering:  We need new helpers this year to spread the word about our events by distributing our posters in Brunswick. 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.


Read (Listen to or Watch) This

Hearing the Music, Honing the Mind
Music produces profound and lasting changes in the brain. Schools should add classes, not cut them
By The Editors, Scientific American, October 26, 2010

(Click blue to link through)


Greater Community Link


Community Classifieds Link