Tuesday News - December 17, 2013

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

Please note: This Friday dismissal for Grades 1 - 12 is at 12:30 p.m. and there is no aftercare that day.

Upcoming Events

Annual Winter Concert

Wednesday, December 18, 5:30 p.m.
Freeport Performing Arts Center

30 Holbrook St., Freeport
Join us for a delightful evening of music. The concert begins at 5:30 and all students in grades 2-12 are expected to arrive no later than 5:15 with all necessary music and instruments. Upon arrival, students should bring their string and wind instruments backstage to the band rehearsal room.
Students in grades 5 - 12 dress in black and white. Students in grades 3 and 4 may wear concert attire in festive colors of their choosing. Students in grade 2 will wear their Santa Lucia attire. Nancy Roderick


The Shepherds Play

Friday, December 20, 11:00 a.m.

Community Hall

We warmly invite the entire community to join us to witness this simple, yet profound offering which speaks to what it means to be truly human. 



Caroling in downtown Freeport

Friday, December 20, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Gathering in front of the L.L. Bean boot at 5:00 p.m. 

Sponsored by Merriconeag's Parent Connections

A beloved tradition! Come spread the holiday cheer and represent the Merriconeag Community in downtown Freeport with an evening of caroling led by our Chorus Teacher, Chris Chasse. Singing books will be provided and you may want to bring head lamps. Be sure to dress warmly. We look forward to seeing everyone there! Snow Note:  If the weather is inclement, please check the MWS website for a cancellation notice.


On Going:

Tea and Play

Wednesdays, Dec. 18, Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Early Childhood Center

60 Desert Road, Freeport

For prospective parents. Bring your child, share a cup of tea with us and learn more about our programs for young children. Story time is at 9:30. For more information: 207.865.3900, Ext. 163, or hdrexel@merriconeag.org


From the Administrator

Dear Friends,
It is already very dark in Maine this winter, and we are now headed into the week of greatest darkness, just before the winter solstice on Dec. 21. I was told recently that the sun doesn't complete the full turn of winter solstice until Dec. 25. Then the promise of longer days begins to grow and glow. Amidst all of this darkness, many cultures around the world have created festivals to celebrate light, inner light.The glow of the menorah, the starry candle-lit path of the advent spiral, and the shimmering crown of light for Santa Lucia, are just a few that prepare us to honor and protect the inner glow of the human spirit.

     On December 5, another bright light in our world flickered, and then went out. But the darkness did not take over. Nelson Mandela passed away after 95 years of walking this earth, but the light that shone through his smile, his eyes, and his deeds continued. It was passed around the world, shining brightly in the hearts of millions of people who knew his story and celebrated his life.

     Five years ago, on Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, a newscaster told BBC that the mood of the whole country was bright and filled with goodness that day, because all of its people were thinking of Mandela. What is this light that kindles such hope, admiration and gratitude? Barak Obama said that Mandela kept his heart open, and changed the world showing “what human beings can do when they are guided by their hopes, not their fears.”

     Poet Maya Angelou captured the essence of this light in a few, carefully chosen words. “That’s who I am…that’s who I can be.” “To forgive…that is true liberation. I will never be the same. We thank him for coming, for teaching us, for loving us. All of us…all.”

     May you find peace and inspiration in the flickering candle light, the laughter of your children, and the joy of friends and family. With warmest wishes for a blessed and light-filled Holiday!
Christine Sloan


From the Development Office


2013-14 Annual Appeal Update:
Thank you so much to the wonderful people who have already sent their donations to the 2013-14 Annual Appeal. Generous gifts from grandparents, parents and friends of the school are arriving daily, and I will periodically give updates on the total amount raised and the participation levels in each class. Here is an update for each of the 3 Annual Appeal goals:

Goal #1: 100% participation: In order to demonstrate strong support to outside funding groups (foundations and businesses), it is critically important that every family in the school give a gift to the Annual Appeal. Last year, parent participation once again increased significantly over the previous year, but we still have room to improve! Last year, participation among current parents in Early Childhood through 12th grade averaged 86%, with seven classes getting higher than 90%. Let’s see if we can’t get this participation rate closer to 100%! Remember, gifts of ALL sizes count.

Goal #2: Raise $150,000: To date, we have received 51 gifts totaling $46,550 (including $9,241.50 of the total $50,000 matching grant). We are nearly one third of the way to our goal of $150,000! This is fabulous! Many of the gifts have been larger than the last year’s gifts, and these gifts will be matched by the increased amount. We also have a number of first-time donors – a heartwarming demonstration that parents recognize the importance of their support, and the important role that Merriconeag and Waldorf Education plays in their lives.

Goal #3: Get the $50,000 match! An anonymous donor has offered up to $50,000 to match all new and increased gifts to the Annual Appeal. For example, if you gave $100 to the Annual Appeal last year and you give $150 this year, the additional $50 will be matched by this grant. If you didn’t give a gift last year, and you do this year, the entire gift will be matched. This is a tremendous opportunity that we hope will motivate everyone to give more this year!

     If you haven’t made a gift to the Annual Appeal yet, please do so today – gifts of any amount help us reach our goal of 100% participation. You can make your gift in any of these easy ways:

• Check, made out to MWS, submit in remittance envelope and drop in safe (main office)
• Online giving, click on the Donate button above or visit the home page of our website: www.merriconeag.org
• Credit Card: fill out the remittance envelope with the appropriate information
• Gift of securities: Call Barbara Guffin or Lynne Espy for information to transfer securities.

     Thank you for your generosity. With deep gratitude, Lynne Espy, 865-3900 Ext. 116, developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org


From the Board Treasurer

Making It Rain – A new randomly timed series of paragraphs by the Board Treasurer

     Good day fellow parents and community members. As our school embarks on what very well may be the most exciting and important series of strategic steps in our collective history, I wanted to invite everyone to a series of open houses and discussions that will occur over the next few months. I’d like to call the first one a “state of the union,” and the others “fireside chats,” but our legal department has instructed me not to because those things are taken. So what we’ll have are “community events” – presentations and information sessions whereby I (and others) will be presenting information and answering questions about the School’s financial picture, our processes, our strategies for growth, and how/when we address things like tuition raises and tiered tuition. You should come. Seriously, you should come. Every family at the school should avail themselves of the opportunity to learn about our school from a financial and strategic perspective, and understand the importance of our costs, how we pay for them, and what those will look like as we move forward. To sweeten the pot, I promise – no spreadsheets; well, maybe one or two, but they will be really interesting and coffee will be available…

     OUR FIRST COMMUNITY MEETING WILL BE THURSDAY, JANUARY 9th at 6:00 PM! This first meeting will set the tone, and will be the most comprehensive, hence all the capital letters. This meeting will cover our financial health, discuss the OneMerriconeag Strategic Plan, and set forth the action steps that are being taken to increase our School’s enrollment and to more effectively communicate what we do and why we do it.

     As our Board and College of Teachers looks to the future of the school, especially in the context of our Five Year Strategic Plan and the OneMerriconeag process, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of your participation and understanding. As a family, you have made a significant financial and personal investment on behalf of and for your child(ren) - take an evening to hear about how those investment are being cared for and managed. Thank you for reading, and for your consideration.

Frederick Veitch, Board Treasurer.


News from the High School

Christmas Market at the High School: Last week, the 9th grade French and German students joined forces to prepare hundreds of Christmas cookies for the upcoming Christmas Market at the High School. The French recipes were provided by our intern Amelie Koch who comes from Strasbourg, in Alsace where the Christmas Market tradition has been kept alive since the 16th century. Herr Frälich added some German recipes since Germany and Northern Europe also share this tradition. The students worked hard with a joyful spirit. The confections ended being not only lovely but also very appetizing! They will be bagged and sold at The Christmas Market which will open at recess and lunch time in the High School for the whole week. The High School will be twinkling and smelling good all next week! You are welcome to come and get some goodies for your holidays. Madame Whittlesey


On Thursday, December 12, MWHS 11th Grade French students went to the Franco-American Collection at USM in Lewiston-Auburn. "The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in the State of Maine. The Collection’s holdings cover local history, government, religion, language, education, industry, sports and the arts."

     The students who are finishing a semester long study of French America, are presently working on the history of the Francos in Maine. In order to test the reality of the history studied in class, the students were invited to interview a person of Franco-American heritage about their family history. This interview was conducted in French, which proved to be challenging at times when the people, happy and

honored to be interviewed, started speaking faster or with emotion about their personal history. Then the students were invited to view some of the black and white photos of the Collection.

     This was a warm and rich experience for our students who are now in the process of writing, in French, the biography and family history of the person they encountered. The visit brought history alive and hopefully it brought the realization that history is but a chain of human lives lived in the past.

     I would like to thank James Myall who helped organize this visit at the USM Collection, as well as Maureen Perry, Rita Dube, Bob Gilbert and Georges Blouin who very kindly and patiently gave their time to help our students understand better this important page of our local History. Madame Whittlesey


On Saturday, December 14th, the high school robotics team, "Free Range Robots", traveled to Augusta to compete in the Central Maine Robotics Tournament. The team had been meeting since September to design, build, and program its robot. This was the very first time our school has participated in a Robotics Competition.

    At the tournament, the team was partnered with a different team from another school for each of its matches. We learned a lot, won a good number of matches and had a lot of fun. We did very well considering it was our very first tournament.

From the some of the participants:

  • I enjoyed the experience of joining the robotics team not only because I learned so much but it was also a lot of fun. When I signed up for the elective, I knew I would learn a lot about robots but I didn't know I would learn so much about engineering and computer programming. Davis Ritger, Grade 9
  • It was amazing to be able to work with technology and be able work with students from other schools. Maxime Rumiel, Grade 9
  • This fall's robotics course was an eye opening experience for all of us. Learning the basics of writing code was intriguing as was designing and building a working robot. The competition provided an entire day of high speed thinking, repairing, and driving. Overall, this program is a great addition to our school. Zach Neveu, Grade 11
  • I thought that I learned so much at the tournament. The atmosphere was very different than any thing I've ever been in. There were a lot of unique people and robots in the conference room. I found a long lost friend and made some new ones. Ava Haag, Grade 9

Jeff O'Brien

Read (Listen to or Watch) This

For those of you who don't follow us on Facebook or Twitter here is a wonderful video from the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. Share it with your families over the holidays - it speaks to Waldorf Education in general!

Preparing for Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-ZSeepDmPE

"Preparing for Life" takes viewers inside the Waldorf School of the Peninsula where the focus is on developing the capacities for creativity, resilience, innovative thinking, and social and emotional intelligence over rote learning. Entrepreneurs, Stanford researchers, investment bankers, and parents who run some of the largest hi-tech companies in the world, weigh-in on what children need to navigate the challenges of the 21st Century in order to find success, purpose, and joy in their lives.

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
The Number of Diagnoses Soared Amid a 20-Year Drug Marketing Campaign
By Alan Schwarz, The New York Times, December 14, 2013


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