Nurturing Freedom: The Goal of a Waldorf High School
We were happy to welcome a full audience of 28 families in Rose Hall on November 8 for our High School Open House, with a mix of current GMWS middle school families and prospective parents in attendance.
High School Chair Harlan Gilbert began the evening with an introduction that outlined the development of autonomy, beginning with a toddler’s realization that, though their parents walk one way, they can walk another. In early adolescence, this manifests in the feeling life, as young people experience being unique in the world. As they move into later adolescence, they may decide to make different choices from their peers. This is the birth of judgment.
Following Harlan’s presentation, High School students Alexandra Mele ‘22 and Jasmine Srivastava ‘23 spoke to the guests about their transitions from Lower School to High School, clubs and athletics they participate in, and the school’s international exchange program. Jasmine shared that after middle school at Green Meadow, she left to experience a large public high school, but realized after a month that she missed the depth and the relationships of a Waldorf school, and returned to our school.
Participants then chose two 20-minute faculty demonstration classes from the following to attend:
Geology, Plate Tectonics, & Mapping
With Life Sciences & Mathematics teacher, Ms. Christina Roberts
With Mathematics teacher, Ms. Michelle Boynton
With Applied Arts teacher, Mr. Kemal Lowenthal (Class of 2007)
Hamlet and the Maddening Struggle between Faith and Reason
With English & Drama teacher, Ms. Defne Caldwell (Class of 1987)
High school parent and Green Meadow Waldorf School High School Humanities teacher Melissa McDonagh told us she attended the mini-lesson on Hamlet (“a Renaissance Man in a Middle Ages world”), where her colleague Defne Caldwell (a GMWS alumna) compared these two mindsets as a metaphor for adolescence. Melissa then went to the “fun and interactive” session with Mathematics Teacher Michelle Boynton on Descriptive Geometry, where everyone worked on three-dimensional cubes.
Following these demonstration classes, School Counselor Joanne Monteleone presented on our graduates, the qualities that make them stand out to colleges and employers, and the way we approach the college admissions process. Learn more about Waldorf graduates and how they fare after high school here. One highlight from the book in that post:
“Our survey responses show a decisive majority of alumni say Waldorf education has ‘prepared them for life,’ that it has instilled in them the habits of collaboration, of creative and critical thinking, and of concern for the community as a whole. In this sense, Waldorf education is successful in meeting its goals if we understand these goals to be ‘educating the whole child,’ nurturing and guiding children and adolescents in ways that contribute to their maturing into well-balanced, morally sensitive individuals who are able to pursue their own initiatives and self-realize while serving the wider community. We see this success in the professional choices of Waldorf graduates, nearly 40% of whom work in education, health services, or social services; we see it in their self-professed high level of life-satisfaction; and we see this in their own perception the skills, capacities, and formative experiences gained during their years at the Waldorf school.” (page 188)
To end the evening, we were proud to feature an alumni panel that included Nadia Celestin, Evan Palazzo, Robbie Rindlaub, and Isaiah Thron. Nadia (Class of 2016) is Research Assistant at Tisch MS Research Center of New York. She received her BS in Psychology from UMASS, Amherst. Evan (Class of 1991) is a lifelong jazz pianist who formed The Hot Sardines, a hot-jazz band, after working as an actor in New York City for several years. He is the band-leader and pianist for the group. Evan attended the University of the Arts, Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, on a talent scholarship. Robbie (Class of 2005) is project control manager for an energy investment consulting firm, Project Consulting Services, in Houston, TX. He has a BA in Literature from Wesleyan University and a MSc in Mineral and Energy Economics from Colorado School of Mines. Isaiah (Class of 2015) is Associate Energy Control Systems Engineer at New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG). He graduated from Binghamton University.
Each alum spoke about their fondest memories of Green Meadow, the depth and quality of the curriculum, their relationships with teachers, their experiences in college, and how having varied interests helped them excel and form bonds with many different kinds of people. They also elaborated on the intangible qualities of curiosity, depth, interest in life and people, and passion that they consider a direct result of their Green Meadow education. Meet more Green Meadow Waldorf School alumni here.
If you’re a student or a parent considering Green Meadow Waldorf School for high school, please attend an upcoming admissions event to learn more. We’d love to welcome your family!