Alumni

Our seniors are stellar interns!

Each year, Green Meadow Waldorf School 12th graders do a three-week internship in April, allowing them to experience a workplace firsthand. They keep a daily journal about their thoughts and impressions, and the school receives official feedback from the student's on-site internship coordinator. We are so proud of the responses we received about the Class of 2018 that we just have to share them. Students' names are omitted to respect their privacy. 

From Gonxhe Magellara, Commissary Manager Production at Momofuku Milk Bar: "[The student] was able to jump on any station, with full confidence and leadership skills...It was also helpful that she is bilingual, able to communicate in both English and Spanish...She was awesome to the team and super-reliable...If she were [looking for] a cook position, she would most certainly be hired!" 

From Cody Wells, Creator at C3Brix: "[The student's] knowledge/creativity/personality made him a perfect fit...there was no doubt he would exceed expectations. To have [him] here these three weeks was nothing short of a breath of fresh air. Can I have him back or can we clone him?" 

From Professor Amy Adamczyk at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: "[The student] had to think and work strategically to diagnose the many problems that arose [during the project] and work with other research team members to figure out a path forward...[She] is thoughtful, easy to work with, and highly intelligent. I wish all my students were as skilled and dedicated as she was."

From Debbi Fleckenstein, Producer at Elmwood Community Playhouse: "[The student] does not shy away from learning anything we have thrown at him...I wish we had three more like him. His initiative was shown in volunteering to do anything that he sees we're looking around for someone to do." 

From David Scharf, Owner at David L. Scharf Construction: "It's very rare to find someone who has so little construction experience yet is so good with his hands. He has a talent for this work (and I offered him a job this summer)."

From Lisa Devo, Owner, Soap & Paper Factory: "We love [her]! I can't wait to see where she is in 10 years. She gives me hope in our youth."

From Joseph Orchard, Senior Editor at Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale: "[The student] understood the project instantly.. [His] intelligence, independence, and motivation to complete the project were all immensely impressive." 

 

Alumni Voices: Matt Olson '17

Matt is currently at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada.

"All the best experiences I've had at school so far have been in my involvement outside of class. From competing in inner tube water polo to joining a club for impact investing, I've realized how important it is to take initiative and put yourself out there.

During my first week at Queen's, all the freshmen in my program (or frosh as they say up here) were interviewing for positions on the Queen's Commerce Society. I had never done a real interview before, however, decided I had nothing to lose, suited up, and took my shot. I ended up being offered a position on Queen's Social Investment Initiative which has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of my year. Being part of the club has exposed me to an industry I had no idea existed and aligns very closely with my personal values.

My transition to University was much smoother than I expected due to the vast differentiation of environments compared to Green Meadow. Tons of people go to Queen's knowing people beforehand and I was skeptical I would find a good group of friends. After being here for about an hour, however, all those worries vanished. Everyone is just here to get a good education and have 'the best 4 years of their life,' and I now find myself living on a floor with 30 people I can't imagine living without.

One thing Green Meadow helped me with greatly, which has benefitted me countless times already, is the school's emphasis on public speaking. Doing a 15-minute presentation in Rose Hall gave me confidence in my speaking abilities, which I have utilized competing in case competitions and presenting in front of my current class.

After leaving Green Meadow I felt more than ready to see what the world had in store for me and on what path my independence would lead me. Green Meadow prepared me incredibly well for the mental side of the transition, and I gained the skills necessary at Green Meadow to push through and teach myself in the areas where my background is lacking. All things considered, no high school has the ability to fully prepare students for the next chapter in their life, however, Green Meadow did exceptionally well preparing me for the mental transition." 

Generations: an alumnus teaching the children of fellow alumni

Recently, we told you about our First Grade teacher, Daniel Bieber (Class of 2003), who has six GMWS alumni as parents in his class, along with three alumni from other Waldorf schools.  

Today, in the third installment of this blog series, we'd like to introduce you to Maureen Satriano, GMWS Class of 1988, whose twin daughters are in Daniel's first grade class. Maureen also has two older children in the school, serves as our school nurse, and has played many roles at GMWS since graduating.

"One of the best parts of my time at Green Meadow was learning to look at everything from many angles.  I feel it has given me a perspective in life that is sometimes challenging for others, and for me too.  But most of the time I find myself thinking about an event, an experience, or a person, and trying to understand, or at least consider it from someone else's perspective.  There were many outstanding aspects of a Waldorf Education that I am passionate about, but trying to figure something out in many different ways, or imagining what it must be like for someone else, stands out as a valuable tool to have in our modern times.

I chose Green Meadow because I wanted a Waldorf Education for my children.  There was no other choice, in my mind.  I want my children to experience learning in color, warmth of teachers and community, joy in learning, and depth of thinking.  I want to have children who can look their teachers, friends, and friends' parents in the eye, and carry on a meaningful conversation.  I want more Waldorf graduates in the world, who think outside the box, look at issues from all angles, have a global perspective of the world, and are inspired to make positive change, and who feel they have to tools to make a difference.  I wanted my children to love school, and I knew they could do that at a Waldorf school."

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Generations: an alumnus teaching the children of fellow alumni

Recently, we told you about our First Grade teacher, Daniel Bieber (Class of 2003), who has six GMWS alumni as parents in his class, along with three alumni from other Waldorf schools.  

Today we'd like to introduce you to Dr. Nicole Falanga, GMWS Class of 1998, whose son is in Daniel's first grade class.

"Green Meadow encouraged me to really think; to learn from and to question the world around me rather than becoming robotic and focusing on memorizing information and taking tests.
The teachers knew each of the students deeply and nurtured us toward our potential. I was given a safe platform to explore my individualism and was gently rerouted or guided when needed.

I wanted my children's early education to be play oriented; where self-directed learning would allow them to slowly discover the world. As Andrew begins 1st grade, I am excited that he will be given the tools to approach his life, learning, and interpersonal relationships in the thoughtful and intentional way that the school provides. I am confident that as he moves into the upper grades and high school, the sophisticated academic and social environment will be great preparation for life and learning beyond Green Meadow."

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Generations: an alumnus teaching the children of fellow alumni

Recently, we told you about our First Grade teacher, Daniel Bieber (Class of 2003), who has six GMWS alumni as parents in his class, along with three alumni from other Waldorf schools.  

Today we'd like to introduce you to Amina Gurcan, GMWS Class of 2004, whose son is in Daniel's first grade class.

"When thinking of my Waldorf Education at Green Meadow, what stands out most is the dedication of the teachers to their students, particularly the class teachers of the lower grades and how they commit to teaching and guiding the children for eight years. It amazes me how involved they are with their class, almost as if they were another parent. I will never forget the incredible dedication and patience my teacher had for each one of us in the class. I remember that she would make extra time to work with me on certain subjects that needed more improvement. She believed in me and that has always meant so much. 

I am awed not just by the way I was taught through Waldorf Education, but by how much I did while a student. I performed plays, made books, went on trips, learned to sew, had art, woodwork, and pottery classes, learned to write poems, learned a new art for my senior project, learned to play an instrument and read music. I played Beethoven's 5th Symphony! Not necessarily well but at least I experienced playing such an great piece of music. I don't believe I would have had such opportunities if I had attended a different school, and I am very grateful for my education at Green Meadow.

While pregnant with my son, Ensar, and thinking of his future, I knew that we would do all we could to try to send him to Green Meadow. I feel so blessed to say that he is now a Green Meadow student! Through my own experience, I see the great value of a Waldorf Education and knew that it was the type of education I wanted my children to have. Kindergarten was a wonderful experience and Ensar loved it. He is now an eager, enthusiastic, and curious first grader really ready for this new venture. These first two weeks have been both thrilling and nostalgic for me, as Ensar transitions to his new class. Having Daniel Bieber, who is also eager and enthusiastic, as the teacher, it all just feels right. "

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Generations: an alumnus teaching the children of fellow alumni

For us at Green Meadow, one signal that we are successfully living out our mission is the fact that many of our alumni return here when it is time to choose a school for their own children. They see the value of the Waldorf Education they received and want to offer the same for their children. 

Our current first grade, the Class of 2029, tells an even more special story: the teacher of this class that includes so many children of alumni (more on that later) is himself a graduate of Green Meadow.

Daniel Bieber graduated from Green Meadow in 2003. After attending Bard College and helping run the family business (The Nature Place Day Camp), among other things, he decided to begin his Waldorf teacher training at Sunbridge Institute. He then served for two years as a Lower School Assistant at GMWS while in his teacher training. Daniel applied last year for the First Grade position and, having gotten to know him as an adult in his role as Classroom Assistant, we were thrilled to offer him this opportunity to take a class at his alma mater.

We will be writing in the coming weeks about the many alumni who are now parents in Daniel's class (six GMWS alumni and two alumni from other Waldorf schools), sharing their stories of why they decided to return to GMWS and send their children to the school they attended. Stay tuned.

 

  Daniel Bieber '03 with his First Grade, the Class of 2029, on the first day of school, 9/6/17

Daniel Bieber '03 with his First Grade, the Class of 2029, on the first day of school, 9/6/17

Meet our Alumni: Ken Mankoff

Ken Mankoff started at GMWS in Nursery and left after 9th grade, and graduated from high school in 1993. Read more about Ken

GMWS: Can you say a little bit about where you went to college, what you studied, and what you are doing now?

KM: I went to the University of Colorado, Boulder, because Colorado has ~330 days of sun per year and world-class skiing. It turns out they also have a good university and amazing research opportunities. I studied Computer Science, but was hired, at age 18, to work with the first spacecraft designed, built, and flown by students. I spent seven years doing that, which spawned my current career.

In early August 2017, I moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. I'm a new Senior Scientist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in the Department of Glaciology and Climate. My new job is a bit unclear since I've only just arrived, but in general I will be monitoring the health of Greenland via remote sensing (satellites), and in-situ sensor (weather stations that we install and maintain around the ice sheet).

GM: What were the best aspects of your time at Green Meadow?

KM: I left 21 years ago. My memory is one large fuzzy positive one. Very fuzzy, but 100% positive, and I do smile when I think of GMWS. I do have some specific snapshot memories (again all positive) such as: playing on the jungle gym with Eric Shurtleff, learning how to read critically from Mr. Wulsin, and sewing and knitting.

Maybe the main best aspect was spending a decade growing and developing with one small class. At the time it was normal, but now looking back, the cohesiveness of the group seems unique. The occasional times I do cross paths or email with an old classmate, it is always special.

GM: What do you think makes Green Meadow most unique or special?

KM: Small class sizes, build-your-own-textbooks, non-traditional experiences like knitting and sewing which I still find useful), extensive woodworking, etc.

GM: What advice would you give to a parent or student considering GMWS, especially someone who thinks they might want to study in your field?

KM: I like to think that GMWS and the creativity and exploration offered there (that I think may not be offered at traditional public schools) prepared me to be a scientist, but I've met many peers who may be better scientists than I, and went to public school.

   Ken Mankoff in Antarctica.

Ken Mankoff in Antarctica.

Meet Our Alumni: Evan Solomon, Class of 2009

GMWS: Can you say a little bit about where you went to college, what you studied, and what you are doing now?

ES: I attended George Washington University in Washington, DC, where I got my Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in International Business.  My major allowed me to study a number of languages—Spanish, Arabic, and Italian, which is something that I have always enjoyed, while also taking some more standard finance and strategy courses.

Since graduating college in 2013, I’ve been living with in DC with my girlfriend and working as a financial analyst for a commercial real estate company. My work enables me to have plenty of time for personal endeavors, like exploring DC’s neighborhoods and the surrounding region, maintaining a part-time commitment to running and exercise, and learning to make excellent homemade pizzas.

GM: How did Green Meadow prepare you for college and life? What were the best aspects of your time at Green Meadow? What do you think makes Green Meadow most unique or special?

ES: Green Meadow prepared me in a number of ways, but one aspect of my education that tends to reappear at work and in school is critical use of the English language in both speech and writing. Much of the GMWS faculty, not just the English teachers, articulate and synthesize thoughts with uncommon precision and intention. A lot of time is spent on refining communication abilities—of course this comes naturally to some people, but I took it for granted and only realized after some time away from GMWS the immense value of some basic communication skills.

What isn’t unique or special about this school? The highlights for me were all the extracurriculars: my exchange semester in Buenos Aires, hosting exchange students all throughout high school, the class plays, the class trips to Hermit Island, ME and Costa Rica, the senior projects, the opportunity to participate in the Helping Hands ‘Midnight Run’. These were all unique opportunities that were both enjoyable to remember and valuable to this day.

GM: What advice would you give to a parent or student considering GMWS, especially someone who thinks they might want to study in your field?

ES: One of the common objections that I heard when I attended GMWS for high school—the concern that the school is ‘different’, and therefore a risk to attend, because it may limit options after high school. You have to look no further than what current alumni are doing out in the world to see that there is a broad range of post-GMWS lives that can be lived. I’ve heard of, met, and read about (in The Bulletin) former GMWS students working in finance, government, theatre, music, education, fine arts, sports, and law.

  Evan Solomon '09

Evan Solomon '09

Meet Our Alumni: Lela Mae Jacobs

Lela Mae Jacobs attended GMWS from 6th-9th grade, before her family left for a year-long trip around the world and then settled in England.

GM: Can you say a little bit about where you went to college, what you studied, and what you are doing now?

Lela Mae: Last month, I graduated from Bath Spa University with a Honors Degree in Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors. I have been very lucky with where I've been able to split my time whilst living in England. The city of Bath is a beautiful old Roman city in the heart of Somerset. The entire city is bursting with creativity, which became highly inspirational for my work in digital and hand embroidery. I am now currently based back in London and am working towards getting as much experience and inspiration from the city as I possibly can, through freelance work and internships to visiting the museums.

GM: How did Green Meadow prepare you for college and life? What were the best aspects of your time at Green Meadow? What do you think makes Green Meadow unique or special?

LMJ: During my time at Green Meadow, I made lifelong friendships and their support is one aspect that will stay with me forever. Even though we are on different continents, it is wonderful to know that I have friends to call at 4am to bounce design ideas off.

The teachers at GMWS took time to explain their lessons and encouraged me to look beyond the classroom, giving me greater understanding of my subject and the world around me. Through the years that I was in Green Meadow, I was taught the importance of presentation and attention to detail. This has become an important aspect of my work, given the field I have chosen.

GM: What advice would you give a parent or student considering GMWS, especially someone who thinks they might want to study in your field?

LMJ: The realization that I wanted to go into textile design came from my Handwork classes. The teachers recognized this and encouraged me to pursue what I loved. The skills that I learned at a young age have been invaluable in textile design and set me apart from other applicants when I was applying to college. GMWS offers you such a unique and special learning experience, which I have experienced nowhere else.

Helpful tip: Pay attention in knitting and especially to those hand-stitching techniques: they're a lifesaver, trust me.

  Lela Mae with her work at  New Designers  in Islington in June 2017.

Lela Mae with her work at New Designers in Islington in June 2017.

  A sample of Lela Mae's work.

A sample of Lela Mae's work.

Meet our Alumni: Isaiah Thron, Class of 2015

Isaiah started at Green Meadow in Nursery school. He says, "I was at GMWS for 15 years. Only missed out on Parent & Child." 

Green Meadow: Can you say a little bit about where you go to college and what you are studying?

Isaiah Thron: I am studying at SUNY Binghamton University. I am majoring in Electrical Engineering and minoring in Sustainable Engineering. 

GM: How did Green Meadow prepare you for college? What were the best aspects of your time at Green Meadow? What do you think makes Green Meadow most unique or special?

IT: I'm going to answer those questions in reverse order. I feel like Green Meadow truly educates their students. Going to the roots of the word "educate," it means "to draw out." My experience at Green Meadow is that teachers make you really think about the material, come to your own conclusions, and "draw out" the knowledge from yourself. I think this is one of the things that makes Green Meadow unique, along with plenty of other things (only some of which have to do with fairies and gnomes). 

Green Meadow allowed me to have a rich and joyful childhood, full of imagination and nature. In the Lower School, everything was taught through a story. Even Math, with Prince Addition and Princess Subtraction, was introduced to us in first grade through the medium of a story. That is one way that we had to use our imagination, but also outside of the classroom, with the no media policy. This made us be creative: go outside, be our own superheros, and build castles and grand rivers out of sticks and the hose. Green Meadow created the opportunity for us to connect with nature, bringing us on nature walks and having us play outside no matter the weather, rain or shine, allowing us to build a relationship with the world we live in. 

The other thing that I love about Green Meadow is the teachers. Lower School through High School, they all care. I have always felt like the teachers were there for me and that they saw me as an individual, not just another student. 

Now, how did Green Meadow prepare me for college? Honestly, I feel like it's a little bit silly that everything is about getting into the best college, then getting the best job, and so on. As someone who has just finished the first two years of engineering school, I'm not sure anything can really prepare you for college. But Green Meadow did prepare me, in a few ways. I learned how to take in the material and understand the concept. This is very useful for any kind of learning, but it especially helped me in a Chemistry course my first semester (which was both Chem 1 and 2 in one semester). I came to understand the material and was also able to explain it to my friends who were struggling.

The material at Green Meadow is expansive enough that everyone can choose different directions to go in their lives, but deep enough that even now in Calculus 3, I am still learning things that we covered in High School (in the upper math group). I've had that experience in many of my general science classes.

Green Meadow prepared me for more than just succeeding in college; it prepared me to succeed in life. I graduated with the ability to learn and with at least a little bit of knowledge in many fields. 

GM: What advice would you give to a parent or student considering GMWS, especially someone who thinks they might want to study STEM?

IT: Green Meadow fosters creativity, which is imperative in all subjects but especially, as some might not know, in STEM. In the STEM fields, creativity is needed to come up with solutions and design projects.

If you want to learn more about a field that you are interested in, join a club or do outside work that will teach you about the subject. Green Meadow builds you up so you will be able to absorb the material and make it part of you.

Also, have fun and don't let the work stress you out!

 

  Isaiah in 2015, doing his Senior Project on Modern Dance. Photo courtesy of  Dyana van Campen .

Isaiah in 2015, doing his Senior Project on Modern Dance. Photo courtesy of Dyana van Campen.

Meet our Alumni: Alex Chin, Class of 2012

Over the next few months, we'll be introducing you to many of our recent alumni, who are scattered across the globe doing amazing work and engaging in study.

Today we are sharing a bit about Alex Chin '12, who will also be featured in an interview in the September/October 2017 issue of The Bulletin. Alex is currently traveling in Ghana; we look forward to talking with him when he returns. 

Green Meadow: Congratulations! We understand that you were accepted recently to MIT and the University of Rochester for graduate school. Which school will you be attending and in what field of study?

Alex Chin: I will be attending the University of Rochester to pursue a PhD. in Physics. I will focus primarily on High Energy Density Physics.

GM: Can you say a little bit about where you went to college, what you studied, and the path that led you to graduate school?

AC: I went to SUNY Geneseo for my undergraduate degrees in Physics and Math. I decided to go to graduate school so I can keep studying and doing research in Physics. I still have so many things to learn.

GM: How did Green Meadow prepare you for college and beyond? What were the best aspects of your time at Green Meadow? 

AC: I started at Green Meadow in Kindergarten, and being at the school gave me the opportunity to have experiences that I never would have had elsewhere. I have no idea how many times I tried to explain what eurythmy was my freshman year of undergrad.

Look for the full interview with Alex in an upcoming issue of The Bulletin.

 

Alex receives his diploma in June 2012 from then-Administrator Tari Steinrueck.

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Film by Kellen Quinn '00 at Montclair Film Festival

Kellen Quinn '00 recently produced Brimstone & Glory, which will be shown on May 6 and 7, 2017 at the Montclair Film Festival.

Here's a synopsis of the film:

Tultepec is known throughout Mexico primarily for one thing—it is the beloved home of Mexico’s fireworks industry. Each year, the community gathers for an annual festival for San Juan de Dios, creating a ritual celebration of fire, explosion, and danger unlike any other. BRIMSTONE & GLORY is an immersive portrait of Tultepec as it prepares for one of the most spectacular displays in the world; a concussive, pulsating event that fills the streets with revelers seeking a colorful, shimmering dreamscape. (In Spanish with English Subtitles)

Congratulations, Kellen!