It was a gorgeous day on Saturday, June 8, to graduate these nine students; six from the eighth grade, and three from the seventh grade, of the White Mountain Waldorf School. Congratulations to the following students and their families: Arkie Baptista, Sawyer Cook, Thorin Fogden, James Harrison, Adam Schmidt, Brodie Snell, Jonah Tafuto, Rosa Tepe and Sam Vallee.
All of the students, who have attended the school since early childhood, presented a speech reflecting on their time spent at White Mountain Waldorf School. They spoke of the strong bonds they have with each other and with the community at school. All of them thanked their teachers and parents for the love and support they have felt over a decade of time.
One of the graduates, Adam Schmidt, gave a heartfelt speech in which he reflected on his friendships and beyond:
“But beyond the friends that I and my parents have made what is the education that I’ve been given? Many people would say that education is just the things you learn and that the quality of that education is defined by the number of things you learn. I’m sure that everyone in this crowd knows where I’m going with this, it’s right there in our motto ‘inspiring a love of learning.’
“Throughout grade school and middle school myself and my classmates have not always wanted to do what we were doing. I can’t count the number of times we were all sitting, more than a little bored, in math, German or whatever class and someone raised their hand and said ‘when in my life will I use this’ or ‘why are we even being taught this,’ but that misses the point. The point of studying these subjects is that they give us the skills and the desire to learn, so that when we go home and decide to do a project we don’t opt for the easiest option, and we don’t give up when we hit an unforeseen barrier.
“I know this intimately well from my experience teaching myself coding and robotics. At this point, I have written over 2,000 lines of code. I can look at a handwritten number and recognize it for what it is supposed to be. That’s a big deal alone but the bigger deal is that a kid from a school with no electronics did it. All because that Waldorf “love of learning” leaves me striving to do the best work I can.
“Furthermore, as I see it now, Waldorf and these years of my life have been a steppingstone; my single most obvious takeaway from reflecting on my life so far is, ‘Wow, I am a middle school student who is excited and impassioned to do math, writing, programming and more as well as working on getting my first internship and signing up for sports and robotics after school.’ ”
Commencement speaker and teacher Sarah Davidson spoke of how the school and the teachers there strive to paint a rich and artistic landscape in which to build upon capacities for learning:
“We have attempted to introduce you to all the major realms of human experience and from as many perspectives as we can and in a way that involves not just your ability to think, but also your ability to feel and to do.
“We recognize that you are each unique, and that you are each whole human beings who are constantly growing, evolving and transforming. Everything that we have tried to give you as a part of this education has been in service to this development.
“It is the reason for the existence of this school in the first place, and also the last place. What sets us apart from other schools is that our aim is not narrow, but is both wide and far, because what we aim for is not simply the communication of knowledge, but the building of capacities.
“In this sense, you have been given a truly unique education: you have the capacity to relate effectively to your fellow human beings, the capacity to listen deeply and openly, the capacity to think deep and complex thoughts, the capacity to appreciate the human need for beauty, and the capacity to create such beauty.
“You have the capacity to love, to be generous and compassionate, and to be silent. You have the capacity to appreciate the natural world, and our responsibility to the Earth. You have the capacity for sustained work, and for gratitude. You also have the very important capacity to learn.
“Once again, congratulations to the class of 2019; we are very proud of you and we have full confidence that you will continue on your path to lifelong learning.”
The White Mountain Waldorf School is located in Albany and has been inspiring a love of learning for almost 34 years. The school is currently accepting students for the 2019-20 school year, early childhood through grade school.
To schedule a tour or to find out more about what a Waldorf education can do for your child, call (603) 447-3168 or go to whitemountainwaldorf.org. Summer hours for the school are Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.