November 2020 E-News
A Message from the Faculty Chair
Tomorrow we will be closed for Presidential Election Day. As we anticipate tomorrow’s election, most of us cannot recall a more politically charged or contentious atmosphere. Some are concerned there may be disruptions to follow that might interfere with the School rhythm. If there is any reason that we should not hold classes following the election, you will receive a text and phone alert, just as you would in the event of inclement weather. It would be treated like a snow day and there would be no online classes.
In this tumultuous moment, we as educators work toward an optimistic, collaborative and engaged future. We strive to develop in our students respect for themselves and others, interest in the world around them, and ultimately, adult community members who engage in creating a better world. I share with you below a series of beliefs, compiled by the Guild of Independent Schools in NYC, that also reflect the values of our School.
We believe that schools must demonstrate that they are not partisan–not “red” schools or “blue” schools, but rather safe and brave schools where you learn to engage in reasoned, respectful debate, critical thinking, and a free exchange of ideas (even half-formed ideas), without fear of judgment or reproach.
We believe that schools must give you the skills and habits of mind to debate the issues at stake in our city, country, and world, but also to learn that there are clear guardrails and certain issues around which there is no debate. For example, we believe it is important to unequivocally condemn and reject white supremacy and bigotry in all its forms.
We believe that schools must stand for these ideals and model them for you every day. We also believe it is important to unequivocally condemn and reject violence in all forms. You should expect to hear this from leaders.
We believe that schools must create environments built on kindness, equity, honesty, inclusion, and respect for those whose opinions differ from your own.
We believe that schools must promote the act of voting in democratic, free, open elections and the peaceful transfer of power.
We believe that schools must espouse truth, facts, science, and reasoned debate.
We believe that schools must proactively support your hope-fueled activism and create opportunities for you to give voice to your values and practice courage in the face of adversity and wrongdoing.
We believe that schools must be communities that expose you to ideals that you fall in love with so much that you will not only work towards them but also cherish and protect them.
Finally, we believe that our city, our country, and our world will emerge wiser and healthier. We believe this to be true because we believe in you, and in our individual and collective ability to rise above the rancor and, no matter what the outcome of the presidential election, live our lives in a way that is aligned with our values.
Thanksgiving Assembly – Save the Date!
The Students and Faculty are excited to start working on their Thanksgiving Assembly offerings for the community. These offerings will be shared virtually on Wednesday, November 25th.
Our Annual Fund Appeal went out in the mail last month and we are now prepping for #GivingTuesday, the global day of giving. How can you get involved? Support our School by making a gift of any size on Tuesday, December 1st.
By making a gift to The Waldorf School of Garden City Annual Fund, your contribution will support:
- The purchase of additional wellness technology and supplies to ensure the health and safety of our current families and employees
- The maintenance of our buildings and grounds that, under COVID-19 guidelines, requires additional cleaning staff
- Continual technology upgrades of hardware and software to remain on par with current standards for distance learning
Show Your Gratitude – Honor a Teacher!
During this wonderful season of gratitude, let’s take a moment to honor those who have and continue to make a tremendous impact on our lives. Is there a teacher past or present that has made a difference? If so, honor them with a gift!
Visit www.waldorfgarden.org/donate to make a donation today. Stay tuned for more #GivingTuesday details coming soon, including meeting our 2020 Gnome!
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-742-3434 ext. 313.
Thank you for your support!
Enrollment for Early Childhood 2021-2022 Programs Now Open!
Parents who wish to enroll younger siblings in the Nursery and Mixed-Age Kindergarten for September 2021 are encouraged to submit an Admissions Application now. Enrollment in these classes is currently underway. While priority is given to families who have siblings in the School, spaces are limited and fill up quickly. Please contact Carol Proctor at (516) 742-3434 ext. 301 or via email at email@example.com with questions
You’re Invited to the Next PTA Meeting
Come join us on Friday, November 20th at 7:00 pm! Your thoughtful participation would be a welcome addition to the proceedings.
Fiber Arts Teacher, Sugandha Gupta will lead us in a hands-on activity where we will have an opportunity to make a greeting card/artwork using painting, stamping, and newspaper cording. Here is a list of different materials that will be needed.
- Basic watercolor set or any paints you want to work with.
- Elmer’s glue.
- A pair of paper cutting scissors
- Card stalk or painting paper.
We hope to see you all at the meeting! Check your e-mails for a zoom link to come!
-The PTA Co-Chairs
Parenting Support is Here!
Parenting support classes have begun for families with children in Early Childhood through grade 8. Join our community of parents as we discuss the gifts and struggles of parenting, child development, and raising healthy children in these challenging times. This class will open with a topic of discussion, which will include topics such as rhythm, self-care, environment, developmental milestones, balancing and understanding family values, and more. (Unfortunately, we do not have an option for families of high school students at this time.) For more information click HERE or contact Stephanie Cleary directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, a Waldorf tradition during the fall season, we celebrate Michaelmas to honor what is truly human and our process of self-development. The story told through the festival examines the process of taming our inner demons and choosing what kind of person we will be in the world.
The Waldorf School of Garden City students enjoyed a very different Michaelmas this October. Embracing and embodying the qualities of The Archangel Saint Michael, they created a mini Michaelmas pageant for each other with positivity and grace. Led by their Class Teachers and Movement Teacher Erin Fitzgerald, the 1st – 5th graders, presented movement pieces and verses containing themes of courage, inner strength, and deeds of goodness. The day for the Lower School ended with artistic activities and a special baked treat by Aviva!
WSGC Students Co-Found The First Black Student Union
Sanaalee Troupe, 11th grade, and Zamiya Jean, 12th grade, have Co-founded the first Black Student Union at The Waldorf School of Garden City. Driven by a passion for educating and uniting the students of color at WSGC, Zamiya and Sanaa have created what they hope will be a safe place for students to express themselves.
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement and recent civil rights protests around the country, Chelsea Rissner, former Counselor at The WSGC, hosted Zoom meetings for students to discuss how the current social and political climate had been affecting them.
“We [discussed] how we felt about certain issues that were going forth in the media and how it was affecting us as students if it was affecting our workload, our mental health, these sorts of things… This was very useful because we were getting that burden off of our shoulders.” shared Sanaa. These Zoom meetings were a much welcomed and necessary opportunity for the students to feel heard in a way they hadn’t experienced yet at school. This is the first club at The WSGC to focus on racial or cultural issues and identity. “We never really had a structured environment where we could talk about certain issues affecting us. Especially when it came to recent protests after George Floyd and social movements.” Explained Zamiya, adding, “We knew it couldn’t just end there.”
The weekend beginning on October 16th brought an inspiring combination of virtual and in-person activities to our community. Resilience, determination, flexibility, and joy were beautifully displayed as we celebrated “Waldorf Strong” together. Starting on Friday with our annual Waldorf Symposium, eleven alumni from across the country joined us virtually to share their journeys after leaving The Waldorf School of Garden City and how the School helped shape their career paths. Ayanna Wayner ’94, Attorney and Managing Director of Fort Green Partners, LLC, described the School as a “place of evolution,” and actor Andrea Conte ’85 and designer Patrick Hankin ’94 concurred on how they were given the freedom to be curious and explore. The School produces problem solvers who are needed in our changing society. Bob Gold ’73 remembers finally being “heard” after transferring from public school and explained how he learned that true leaders utilize the strengths of those around them.
Against the Odds
The small maple next to the office here was clipped by a weed whacker at a very young age. We weren’t sure it would make it, so deep was the wound to the tree’s young bark. And yet this fall, many years later, the small tree has unfolded a dome of reds, yellows, oranges, and hints of summer’s deep green, each leaf its own paper star of delight. Against the odds, this tree has reached the fullness of fall.
Despite early foreboding, our autumn programming season has reached its fullness, too. We have now run four fall school programs from The Waldorf School of Garden City, refining our health and safety protocols along the way and enjoying the unexpected benefits of the changes to our established rhythms. Three more are planned in the weeks ahead. The days of excitement during the trips and words of gratitude afterward have each been polished to shining by the knowledge that none of this was guaranteed, or even likely, a few short months ago.
The gap semester students just finished their apprenticeships, where they honed culinary skills, experienced regenerative farming first-hand, and planned their own 4-day backpacking trip in our local mountains. That a group of young strangers-become-friends are living together in community would always be a special thing, but is a huge feat in today’s world.
We’ve had a longer season of fall colors this year than in the last several, and the little maple is still going strong. By the time the next school group comes there will be some raking to do underneath the gray branches, but we expect many leaves will still be shimmering on them. What a treat it will be, to gather up those bursts of color with visiting students, as we’ve done for seventy-five autumns, against the odds.
This month we are highlighting one of our exceptional student-athletes, 8th Grader Francesca Giumenta. She is currently training for the US Figure Skating Regional Championships. Her keen love of learning and expressing herself through movement have enabled her to balance her classroom commitments and the intense physical demands of the skating rink. Even at this young age, she is a shining star and an exemplary model of what it truly means to be a Waldorf student-athlete.
Francesca joined The Waldorf School of Garden City community when she was just a baby, tagging along with her older brother Joseph in Parent &Child classes. She began figure skating at nine-years-old and quickly moved up to the Junior Skating Academy at the Northwell Ice Center for a year. A year later, she began private coaching with Debbie Crawford and competed at a local level throughout Nassau County, winning over 20 gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Class of 2010
Some members of the Class of 2010 along with a representative from the Class of 2008, gathered over the summer via zoom for an informal 10-year reunion. Pictured clockwise from top left is Catherine Kleint, Abigail Lyons, Anna Diorio’08, and Jason Cohen. The class hopes to get together soon for a bigger reunion.
Luna Splendori ‘17
In addition to her job as an editorial assistant at The University of Chicago Press, Luna Splendori ‘17 is now working as a communications intern at the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, and has also been virtually assisting the Office of Education at the Italian Consulate of New York! During her downtime, Luna runs the Italian cultural club on campus called CIAO – the club is looking forward to many virtual events this quarter, such as cooking together via Zoom!
Tamara Ruppart ‘96
Tamara Ruppart’s Japanese-language film, PATH OF DREAMS, is now on Amazon! The film has won and been nominated for 17 awards around the world. For more information visit: Path of Dreams or https://pathofdreamsfilm.com. Congratulations, Tamara!
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Join Us on Our Wellness Mission to Keep Our Community Healthy!
As you know, each of us has a personal and shared responsibility to create a safe and healthy environment to protect ourselves and those around us. At times, we understand that the required guidelines and expectations that we are now asked to adhere to may seem inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even like an overreaction—but they are necessary—to protect ourselves and each other. Together, we must commit to safety practices and behaviors that protect our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. For this reason, we would like to ask you to pledge to keep our community healthy by following the policies and protocols put forth by WSGC. In addition, when you are away from school, please remember to keep the health and safety of our community in mind by limiting your exposure to your family and school community as much as possible and wearing masks in public or other social situations.
7th Grade at Glen Brook
Monday, November 2nd – Friday, November 6th
Election Day – SCHOOL CLOSED
Tuesday, November 3rd
End Of HS First Quarter
Friday, November 6th
Veterans Day – SCHOOL CLOSED
Wednesday, November 11th
8th Grade at Glen Brook
Monday, November 16th – Friday, November 20th
Parent-Teacher Association Meeting
Friday, November 20th at 7:00 pm
Wednesday, November 25th
Thanksgiving Recess – SCHOOL CLOSED
Thursday, November 26th – Friday, November 27th
Don’t Forget you can Shop and Support The Waldorf School of Garden City with the following organizations!