The Bulletin

Waldorf Schools Featured in Digital “Slow Media” Movement

Tonight's presenter at the Family Action Network (FAN) speaker series is Adam Alter, Ph.D. who has just written a new book called "Irresistible:The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked." In this Saturday's New York Times, an editorial by Ross Douthat entitled "Resist the Internet" featured both Adam Alter's main critique and called attention to Waldorf schools as models for having adopted a conscious approach to "slow media" by maintaining controlled exposure to--and use of--the internet and portable media. Douthat goes on to say:


Resist the Internet

New York Times, Sunday Review | Op-Ed Columnist  Ross Douthat  |  March 12, 2017

So far, in my ongoing series of columns making the case for implausible ideas, I’ve fixed race relations and solved the problem of a workless working class. So now it’s time to turn to the real threat to the human future: the one in your pocket or on your desk, the one you might be reading this column on right now.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true: You are enslaved to the internet. Definitely if you’re young, increasingly if you’re old, your day-to-day, minute-to-minute existence is dominated by a compulsion to check email and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram with a frequency that bears no relationship to any communicative need.

Compulsions are rarely harmless. The internet is not the opioid crisis; it is not likely to kill you (unless you’re hit by a distracted driver) or leave you ravaged and destitute. But it requires you to focus intensely, furiously, and constantly on the ephemera that fills a tiny little screen, and experience the traditional graces of existence — your spouse and friends and children, the natural world, good food and great art — in a state of perpetual distraction.

Used within reasonable limits, of course, these devices also offer us new graces. But we are not using them within reasonable limits. They are the masters; we are not. They are built to addict us, as the social psychologist Adam Alter’s new book “Irresistible” points out — and to madden us, distract us, arouse us and deceive us. We primp and perform for them as for a lover; we surrender our privacy to their demands; we wait on tenterhooks for every “like.” The smartphone is in the saddle, and it rides mankind.

Which is why we need a social and political movement—digital temperance, if you will—
to take back some control.

“Temperance?” you might object, with one eye on the latest outrage shared by your co-partisans on social media. “You mean, like, Prohibition? For something everyone relies on for their daily work and lives, that’s the basis for our economic — hang on, I just need to ‘favorite’ this tweet …”

No, not like Prohibition. Temperance doesn’t have to mean teetotaling; it can simply mean a culture of restraint that tries to keep a specific product in its place. And the internet, like alcohol, may be an example of a technology that should be sensibly restricted in custom and in law.

Of course it’s too soon to fully know (and indeed we can never fully know) what online life is doing to us. It certainly delivers some social benefits, some intellectual advantages, and contributes an important share to recent economic growth.

But there are also excellent reasons to think that online life breeds narcissism, alienation and depression, that it’s an opiate for the lower classes and an insanity-inducing influence on the politically-engaged, and that it takes more than it gives from creativity and deep thought. Meanwhile the age of the internet has been, thus far, an era of bubbles, stagnation and democratic decay — hardly a golden age whose customs must be left inviolate.

So a digital temperance movement would start by resisting the wiring of everything, and seek to create more spaces in which internet use is illegal, discouraged or taboo. Toughen laws against cellphone use in cars, keep computers out of college lecture halls, put special “phone boxes” in restaurants where patrons would be expected to deposit their devices, confiscate smartphones being used in museums and libraries and cathedrals, create corporate norms that strongly discourage checking email in a meeting.

Then there are the starker steps. Get computers — all of them — out of elementary schools, where there is no good evidence that they improve learning.

Let kids learn from books for years before they’re asked to go online for research; let them play in the real before they’re enveloped by the virtual.

Then keep going. The age of consent should be 16, not 13, for Facebook accounts. Kids under 16 shouldn’t be allowed on gaming networks. High school students shouldn’t bring smartphones to school. Kids under 13 shouldn’t have them at all. If you want to buy your child a cellphone, by all means: In the new dispensation, Verizon and Sprint will have some great “voice-only” plans available for minors.

I suspect that versions of these ideas will be embraced within my lifetime by a segment of the upper class and a certain kind of religious family. But the masses will still be addicted, and the technology itself will have evolved to hook and immerse — and alienate and sedate — more completely and efficiently.

But what if we decided that what’s good for the Silicon Valley overlords who send their kids to a low-tech Waldorf school is also good for everyone else? Our devices we shall always have with us, but we can choose the terms. We just have to choose together, to embrace temperance and paternalism both. Only a movement can save you from the tyrant in your pocket.

The New York Times editorial can be found in its entirety here at its source.


High School Boys Basketball Team Makes School History

The Chicago Waldorf High School Boys Basketball team, led by five seniors, made history in the 2016-2017 season. For the first time, the high school boys went undefeated in Lakeshore Athletic League conference play, capturing the conference title and the tournament championship under the leadership of Coach Cole Hunton.

Despite being Coach Hunton’s first season with the team, he immediately brought some big changes to the table. He knew he would have to ask a lot of the team if they were going to have a strong season. “From that very first practice at 6:00 a.m. in November, all 10 players bought in and found a way to understand what it was going to take each day for us to be successful,” Coach Hunton emphasized.

The team’s hard work paid off when, on February 21, the Waldorf boys won the Regional quarter-final game of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Tournament. They then moved on to the semi-finals, winning in a thrilling battle against rival Ida Crown, 51-47, to advance to the Tournament Regional Championship Game against #1 seed Luther North. Although the team ultimately fell to Luther North, senior Henry Rogers expressed how proud he was of his teammates, many of whom have been playing together since they were in 6th grade. “It was a great season. We practiced hard with two-a-day practices. It was a great way to go out and we’re proud of what we did,” stated Rogers.

Prior to this season, the Chicago Waldorf School's basketball team had never won a game in the Regional tournament, and never competed in an IHSA Regional Championship game. Senior Elijah Marder believes this is the new blueprint for the program, stating “We went into the season with an underdog mentality, trying to prove ourselves, and we did. I think this sets a new standard for the team in the future.”

Coach Hunton echoed Marder’s sentiment on the hard work and dedication that was put into this season, claiming “while every day was not easy and we went through our fair share of highs and lows, they stuck together and grinded all the way to the end. To have the most successful season in Chicago Waldorf basketball history is special, and something they should be extremely proud of every day. They successfully laid the foundation for what will be our goals and expectations next season and beyond.”

The CWS community is proud to celebrate this historical season, while looking excitedly ahead to the future of the High School Boys Basketball program.

Now the High School Seniors Become Teachers!

Waldorf High School Seniors, as culmination of their studies, take on the mantle of educators!

You are warmly invited to attend these public presentations of the seniors’ culminating course of study. Based on the "TED Talks" model, these academic, cultural, civic and experimental topics of interest chosen by each student, are preseted to demonstrate the student's independent research, observation, theoretical analysis, and artistic explorations. The projects arise as an area of specialization for the student that has grown out of their studies in the High School.


High School Senior Projects Week

Monday - Friday, March 6 - 10, 2017

Presentations are in the CWS Auditorium at 1300 W. Loyola Avenue. (Map & Directions)
Please come at the beginning of each morning, afternoon & evening session.

Monday, March 6

10:50 am   Welcome & Opening Remarks

11:00 am    Ben Weingarten -
                     The Design of the American Ballpark

                    — Lunch Break —

1:00 pm     Max Claypool -

                    Tied Up with Strings: The Theory of Everything

                     Lindsay Garcia -

                    Who’s There? The Case for Extraterrestrial Life


Tuesday, March 7

11:00 am     Allison Boshell - Eat To Live

                     — Lunch Break —

1:00 pm       Saunders Ervin - Why Put a Ring on It?

                     The Past, Present & Future of Marriage

                      Grace Walters -

                     What’s Going Around: The Aesthetics of Disease


Wednesday, March 8

10:00 am     Jessica Kriho -

                     Musical Notes: A Series of Colorful Compositions

                      Shea Shawgo-Manley -

                     Video Art: My Exploration in a Contemporary Art Form

                     — Lunch Break —

1:00 pm     Henry Rogers - Experimental Learning:

                    Pushing Your Limits and Building Resilience

                    Augustus Post - How Music Shapes Fashion


Thursday, March 9

2:00 pm     Genevive Antic - Doctors Without Borders   

                    Kacper Marona - From the Collapse of Germany,
                    The Birth of the Free Waldorf  School

                   —Break —

5:00 pm      Abigail St. John - The Magic of Stories:
                      Why We Can’t Break the Spell

                     Alex Schrepferman - Cinematography Techniques
                     and Their Influence on the Audience

                     Sarah Gartner - Collapsed Stars


Friday, March 10

2:00 pm       Elijah Marder - The Concussion Epidemic:
                      Tackling Brain Trauma Head On 

                       Maya Tarasiewicz - Synesthesia: The Superpower
                      of the Senses

                     —Break —

5:00 pm       Sean Harper - Marching On: A History of
                      Racial Injustice in America

                      Cherokee Sperry - Native American Warriors

                      Dana Flores - Restorative Justice: Justice That Heals

                      Eden De Jesus - Deconstruction: Fashion Unfinished

9:00 pm      Closing Remarks


Parents, family members, alumni and members of the public are warmly invited to attend.

For more details call the Main Office at 773.465-2662


Top Image: Sam Liss presents his project, "The Psychology of Deception" in 2016.

Inline Column: Silvia Sukenic- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Burden & Blessing  /  Detail from Liza Kahn's- Understanding Beauty: An Exploration Across Four Cultures /  Max Renton- Calder’s Universe: Changing the Face of Sculpture /  Siubhan Stormont- Movie Makeup: The Art of Transformation


Science, Technology, Engineering, Art+Design, Math (STEAM)

One reason many families are drawn to Waldorf education is its emphasis on experiential learning, or, as a Waldorf teacher might say, teaching that engages the will. In early grades this is easy to see in lessons that bring the whole class out of their seats in a variety of active exercises. In later years the engagement of the will is more inward, but still essential to learning. A student who observes a hydrogen gas light spectrum describes what she has seen and then, after reflection and discussion, including how this relates to stellar processes, appreciates the power of human thought and imagination in realizing the modern conception of electronic quantum energy transitions.She gains not only knowledge but capacity for reasoning and logical thought. As this project repeats itself students begin to cultivate their own capacities of imagination and to pose their own questions before the teacher does.

Ninth and tenth grade students take four science blocks each year – one for each of the major disciplines of physics, chemistry, life sciences and earth sciences. They hone their observational skills. They practice remembering and describing exactly what they have seen, and in doing this they uncover for themselves fundamental natural laws. A good example is the tenth grade kinematics block in which students derive the laws of motion.

In the junior year, the students move on to aspects of science that go beyond what we can experience with our senses. A true understanding of the forces of electricity and magnetism or the forces at work in the cosmos requires imaginative thinking. Each student must create their own inner picture of an electron, a photon, or of infinity, not arbitrarily, but in agreement with the events occurring in the natural and technological world we live in.

Seniors continue to exercise the imaginative thinking that is the hallmark of creative scientific thought. They are encouraged to bring ideas together from varied sources and experiences. For instance, in Modern Physics, they look at color phenomena from both experimental and historical approaches that compare theories of color, culminating in a discussion of the wave particle duality of quantum physics. A high point of the block is the field trip to Fermilab where students encounter modern technical achievements in leading-edge science. The visit always includes a conversation with a research scientist specializing in particle physics or astrophysics, and the students always have lots of questions and are impressed with the level of discourse.

Math classes follow a similar progression. Daily math classes emphasize strengthening fundamentals, but always encourage flexible and creative thinking. The math blocks allow even more scope for artistry and imagination. For example, the projective geometry block challenges students to imagine mathematical structures that truly only exist in the human imagination yet have complete logical validity. This type of geometry is the basis for the non-Euclidean geometries that have proved so useful in advanced physics and astronomy. We have one of the few high school math curricula that offer this engaging and relevant form of mathematical study.

Rudolf Steiner criticized the “dashboard” or surface knowledge which is all many of us have of the technological complexities of the modern world.  He wanted students to understand the “how” and the “why” – not only the “what” of the machines we all depend on. Our high school goes “behind the dashboard” for students in many aspects of technology – and more exposure to technology in the classroom is planned for 2017. Next year there will be a computer programming elective. We will also be adding blocks in computer science that cover basic computer operation, proper internet use, mathematical aspects of computing and the fundamentals of programming.


Freshman photography is both an artistic and a technical challenge. Students work with film photography and learn how a camera works. Similarly, digital publishing for the juniors works with classic design principles and modern computer tools for digital photo editing. It is an excellent complement to the art block in book binding and students come away with a new understanding of how paper and electronic books are created.

Upperclassmen also have the option to pursue more advanced technical courses. Some students choose to take the science elective class which is project based; students are given assistance with the resources they need to complete such projects as building small prototype machines. Recent students have created 3-D printers, quadcopters and computers. Other students choose the technical arts elective in which modern digital tools are used to render two-dimensional forms artistically. Students have also taken advantage of the senior project to further scientific and technical areas of interest. A student recently set up an internship with Northwestern University in which he used state-of-the-art electron microscopes to study atomic-level properties of metals.

Another exciting development in our technology program has been the popular new robotics club. A group of 12 students has been working hard under the direction of Mr. Conis to build a robot. They are learning many facets of hardware construction and the complexities of computer program – and testing their ideas in the real world. They were thrilled to place fourth (out of 12) in their first competition, and more meets are planned.

Chicago Waldorf High School students have the foundation to succeed in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our graduates have gone on to study medicine, physics, engineering and other STEM fields. They are valued not only for their technical capacities, but also for their creativity and sense of aesthetics. In fact a new acronym, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art+Design, Math) is gaining popularity as people come to realize the importance of intuition and flexible thinking. Our rich and varied arts program complements students’ work in the scientific and technical studies, helping them to confidently consider a variety of directions after graduation.

Special thanks to:
Dr. Kotz who wrote this article (Physics Faculty)
Photographs by Dean Conis (Robotics Club Faculty Advisor), Madeline Fex (Marketing Director), Jason Greenberg (Communications Director)

Students meet in workshops with experts from various fields…

On October 4th, the Chicago Waldorf High School began a new tradition. Speakers from diverse backgrounds led students in various seminars. The Colloquium left no stone unturned, looking at all kinds of topics, from racism to black holes to improv. Although it passed by quickly in the hectic scramble of holidays and the yearly all high school camping trip, the planning of our first Colloquium was no small feat. Teachers Patricia Pierce and Sarah Wellington led preparations for months, and the result was an amazing, unforgettable day.

As Ms. Pierce put it, ideas had been “brewing for a while”. The planning for the Colloquium first began toward the end of last year, when it was discovered that a “free-floating day” was stuck between a three-day weekend and our departure for the camping trip.  This sparked a conversation among the faculty. Ms. Pierce said, “We wanted to do something that would help connect the students to the world and the issues that spoke to them.” Ms. Wellington agreed, saying that the point of the day was to provide students with an outlet for their ideas. “This was an opportunity for students to have input into the process, to suggest topics they would be interested in exploring and speakers they would like to invite into the school.” With that, the teachers went their separate ways for the summer, allowing ideas for the day to percolate.

“We wanted to help connect students to the world and to the contemporary issues that spoke to them”

By the time we came back from summer vacation, a few seminars had already been identified: including three Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) workshops on racism, classism and sexism, and the Gender and Sexual Identity seminar, led by CWS alum, Avi Bowie, now Director of Programs at the Center on Halsted. High school student suggestions were then solicited and new contacts were added to the roster. They included documentary film-maker and director of the Youth/Police project, Chaclyn Hunt and Zoheyr Doctor from the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics whose lecture on black holes and gravitational waves had already inspired several CWS students.

Through a connection of Ms. Pierce's, ten CWS students were invited to visit the Kovler Center, a refuge for victims of politically sanctioned torture. Komlanvi Dalmeida, an asylee from Togo, West Africa, was asked to come and speak of his experiences and pose the question “What can I do to help?”. Yesenia Villasenor from the Climate Change Project offered to share information on the causes, impacts and possible solutions to our current environmental crisis, while poet, cin salach and improviser, Katelyn Woolcott, proposed asking the question “Who am I?” through artistic workshops.

The event was a huge success, in no small part due to wonderful speakers. Each one volunteered their time, agreeing that this day was too important to miss. They came and shared their stories, bringing new and exciting viewpoints to the students and opening up dialogue around essential conversations.

Ms. Pierce added that having these conversations would “help us take action and make sense of this world in a real way by meeting people.” She recalled one speaker’s message: "A smile to a stranger could change everything."


So now we are left with one question: 
What’s the next step? 

According to Ms. Pierce, “That depends on the students. It is the hope of the faculty that, in the future, these colloquiums will be even more student-led…this is a starting point.”  Ms. Wellington agreed, “Having a voice is not just about having an idea…it is about putting that voice to work.”  So, now we must put our ideas into words, and then put those words into action.  Every journey begins with a first step. 

Onwards to Colloquium 2017 and further Calls to Action!!

Special thanks to:
12th grader Abigail St. John who wrote this article (with faculty member Sarah Wellington)
Photographs by 10th grader, Seamus Scott

Highlights from the Tide Pools…

The annual Chicago Waldorf School Marine Biology trip to Hermit Island, Maine takes place during the second week of school. Twenty years ago, we were only one of three schools to undertake this adventure. In the meantime, it has become so well-known that twenty-some Waldorf senior classes from all over the country come to the island each Fall to study marine biology in three separate sessions. This year our Chicago seniors worked together with Waldorf students from Atlanta, Chapel Hill, Washington D.C., and Boulder, Colorado--for a total of about 90 seniors during the week that we attended. Fifteen other Waldorf senior classes followed us to Hermit Island for the two sessions that followed ours.

Hermit Island, which is connected to the mainland by a sand bar, is a naturalist’s treasure. This protected area has miles of rocky shoreline which teem with marine invertebrates that the students soon become familiar with: anemones, sea stars (starfish), dog whelks, sea urchins, crabs, moon-snails, and many more organisms. The unique setting—coupled with the chance to meet, socialize, and study with students from other school—makes possible a week rich in learning experiences of many kinds.

The island has many varied settings – sandy beaches, rocky shores, grassy dunes, forest, and tidal mud flats—with large tidal swings revealing hidden life forms—as well as a forested interior where it is easy to stumble across deer, raccoons, skunks and other woodland creatures. (No bear or mountain lions, to date!)

This year, we were fortunate with the weather; although we set up camp on a stormy Sunday afternoon, the rest of the week was sunny and refreshingly cool, while still allowing those who wished the chance to swim daily in the ocean. With the pivotal help of Ms. Desouches (CWS Music Director), we ate our meals at our campsite, which had a stunning view overlooking a small cove and then out into the Atlantic Ocean. Each morning we were awakened by trap-laden lobster boats heading out to sea, and each evening we listened to them return. Although camping together is nothing new for CWS students, doing so in such a location is very special and provides the students with significant class bonding time, as well.


The first experience of life in the tide pools was a confusing jumble of color and form. By the end, though, the students were confidently naming different species of crabs and snails, and could make much more sense of this vibrant ecosystem.

During the week, the students had three sessions in the tide pools, identifying organisms and learning about which ones inhabit the various tidal zones. As is so often the case when one is confronted with a new situation, the first experience of life in the tide pools was a confusing jumble of color and form. By the end, though, the students were confidently naming different species of crabs and snails, and could make much more sense of this vibrant ecosystem. There is, after all, no comparison between looking at pictures in a book or on a screen and standing in a tide pool actually holding an animal one has just found.

Earlier in the day students attended main lesson in a large building called the “Kelp Shed,” which is a rustic old building once used for storing kelp that was later needed for vitamin production for soldiers during World War II and now serves as a café in the summer. After Labor Day, however, it is taken over by the Waldorf “insurgents,” and provides a comfortable teaching space for more than 100 students.

The morning sessions featured a classroom experience for all the students together. Each lesson was devoted to a specific marine animal phylum, followed by labs in the arts and sciences, with plenty of time between for relaxing and socializing. The students worked in groups with members from all the schools; and faculty from each school collaborated to do the teaching. It was good for everyone to experience new instructors and to work with new students in this way.

But classroom lessons are only a small part of the Hermit Island experience. Overall, the week achieves a fine balance of scientific and artistic activities. Lecture and discussion-based analysis of the morphology and behaviors of the animals is complemented by sketching of live samples, from both naked eye and microscopic views; everyone marveled at the intricate “kicking” of barnacle feet filtering the water, both in their ingenious function and their exquisite forms. A colored pencil sketch of the rocky shore accompanied the tide pool inventory. Study of dune ecology on one day was followed by painting a delicate watercolor seascape the next. Every student spent an afternoon with the English teachers writing sea-based poetry, and most lessons included singing. In good Waldorf fashion, left brain and right brain were equally nourished.

Evenings featured conversation and music of a different kind. At common campfires, classes, small groups and individuals had the chance to share something musical or otherwise artistic, and forge new social connections. One night also involved representatives from each class relating their classmates’ thoughts on the week’s theme: the earth as an organism. It is often deeply moving to hear the thoughtful way that the students are able to engage such an important topic.

One night we were treated to engaging readings from two local authors far down the island near an isolated beach under a full moon, while another evening offered a popular New England style Contra Dance at the Kelp Shed, stargazing, and moonlit beach walking.

On the last afternoon, we travelled to Popham Beach State Park, a few miles up the road from Hermit Island, where we socialized with other students and enjoyed an amazing beach with a beautiful rocky island that can be reached on foot when the tide is out. (Beware, however, that you turn back before the high tide returns!) Our finale each year involves a traditional lobster dinner at a pastoral beachside restaurant known as Spinneys, which is just down the way from Fort Popham, a Civil War-era coastal defense fortification at the mouth of the Kennebec River.

The students returned home enriched with new friendships, with a deep experience of nature far from the big city, and an appreciation of how various questions can manifest in different ways in Waldorf schools spread out across the country.

Article by Michael Holdrege, High School Science Teacher / Photos by Alberto Correa, High School Spanish Teacher

New School Year, New Places to Grow- Sideyard Unveiled

The start of a new school year means another year of learning and growth at Chicago Waldorf School, and with that comes our newly updated side yard! After a summer full of hard work and volunteering by Waldorf faculty, students, and community members, our newly redesigned side yard was unveiled at the start of the school year.

The new additions to the side yard include a slide and tire climb attached to the barn, a sandbox, a grassy hill for climbing, and a brand new fence. Waldorf students are continuously using play as a tool for learning, discovering the world around them, finding a sense of self, and also forming relationships with others. These additions will provide and even more engaging space for students to play, discover, and learn.

Thanks to our community volunteers who invested materials and chipped in to create this amazing recreation of the sideyard. Your work is enjoyed every day by the children!

Special thanks go out to Ashley Gambill, who led the project and contributed many hours to its success!

Chicago Waldorf School is also greatly appreciative of the following people and organizations for generously contributing their time, energy, and resources that helped make this happen:

  1. Gethsamene Gardens: donated, delivered and unloaded 47 free pallets
  2. Jay and staff at Clark/Devon Hardware: donated over $300 worth of supplies for repairing, creating, and sustaining of the fence
  3. Tanja Buehler with Atwood Hoffmann Design LLC: created the design for the grass mounds and hauled old dirt and sand out and put new of both, built sandbox
  4. Angelo & Elena Nikolov: donated sand, money for the slide and other new equipment to come
  5. Mark Miller: was the architect of the original barn and also planned the newest additions and alterations
  6. Jim Moratto: worked with Mark to install the slide, the new archways in the barn and the railings for the tire climb
  7. Pat O'Malley: helped build the tire climb and new entryway and loaned his own tools to help build the fence
  8. John Augustyn: built the new entryway and tire climb as well as the new table in the courtyard
  9. Michael Berger:  led the building in the pallet fence
  10. Theresa Hermanns: helped stain the new pallet fence and water the grass on the weekends
  11. High School Students: for their community service: Olivia Chambers, George Galkine, Jessica Kriho, Chris Kriho, Nate McIntosh, Sali Hasanbegovic, Nicole Wade, Konnie Stormont, Julian Berrios and Aiden Zielinksi as well as others students, Ford Walters and Margot Chambers
  12. Naomi Love and Family:  donated all the tires for the tire climb
  13. Sideyard Task Force: designed and helped create the idea of the alternations. This group included Ashley Gambill, Andrea Shaffer, Jackie Votanek, Kristin Garrison, Katherine Rogers and Luke Goodwin, in particular who continuously checked for progress on the project, stained pallets and watered the grass 

SLIDE SHOW ABOVE: Navigate the photos with the left and right arrows; or click on the image to enlarge it to full view.

Class of 2016- The Seniors’ Next Steps

Congratulations to our seniors who have come to the culmination of their Waldorf education. After their senior presentations and this Spring's service learning field trips, they have now turned to the tasks of preparing their summer plans and prepping for new experiences in college, professional training in work experiences, and travel opportunities too. We wish them the best and look forward to hearing about all their accomplishments in the future!

25 seniors venture into varied pursuits and passions...

Here are profiles of their plans for 2016-17:

Paul Bonaccorsi anticipates taking classes and continuing to create art. Paul is a dedicated artist and will continue to develop his skills in this realm while living in Chicago.  His long-term goal is to establish a career in the arts.

Maddy Byrne will attend Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Since 1837, Mount Holyoke has been a pioneer in higher education and leadership for women. Maddy was impressed with the strong sense of community, renowned professors and intellectual passion on campus. Mount Holyoke is part of a consortium, which includes Amherst, Smith, Hampshire and UMass – Amherst; students can cross-register for classes and also join clubs on other campuses. Maddy already contacted a club bringing musicians and other performers to the consortium.

Phil Collins looks forward to immersing himself in the creative world at Parson’s – The New School for Design in Greenwich Village in New York City.  Phil visited twice and was especially energized by the unique workspaces, including professionally staffed studios, print shops, photography labs, metalworking studios and rapid prototyping facilities.  Most classes have 15 students or less.  The first year will be a foundation year; following that, Phil anticipates that he will major in Communications Design (a broad field that encompasses Graphic Design).

Maddie Franklin will attend Knox College, located about three hours west of Chicago, in Galesburg, Illinois.  Maddie plans to study computer science, but also has a longstanding interest in Japanese studies.  When visiting Knox, Maddie found that she liked the size of the campus and the welcoming attitude of students and professors.  She also sat in on a computer science class and found it quite inspiring.  First, however, Maddie hopes to take a gap period during the fall term; this will allow her to work, and also to take a special trip to the Caribbean with her mom. 

Guthrie Gates will further his education at Ohio University, a school that ranks very highly for student satisfaction and is considered a “Best Buy” by the Fiske Guide.  Ohio University has strong and extensive programs in music production, sound engineering, music composition and music for film.  Guthrie will explore these areas and more.  This summer Guthrie will travel with his family to California, and also hopes to begin making connections with music recording studios.

Kyra Gleason will attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a Big Ten university with an abundance of school spirit and a great college town.  Kyra absolutely loves football, and will definitely be cheering in the stands, especially since Jim Harbaugh has returned to his alma mater as Head Coach!  Kyra looks forward to so many aspects of college life:  study abroad, research opportunities, community service, and sports; she may even take up field hockey again.  Kyra hopes to study Biology, Spanish, or both, and will consider pre-med. 

Niko Gorman will take a gap year, prior to college, to explore his interests in math and physics at a local community college.  Starting in the summer he will study for certification in Internet Security from CompTIA Security+, a globally recognized credential for IT professionals.  He will also study various programming languages in order to expand his knowledge in that area as well. 

Graham Heavenrich will attend the University of Miami in Florida.  Graham’s likely major will be Communications, and he may want to find a way to integrate that field with his interests in music, technology and business.  The Princeton Review ranks the University of Miami #6 in the nation for race/class interaction, and is named a best Southeastern college.  Prior to college, Graham will travel to Colombia for a couple of months to visit friends made while on exchange.  He will also continue to shepherd his various profitable online businesses.

Taylor Jones will attend a 17-month hands-on program at Lincoln College of Technology (Lincoln Tech) in Melrose Park, Illinois, in order to become an Automotive Technician.  Taylor already has some experience working on cars and knows that this is a career for which he can be enthusiastic!  In the short term, this program will prepare Taylor for employment at car dealerships, independent automotive shops, service centers, and fleet maintenance departments.  Taylor’s long-term goal is to own his own auto repair shop.

Liza Kahn will take a gap semester in order to study the German language intensively in Berlin via an 8-week program, found through the Goethe Institute.  This opportunity will build on her exchange experience and deepen her understanding of German language and culture.  Liza will also apply to liberal arts colleges for entrance in the spring semester.  With many interests, including Psychology, Journalism, German and Pre-Law, Liza is looking forward to academic exploration.  Wherever she lands, she also hopes to be involved with track/running, photography and yearbook.

Juliet Kelson will further her education at Macalester College, one of the few national liberal arts colleges located in a large city.  Macalester has an international focus; its International Studies department is one of the oldest (and deepest) in the nation, and Juliet is considering this field of study.  Juliet is looking forward to studying abroad, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of a liberal arts education.  Minneapolis-St. Paul has a vibrant music scene, and Juliet anticipates some new performance opportunities.

Maddie Kelson will move to Nashville, Tennessee for a self-financed gap year prior to enrolling at Macalester College in Minnesota.  Maddie plans to immerse herself in the music scene of the “Country Music Capital of the U.S.”  With no academic demands for a full year, she will be able to write, perform, and learn the “ins” and “outs” of making it in the music business.  Once at Macalester, in the fall of 2017, Maddie hopes to pursue a field of study that will overlap with her interests in philosophy, writing, psychology and music.

Dylan Kulik will also join the student body at Macalester College.  He is looking forward to academic exploration in the areas of environmental science, geology, geography, and more.  Dylan is already in touch with other incoming Macalester students who are interested in environmental concerns and renewable energy. Given Dylan’s interests, it is fortuitous that Macalester ranks first in the nation for National Science Foundation grants per capita at liberal arts colleges.  Dylan is also happy to have Juliet Kelson (also attending Macalester) and Sam Liss (attending St. Olaf) nearby.

Delphine Lazar will attend Eugene Lang – The New School for Liberal Arts, located in Greenwich Village in New York City.  Delphine is currently interested in one of two majors:  Journalism, or Culture & Media.  She has also applied for a 5-year Dual Degree Program offered in conjunction with Parson’s – The New School for Design.  At Parson’s, Delphine is attracted to the majors of Fashion Design or Integrated Design.   Eugene Lang is notable for its seminar-style classes, and for its occasionally experimental and avant-garde courses.

Nick Leonard will attend Skidmore College in New York to study theater.  Skidmore has a unique theater program, which allows greater immersion into the craft than the typical liberal arts college; however, students still benefit from a well-rounded education and the variety of opportunities available.  He is considering a minor in Literature, particularly early 20th century literature, or Economics.  Although he was offered a fully paid Freshman Semester in London for fall of 2016, he has opted instead to become acclimated to the school with the rest of the freshman class.

Sam Liss will head to St. Olaf College in Minnesota.  He was attracted to St. Olaf’s strong programs in Math and Theater.  Sam is particularly excited to study advanced math and describes it as a beautiful subject that approaches philosophy.  Another appealing program is The Great Conversation, a series of five courses about western civilization, which traces the evolution of literacy and artistic expression, philosophic thought, religious belief, and the sciences of human behavior into the modern world.  Sam may participate in chess club, but looks forward to exploring his interests.

Emina Music will attend Lake Forest College, an advantageous choice.  She is undecided about a major, but leans toward the sciences, and Lake Forest will be opening a state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary science center in 2018.  Pharmacy and neuroscience are future career possibilities.  Emina found Lake Forest to be a peaceful, harmonious and beautiful campus, and the students seemed very happy.  She is interested in intramural sports and internships.  Emina also received an art scholarship and may be interested in becoming involved with the student-run art museum on campus.

Max Renton will attend Central Saint Martins in London, England, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London.  Currently it is the top ranking fashion design school in the world.  Max is enthusiastic about the challenge that he will encounter next year.  He described it as a competitive community in which students must work hard each year to secure a space in the next year’s class; Max believes this will challenge him to do his best work.  At the same time, Max will have the freedom to explore various areas of specialization, such as graphic design and industrial design.

Chris Richards will attend Columbia College Chicago, the largest and most diverse arts/media college in the U.S.  He finds it to be a creative and inspiring environment.  Video game design is an appealing field of study for Chris; he especially looks forward to the group projects that are integral to this program.  In fact, Columbia has a number of related majors:  Game Development, Game Programming, Game Sound Design, Mobile Media Programming, Game Art, and Interaction Design. Chris plans to live at home for the first semester.

Siubhan Stormont will take a gap year prior to attending Southern Illinois University in Carbondale as a full-tuition University Excellence Scholarship recipient.  Siubhan plans to study drama and minor in dance.  A feature of the department is that all theater majors are assigned a Theater Faculty Mentor.  In addition, the McLeod Summer Playhouse -- a professional theater company, which presents popular theater to the southern Illinois region -- provides professional level experience for SIU students.  Siubhan also looks forward to studying abroad and to the numerous extracurricular options.

Silvia Sukenic will enroll at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a James Scholar, an honors program that offers professional development workshops, small honors classes, and research opportunities.  Silvia will major in Special Education at UIUC, a program which is ranked 8th in the nation.  Silvia is enthusiastic about working with young children, but will be certified to work with ages 5 – 21.  She was impressed that the campus was quite diverse.  La Casa Cultural Latina, an organization that hosts cultural, educational and social advocacy programs, holds interest for Silvia.

Conor Sullivan will attend Rollins College in Florida, where he is one of ten students who received the Alfond Scholarship.  Alfond Scholars are mentored as candidates for intellectual academic recognition as Rhodes, Truman, and Goldwater scholars, and as recipients of other prestigious awards.  On his visit to Rollins, Conor was impressed with the style of teaching, the sense of community, and the support for self-directed learning.  It was clear to Conor that the students at Rollins enjoy learning and want to be there.  Conor looks forward to study abroad opportunities, particularly in Spain.

Shannon Sullivan will also attend Rollins College as part of the Honor’s Program as a Dean’s Scholar, and will live in the honors dorm.  Shannon notes that Rollins is a beautiful campus with faculty who seem to share some similarities with Waldorf teachers.  Shannon hopes to study abroad, possibly more than once.  She can envision getting involved with theater productions, but would like to leave the possibilities for involvement (as well as her major) open for the time being.  Shannon will travel to Colombia this summer to reconnect with friends from her exchange experience.

Tan Vasikachart will attend IFA (International Fashion Academy) Paris, a program that is limited to 25 incoming students each year. Tan is one of five finalists for one of two full tuition scholarships that are awarded each year. She was impressed with the way in which the program combines contemporary fashion with French heritage. IFA Paris also has campuses in Shanghai and Istanbul, and offers exchange opportunities on those campuses and elsewhere for students to study abroad.  Tan hopes to travel with her family this summer before departing for Paris.

Grace White will attend Knox College, one of the Colleges That Change Lives. During her visit to Knox, Grace was impressed by the openness of the people she met on campus. In true liberal arts fashion, she hopes to find a way to combine her interests in photography, German, and history.  Of note, Washington Monthly ranks Knox College #11 nationally based on contribution to the public good. In addition, a new arts building, complete with photography dark rooms, will open in the fall.

Congratulations to all our graduates!


Also related: The Colleges & Universities that accepted the CWS Class of 2016 graduates

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