School Director Notes | March 2016

jane_zeender2015Dear SMWS Community,

WOW. What an incredible journey this school has been on this past weekend, bearing witness and supporting our championship High School Boys Basketball Team on their achievement of 2nd place in the Great State of Colorado’s Class 1A Basketball Tournament. We were all in the presence of greatness, each and every one of us, in seeing the grit, perseverance, and searing determination of this team in coming back from a double digit deficit to win in overtime to make it to the championship game, then do it again the next night, and just fall short.

I am grateful to every community member, from littlest 3 year old Hawken in his tiger costume to the many grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, parents, faculty, staff, and students who came together in support of these young men but most importantly, in support of our school and what a special role this school has in all of our lives.

What struck me as I stood shoulder to shoulder with each of you, was that last night’s game was just another example of the strength of our community, in all its many facets. In just a few days, we will all be together again at our Spring Concert, seeing these same students sitting in the orchestra and band, playing together and singing together, beautifully. As adults, we will break bread and dance together at Saturday’s Gala, which I hope you will all attend! We will be together again to see them perform in their class plays, cohesive and strong. We will see the 5th graders in their glorious bodies at Pentathlon, our 6th graders facing their fears in the Medieval Games, and at the end of the school year, will watch our rising first graders walk through the kindergarten gate by themselves towards first grade, and our Senior Class launch out into the world, confident, articulate, and healthy.

Vail has a motto that describes it: “Like nothing on Earth.” I would have to say the same about Shining Mountain Waldorf School. I have never experienced a curriculum, program, faculty, staff, and extended community that offers such a richness and quality of experiences not only for our children but for also for us on our adult journeys. Yes, we have our challenges. Yes, we don’t always agree, we get angry, upset, critical, depressed, anxious, and scared. And so do our children. And this is our life’s work, navigating through the ups and downs, managing the challenges of human interactions and failures that we all experience, and must experience, to grow. And this school provides us with that opportunity. We are far more than just a school to drop our kids off each day to learn how to read, write, and do math. And that makes our commitment that much greater, our responsibilities that much more important, and our standards that much higher.

And through it all, let’s remain focused on how we work together- through kindness, dignity, and respect. My father, in his wisdom, always has told me to avoid the three “C”s- Criticism, Complaints, and Condemnation. I would like for all of us to hold the “highest Cs” in place- Compassion, Concern, and Consideration.

One of our Board Members, Andy Horning, gave me this beautiful Steiner quote that I would like to share with you, and hope that you will strive to emulate as we walk this path together, for whatever amount of time that will be:

“The more unity thrives, the more spirit will also grow and thrive. And the more this is the case, the more we will also achieve that other thing, the best of all possible human goals: to educate the young people entrusted to the Waldorf School for their life in human society. These people will need to stand up to the storms of life. If they are capable of finding the right ways of working together with other people, then it will be possible to resolve the individual human and social issues.”

In love and light,

Jane