Rose Ceremony Speech by Sydney Kless

Photo by: Mark Steele

The 2017-2018 school year opened with the traditional Rose Ceremony held in the lower school courtyard on a sparkling clear day. This year’s senior speaker, Sydney Kless, welcomed students to the first grade with the speech below.

Sydney’s speech

“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.”
– a quote by Stendhal

There’s something powerful in the collective consciousness of a thriving community, brought together by the odyssey of Waldorf education. Over the past eleven years, Shining Mountain has continuously celebrated the change and growth of my class in every measure possible. But one of the greatest gifts this school has given me, was the opportunity to fully explore the misadventures of growing up. I say misadventures, in light of the fact that growing up is actually really hard and now that I’m a little older, I’ve begun to experience what is known as “The Peter Pan Syndrome”. A syndrome that can only be described as, not wanting to grow up so fast.

Throughout my years here, I have been fortunate enough to experience the tumultuous ups and downs of getting older, in fashion with the life cycle of a butterfly. You see, eleven years ago, I was merely a little caterpillar waiting for my senior to walk me down the aisle, where my journey of indulging in stories such as the Periwinkle would begin. From there, the little caterpillar that I was continued to munch my way through the knowledge of elementary school. In addition to all of the daily wisdom filling up my head, I was also exposed to the wonders of handwork, the Halloween Journey, and Michaelmas. As well as the occasional mishap. Much like the time we were blown away in tents on the first night of our third grade class trip. Then came middle school…the stage in which each and every caterpillar wrapped themselves in cocoons of puberty and self doubt. These were by far the most difficult years to overcome, and yet each of us managed to survive. Once high school came around, everything changed once again. The cocoons we had wrapped ourselves in slowly began to fall away, as each individual blossomed into the incredible beings they are today.

Each of you are about to embark upon your greatest journey yet. A journey that will take you through 12 years of knowledge, community and most importantly, the friendships you build. For instance, my dear friend Sophie and I were desk partners the very first week of first grade. While we were soon separated, never to be seated together again for the next 11 years, simply because we were having too much fun. I know that our friendship will last a lifetime. Looking back, the adventures of growing up were certainly intimidating at times, but to my beloved fellow seniors, and darling first grade class, trust me when I say the best thing is to dive in head first on whatever adventure awaits you. And may each of you conquer with the help of every gnome, fairy and elf you meet along the way.

Sydney Kless, Class of 2018


Photo by: Theresa Baker

Rose Ceremony Senior Speeches from Prior Years:

Téa Speek, September 2, 2015 (video)

HS Back to School Picnic – Monday, August 28, 2017


We did it! A not-so-old model of community activity was picked up and dusted off in the high school this season, and we, students, parents, faculty and staff, were all the beneficiaries of a great back-to-school gathering on the high school field last evening. It was a beautiful evening and the “vibe” was uplifted! This impulse to reinvigorate the feeling of “connection, togetherness and fun” among the various constituencies of the high school came from a small group of parents last spring, and it didn’t take anything other than an invitation to have high school staff and faculty on board, committed to doing what they could to supporting the endeavor, as well. It was a collective effort with happy and widespread results that we’ll encourage and offer again and again throughout the school year.

Besides being a great opportunity to see old friends and meet many new ones through conversation and games, another result that came out of the planning for this endeavor is the newly formed High School Parent Engagement Committee. This committee now exists as a platform for any parents of Shining Mountain’s high schoolers to periodically meet with our Administrator, Leigh Hill, and help in the planning and execution of several events throughout the year, all aimed at supporting parents across the high school grades to get together regularly or sporadically (whatever your own schedule will allow) for relaxed social time. Together, we’ll plan for events both on and off-campus, some with the faculty, some with the students, and some “just for us”.

The high school years are fast and furious! Slowing down and making time to connect with each other and check-in on how life is going with our blossoming teens is remarkably rewarding. Our children will see us making the effort to be in community with one another, supporting one another, and then they too will be more likely to make those forays into relationships that might not otherwise come so easily. It’s a valuable and delightful way to continue to share our stories on this Waldorf journey together. No matter how old our children are, they continue to look to all of the adults in their lives for inspiration on leading a life well-lived. Continued community participation and engagement is a goal we can all strive to remain committed to, even in the high school years.

Thank you to the parents, faculty and staff who were so instrumental in the co-creation and success of this back-to-school event, particularly Leigh Hill, Lawrence Mathews, Sarah Novotny, Keith Fairmont and Radha Schwaller. Thank you to all of the high school faculty for showing up and playing games with all of us! The bean bags, frisbees and footballs were flying! We are truly indebted and grateful to the teachers and administrators who always go the extra mile to support our school’s mission and vision, and to support our children and families.

Join the fun! If you’d like to participate in the discussions about events, or serve on the committee to help plan and prepare for upcoming High School Parent Engagement Committee socials, please contact Latané Hill.

Our apologies for not having an accompanying photo; all participants in this (Zero-Waste!) event were engaged in person-to-person activities that precluded the use of cell phones (cameras) as a means to document the moment!

Latané Hill
303-939-9105 (H)
303-810-3470 (C)

10th Grade Student Exchange to Germany By Eliza DuBose, Class of 2019


As of this moment I am comfortably curled up in my room in Teltow, a small town just outside of Berlin, Germany. It isn’t a big room, but it’s cozy with everything I need. A large closet and a desk and single bed that lies under two windows set into the sloped ceiling. At night, if I turn over on my back, I can see the stars. But in all reality, this isn’t my room. I’m simply a visitor here. Read more

SMWS Alumni White Paper


SMWS Alumni White Paper

Dear SMWS Community,

It is with great pride that we share with you our first Alumni White Paper, entitled “A Portrait of the Shining Mountain Waldorf High School Graduate”. This article is the result of 18 months of dedicated research by Nita Davanzo, our Alumni Relations Coordinator and proud graduate of our High School. Nita conducted two surveys in addition to countless in-depth interviews with a selection of our 389 High School graduates, spanning 20 years from 1996-2016. Her research identified many distinguishing traits, capacities, and themes of our graduates, creating a profile of our students and shining the light on the power of our education in making a difference in the world. Happy reading and feel free to share this article far and wide!

Jane Zeender
School Director


National German Awards

AATG 2017 prizewinners

National German Awards

10th, 11th and 12th grade Shining Mountain Waldorf German students took the American Association of German Teachers national exams at the end of January. There were about 20,000 participants in all.

Please congratulate the following students who received awards in this tough competition:

Alec Evans (12th grade) – Level 4 Goldurkunde (Gold award)

Emma Schaefer (11th grade) – Level 3 Leistungsurkunde (achievement award)

Eric Mahoney (10th grade) – Level 2 Goldurkunde (Gold award)

Marcus Zeender  (10th grade)- Level 2 Silberurkunde (silver award)

Elisa DuBose (10th grade) – Level 2 Leistungsurkunde (achievement award)

Gold award winners who have not spent more than 2 weeks in Germany also have the opportunity to apply for a three-week study award to Germany. 10th Grader, Eric Mahoney, is  the first student from Shining Mountain who is eligible to apply for this. We will keep you posted!

~Paula Blum, HS and MS German teacher

AATG 2017 prizewinners

Photo: Melissa Chilson, SMWS 12th grade student

From left to right: Alec Evans, Marcus Zeender, Emma Schaefer, Eliza DuBose, Eric Mahoney


SMWS High School German Program Featured in Boulder Daily Camera


High school students at Shining Mountain Waldorf School now have the opportunity to prove their German skills through an exam and earn acceptance to a German university.

German teacher Paula Blum said Shining Mountain is the first Waldorf school in North America to partner with the German government to offer the Deutsches Sprachdiplom program.

Read the full article here:


Shining Mountain Waldorf High School’s Production of “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim


Before Thanksgiving Break, the High School came together for a week spent inside the Nomad Theater working on this year’s musical production, Into the Woods, by Stephen Sondheim. The vision for bringing this story into life came from Dr. Lawrence Mathews’ initial impulse last spring. Flying on the wings of his creative and enthusiastic vision, into rehearsal the high school students skipped. Each and every high school student had a hand in the creation of the production―from marketing, documentation, lights, sound, sets, effects, costumes, make-up and of course acting. The students were asked to “rise up” on many levels, and it was with pride and joy that they brought their work into performance before sold out audiences each night. The musical was a story full of magic, full of longing, of dreams, sadness, and full of hope and dedication to community. It was a story that we could and can all resonate with; a timeless story of growth, transformation, and of life’s highs and lows. Congratulations to those students who worked so hard on this production! And thank you, Shining Mountain community, for supporting them to shine so bright!

~Nita Davanzo, SMWHS Theater Director and Teacher

Watch scenes from the High School musical here: