School Director Notes | November 2015


jane_zeender2015Dear SMWS Community,

I am always surprised by how I am affected by the loss of Daylight Savings Time every year! The abrupt change in the clock, the weather, and the light always takes me a few weeks to get adjusted to, and in this transition, I am given the wonderful gift of feeling a bit out of sorts, a bit more introspective, and a bit more reflective. My family also suffered the passing of my dear father-in-law, which was not unexpected, but still a shock. These opportunities of being jolted out of my daily existence have been a gift, as it has again reminded me of the many gifts of being part of the Shining Mountain community and how blessed we truly are to be sharing this educational journey together.

Every Tuesday I have the opportunity to do Lower School Lunch Recess Duty, and there were a group of 4th graders one day with stapled sheets of paper up in the climbing structure. I had never seen this, and could not imagine that at recess they would be studying for a test in 4th grade in a Waldorf School! I was fascinated and had to find out what was going on. “We have written a play, Ms. Zeender! Can we perform it for you?!” “Of course!” And I proceeded to be the one audience member to witness a glorious performance by about eight 4th grade girls about a mysterious ghost and its silly adventures. THIS is what Waldorf education is all about. The enthusiasm, creativity, initiative, and joy I witness every single day in the eyes of all of our students, from kindergarten through High School is what continues to motivate me to get up each day to be a contributing member of our community. The question I will ask you this month is this: What motivates you to give of your time, your talent, and your resources to our school?

I ask this question not only because it has helped motivate and inspire my work here as Shining Mountain’s School Director, but also because I am hopeful it will motivate and inspire your family, your parents, and your friends to give above and beyond tuition to this year’s Annual Fund, a critical component of helping us to support this school and its many programs. It is very easy to be influenced by our culture of being “consumers of an educational product”, and that “we pay our tuition, and that should be enough!”

How do I quantify the value of my daughter Kalea’s 6th Grade Class Teacher, Michael Janzen, who not only carried my son Marcus through the travails of Middle School so beautifully, and now is doing the same for Kalea? How do I quantify the value of Tyler Haughness, Marcus’ High School Cross Country Coach, who is teaching my son through his actions to run when he is stressed out, and to make healthy decisions about his body as well as his mind? And how do I quantify the value of our Lower and High School Receptionists, Kim Rector and Bridget Gallagher, who know my children intimately, as well as yours, and provide them loving care day in and day out? And the list goes on and on.

A wise mentor once told me, “We trade our Life Energy for money, and that money is our collective life energy flowing through the world, in service to the world, and is most useful when it is motion.” My family’s life energy, in our hands, our minds, and our financial resources, flows into and through this school, and I hope that your family too will consider making a personally significant gift to this year’s Annual Fund, on behalf of these children and the light and life energy they will contribute to our world. Thank you so much, and continued blessings on our journey together.

With love and light,