Our 8th Grade Trip

A Group Recollection by WSP 8th Grade Students – Sophia, Bea, Emmery, Rachel, Erin, Leander, Jun, Kyle, Seunghyun, and Muirinn | May 22, 2021

For the longest time, it was unclear whether or not we would get to have an 8th grade trip. COVID-19 caused uncertainty all year and understanding the course we would follow was difficult. Luckily, things worked out in an unexpected way, and as it got closer to the ideal timing of the trip, COVID restrictions loosened as it became safer to travel within the state. The progression of the vaccines also meant that most of us were able to get our first shot before the trip. With lots of help and support from parents, teachers, and others, we were able to plan a lovely week-long camping trip to Catalina Island.

It was early in the morning, 5:45 am, on May 17th, when we arrived at school. It was still dark outside as we waited in anticipation and excitement for our trip to begin. When everyone arrived, we loaded all of our luggage and camping equipment into the spacious compartment under the bus. We groggily entered, masks on, and settled into our socially distanced seats. During the ride, some people read, some talked and others slept. After about two hours of traveling, placeholder_160.gifwe stopped to have a snack and stretch our cramped legs. Then we reloaded onto the voluminous bus. As the hours passed, we grew more and more exhausted and tired students lay on the floor and across the seats. Seven hours after we left, we found ourselves at a foggy cold harbor. Here we departed our bus to continue our journey on the Catalina Express ferry for a 75-minute ride to the island.

Our campsite was a short hike away and allowed everyone space to set up individual tents, some of them with ocean views. It was a very private and quiet location especially during the week.

On our second day, after a strenuous morning hike to the top of an overlook, we were hot and tired and decided to go for a swim. The water was cold and clear and just what we needed. Our campsite included two paddle boards and many eager students clung on to one trying to fight our way back to shore. Graham lost his paddle at one point but it all worked out. So many students grabbed onto the board in an attempt to have a paddle board experience that it started to sink under the weight. There were some fun attempts to take control of the boards resulting in them flipping over and each of its passengers losing their vessel’s guide.

Each morning a different student group took turns making breakfast. There was a lot of learning involved since the students had to learn how to cook over the campfire stoves. We had to lock up our food at night because the island foxes were very sly and came out at night searching for food. There were pigeons and seagulls stalking our meals but we were lucky that only one seagull flew away with a large piece of cheese from our lunch spread. We had dinner catered in and quesadillas were a favorite meal.

This trip gave us time to chat, swim, relax, walk into town for some ice cream, and explore different parts of the beautiful island. After exploring the busy town of Avalon, everyone was happy to go back to our quiet campground on Two Harbors.

The students are grateful for their chaperones; Ms. Wong, Ms. Lader, Dr. Babinet, and Mr. and Mrs. Welch, and are especially grateful for Julie Stanford, Lexi’s mom, for her amazing camping equipment and shopping organization behind the scenes.

WSP Senior Melinda Yang Awarded National Merit Scholarship Finalist

WSP Senior Melinda Yang Awarded National Merit Scholarship Finalist

Melanie Ingler | May 20, 2021

Melinda Yang, WSP senior, was one of just 2500 students out of 16,000 finalists to earn this year’s National Merit Scholarship.

National Merit Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects, studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Congratulations Melinda!

High School Receives Entrepreneurial Grant for Food Justice Program

Kora Feder | May 20, 2021

Ever wondered what it’s like to run a food truck? Ask our high school students next year! We are delighted to announce that The Waldorf Education Foundation (WEF) has granted our high school $7,000 as part of their Myrin Entrepreneurship Award, which gives funding to Waldorf high schools for socially responsible business and financial entrepreneurship programs. As you may have heard from an excited staff member or student around campus, our (now funded) program is called The Food Justice Initiative (FJI) and is focusing on providing healthy food to local community members experiencing food insecurity.

WEF’s investment will go towards Phase 1 of FJI, building infrastructure, partnerships, and knowledge to design, iterate, and scale the program. Our high school students will partner with our neighboring church, St. Athanasius, to boost and participate at every level of their food pantry program, while meeting with local leaders and non-profit professionals to create a larger business plan. In the current vision for Phase 2, students aim to expand the program’s reach to serve more people via a food truck.

FJI will be supported by HS faculty across all grades and programs. The Spanish language students, for instance, will translate menus, the music ensembles will perform on some service days, and the biodynamic garden will provide food, grown and prepared by the students. The program will be the primary case study for the senior economics main lesson, and a regular focal point for the humanities, math, and practical arts departments.

Bonnee Mazjun, our HS pedagogical director, shared her excitement for the program. “We are always looking for ways to integrate what the students learn with real, meaningful experiences that allow the students to develop relationships to the mission of WSP and the Waldorf movement. What’s most exciting to me is that this concept sprung out of the students’ interests and that creatively it connects service, sustainability, and inequity to a variety of topics the students study in high school. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”

We are excited to support our faculty and students as they not only deepen our experiential curriculum but make a real difference in our greater community. And, of course, we hope they’ll let us buy and try some of their delicious food, too.

Board Member Spotlight: Sandy Welch

Melanie Ingler | May 18, 2021

Sandy was raised on a centennial farm in rural Michigan as the oldest of six children where she developed a deep connection for working with animals and nature. After graduating from Michigan State University with a BA in Interior Design, she started graduate work in Facilities Management. She held jobs in design and sales and completed studies in Advanced Screenwriting through the Professional Program at UCLA. She retired from work to raise her children, who attend WSP. Sandy has led the Auction for the Spring Gala and enjoys finding ways for other parents to get involved and make a difference. Her other passions include writing, horseback riding, pilates, yoga, reading, Waldorf education, gardening, working with animals, and being a mother.

Warm Beginnings and Mornings Together in the Redwoods

Jane Philipson, Parent Child Program Director | May 15, 2021

“Way up high in the redwood tree, three little birdies chirping cheerfully
I looked way up, just as far as I could
Away flew a birdie off into the wood.(3x, counting down)
When I looked back down to the earth below
I saw a little snail gliding oh-so-slow.
I looked up again–I saw a nest…
Mama/Papa bird and their babies hopping in for a rest.”

Gathering weekly this spring at beautiful Redwood Grove are eight class groups of parents and their little ones from 0 – 36 months. Children play as parents observe, craft, support and connect with one another, and experience the wisdom of the “Three Rs” of Waldorf early childhood education: rhythm, reverence and repetition. In our outdoor classroom, we are surrounded by the majestic trees, native plants of all kinds, insects, baby bunnies, squirrels, and many birds–chirping cheerfully, of course!

Mornings Together families are making a set of wooden rhythm sticks. Here they are seen using a rasp to remove the bark from 6” lengths of stick. Then will come sanding, and the finishing touch of shining them with heavenly-smelling beeswax polish.

Infant friends in the Warm Beginnings class play on a cozy lambskin and gaze at the tall trees as parents massage their feet with calendula cream, quietly observe, talk together, and sing some gentle songs and rhymes coupled with playful and loving touch.