Meet Our New Athletic Director: Leona Rexhepi

Meet Our New Athletic Director: Leona Rexhepi

by Melanie Ingler | Communications Coordinator

Leona joined WSP this fall as our Middle and High School Athletics Director. She has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pacific Union College and is currently completing graduate studies in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco. Before coaching basketball throughout the Bay Area, Leona has played basketball overseas and in college.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Leona recently to learn more about her:

Q: When did you first become interested in organized sports or athletics?
A: I have been told I always had a ball in my hands. At age eleven I joined my first basketball team and at age thirteen was playing at higher levels.

Q: What brought you to the Bay Area?
A: I transferred to a local college during the pandemic to complete my degree in Exercise Science.

Q: How did you decide to pursue that program for your degree?
A: As a lifelong athlete I have always been interested in the biomechanics of the body, athletics, injury prevention, fitness, and health.

Q: What brought you to WSP’s Athletics Program?
A: I have an interest in impacting the athletic field by focusing on being an Athletic Director for students and am excited to work with both our coaches and our athletes.

Q: How can WSP parents help support Athletics?
A: Parents at WSP can have a positive impact in athletics. Students need external motivation and families are the best ones to provide that for their child. Parents can support the athletic department by attending all games, modeling good behavior, and being encouraging. It makes sports more fun and meaningful when you have a positive support system. WSP Athletics appreciates all your help and dedication!

Q: What else would you like our community to know about you?
A: I am looking to grow our program! I’ve begun with adding a basketball tournament for our high school athletes for the first time. We are also adding activities for each of our athletic teams so they and their families can get to know each other and the coaches better. We have brought back the use of the TeamSnap app for our athletes’ families to stay connected and experience better communication sharing with the teams. We are planning improvements to the Athletics Program portion of the school website, and refreshing some of our uniforms. (author’s note: and this is just her first month!)

If you have any more questions for Leona, please do not hesitate to drop her a line via email.

Anvils Go Mobile

Anvils Go Mobile

by Phil Dwyer| MS & HS Earth Arts Teacher

Setting up for high school blacksmithing classes, although still a hefty chore, is rolling along with a bit more ease this year as the anvil stands were upgraded this summer. A number of “stumps” were crafted at varying heights by laminating alternating layers of 2- by 6- inch fir lumber. Steel frames were fabricated using pieces of 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick hot-rolled mild-steel flat bars and square tubes that were cut with our new 4×7 horizontal bandsaw. (Thank you dear donor!) Step bits helped make “quick” work drilling numerous holes. Loops for holding tools and custom anvil anchor brackets were hand forged. Everything was welded up using 6013 electrodes with reverse DC polarity on a Lincoln AC/DC 225 Stick Welder. (Isn’t science in action grand?!) A removable handle converts each stump into a hand-truck enabling the anvils to “lightly” roll along while riding a fulcrum balanced on two heavy casters (thank you Archimedes). Efficient set-up and take-down of the smithy affords the young “apprentices”more time to forge artifacts from red hot iron in tandem with the crafting of their very selves. Thank you to everyone who helps make life transforming courses like this possible!

Waste of Time

Waste of Time

by Marina Budrys | HS Teacher

This year, the 12th Grade Economics Main Lesson became an Economics AND Environmental Studies Main Lesson. Seniors are ready to be challenged to think about problems and propose solutions from two distinct fields. The field trip to Shoreway Environmental Center (Public Recycling Center) in San Mateo was the perfect culminating experience for the class.

Inside the transfer facility, students saw the massive pile of waste destined for the landfill and the massive pile destined for industrial composting. It was both a reality check and a dose of hope. Because the content of the Main Lesson both addressed how markets function and the limitations of our earth’s systems, students were able to apply the theoretical concepts they learned to the waste management business.

Students came back inspired to improve the waste management system on the Mountain View Campus by redirecting waste destined for the landfill. Fueled with specific knowledge about proper recycling (did you know black plastics cannot be recycled?) and the SB 1383 Composting Law, expect to see some changes MV Campus.

Coding in a Waldorf High School Humanities Class

Coding in a Waldorf High School Humanities Class

by Marina Budrys | High School Humanities Faculty Member

Rudolf Steiner believed that it is really important to understand how things work in the world in some basic way. This doesn’t mean, for example, that we all need to know how to build an Audi TT engine, but some experience with acceleration is important.

Coding has become such an important part of how our world works that I started to look at bringing it into my Humanities curriculum. Our high school students are not necessarily experiencing coding unless they’re members of the Robotics Club or pursuing an independent interest, and yet a general knowledge of how code works is essential for our graduates.

Confession, I am no coder. I took one rStudio class in college and it was really hard for me. So I called up my sister, an alumna of the class of 2017, who works in a plant science lab at Stanford and asked her if she would be willing to Zoom in for a demo with my 12th grade Economics students. We came up with an ideal exercise: 12th Graders would use R code to create visual representations of data they’ve been collecting for their Economics work. Each student worked through an example where they followed her through importing the data, adding instructions, and running different lines of code. They each ended up with a colorful graph that matched hers. Their homework was to ask a question related to the research they needed to do for their Senior store, collect their own data, and create their own graphs from those data. Did everyone figure out each part perfectly? No. Did everyone create a graph? Yes.

A big part of this education is building capacities. With each new task students do, they work through something. Visualizing data is a new skill that I hope opens their minds to what they believe they can do, however daunting it first appears to be.


Book Review: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Book Review: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

by Saul Nishan | WSP Class of 2023

The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel WilkersonThe daughter of parents who fled the South and Jim Crow, Isabel Wilkerson sought real stories from real people. She was the first black woman to be a Pulitzer Prize winner, and the first African American to win for individual reporting, at that. Wilkerson dedicated fifteen years to the making of this six-hundred-page book, interviewing over 1200 individuals documenting the widespread phenomenon that was the Great Migration.

“Such may be the sheer force of determination of any emigrant leaving one repressive place for something he or she hopes will be better. But for many of the migrants from the South, the stakes were especially high – there was no place left to go, no other refuge or other suns to search for, in their own country if they failed. Things had to work out, whatever it took, and that determination showed up in the statistics.” (Wilkerson 530.)

These stories that Isabel Wilkerson brings to paper capture the desperation of the times. There was a blind faith that so many people simply had to put in their plans of leaving the south because they had no other choice. The times were cold, and there was word of sunshine in the north.

Isabel Wilkerson translates real life experiences gracefully on the page, blending these three stories with information and context of the times with care. She shows us experiences from people who would have otherwise blended into history as simply a small part of the great phenomenon that swept America. She brings these similar yet very different experiences to light for us, following three of millions who had gone in search of warmth.

I recommend reading this book because the switching of focus on different main characters saves from a droning on and on about one person. You’re allowed to take a break from someone’s story and read something new without having to put down the book. It adds depth to the whole of the reading and learning experience, as sometimes the material can get to be a lot. This book gives the reader a view through the eyes of three people who had to find their ways in the dark, trusting that they would reach a light to bring the warmth of other suns.

Read more student perspectives in the Waldorf Chronicles, a newsletter run by WSP high school students.