I donated in support of this campaign.
"Reaching for the stars" is not just an appropriate theme for this year's Emerson Fund; it also applies to me personally. That's because two of our three daughters are not living at home this Fall—Emma, a 2017 graduate of the Emerson Waldorf School (EWS), is now in her first year at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY; and Phoebe, our 10th grader, is in Eggstätt Germany on an exchange at the Waldorf School there. My missing them sometimes feels like I am reaching for their stars!
Yet I also am so comforted by knowing how well EWS prepared them to enter their own orbits.
Emma's experience at our school taught her what deep and meaningful relationships really involve, for example; she was in school with the same students for 12 years, after all. My wife and I have just returned from family weekend at Skidmore, and witnessed firsthand how many students have gravitated to Emma's orbit, sensing as they do her profound empathy and desire for meaningful conversations and connections. And it was so gratifying to hear Emma relate her realization that EWS prepared her well for college. She felt prepared as a thinker, a debater and a writer; she also experienced pride as her fellow students conveyed great interest in her high school experience and told her how lucky she was to have attended a Waldorf school.
The preparation Phoebe received was evident recently in negotiating the German train network to travel alone across Germany to visit a family friend. Phoebe initially was unsure of herself while changing trains in the Munich station, and I received one of her rare phone calls. I then got to listen in as she confidently negotiated in German with several passengers on the platform on where she should be going to catch her next train. I know of adults who've become paralyzed with confusion in that very station! Phoebe's love of German traces to formative classes she had with EWS' long-time German teacher Ingeborg Boesch (currently pedagogical chair), and her self-confidence to her spectacular grades teacher, Kris Ritz (currently on her second tour of duty—this year as 2nd grade teacher).
Our third daughter is named Stella, which (needless to say) means "star." If possible, she has missed Emma & Phoebe even more than my wife and I have. Yet she has transformed her loneliness into throwing herself into everything she does, from her 7th grade homework to her cello to the EWS cross country team and now basketball season. We have no doubt that the orbit her star will be launched into in just a few years will be just as exciting and radiant as her older sisters. Waldorf education really does prepare students for life!
As President of the EWS Board of Directors and an EWS parent, I am both proud of all that EWS is and does and humbled by how big a job it is to keep our school growing and thriving. It is not an understatement that, given the cultural and social forces that are so ascendant right now that seem to run counter to all we hold dear, it's a miracle that a Waldorf school exists in the first place. Please join with me in supporting that miracle and helping EWS rise even further to the stars!