When you’re ten years old, ten years feels old—a whole lifetime. The older you get, the smaller a part of your life ten years becomes. It’s easy for me to remember the tumultuous summer of the birth of the Great Barrington Waldorf High School—then simply the ninth grade year of the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School. We had a new carpet, cabinets, and a blackboard in the Music Room.
We sealed a pledge to our school and a shiny 2002 penny behind the blackboard. The pledge—signed by our first 13 ninth graders and our teachers and staff members—reads:
We dedicate the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School’s Ninth Grade to imagination, to truth, and to responsibility, in learning and in teaching. May our efforts today flower tomorrow as our paths have now joined in the growth of our beloved school. September 4, 2002.
Ten years later, we are the Great Barrington Waldorf High School, incorporated separately from GBRSS in 2004, and in our own building on Main Street, rented from the First Church of Christ, Scientist. We have graduated 35 students. Most are still in college, but a few are in or have even completed graduate school in aeronautics, nutrition science, history, acupuncture, and medicine.
Nearly all of our students have traveled to Germany or to South America, and many have returned for semester-long exchanges. We travel regularly to New York and Boston, turning our small school out into the big world. We use the chemistry lab and athletic center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock; the auditorium of Berkshire South Regional Community Center; and the studios of local artists like potter Dan Bellow and blacksmith John Graney. Our rented facilities are “home base,” and our school is well integrated into our community.
Our school was founded to prepare students for the best colleges and to assist adolescents in finding meaning and purpose in life, ideals intact as they step into adulthood. We believe the principles of Waldorf education support great education in academics, the arts, and service to the world. To these ends, our school community has articulated these five core values: seeking truth, developing imagination, fostering responsibility, supporting freedom, and nurturing growth.
At our 10th Anniversary Alumni Dinner last spring, one of our graduates, now in medical school, said,
Everything I do comes back to my Waldorf education… My college teachers asked me how I learned to write so well, and I told them about my high school teachers… As important, I learned to follow my passion. I am thrilled to be part of this great school.
The Great Barrington Waldorf High School needs your support. Tuition and fees cover most of what we do, but new teachers and new programs—in life science, academic support, and girls’ basketball, to name a few—initially cost more than we have. Please support great education for adolescents and educational choice in the Berkshires as generously as you can.
To donate, please contact us.
Stephen Keith Sagarin, PhD, Faculty Chair