Welcome to the Spring Issue of High Notes
It is a subtle change, but the quality of light has begun to shift — a sure sign that spring is here. The snow is melting, and new life will soon spring forth from the ground. It is easy to imagine roots and bulbs lying dormant underground all winter, in preparation for the growth surge of April. In the same manner, we have been occupied at High Mowing — laying the groundwork for programs and events that will soon unfold.
Our Horticulture program is growing, as the first article in the spring edition of High Notes clearly shows. The Naturalist Trimester is not only back, but the program is expanding to include students from other schools who want to experience a trimester at High Mowing. May Day, to be held on April 27, is proof positive that winter will soon be behind us. Similarly, hours of singing and acting rehearsals will bear fruit when our students present 1776, our annual spring musical. And, of course, plans are underway for the ultimate event of the school year: graduation, when our seniors leave the nest of High Mowing to begin the rest of their lives.
If you have a current student at the school — or will next year — please come to Grandparents and Special Friends Day on April 5, to see for yourself all the exciting things underway at High Mowing. Follow this link for more information. We look forward to seeing you on campus!
Farming is Growing at High Mowing
The future’s so bright, we have to wear…barn boots? That’s right! The school’s horticultural program has recently transformed from being a cooperative venture with local farmers to becoming our very own biodynamic farm, fully integrated into our campus and an essential part of High Mowing’s program.
Farming goes back a long way in the history of High Mowing School. In 1942, founder Mrs. Beulah Emmet made the decision to turn her family’s summer home and farm into a school. Over the years, the fields surrounding the school have been used to grow vegetables and graze livestock, in cooperation with Four Corners Farm. The dining room has long relied on locally produced crops and meat as an essential part of the delicious and healthy fare it provides.
Several years ago, there came an impulse to reinvigorate the farming and horticulture program offered at High Mowing. Growing food and raising animals allow us to connect to the history of this place, as well as provide a multi-faceted learning laboratory for our students. It is a unique opportunity to make tangible the developmental learning goals of our Waldorf curriculum, including the skill of careful observation, an awareness of our interconnectedness with the environment, and the experience of how our actions impact land, people and the natural systems which support us. In growing this program, our students have the chance to be major actors in the creation and nurturing of a local food system that nourishes us as it sustains the place where we live and learn.
On a curricular level, the possibilities are many! Over the past few years, hoop houses have been designed and constructed, fields have been plowed and nourished through biodynamic processes, pigs have been raised and vegetables have been grown. Land conservation and healthy, sustainable growing practices are integrated into every level of the work we do at the school. Students have the opportunity to participate in many ways, including afterschool volunteer work, building projects, animal care, seed saving, and a variety of classes which focus on the politics, culture, science, economics, and the practice of growing healthy food.
This year, classes are offered in Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Horticulture and Sustainable Living. These track classes integrate reading, research and field work, which broaden students’ understanding of what it means to produce food. In addition, there will be a Projects Block option combining physical work in the High Mowing School gardens along with visits to local farms.
High Mowing’s farming and horticulture program is in a period of exciting growth, providing learning opportunities in the areas of agriculture, animal care, community service and the development of sustainable food systems. Plans for the future include conservation of surrounding farmlands, integrated educational opportunities for our students, and an expansion of our farming capacity to provide a significant portion of the food needs of the school community.
The Desire to Sing Together
If you spend any amount of time on the High Mowing campus, you will soon realize that music is everywhere. Students practice their instruments, perform in Sinfonietta and ensembles, and dance to music in plays, performances, and morning exercises. But, an equal presence is our students’ ability and desire to sing. They sing at roll call, around campfires and at Coffee House. And, it is clear that they want to sing even more!
When Sophia Darby ’13 arrived on campus at the start of her junior year she brought with her a passion for choral music, songwriting and arrangement. High Mowing offered the support to bring her interests to life. From a simple desire to sing with classmates grew High Mowing’s A Cappella group — MRP (Music Related Puns). Now in its second year, MRP has doubled in size. The group works together under Sophia’s leadership exploring music and performing original, intricate arrangements.
MRP’s singing fills the Big Room during the afternoons each week. High Notes is happy to offer you the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” at one of their afternoon practice sessions. Just click on the photo below to hear songs in progress and the thoughts and ideas of Sophia, herself. If you would like to hear the group in a live performance, please come to High Mowing on April 12 at 7:00 p.m. Or, join us for May Day on April 27, where they will also perform.
Water, Watersheds, and Weather Coming this Fall
The Naturalist Trimester is back! In the 2013 fall trimester Keith Badger, Long Walker and High Mowing naturalist teacher, and a dozen juniors and seniors will navigate the waterways of New Hampshire and explore the canyons of Arizona. Each day after block class they will immerse themselves in the world of the naturalist, learn wilderness skills, and delve into the history, literature, science and crafts that have arisen from humanity’s relationship with water and the weather.
Students will track a drop of water from the top of Abbot Hill to a waterway, where they will continue to follow it by canoe out to the Merrimack River and down to Plum Island on the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way they will meet Passaconaway, Chief of the Penacook Tribe (of the Abenaki Nation) and hear stories of the indigenous people who populated the shores of these important waterways. Students will find their own paths and their own stories as they travel these historic waterways, and together they will find strengths they did not know they possessed.
The trimester culminates with a 70-mile Long Walk along the Tonto Trail — the longest continuous stretch of trail in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park. As they walk this beautiful trail through one of the world’s most amazing landscapes, they will follow the footsteps of generations of humankind, all the way back to the indigenous people of the Southwest, who once used the trail as their own “information highway.” It is a place where weather and water have carved their mark on the earth so deeply that human history seems to stand still.
“This is a transformative experience for students,” says Keith, “They have a chance to directly encounter the human relationship with the natural world and to explore the way they meet the world—with their perceptions, affections, and actions.”
For more information on the Fall 2013 Naturalist Trimester program, contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate the Coming of Spring!
Plans are well under way for our annual May Day celebration, and this year promises to be one of our best! Join us on campus to welcome spring and bid farewell to winter, with Maypole and Morris dancing, live music and seasonal merriment for all ages. The day features a performance by the Flying Gravity Circus, children’s games and crafts, scrumptious refreshments for purchase and High Mowing’s annual pottery sale. Please mark the date on your calendar — you won’t want to miss it: April 27. Maypole and Morris dancing begin promptly at noon.
Basketball Awards Ceremony at High Mowing School
High Mowing’s basketball season ended with an impressive string of accolades. Coach Dintaman summed up the season nicely, in his address to the athletes during the annual Awards Ceremony:
“Through practice and games our athletes gained real life experience, such as working and making decisions together and — at times — making those decisions under pressure. We gained respect for our opponents and in return gained their respect. This respect was earned through hard work, quality of play, and sportsmanship. We learned to play the game according to the rules and we accepted the results regardless of whether we won or lost. We also learned that when a school program has the proper emphasis on values, respect, responsibility, fairness and discipline, athletes learn an essential life lesson: how to handle 'success with grace' and 'failure with dignity.'
Students on all teams worked hard this year to improve their skill level and endurance in order to compete and to enjoy the game. I often say that the better our skills become, the more we enjoy using them. Our program teaches students to know that when joining a team, performing in a play, completing school work, or even doing chores at home, they should make a commitment to do their best.”
Congratulations to all who played this past season!
Girls Basketball Coach’s Award — Joy Wang ’13
Girls Basketball Most Improved Player Award — Sivan Perez ’15
Girls Basketball Outstanding Player Award — Clelie Fielding ’14
Girls Basketball Outstanding Player Award — Elise Drepeau ’15
Boys Basketball Coach’s Award — Leopold Schläfereit ’13
Boys Basketball Defensive Player of the Year — Dajun Sun ’13
Boys Basketball Offensive Player of the Year — Garrett Dintaman ‘16
Boys Basketball MVP — Nick Wilson ‘13
Welcoming the Year of the Snake
On February 11, morning roll call took on an international flair as students celebrated the Chinese New Year. International students from China told stories and shared their thoughts about the onset of the “Year of the Snake.” Jiahong Liu ’14 read an original poem, “Snow Ballet,” in his native tongue. His intonations and expressions brought the poem to life, as he described the happiness of the falling snow. Students also played a Chinese circle game which involved hiding a hat, with a resultant race around the circle of players. The day was topped off with a special meal, prepared by students and the kitchen staff, in honor of the New Year.
National Merit Competition Finalists
Congratulations to Fiona Graham ’13 and Allison Hill ’13! Both have advanced from Semifinalist to Finalist status in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Each year, based on PSAT test scores from the previous autumn, Semifinalists are designated on a state level. Approximately 1.5 million juniors entered the 2013 program. From there, Fiona and Allison joined a nationwide pool of roughly 16,000 Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of current U.S. high school seniors.
To become Finalists, Fiona and Allison had to fulfill several additional requirements — demonstrating outstanding academic records, endorsement by High Mowing School’s Executive Director, and SAT scores that supported their previous PSAT scores. They also wrote essays that documented their leadership roles and community service. National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this finalist group, and are eligible for a $2,500 National Merit scholarship as well as special scholarships provided by businesses and corporations. Final scholarship awards will be announced later in the spring.
Congratulations and best of luck, Fiona and Allison!
Taking the Leap with LEAPNOW
How do you make a graceful and powerful move from home to independence, high school to college, adolescence to adulthood?
Many high school seniors struggle with that exact question as they plan for the next phase of their lives. But, for at least one High Mowing senior, the answer has crystallized in the form of a giant leap. The LEAPNOW program describes itself as “the most engaging year of college on the planet.” And Nina Duggan ’13 would wholeheartedly agree.
LEAPNOW offers one or two alternative years of college with international travel and study, focus on the whole human being, and academic credit through Antioch University. According to Nina:
There are several reasons why I want to attend LEAPNOW. For starters, the program itself is fantastic. Three months in India, and another three months on a solo internship in one of 126 countries doing one of 6,000 possible careers. This is accompanied by several courses in self-discovery and responsibility.
In my life, I want to do something really and truly good for the world— to leave it better than I found it. But before I can begin to help the world, there are a few things I need to do. First of all, I want to know the world. I don’t want to go charging in righteously without knowing how to help; I could end up doing more harm in the process. By traveling and really experiencing different corners of the globe, I feel I can take steps towards understanding it.
I also want to get to know myself. I can’t help anyone else until I am completely confident in my own abilities. I don’t mean this in a conceited way, but in the sense that I have to be comfortable with myself. Through this type of experience, I hope to learn to see.
When asked what the application process entailed, Nina answered, “To apply to LEAPNOW is relatively simple. They ask a few basic written questions and require a personal interview. The program cannot be done passively, so you must agree to be actively involved and engaged. LEAPNOW also requires participants to be substance free — students using drugs or alcohol will be sent home. Beyond that, the possibilities seem endless! You can learn a new language, experience a different culture, make new friends, rehab baboons in Africa, become a midwife in Indonesia, or many other things.”
Nina’s plans beyond the LEAPNOW program are equally well thought out. “I intend to continue my college education at College of the Atlantic in Maine. I will be focusing specifically on environmental studies and sciences.”
We wish Nina all the best in these exciting endeavors!
Block Classes Now in Session
The final trimester of the school year began on March 11. Here is a peek at what students are studying in their current block classes:
Permutations and Combinations
Robert Sim / Integrated English 9: Sturdy Knight
Life presents each one of us with manifold opportunities. We have to make decisions between many possibilities, and we do not know the exact outcome of the choices that we make. This block will look at the probability attached to particular outcomes in everyday life. In order to understand how many possibilities there are, we will look at the mathematics underlying permutations and combinations.
Ancient History II: From Homer's Odyssey to the Fall of Rome
Jonathan Northrop / Integrated English 10: Walter Manny
This block will look at the rise of Greek culture, the Heroic Age of Greece and the world of Homer. We will focus on the mythological characters and principles behind the story of the Odyssey, which we will read and discuss, engaging in a variety of activities and conversations around the themes of Homer’s great work.
We will then look at the development of Greek philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the Sophists to the three great philosophers of Classical Greece — Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and their influence on the development of Western culture and civilization.
Finally, we will continue the story from Ancient History I, which looked at the great civilizations of Egypt, Sumer, India and China, and the development of Greco-Roman civilization and the building of the Roman Republic. We will look at the Roman Empire and its dissolution that brought Antiquity to an end and led to the Middle Ages.
Renaissance History / Wendy Bruneau
In this block we will explore the history of Europe during the Renaissance. Students will gain a feel for the everyday life of Europeans as well as an understanding of the major cultural, political, and economic trends of the time. The Reformation is a major topic. We will focus mainly on England, Germany, and Italy. Students will complete a research paper on a topic of their choice.
History through Astronomy / Casey Attebery
In this block, students will explore the sky from two complementary perspectives: earth-centered (Geocentric) and sun-centered (Heliocentric). We will examine the movements of the sun, moon, stars, and planets from both of these perspectives. We will build mental models that will allow us to predict the motion of the sun and stars across the sky for any latitude at any time of year. We will explore the phases, orbit, and eclipses associated with the moon, discover the basic scales of the universe, and learn facts about our solar system. Students will also study the mythology of the stars through various cultures and examine deep space images from some of the world’s best telescopes. A variety of other topics may be discussed, such as black holes, time warps, star formation, and relativity. We will set up telescopes for several nights to experience the stars directly. We will also take a trip to Boston’s Museum of Science Planetarium Observatory for stargazing. This block will provide a conclusion to the Textbook of Experience that the students created in their Motion and Forces block.
Chemistry students used stoichiometry to calculate the molarity of an acid after titration with a base of known molarity.
Projects Block: A Range of Learning Opportunities
Have you ever wondered how to use metal and glass to create jewelry, or how sustainable practices can be used to grow and distribute food? Did you ever wish you could go on a pilgrimage to a historical holy site? This year during Projects Block, High Mowing students will be taking part in these and other engaging, in-depth experiences.
Projects Block 2013 will be held from April 28 through May 11. Each year, this eagerly anticipated and much loved part of the High Mowing curriculum provides students with a focused experience in an area of their choosing. They may learn a new skill, or delve deeper into a long-standing interest. Choices vary from year to year, and come out of the knowledge and passions of our diverse and talented faculty. Projects may offer in-depth artistic or outdoor experiences, community service, cultural immersion and more.
This year’s offerings include:
- Arizona and Utah: Community Service and Rafting
- Awareness Within and Without: The Wisdom of the Inner Life
- Brain-Tanned Buckskin
- Comics, Animation and Visual Storytelling
- Garden and Farm Project
- Habitat Community Services
- Metal and Glass: The Craft of Handmade Jewelry
- Spain: Camino de Santiago de Compostela
- Theatre: From Playwriting to Production
Check the next issue of High Notes to hear from students about their Projects Block experiences!
Crusader, Muslim, Jew
In early February, sophomores in the Greek Drama and Studies in World Theatre block class performed Crusader, Muslim, and Jew, a reworking of one of the most famous plays from German literature, Nathan the Wise by G.E. Lessing. Under the guidance of Dale Coye and Jonathan Northrop, students stepped back in time to twelfth-century Jerusalem and the court of Saladin, the Muslim leader at the time of the Crusades. The play put forth a message of compassion and Humanism in the face of bigotry and intolerance. Please click on the photo below to view images from the play, or if you are a parent, you can watch the home video on the website's parent portal.
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Just before Winter Break, the junior class performed Love’s Labour’s Lost — the culmination of their Shakespeare block class. Shifting alliances, misdirected correspondence and engaging wordplay were the hallmarks of this story of romance and intrigue, presented in the Big Room at High Mowing School.
First performed in the mid 1590’s, Love’s Labour’s Lost is a comedy set in Navarre, Spain. The story centers around the King of Navarre and his lords, and their attempt to devote themselves to three years of study — giving up women and love in the meantime. But with the arrival of the Princess and her ladies, various secret longings emerge which lead to the breaking of oaths, and on-going puns, poetry and wooing.
Co-directed by Wendy Bruneau and Stephen Chalmers, Love’s Labour’s Lost was a feast for lovers of language, as only Shakespeare could create. Click on the image below for photos of the performance, or if you are a parent, you can watch the home video on the website's parent portal.
1776: High Mowing’s Spring Musical!
Students are hard at work, learning lines and practicing songs for this year’s spring play. 1776 is a musical based on the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams is trying to convince his colleagues in the Continental Congress that the time has come for independence, but not everyone is ready to listen! Please join us to see how it all plays out: April 25, 26 or 27, at the Pine Hill Waldorf School auditorium.
1776 premiered on Broadway in 1969, and ran for 1,217 performances. With music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, the show was nominated for 5 Tony awards and won 3, including the Tony for “Best Musical.” High Mowing’s production is directed by Dale Coye and features our talented students from around the country and across the globe.