|In his junior year, Kurt went to Bolivia |
during Projects Block.
Kurt Schmidlein embodies many of the qualities we have come to expect in our alumni. Curious about the world, he approaches his studies at Bard with the same enthusiasm he brought to High Mowing. More Notes editor Nancy Tichanuk recently spoke with Kurt.
MN: When were you a student at High Mowing?
Kurt: I graduated in 2009. But, my Waldorf education began at Pine Hill, where I was a student from kindergarten through 8th grade. After graduating from Pine Hill, I attended public high school for two years. But, I transferred to High Mowing because I missed the Waldorf approach to academics. The depth of the classes at High Mowing seemed so much greater — global issues, creative writing, economics. These were the things I wanted to study, and the block classes allowed me to immerse myself in them. Class sizes are smaller here, and the teachers really encouraged me.
MN: What have you done since graduation?
Kurt: Well, mostly I’ve continued with my studies. I’m currently an economics major at Bard College, about to enter my senior year. But, I’ve done a lot more than just study economics. I also took Russian for two years, and became completely involved with the process of learning an entirely new alphabet. And, I’ve continued to do a lot of writing.
I started writing for the Bard Free Press as a freshman, and am now one of the three editors of the paper. All our pieces are original — we have articles about Bard news and events, people and opinions. I’ve learned to recognize good writing from bad. And, I’m involved with everything from the layout of the newspaper to the finances. It’s been an amazing experience. Here's the link to the Free Press' website: freepress.bard.edu — and click here for past issues: bardfreepress.tumblr.com.
I also play for Bard’s Varsity Soccer Team. We just joined the Liberty League — a very competitive Division III league in the New York area. I’ll be the Team Captain next year.
MN: Do you have any plans after you graduate from Bard?
Kurt: They are still forming at this point. Hopefully, a few things will come together during my senior year. Since my days at High Mowing, I’ve been interested in political work. I want to use what I’ve learned in economics in the real world, perhaps at the state level. For instance, I could see working with New Hampshire state policies and their effect on taxes.
MN: Where did that interest come from?
Kurt: I have to say, I figured out what I’m passionate about at High Mowing. I received the perfect preparation for a liberal arts education, here. In fact, when I first arrived at Bard, I felt I had a broader base of study than many of the other students in my class.
The work I did in Cary Hughes’ class set me on the path I hope to pursue. In the fall of my senior year at High Mowing, I studied economics and politics. My classmate, Theo Groh ‘09, and I worked on the Obama campaign that fall. This was at the same time the national financial crisis was unfolding. Politics and finances were on everyone’s minds!
During the winter trimester of my senior year, Theo and I worked with Robert Sim on the curriculum for a class called “The History of Economic Thought.” There were only 5 or 6 other students in the class, so we were able to really study the topic in depth.
After graduating, Theo launched his own political campaign, running for State Representative in 2010. I helped with his campaign — and hope to, again, if he runs in 2012. In New Hampshire, we’re divided into local districts. So, there’s one State Rep. for every 3,000 people. As a result, there’s an opportunity to really make a difference. And, I’d like to be part of it.