Pasadena Waldorf School Begins 2013-14 Academic Year

Action around the Cake Table during the Cake Walk.
Jack Birney and Henry Davis

School began in the usual fashion just after Labor Day for students at the lower-school campus of Pasadena Waldorf School: with meaningful ceremony, class trips, rehearsals for a class play, sporting events and an all-school hoe down. September is a busy month for students and parents alike as they joyfully return to the rhythms of the school year. The high school campus is also bustling, with their return occurring one week prior and commencing with a special high school orientation trip.

L-R: Melissa Puls (Director of Development), Hadeel Reda, Zach Mathews, Jesse Zamarripa

On August 28th, the ninth and tenth grades traveled to the Santa Monica Mountains for three days in the seaside hills to learn about team-building, social cohesion, and trust. The students also tackled a high ropes course, high atop a hill facing the Pacific Ocean. In this awe-inspiring setting, the ninth and tenth grades faced individual as well as team challenges, and pushed themselves to overcome obstacles. The students were also encouraged to make the connection between their work on the ropes and their work at the school, so that they can draw upon their experiences as physical metaphors for the scholastic challenges to come.

Savoy Baily and Rumi Joon Alborzi

One of the most treasured events of every school year at PWS is the Rose Ceremony, which occurs on the first day of school for the first through eighth grades. During this ceremony, the incoming first graders are paired with a year-long (and in many cases, life-long) buddy from the eighth grade, through the symbolic gift of a rose from the older student who welcomes the younger child to “the grades.” At the end of the school year, this will be reversed, as the first graders give roses to their eighth grade friends and wish them a successful new beginning in high school.

L-R: Guide (not a PWS student) Colette Shaw, Bailey Willhite, Macy Burgess, Olivia Popejoy, Tierran Brousseau, Palmer Beldy

The day after the Rose Ceremony, the eighth grade class embarks upon its first camping trip of the year. Class teacher Dennis Demanett lead his students on an excursion to Santa Cruz Island, ancestral home to the Chumash Indians. While making contact with nature and stargazing in a location where the Milky Way was on full display with no ambient light to hide it, the students were able to reconnect over shared work and play. Highlights from the trip included kayaking into a network of caves and watching a pod of dolphins that appeared to great members of the local Chumash tribe that was gathering for the weekend.

L-R: Jesse Zamarripa, Sean Donahue, Timothy Fitzpatrick

Bringing the whole school together, however, was the festive PWS Hoe Down sponsored by the parent council on September 21st. This event brings families out for food and dancing, highlighted by the school’s renown cakewalk. With over 20 cakes on display, everyone has a favorite they hope to win. But the true prize is reconnecting with other families from the school and welcoming new families into the community.

Pasadena Waldorf School, founded in 1979, is one of over 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide with over 90 years of experience offering inspired education. Pasadena Waldorf High School, which opened this year, joins 40 other Waldorf high schools now operating in North America. Waldorf education is among the fastest growing independent school movements in the world.

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