Okanagan Waldorf School: Our Principal’s Welcome 2018
A Look Into the ‘End’ from Head of School, Andrea Thiessen
The weeks leading up to the start of another school year become more of a blur with each passing year. They are full. The school campus comes alive as the teachers return and preparations begin to receive the children once again. A flurry of dust abounds in the air as teachers busily ready their chalkboards with drawings that evoke awe and wonderment from the children entering in a few days.
The other morning, after some very long days at the school, I took advantage of a rare smoke-free crisp clear morning and sat for a few extra minutes on my back porch with my coffee. I started to drift in thought to the upcoming school year and all the possibilities it will bring. The start of each year is fresh and full of expectations. As I sat, a memory of my father who was the Superintendent for an Independent school in Seattle, came to me. I found it odd as a child that I would overhear him talking about graduation before the school year even began. After all, I was just a child and in August the summer was still in full swing. The only thing on my mind was if my friend was up and ready to ride bikes around the neighborhood as we did, carefree, for hour upon hour each summer day. ‘Why in the world would he be thinking about graduation now?’ I would briefly think to myself before quickly slipping on my shoes and running out the back door to find my friend.
Now, as an adult, staring into the face of the beginning of a new school year, I get it. I understand how the beginning can trigger thoughts of the ‘end’ just as it had for my father. The start of a school year is profound for me in the fact that it hits the ‘go’ button for what will become at the other end; at the ‘graduation’ point for each child in our school. A few months ago I was on the phone with a Principal from another school in our district that has some of our elementary graduates at his high school. I asked him if he had any feedback for me in his experience of our grads. He let out a chuckle and said, ‘Well, I can tell you that they know how to take care of themselves. They are not afraid to walk into the office and ask for what they need’. This brought nothing but an enormous smile to my face. I let out my own chuckle and incredibly proudly responded, ‘Well that is wonderful to hear! The students are used to coming into the main offices and they absolutely know they can ask for what they need’. He ended with letting me know something that we hear all the time about our grads, ‘They know themselves. They know how to advocate for themselves. They are solid teens.’
I am looking so forward to this 2018/2019 school year for all kinds of obvious reasons; the many returning and new families and children we get to learn and grow with, the opening of the new Early Years Centre on the campus, the fact that this is our biggest student body population to date as well as our largest faculty, admin, and support staff ever! What I am also looking forward to is the ‘end’. The small signs that the why and the how of what we do in our school year truly makes the difference; that the children moving through our school will eventually move on to other adventures and will always know how to ask for what they need and will be grounded in who they are. That is truly unique. That is why our uniquely contemporary Waldorf community is so special. That is why I am deeply humbled by each child we are about to receive for the 2018/2019 school year. I continue to be immensely grateful to serve with this community. May we all move forward in our year with peace and wonderment for what is to come.