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Alumni Forum Rocks the House!

Ashwood Waldorf School hosted it’s annual all-school meeting on Tuesday, November 17, featuring a conversation with alumni moderated by alumni parent, Sarah Baldwin, a Waldorf educator and proprietor of Bella Luna Toys, and online retail site based in Rockland.

Alumni Aidan Acosta (2012), Caroline Ginsberg (2000), Alden Robinson (1998), Abraham Stimson (1998), Emily Seymour (2006), Valerie Shepard (1998), and Jesse Snider (2012) spoke with gratitude and enthusiasm about their time at Ashwood. Ginsberg stated, “This [education] is one of the biggest gifts my parents could have given me. I feel so appreciative of my parents for that.”

The graduates addressed two common misconceptions about Waldorf education: that students don’t learn to read, and that they are at a competitive disadvantage because no electronic technologies are used during grade school.

Shepard, a Mt. Holyoke graduate, said that her development as a reader was gradual. “At Ashwood there was no pressure on me. I could take my time. I had the freedom to develop on my own. Now I am a fast reader. It might have hampered me if I had been pushed.” All the alumni read regularly for pleasure.

Two of the former Ashwood students are web designers; both cite the school’s emphasis on “learning how to learn” and on imagination and creativity as crucial elements of their education. Robinson noted that modern technologies are designed to be easy to learn: “If you know how to learn then you can learn technologies.” Abraham added, “Curiosity is so much a part of the Ashwood Waldorf experience. It becomes part of your DNA and part of how you navigate the world.” And, graduates spoke of the need for balance in how we use technology: “I grew up without technology; it’s taking over people’s lives now. Without it you can tune in to who you are and who you are with and be more present in the moment.” (Valerie Shepard)

Looking toward the future, the graduates all said that they would choose a Waldorf education for their children. They cited the values of community, academic excellence, respect for and love of the natural world, imagination, empathy, and wonder as the hallmarks of their experience at Ashwood.

alums 2015

Ashwood Alumni to Perform in Camden Hills Regional High School Musical

“Shrek, the Musical,” based on the Oscar-winning film, is this year’s Camden Hills Regional High School fall musical. Several Ashwood Waldorf School alumni are cast in this show, so don’t miss the chance to cheer on our talented students!

Duncan Hall ’10, plays Lord Farquaad, while Fiona Hall ’13 turns in a performance as one of the Three Pigs, along with her cohort Chloe Isis ’13. Jamie Oshima ’12 plays a Singing Knight, while Jonas Eichenlaub ’13 rounds out the ensemble.

“Shrek, the Musical” will run Fridays and Saturdays, November 8, 9, 15, and 16 at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, November 10, at 2 p.m. in the Strom Auditorium, Rockport. Advance ticket sales are $12 reserved and $10 general admission; $6 for students and senior citizens. There will be a special Family Show on Wednesday, November 13, at 6:00 p.m. with the reduced ticket price of $5, all general admission. For more information: 207-236-7800, ext. 282 or Link


Ari Snider ’10: Framing a Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe asked Belfast High School senior Ari Snider ’10 to tell us about his recently completed year abroad. He writes: “It was fun and interesting to tie my Ashwood years into my exchange experience. I believe that there is a very real connection between the two.” — Editor

During my years at Ashwood Waldorf School I would often complain about drawing borders on my main lesson book pages. I was never the most steady-handed or discerning artist in my class, and I found form drawing tedious and irksome. I looked forward to high school, where painstakingly detailed borders would no longer be required.

Freshman year at Belfast Area High School replaced main lesson book pages with printer paper; yet, I did not feel liberated. I missed outdoor recesses, hands-on specialty classes, daily singing, general cultivation of the creative spirit, and other keystones of Waldorf education. I especially missed the creative task of each carefully drawn Main Lesson book page. I craved a more wholesome experience akin to that of my Ashwood education.

The possibility of a year abroad had already begun to tempt me when, early into sophomore year, I learned about Rotary Youth Exchange. A year later, I bid my family farewell and set out for Belgium.

ari-2I left the United States as a cultural ambassador, only to arrive in Belgium feeling like a nervous child in a foreign land. The emotional turbulence of the initial adjustment period tested my resolve and forced me to reaffirm and reexamine my core values. Only then did I begin growing into a mature exchange student, a process that continued throughout my exchange year.

Three kind, caring, and adventurous host families provided me with a strong base of support throughout the entire year. Over time I developed fast friendships with my Belgian Scouts and schoolmates, as well as with other Rotary exchange students. In the end, saying goodbye to my Belgian life hurt, but the pain of the farewells was a testament to how wonderful the year had been.

A year abroad offered me the challenge and engagement in the present for which I had so yearned. In Belgium, I nurtured my ari-1creative spirit by becoming fluent in French, exploring my host country, and opening myself to new people and experiences.

Living abroad taught me that my own perspective was the most important factor influencing my life and how I reacted to and processed the challenges and opportunities that faced me. Throughout my exchange, I relearned the importance of framing each page of my life within its own carefully drawn border.

—Ari Snider ’10

Ashwood Alumni to Perform at Summer Venues

Two summer concerts are coming up that feature some of our talented Ashwood alumni!

Mostly Brothers at the Locavore Festival: On Saturday, July 13, Mostly Brothers (Jamie Oshima ’12, Sean Oshima ’08, Alex Wilder ’08) will appear at the the Locavore Festival in Waldoboro Maine, at Cider Hill Farm. There is music and food all day, and their set is from 2–3 p.m.

Round Pond Family Concert with the Oshima Brothers. On Wednesday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. there will be a concert at the Little Brown Church, Route 32, Round Pond, featuring the Oshima Brothers, with special guests—their parents (also known as Toki Oshima and John Pranio). Bring a cushion as the pews are hard. For more information call 207-549-3820.

Sean Oshima, Alex Wilder, and Jamie Oshima, three “almost” brothers are multi-instrumentalists and singers. The trio has been performing theater and music together since before they knew how to tie their shoes. Their tight harmonies have, on occasion, been reported to make passersby swoon. They will feature many original songs as well as rocking covers.

Ashwood Alumni to Perform with Village Harmony

VHC2 on stageVillage Harmony, the Vermont-based youth world music singing ensemble will present five Maine concerts, and this year, our very own Chloe Isis ’13 and Jamie Oshima ’12 will be performing with the ensemble.

All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. The complete schedule of Maine concerts is: Monday, July 1, Whitefield, Saint Denis Church (207-549-3820); Tuesday, July 2, Vienna, Union Hall (207- 495-2928); Wednesday, July 3, Belfast, First Congregational Church (207-899-8234); Thursday, July 4, Newcastle, Saint Andrews Episcopal Church (207-563-8440); and Friday, July 5, Starks, United in Christ Presbyterian Church (207- 578-8024). For a complete schedule of concerts visit the website at:

The program features traditional music from Georgia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Corsica, Sardinia and the U.S. Suggested donation at the door is $10; $5 for students and seniors. For more information call 802-426-3210 or the local numbers listed above.

William Alexander ’10 Accepted to USC Honors Program

william-alexanderAshwood graduate William (“Whit”) Alexander ‘10, has received a letter of acceptance to the University of Southern California’s Resident Honors Program. This highly competitive program accepts only 20 to 30 students each year. Applicants must have a minimum combined SAT score of 2050, a successful high school record with a 4.0 grade average, and demonstrated leadership ability.

William is currently a junior at the Watershed School in Camden. Admission to the USC Resident Honors program will allow him to skip his senior year of high school and enter USC as a freshman in September.

Acceptance automatically qualifies William for a one-fourth tuition scholarship for four years.

Congratulations William!

Katie Thompson ’02: “How Can I Challenge Myself?”

P1030775Last summer, Ashwood alumna Katie Thompson ’02 got a call from Kim Murphy, the music director at Camden Hills Regional High School. Did Katie want to be the choreographer for next year’s musical, West Side Story?

Katie was thrilled. “It’s every choreographer’s dream to do West Side Story,” she said. “It’s so difficult! It was a huge undertaking.”

How did a 24-year-old confidently take on the challenge of whipping into shape a huge cast of teenagers? She started with a simple message: “You can enjoy being in your body and moving around.”

Katie knew from the start that she enjoyed working with young people, and she was particularly impressed with the group of students at CHRHS, several of whom were Ashwood alumni.

“While all of the kids were talented and really fun to work with, I noticed with the Ashwood students what I see in myself: a certain level of self knowledge, a sense of not being overly concerned about how you look or about embarrassing yourself, but always asking: How can I challenge myself?”

Katie was born dancing. She started with ballet when she was three years old and later fell in love with street jazz and hip hop. By the time she graduated from Ashwood, Katie was teaching her own dance classes at the YMCA.

Katie started her Waldorf years at Spindlewood Waldorf Kindergarten in Lincolnville. Following kindergarten, Katie attended Ashwood for all but a year and a half when she homeschooled. She missed Ashwood during that time and “couldn’t wait to get back.” It wasn’t just about being with friends. Katie felt that she was a better student when she was with her classmates: “There’s a ‘push’ that other students give you,” Katie said.

A visual and kinesthetic learner, Katie credits the insights of her mother and her kindergarten teacher Susan Silverio for recognizing that there was nothing wrong with her after she had a rocky start in public school kindergarten. Susan and her Katie’s mom knew: Katie just needed to move. She needed to be active in learning.

Although the Ashwood campus has changed a great deal since her day with the addition of Rosewood and the Grade School building, being on campus brought back vivid memories for Katie. “Everything was so beautiful. The colors are still vibrant in my memory. I never felt rushed here,” said Katie. “I could learn at my own pace.”

Katie laughed about another memory. In the annual class play she was cast as a boy every year, until finally, in the Eighth Grade, she landed the role of Rosalind in As you Like It—only to spend half the play, of course, dressed as a boy.

Katie feels extraordinarily grateful for her years at Ashwood, and blessed that her parents were willing to make the sacrifices to send her and her two brothers to the school.

Like many 20-somethings Katie sees herself as “still trying to figure my path. I love to do so many different things!” She works as a carpenter, continues to teach dance, and is working towards a degree in Liberal Studies at University College Rockland with an eye toward teacher certification. She’s also considering getting her Waldorf Teacher Certification. “I would love to give back to what has made me who I am,” said Katie.

Alumni Blog Their Way Around the World


Check out these alumni blogs, and find out about the adventures of three of Ashwood’s intrepid, traveling alumni. Ari Snider ’10 is chronicling his year in Belgium, while Emma Cloyd ’11 writes from Vietnam where she is currently spending a semester of study, and Emma Moesswilde ’10 corresponds from Germany where she she is studying and traveling for a year.

“Exploring exotic cities has been one of the great pleasures of my exchange,” writes Ari in a recent post. “At the end of the day, however, my heart belongs in the village. To my delight, peaceful, charming hamlets sprouted throughout southern France like sweet grapes from a vine.”

Find Ari Snider’s blog at:

Emma writes: “Hi! I’m Emma Cloyd and I just turned 16. I’m currently enrolled to spend second semester at APU International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam… Ho Chi Minh is a massive, bustling city, so it’s sure to be an adventure.”

Find Emma Cloyd’s blog at:

“Once there was a girl who went on exchange to Germany,” writes Emma Moesswilde. “That girl was me. And man, was that girl excited to go. And wasn’t she excited to get there, too! And wasn’t it just lovely.”

Find Emma Moesswilde’s blog at:

Alumna Raises Funds for Service Trip

Safe Passage Serves Children of Guatemala City

EmmaOn March 15 to 25, 2013 I am going on a service trip to Safe Passage in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Safe Passage is a before/after school K–12 program for the children who live and work in the dangerous Guatemala City garbage dump. Started by Maine native Hanley Denning, Safe Passage provides care, food, tutoring and encouragement to 550 children, who deal with extreme poverty, neglect, and dangerous living conditions.

Our group will be spending 10 days in Guatemala, meeting, talking, learning, and doing a project with second, fourth, and seventh graders. We will help them with English, volunteer in the kitchens, pick head-lice, go on field trips, and do a self-reflection based multimedia project combining cyanotypes, journals, writing, and photography.

In order to accomplish this, we need the help of our friends, family, and community. Every little bit helps!

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas of ways to get involved in our long-term fundraisers, email Emma Berryman-Moore at Click on this link to donate online.

Thank you!

—Emma Berryman-Moore, Class of 2010

Recruiting Alumni Class Officers

Attention, Ashwood alumni and alumni parents! Do you have fond memories of your years at Ashwood? Would you like to be a part of helping us stay connected with our alumni students?

We are looking for one or two members of each of Ashwood’s graduating classes, either students or parents, to take on the volunteer role of Alumni Class Agent.

Responsibilities would include: finding class members with whom we have lost touch; updating the school on changes of address and other contact information updates; soliciting

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