On Saturday morning the parents of the Pasadena Waldorf School braved the brisk California 70 degree morning air and gathered under partially cloudy skies to witness the 8th Grade class graduation ceremony.
All Waldorf events start with food. It is tradition that for the graduation, the 7th grade class provides the reception, and we were greeted with a wonderful spread of homemade scones, finger sandwiches, hot coffee and tea.
A PWS graduation is unlike the typical middle school ceremony. The classes are small (21 kids are in the 8th grade class) and so there is time to spend reflecting on the individual children and what the event means as they transition into being young adults. The families are recognized, thoughtful and funny speeches are made and songs are sung.
Waldorf events are big on ritual and symbolism. Flowers are taken and given, songs are sung and poems recited. Watching my daughter sitting there with her class it was hard not to tear up and get all mushy.
PWS students are an amazing group of kids. They are confident, artistic and ready to take on the world. The education produces creative thinkers who have a sense of their humanity and place in the world.
This year will see the beginning of the Pasadena Waldorf High School. Our daughter will be in the first class–a class of less than 15 kids. They will be the pioneers, shaping the school for future classes.
Our daughter gave us a rose and a card with the following note inside:
“Dear Mon and Dad, I am so grateful for all the work and dedication you have put in for me to receive this education. Each of you have put so much time into making all this possible. Without Waldorf, I believe that I would be a completely different person than I am now. Thank you for everything. Love, Paige.”
Continuing her Waldorf education into high school was totally her decision to make, and I think it took courage. In a class of 500 you can blend in, find a little group of friends and feel safe.
In a class of 15 kids there is no place to hide.
The years are racing by at the speed of light and it is all we can do to hang on, love one another, and savor the moments we have together.