Emerson Fund 2023-24
November 1, 2023
As we approach the end of the year, I am writing to you with a heart full of gratitude and a sense of purpose that has grown stronger over the years. Your support has been integral to the success of the Emerson Waldorf School, and today, I would like to share a story that illustrates the profound impact your generosity has had on our students and our mission.
Benjamin Trueblood is currently teaching his third, third-grade class at Emerson. In addition to being a Waldorf graduate himself, he is also the co-chair of Emerson’s College of Teachers and a member of the Board of Trustees. This story comes from him. Please allow me to paraphrase.
When I think about the journey that our students take, I like looking at the whole arc of education, from kindergarten through 12th grade. As teachers, we have the privilege of nurturing and guiding our students through these critical, formative years. What our students go on to accomplish as adults aligns perfectly with Emerson’s mission, which has always been about the process of transformation.
I love to eat, as everyone around here knows. Sometimes, I think of our current classes as soup. I’m not in the business of testing the soup while it’s still cooking; we let it sit and season and develop. The stories of our alums like Emma Hulbert, Gabriella LaLumia, and Eli Pfister exemplify how our unique approach to education yields extraordinary results that extend far beyond the classroom.
Take, for instance, Emma. When I was teaching her in 8th grade, I remember saying a broad generalization like, “Teens don’t trust adults. They think they’re always right.” Emma politely interrupted the assumption I was making as an adult and said, “That’s not necessarily true, Mr. Trueblood.” I realized what she was saying was true. Emma always wanted people to come to a better understanding of one another, of truth, which was what her senior project was about – educating and informing people about social issues. Now, Emma is doing incredible policy work at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C..
Then there’s Gabriella, a board-certified music therapist who found her calling in the 6th grade when she joined the string orchestra. Music was Benjamin Trueblood the key that unlocked her potential to connect with others and offer her gift to the world.
Consider Eli, who broke his leg in high school, which inspired his senior project about healing from the inside out and led him to pursue a five- year Physical Therapy program and earn his Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
It’s not just about what students do at school but the qualities and capacities we nurture in them that allow them to flourish in their adult lives. We teach in a way that is like a time-release lesson, where the seeds planted today come to fruition 20 or 30 years later.
If you were to speak to our high school graduates, they would tell you about experiences that provided them with a compass for life. We equip our students with the skills and purpose to navigate the complexities of adulthood, and the impact is profound.
As our students grow older, their commitment to serving others becomes increasingly evident. They move beyond self-focus and begin to ask, “What is needed?” Just like in the story of Don Quixote, the proof is in the pudding or, in our case, the soup. Our education helps individuals determine the flavor of their lives and how to share it with the world.
Waldorf education, as envisioned by Rudolf Steiner, aims to instill an inner sense of purpose guided by the needs of the time. We equip our students to respond to the challenges of their era, fostering a sense of responsibility that transcends mere reaction. In a world that often feels chaotic and purposeless, the education at Emerson Waldorf School provides the grounding needed to make thoughtful, informed decisions. We support students in understanding their inner calling and their role in addressing contemporary issues.
In the spirit of Steiner’s vision for social renewal through education, our teachers continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our students. Just as he encouraged teachers to renew their methods constantly, Waldorf Education has remained committed to this principle over the last 100 years.
Today, we are proud to share some of the initiatives we have undertaken at Emerson Waldorf School. We started a new parent-child program on our farm, recognizing the benefits of outdoor-based education. We renovated the farm cabin to accommodate the program, emphasizing community building and support for families in the very early years.
For middle and high school students facing immense challenges, including academic pressure, social relationships, mental health issues, and self-discovery, we have developed a social-emotional learning curriculum for 5th through 8th graders. Additionally, we have a proposal for a high school social-emotional learning curriculum under review.
Recognizing the need for children to have both windows and mirrors in the world, we have engaged a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consulting group to train our entire team of 60 faculty and staff members over the next two years.
We are also close to finalizing Emerson’s Strategic Plan, which centers on the “Three Rs”: Recognizing, Reckoning, and Reconciling. These core actions are inspired by the original founding social mission of Waldorf Education and aim to address historical imbalances and abuses of power, as well as foster social and environmental justice.
All of these new initiatives are born from a deep understanding of the needs of children today. As we work towards shaping a brighter future for our students and society as a whole, we need your continued support.
Your generous donations have enabled us to make a meaningful impact on the lives of our students and the broader community. Your investments have allowed us to adapt and grow while remaining true to our mission. With your help, we can continue to provide transformative experiences and foster independent, creative thinkers who are collaborative leaders in social and environmental justice.
As the year draws to a close, I invite you to invest in the Emerson Fund before December 31, 2023. Your support will enable us to build on our successes, reach even greater heights, and continue to shape the lives of future generations.
As Benjamin might say, your generosity has allowed us to season and enrich the educational soup, and the results are truly remarkable. We look forward to your continued partnership as we work together to inspire and empower our students to make a positive impact on the world.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to our mission and for being a vital part of the Emerson Waldorf School community.
I pay tuition. Why are you asking for a donation?
Our goal is to keep tuition at a rate where we are able to attract a diverse student body from a wide range of income levels. To sustain the Emerson Fund, we ask families who are able to pay more for their children’s education to do so and for those who can to give a little to do so as well in order to reach our goal of 100% community participation each year.
What if I don’t like asking for money?
We have two goals for the Emerson Fund: first, to raise $88,000 to meet this year’s financial obligations and strengthen our programs and, second, to have every family and employee contribute. When we reach outside the community to ask for grants and loans, one of the first questions we are asked is, “How strongly does your community support the school?” There are many ways to give but the clearest way to measure support is through financial contribution. We don’t necessarily like pressuring parents or spending evenings at fundraising meetings and phone-a-thons but we do it because we love our school.
Can I set up a payment plan or recurring gift? Can I donate stock? Can my employer match my gift?
Yes, yes and yes please! For details, call Deb Feinberg at x117.
I volunteer. why do I have to give to The Emerson Fund?
While volunteering is the backbone of every community, financial support is always a need. Volunteers of limited financial means are encouraged to shift some of their volunteer efforts to fundraising through their networks.
The EWS Tax ID # is 56-1379068. The Emerson Waldorf School is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.