Category: education


I found this writing while going through old files. While I wrote it when G was entering 1st Grade…he just entered 7th…I thought it timely to post this at the beginning of the school year.
– DDH

We made sure to arrive early so we could get a good seat right on the aisle in the old
church. Although we’ve been here many times before—holiday sing-a- longs, school
performances—today is different.

This morning’s Rose Ceremony holds special significance for us as 1st grade parents. As your children have done before, our child starts his or her journey through the grades.

The Rose Ceremony

The ceremony is simple and joyful, framed in anticipation—perhaps solemnity—that
doesn’t diminish the brightness in our eyes or lower the raised corners of our smiles.
Seated here in the first few pews—not unlike parents in years past—we’re here to
witness the start of a new song of sorts, poised at that ever-important first note.

The first note

We’ve all been there. We can relate. To me, it’s like the year—or years—of kindergarten was like an orchestra’s warm-up, each instrument finding its own notes, tone … and volume. But the 1st grade is when you can start to discern some sort of rhythm, some pattern, some melody.

What’s happens next?

That’s the question, isn’t it? Regardless of where your children are on this WSA path,
you can answer that question much better than our troupe, gathered together in silent
anticipation.

As 1st grade parents, we’ve come together as a class, all with varying experiences at and
outside of Waldorf, bringing different understandings of what lies ahead, and, of course,
unique reasons for being here of all places: these few acres with more than a few trees
in Decatur.

Kinship among strangers

I can’t help but think about how interesting it is that we all ended up here. As we get to
know each other, we learn about our reasons for being here and why we chose Waldorf.
Many of us want something more for our children. And some of us aren’t really sure what that “something” is, but feel we can find it here. We see the possibilities inherent in this environment. And we trust in the opportunities that are abundant in Waldorf education.

For others, being here is a reaction to public school. To a greater or lesser degree,
there’s dissatisfaction with what public education offers. For me that hits home.

My father—a lifelong educator and recipient of the California teacher of the year award—saw his health decline dramatically when classroom sizes swelled and disrespect ran rampant.

For others, Waldorf was a second choice. Fair enough. One parent wanted her kids to attend another local private school, but could only make the waiting list the first year. There was space at Waldorf though, and after a short time, she knew this school offered what her children and her family needed.

Regardless of our reasons for being here, our reasons are valid. It’s fascinating that
although the reasons that brought us here are across the board, we come together in what we seek to gain from this education: a whole education.

And that’s what Waldorf seeks to give.

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To be of service

Today marked the conclusion of my third and final year on the Waldorf School of Atlanta’s Board of Trustees. In the capacity of Marketing Committee Chair, I’ve been privileged to contribute to our students’ and school’s success.

Happy to help

I do consider it a privilege, because it’s afforded me the chance to be of service in a unique way.

See, my father was a teacher — a lifelong California public school teacher — and my mother, though not listed as such on her CV, was an educator. I’m not, but I recognize the important role and responsibility that teachers have.

“That’s Professor Hambrick. I didn’t get a Ph.D. in Education just to be called Mr. Hambrick. Oh wait…I didn’t get a Ph.D.”

I knew I’d never teach (at least in an official capacity). But being on the Board of Trustees at our son’s school provided an avenue through which I could, in some small way, be of service to students and our school.

WSA-path

More service, more Board meetings, more walks along the mulch path, more little treasures like this one

Altruism made manifest

Being of service, no matter how you do it, is something we all should do, because it’s how we can help others. It’s altruism made manifest, I’d argue. Concrete kindness, if you will.

I think, had I been given a minute to speak at today’s assembly, I would have thanked the school for the chance to be of service. And I would have suggested that the students seek ways in which they can:

  • Younger ones could help set the table, bring in groceries, and keep house.
  • Older ones could volunteer through their faith and in the community.
  • Graduating 8th Graders, moving out into a larger world, could seek to create a future built on the notion of serving humankind.
  • And all of them could be of service by bringing a little more love into the world; I guess they’re one in the same, in a way.

I’m just happy to have served on the Board, though I do feel it’s time for me to move on…to another kind of service.

It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it. And I’ve found that’s the norm for things that are worth your while.

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