KIMBERTON - In a world beset by turmoil and trouble, a secluded conclave of calm and celebration marked the commencement ceremony for 25 Kimberton Waldorf School seniors on Saturday afternoon.
Attended by more than 300 family, faculty and friends, the program combined the very unique ingredients that mark the Waldorf school program in America and throughout the world. Initiated by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1919, "The goal of Waldorf education is to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives."
The combination of individuality and cohesiveness was evident as the seniors planned their own ceremony to include those segments of the past 12 years that mattered most.
Avoiding the usual caps and gowns, the young ladies were adorned in party dresses while the gentlemen chose dark suits topped with high hats.
However, the warm feeling that the graduates held for the faculty and staff was obvious by their words and actions during the 70-minute dignified ceremony.
Interim faculty chair Kevin Hughes was chosen to give the commencement address. He teaches drawing and painting in the high school and has assumed administrative responsibilities as well. "This is a fine class of well-rounded students who have shown a capacity for having caring hearts," Hughes commented at the reception following the ceremony.
The popular teacher stated during his address, "I have heard that one of the challenges of being a Waldorf school graduate is narrowing one's interests enough to pursue a particular path of study or career direction, given that this education has encouraged you to be interested in everything and capable in many areas."
Hughes referred to a bumper sticker popular with Waldorf families, "All who wander are not lost."
"We all wish to discover what it is we are meant to be doing," he continued. Noting that in today's freedom we have more opportunity to choose our vocation that those of past generations, Hughes challenged the seniors as follows: "In the face of this new found freedom we must not only be responsible to our own inner calling, but also learn to be responsible to what is around us from the world.
"Underneath responsibility lies love; love for the other, love for the world," Hughes emphasized. "Today you are going to walk out of here free, to find your calling, to meet your destiny. It's important that you keep walking."
Classroom teacher Peter Lehman was also selected to share his thoughts about the class whom he had taught from first through eighth grade. Speaking directly to the 25 seniors seated on the stage of the gymnasium, he praised the class for not only giving out of their heart for each other but for being deeply concerned about the state of the world. "Don't lose that caring," he advised. "The head allows you to think of things, the hands permits you to do them but the heart gives you direction."
Class advisors Mason Vollmer and Mrs. Raymond Fried not only praised the seniors but also received hugs of gratitude during the awarding of diplomas at the conclusion of the ceremony. Board of Trustees secretary Karen Fraley shared the presentation joined by the advisors and Kevin Hughes as the joyful seniors took the final steps of their high school education.
Seniors Rose Brett and Maya Cosentino expressed their thanks to the faculty and staff plus announced the class gift to the school. The class of 2004 contributed outdoor volleyball courts to add to the athletic facilities on the beautiful campus.
Andrew Laker welcomed the guests on behalf of his class. Musical selections included the talents of Michael Ruhl, Kevin Rosenberry, and Dylan Babitch plus choral groups representing the seniors.
KIMBERTON WALDORF SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2004.
Emma Bannister Char
Siobhan Marie Lyons