News - October 2010 Archives
By Nancy Heuston, Head of School
A few days ago, I sat in the Fine Arts Conference Room with fifteen parents, to share lunch after they had spent the morning visiting classes. The food was delicious and the comments flowed, back and forth across the table.
Parents new to Waterford, veteran parents, parents of tots in Nursery and soon-to-graduate upperclassmen: various parent perspectives were well represented.
The first comments were familiar: ‘I wish I could enroll!’ ‘How can they work so hard and be so productive?’ ‘Will my child really be able to measure up?’
Parents responded to one another’s questions and I listened in, intrigued by the understanding that comes with experience at the School. The wisdom offered was impressive, drawing together those whose paths might not otherwise have crossed.
By Marcel Gauthier, Assistant Head of School
At a recent conference sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools, I attended a session focused on the art of strategic persuasion in the realm of leadership. The presenter laid out a narrative scheme for becoming what he called a “credible chameleon,” someone who could adapt to the variables at hand and present a persona that others would respect and choose to follow.
His presentation serendipitously followed an hour where I had been grading tests for Class XI American Literature. The focus of the unit we had covered was on the early writers of our American democracy—Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine, for example—and the strategic choices they made in their letters and pamphlets and essays to appeal to their audience and win them over. Or how, as the presenter at the conference would say, they became “credible.”
As I sat at my table with the crowd of other attendees, I found myself thinking about the question of authenticity. We tell our seniors that their personal essay to colleges must be authentic, that if an admissions officer senses that the epiphanies contained therein are meant to impress, the response will be the opposite of what the student intended. As teachers we also know that students will limit their investment in a class if they sense that our interest in their progress is merely professional, rather than an extension of true caring.
By Sara Wilcox, Open House Committee Chair
The Waterford All Schools Admissions Open House will be held on Tuesday, November 9th from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. This is a great opportunity for prospective Waterford families to tour classrooms and the school campus, guided by parent volunteers.
Being part of the Open House brings back fond memories of my first tour of Waterford. I had heard about the academic reputation of the school, and I had seen the statistics and data that supported the strong academic and arts programs. However, as the mother of 3 and 5 year old boys, I was also looking for a safe, nurturing environment for my children. As I was guided around campus, I was astounded by what I saw: classroom after classroom of smiling, happy students; clean, beautiful rooms filled with hands-on projects the students were working on; hallways filled with student art: engaging, articulate faculty challenging and guiding students. After that one visit, I knew this was not only a school where my kids would receive a fabulous education, but also one where they would love to learn.
The Waterford Institute was featured in an article in the Deseret News earlier this fall. The article describes an exciting new partnership between the Institute and the African nation of Senegal that will bring Waterford’s early-childhood educational software to the children of that nation. You can learn more about the Waterford Institute at http://waterford.org.
Cami LaForge teaches Class II and is the Lead Teacher for Classes I-II. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska (“land of endless cornfields and Husker football”), and met her husband while they were in college in Minnesota. They moved to Utah thirteen years ago.
What did you do before you came to Waterford?
As a young kid, I thought I might want to be a nurse. That was before I knew how queasy I get at the sight of blood. After college, I taught Suzuki piano lessons for 5 years (to students from the age of 4-65), but eventually I pursued an interest in elementary education. At first, I learned some invaluable lessons as a substitute teacher in Ohio (it was probably the longest year of my life). Then I taught full-day kindergarten at a parochial school.
What surprised you when you were first here — how was it different than you expected?
I find it humorous that I mistakenly expected the students to walk in serious, silent lines. Instead, at Waterford, I found an emphasis on arts, and an understanding of childhood development and students’ needs for creativity and socialization. Coming from a school that relied on extrinsic reinforcers, I was surprised and excited to learn that Waterford students are intrinsically motivated by learning. Children naturally flourish here and I’m honored to be a part of this unique community.
Every year, Waterford art teacher Suzanne Conine travels to NCECA, the national ceramics conference that features high-level workshops, professional art from all over the world, and a highly selective National Juried Exhibition of student work. Waterford students consistently receive high recognitions in this competition. Last year, Suzanne received a call from Maureen Mackey, an author who was putting together a new edition of her textbook, Experience Clay. Ms. Mackey was familiar with the Waterford program from the excellent work she had seen at NCECA, and asked Suzanne if Waterford would consider contributing images to her book. This book was published recently, and we are proud to note that our program contributed 38 images, including one on the back cover and a two page spread on mask-making from a live model. Below is a small sampling of Waterford student work that appeared in the book.
Juniors show off their new scarves on Waterford Class Day. Photo: Andrew Patteson