Just before Thanksgiving break, the high school set aside three days of regularly scheduled classes and dived into an artistic exploration of identity and self-expression. We heard from the gay-straight alliance GLSEN on Monday morning and then worked with four professional artists – Penelope Wendtlandt (dance/body percussion), Marjolaine Whittlesey (poetry/creative writing), Rene Johnson (drama/improvisation), and Tom Dews (singing/songwriting) – for the remainder of the week, studying dance, theater, writing and songwriting in groups of 9th – 12th graders.
A couple of seniors reflect on their Theme Day experiences below:
A group of music loving high schoolers spent three intense days brainstorming, songwriting, singing, and collaborating led by blues guru and songwriter, Tom Dews. We learned about the ingredients of a great song, different ways to improve pieces we already started, and worked on our performance skills. Our time each day was spent singing as one group, where we learned several new songs- one being “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles which we performed at our sharing time with the rest of the high school. Personally, my favorite activity was collaborating with other students that I may not have much in common with and producing two great songs! One thing I wish we spent more time doing was just singing together in one big group. I felt like we could’ve spent an entire week working together, and would have been less crunched on time. Despite the short amount of time we had, I believe we strengthened our bonds and improved our musical/songwriting skills immensely. – Sarah Grill, class of 2017
A few weeks ago, the Maine Coast Waldorf High School embarked on its Theme Days. The theme this year was self-identity and expression, a subject which is increasingly relevant in our world today. On Monday morning we dove right in, and all participated in a discussion about sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression, led by a local support group named GLSEN. During this forum, we learned about issues the LGBTQ community currently faces, and ways to best support it. Next, the High School split into four groups and began our workshops. Students participated in either, writing, music, theater, or movement classes that all explored the topic of self-expression and identity. I took part in the movement class where we practiced all kinds of different movement. We explored everything from stage presence to mental awareness to body percussion. I was not only amazed by the enthusiasm and skill of the teacher but also by the increase in confidence that my peers all showed after just two days of classes. It was quite an extraordinary experience and I feel much more confident in my body after participating in it. – Nick Neveu, class of 2018