Let me offer you a glimpse of a week at the Central Vermont High School Initiative.
The ninth grade students, in the final week of their main lesson block on Geology took to the road and spent the last week in the white mountains, hiking and rock climbing, with their Main Lesson teacher Melissa Grella and our outdoor education intern Elliot LaCroix. The Main Lesson is characteristic of Waldorf education where the first part of each day for a period of 3-4 weeks is devoted to a deep and integrated study of a topic that may engage more than one discipline. Geology study for instance involved experimentation, research, writing, artistic presentation and of course, outdoor education.
The ninth graders returned to the Stokes building at Goddard College on Thursday afternoon where the 10th grade had prepared a meal for entire school and their families under the guidance and support of Crystal Madeira, the chef owner of Kismet in Montpelier who is helping craft community meals as a cornerstone of health education for CVHSI. Following the meal the 10th graders performed The Oresteia, from the Agamemnon trilogy in the Pratt Center.
On Friday, 9th and 10th grade students toured the Vermont State House and Kismet, Crystal’s nearby restaurant. While I marvel at each and every moment of this thoughtful education in deep gratitude, there was one particular moment at Kismet when I became overwhelmed with the realization that this one week had in it every thing that I could hope for an adolescent to learn. Crystal Madeira was offering the students a tour of her restaurant. She shared her dream for a complete dining experience of trusting that your food has been grown with care and attention, experiencing the art of food preparation, facilitating a relaxed and beautiful dining atmosphere, and succeeding in business. In response to a question from a student Crystal described what it was like to lose her business to a flood twice in one year. At one point she observed that the only obstacle she really faced was doubt. In the end, she described, “Kismet” means kiss of God, or good karma returned. She and her restaurant thrive on trusting that pursuing their deepest values and embodying them in work will create the life she is choosing to live.