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A Close Look at Immigration
Immigration has been a central focus of media outlets everywhere. Reporters, commentators, and the general public are expressing views and interpretation of law. Hershey Montessori Guide, John Buzzard, saw the opportunity in seeking greater understanding for his students as they are preparing to enter and contribute to society as young adults.
When law meets humanity
John began by extending an invitation to George Koussa to visit Hershey students at the Adolescent Campus in Huntsburg, Ohio. Mr. Koussa, who is a Syrian immigrant, accepted and openly shared his experience as an immigrant, along with his thoughts around current immigration policies in the United States.
John additionally spoke with Hershey Montessori students about their perspectives and thoughts on having Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) come to speak to them as a group. The students were supportive of the idea, knowing that hearing from different perspectives is beneficial, and that this particular perspective is extremely important given it is representative of the U.S. Government.
John and his students extended an invitation, which then led to an informative visit from Valentina Seeley and Kris Crowley from ICE. In spite of the many controversies currently surrounding ICE, Mr. Seeley and Mr. Crowley were gracious and kind as they presented a wealth of information and documents to help inform and illustrate the challenges and protocols of immigration. The students respectfully asked challenging questions of Mr. Seeley and Mr. Crowley. Hershey Montessori School has nearly two dozen boarding students from countries outside the United States. Students saw value in the opportunity to meet with ICE, and several committed to continue their own research on some of the more controversial topics.
Both guests expressed how impressive Hershey students were and how much they appreciated having a reasoned conversation around their work, which is not always the case in their professional work.
A short time later, Hershey students embarked on a trip to Downtown Cleveland to observe a Naturalization Ceremony. It was an invaluable experience that put faces to names and envisioned real lives over simple stories. It allowed students to experience the immigration process as both a logistical matter and a personal one.
Hearing about life-changing issues is important, but immersing ourselves in the process allows for greater comprehension. As adolescents take their place in the next generation of influencers and decision makers, they must be properly prepared and ready to tackle global concerns like these.
We began our first week of Children’s House summer camp with new introductions and the joy of being outdoors. “Movement in Nature” was our theme for the week and mother nature was quite kind in all that was offered. With the beautiful sunshine we enjoyed stick forts or “princess castles” and collecting sticks for our hanging stars. Climbing tress was a favorite activity this week that connected us to nature while developing our physical strength.
Learning about our wild life and exploring a variety of insects had us running from ant hills to butterflies and slugs. We also felt lucky to have the rain and enjoyed puddle jumping, running in the rain, while making and racing boats.
We wound down the week with an obstacle course and stick limbo.
Wow! This was a great week. We thank our families for sharing their children with us for summer camp and we look forward to more exciting weeks ahead. You can also read more about how nature positively affects adolescents here.
Stephanie, Summer Camp Coordinator
Lindsay and Amanda, Summer Camp Assistants
Ava and Alexis, Camp Volunteers
Hats off and congratulations to our newest alumni, Hershey Montessori School’s class of 2019! This newest group of standout students is the second class to graduate from Hershey Montessori School after launching its 9th-12th grade curriculum in 2015. We look forward to watching all their success in the years to come.
Saturday, April 27th, members of Hershey Montessori School’s community gathered for a very special, fun-filled evening in support of Hershey Montessori School. Thank you all who were able to join us!
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo provided an exotic backdrop to our glamorously decorated room filled with many current and former parents, alumni, Montessori colleagues and community friends. It was delightful to see so many new friends and families as well! There were some special guests including a Kookaburra, an armadillo and two very wild giraffes!
In addition to the warmth and friendship shared by our guests, the evening was truly impactful for Hershey Montessori School. Thanks to the generosity of donors through sponsorships, ticket sales, bidding on auction items, the dessert dash and the call to the heart for Financial Aid, our initial figures showed that we raised over $120,000!
The success of the evening would not have been realized without the amazing leadership, creativity and passionate work from our event committee. We are grateful to our dedicated volunteer families.
All proceeds go directly to benefit our students. Hershey purposefully keeps tuition as low as possible to increase access to a wide range of families—”more Montessori for more children” The tuition covers only 75% of our school’s operations. The funds raised at Go Wild for Hershey are critical in continuing to provide optimal environments for our children to thrive. We couldn’t continue to provide and enhance Hershey Montessori School’s unique, successful programs as a model for schools all over the world without the help and support from our devoted families and friends, and for this we are truly thankful!
Anne Marie Kollander
Director of Development
On November 3rd, 2018, more than 230 members of the Hershey Montessori School community and the general public gathered for the inaugural run of the Hershey Cosmic 5k Run and 1 mile Walk at Observatory Park in the Geauga Park District. What a wonderful morning! Yes, it was cool and a bit damp, but spirits and energy were high and the park was just beautiful.
It was exciting to have such an amazing turnout – exceeding our expectations for a first time event by almost 100 participants! A special thank you to the volunteers and committee members who rose to the challenge and organized a smooth packet pick-up, event, award ceremony, food and clean up.
If you participated, we hope you enjoyed the camaraderie, family activities and, of course, the race or walk. Observatory Park is truly a hidden jewel, and many expressed a desire to return and enjoy the ample trails and outdoor exhibits.
While this event brought us together to experience the outdoors, it was also an important fundraiser for Hershey. We are happy to say the inaugural Hershey Cosmic 5k Run and 1 mile Walk brought in over $8,300 to support the mission of Hershey Montessori School and the high quality educational model acclaimed by educational peers worldwide.
This day would not have been possible without all the amazing runners, volunteers, sponsors and supporters who were a part of the event. We are grateful for your support! We would also like to send a special thank you to Steven J. Terrell and Jon E. Lawrence, our Presenting Sponsor, and to C. Fraser Elliott and Lyne Montminy for the $4,000 challenge match in honor of their daughter Sarah Nicole, a Hershey Montessori School alumnus. We are grateful for all of our amazing sponsors and donors who made this race such a success! Congratulations to all the winners!
Finally, this event could not have been the success it was without your support. We thank you deeply for your commitment to our shared goals. Be on the lookout for date and location as the race committee gathers feedback and the excitement begins again!
Please visit our Facebook page to see more photos from the event!
Hershey Montessori School celebrated its 1st Commencement on Sunday, June 3rd, 2018. We are proud and delighted to have celebrated the Inaugural Graduating Class of Hershey Montessori School! Recently students were accepted to the following colleges: Allegheny College, Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, Emerson College, Guilford College, Hiram College, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, Mercyhurst University, Miami University, Oberlin College, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, and University of Maryland.
Our school profile provides more information about matriculation and acceptances, as well as the academic talent of our students.
We wish our exceptional students the very best and look forward to hearing of their experiences and achievements as they embark on the next stage of their academic or working lives.
“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
On Saturday, April 28th, 2018 members of the Hershey Montessori School community gathered for a wonderful celebration – the “Ruby Gala” fundraiser. What a fabulous evening! The Cleveland Botanical Garden provided a beautiful setting to our sold out crowd. It was heartwarming to see so many current and former parents, Montessori colleagues, alumni, and friends join in support of our students and our school’s mission. It was fun to see so many new friends and families as well! You may view photos via the Hershey Montessori School Facebook Page.
The success of the Ruby Gala would not have been realized without the incredible leadership and generosity of our event committee. Though all volunteers devoted numerous hours to many aspects of the event, we’d like to recognize several leaders on key projects: our event co-chairs: Lea Swanson, Dana Davis and Julie Loxterman, and committee members Alecia May, Elizabeth Budnik, Rachel Strong, Erik Neff, Virginija and Jonas Muliolis. Thank you to all who volunteered – your participation on every level helped to make this event such a phenomenal success!
Aside from the warmth and friendship shared by our guests, the evening was truly impactful for Hershey Montessori School. Through sponsorships, ticket sales, exciting silent and live auctions and many generous donations, initial figures show a record breaking $180,000 was raised, or a net of approximately $130,000 after expenses! Thanks to the generosity of all of our supporters and sponsors, we exceeded our fundraising goal of $110,000! All proceeds go directly to benefit our students. As tuition covers only 75% of our school’s operations, these funds are critical in continuing to provide this the high-quality education for our students and continue to provide a successful education model acclaimed by Montessori peers worldwide.
What a special night celebrating Hershey Montessori School’s community, high quality education, as well as its vibrant future. I am very grateful to serve this incredible school and community. The Ruby Gala was certainly an evening to remember. We succeeded together and I thank you for your role and support.
Anne Marie, Director of Advancement
Marianna Pasaret is a 2012 graduate of the Huntsburg campus of Hershey Montessori School. She is a current resident of Austin Texas and was recently interviewed by ESPEROS in their SoHo stories blog which focused on Lifting Women Up.
Read it here!
Marianna is a multimedia artist, concentrating on a combination of digital and sketch work. She exhibited in London late last year and was Boss Babes’ resident artist last winter. Read her inspiring interview where she discusses what and who empowers her and how she lifts other women up. We at Hershey are very happy for her success both as an artist and an inspiration!
In honor of Montessori Education Week, honoring the sense of community that was fostered in us as Montessori students is important.
Many people go about their lives looking inward, asking questions like ‘How can I help me?’ ‘Is this going to benefit me?’ ‘What can I get out of doing this?’ ‘How can that person help me get ahead?’ While Montessori promotes independence, decision making, and helping the child to think for themselves, there is also an external focus to the work done, the lessons taught, and community that is fostered. In many, if not all, of the lessons that we learned as students, there was a thread that runs through them which is the betterment of the world and mankind – sometimes through the connection with nature and other living things, sometimes through projects that help the community run smoothly, sometimes through knowledge about historical issues and issues facing society today, sometimes it’s through the Practical Life work. Almost every lesson we were taught had a connection to the greater world – what we learned was to either directly better the world and those around us, or to equip and inspire us to make the world around us better.
Dr. Montessori called children ‘a hope and a promise for mankind…’, said that “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live…” and that, “The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity.”
Dr. Montessori said these things because she believed that her curriculum and the way that she designed an educational system are meant to educate children as a whole, not just academically. By educating the whole child and interweaving peace and community throughout the pedagogy, these statements she made are attainable because the alumni and former students will be living out the principals of peace and community knowingly and unknowingly.
Looking at the basic needs of an individual, the desire for community (and thus peace within that community) is one of the essentials. According to Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs,’ once the basics are met (food, clothing, shelter, safety), the next level of need is belonging, followed by esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence, which is helping others. Dr. Montessori designed a curriculum and a system that educates, develops, and encourages these innate needs which is a big reason why it works. She knew what mankind needed – belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence – and developed an environment where those needs are met, fostered, cared for, and grown. The environment that Dr. Montessori envisioned was created by Hershey Montessori School 39 years ago with over 1,000 students having had the chance to experience it. In honor of Montessori Education Week, that is worth celebrating!
As students, we were taught that we have something to contribute, that we were capable of much, and that we could make a difference. We were recognized as unique individuals and given freedom within limits to foster our individuality within the greater community. Being encouraged in this way inspires us to better the world around us and to contribute.
Katie Vadakin, a Hershey Montessori School Alumni Ambassador who attended Hershey from 1998 to 2010 said, “…it has become extremely clear to me all that Montessori has provided me with. From people skills, to academics, to leadership abilities, Hershey has given me a perfect base for success.”
To sum it up, promoting community and peace alongside providing an education for the whole child results in students being prepared to make an impact.
Makella Webster, Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator
“We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Please take a look here at the selection of some of the careers that alumni have pursued. It makes sense that the Hershey Montessori School alumni have pursued such varied interests. Hershey Montessori School encouraged us to pursue what we loved and what we were curious about and there were opportunities to be as involved as we wanted. We had the freedom to explore and dive deeper in those interests.
The first time I was involved in the recording of music, it was for a CD of meaningful songs that the students and staff were making my eighth grade year at the Huntsburg Campus. That was a seed that grew into eventually receiving my bachelor’s degree in Audio Production and my master’s degree in Media Management. Thanks to the musical experiences given at an early age both by my parents and by Hershey Montessori School, then with the exposure to recording music as an adolescent, the seeds were planted that grew into my passion for music marketing. I am currently a Marketing Coordinator at Provident Label Group, a division of Sony Music, in Nashville. At Hershey Montessori School, I was encouraged to be myself and embrace my curiosity. Being encouraged to ask questions and dig deeper as a student sparked a life-long custom of diving into subjects that interest me.
In a TED talk about Montessori, the speaker talked about how the Montessori pedagogy holds art and science at the same level of importance as math and language – and that “teachers are there to guide to meet each individual’s strengths and each individual’s needs” – how amazing is it that our teachers were there to meet our strengths and needs in an environment where art, science, math, and language are of equal importance? No wonder the alumni have pursued such varied interests! It was encouraged from day one!
As the Alumni Coordinator, it is an honor to continue to hear stories of how alumni continue to be impacted by their Montessori Education in their work today. Justin Weinbaum who attended Hershey Montessori School from 1981 to 1990 shares,
“It’s been a long time. Over 25 years, by my count, since our class left the Upper Elementary to go out into the world, er, Junior High. Still, even this far out, I thank my Montessori education daily for what it provided me. I am a Research Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. That’s the title – in practice what I do is collaborate with other researchers to advance knowledge and produce technologies that can help people with health problems. I also work every day with students at the University helping them to formulate their research ideas and present their work to others. Every bit of this has been informed by my Montessori experience. I love working with others, just as I did in our Upper Elementary performance of “The Hobbit.” I love the thrill of discovery, just as I recall from hikes at Penitentiary Glen with my classmates. And I love teaching, and seeing my students “get it,” just as we all taught each other about math, history, and language at our classroom tables. Your education at Hershey Montessori is an investment that will pay off over your lifetime.”
Special thanks to Justin for contributing! We would love to hear your story – how Montessori is continuing to impact you in your careers and lives! If you’d like to contribute, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator