515 Cougar Ridge Drive S.W.     
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3H 5G9     
Phone: 403-287-1868  |  Fax: 403-287-3414     


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Thursday, April 14th at 3:00 pm
with a Reception to follow at the Church until about 5:30 pm
Scarboro United Church, 134 Scarboro Avenue SW

Everyone is very welcome to attend the service and the reception.

Tuesday, April 12th

Dear Friends of the Calgary Waldorf School:
On behalf of all of us on the Faculty, Staff, and Board at the school, we are writing to you this afternoon to confirm for you and share with you in the saddest of news. Many of you will already know that our beloved friend, teacher, and colleague Virginia Smith died this past weekend. After many years of struggles with a number of difficulties and heart-breaks in her life, Virginia chose to take her own life at the end of last week. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go to everyone who grieves our loss of her.

We want you to have this “Intercessory Prayer” (by Adam Bittleston) which we have been reading together this week to send our love, hope, and peace to our dearest Virginia.
Thou angel who keepest watch
Over the destiny of Virginia
Through the waking and sleeping,
And the long ages of time:
May our thoughts, filled with hope,
Reach Virginia through thee.
May she be strengthened
From the founts of will
Which bear us towards freedom.
May she be illumined
From the founts of wisdom
Which warm the inmost heart.
May she feel peace
From the founts of love
Which bless our work.
Virginia joined the Faculty of our Calgary Waldorf School in September of 1995. In these past 20 years, she has been a leading and steadfast light in our community. Virginia has filled virtually all of the key roles in our school, including Class Teacher, Interim Pedagogical Administrator, Teacher Mentor, Teacher Evaluator, Division Chair, Faculty Council member, Board member, member of Faculty committees and Board committees, leader of many faculty professional development/teacher training series, and speaker/workshop leader at many adult education events. Throughout her two-decade tenure at our school, Virginia has been the embodiment of a striving Waldorf teacher. As a true “Server of the Light”, Virginia’s deep and enduring commitment to our students, our parents, her colleagues, our school, and our community has been a gift to us all which will continue to resonate throughout the whole lifetime of our school. She has touched and will continue to touch so many lives with her compassion, intelligence, insights, creativity, and clarity. As I write this, I have a picture in my mind of Virginia’s glow.

Our deepest condolences, affection, and thankfulness go from all of us to Virginia’s family. And we also hold Jack Searchfield – Virginia’s partner in life and teaching for so many years – very closely in our hearts, with much love. Each of us will miss Virginia terribly and in so many ways.

At the school, we have heard this afternoon from Virginia’s family about the details of the service which they will be holding this week to remember and honour Virginia. Everyone is very welcome to attend the memorial service on Thursday, April 14th at 3:00 pm at Scarboro United Church (134 Scarboro Avenue SW). A reception will follow the service, at the church, up until about 5:30 pm, which everyone is also very welcome to attend. Please know that the school will be sending flowers to the church, for Virginia’s family, on behalf of everyone in our school community. Also, many of the CWS faculty and staff will be singing at either the service or at the reception.

I know we have been receiving questions from parents about whether or not to bring their children to the memorial service at the church. Of course, this is a specific decision which every parent will make in the context of who their individual child is, how old they are, how they are connected to Ms. Smith, how they might feel in the service and reception, etc. The primary thing we want to say at this point is that the school is beginning now to plan a coming-together which will be held at the school a bit later this Spring – to include and involve our CWS students and families and to take place on a school day. In this coming-together, we will have some words, music, activities, etc. to celebrate, commemorate, and honour the place Virginia holds in the history and the ongoing life of our school. We’re quite sure already that we will be doing some sort of planting in our schoolyard in Virginia’s memory. So this brief information at this time is just to say that there will definitely be a wonderful and reverent opportunity a little later this Spring for our students to take part in a ceremony and celebration here at school to honour Ms. Smith. We will let you know more about this as we put the plans in place over the next few weeks.

You will see in the obituary that is published in the local newspaper tomorrow that Virginia’s family is asking all of us to think about perhaps planting something somewhere to honour her. We know that Virginia loved everything green that grows, especially plants that help the bees.

You will also see in the obituary that Virginia’s family is immediately creating with The Calgary Foundation a memorial fund which will be linked to the Tuition Assistance Endowment Fund that the Calgary Waldorf School already has at The Calgary Foundation. By late tomorrow or certainly by Thursday, you will be able to find on the TCF website (www.thecalgaryfoundation.org) a place to make a donation to the “Tuition Assistance Memorial Fund for Virginia Smith”, if you would like to do that. We in the school are truly grateful that Virginia’s family is thinking of CWS in this caring and generous way, to honour her central, unending place within the heart of our school.

And now, a very specific and crucial piece of information for all the current parents in our school:
In the 31-year history of our school, CWS has rarely had to close for any reason. However, losing Virginia is an extra-ordinary moment in the life of our school, and so to respect her place in each of our hearts and in the heart of the school, we want to ensure that everyone on faculty and staff is able to attend the memorial service. Thus we have decided to close the entire school (that is, we will close every class and program in our school, including Afternoon Preschool, Afternoon Kindergarten, Grades One through Nine, and both Aftercare Programs) as of 1:00 pm on Thursday, April 14th. We realize that this early-closure will create difficulties for some families. But we ask that all parents come together as a true community of care and support this Thursday afternoon, and help each other with picking up your children and arranging for mutual child care, play-dates, etc. We can’t thank you enough for taking up our request for your help with a 1:00 pm school closure on Thursday. We do know how much we are asking of you in this, and we truly appreciate your help.
Please note that our Gateways Conference will proceed as planned on Friday evening and Saturday daytime.

In losing Virginia, we know that everyone’s heart is breaking. All of us here on Faculty, Staff, and Board join you in this profound grief and sadness. At the same time, we are so grateful for all the expressions of love and care which are constantly pouring toward Virginia, her family, Jack, and the school.

We’ll close this letter to you with a poem, “In Blackwater Woods”, by Mary Oliver (one of Virginia’s favourite poets), which we know Virginia has turned to for many years, in order to find solace, wisdom, and the way forward.
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
everything I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Yours in thankfulness and community,

Cathie Foote, School Administrator
Kathy Brunetta, Pedagogical Administrator
MaryWyatt Sindlinger, President of the Board of Directors

I am delighted to announce on behalf of the Board of Directors and the School's Finance Committee that we have hired Cari Vaughan as the School's new Financial Manager.

We were pleased to have several CWS parents and alumni apply for the position, along with many resumes from our School's website and an external job search website. Thank you very much to those who applied for this position. It was a challenging process to make a selection from the applicants, many of whom we have already built relationships with as volunteers and friends. In the end, it was a unanimous decision that Cari Vaughan has the specific qualifications and experience which most closely match our needs for the position and for the transition ahead.

Cari will begin next week working with me, Dinah Clark, until my retirement at the end of this school year. She will then take leadership of the position as of August 1, 2015 and I will act as her advisor/support as needed in the next school year.

Cari is a parent of three girls, two of whom are attending CWS in Grade One and in Preschool, and a younger "future" Waldorf student still at home. After a year on our waiting list, her girls were able to join the School last September, and her family moved into the neighbourhood surrounding the school to become a part of our Calgary Waldorf community.

Cari has worked for 12 years in accounting in a variety of positions including Financial Controller, and she is a fourth year CGA. She has a high level of expertise in the accounting applications that we use at CWS. In addition, Cari has experience in many of the areas of responsibility required for our Financial Manager position, such as Group Health and Liability Insurance, WCB, GST, payroll, budgets, preparation of financial statements, and working with auditors.

I have every confidence that Cari will bring the right skills, experience, and demeanor to work with our staff and parents, and to take over the care and guidance of the financial life of our School. I welcome her wholeheartedly to our Faculty and Staff at CWS.

Dinah Clark

This is just a quick note to say that the school will be putting on a Farewell Shindig (ADULTS ONLY!) to honour Dinah's 30 years of giving herself to creating, growing, building, and sustaining our Calgary Waldorf School. She is the only Founder still here in CWS on our school's 30th Anniversary! So please mark your calendar now for Saturday, May 2nd starting at 7:30 pm at the school. We will have live music, food, a cash bar, memories, and festivities. An "official" invitation will go out very soon, but in the meantime, we want to let you know about this evening of gratitude and celebration for Dinah, as she launches into her retirement on Vancouver Island at the end of this school year. Please help us spread the word to other ADULT alumni parents and students you know and can contact. We'll need to have folks RSVP – there will be more details in the invitation coming soon.

Hope to see you here on May 2nd!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Sale, it is an annual Field Trip fundraiser held at the school, in Cougar Ridge, and organized and run by the parents, students, and Class Teacher in our Grade Five class. Throughout the week leading up to Sale Day on Saturday, April 18th, members of our entire school community drop off donations of used books, puzzles, board games, and DVDs.  These get sorted by genre and are available for purchase in the front foyer and school office throughout the school day (until about 5:30 pm) from Tuesday, April 14th to Friday, April 17th. On the Friday, people can also bring in used bikes in good condition that they wish to donate to the Sale. In addition, baked goods will be available for purchase after school on the Friday and on Saturday. The books, games, puzzles, and DVDs mostly sell for a dollar a piece and can be purchased at the office and in the front foyer throughout the week leading up to Saturday. On Saturday, the bikes become available for purchase, usually priced between $20 and $40.  So come and shop for some great bargains for you and your kids, and feel free to drop off any donations you may have when you come. 

We will start accepting donations of books, puzzles, board games, and DVDs on Tuesday, April 14th when our school re-opens after our Spring Holidays. By the way, any books left-over from our annual Sale are donated to another charity book sale taking place in Calgary this Spring.

The Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy program is a one-on-one guided course of independent study and work with your personal mentor. The full certificate program includes the reading (approximately three hours per week) of ten assigned books by Rudolf Steiner and others, in weekly reading groups and alone, as well as on-going journal-writing and artistic development. This will be facilitated by 32 one-hour-long mentored sessions with an experienced one-on-one mentor and with weekly group sessions for study and artistic work. Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy is a prerequisite for Waldorf Teacher Training Programs as well as for other Anthroposophical Courses, but it also serves those who wish to deepen their understanding of Anthroposophy, the philosophy underlying Waldorf Education.

For more detailed information, about the Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy being offered in Calgary now, please look HERE. Thank you for your interest.

Christina Wallace-Ockenden (CWS Eurythmy Teacher)

News from Sail-World.Com: Canadian Rolex Sailor of the Year Announces Vendee Globe Campaign
This year's Rolex Sailor of the Year, Eric Holden, announced at the Sail Canada Awards on Friday night that he will be forming Canada's premier offshore racing team, Canadian Ocean Racing, and campaigning in the IMOCA Ocean Masters races, ultimately leading to the Vendée Globe.

Holden, along with Morgen Watson, will be taking the 60-foot racing yacht, O Canada, and putting her back on the racing circuit.  O Canada, under the command of Holden and his Canadian Ocean Racing team, will enter the highly competitive Open 60 class races — competing against notable teams like Alex Thompson's Hugo Boss campaign.

Holden is no stranger to competitive offshore racing. Most recently, Holden, again along with Morgen Watson, led his crew to victory in the world's longest ocean race, the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race, which is over 40,000 miles long and concluded in July 2014 after an 11-month circumnavigation. With a degree in meteorology and experience serving notable teams such as the Canadian Olympic Sailing Team, Holden leveraged his expertise in weather as a strategic advantage throughout the race.

"As the first Canadian Skipper of the Clipper Round the World Race, it was a great honour to have won the race. But the most powerful achievement was taking a crew of 55 individuals with little to no sailing experience and turning them into a cohesive and winning team," said Holden.

Holden, along with his past and future crew-mate, Morgen Watson, were honoured at the Sail Canada Awards for Rolex Sailor of the Year and the Gerry Roufs trophy, respectively.  Watson will accompany Holden to Vancouver for O Canada's refit and Launch Tour to East Coast Canada by Summer 2015, where they will then officially begin training.

"Morgen is a young, aspiring offshore racer.  While he may have begun his sailing career a little later in life than most, he showed great skill, development and leadership when on the Clipper Race. It is for those reasons that I chose him as one of my watch leaders on the race and have decided to mentor him and build Canadian Ocean Racing together," said Holden.

Holden's racing career started long before the Clipper Round the World Race, but the win was really the culmination of his skill as an offshore racer and skipper. It is from the Clipper Race success that Holden confidently moves forward with his own ocean racing initiative.

"As the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race winner, his performance was outstanding. I am also delighted to hear of Eric's plans to join up with his Clipper Race crew members Morgen Watson and Meg Reilly to launch a Canadian Ocean Racing team, and I wish them every future success together," said Sir Robin Knox Johnston, founder of the Clipper Round the World Race.

Officially, Canadian Ocean Racing's program will begin with a Launch Tour in April 2015, sailing from West to East Coast Canada with events in select ports — all culminating at the Toronto Pan Am Games in July 2015. The Team intends to take on its first Ocean Masters race challenge with the Transat Jacques Vabre in November 2015. Canadian Ocean Racing will be supporting Holden in his 2016 Vendée Globe campaign, making Holden just the fourth Canadian in history to enter this world-renowned, solo offshore racing competition.

Canadian Ocean Racing will be assisted by Wind Athletes Canada and Sail Canada to promote the sport of offshore racing and offer opportunities for aspiring ocean racers.  Canadian private donors who support the Team's mission can submit tax-deductible contributions through Wind Athletes Canada.  Corporate entities interested in partnering with Canadian Ocean Racing can contact info@canadianoceanracing.com or visit HERE for more details.

"Sail Canada is thrilled that Eric Holden and his team are launching the 'O Canada' Canadian Offshore campaign this summer. Eric had a very successful year with the Clipper Round the World Race, garnering so much positive attention to offshore racing in Canada. The O Canada campaign is a perfect fit for Eric and his crew and we are thrilled to be a part of their journey," said Colleen Coderre of Sail Canada.

"We are delighted to be involved with Eric's offshore program. I competed against Eric in the Tornado Class many years ago.  It was clear even then that he was destined for great things. Eric brings a unique skill set to his role.  Not only is he a fabulous sailor with great feel for the boat but he is a highly trained and sought after meteorologist.  This combination of skills is what truly sets him apart from the vast majority of short-handed offshore sailors," said John Curtis of Wind Athletes Canada.

Article submitted to the Wednesday Notice by CWS Alumni Parent, Henny Fleischer