As the year comes to an end, we focus attention on our graduating seniors who, having achieved the pinnacle of their Waldodrf education, are about to meet many new opportunities for growth.
In recent weeks we interviewed the seniors, who collectively amassed over $2,500,000 in merit scholarship awards. Through these conversations they engaged in thoughtful reflection about their experiences and growth during their time at CWS even as they lay plans for the transition to their next steps in life. Here are excerpts of the picture they shared of their future and thoughts about their Waldorf education:
Abigail plans to enroll in the University of Illinois–Urbana Champaign this fall where she will pursue classes (and a possible major) in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Communications. She was attracted to the diversity of campus clubs and organizations available to students. Abby credits the amazing chemistry between the teachers and students at CWS for helping her grow more comfortable with herself and with others. This led her to discover a love to learn more about the human being.
Julian will spend the summer working with campers in a Chicago Park District program at Humboldt Park. He has a special connection with that camp as he was a former participant in an After School Matters program there. In fall he is enrolled at the University of Illinois-Chicago where he plans to study psychology. UIC impressed him immediately when he toured and learned about the accomplishments of the alumni. To future CWS students, Julian says, “Learn the value of your education early on, appreciate the knowledge you are given and enjoy your time at school.”
“CWS has allowed me to explore numerous fields of study. Now I feel prepared to specialize.” -George Galkine
Maegan says that “CWS encouraged me to try different subjects that I would normally not encounter in other schools. This prepared me to specialize in a specific subject; based on everything I have experienced.” Maegan will continue her studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in Biology after spending the summer traveling to Atlantic City, spending time with friends and family and preparing for college. To rising seniors, she says, “Make sure you are on schedule for your college decision.”
Lisset will travel to California to visit family and then continue her job at Scooter’s Frozen Custard this summer. Lisset has plans to attend the University of Illinois-Chicago where she is considering majoring in psychology. This interest stems from her senior project topic on intellectual development. UIC’s diverse student population, urban campus, Greek Life, and LARES/Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services Program were deciding factors for Lisset. Her advice for CWS students is “Have fun because the time goes by really fast!”
George states that “CWS has allowed me to explore numerous fields of study. Now I feel prepared to specialize.” George will focus on business when he enrolls at DePaul University this fall. He is excited about DePaul because the business programs are tailored to his interests, his brother had a great experience there, and the university has great connections and possibilities for internships in Chicago. George will spend time camping, traveling and working this summer before moving onto campus.
Sylvan encourages others “Don’t stress too much. Enjoy high school and learn not for the grade but for the sake of learning.” Before entering college, Sylvan will to work at Apachi Summer Day Camp and then take a gap year to travel to South America in order to improve his Spanish. During that year he also plans to work, possibly as a deckhand. Then he will enroll in either Worchester Polytechnic Institute or University of British Columbia to study engineering. He applied to these schools with engineering programs featuring hands-on labs within city environments because from his high school experiences, Sylvan learned that he wanted to study applied science in programs that “teach through doing.”
“Due to amazing chemistry between teachers and students, I grew more comfortable with myself...and [understood] I would love to learn more about the human being.” -Abigail Aderinto
Maryam will visit Latvia this summer for two weeks to work with and learn from a woodblock artist. She will also spend time with her siblings and visiting family in California. Maryam plans to enroll at Truman College and take time to explore her interests in preparation to transfer to a creative writing degree program. Maryam’s advice to younger students is to try to find out what your interests are early on in your high school career.
Christopher continuing to work at Crate and Barrel this summer where he has been employed since last summer. In the fall he will start as a student at Marquette University and plans to explore its liberal arts offerings. He is excited about Marquette’s campus in the heart of downtown Milwaukee and values its access to local activities. Chris advises, “Use your summers well to investigate colleges and explore your options. The senior projects are a great way to examine and develop your personal interests and explore topics that could lead to further studies or selecting a major in college.”
Sabrina will be heading to Seattle this fall to study philosophy and psychology at the University of Washington as an Evans Scholar. First she is spending her summer with the Western Golf Association Caddie Academy at Skokie Country Club. Sabrina was attracted to the University because of its location and the robust medical programs it offers as she plans to pursue pre-med requirements. Sabrina’s words of wisdom for other HS students are, “Enjoy high school as much as possible. This time only comes around once. Don’t stress, everything in life has a solution, except for death.”
“...learn not for the grade but for the sake of learning.” -Sylvan Hartshorn Bunis
Devin will spend the summer helping to teach Kung Fu in a summer camp and working to get signed by a record label. He will be majoring in Accounting at DePaul University this fall. The university attracted him because of the diverse offerings in, and the reputation of, the strong business program. Devin says that “It was thanks to Waldorf that I became incredibly passionate about music, which would be my ideal career after college. Enjoy it.”
“I'm incredibly indebted to every teacher's involvement in my education; they have truly changed the game in terms of what it means to learn something and make it my own.” -Iris Wojtowicz
Nathan says, “Classes like economics and math (at CWS) pushed me to pursue business as my college major. Teachers helped me learn my academic strengths and weaknesses.” Nate will study business this fall at the University of Arizona. He is excited about getting to live in the desert environment after spending the summer making money and having fun. Nate encourages students to, “Spend time with your class and communicate with teachers out of class, allow your peers and teachers to know you and your habits and help you improve.”
“My senior project allowed me to further develop my writing and performing abilities” says Ukiah. She will continue to refine her performing skills at the prestigious Castleman Quartet program this summer in New York. Ukiah plans to pursue a dual degree in violin performance and political science at DePaul University and having the option for a double major—and the excellence of their music program—were the deciding factors that attracted her to enroll there.
“Enjoy the quirky ways of our Waldorf school and the friendships and genuine teachers that come along with it. Take the serious matters seriously, but remember that you are not supposed to have every single thing figured out every step of the way.” -Konstanza Stormont
Marcela will be a Kaplan Scholar at Northwestern University this fall where she will participate in an intensive four-course program for first-year students dedicated to the liberal arts and civic responsibility. Marci is very interested in the excellent programs in neuroscience, film, liberal arts and journalism at Northwestern and also is excited about the school’s connections to Chicago and Big Ten sports programs. This summer she will be working as a babysitter and enjoying free time in Chicago. Her advice is, “You should focus on what you like to do rather than what you think colleges or adults want and that is how you will enjoy yourself and indirectly find out what you want to do.”
Grace appreciates that she was able to look at her art style in a different way through her senior project at CWS by expanding beyond photography. She will continue to pursue art as a BFA studio art major at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a distinguished merit scholar. The fact that she can grow as an artist by exploring many art mediums in the interdisciplinary program was a selling point of SAIC for Grace. This summer she will attend the Ox-Bow program in Michigan to further her skills in found objects collage.
“Teachers helped me learn my academic strengths...spend time with your class and communicate with teachers outside of class; allow your peers and teachers to know you and know your habits and help you improve.” -Nate McIntosh
Konstanza will be traveling, learning to drive, road tripping and getting certified as a lifeguard this summer. Then she will embark on a gap year to gain some real world experience and knowledge. Gap year plans include a return to Colombia where she did her exchange in 10th grade, a visit to Germany and work on organic farms through WWOOF. Upon returning, Konnie will attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Konnie credits CWS for teaching her how important it is to challenge herself in all areas. “As I continue my life, I know I will be searching for challenging experiences as opportunities for me to grow and become a better and stronger person.” She would like to thank her teachers who have played a big role in her becoming who she is. Konnie advises future students, “Enjoy the quirky ways of our Waldorf school and the friendships and genuine teachers that come along with it. Take the serious matters seriously, but remember that you are not supposed to have every single thing figured out every step of the way. Also eurythmy is taken for granted so remember to enjoy it because it's actually really fun and good for you.”
Liam has plans to work at Charmers Café for the summer as a barista and hopes to pick up skills there that he can use to get a job while he travels, possibly on a gap year. Liam will then enroll at University of Central Florida or University of Tampa to pursue photography. Both schools appeal to Liam, with excellent photography programs, study abroad opportunities and rich overall college experiences. Liam’s advice is, “Take every opportunity that you get to try things. Go on exchange even if you can't speak any other language. Make friends with people from others schools as well if you get the chance. If you know what you want or who you are, don't be afraid to let others know.”
“Waldorf is responsible for making me into the person I am today. Everything about the curriculum from K-12 impresses me immensely, especially as I come to understand the curriculum of other schools.” Specifically, Denis credits CWS for exposing him to languages which he intends to pursue after graduation through traveling. He will take a gap year to travel through South America and China to further his fluency in Spanish and Chinese. Afterwards, Denis plans to pursue a degree in linguistics or modern languages. He’ll be working this summer to earn as much money as possible for his travels.
Iris will attend Columbia College-Chicago after participating in a gap year program through her church called Europe STF. STF will allow Iris to travel throughout Europe, meet locals, and build relationships with other youth members in the global Unification Movement community. Iris is treating this experience as one of self-growth and plans to practice the languages she knows (Spanish, French, German) and grow her relationship with God. She says, “Waldorf has opened up a different path for me to learn through, which has ultimately lead me back to pursuing my passion for fashion design. I'm incredibly indebted to every teacher's involvement in my education; they have truly changed the game in terms of what it means to learn something and make it my own. Thanks for this unique experience.” She wants students to know, “It's okay to ask for help; that is every teacher's first priority.”
Congratulations on all the hard work you have done to reach this culminating milestone. We wish you the best in your future endeavors!
Parents & Relatives: Appreciation is in order for you too. It takes families' commitment and investment in the school which deepens our Waldorf community and strengthens our school's ability to provide the rich, diverse and engaging curriculum that is Waldorf education.