The Giving Tree that stands in the entrance to our Great Hall was part of a dedication ceremony last fall, to celebrate the building of the second story classrooms and the completion of the Great Hall.
The October 2011 issue of The Lunchbag News featured an excerpt from the dedication talk given by Merwin Lewis and Peter von Holtzendorff after the Michaelmas play on Friday morning, Sept. 30, 2011 in the Great Hall.
The article is reprinted below.
Dedication Ceremony 2011
We come together here today at Michaelmas, the Festival of the Will, to dedicate the completion of our second story and of the Great Hall.
We also come here to re-dedicate ourselves to our vision:
Inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, London Waldorf School is dedicated to providing an education which enables the unfolding of each child’s individuality toward the fulfillment of his or her human capacities: learning to know, learning how to do, learning how to live together and learning how to be.
Towards this end, we are committed to ensuring the opportunity of a Waldorf education for all children in our community—one that takes place in a setting that is both beautiful and nurturing and that celebrates the diversity of its members, thus reflecting the ability of human beings to live with and learn from each other and the natural environment around them.
We moved to this property and opened our doors to children in September of 1996. That first building was composed of several portable classrooms.
Soon thereafter we began to plan for the eventual construction of a permanent building on this site. In the end we chose the most affordable and environmentally-friendly design we could: the existing portable classrooms would be set off to the side while foundations were built; the classrooms would then be relocated on top of these new foundations; and an auditorium, which we later called the Great Hall, was included in the design as were several basement classrooms. In addition, the building was designed in such a way to allow for a second story over the Office and the Servery – when funds were available.
After the first phase of this plan was completed, we held a Dedication Ceremony in November 2004, and we laid a copper doubledodecahedron filled with the names of all the teachers and students and many memorabilia as the Foundation Stone here in the floor of the Great Hall. In the summer of 2008, two additional classrooms were constructed in the east lower level.
In May 2009 the stained glass windows in the Great Hall and in the sidelights of the main entrance were dedicated. These windows had been made by students over the years under the direction of Ted Goodden, local artist.
This summer the next phase of our plan was completed, and today, September 30, 2011, we dedicate the two new second story classrooms and the completion of the Great Hall.
The Chair of our Fundraising Committee, Cara Maurer, will speak about our Giving Campaign.
This room, the Great Hall, is the Heart of our School and of our School Community, both physically and spiritually. Seven years ago we laid a Foundation Stone made of copper into this Heart. That Stone, it seems, became a Seed and that Seed has taken root, and from that Seed has grown a Tree of Iron—the Giving Tree—a sister to the Foundation Tree, the tulip tree that stands proudly in our playground. The Giving Tree stands at the entrance to this Hall. We heard in the Michaelmas pageant the story of power of iron—the power of the iron in our blood:
“Iron brings courage
To face what you fear,
The dragons out there and
The dragons in here.”
The Tree of Iron—our Giving Tree—will bear many iron leaves upon which will be recorded the names of those who together have made this new growth possible.
We especially want to publicly acknowledge the man who made the Giving Tree, Marc Malette.
We will also be sending a card to express our gratitude to our dear friend and mentor Leo Klein, who made the beautiful banner of St. Michael and the Dragon for our pageant today.
This is the first iron leaf to go on the Giving Tree of Iron. On this leaf are inscribed these words: “To all who made our second story possible—London Waldorf School, 30-9-11”
The Giving Tree
With each leaf upon this tree,
Forged from iron from the earth,
May we all together form
The crown of courage for new birth.
May we, too, reach for the stars
With firm resolve and artful grace.
May our roots hold firm the ground.
May we the winds of change embrace.
May we prosper with this tree,
The iron symbol of our task.
This in humble thankfulness,
For all we have and are, we ask.