Being Grateful on Memorial Day

Being Grateful on Memorial Day

A Message from Dianne McGaunn, Faculty Administrator

This past weekend was Memorial Day. This American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Generally, it is a day dedicated to honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many of us find that it is also another time of the year when we can reflect on the lives of those who we have looked up to, respected, and loved who are now no longer with us. For me, it is a time of remembering my father who passed away recently. He was a wonderful man who loved his country, his community, family and friends. He was also, in some small way, a part of our Waldorf community. The grandfather of two alums and the father of a teacher (me!), my Dad joined us at many assemblies and plays, loved the children at the school, and even taught science with me and other teachers in the classroom. Those are wonderful memories that will stay with me forever.

Extending the remembrance of others who have been part of our community, I imagine many grandparents, parents, friends, teachers, and even students who have walked down our halls, have supported the students, parents, teachers, administration and board. When I imagine this, I am overcome with gratitude and reverence for those who have worked, enjoyed, laughed, cried, toiled, and supported and loved alongside with us and have helped us be what we are today, because without each one of those people we would not be where we are today, as individuals and as a school community.

As I remember people who have had a special place in our community, David Siljeholm comes to mind. Anita Siljeholm, who visits the school often to discuss how things are going and just to say hello, is an alum parent of Marian and David Siljeholm. In honor of her son David, Anita designed, constructed, and built the Sports Cabin, now called David’s cabin, in addition to the seating on the side of the parking lot. David was a student at our school back when the building was on Hale Street. David died suddenly in an accident when he was in eighth grade in 2006. Jenny Helmick was David’s teacher at the time, and with many others she created a circle of support for the family and the community. As you can imagine, it was a very challenging time for our school community, but healing through community was a gift for everyone.

Since then, Anita has continued to love, care for, and be connected to our school. Anita was instrumental this year in creating the Sports Wall that we all enjoy; she has helped tirelessly in the garden, along with Jocelyn Shaeffer and Laura Freysinger, together as our three “garden angels” – and for all of this, of course, we are incredibly grateful. Each day, teachers and students use this cabin to retrieve and store sports equipment. The cabin brings us much joy each day, and although I did not know David, each time I look at or step into the cabin a feeling of love, reverence and gratitude comes over me.

On this Memorial Day, I am deeply thankful to those who have loved us, protected us, and served in our country and our small communities. I am also grateful to those who have been part of our school community in large and small ways over the past thirty-one years: in our classrooms, at our assemblies and plays, and in our hallways and on school grounds. Thank you to everyone – current students and families, faculty, staff, Board and advisory members, extended community members and friends. The support over the decades of our school’s existence, in all forms, has built a foundation on which we will continue to grow into the future.

In summary and in closing, I offer this quote by Melody Beattie:

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.