Middle School River of Spirit Odyssey Day 2

Friday, May 4

Head into Boston

Ramakrishna Vedanta Society
Swami Tyanananda

Lunch in Harvard Square

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University
Alexis Salomone

Dinner in Coolidge Corner

Conversation with Reb Moshe Waldoks of Temple Beth Zion

Kabbalat Shabbat at Temple Beth Zion

At The RamakrishnaVedanta Society I had a feeling of peacefulness right when I entered the building. I was struck by the smell of incense, then was welcomed by a friendly monk who I really liked by the end of the visit.

-Owen B.

After our conversation with Reb Moshe, we had Shabbat. I was looking forward to it because I had hoped it would be like home. It was nice, but it was very different from what I do at home. It was hard for me to keep up with the prayers and songs. It must have been crazy for all the others. Even though it wasn’t what I was used to, there was something powerful about the words. After the service, I felt lighter.

-Solomon

At the Pluralism Project we were able to laugh at topics usually frowned upon. This is what the world needs to get through disagreement. We need to be able to sit down and have a conversation and share stories, concerns, hopes, and then be open to all.

-Nomi

The drum and the pure force of [Reb Moshe’s] voice brought meaning to words I had no meaning for. I especially liked when we stood in a circle around the alter. I felt so connected, so alive, so clueless and vulnerable, ready to accept anything that came wholeheartedly. As we walked on the streets on the way home, I began to notice the sheer diversity of Boston. Hijab’s blended in with Yarmulkes and t-shirts. I sat and ate red bean paste filled buns at a table less than a foot off the ground, the sound of laughing and rapid fire Chinese filling my ears.

-Julia

It feels so nice to go to all these places and feel myself and the class becoming a part of the culture and community there. I feel that we are helping to create ties of friendship and community spirit that can last for a long time. Everyone has been so welcoming and opening. I have not figured out if there is a religion that I prefer, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by the kindness shown by all the people we have visited with.

-Emmy

 

Middle School River of Spirit Odyssey – Day 1

Thursday May 3rd

New England Peace Pagoda

Wat Boston Buddha Vararam (Thai Buddhist Temple)
Lesson, chant, and meditation with monk from Theravada tradition. (questions)

Friendly Crossways Hostel
Drop off luggage and get tour.

Head into Boston

The Crossing – Cathedral Church of St. Paul.
Dinner, service, and conversation with Reverend Marsha Hoecker

Return to Friendly Crossways – journal, sleep

The place that really spoke to me today was the Buddhist temple. I think the very reason I felt closer to this place was because the monk was speaking a different language. I can’t quite explain it but it was as if his words flowed over me. I felt his teachings rather than hearing them.

-Siri

..But nothing really compared to The Crossing. I really enjoyed the connection I felt. This may be because Christianity is familiar, I don’t really know. I felt super engaged throughout the entire service. It was very welcoming and not as strict as what Im used to. The way they gave a time for people to do their own thing reflected how their community works, letting people come and go, welcoming anyone who is willing to listen.

-Anna

I think that there is a sense of wholeness and completeness from singing, especially about God. The sense of trust and faith that everyone at The Crossing had was a feeling that I noticed.

-Eliot

I have found that, so far, the two biggest messages or parts of the places of worship has been rhythm/music and social action. At The Peace Pagoda they have their peace walks, and many of the people at The Crossing were involved in social action and one even said that you can not be Christian without social action. On the rhythm/music front, The Peace Pagoda had the drum and gong. At the Thai Buddhist Temple, the chant had a certain melody to it. And The Crossing had a huge focus on music and some said music helped them feel closer to God.

-Julian

Extra thoughts from Hazel:
1.) The cross as a symbol for the intersection of God and human
2.) Religion is an art, not a science.
3.) The term “stranger danger” and many other western culture thinking reflects on one of the major differences with Buddhist thinking.

 

Middle School River of Spirit Odyssey – Get Ready

Just a few days now until the Middle School heads to the greater Boston area on their River of Spirit Odyssey. During their seven day journey students will participate and observe 15  different spiritual services as they try to understand the nature of spirit and how it is integral in so many people’s lives. Just one more piece in the driving question of what it means to be human.

March 8 & 9 at 7 p.m.: Middle School Performance, “The Field”

This is a time when we reflect on the big ideas we have been exploring through the year and collaborate to craft a theatrical presentation. It is interesting that the theme for this year’s performance, The Field, was greatly inspired by an essay that the students read by the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, and a poem by the Sufi poet, Rumi, that he includes in his essay. Students are striving to understand the complicated and divisive world we live in and are putting their thoughts and words into action in this community centered work of theater and music.
Performances of The Field are on Thursday and Friday, March 8 and 9 at 7:00pm in the Arts Barn Theater. There will also be a performance for the school on Friday, March 9 at 10:00am. All are invited and we hope you can join us for this provocative, humorous, tuneful, and thoughtful show.

Parent Meeting, Saturday, Feb 3, 9-12 noon followed by a Community Lunch! (snow date Feb 10)

“How Each Program Embodies Hilltop’s Mission”

This is the most informative pedagogical parent education event of the year — The Montessori Curriculum at its CORE. Don’t miss out!

We recently went through the process of reviewing and revising our Mission Statement, and were struck by how intentionally we live out the “practice” of “responsible independence” at Hilltop. We also felt it was very important to include the “caring community” within which we grow these responsible independent learners. Join us for a participatory morning with a visit to every program

Childcare provided with fun activities
and materials planned.
Pizza provided by Hazel and Hilltop,
bring a salad or dessert if you can.
RSVP to frontdesk@hilltopmontessori.org
or sign up at the front desk.

January 5, 2018 / Middle School students present “Life in Brattleboro” – The Society Films Project

Hilltop Montessori Middle School presents – Life in Brattleboro The Society Films Project. Please join us for an evening of student films celebrating the work of individuals in the Brattleboro community

January 5, 2018
Showings at 5:30 and 6:30 pm At The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center 10 Vernon St., Brattleboro, VT

For more information: www.hilltopmontessori.org 802-257-0500

To watch the films here, click play list on upper left to choose a film:

Open House Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 9 -11am A Look at the Montessori Environment and Experience

Current and prospective parents are invited to join us as we observe the classrooms in action and talk with students, current parents and teachers about the programs, the school and the Montessori method of learning.

This is a great first step to learning about the school and hearing from our program directors and students.

The event is designed for parents and interested adults. RSVP at 802-257-0500 or info@hilltopmontessori.org

Cancellations will be posted on our website if we need to cancel due to weather conditions at www.hilltopmontessori.org or at the WKVT or WTSA radio websites.

 

Middle School / Love Hate/Curriculum Vitae performance on Monday, November 6 at 7pm

The seventh graders are creating poetic lists of their loves and hates and the eighth graders are crafting their curricula vitae, their resume for life.  They will be reciting these lovely and insightful pieces on Monday evening November 6 beginning at 7pm in the Arts Barn Theater. The recitation of these poems of identity is always fascinating, humorous, moving, and revealing.

Graduates on Board of The Putney School!

April 7, 2017
We are proud to share that two of our 2015 graduates, Emmanuel Keppel and Greta Wolfe, have recently been elected to the Board of Trustees of The Putney School, a position of great responsibility and honor. Emmanuel graduated from Hilltop having started in the Children’s House and Greta joined Hilltop for the two years of the Middle School. Both students thrived at Hilltop. “Hilltop taught us to notice all of the fine workings of a community and discover our place in the world. With that foundation, we continue to do so at Putney, and will be learning with every responsibility we take on for the rest of our lives” – Greta Wolfe.
Both Emmanuel and Greta were perhaps inspired by their father’s roles on the Hilltop Board of Trustees – Patrick Keppel, Emmanuel’s father, was on the board for 7 years, including three as Chair, and Rich Wolfe, Greta’s father, is the current Board Chair at Hilltop. Each of five student candidates gave a speech to the school at an assembly meeting and later in the day, students, faculty, and staff all cast their votes for the position.

 

This is a 30 person board and the two students elected serve as full voting members. The responsibilities include discussing reports from various members of the school community, such as Diversity and Admissions, and making decisions regarding funding and planning for the school’s future. Greta and Emmanuel follow in the footsteps of Maeve Campman, a 2012 graduate of Hilltop who also held a student trustee position at The Putney School, as well as many other graduates of Hilltop that have thrived in other various leadership positions at The Putney School.

 

Supporting Middle School Micro-Economies, A Real Life Experience!

September 29, 2017
Co-authored by Lily Buren-Charkey, Middle School Entrepreneur, and Tamara Mount, Head of School
Throughout the year the middle school takes on the daunting task of raising around ten thousand dollars for our odysseys! This year we are raising money for our River of Spirit Odyssey to Boston, a comparative world religion and science of water study, connecting with many different faith communities and cultures. In the middle school we are guided by the question,  “What Does It Mean To Be Human?”  Our trips help to answer this question as we experience things first hand, including the task of raising the money.
Raising ten thousand dollars by June seems like an overwhelming task, but with the student run micro-economies it becomes possible. Not only are we cooking and preparing food, we are managing businesses, practicing organizational skills, marketing our products and developing customer relations skills. These business are all about taking the initiative to get things done, which plays into the middle school’s philosophy of independent learning. Micro-economies are small, usually eighth grade student run, businesses. Micro-economies already underway this year include:
  • Bagel Lunch, in which we make bagels to order every Wednesday to serve to the whole school
  • Bake Sales at the Coop once a month
  • Rockin’ Ramen at BrattRock last Saturday
  • Coffee Cart on Thursday mornings, now by donation as part of welcoming parents to stay and see All School Gathering (next one on Oct. 12)