Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Challenging Math Class Project

Sam Smith, our volunteer extraordinaire (who has spent his mornings over the past eight years teaching advanced mathematics and assisting in our math classes), offered students an opportunity to work on a some amazing polyhedron building projects.

"These projects provide a change of pace for students," says Sam, "they offer a tactile, see it, feel it, experience of great mathematics. And they teach geometry in a way not usually taught in most schools."

Among the many students involved, Madeline and Alex went to work cutting pieces and gluing parts together to create a rhombidodecadodecahedron and a compound of five tetrahedra respectively. Over a period of several weeks during a school term, the students demonstrated their skill (and patience) in creating their projects.

Sam Smith notes that "students don't just learn how the pieces fit together, they also learn constraints. There are lots of life lessons involved in this form of mathematics."

A Challenging Math Class ProjectSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 18, 2009

Peace & Justice Festival 2009

On Saturday, May 16, Wellsprings sponsored our 7th annual Peace & Justice Festival. The four-hour event included speakers from our community, music by our teachers and a community choir, and a panel discussion. Two of our teachers, Eva and Tyler, planned the program and served as co-leaders of the event.

Eight students helped with various tasks during the afternoon and teachers Chanci, Bob, Paul, and Tyler provided music to open and close the festival. In addition, songs of peace and justice were sung during the program by local choir, In Accord. Information tables were staffed by people from Beyond War, the Eugene Mennonite Church, CALC, Counter Military Recruitment, and the Student Peace Alliance.

The program was dedicated to Sali Grace Eiler, a former Wellsprings student who championed many peace and justice causes during her young life (she was murdered in Mexico last year just two weeks before her 21st birthday).

Speakers included Sali's mother, Barbara Healey, Katherine Bragg from Friends Peace Teams, Eileen & Phil Hanna from Beyond War, Peg Morton spoke about nonviolent direct action, and Rose Barber offered a Mennonite peace perspective. After a panel discussion by parents and students on "what helps teens and parents communicate," Sophia McDonald spoke about justice for the homeless and Tod Schneider discussed sustainable violence prevention in our community.

Here is a slideshow of photos taken during the festival (click on photos to enlarge):

In addition, a video of Peg Morton's presentation is included for your viewing:

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in our Peace & Justice Festival!



Story by Peg Morton from the Eugene Friends Meeting Newsletter (May 31, 2009)

"I was honored and delighted to be invited to participate in the Wellsprings Friends School Peace Festival that took place on May 16th. Members of EFM were scattered throughout the program: Katherine Bragg gathering us into a circle. She spoke of her experience teaching alternatives to violence with Friends Peace Teams in Guatemala, in a structure with dirt floors and open to the elements -- no windows. She briefly introduced us to AVP using one of its exercises. Jen Frenzer Knowton, accompanied by her daughter Olivia, participated in a panel of teachers, parents and students discussing teen-parent relationships. Jill Burge sang with the peace chorus, In Accord, which sang beautifully. I spoke of personal experience with direct active nonviolence.

We also heard the heart-breaking yet amazing story of Marcella 'Sali' Eiler from her mother. Sali, who had been a student at Wellsprings, was raped and murdered last fall at the age of 21. She had sat in trees to save forests, helped with Food Not Bombs, helped distribute water and aid to immigrants struggling across the desert, and traveled to Southern Mexico to support the struggles there. Her mother never knew what she was going to do next, but supported her with love. We heard from Beyond War, a local (and national) peace organization, and we learned from people who are working and advocating for the homeless here in Eugene.

It was an informal time of sharing with and learning from each other. I was glad to be a part of it and recommend it for others in upcoming years."

Peace & Justice Festival 2009SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wellsprings Prom Night: Photos/Video

Saturday night was Prom Night for students at Wellsprings. With a dress-up theme of black, white, and red, students looked dazzling in their attire for the evening. Everyone enjoyed lots of food, music, and conversation (much about each person's mode of dress). But, did anyone dance?

For your viewing pleasure, here's a slideshow of photos taken during the evening (click photos to enlarge):

And here's a video "walk-around" to show the decor for the event and what was happening during just 8 1/2 minutes of Wellsprings Prom Night:

Thank you to all of the students, parents, grandparents, and friends who helped with the prom. You made it a memorable experience for our students.

Wellsprings Prom Night: Photos/VideoSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Storyteller Visits Our School

This morning, we were honored by the presence of storyteller, Motoko, who is visiting Eugene to participate in a Multi-Cultural Storytelling Festival. For nearly an hour, our students, teachers, and staff were mesmerized by her telling of a tale about her grandmother (who always said she was 57 years old), a story about her experience as a mom to her son Charlie, and a playful mime of going into her sleeping teenage son's room.

Motoko taught us to sing in a chorus in Japanese, the "animal" years (and how to calculate someone's age), and to say "thank you" in Japanese. She also answered questions from students and staff about her life as a storyteller. Although we videotaped her stories and mime, Motoko preferred not to have the video on YouTube. However, a brief (and a little shaky) video of her answering questions at the end of the session offers a sense of the joyful presence she brings to her audiences.

Thank you, Motoko, for sharing time with us and for sharing your wonderful stories with groups throughout the country.
Storyteller Visits Our SchoolSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend