We are celebrating 35 years of Susquehanna Waldorf School this year! In honor of our 35th anniversary, we’re interviewing members of our community to share why they love SWS. Class of 2019 Alum, Noah Fitz, sat down with us to talk about his time at SWS. 

Time at SWS and where he is now…

I started at SWS in kindergarten and went grade through grade up until 8th grade. I graduated from SWS in 2019. Now I am in Donegal High school going into my senior year and proceeding to college soon which I greatly look forward to. So big steps ahead and a big past here.

Favorite memories of SWS?

I have a lot. What pops into my head most recently is our Bahamas class trip with our class and our teacher. There are so many memories from that trip but I remember playing cards below deck while traveling in this picture perfect scenery that you could only imagine. We had such a close knit group and it really impacted my experience at Susquehanna Waldorf School. 

I don’t think I can bond with a group more than I bonded with my classmates. I have extremely close connections to a lot of them. Some of us have gone our own ways but the majority of us have stayed closely connected. We still do, 3 or 4 times a year, big get togethers as a group to maintain our friendships. I think they’re here to stay. That’s a powerful thing to have growing up. The same group of people who were always with me throughout my education. The ways we connected at SWS were not solely through education but also through the play that Waldorf education introduces. It wasn’t just education time and play time. It was a mix of both through the education, through experiments, and hands on learning that we got to know each other and got to know our teacher. We grew as a group through learning, through playing, and through the combination of both.

How did SWS prepare you for high school? How has it impacted your college application process? 

Going from Waldorf into high school was a scarier transition in thought than what it actually turned out to be. I was afraid that I wouldn’t know anyone. I was afraid that I wouldn’t get along with anyone. I realized that it depended on me too. I was taught through Waldorf to put my skills and interests to work and it took me awhile to remember that but in 10th grade, once COVID was kind of wrapping up in our education at Donegal, I utilized my many resources in clubs and classes. I found out how I can get engaged in the education. SWS prepared me for this by having an open mind and teaching me that I have a wide range of skills that don’t pertain to one academic interest or one skill set. I can be an artist and I can be a mathematician. I can be into science but I can also love English. So much beyond that, Waldorf taught me to get engaged and explore my interests. So when I started taking advantage of that opportunity in high school, I found myself much more accepted and accepting of myself at this new location. 

The way Waldorf education is projecting me toward college is a different topic in its own. I see myself learning, through high school and my experience at SWS, what way I learn best and what way I can best achieve my goals and be successful. That has helped me look for a school with a certain value set that is very closely connected to how Waldorf education shaped me. I’m able to see all of the potential I have to further my academic interests through the teachers at SWS, being a well-rounded person, and trying to utilize everything I have.

Do you know what you’d like to study in college?

I don’t want to speak for everyone but going towards college, we think about what major we’re applying to. So many of my Waldorf classmates agree with me that it’s hard to pick one. I see my peers in public school go through their high school experience knowing what they want to do, “this is what I’m good at, this is what I’m going to pursue.” There is a thought process that you have to focus on one area to be successful and have one career. Waldorf teaches us to think with a different perspective. We can do so much more beyond just what we’re good at. Therefore, I am very much undecided, but I have so many interests that I’ve thought about and explored in the colleges I’m looking at such as finance, economics, international studies, and, even, fashion design. 

What is your perspective on your Waldorf education years since entering high school and preparing for college?

I’ve grown to become proud of the educational background that Waldorf provided me. Not to boast about it but to accept that the education I was given is so valuable to me as an individual. For some it doesn’t work but for many it does. And for everyone it does, we can really appreciate it. Through time I’ve acknowledged that learning in a small community has been so evident in my life. I’m always drawn back to one. No matter what it is, I always want that small community. I try to make them, I try to build them, I try to make these connections wherever I am. That’s an aspect of my education that I’ve grown so appreciative of through my reflections. 

Another strange little thing is the importance of a simple greeting. Shaking one’s hand and an intentional greeting at a door, at a threshold of meeting someone, is a very simple tradition. We greeted our teacher every morning at SWS and it has taught me a lot about the professional world. Not only that but simple relationships and communications basics that have helped me along my path in high school. The appreciation for all of the things that I learned is growing and I think it will continue to grow. 

It’s a big part of my applications for college. It’s a big part of who I am and it always will be. That’s why I’m tying it into my resumes and introductions as I apply for college. Waldorf education has made me a different person from who I would’ve been. Respecting and appreciating that has been a big part of understanding the difference between my experience in public high school and Waldorf education.

What makes SWS special?

I think the biggest thing that stands out to me is the small class size that follows along with one teacher from grade one through eight. That community and connection between the 12 of us and our teacher that waxed and waned throughout the years was something so unique to Waldorf that I don’t know who I would be without it. It’s a funny thing to know your teacher so well that she knows exactly who you are, how you learn, how you play, how you socialize, how you interact with your education and with your environment. That teacher aids you and caters her/his/their ability to your best learning interests. Not just so we’re the most successful but to challenge us and become our best as a person. Through this interaction, we grew, got to know each other and have stayed connected, me and my teacher as well as my class. I think it’ll always be a connection that I cherish and value. So through this eight year long journey with my teacher, that’s what makes Waldorf so very special and unique to me.