Graduating from the Susquehanna Waldorf School is a significant occasion for our students. Many of our 8th graders have been students at our school since parent & child and Kindergarten classes. Many have quite literally spent their entire lives at SWS. The Class of 2023 is thrilled to begin this new journey of beginning high school and beyond but it also means saying goodbye. In Waldorf education, we mark and celebrate this momentous time in several ways.

As the end of the school year approached, 8th graders went on their 8th-grade trip. They spent 7 days living and learning on a 46-foot sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay. They learned how to sail, how to maintain and care for a sailboat, and practical skills like navigation, knot tying, and how to use a sextant. They learned invaluable leadership and team-building skills on this adventure. Special stops included Shark Tooth Island, Saint Clements Island, and historic St. Mary’s City. The 8th-grade trip is a tradition in Waldorf education that honors the years the students have spent together and marks their transitions into high school.

A vital part of the 8th-grade experience at Susquehanna Waldorf School is choosing, completing, and presenting an 8th-grade project. Each student chose something they’re interested in that will teach them a new skill and they worked on it throughout the school year. The class of 2023 did such impressive work! Projects included 3D Printing, a house diorama and design based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design, a fully illustrated children’s book on veganism, a stop-motion animated film, a handmade Pride quilt, another 3D printing, a handmade dress (as seen in the 7th & 8th-grade performance of Into the Woods Jr!), and an electric generating bike.

“This is why we support this school! These 8th graders come out with such a sense of who they are, who they are not, and how to start walking their path beyond the walls of the school. Every class that has graduated shows these qualities and I am brought to tears of joy every time! Well done class of 2023!”

– SWS Parent

The whole school came together on the last day to send the 8th graders off at the End of Year Ceremony. 1st graders spoke about their favorite memories of their 8th-grade buddies and presented each one with a yellow rose. One could feel the special bond that was developed between the 8th-graders and their 1st-grade buddies this year. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the whole audience of students, staff, and families sang a special Graduation Song. Their families and peers sent the 8th graders off with a standing ovation. It was a beautiful ceremony to honor this fun-loving and creative class.

The final celebration came on Sunday, June 4th as the SWS community gathered at Melhorn Manor in Mount Joy, PA for the graduation of the SWS Class of 2023. The 7th-grade orchestra, led by Orchestra teacher Mr. Cameron, welcomed family and loved ones into the venue. 8th graders recited the poem The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman and they recognized all of the people who shaped their journeys at SWS: the teachers, the staff, their families, and loved ones. Mrs. Sweeney (who taught the class in the spring of 2020 and co-taught the class with Ms. Tucker in the 2020-21 school year) spoke of how the class made the best of a challenging experience: an online classroom in 2020 and a year-round outdoor classroom in 2020-21. SWS Music and Chorus Teacher, Mrs. Radanovic, led the 8th graders in a beautiful rendition of The Parting Glass. 8th grade teacher, Ms. Tucker, spoke to the joy of teaching this class and all of their unique individual qualities. She gifted each student a baby friendship plant, which was harvested from their class plant, and presented each student with their diploma. The Class of 2023 received their last standing ovation as SWS students as the 7th-grade orchestra closed the ceremony. Special thanks to all who made the graduation ceremony so special, especially the 8th-grade parents, Mrs. Radanovic, Mr. Cameron, 7th-grade parents, and, of course, Ms. Tucker!

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 and we wish them blessings on their journeys to Capital Area School for the Arts, Donegal High School, Lancaster Mennonite, York Suburban, and beyond!