iWitness December 2009: A Season of Gratitude

Publication Date: 
December 21, 2009
This issue shares memories from graduation and the fall semester.
News and Inspiration from Sierra Friends Center
December 2009
Support World-Changing Education
Help us to nurture this generation of leaders the world so desperately needs: Donate to Woolman online
Featured Video
From the Woolman YouTube Channel

A Woolman student documentary helps local activists rally the community around an important environmental issue.
A Season at Woolman
Students graduated from the fall semester on Saturday, taking with them a wealth of experiences and memories:

The beauty of the Yuba river

Getting to know the Woolman cows

Cooking fresh from the garden

In the art studio

Studying water in California

On the US-Mexico border

Celebrating snow

The semester is finished, but our lives are forever interconnected

A Season of Giving
by Dorothy Henderson, Head of School
One of our school's founders and lifelong supporters, Russ Jorgensen, passed away on November 28, 2009. With his dry wit, committed pacifism, love of his wife Mary, and too-numerous-to-count arrests for civil disobedience, Russ inspired and challenged us all. Losing Russ at this time of year only makes us more aware of our gratitude to Russ and all who created Woolman. As we celebrate our graduates of the 12th Woolman Semester, we remember the life of Russ Jorgensen. We ask that you join us in that celebration by supporting these young people who come to Woolman to learn to live lives, as Russ did, of integrity and action. Please consider joining with Russ's lifelong support of Woolman by making a donation this month to the Woolman Semester.
The Heartbreak of Teaching at Woolman
by Angelina Conti, Peace Studies Teacher
      I want to tell you all the ways that my job as a teacher at the Woolman Semester is breaking my heart... which are also all the reasons I love it.
      The first is that because we are focused on Peace, Justice and Sustainability, we are engaged with many problems facing this country and the world. That's a lot to lay on a young person, yet our tone has never been one of despair. So the second way this job is heartbreaking is that despite taking on a daunting list of world concerns, these students have never lost their joy, enthusiasm, creativity, or hope.
      The third way this work is heart breaking is that we try to do so much in such little time. Our work together here feels like throwing open doors to new ways of thinking and being before rushing on to the next door and hoping that once introduced students will return to them later when I'm not looking. The fourth heartbreak is that they do return to those ideas and tools, they do use them, often fashioning them to suite their own needs, sometimes using them to point out the flaws in our program, and generally surpassing anything I could have taught them.
      The last way that this work is heart breaking is that we are trusted with these young people for 16 weeks, we totally fall in love with them, and then we have to give them back. To their families, communities, and schools. We send them out to continue lighting up the world.
Memories Worth Remembering
by Mia D'Angelli, Student
      The Woolman experience has filled me with memories worth remembering. This has been both the best and the hardest time of my life but I can honestly say that without this semester, and the intensity of its challenges and exuberance, I would not be who I am today, striving to be myself and live out my values. In the midst of the semester, I found little time to think through what I had learned and form my own opinions but I am coming out of this with a desire to grow as a person. I want to take my passions for music and change to make the world a better place.
      During this semester, an important belief solidified for me - the idea that any system in which one person can have more power or influence than another is fundamentally set up for exploitation. I believe that if you have something beneficial to say, those around you will listen. In saying this, I want to portray the hope I have for the future in that we must all strive to live in a way that makes life worth living. We can never be solely responsible for ourselves but must feel the weight of society on our shoulders.
      This semester I have been challenged academically and emotionally. I have been provided with a foundation to build from, and I see the future as an open door to take my voice and use it.
Giving Thanks
by Jeremy Delaney-Peterson, Student
      Some time ago, I became aware that every person that enters one's life, if only for a moment, has something to offer. Sometimes it's as simple as a smile or a laugh. However, if you search for it, they often have something much deeper to give. We, too, have something to offer everyone we encounter.       This idea came to me before I came here to Woolman, but it has since proved to be true on so many occasions. In class discussions, every person that speaks participates in sharing their perspective and interpretation of an issue, providing a new perception to all of those who may think in a different way. Outside of class, I find it much the same. Just the other night I stopped on the way to my cabin to exchange a few words with Michael, a teaching intern. What started as a brief chat turned into a conversation that lasted two or more hours. It is truly amazing to realize that people have as much going on in their own lives and minds as you do! When this is realized, it seems so obvious that this wealth is out there, in the minds of all who surrounded us, and that we all have access to it if only we take the time to seek it - and what a powerful thing it is to simply take the time to share such things, to listen to people, and give what we have to offer.
Let's Begin!
by Sage, Mia, Hannah & Lily, Students
Perhaps to save the world
there's more than one way to be
you can do it by riding a bike,
or planting a tree.
But here's the truth we want you to see:
"green consumerism" is not the final key.
To turn the lock, to open the door
the key is not to buy much more
but to buy much less
and to be wise
about your actions,
and to analyze.
Change government policy,
it can be done.
We live in a democracy.
This should be fun.
13075 Woolman Ln.   Nevada City, CA 95959


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