A Developing Member in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
Serving Children From Early Childhood Through Eighth Grade
Focus on the Grad
by Sonia Merchant
Focus on the Grad – by Sonia Merchant
Andrew Bridgers started at Linden when he was three years old and the school was still in its infancy at St. David’s. He’s currently a freshman at University School of Nashville. Fortunately, he had a break between Ultimate Frisbee team and his music commitments ( he’s an amazing violinist) and we were able to speak. He answered my questions with the easy confidence that is his trademark.
SM: What is one of your favorite memories from your Early Childhood years at Linden?
Andrew: That would be from St. David’s , Miss Turner and Miss Morrison were my teachers and we would always do specific cooking stuff that I really liked.
SM: How would you describe your overall experience here?
Andrew: Fun. I really liked it. It wasn't like going to school was a pain. I didn’t want to ever not go to school --even if sometimes I might have wished school started later.
SM: What exactly did you like?
A: It was really engaging and fun. I liked having recess. I liked having blocks, that we could go in depth on something like Norse Mythology but it was not the same stuff everyday. I liked how the history was done in chronological order. It gave me a sense of overall world history. I really liked the woodworking and handwork a lot. I just really like the whole place. Knowing everyone, knowing them for so long even if they were not in the same grade. I liked that it's small and I really liked the music stuff.
SM: Do you feel like you had an advantage musically because of your experience here? (Admittedly, a leading question.)
Andrew: I know a lot more about musical theory than a lot of people. But, there are lot of people who play their instruments amazingly. (Karmic retribution for asking a leading question) But, those people did it outside. I really liked having it as part of the school day. We could do more things with bigger ensembles.
SM: How are things going academically?
Andrew: Well, first semester I got all A’s so I think it’s going fine. Biology is by far my easiest class. I think that 7th and 8th grade chemistry with Ms. Schneider really helped me get a good jump into the specifics and that helped a lot.
SM: How about socially?
Andrew : It’s fun. With 12 people in my class I knew almost everyone, with almost 400 people I like the change. It was fun to get the small intimate setting and move to a school with a lot of people especially to have old friends from here there. It’s nice.
SM: So, your social adjustment was pretty smooth?
Andrew: Yeah. I guess it’s what you want to do. I ran cross country in June and worked on one-act plays so when school started I already knew 30 people. And, then you meet people in class and in the hallways.
SM: What was the most challenge thing about moving from here to there?
Andrew: (Pauses. Thinks hard. It's rather obvious that he hasn't really experienced much difficulty.) Maybe Spanish? There was one Spanish tense I hadn't heard of. But, that's just a lot of memorization. (Gotta love him.)
SM: I know you're pretty athletic. A concern I hear from some people is that we don't have a huge after school sports program. Did this have a negative impact on you?
Andrew: I’ve been playing sports anyway, baseball and stuff. Also, we always figured out a way to play during recess. It was just pretty normal. We played on our own even though it wasn't structured.
SM: So, you're able to play sports in high school anyway?
Andrew: I ran Cross Country and I play Ultimate Frisbee now. I especially like the frisbee. Frisbee is a Waldorf sport by nature .
Andrew: It's just the spirit of the game. It's very challenging; it's engaging; it requires hand-eye coordination; and there are no referees, so players have to referee themselves and work it out to agree on stuff. (My turn to pause and absorb)
SM: I’m glad you are enjoying it so much. Do you ever wish that you had been at the same school from kindergarten through high school? (Risky question to atone for asking leading question earlier.)
Andrew: Sometimes when people are sharing stories. But then, you have stories from here. Or I’ll see some 2nd graders with cell phones texting and I think it’s sad. I’m glad I went here 99% of the time.
SM: Wait! What’s the other one percent? (I know, I know. I just can’t let it go.)
Andrew: You know just when they’re sharing. But then, sometimes they talk about the tons of homework they got in 8th grade. I don’t feel like I would have been more prepared just because I had hours and hours of homework. As long as you have a good sense of time management you’ll be completely fine
SM: What's your favorite thing about USN?
Andrew: I like the big school aspect. There are lots of things happening. I really like all the teachers, too. There are lots of great teachers.SM: Any words of advice for people considering Linden?
Andrew: You’ll make really good friends you will know forever. Some people might like a really competitive stuff like grades from the beginning. But here, you'll spend time playing outside, having fun, learning how to interact with people, and, you're still perfectly prepared for all the other stuff. If I could do it again I would.
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