On Friday, September 30, 2016, Juniper Ridge Community School (JRCS) will celebrate Michaelmas. Michaelmas, as celebrated in our school and Waldorf schools worldwide, is the festival of courage and strength and is celebrated at the end of September as summer ends, fall begins, and the days are getting shorter and colder. To honor this event, students will gather at a school wide (grades 1-9) assembly to sing songs, hear a story and witness the enactment of George and his battle with the dragon. After the assembly, student will enjoy a field day filled with games of strength and courage. For two weeks prior, JRCS will host a food and diaper drive to benefit KidsAid Backpack Program and Diaper Need program operated by the Marillac Clinic. The “hoard” the children have collected will be offered up at the assembly.
Originally based on the story of St. Michael, the modern version of the story depicts George fighting a dragon. The younger students delight in hearing the classic clash of the knight against the fire-breathing beast. The knight in the story exemplifies the human frailty we feel when standing before overwhelming odds. What a terror to face a wild, fire-breathing beast. However, the knight discovers that his biggest challenge to overcome is his own fear. Once he has mastered fear, the battle is not quite as daunting.
As the children grow older, they begin to see behind the story, behind the metaphor, and recognize the truth of the battle each one of us wages against the shadows (the dragons) in our lives. This is an essential lesson for the children. It is fear alone that often keeps them from stepping forward to try something new—or to reach for their dreams.
One of the nasty distinguishing traits of a dragon is that it is driven to hoard. It collects coin, precious gems and food, with no greater goal than to sit on it and keep anyone else from using it. At this time of year, we want to use the dragon’s methods against him. We call for a Food Drive over the two weeks before our Michaelmas festival. Just like a dragon, we collect, gather and hoard…and then we give away every bit of it to those less fortunate than ourselves.
This year, JRCS will host a food and diaper drive to benefit KidsAid Backpack Program and Diaper Need program operated by the Marillac Clinic. Please support this venture. We are not asking parents to go out and buy anything. Take a couple items from your pantry. Whatever you can manage. Send these items with your students to the classroom. The “hoard” the children have collected will be offered up at the assembly.
Families are invited to join us at 12:20 pm on September, 30, 2016 for the Michaelmas Assembly.