Tidewater School honors donor at annual celebration
Students enjoy Michaelmas event
Jeffrey and Elisabeth Robinson stand on the porch of the Tidewater School near a plaque honoring Elisabeth’s father, Douglas McBryde Kinney, who donated the land and building to the school.David Ramsay photo
October 08, 2012 2:00 AM
ELIOT, Maine — Students, faculty, parents and friends gathered Thursday at the Tidewater Waldorf School to unveil a plaque honoring the man who donated the land and building for the school, and to celebrate the school's traditional fall celebration, Michaelmas.
After the plaque was unveiled, Elisabeth Robinson, the daughter of the donor, Douglas McBryde Kinney, spoke about what it meant to the school and to her. She and her husband, Jeffrey Robinson, were among a small circle of seven founders of the school in 1999.
"My father is a smart, successful man," she said. "The one investment he believes in the most is education. He bought the land when we needed it."
Kinney leased the land and buildings to the school for 13 years, allowing the school to carry on during challenging times, Robinson said. When he saw the school was on solid financial footing, he deeded the land and buildings to the school.
"Waldorf might not be for every child, but it is for every healthy community," Robinson said. "You want that attention to earth, to creativity and having space in your life to do what is important. I think a community lacks when it doesn't have a Waldorf school."
She said the founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner, said, "Imagination is a muscle we must flex daily."
After the dedication, the school celebrated Michaelmas by singing songs and enacting Saint Michael's slaying of the dragon. Because Michaelmas falls near the equinox, it is commonly associated with the beginning of autumn. Waldorf schools also use Michaelmas to teach students the importance of using courage to prepare for the colder, darker, winter months, Robinson said.
Michaelmas also represents harvest time, when people make preparations for winter.
Rebecca Henry, who has three children at Tidewater, said she loved the festival.
"Every year it's special and unique, but this year, with the incredible weather and being able to honor the Robinsons for their incredible gift, was a beautiful addition to the ceremony," she said.
She said she was pleased when her son Seamus, a second-grader, talked about Saint Michael and the kindness he had, and said, "we're honoring kind acts of someone was so kind to give us this school."