Our school year is coming to a close, and I want to share with you some of the highlights from the year. We have much to be proud of as we continue the legacy of excellence that derives from our Consciousness-Based Education.
Last fall we were contacted by a production company in Montreal who had selected us from schools around the world for their feature series, Schools Like No Other. They visited campus for a week, filming in school, in homes, and in the community, and the program aired across Canada this winter.
This year we had 5 state champion teams in Destination Imagination, and a sixth team also qualified for next week's Global Finals. A total of 27 students will be making the trip to Tennessee and they are a reflection of our multicultural student body. In addition to five of our Chinese boarding students, this group includes students from seven different countries. Growing up in a diverse school is a blessing for kids who’ll live in a global village. We’ve had 59 state champion teams in Destination ImagiNation since 2000, including 22 Top 10 finishes in the Global Finals, with three 1st place winners and five 2nd place winners.
Our speech program continued their proud tradition, with three outstanding groups performing at the All-State Speech Festival.
Athletic Director Rig Gelfand organized a team of students to participate in the Southeast Iowa Superconference Quiz Bowl for the first time. Our team won six rounds to arrive in the finals, and won the competition by a solid margin.
Our artists also made us proud again, earning first place in Drawing, first place in Photography, and first place in the Judges Award at the Southeast Iowa Superconference Art Show.
With the support of the Barry Pitt Memorial Fund, we restored our music program under the talented guidance of Syndy Casey. Pianist Kishan Thijim earned a top score at the Iowa High School Music Association competition.
And we’re scientists. At the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair, we won the grand prizes in both Junior and Senior Divisions for the first time; both students earned the all-expense paid trip to the International INTEL Science Fair in Los Angeles. And at the Hawkeye State Science Fair, Bimba Shrestha again took the grand prize in the Senior Division, along with many other awards and more than $1500 in winnings.
We had another National Merit Scholar in Avery Travis, who scored perfect 800’s on her SAT writing and reading portions, with a 720 in math. Our seniors have been accepted at 36 colleges and universities from coast to coast: Boston University to UCLA, University of Washington-Seattle to the University of Charleston.
Our boys tennis team is continuing its quest for a 10th straight Final Four appearance. We have outstanding talent and depth in this year’s team. They play the District Tournament next Thursday, and the Team Substate on May 24th.
Our teachers have also earned recognition. The Middle School team of Barbara Hays and Richard Incorvia attended the ISACS Academy for Exceptional Teaching Master Class, and were encouraged there to share their innovative project-based teaching strategies. They initiated a Kickstarter campaign and raised over $4000 for a documentary film to share with others teachers. The film is being produced by another Maharishi School graduate, Sudevi Moss of Promotional Art Videos.
Our new demonstration kitchen is in full use, and we just crowned the winner of our first Iron Chef competition, Mickey DeAngelis. The cooking elective is one of the most popular, and has included several international guest chefs.
We continue to attract visitors from all over the world to see the flagship of Consciousness-Based Education. This year we have had guests from Ukraine, Japan, Taiwan, China, West Indies, Jamaica, New Zealand, and more.
In recent months we’ve begun a new alumni tradition. Organized by Board member Marc Freeman, Co-Chairs of our Alumni Association Genevra Daniels Williams and Jonathan Freeman, and Board member Heather Hartnett, we’ve had regional alumni meetings in Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. This year’s senior trip to Los Angeles coincided with the alumni meeting there, and included an appearance by David Lynch.
In the last weeks of school we will be supporting our Destination Imagination teams at their international competition, our young scientists at the Intel ISEF, and our soccer, tennis and golf teams. I hope you will join us at graduation on June 8 as we launch the class of 2014 into the next phase of their educational journey.