May 2012

A Testimony to the Human Spirit

The Waldorf School Grade 5 Olympiad was an incredible event to witness: from the opening ceremony to the presentation of the laurels and the exchanges of congratulations among teachers and students, I was moved every step of the way. The displays of commitment, perseverance, form, grace, mental and physical strength, will, respect and support were nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The children have been training all year and this was the culmination of their preparation and hard work. The conditions were certainly not ideal - it was a cold, dark, rainy day, the field was muddy and unforgiving - but that did not dampen the spirits of the children.

There were countless touching moments, but one poignant moment for me came at the end of the day during the last run. The children were tired, cold, wet, and hungry and facing a degraded runway of water and mud, but none of that mattered. They were all totally immersed in the spirit of the event; they were truly present and living it. A boy running in the middle lane caught my attention. He demonstrated power, determination, form, and grace. In short, he displayed beauty in its most basic and purest form. He was striving to achieve his full potential. At that moment, he was the embodiment of the Olympic spirit. We all want to win. However, being successful at the Olympiad isn’t about jumping, throwing the javelin or the discus the farthest, running the fastest, or dominating your opponent in the wrestling ring. The most important aspect of the Olympiad is the display through your body and mind of the beauty of the human form and will.
Another noteworthy moment came as teachers placed medals around the necks of the children. They had guided these children every step of the way, observed every moment and relished every achievement. As they presented each medal, they spoke to each Olympian. I could see the love and dedication of the teachers as their faces beamed with pride. At that moment, as they looked into their eyes and saw the soul of that child, the immediate surroundings melted away. Their undivided attention served to give each child the reverence that they quite deserved. Each one had battled the elements honourably and gracefully. In the eyes of the teachers, all the children were champions.
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness the beauty of mankind. Surely the Greek gods were pleased and were beaming with pride just as the teachers and spectators were.

Denise Gianna, parent
Toronto Waldorf School newsletter, June 3, 2011