Seattle Sun Newspaper - Vol. 7, Issue 4, April 2003
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Hazel Wolf School teaches 'art of being human"
By NIKKI SCHORMANN
Hazel Wolf High School, located in the Roosevelt district, is "dedicated to the art of being human." This school motto is encompassed in everything the 45 students participate in each day.
The private Hazel Wolf High School, named after the late Seattle social activist, is a "developing school" in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. It opened its doors in September 1999.
After the school strengthens its ties with Waldorf Education, it will be able to move on to being a "sponsored school" and then a full member.
This year will be the school's first graduating class including graduates who have attended Hazel Wolfe High all four years.
Last year, four seniors graduated, and this coming spring, three students will graduate, two of whom have attended Hazel Wolfe for four years.
The school, which opened with only six students, has been steadily increasing its enrollment each year. This year's freshmen class has 19 students, and the school's goal is to eventually have approximately 100 students in the entire school, though, Principal Paulie Sanford points out that this may not happen for over 10 years. Next year, the school will move to the Wallingford area, in the interest of expanding.
Though students at Hazel Wolf certainly study the "normal" subjects, such as mathematics, English and sciences, the mode of teaching these subjects is unique, as is the school's special emphasis on the arts. The school's curriculum incorporates art classes into its academic blocks, which are taught daily for three or four weeks and involve in depth focus on one aspect of an academic discipline. "Track" classes work on developing skills in English, history, math, and foreign languages.
Classes unique to Waldorf education at Hazel Wolf High include Movement and Eurythmy.
Movement is somewhat of a physical education class, focusing on "games that develop social awareness and physical agility," according to Hazel Wolf High School's Curriculum Guide. Movement classes are taught during first period in order to wake up the students and prepare them for the rest of their day.
Eurythmy is a performing art involving the movement of the body to poetry and music. It is taught as an art block twice each year and a track class throughout the year.
In addition to academics, students at Hazel Wolf are also highly involved in the community. Though classes begin at 8:15 a.m. each weekday and end at 3 p.m., on Wednesday classes end early at 12:30 p.m. in order for students do some form of community service.
Ninth and 10th graders are involved in projects arranged by the school, but upperclassmen make year-long commitments to a certain program. Many students are also active in activities outside of school, including political activism, sports and music.
Performing community service is in keeping to the spirit of the school's namesake.
Hazel Wolf who was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1898 moved to Seattle in the 1920s, and lived a life full of fighting for women's suffrage and the environment. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, she joined the American Communist Party, but she ended her involvement in that movement in the '40s.
She eventually took an interest in bird watching and for 37 years served as the Secretary for the Seattle Audubon Society. She passed away on Jan. 19, 2000, but not before attending the opening of the school named in her honor the previous fall.
"Hazel Wolf represented many ideals of the school," says Carl Busse, a teacher at Hazel Wolf High.
The Waldorf education is a special part of Hazel Wolf High. Rudolf Steiner invented Waldorf education in 1919. Steiner believed in a threefold being, consisting of spirit, soul, and body. His ideas are still practiced in Waldorf Schools today.
Hazel Wolf High is the first Waldorf high school in the Seattle area, and currently draws students from all over Western Washington. In addition to students from the Seattle area, one student commutes from Tacoma, while several students come from Whidbey Island (they often stay the night in Seattle during the school week). Teacher Carl Busse moved his family to Seattle from Bellingham so he could teach at Hazel Wolfe High and so his kids could attend there.
Hazel Wolf is certainly unlike any other high school in the area. It is private, yet not religious. It is dedicated to the arts, yet not only artistic. It is a unique experience for students to explore many aspects of their lives, not just the academic side.
As Principal Sanford says, "A Hazel Wolf education is not necessarily to prepare a student for college, but to prepare them for life."
Nikki Schormann is a senior at Ballard High School who is serving as a news intern at the Seattle Sun.