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Crescendo & Culmination

By: Gordon L. Maas, former Head of School

With the end of the school year in sight, Ruffing comes alive with activity, a crescendo of culminating events celebrating our students and community.  Indeed, many are “rites of passages” – such as the 3rd year camp-out, 4th & 5th year trip to Nature’s Classroom, 6th year Williamsburg trip, 8th year class trip to Quebec, and the 8th year Intergenerational Project with Judson residents – which instill memories and experiences to last a lifetime.  Other events highlight our students’ work, including the Upper Elementary Science Fair, the Spring Choral Concert, the Art Show, and individual classroom Open Houses and programs. Still other activities are just plain fun – the Great Kids Race on May 18, field trips and “going outs,” Cedar Point trip for our Middle School, and appreciation events for our volunteers, faculty and staff.

As Head of School, I attend most, if not all, of these occasions, applauding our students’ efforts, marveling at their growth and soaking up our community spirit. While all are special, the 8th Years’ trip to Quebec City held a special significance for me this year (wherein I participated as a chaperone, but little “chaperoning” was truly needed as our students have long mastered the ability to self-navigate and be responsible).  This years’ graduating class consists of 17 young men and women, nine of whom we refer to as “lifers,” meaning they began their journey with us at the tender age of three.  Thus, I have known most of these young adults for 11 years and have been privileged to witness their lovely transformation toward self-reliance and maturity.

Spending time with our soon-to-be graduates reminds me that Ruffing is accomplishing our mission. A few years ago, our faculty crafted Ruffing’s “Portrait of a Graduate,” which is not only aspirational but actualized and realized year after year.  The Class of 2013 embodies our statement, which I set forth below:

Ruffing Graduates:

1. Become joyful, lifelong learners.

2. Develop their skills in analyzing and synthesizing information, in effective writing and speaking, and in mathematical computation and concepts.

3. Are internally motivated to achieve to their maximum potential.

4. Are academically, socially, and emotionally ready for the next level of education, setting and achieving goals as they progress.

5. Work on team-oriented projects, becoming collaborative learners.

6. Possess an innate sense of ethical and moral values that extends to both academic and global issues.

7. Take responsibility for personal choices and for the outcomes of those choices.

8. Understand how they can become agents of social and political change.

9. Practice tolerance, compassion, and kindness toward others, appreciating and engaging in community service during their school years and after.

10. Are open to new ideas and accepting of differences among people.

11. Are comfortable in a variety of social environments, allowing them to participate in a full range of extracurricular activities during the next level of their education.

12. View themselves as practitioners of environmentally responsible habits and as citizens, not only of their city, state, and country, but of the world.

To see the realization of Ruffing’s “Portrait of a Graduate,” I encourage you to attend this year’s 8th Year Graduation at 5 pm on June 6 in Ruffing’s gymnasium.  Graduation is open to the community and you will have the opportunity to hear from each 8th year student, as he or she reflects on their time at Ruffing.  I anticipate you will be impressed by their writing, speech presentation and poise.  I look forward to seeing you at this grand finale of culminating events, as we commemorate the end of their Ruffing journey and celebrate as they embark on their future.

Ruffing Montessori School   |   3380 Fairmount Blvd Cleveland Heights, OH 44118   |   Phone: (216) 321-7571   |   Hours 8am-4pm M-F   |   After Hours Phone (216) 321-0913