Ground Breaking

Remarks by Joan Caldarera, long time faculty and member of the College of Teachers:

It is my honor to speak today on behalf of the College of Teachers and faculty. Today is special and celebratory for many reasons, not least of which is that this is only the second time we have broken ground for a building; the only other time was when we expanded the Washington Street campus to add 6 classrooms with a Eurythmy hall and the auditorium/gym, which served as our community gathering space all these years, even as we have outgrown it.

Now, we are about to fulfill the prediction made by one of the planning board commissioners when we crowded that room at City Hall in 2006 to make our case for a use permit. He spoke to the couple of West Portal neighbors who were there to oppose our application and said,” When the school comes back to us in 10 years wanting to build a gym, I predict that you will be here on their side.” (And, by the way, the neighbors did support us for this second permit.)

At that time the idea of raising more money, of actually building something from the ground up seemed so impossible, and yet here we are, almost exactly on that commissioner’s timeline, ceremonially beginning a sort of coming-of-age project for San Francisco Waldorf School.

As you know this past school year (our 10th on this high school campus), was the 20th anniversary of the founding of the high school. If we think of the school in terms of a human biography, that means that the high school will be 21 as the construction we are breaking ground for today is completed. Fitting, in a way—this new building will become, symbolically, the newly-birthed ego of the high school.

The community center-to-be will be like the fully-formed self or identity of the school. The analogy becomes a bit stretched, but it is fun to think about our school in this way sometimes, as a living organism that we all nurture as it grows. And it reaches adulthood with the David Bushnell Center, a true community undertaking, supported by over 420 separate gifts. It truly takes a village…

One more strikingly coincidental piece of timing, auspicious,really, is that we will be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the opening of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart as we open the doors to the building that we break ground for today. It is perhaps premature to offer a blessing on the building we will soon watch grow here, but I would like to speak Rudolf Steiner’s beautiful House Blessing is the hope that it will imbue our undertaking here with grace and healthy spirit:

May soul be living in this place
May this soul be permeated by the Spirit
Who shall seek in the foundation
Firm will,
That in it may grow
The sense of goodness
In all the building’s rooms
And that from above
There may unite
The blessing of the Spirit
And the grace of God
In all who live and work herein.

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