The poem below was written by Jerry Mueller in 2013 to celebrate Montessori Community School's 40th Anniversary. Jerry's poem is fun and funky, yet incredibly in-depth, as it reviews the earlies years of our school's history. To help us celebrate our 50th Anniversary, MCS teacher, Ms. Cindy Shyne, has added a few verses to continue where Jerry left off.
MCS 40th Anniversary Poem
By Jerry Mueller
So, 40 years have come and gone.
And MCS is still going strong.
You may not know—we were Katrice Montessori back in ’72
Before Montessori Community, as it’s known to me and you.
It all started in that pavilion on Liholiho Street.
When they opened the doors to all those little feet.
And we have to thank the Weber’s, you know, because they had a plan.
To educate their daughter, Patricia, and Man Oh Man!
Montessori in Makiki; well, it came alive.
And that’s the school I walked into in ’75.
In the beginning we were all novices, if you know what I mean.
I’m fresh out of training and pretty darn green.
We had only one preschool class back then.
And a small elementary of … maybe….ten.
But that Montessori Method was something to see.
Parents would say, “That’s where I want my child to be.”
After a few years Susan Siebert became the head.
“We’re going to make this the best Montessori program ever,”
Well, that’s what she said.
With Susan’s leadership and the best teachers around.
And that Montessori philosophy that’s so fundamentally sound.
The school started to grow; we added more classes.
We were starting to think, Could we be appealing to the masses?
Well, with this new growth we needed more space.
So for the elementary, we had to find a new place.
That place was on Young Street, a Japanese Language School site.
The situation wasn’t ideal, but it was alright.
We moved a lot of classroom furniture that year, you see.
Because the Japanese school students returned each day at three.
So after a year it was time to go.
We had planning to do; get our ducks in a row.
So the board and the admin kicked into search mode.
And found a place in the valley at the end of Manoa Road.
Along the edge of the Chinese Cemetery a pavilion stood.
Should we renovate this building?...We thought we would.
This could house the 9-12 and the 6-9.
Kitty-corner across the street; the preschool would do just fine.
We thought with this latest move a name change would be cool.
So for the first time we became “Montessori Community School.”
Now in this same timeframe we opened a Punahou Street site.
Our pre-school was growing; we’re doing something right.
Having the school on the edge of the cemetery posed no “grave” concern.
Afterall, the students were there to study and learn.
Make no bones about it, to a few it was no delight.
To know that it was a school by day and a graveyard at night.
But overall, this site was amazing with all its wide open space.
There were mountain views with waterfalls all over the place!
There was a lush green playground and fresh valley air.
It was kind of like a country day school back there.
We became a fixture in Manoa as we educated the young.
Being near the cemetery, we even helped celebrate Chung Mung.
We continued to thrive in this new location.
We were making our mark on island education.
Then in the late eighties it was time to leave Manoa.
An opportunity arose on a street named Nehoa.
HBA was moving from their address at 1239.
For us, this new site would work just fine.
We moved on the new campus in 1988.
Though we still had Liholiho Street site to consolidate.
But that would come later, we were quite content.
This campus was ours; we just had to pay the rent.
We had a parking lot, a playground and a cottage or two.
Plus a house for admin; to do what they do.
We had elementary classrooms and a cafeteria below.
We even had a music room with some recorders to blow.
But right in the middle of campus the Cancer Society sat.
After a few years they moved…. and that was that.
Now the admin moved into the building in the middle.
And each year our enrollment increased by more than a little.
Eventually, Liholiho moved up; we were all in one spot.
We were a one campus school and that meant a lot.
It was in 1990 that Ms. Patsy became the head.
“We’re going to get MCS accredited,” well, that’s what she said.
With Patsy’s leadership and support all around
Before too long we were accreditation bound.
The accreditation process really strengthened our school.
We all really benefited from this assessment tool.
For 25 years now, this campus has been home.
Thanks everyone. We couldn’t do it alone.
Thank you board members, admin and parents one and all.
Thanks to the teachers and staff who helped carry the ball.
Thank you to the students; both young and old.
Without you this story would never be told.
Lastly…So many traditions have been established over time.
I’m going to list a few and they might even rhyme.
Workshops, food drives, see you at the Fun Run.
Recess and lunch time, try to get your work done.
P.E. class and 4-square; summer session hikes.
6-9 work-sharing, Mommy’s and Daddy’s nights.
Progress reports, class pictures, What’re you going to wear?
Parent/Teacher conferences, Scholastic Book Fair.
Field trips, camp-outs; join us at the Spring Fling.
Come to the Christmas play, hear all the children sing.
HTY, SAT, PFA and more.
AMS, MCS, acronyms galore.
Board meetings, staff meetings, teacher appreciation.
Silent Auction, beach day, 6’s graduation.
So…40 years have come and gone.
And MCS is still going strong.
Now wouldn’t it be grand, and wouldn’t it be nifty.
If in ten years you all returned… to help celebrate fifty.
50th Anniversary Addendum
by Ms. Cindy Shyne
Fifty years old? Fifty you say? Yes, we made ten more years! Hip, Hip Hooray!
We have lost some special people, and others retired,
Still, our Montessori work is still truly inspired.
We’ve had plenty of challenges along the way, especially a crazy pandemic that came to stay.
With grace and with courage, commitment and trust,
We said we would teach Montessori method, or bust!
With heads put together we came up with a plan,
It was time for technology to make a stand!
We taught with devices on a program called Zoom!
Everyone’s home became a Montessori classroom!
We learned new phrases, like “Please mute yourself,”
“I’ll share my screen, and turn your volume down!”
Sometimes with pets, and kids in pajamas,
T’was break out rooms and chats that became our new campus.
Then after four months with masks on our faces,
we came back to school, happy in our classroom spaces!
Who would have thought it ten years ago,
We'd learn what we did, you just never know.
With new friends and old friends, working together,
MCS is growing better and better.
So raise your glass high and shout out “WOOHOO!!”
Happy 50th, MCS! We're thankful for YOU!!