We’d like to share with you the message of our founder to our newest alumni of Austin Montessori School.

Dear Newest Alumni and Parents,

Don and I regret that we were unable to be present for your commencement ceremony. Here is the message I would have spoken to you that evening, from my heart to yours.

You are now alumni of Austin Montessori School and veterans of the Rome trip. You leave together and, even though you go your separate ways, be that sooner or later,you will remain bound by a deep common bond of shared experience. It will not be easy for you to explain to others whence you have come nor, therefore, whither you go — or more exactly — how you go and why.

You have lived all these years in a process of self-formation and self-education. Some other schools will say that they form children and youth, that they educate them. We say that our children and youth form and educate themselves. The difference is powerful because, rather than being an education of reaction to an imposition from without, your lives have been a dynamic unfolding from within.

We, at your school, have carved out the arena, set the stage, provisioned the laboratory; and you, children, become-adolescents and then grads, have taken action within it to bring forth who you are. We, your adults, have outlined the boundaries, provided the guidance, and offered the relationships; and you have responded with your own individual unfolding, your own “force that through the green fuse drives the flower.”*

Your learning and knowing and understanding are of a different quality because the way you have come to learn, to know, and to understand have been different. Your character has been driven from your own essence and not by an extrusion of your young plasticity through the harsh templates of an aged and inflexible traditional mold. Over the next ten years you may struggle to explain your school, your formation, and your education to others.They will catch glimpses of what you mean, but lacking your experience, they will struggle to grasp and comprehend the profound difference.

But you will always have a community, a common ground of values, among one another and at our school. You will have a bond of understanding and shared experience among one another. With neither a word nor a gesture, you will feel the immediacy of that connection any time you see one another or return to our school. Come and see us.I look forward to seeing you in the near future as well as over the years to come, as do we all.

Return here to your base from wherever you go and whatever you do, be it:

  • Traveling and photographing in the “outback” of New Zealand alone
  • Training horses outside of Austin
  • Traveling the world, working on organic farms
  • Taking a post-doc at Harvard
  • Staying home with your baby
  • Quitting your law job to write
  • Being editor at Harper’s
  • Becoming an AMI-trained Montessori teacher
  • Entering the field of social work
  • Teaching at the lowest performing and most economically disadvantaged public school in Texas
  • Starting your medical practice
  • Returning to enroll your children
  • While camp counseling during high school you bring your fellow counselors to show them
  • Before leaving for college, making your parents bring you by for a tour

You are all precious to us and we are interested, we care about everything you do.

With affection and admiration,

Donna Bryant Goertz