Maharishi School Alumnus Jason Shields Wins Ju Jitsu World Championship Golf

Imagine a person who meditates twice a day and what comes to mind? Lotus pose? Brown rice? “Ommmmm”? Heel hooks? Side mount chokes?
Wait, what?

Maharishi School alumni Jason Shields won gold for the purple belt category at the International Brazilion Ju Jitsu Federation World Championships 2017.

Ok, let me explain. If you’ve done any reading about Transcendental Meditation before, you already know that it’s not for a certain kind of person, and it doesn’t turn you into a certain kind of person. Everyone can learn, everyone can benefit, and it fits into every lifestyle. Jason Shields, Maharishi School class of 1989, is one prime example of this fact.

Jason, a doctor of chiropractic medicine and owner of Voss Kiropraktorkontor in Vossevangen, Norway, also happens to have just won gold at the International Brazilian Ju Jitsu Federation World Championship in the purple belt category. Shields won all four fights of the competition without giving up a single point or advantage.Maharishi School alumni, chiropractic doctor, and Brazilian Ju Jitsu champion Jason Shields.

If you’re familiar at all with Brazilian Ju Jitsu then you’ll know that this is a hard won honor, and if you’re not acquainted with the sport I recommend you watch this video and vicariously experience the fully integrated physical, emotional, and intellectual experience that competitors embrace every time they step to the mat.

Watching these athletes, what impresses me most is that Shields has only been practicing for six years. Jason remembers, “Six years ago I saw an epic Ju Jitsu match on Youtube, contacted a black belt in a nearby city and then started my club with his help. The rest is history!”

To progress so quickly, Shields squeezes 15-19 hours of training into his already full work week at the chiropractic clinic, often using lunch breaks to train at the dojo he set up in a room upstairs from his office. All this while getting the fledgling Frontline Ju Jitsu Academy off the ground and heading its competition team.

Maharishi School alumni Jason Shields takes a break during competition at the International Brazilian Ju Jitsu Federation World Federation Championships, where he won first place in the purple belt category.

One secret to Jason’s success comes from devoting his full attention to the task of the moment. “Here is a theme that I live in my life and in competition: take an angle and let go. Like the arrow seeking the target, single minded focus at each step. Where attention goes energy flows.” Another component is the Transcendental Meditation practice Shields learned during his time as a student at Maharishi School. “It’s the calm in the storm,” he explains.

In addition to working, training, meditating, and competing, Shields makes time to build his legacy by mentoring youth interested in Ju Jitsu. “Every one of my students has become my child” Jason reports, “and now that I’m a world champion, I want to produce generations of champions!”

Congratulations to Jason on his IBJJF World Championship – we look forward to more good news from Frontline Academy in the years to come!

Thanks to Maggie Left Photography for the wonderful pictures!

Winning Destination Imagination and Rocketry Teams Meet Iowa Governor

Maharishi Upper School students from the winning Destination Imagination and Rocketry teams were invited to the Governor’s office in Des Moines this week to meet both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the capitol building. The group included, from left to right: Drew Schoenfeld, Philip Winer, Alista Wikle, Governor Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, Bridgit Bianco, and Wayne Li.

Congratulations to the teams, and thanks to all the teachers and parent volunteers who helped them achieve their goals!

Maharishi Upper School Destination Imagination Team Takes Home First Prize and Da Vinci Award!

Maharishi Upper School Destination Imagination team “Not Your Average Punch Party” (from left to right: Philip Winer, Alista Wikle, Drew Schoenfeld, Loreena Hansen, and Caleb Mulleneaux ) won first place AND a Da Vince Award for exceptional creativity at this year’s Destination Imagination Global Finals!

“The 17th annual Global Finals, hosted by Destination Imagination, ended Saturday with teams from 17 countries across the globe – including Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the United States – celebrating creativity through a series of STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) academic challenges. Students from Iowa, Texas, China, Colorado, Poland and others earned the first place trophy in their respective categories.”

Destination Imagination

The team competed in the Fine Arts category, but incorporated computer programming and robotics into their set in a seamless and impressive manner. The DI website explains, “For the crayon, by the crayon, and of the crayon—who knew communism could be so colorful and creative?
From their phenomenal original songs to their thought-provoking content, this team transported the Appraisers to a dystopian society we NEVER wanted to leave. Their not-so-colorful character may have seemed bland on the outside, but his dry wit, deadpan humor and ALAN-ness made him stand out from the box. Their Broadway-ready musical was filled with campy crayon, satirical songs, and delightful dancing.
A rotating miniature silhouette cityscape filled our senses without filling the stage. It was enhanced by a professional-quality surrealist landscape on an unusual convex frame. A team-coded hydraulic elevate “took care” of the red, ushering in a benign dictatorship.”

To watch a video of the performance, follow this link.

Maharishi School Graduate Hired as US Foreign Service Officer, Posted at Liberian Embassy

Maharishi School Alumna Colette Clark has been hired as a US Foreign Service officer. Maharishi School is a private, college preparatory day and boarding school located in Fairfield, Iowa.

Colette “Coco” Clark, a 2011 graduate of Maharishi School, has recently been hired by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Her first posting will be at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, beginning in June.

Ms. Clark is the daughter of Fran Clark and the late Henry Ogden Clark of Fairfield. She received a Bachelor of Science in foreign service, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2015 and a Master of Arts in security studies the following year, also from Georgetown.

She is proficient in Arabic and has worked for the past two years at the Department of Justice on legal negotiations between the U.S. government and Middle Eastern countries.

Foreign service officers spend their career serving at a variety of locations around the world. They are expected to be skilled in representing the interests of the United States in economic, political, and cultural matters. They help overseas Americans in distress and process visa applications for those wanting to visit the U.S. for the first time.

Ms. Clark will also handle a portfolio of interests encompassing environmental, energy, and trade policies.

Liberia, located on the western coast of Africa, is the continent’s oldest modern republic, enjoying a stable democratic government whose president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in international peacekeeping

Maharishi School Raises Rainbow Flag

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Martin Luther King Jr.

In the last few years, stories about transgender rights have made their way to the forefront of national attention. These issues have cropped up in every area from workplaces, to shopping, to healthcare policy, so it’s no surprise that schools, too, are grappling with the correct way to deal with new understandings of gender.

Maharishi School rolled out a new set of guidelines in December with the aim of clearly defining the rights and responsibilities of students, faculty, and staff in the area of gender identity. The adoption of this gender diversity policy means that Maharishi School treats each student’s self-proclaimed gender identity as their sex, without requiring a medical diagnosis or treatment as a prerequisite for accommodation. Transgender students are not excluded, separated, denied benefits, or otherwise treated differently based on their gender identity. Policy changes cover everything from locker room and field trip accommodations, to uniform requirements, to names and pronouns used by every member of our school community.

We have gone about fulfilling this promise through a change in facilities and guidelines, as well as an ongoing effort to teach students, faculty, and staff about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. As part of that educational effort, a rainbow flag was raised on campus this week. The flag serves as a visual reminder that our school is a safe space, where every person will be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness.

At Maharishi School, we take the view that insisting upon safety and consideration for our fellow humans is not an expression of preference or endorsement, but rather one of equality. LGBTQ rights are human rights, no more and no less. Our desire is that every person who visits or attends our school knows that they are respected, safe, and loved.

Maharishi School Adopts Diversity Inclusion Policy

Diversity Inclusion

In the last few years, stories about transgender rights have made their way to the forefront of national attention. These issues have cropped up in every area from workplaces, to shopping, to healthcare policy, so it’s no surprise that schools, too, are grappling with the correct way to deal with new understandings of gender identity.

After Board consideration, Maharishi School has adopted a formal policy for faculty, staff, and students that is in line with the US Departments of Education and Justice recommendations and the state of Iowa’s civil rights law. Our pledge to community members is this: “Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment upholds the dignity and developmental opportunity of every student and faculty member. We accept responsibility for providing a safe and supportive learning environment for every member of our school community.”

We intend to fulfill this promise through a change in facilities and guidelines, as well as an ongoing effort to teach students, faculty and staff about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.

The adoption of this policy means that Maharishi School will treat each student’s self-proclaimed gender identity as their sex, without requiring a medical diagnosis or treatment as a prerequisite for accommodation. Transgender students will not be excluded, separated, denied benefits, or otherwise treated differently based on their gender identity unless authorized by law. Policy changes will cover everything from the locker room and field trip accommodations, to uniform requirements, to names and pronouns used by every member of our school community.

We are committed to being a model Diversity Responsive school, to providing a safe and stimulating learning environment for all students. Our Consciousness-Based education opens our students to experience a universal, underlying field of pure consciousness, the ideal foundation for a Diversity Responsive, Gender Inclusive school and leader in education.

We are confident that these modifications will be adopted smoothly and seamlessly into the academic life of everyone at Maharishi School, and serve as an additional way that we prepare our students for an inclusive and peaceful future.

Grand Champion Honors at State Science Fair

Maharishi School senior Bimba Shrestha with FHS partner Doga Ozesmi were the Grand Honorary Champions of the Iowa State Science Fair in Ames on March 26-27. They also won 1st place in Computer Science, the INTEL Excellence in Computer Science Award, the Mu Alpha Theta Innovation Award, and they qualified for an expense-paid trip to the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, held this year in Pittsburgh.

Joining them in Pittsburgh will be 8th grader Pranav Chhalliyil, who also won the 2015 Iowa State Fair Grand Champion award, for the Junior Division. In addition to the Grand Champion award Pranav placed first in the Microbiology division in the 8th grade, overall championship in the Microbiology division, Broadcom championship, and the special Discovery in Science Award.

In May, Bimba, Doga, and Pranav are representing Iowa at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), Bimba and Pranav for the second consecutive year. Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. More than 1,700 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in prizes. Millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and state science fairs, from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF.

Doga Ozesmi participated in the science fair program in the 7th and 9th grades at Maharishi School and decided to participate again as an 11th grader at FHS. “This year,” Doga said, “I wanted to do science fair again and found this cool idea about photonic fences. I thought it would be very difficult to do alone though so I pitched the idea to Bimba who also wanted to do science fair. It turned out he liked it, so we sat down and worked out some ideas and the rest is history, I guess.” That “history,” of course, is he and Bimba winning Grand Honorary Champions of the Iowa State Fair.

Bimba Shrestha

Bimba and Doga’s project this year is titled “Tracking and Killing Insects Using Photonic Fences.” For their project, they designed and developed a photonic fence that locates and tracks insects. Bimba said that photonic fences have a wide array of uses. They can prevent disease-carrying insects from entering a building, they can track and identify insects, and they can help protect crops. “Using cameras,” Bimba stated, “the system locates dark spots against a reflective background. If the spot matches certain criteria, like size, shape, and independence, it is identified as an insect.” Once the insect is identified, a laser could be used to eradicate the pest.

Doga said this year’s project involved “a lot of experimentation and constant testing to get our sensitivity and lighting right. In addition we had to sit down with pencil and paper several times to work out the math behind the location of our mechanism for each setup we tried. Overall, though, it was made a lot easier by working together and we were able to bounce ideas off each other to come up with the best solution.”

Pranav Chhalliyil

Eighth grader Pranav Chhalliyil’s award winning science project for this year is titled “The Efficiency of Mouth Cleaning Methods on Oral Bacterial Count Analyzed Using Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) Method.” Last summer he visited a middle school in a remote village in Tamil Nadu, India, where he found himself teaching the importance of bedtime toothbrushing. “I found the students were using different methods of toothbrushing. They wanted to know which method was efficient. That motivated me to do this project. They all volunteered to be my subjects.”

In his research this year, he tested 8 different oral cleaning methods and found that of the 8 different methods, two, “Toothpaste Brushing + Tongue Cleaning” and “Finger Rubbing + Water Swishing,” were found to be statistically significant as the best. “Between these two, Finger Rubbing + Water Swishing is the easiest, most cost effective and convenient way of cleaning.”

Pranav feels his Maharishi School teachers Barbara Hays and Richard Incorvia, through introducing project-based education to the classroom, have provided him with the competence to present his project in an impressive manner. “Ms. Hays was my adult sponsor, and she supported and motivated me throughout my research. My participation in the Maharishi Middle School radio show, guided by Mr. Incorvia, gave me a lot of confidence and strength.” He also is thankful for the Fairfield company Genetic-ID for allowing him to use their lab.

“Doga Ozesmi and Bimba Shrestha winning the state science fair together, as students from FHS and MSAE respectively, is a first, and something the whole community can be proud of,” said Dr. Richard Beall, Maharishi School Head.

Oprah Winfrey Visits Maharishi School

by Christine Albers, Director of ExpansionOprah Winfrey Visits Maharishi School


When Oprah Winfrey walked through the doors of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment on Wednesday, October 19th, I knew I would remember that day for a long time. For several weeks, her Harpo Productions film crew was at the school interviewing students. Rumors circulated that perhaps Oprah might make an appearance, but nothing was certain.

When she actually arrived, it was momentous. The shiny black SUV pulled up inside the school fence, drove along the sidewalk and stopped. Faculty and administrators peered out their office and classroom windows to catch a glimpse of this woman who has touched so many lives.

There she was, Oprah Winfrey, stepping out of her SUV, adjusting her sweater. Is it really her, I wondered? Yes, it was—one of the most famous and powerful women in the world, at little Maharishi School. Dr. Richard Beall, School Head, greeted her. When she saw the school’s name, “Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment,” engraved above the door, she told Richard, “I always wanted to help create an Age of Enlightenment, but I didn’t know how.”

Bob Daniels, Chairman of the School Board, attended a brief ‘Meet and Greet’ with Oprah, where she said, “How have you kept this school a secret for so long? Well, it won’t be a secret any longer.“

She walked up the center staircase to observe the Lower School children practice their walking meditation. Then she went to the Hall of Bliss to see the 5th through 12th-grade girls meditating. She closed her eyes and meditated with them. When her cameraman zoomed in on her, she waved him away. This was a moment for her to relax, too.

Afterward, she spoke to the girls. Kai-Li Diyaljee, a 6th-grade student, remembers what Oprah said: “You’re helping the world. You’re raising consciousness in the world. There are so many people talking about raising consciousness, and you guys are living it. So, YAY for you!” (applause!)

Teachers and staff members gathered in the lobby to greet Oprah as she was leaving. A crew member warned us that Oprah was on a tight schedule, and not to be disappointed if she didn’t talk and visit with us or shake our hands. But when the great woman appeared we were thrilled that she took the time to shake every single person’s hand. And then she stayed a few more moments to address our group.

“Here are our teachers,” she exclaimed. “I love teachers.”

“Teachers can change lives,” she said. “It was my 4th-grade teacher, Mrs. Duncan, who changed my life and helped me become the person I am today. So I always honor teachers.“

She continued, “Who knew that there was a school in Iowa based on consciousness? I’ve done a lot of TV shows and often feel like it’s stepping backward. With you guys, it’s a giant leap forward. My whole life I’ve been trying to raise awareness and help people live better lives. You guys are doing this. This is a dream come true to see a school based on consciousness. It’s a very special day to actually see it.”

When all the faculty and staff applauded, Oprah motioned to the group and said,“THANK YOU! You should celebrate yourselves. I’m clapping for you.”

So we all clapped. We clapped for her, she clapped for us, and we concluded with an uplifting wave of mutual love and appreciation. This one woman who can change the world left with a promise,

“The TV show will make people aware of Maharishi School. We will fill the school with students. The world needs to know about you.”

At right: Watch Dr. Oz’s interview of Oprah in which she describes her experience in “TM Town”

Adrien Daller and Eli Lieb Give Maharishi School Assembly

Two dazzling alumni visited the school to share their vocation ventures and give us guidance. The first speaker was Adrien Daller. Adrien calls herself a speech nerd who was always shushing people when they interrupted the teacher. She is grateful for the School’s theatre program because that was where she understood that she wanted to perform. She went out with certainty and met change. Adrien says, “The moral of my story is that sometimes on the way to your dreams, you find better ones.”

She went overseas to study acting in England and sang “God Save the Queen” to Queen Elizabeth. From there she ended up singing and performing in Italy. She says that it was a great experience doing “what I said I wanted, but I wasn’t happy.” Something was missing.

Back in Fairfield she reconnected with friends and family and realized that she needed to do something else. She started writing her own music, and was in, and helped to start, several bands. The album The Endless Prom came out of that. She says, “I’m doing what I love, even though it’s not what I expect. I’m making music with people who inspire me, and being close to people I love.”

Her advice to the students is, “Keep trying things; it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, just keep trying.” She also says, “Keep an open mind to what dream you might have. Work really hard on what you love, and see what happens.”

Her link is:

Eli Lieb started writing music when he was 16. His youthful experience was charmed—he says that he didn’t overthink things but just dove in. He went to New York to advance his career and sang in endless Open Mics. He remembers once when his turn to sing came at 3 am. “Use your energy for what you want without stopping,” he says. “ Look at every experience as a tool to find out who you are and what you want. There is no bad experience.”

Success came with an agent and a contract. This seemed ideal. He loved the city that never sleeps; however, he found himself bowing to power and giving up his voice. Returning to Fairfield was his time to re-tune. “The second I committed to being happy and moved back to Fairfield, that’s when my career took off.” When he exchanged cards with a dog-walking companion, he saw the job description “Sony Records.” Support of Nature. Eli’s underwater song on YouTube (shot by fellow graduate Geoff Boothby) has had 5.5 million hits. He calls this his calling card.

His advice is, “Be happy; do what makes you happy. Be yourself. The more authentic you are, the more people respond to you. You can’t please everyone; if you try to do that you lose yourself.” Eli says he would not have this mindset without TM and the Fairfield community. “People like that part of you. What you have is a unique tool for achieving happiness.” Regarding his knowledge of Sanskrit he says, “When you tell people that you understand Sanskrit they will think it’s amazing.”

His link is: