Tag Archive for: #boardingstudentsiowa #nichenumberone

Ukrainian Teens Find Refuge on the Tennis Court in Iowa

Written by Andrea Gallagher | June 30th, 2023

While bombs flew through the sky in a war-torn country last year, three Ukrainian teenagers were safe in Fairfield, Iowa.

ukraine students

Ukraine students in front of boarding dorms.

Thanks to a generous community outpouring, they were able to go to school at Maharishi School, an independent, non-denominational college-prep boarding school.

While the three girls, a freshman, sophomore and senior, left their country and family behind during wartime, they were able to find refuge on the tennis courts. None of them had played the sport before, but decided to give it a try.

“We felt getting to smack tennis balls is good therapy for them,” said their coach, Lawrence Eyre. “It’s nice to be on a court where there are rules and they relished all of it.”

Eyre has been coaching at the school since he founded the tennis program back in the late 1980’s. The boys tennis team won 16 state singles, doubles and team championships under his leadership. He was selected by the USPTA as National High School Coach of the Year in 2009.

Pioneer Girls Tennis Team with Coach Eyre

Originally from the Quad Cities, Eyre later graduated from Yale University and came back to Iowa to work at the Maharishi School as a history teacher and tennis coach. He also coached collegiately at Grinnell College and Knox College.

“It’s fun for me to take whoever comes and see how much they can grow,” he said about coaching. “Improvement is how we measure success.”

“I signed up and instantly fell in love with the sport,” said Mariia Minieieva, the senior. “My coach, Mr. Eyre, was amazingly supportive, patiently guiding me and offering words of encouragement.”

Minieieva was very athletic as she was an aerial gymnast back home. According to Eyre, she had quick feet and was able to get to the ball to win points. She loved being part of a team.

“There’s something genuinely magical about how I feel when stepping onto the court. I don’t know how to describe it, but it feels like all my troubles disappear, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of lightness, ease, and pure enjoyment. In those moments, winning or losing becomes irrelevant,” she said.

ukraine tennis boarding iowa

Mariia Minieieva on the tennis court.

The sophomore, Olena Lysychonok, was a very patient learner and Eyre hopes she will come back and play next year. The  freshman, Sofia Kandyba, had worked her way up on the tennis court. By the end of the year she was playing at the #6 singles slot on the varsity team.

“She had good shot-making skills,” he said. “There was one match against a rival team and it came down to her. She lost the first set, won the second set and won the tie-breaker. She was thrilled to win the match, and we (the team) won the match.”

Eyre acknowledged that each of the girls had a lot going on when they arrived in Iowa, and he did the best he could to help them acclimate to their new environment.

“They had a lot on their plates, and we were extra alert to their feelings. We tried to keep a softer environment around them,” he explained. “Their opponents had no idea they’re from Ukraine where bombs were going off.”

The boarding school is unique as it incorporates Transcendental Meditation twice daily. They call it Consciousness-Based education.

“Our students and teachers take time to transcend twice a day, with the practice of yoga and Transcendental Meditation,” according to the school’s website. “It improves brain functioning. In a world of nearly incessant outer stimuli, it gives them a respite of inner silence, a connection with their own individual true self.”

Eyre said each of the girls are from different parts of Ukraine, so did not know one another when they came to Fairfield. The oldest, Mariia, graduated this year and will be attending Grinnell College in the fall, which is about two hours from Fairfield. However, the transition was anything but easy.

ukraine“The war changed so many things that I wasn’t prepared for,” she said. “Reflecting on it all, during my first semester, I dedicated my days and nights to working on college applications, leaving little time to form close connections or truly enjoy life. This period was the toughest I’ve ever experienced. I worried not only about my future, but also about the fate of my younger brothers, parents, grandparents, and the entire country.”

Mariia’s family recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where they are renting a house and looking for jobs. They had to abandon their properties, jobs, schools and country, all while learning a new language. Things are difficult but she’s thankful they are closer, and for the kindness of others.

“While things may seem challenging, I take comfort in knowing how strong my parents are and how many wonderful people support them. I believe that with their resilience and the help of those around us, everything will work out in the end.”

Eyre has coached many kids and adults in his storied career. Marria, Sofia and Olena have left quite an impression on him.

“Their willingness to take on so much change inspires me,” he said.

Meanwhile, Olena and Sofia will continue their education and tennis at Maharishi School, a world away from their former lives.

 

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Top 10 Achievements for 1st Semester

Maharishi School Top 10

On January 12th we honored Maharishi in our traditional Founder’s Day celebration, by recognizing our successes of the past semester, and making wishes for the new year. Your support has given children access to the #1 ranked Private School in Iowa and the benefits of Consciousness-Based education. Thank you for helping our wishes become a reality.

 

  1. NEW UKRAINIAN STUDENTS
    The inquiries came last spring: four Ukrainian students, exiled from their home by the war, asked if they couldukraine students in front of dorm continue their education at Maharishi School. They were attracted to our academic reputation and development of consciousness programs. Within two months, generous donors from our community and across the country raised enough money to fund their living expenses and transportation. Later this fall, three of our seniors, including two Ukrainians, were awarded QuestBridge scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students, covering all of their college expenses.
  2. # 1 RANKINGS
    For five years in a row, Niche.com has ranked Maharishi School #1 in Iowa:
    * Best Private K-12 School
    * Best Private High School
    * Best Boarding School
    Our National rankings continue to improve:
    *Top 4% Most Diverse Private High School
    *Top 5% Best Private K-12 School
    *Top 10% Best Private High School for STEM
    *Top 16% Best College Prep High School
    For more details click here: NICHE #1 for Maharishi School
  3. BOARDING
    We currently have 22 boarding students in our residential life program, a 70% increase over last year. Ourboarding school multicultural dorm includes students from around the world: China, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Nepal/Bhutan, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States and Vietnam. We are eager to fill our dorm to capacity for 2023-24!
  4. AP CLASSES
    Maharishi School earned another 1st place in the state this year… in the “AP Index.” We have the highest percentage of high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses of any Iowa school! Our students are enrolled in nine AP courses this year.
  5. CHILDREN’S HOUSE
    Enrollment in the Children’s House are steadily rising back to pre-Covid levels, with new applicants consistently rolling in. We continue to foster, through our Montessori-inspired curriculum, a multi-age classroom, where children can follow their individual interests, while still hitting the benchmarks of the Iowa Standards.
  6. LOWER SCHOOL
    This year the Lower School began their own Student Council, with Ambassadors of Responsibility, Respect, Solutions, Service, and Transcendence, each representing Maharishi School’s Core Values. The Student Council meets regularly to plan activities and initiatives for the Lower School, and they even go into the other classrooms to deliver news or well-wishes to the youngerstudent council students.
  7. CULTURAL PARADIGMS
    New this semester in Upper School, the Cultural Paradigms class was designed to explore the myriad ways of “being human,” through the lens of acceptance and adaptation to differences. Topics include an exploration of cultural values, race, religion, ethnicity, neurodiversity, plus challenges such as physical disabilities, Adverse Childhood Experiences—and the importance of removing barriers to create an equitable society. Pictured in photo is Rabbi Alex Green discussing Judaism. Students are recognizing that complex problems must be solved through collaboration with people who bring different abilities and perspectives to the table—so it is critical to learn how to leverage these differences and celebrate them.
  8. GLOBAL SOLUTIONS
    seniorsFacilitated by Anne Walton, the Senior class recently spent three days at a leadership training retreat learning what it takes to become genuine changemakers. Ms. Walton explained how this includes examining the impact of economics, public policy, community engagement, technology, and the importance of anticipating unexpected consequences, both positive and negative.
    Seniors will apply these principles of collaboration to solve complex problems in the newly created Global Solutions class that begins this month. Small groups of students have already identified their own global challenges, ranging from fast fashion to sustainable housing to support for refugees. These findings will be presented in a final capstone project, to be presented to the community in May.
  9. RAISE CRAZE SUCCESS
    Raise Craze was once again a HUGE success. Students asked friends and family to donate to Maharishi School, and as a way to pay their generosity forward, they performed Acts of Kindness for others. Raising $21,080, our students also performed 924 Acts of Kindness, and school-wide collected 425 pairs of shoes, helping needy people throughout the world.
  10. Maharishi School is deeply grateful for the support shown during our December “Season of Giving” campaign. Our Development Team together with your help, raised $30,000 through Giving Tuesday and Matching Funds.
Thank you all for your
wonderful support!
Cheers to your good health, happiness, and abundance in 2023!

 

 

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Boarding Student Life : 2021

boarding student life maharishi schoolThe world is our family

Maharishi School is a global community with students and families representing more than 30 countries. Our school community is deeply enriched by students of diverse origin who come together to create global awareness and a vibrant school culture with rich traditions.

We know the decision to send your child to a boarding school far from homestudent at maharishi school is not easy and you are doing this as an investment in their future. We also understand you are making this decision out of love for your child. Because we believe that the world is our family, we take seriously our role as their extended family in the United States.

review

Home away from home

The dorm rooms can be customized by each student’s comfort and to reflect their personality. The dorm features amenities such as a common media room where boarders can watch movies or sports on the big screen TV, board games and ping-pong tables, dedicated study hours where students can work productively and quietly, lean on dorm counselors for support in transitioning and who are on hand for assistance, chat with teachers, and more all while having fun.boarding student review Maharishi School is more than just academia or a place to sleep, it’s a community.

When you board at Maharishi School, you get to live next door to your best friends.

Hildenbrand Dorm

Living at Maharishi School, whether in the dorms creates lifetime bonds. Our students have shared experiences that span passion projects, classes, athletic teams, and day-to-day living. You’ll meet and live with people you would never have who come from all over the world to study at Maharishi School. Our new dorm is so close to the classroomboarding student life facilities that it serves as a social center for both residential and day students.

 

To find out more about our boarding program, click here.

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Hands-On Learning in Middle School

Sheila Higgins gets Middle Schoolers hands dirty with hands-on learning

In my experience, middle school students naturally resonate with the open-ended structure of hands-on learning. They’re more excited about, engaged with, and invested in the learning process when they’re given the freedom to actively create their own knowledge, rather than passively consuming it.  Hands-on learning is an immersive experience that enhances a student’s ability to think critically and take ownership of their inquiries. Hands-on projects offer a safe space to make mistakes and learn organically through trial, error, and iterative thinking.

I love this approach to teaching because it creates the conditions for play, which is such a natural (and important!) way of engaging in authentic learning. While a hands-on model can take many forms, it’s essentially “learning by doing”–a practice that not only develops competency, but also strengthens the
qualities of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration within the learner. Students retain more
information about experiences that are memorable; for instance, investigating Newton’s Laws of Motion becomes much more engaging–and impactful–when they are physically explored in the context of a design challenge…rather than a traditional textbook lesson. In my 8th grade class, students design Balloon-powered Race Cars for a competitive engineering experience. Through this, their learning becomes a dynamic process in which scientific principles are explored in a real-world, immediate context.
I believe that learning is a lifelong process. Through hands-on projects, I hope to cultivate a sense of wonder and empowerment in my students’ approach to school.
Click here to watch Sheila’s Middle School class in action!

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Top 10 Achievements from Maharishi School

Teacher’s Holiday Party 2020

 

 

 

Top 10 Achievements for 1st Semester
2020-2021
Outside is the joy of the drop. Inside is the joy of the ocean. —Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
richard beall
Head of School Dr. Richard Beall
1. During the summer of 2020, prior to the opening of school, we formed a COVID task force to prepare the learning environment. Dr. Beall confirms that we met our commitment to make informed, data-driven decisions and preparations for the coming school year.
Families were given a choice: students could attend in person, online locally, and online internationally. Our website describes these detailed decisions and preparations in the “Return to Learn” plan required by the Iowa Department of Education.
We are proud to say that we got through 2020 without a single case of COVID.
Niche Ranking, woohoo!
4. In 2021, Maharishi School ranked #1 in FIVE categories through Niche.com: #1 Most Diverse Private High School in Iowa, #1 Best College Prep Private High School in Iowa, #1 Best Private High School in Iowa, #1 Best Private K-12 School in Iowa, and #1 Best Boarding High School in Iowa. Click to see our success!
Harmony Exists in Diversity
6. Being ranked as the #1 Most Diverse Private High School in Iowa (of 51) is a huge benefit for our students as they prepare to navigate through our multicultural society and world. In our dorm alone we currently have boarding students from China, Korea, Germany, India, Vietnam, and the US.
“Lets talk about race” Book Club
8. Our Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI) Committee sees a strengthening in our DEI programs with new diversity curriculum and workshops, resilience surveys, and expanded counseling services.
Beautification in the School
10. We have successfully completed renovations of all three levels of the Hopson Building. New colors, flooring, and other visual features have brought our main building into the 21st century. Notice the social-distancing decals?
montessori in elementary school
Montessori in the Elementary School
2. The Lower School successfully integrated a half-day Montessori curriculum into the 1st and 2nd grades, and also brought kindergarten into the Lower School building this year. The Lower School also lengthened the school day to provide Social Studies and Science lessons on a daily basis. Click here to read more about this.
Cooking in the Maharishi School Kitchen
3. The Middle School Team works closely together to provide a wide variety of hands-on, project-based learning experiences, from science labs—in the kitchen—to communication skills shared with the community.
Student Council meeting
5. The Upper School Student Council has provided outstanding leadership during the pandemic, organizing weekly safe social activities to sustain school spirit and social-emotional well being. Pictured above is a New Year’s party organized by Student Council!
Acts of Kindness
7. Raise Craze, our biggest fundraiser of the year will officially become a new annual tradition. Students asked friends and family to donate to Maharishi School, and as a way to pay their generosity forward, they performed Acts of Kindness for others. Surpassing our goal of $15,000 we were able to purchase much needed COVID supplies and increase technology for online instruction.
#GivingTuesday
9. Maharishi School is deeply grateful for the support shown during our December “Season of Giving” campaign. Our Development Team together with your help, raised $37,000 through Giving Tuesday and Matching Funds–more than we ever thought possible.
Thank you all for your wonderful support!
Cheers to your good health, happiness, and abundance in 2021!
Maharishi School | www.maharishischool.org | 641-472-9400

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Day In the Life at the Children’s House

Watch a Day In the Life at Maharishi Preschool

Preschoolers develop responsibility through routine

maharishi preschoolAt Maharishi Preschool we are cultivating within each child a sense of independence and capability.  When the children enter into the gates of our playground carrying their lunch and wearing their backpack, a sense of responsibility, independence, and capability is enlivened in them. They know where to put their belongings and they know where they are when they need them or when it is time to go home. During their time at school, they make many choices and their sense of capability grows each day. They are following their internal drive to master skills, grow, and learn, and by allowing them to be responsible for their own belongings, these qualities will continue to be reinforced.  The sense of pride when children feel responsible in these small but significant ways is such a beautiful thing to witness!

Taking precautions in the preschool

children house preschool montessori

When entering the school area all children will get their temperature taken, temperatures at 100 degrees or higher will be sent home.

Masks

Teachers will be required to wear masks while inside, or while down on children’s level outside. Face shields are


Hand washing
 recommended, especially for toddler teachers. Masks will be required while inside for all children 3+. Masks will not be required for children under 3.

Children will wash hands upon arrival, before and after eating, when entering from outside, when seen with hands in mouth/nose, and a minimum of every 2 hours. Washing is completed with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Social distancing

Drop off times are arranged by class so that there are no traffic jams between parents and children. Transitions into the school house for class will be staggered to avoid congestion in the hallways.

Changes to the environment

preschool environmentThe children each have a cubby where they can store their shoes and backpacks. Cubbies will be outside of the classrooms in the hallways so children do not enter the classroom with outside shoes and backpacks. There is only one child per table in all classrooms, unless the table is very large. The classrooms with ages 3 and up will have sanitizing stations for the children to clean their own work, under adult supervision as needed. Water and soap will be used for plastic, metal, and glass materials and natural disinfectant spray for wooden materials. When a toddler completes a work, they will return it to a special shelf to be cleaned between use. A teacher will sanitize the work items and return them to the shelves with available work.

The protocol for Maharishi School’s Children’s House was created with reference to DHS requirements and CDC recommendations, and with approval from IDPH

If you would like to learn more about the Children’s House, click here.

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Meet Our New Teachers: Michael Fitzgerald

Meet our new teacher

micehal fitzgerald computer teacherMichael Fitzgerald came to Fairfield in 2012 to attend MIU for his Bachelors in math with a computer science track and finished in 2016. Over the next several years he worked for a digital marketing company and went back to school to get a masters degree in software development. Michael saw that Maharishi School was looking for someone in tech support, however as soon as his skills became evident to the administration, we realized he was overly competent for the job. He was asked to teach a computer course, which he has now introduced to the middle school students as Technological and Digital Literacy 101.

 

What is Technological and Digital Literacy?

This is not your traditional computer science course. Technological and Digital Literacy focuses less on why computers do what they do but how to computer lab at schooluse and manipulate what’s in them for efficacy in learning. TDL is a class that teaches students how to interact in the tech world and use what’s already available in order to become fluent in technology. This is so important as we go further into schooling entirely online. Michael explains, “this course will prepare you for life. I look at this course as a woodworking, or home economics class, because once you learn that skill you will have it for the rest of your life. The more tech literate you become, the more you will understand new technologies with ease.”

 

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