Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 26, 2014

Maharishi School to graduate 29 seniors Sunday

By DIANE VANCE | Jun 05, 2014

The Class of 2014 at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment has 29 seniors earning diplomas in a graduation ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the school’s Henry Ogden Clark Auditorium.

A reception in the auditorium follows commencement.

MSAE boys’ school co-valedictorians are Michael DeAngelis and Surya Sawhney.

Avery Travis is the girls’ school valedictorian and Hifza Akbar is salutatorian.

Graduation guest speaker is Puki Freeberg, an MSAE and Maharishi University of Management alumna, known as a pioneering teacher of Transcendental Meditation for at-risk children and women.

A senior appreciation ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the school auditorium.

A farewell ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the auditorium.

“Friday night each student will speak, expressing appreciation for teachers and their experiences here,” said Richard Beall, Maharishi School director.

“It’s the teachers’ turn to appreciate our students Saturday evening and announce awards,” he said.

Friday’s farewell, Saturday’s recognition and Sunday’s commencement will all be live-streamed on the Internet. Go to the school’s website www.maharishischooliowa.org and click on the student life tab at the top and scroll to the bottom topic, live stream events 2014.

“In recent years, our high school has been growing in diversity,” said Beall. “Among the 29 graduating seniors, 10 countries are represented. The class really represents a broad cross section of the kind of world our students will experience in coming years.”

Beall said the Class of 2014 has eight boarding students from China and one boarding student from New York.

One Chinese student’s family is traveling here to attend graduation.

“We will have many families watching the ceremonies on live stream,” said Beall. “I know of families in Germany, Guatemala, Holland, Gambia, the Philippines and India as well as China who will be watching. It will be a global broadcast.”

Beall said he is proud of the senior class accomplishments. A handful of students are second-generation Maharishi School families.

“This class has really stretched to take on major challenges and has excelled,” he said. “It’s excelled in Destination Imagination, theatre and sports.

“Being a foreign student, away from your family and culture, is difficult and these students stretched to do more than just attend school. I am proud of their accomplishments.”

The eight students from China will return to their homes for the summer, but all are coming back to the U.S. to attend colleges and universities, said Beall.

“These students attended Maharishi School in a large part to improve their English and be ready to attend college in the U.S.,” said Beall. “Four of the students from China are returning to attend MUM. Others will attend the University of Iowa.

“Among the Class of 2014, students were accepted by 36 different colleges across the country. We have graduates planning to attend UI, Middlebury College, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boston University, Columbia College of Missouri and Purdue University,” said Beall.

The senior class met guest speaker Freeberg in Los Angeles during the annual senior class trip.

“Students talked with Puki and saw the schools she works in,” said Beall. “We’re very glad to have her back here.”

Freeberg is a 2009 MUM graduate and works as program director at the David Lynch Foundation in Los Angeles, teaching TM to teenagers in schools like New Village Charter School, an all-girls public high school where she’s worked for the past years. The majority of the school’s students are Latina girls, age 15-18, about half of whom are either pregnant or parenting, or who for various reasons have not succeeded in the traditional school setting.

Freeberg also volunteers and teaches TM at Children of the Night, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing American children from prostitution.

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