Emanuel attended the Brooklyn Waldorf School from 6th grade to 8th grade. After graduating 8th grade in 2014, he went on to attend Nazareth Regional High School, a private, coeducational Roman Catholic high school in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. An avid student-athlete, Emanuel plays for the Nazareth’s Varsity Football Team (as a running back) as well as runs for the school’s Varsity Track Team.
I was attending public school and had a friend who attended a Waldorf school in Pennsylvania – so I was somewhat familiar with the name. My mom and I came to an open house and we liked the school, the philosophy and the school’s approach to learning. It was nice change for me. It was different from the school I had attended.
The small class-size was helpful to me. Also I had never taken art in my other school and at Brooklyn Waldorf, art was very important in every single class and subject. I used to draw when I was younger; but not to the extent I did at Brooklyn Waldorf. Here, I learned how to paint, how to use different pastels and how to use all sorts of different mediums in art. I also learned how to play the cello. I never thought I would learn how to play cello.
It was fun. I liked the trips we went on. I liked how the teachers would let us go out for lunch when we were in 8th grade. In every subject we studied, art was a part of the class – including math class. Art became another way for everyone to describe themselves in their own way. For example, eurythmy taught us how to express ourselves with body movements.
I think Brooklyn Waldorf’s small class size helped me learn how to focus on my work. I had good one-on-one connections with my teachers. Now that I’m at a larger school, I have larger classes and the focusing skills I learned at Brooklyn Waldorf have helped.
In eighth grade, we went on a trip to the Redwood Forests in California. That was fun. We camped there for a whole week. That was my first time camping. It was fun experience bonding with my classmates but also connecting with nature. We made our own food. It was a new experience and afterwards, I felt like I could go camping again and I could teach other people how to pitch a tent or how to make food or how to start a fire out in the wilderness. I think for a lot of kids growing up in the city, you just don’t get to experience nature that much. I doubt that many kids at other schools get to camp in the woods or learn outdoor survival skills.
History was fun. We learned a lot about different historical figures. In woodworking, I made a skateboard that I still have today. I also made chopsticks, a toy car, a toy boat and a cooking spoon (that my mom still uses). In handwork class, I made an apron and I also made a Carmelo Anthony doll – complete with a New York Knicks jersey (see photo). The After School Circus Arts club was fun too. I learned how to ride the unicycle.
All of these experiences – camping in the Redwood Forests, learning about art or how to make things out of wood and fabrics or even circus arts – they showed me how to be a creative person. I learned to use the resources available to me and make things. I think that’s an important skill to learn. It gave me self-confidence because I never would have thought I could make some of those things. But once I did it, I believed in myself that I could accomplish things. Now that I’m in high school, those lessons have helped me to push myself in my classes and in my school projects.
I’m taking classes in environmental science, English, Spanish, weight training, geometry, Street Law and global history. I’m very involved in athletics. For the past three years, I’ve played running back on the Varsity Football Team. For the past two year, I run track. Nazareth’s track team does quite well. I’ve run in every sprint race: 55-, 100-, 200-, 300-, and 400- meters. I’ve competed against other Catholic schools and other public high schools all over the city and won track medals for all of them. I’ve also learned how to play the French horn.
There is no free time. Once I get out of school, I have practice until 6 o’clock. Then I go home, do homework and go to bed.
I’d like to study engineering or architecture. I’m looking at some big universities – like Syracuse University or some universities in Florida. I’d like to continue playing football or run track when I’m in college.
You’ll get a lot of one-on-one attention with your teacher like you’ve never experienced before. It’s a safe environment and you will learn a whole bunch of skills. You will get a connection to your artistic side.