The Pentathlon event is meant to provide 5th graders with an experience of the athletic pursuit of Truth and Beauty, with a sense that their efforts are being witnessed by the Greek gods. Can they attain the ideals of the archetypal human movements embodied in the 5 events? Can they engage their soul and spirit in pursuit of those ideals?
As evident in Greek art and architecture, the Greeks had an amazing sense of balance, truth and beauty. In the Pentathlon this shows up as a two fold goal. First, truth relates to the measure of the children’s efforts. How far can they throw the javelin, how fast can they run, etc. Secondly, beauty relates to the form and dynamic of their movements. Can they stand with uprightness, extend their reach fully and aim the javelin towards the heavens, meet their wrestling partner with powerful form, etc.
The students have been preparing throughout the school year. The seven days prior to the Pentathlon, Morning Lessons will be used to train. This intensive training takes place at the archery field by Lake Calhoun.
In addition to the Pentathlon, this is a class camping trip. Students stay in rustic cabins with chaperones. There is a large industrial kitchen where meals are prepared.
Wednesday, May 6: Wednesday morning, at the beginning of the school day, cars are loaded while the students wait in the classroom. All the other grades gather in the play yard, and cheer the pentathletes as they exit the building, then continue to cheer the caravan of cars as they leave.
The drive to the venue in Fairyville, Wisconsin takes about 3.5 hours. There is a place to stop for a picnic lunch mid way. Fairyville is 1/2 hour outside of the town of Viroqua.
After dinner there is a welcoming ceremony. Each of the 4 participating school’s 5th grades will share an artistic offering, (song, dance, poem), and present their peace flags. They will then be broken into 6 City States and meet the students from the other schools they are teamed up with.
Thursday, May 7: Thursday begins with an Opening Ceremony where Zeus and Athena greet the pentathletes. Then the games begin! Parents are asked to be a “fly on the wall” type of spectator; witness the event and let the children have their own experience. Thus no hooting, cheering or coaching from the side. Photographing is OK, but take pictures from a distance. No close up shots unless done with a zoom lens! The day ends with a closing ceremony.
Dinner is the Greek Feast, prepared by the Viroqua School’s 6th grade. After dinner, there are typically campfires and students play with their new friends from the other schools.
Friday, May 8: Breakfast, clean up, possibly one more hike. Then the Pentathletes return to City of Lakes Waldorf School, arriving by the end of the school day.
There will be 62 students in this year’s Pentathlon. The four schools participating are Madison Waldorf School, City of Lakes Waldorf School, Minnesota Waldorf School and Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School. Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School puts a tremendous amount of effort into organizing this event, and we are truly grateful for their organization, expertise and energy.