Alumna Spotlight

As our children progress through Montessori environments we delight in their growth and development. It’s worth noting though that this development does not just aid them as children, rather it forms a strong foundation for their whole lives. 

At times this connection can be difficult to see – we take a leap of faith that providing this for our children now will continue to bear fruit later. We give them practice making choices hoping they’ll learn how to make good ones. We teach interdependence hoping their worldview will be informed by this knowledge. We plant seeds so that we may see not just the bud but the full blossoming that often occurs much later. 

So, what a joy to highlight an alum who clearly is flourishing; who has taken all she’s been given at Villa di Maria and is doing her part to positively impact the world. So, let’s take a look at the project Gabrielle McAuley (VdM Class of 2016) is currently working on. Her Montessori roots are clearly bearing fruit just three years after graduating. 

Gabrielle working with a scientist through an internship at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Gabrielle attended Villa di Maria from age two to twelve and is now a freshman at Clayton High School. (And yes, she is the daughter of Mrs. McAuley, P1 guide extraordinaire.) She was struck by the opportunity to help bond the city with the county by connecting Clayton High School students with communities in other parts of St. Louis. To that end, she applied for and was granted a plot of land through St. Louis’s Land Reutilization Authority’s Garden Lease Program to start a community garden downtown. Her hope is to eventually turn this project into a non-profit.

Gabrielle’s objective is to bring neighbors together, provide food for hungry families and partner with the community to grow their own food. She gives credit for having some of the essential skills needed to manage this initiative to the work she did of creating a rain garden while attending the Montessori Adolescent Program (MAP). 

Since it’s a shady lot, she’s collaborating to design sculptures that will amplify sunlight. She has also partnered with a student-run club, Volunteen, along with Green Club to build composting bins.

Her team is seeking to raise $400 for building supplies by selling t-shirts designed by her fellow students. To support Gabrielle’s project, please purchase your $25 t-shirt by 2/22/19 here. You can also make a donation of cash via this link (note, since she is not yet affiliated with an NPO, your donation is not tax deductible). 

T-Shirt Design

Good luck Gabrielle! It’s a delight to see the good you are putting back into the world.