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The Greenhouse School - Article,2005:f36880ed674b48911f14fedb4f672a4a/article Textpattern 2013-12-04T16:19:47Z Mike Karolow Dan Welch 2013-12-04T15:27:58Z 2013-12-04T16:19:47Z Rhodes Scholar Has Greenhouse School Connection,2013-12-04:f36880ed674b48911f14fedb4f672a4a/1934f058d30606cae3d46f70e285aedc

“We always knew she was a star!” beams older sister and Greenhouse School Director, talking about Jessica Wamala, a former student and Salem resident, who was just awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Dan Welch, co-Director and Nambalirwa-Lugudde’s husband, adds with a wink, “As early childhood advocates and professionals, we take full credit. All kidding aside, it’s a phenomenal achievement, and of course it’s all hers. We’re just bursting with pride.” Wamala spent her early years at the small independent school before family circumstances caused her to move out of the area. The couple recalls those experiences fondly, including the time (“We have it on tape,” quips Nambalirwa-Lugudde) Wamala stole away to finish the more complicated work of an older school mate when he got up to go to the bathroom.

Wamala graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in May 2013, with majors in political science, Arab and Islamic studies, and global interdisciplinary studies. She is now pursuing a M.A. in political science at Villanova. She’s also done extensive work with Philadelphia’s homeless.

Committed to addressing social issues, Wamala has learned first-hand about diplomacy as a Rangel Scholar and political intern at the US Embassy Belgrade in Serbia and at the State Department Office’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship and leadership including the 2012 Harry S. Truman Scholarship and the Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship, and she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa –the National Honors Fraternity for Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She plans to do the M.Phil. in modern middle eastern studies at Oxford, in preparation for a career in the Foreign Service as a political officer.

The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904; the newest recipients elected will enter Oxford in October 2014. Mr. Gerson called the Rhodes Scholarships, “the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates.”

The 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from the U.S. will join an international group of Scholars chosen from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. In addition to the 32 Americans, Scholars are also selected from Australia, Bermuda, Canada, the nations of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa (South Africa, plus Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Approximately 80 Scholars are selected worldwide each year, usually including several who have attended American colleges and universities but who are not U.S. citizens and who have applied through their home country.

With the most recent elections announced, 3,324 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 316 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply and 487 American women have now won the coveted scholarship. Over 1,900 American Rhodes Scholars are living in all parts of the U.S. and abroad.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. This year approximately 1750 students sought their institution’s endorsement; 857 were endorsed by 327 different colleges and universities. Committees of Selection in each of 16 U.S. districts then invite the strongest applicants to appear before them for interview.

“Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes,” Gerson said. “These criteria are high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership,
and physical vigor. These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes’s hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an important and positive contribution throughout the world. In Rhodes’ words, his Scholars should ‘esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim.’”

Applicants in the United States may apply either through the state where they are legally resident or where they have attended college for at least two years. The district committees met separately, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23 in cities across the country. Each district committee made a final selection of two Rhodes Scholars from the candidates of the state or states within the district. Two-hundred eight applicants from 91 different colleges and universities reached the final stage of the competition.

As for the connection to the Greenhouse School, Welch and Nambalirwa-Lugudde have a more practical agenda. “True, it’s all reflected glory,” says Welch, “but we really like our kids to see what they can aim for. It sets a pretty high bar! And of course we can’t help being proud of the fact that she learned to read and write and add here.” Then, with a grin, he adds, “I mean, even Villanova only has three, so we’re not far behind!”

Dan Welch 2012-07-04T16:23:56Z 2013-11-20T14:53:39Z Fall Festival Gala and the Saga of Captain Goodluck,2012-07-04:f36880ed674b48911f14fedb4f672a4a/25ec6f0b7f2fa5c435982fe350293cc9

Crazy World Creations is the fine art and crafts label of Ms. Julia (Greenhouse School Director Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde), which donated this very special item to the school’s auction this year: a limited edition of her renowned Crazy Creatures with a Red Sox theme. Made by hand from repurposed cotton sweaters, each Crazy Creature is always a one-of-a-kind work of art. But the Sox being in the Series prompted her to make this one extra special, and donating it to the school’s auction seemed appropriate.

Among the interesting developments to come out of this year’s Gala was the saga of Captain Goodluck. An anonymous donor won the bidding, and wants to donate the creature to Dana Farber as a good luck charm for the Sox and for those being treated for cancer. Dana Farber is particularly appropriate not only because of its affiliation with the Red Sox, but also because it was where both Ms. Welch and Mr. Frank (the school’s founder and her husband) were treated for their cancers.

Julia makes Crazy Creatures all year long, each a unique and special creature which can be adopted by a loving home. These and other special items can be seen in the Crazy World Creations catalogue (scroll to bottom), or by contacting the artist at the school through

Greenhouse School Displays Mural

Public art piece is the culmination of art residency in memory of SHS grad

In 2013 The Greenhouse School established the Richard George Rousseau, Jr. Art Residency Award, in memory of a high school friend of Director Dan Welch. Rousseau passed away suddenly in 2013. As part of the Art Residency the recipient Marcus McKenzie is charged with helping to bring about a display of art in which he and Director Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde collaborate, and involve the kids in completing the work.

The Mural is a collaboration, in design, spirit and execution, between an emerging artist and an accomplished artist (though Ms. Julia scoffs a bit too modestly at this characterization, imho). When finished, it will be a 4’ x 16’ explosion of massive color and energy that will grace the fence facing north on the front of the school.

It is not only a piece of public art on prominent display, as called for by the RGR Art Prize; we hope it will also be the focal point of a fresh new look for the front of the school in time for the start of the school year.

About 25,000 cars per day pass by on Route 1A, and this will certainly give them something to look at. Lydia King, who attended Greenhouse along with Marcus and is also an intern with the kids this summer, has also helped in bringing the work to completion.

A complex and daunting undertaking, the mural is constructed in two pieces. The background echoes a series of abstract geometric designs on which Nambalirwa-Lugudde has been working for some time, and is loosely evocative—in part and in spirit—on her work African Meal, or tuliye emele, (“Let’s eat” in her native Luganda).

Against this background the completed design shows a seedling growing into a series of larger trees. The observer will note that the piece progresses from a more representational presentation toward greater abstraction from left to right. While not completely intentional, this seems to symbolize the growth that is paramount to learning at The Greenhouse School: greater abstraction requires broader and more complex thought, just as algebra evolves eventually from one-to-one correspondence in the mind of the growing child.

We are proud of the span of learners and learning we undertake at The Greenhouse School. The planting and growing theme not only echoes the school’s early motto Come Grow With Us, but more concretely mirror the school’s longstanding and increasing emphasis on farming and food production. While the school has gained reknown for its farming and art programs in recent years, it is important to stress our rigorous commitment to traditional academics.

We like to see ourselves as a living experiment, proof that art, algebra and agriculture can not only peacefully coexist, so to speak, but truly feed and thrive off each other to form an intense learning environment. It is not for nothing that children and families who have passed through the school over the years always seem to come back, having found a second home in The Greenhouse School. This brings into focus the school’s newer motto, which has never quite eclipsed the one in the mural: Never Stop Learning.

Funding for the project and for the RGR Art Residency is an ongoing challenge, and we welcome any contributions or assistance in this regard. The school is launching a series of art classes for children from the community this fall, not limited to those attending Greenhouse School. Also, a line of crafts spawned from the mural’s theme is also in production, including Mural Bagz, prints and other merchandise. (see below). For more information, please contact school officials. You may do so through the school’s website at

In addition to our academic programs for infants, toddlers, preschool, afterschool, summer and complete K-8th grade, please ask about our new initiatives:

Mural swag! Handmade colorful handbags inspired by our mural design, along with other merchandise and crafts to help fund our programs!

Art classes for students in the Fall – 2 days per week 3 p.m.

ESL classes and TOEFL prep – coming soon!

Family Meals: Nutritious, homemade meals for 4-5 from D&J catering at GHS – $20
Don’t feel like cooking? You don’t have to get fast food!

Also ask about volunteer opportunities to meet Community Service requirements

Crazy World Creations Catalogue
If your eyes are old and tired like Mr. Danny’s, please request a full-size version!

Mike Karolow 2011-10-06T20:18:36Z 2011-10-06T20:18:36Z Greenhouse School Students Bring International Gold to Region,2008-06-21:f36880ed674b48911f14fedb4f672a4a/93b6ae34ab8d9988fbb2179693161167 Art is no poor stepchild in the curriculum at The Greenhouse School, and it shows. The Pentel Awards came last week and GHS wound up getting six of them, including two Special Gold Awards—the school’s best haul in years. For those who don’t know, art supply company Pentel has a juried international children’s art exhibit for which GHS students have competed for several years. Pentel receives over 200,000 entries worldwide. Only four Special Gold Awards are distributed in all of the US. This year, no fewer than two Special Golds were taken by young artists at GHS: Seven-year-old Max Gieg and eight year old Funmi Olatilu.

Barn in the Sunlight

"Barn in the Sunlight," Special Gold Medal Winner
Maxwell Gieg, tempera on paper

Two students won silver medals: Sixth grader Marcus McKenzie and fourth grader Adorie Troche. Two also won bronze awards: preschooler Jonah Harrison and first grader Jordan Olatilu.

“I can’t believe we took half of the whole country’s Special Golds for our tiny little school. We’re very proud of all the kids,” says Director Dan Welch. “And of course of Ms. Julia as well. She’s a bit too modest, but they couldn’t do it without her prodding.” Ms. Julia, aka Assistand Director Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde, does indeed seem a bit too modest. “It’s the kids’ work, she insists. It’s just a matter of making them follow through and do the best they can. A lot of people don’t realize what they can do until they’re pushed.”

School founder Patricia Jennings-Welch is also thrilled. Art was always important to the small school, but watching the program blossom in recent years has been fun for the recently-turned-80 year old Founder. “We’ve done Pentel for years, but this is incredible!” she gushes, adding that excellence in art is completely in line with her founding vision.

"Lost Girl," One of 4 Special Gold Medal Winners in all of US
Olafunmilola Olatilu, acrylic on recycled cardboard

“I don’t know why some parents and teachers are so afraid to push kids,” she says. “Do you think DaVinci or Picasso or Georgia O’Keefe produced the work they did by just doing what they felt like until it all just happened? Art, like academics, is work, and the more success kids have at it, the more they succeed in other areas.”

Greenhouse School 2008 Pentel Winner

Greenhouse School 2008 Pentel Winners: Marcus McKenzie 6th
grade, flanked by, from right, Jordan Olatilu, 1st grade, Adorie Troche,
4th grade, Max Gieg, 1st grade, Jonah Harrison, PreK, and Funmi
Olatilu, 2nd grade

Mike Karolow 2011-10-06T20:18:03Z 2013-11-19T21:41:42Z Bid on Captain Goodluck!,2011-10-06:f36880ed674b48911f14fedb4f672a4a/9454b82a3b3b9c6f30c8bad53bc86d73 World Series Art for Charity
Local artist pays homage to Sox’ series run

Final bid was $175, by an anonymous donor who is donating the Crazy Creature to Dana Farber [see accompanying story at right]

[This story also appeared in the Lynn Item]

When Greenhouse School Directors Dan Welch and Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde watched the Red Sox clinch the ALCS in a local pub, they shared the fans’ sense of jubilation—until a bit of dread crept in. You see, the couple also runs the small, independent Greenhouse School in Salem, and plans for the annual Fall Festival Fundraiser are already set for Saturday night. When the game schedule came out, sure enough the event came smack into conflict with Game Three.

“I can’t believe our luck,” says Nambalirwa-Lugudde. “We’ve never had it at night before, and now when we do, everyone is going to be home watching the game!” For the past 20 years, the event has always been a daytime affair. This year, the couple decided to change the format to an evening, Gala event.

“We’ll adapt,” says husband Dan Welch, adding dryly, “We always do. Someone has a huge TV—we’ll just make it the best series watching venue on the north shore, I guess.”

Indeed, Nambalirwa-Lugudde has another idea to make fortune smile on the school’s silent auction. Crazy World Creations, her fine art and crafts label, will be donating a very special item to the auction this year: a limited edition of her renowned Crazy Creatures with a Red Sox theme. Made by hand from repurposed cotton sweaters, each Crazy Creature is always a one-of-a-kind work of art. But the Sox being in the Series prompted her to make this one extra special, and donating it to the school’s auction seems appropriate. “I’m hoping it will be the most sought-after item in the auction,” she muses.

Fall Festival Gala is this Saturday starting at 7 p.m. at the school on Loring Ave. The school will also hold a yard sale and other festival activities earlier in the day—another concession to the conflict with Game Three. School officials stress, however, that you don’t have to come to the Gala to bid on Ms. Julia’s “Captain Goodluck” and can get in touch through the school’s website at

Come Grow With Us!
Does your child love school? If not, why not? Check out our rigorous academic environment with a supportive, individualized approach that brings out the potential of every child. There is no school like ours anywhere!

Whether kids are studying math or reading or any of the other subjects, they will also enjoy swim-ming in our pool, learning new moves on the basketball court, farming with friends in our many gardens, challenging them-selves to sew their own quilts or other art projects. From infancy through eighth grade, The Green-house School is a unique indepen-dent school, a place where learning lasts a lifetime.

Mike Karolow 2008-03-01T22:10:23Z 2008-03-05T03:53:49Z Greenhouse School Announces Essay and Poster Contest for St. Patrick’s Day,2008-03-01:f36880ed674b48911f14fedb4f672a4a/f94df9512cc5a2a0afb6982b54f341b1 The Greenhouse School, a small independent school in Salem, has announced a poster and essay contest for St. Patrick’s Day, based on the theme “Where does Sam-I-Am get his green eggs and ham?” The contest is open to students in grades 1 to 5.

“The green eggs and ham theme goes way back to when Ms. Welch was teaching at Horace Mann in the 1970s,” says GHS Director Dan Welch. “She would cook it up in an electric frying pan in the classroom and make a big deal out of the book and the food and everything.”

“We love Dr. Seuss!” says Assistant Director Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde, who started the school’s own version of the essay and poster contest about 10 years ago. But more importantly, she adds, the book allows teachers to expand on a green theme and provoke thought about curiosity and trying new things. “Kids are so picky in their eating—which is one of the things that Geisel was getting at. Some will just push it around and refuse to eat it. But when they try it, their reaction is exactly like the character in the book. It’s a very useful epiphany.”

This realization is what learning is all about, and expands far beyond food, explains Welch. “Geisel was trying to say that people who are narrow and inflexible limit their experience and shrink their world—it’s a great lesson for learning. We try to get kids—and even parents sometimes!—to see that trying a bite of something a child hasn’t had before won’t kill them. The spillover to other areas is very useful.”

As for the St.Patrick’s Day theme, well, green is green. “We know it’s a bit of a stretch,” says Welch. It’s just fun for the little guys because of the colors and the book and the theme, but our St. Patrick’s Day curriculum has evolved into something much more serious. The green eggs and ham is only a small part of it.”

Nambalirwa-Lugudde, who is also Welch’s wife, is even more enthusiastic. “We have the best St. Patrick’s Day anywhere!” She crows. “It’s my favorite holiday after Halloween.” An interesting comment from a woman who emigrated from Uganda at age 9 and boasts no Irish roots at all. “But the rest of the curriculum is so important,” she adds. These activities involve studying The Great Hunger—the potato famine of 1847-8—and learning countless songs about the Irish struggle for freedom, along with cooking a traditional boiled dinner with the kids. “My Dad is in love with Frank McCort—he sees so many overlaps between the Irish and African experiences. Cooking a boiled dinner gives us so much to teach the kids about the ingenuity that comes from poverty—I guess that links back into the essay contest fairly well.”

Those wishing to enter should first read the complete rules here.