If you spend a little time immersed on The Gregory School campus, you will inevitably hear a common complaint: “This school is so small!” Yet for senior Montserrat Lussow, the size of the student population was a bit overwhelming. “I’ve attended a Waldorf School my whole life, and it’s half the size of The Gregory School,” she explained.
Lussow isn’t just new to The Gregory School though; in fact, coming from Vancouver, Canada, Tucson itself is considerably smaller. Originally from California, Lussow lived in Vancouver for the past eight years and loved it because of the myriad of activities available in the area, like skiing.
Lussow has found aspects of Tucson she loves too. “Both my parents live in cohousing communities so there’s a real sense of community here that I’m involved in,” she said. She also loves how artistic Tucson is, particularly downtown where she has enjoyed the “2nd Saturday” festivities.
Lussow’s favorite thing about the city so far though, ultimately is the River Bike Path just near the school; “I bike forty minutes to school each day, so I spend a lot of time on it,” she elaborated. Lussow loves the outdoors, and has already fallen in love with Sabino Canyon and Mt. Lemmon after hiking there.
“I’m pretty passionate about art, and art as an expression.”
— Monty Lussow, TGS Senior
Seeing as Lussow’s mother is an alumna of The Gregory School, it was the clear choice for her senior year after moving. Lussow was also enamored by the small class sizes and close teacher-student relationships. However, she adores the campus above all else. “Just how there’s trees on the campus, how you have to walk outside to get to your classes. There’s track fields right here, soccer fields.” She said, “My old school was in the basement of a church and it was nothing like this.”
She admits the academic adjustment to a college prep school from the largely “artistically inclined” Waldorf philosophy has not been easy. “At my old school, I played volleyball, soccer, basketball, and I was on the cross-country team. But, the academics were less intense, so I had more time to join sports and stuff,” she said.
In fact, one of Lussow’s greatest joys is athletics, and she has already signed up to play for The Gregory School women’s soccer team. At school so far, her favorite class is art and her favorite teacher is Mrs. Encila – understandably, too, as it’s one of her hobbies.
“I’m pretty passionate about art, and art as expression. Through all different mediums of art, too, even writing,” Lussow said. Most recently, she has taken up experimenting with making graffiti stencils, although she also enjoys watercolors and ink sketches.
Art teacher Virginia Encila, Lussow’s favorite teacher, is enchanted with her student’s talents and contributions to class. “Monty is a dedicated art student who is full of unique ideas, willing to take risks, and experiment with a variety of techniques,” she said. Encila added, “Monty has relaxed into a fabulous, confident art flow that is producing beautiful work that is all her own. Her signature fits her well and we are the beneficiaries of her honest, unpretentious creations.”
Perhaps Lussow’s greatest passion of all though is travel. In fact, her reason for arriving later in the school year was a result of her backpacking in Europe for two months on her own. “I went to Germany, London, the South of France, Barcelona, and back to Germany,” she said. Before that, she spent six months abroad studying in Brazil without knowing Portuguese, an experience she considers invaluable.
“It’s pretty normal for Waldorf students to do an exchange abroad, and I wanted to go to Brazil because I knew a lot of Brazilians and they’re really nice,” Lussow said.
Brazil was her favorite place she’s ever visited, “One of my close friends had a beach house that was in Sao Paulo and you had to drive a ways on a dirt road to get there. I spent two weeks there, and it was tiny but so beautiful.”
Lussow’s love of travel has largely influenced her plans for after high school, as she would like to attend a Waldorf teacher training program in Switzerland, for which she has already started learning German in preparation. Lussow would like to be an English teacher in a foreign country for younger grades because of her desire to both travel more and share her own experiences of learning languages in new environments.
Even with such a long list of unbelievables experiences, Lussow is most proud of the independence she’s developed as a result. She said, “I was backpacking around Europe by myself, and it was a big thing because I arranged all of my trains and hostels all by myself.”
Lussow added, “I just think it’s important to let people know all of the traveling experiences I’ve had. Like without going to Brazil, I would not be the same person.”
Lussow doesn’t regret anything from her high school experience, although she laughed, “I would’ve enjoyed it more, because it went too fast.”
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