Under the Stars Spring Gala
Honoree: Cynthia Mwenja
In appreciation of her unwavering commitment to Alabama Waldorf School, and devoted service to education in the Greater Birmingham Area, Cynthia Mwenja is named our 2022 Gala Honoree.
In her own words:
The Alabama Waldorf School has made me the person I am. I taught Morning Garden from 1998-2000, ran the extended care program from Spring 1999-Fall 2001, and worked as Administrative Coordinator from January 2002 - May 2007. Over the years, I subbed in every subject class except Russian—handwork, movement, Spanish, music; I also subbed in morning lesson from time to time and taught a morning lesson block for Sheila’s 8th grade. Between serving as part of the faculty and as administrator during the years of establishing the Grades program, I am proud of my role in working with many others to form the school—setting policies, guidelines, ground rules, etc. During my time working at AWS, I learned about the value of talking through disagreements with others; as Administrator, I served in the College of Teachers, where I learned that truly inclusive and egalitarian consensus decision-making is possible. Through weekly faculty meetings, I also learned the value of ongoing spiritual inquiry and growth.
Of course, my experience as a parent informed so much of the time that I have been involved with the school. Here are a few highlights regarding my kids:
Janine: began Nursery in Spring 1997; started in the inaugural first grade in 2000 with Sheila; graduated 2008. She attended Jefferson County International Baccalaureate High School, earning her IB Diploma; earned a B. ARCH and B. Int. ARCH from Auburn’s Rural Studio program; is now a licensed, practicing architect and serves on the AWS Board.
Suze: began Morning Garden in Fall 1997; after attending Nursery and Kindergarten, she started first grade in 2002 with Lisa; graduated 2010. She attended Shades Valley Theatre Academy; earned a Bachelor’s in Speech Pathology from the University of Montevallo, and now works in the AWS Nursery.
Mars: began Morning Garden in utero; after attending Nursery and Kindergarten, they started first grade in 2004 with Stacy Jacks; graduated in 2012 with Luke as their teacher. They attended Jefferson County International Baccalaureate High School; earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Black Studies from Swarthmore; now works as a community organizer and doula.
Rosalyn: was the AWS “office baby,” with her own “Moses basket” under my desk; after attending Nursery and Kindergarten, she began first grade with Michelle in 2008 and graduated 8th grade in 2016. She wrapped up high school at Jefferson County Academy of Theatre and Dance in three years and is currently a student in vocal performance at the University of Montevallo.
Lilla: after attending Nursery and Kindergarten, she began first grade in 2015 with Carole; she will wrap up her tenure at AWS this spring with Lynda. Our current plan is for her to attend Magic City Acceptance Academy this fall.
Cynthia currently serves on the AWS Strategic Planning Committee, and is an active member of the Family Association. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and World Languages, at the University of Montevallo, having received her B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College, M.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. She specializes in Restorative Composition Practices and First-year Writing Pedagogy, with secondary interests in translingualism and media rhetorics
Please join us for the annual AWS "Under the Stars" Gala Fundraiser, on Saturday, March 12, 6 - 10 pm, presented by Signature Health and EBSCO Industries, as we celebrate Cynthia.
About the Annual Gala
The Annual AWS Spring Gala is a silent auction event featuring items from local Birmingham artists and businesses, as well as special collaborative art projects done by each of the AWS Preschool and Grades classes partnered with a local artist. Past Gala honorees have included school administrators Luke Lucas and Dr. Lisa Grupe, veteran teachers John “Mr. Huck” Huckestein and Lynda Powell, founder Sheila Rubin, and philanthropist grandparents Stan Lawler and Gerda Carmichael.
The Gala accounts for about a third of our annual fundraising efforts. Last year, together with help from donors like you, we raised $24,000! Every contribution directly supports this vibrant education for the children we love — providing classroom supplies, playground maintenance, teacher training, and more.