40th Anniversary Celebration

Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School
40th Anniversary Program Schedule
September 12, 2020

  • Welcome by Joe Lenarz, PRWS Board President & Parent
  • 40th Anniversary Video
  • Alumni Speaker: Maggie Welch (PRWS Class of 2000)
  • Virtual School Tour by Aaron Schmidt and Mary Christenson
  • Tribute to Mary Christenson
  • Address by Mary Christenson
  • Invitation by Robin Kottke, Development Director 
  • Toast to 40 Years by Martha Karlstad, Parent & Event Co-Chair         
  • Words of Appreciation from Participants
  • Closing Remarks & Gratitude
  • PRWS Through The Years Photo Montage & Music by PRWS students


40th Anniversary Gratitude:

Thank you, thank you for a most lovely 40th anniversary celebration!  Gathering with you all felt so connecting, far more so than we could have anticipated for an event that took place via Zoom!  Our collective love of the school, and for the community that has been built up here, was palpable. 

We were joined by friends from California, New York, Arizona, the Twin Cities, South Carolina, Tennessee and the farthest reaches of Wisconsin!  Bountiful thanks to all who bought tickets, sponsored a teacher’s dinner, and/or gave donations to support the work of the school in these challenging pandemic times.

The Zoom event was recorded and is available below:  Please enjoy and share with others you think will enjoy it. 

A few shout-outs to those who went above and beyond to ensure a fun and festive event:  To Alumni Silas Hundt and Julia Hundt Ugo for lending their technological expertise and weaving all the components of the evening together so beautifully.  To Dan Sebranek and Mary for gorgeous, live music.  To Dani Lind and the Rooted Spoon Culinary team for a gorgeous meal, and to volunteer food runners for a seamless curbside pick-up process.  Thanks to Drew Shonka for fantastic photos and film content, and David Levin for film editing and general A/V genius. To Geri Shonka and Mark Brudos for promoting the event.  Thank you to alumna Maggie Welch for reflecting and sharing her most prescient PRWS memories and take-aways.  To Joe Lenarz for opening the program so beautifully, and Aaron Schmidt for his heartfelt tribute to Mary Christenson. To Mary Christenson, for wise counsel and great stories. To Joen Daelande, for taking the lead on the origami-crane-for-every-PRWS graduate installation.  And to Maureen Karlstad, whose lovely Anam Cara artwork inspired the theme of our gathering. Finally, to our 40th Anniversary event sponsors: Organic  Prairie, Organic Valley, Wisco! Pop, John Karlstad, and Cassell Hollow Farm.  We are so grateful!

As current PRWS parents, and especially in these times, we were humbled and honored to gather with so many founding and pioneer PRWS families and faculty.  As we reflect on PRWS’s first four decades, it’s clear that ours is story of perseverance, resilience, and abiding love.  We are ever thankful for your vision, leadership, and enduring support.

Cheers to the next 40 years!

Robin Kottke, Martha Karlstad, Jen Wade, & Shelly Brenneman

40th Anniversary Committee Co-Chairs


Guest Speaker Maggie Welch

Maggie graduated from PRWS with Anne-Marie’s class in 2000. She went to High School at Viroqua High School, later attended Iowa State University, and has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Maggie is a Project Engineer and currently lives outside of Viroqua. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, traveling, and walking her two dogs.


Tribute to Mary Christenson

Mary Christenson and her husband Steve moved to the area in the summer of 1993 so their daughter, Katrina, could attend PRWS. She joined the newly formed Development committee and the board. In 1994 she worked part time with Kate Walter in Development until Kate retired in the spring of 1995. Mary coordinated fundraising and events, took on various responsibilities in administration, faculty council, and served on the board continuously. She received a certificate of Waldorf Administration and Community Development in 2000, and continued to grow the fundraising programs. Cynthia Olmstead joined her in the development office between 2004-2018. Mary retired from the staff in the spring of 2018, and happily turned over the reins to Robin Kottke. She continues to serve on the board, Development, and Growing for Good Committees.

Dani Lind

Dani Lind owns & operates Rooted Spoon Culinary, a farm-to-table catering business, event venue, & part-time restaurant in Viroqua. A lifelong gardener, she also raises herbs, vegetables, edible flowers, and fruit on the 80 acre grassfed beef farm she lives on with her husband. She loves to cook locally-sourced wholesome meals that burst with flavor, color, & seasonality.

Thank You To Our Sponsors