Early childhood through grade 12

Hawthorne Valley Association
[caption id="attachment_8456" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Mike was one of several faculty members honored with a flower--and, in his case, this new t-shirt--at the 2023 Rose Ceremony.[/caption] This June is the start of a new adventure for Mike Pewtherer, Class of 1992, as he ends his time as a teacher at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. Mike has been a beloved teacher of everything from physics to practical arts, and he will be deeply missed by students and fellow faculty. Mike grew up in Harlemville, having moved here from England as a child so his father James could help grow the school in its early days. Living in such a rural town, Mike developed a desire to see more of the world, in part through the influence of one of his school teachers at HVS, Peter Shane. Peter used to talk about skiing in the Rocky Mountains to help explain inertia to his physics class. “And I remember thinking, wow, this guy has seen and done things,” Mike says. “And at that point I’d never seen the Rocky Mountains, and I realized I wanted to do as many different things as I can because life’s short and there’s too many cool things to just sit on the sidelines.” Following graduation, Mike set about doing just that. He trained in aviation as a combat engineer in the army (thankfully never seeing deployment), crossed the country sixteen times, spent several months down under working on an Australian cattle ranch, and more. Needless to say, Mike has some pretty great stories to share. Between trips, however, Mike kept returning to his home in the valley where he would find work to save up for the next trip. He met his future wife Diane here while she was working with the Visiting Students Program as part of her Master’s degree. They lived in San Francisco and Montana for a while, but when they decided to get married, they returned to Harlemville to raise their sons Wyatt and Torrin. “It was cool to have the perspective of having lived in a lot of different places to realize that this is a pretty darn good spot,” Mike says. Mike has spent the last twenty years working at Hawthorne Valley in different capacities, from maintenance to a teacher. He also has run the Woodland Ways wilderness camp at Hawthorne Valley, continuing a tradition that Harry Kretz and other early Hawthorne Valley staff began in the 1970s. I asked Mike what it has been like seeing the hamlet be built up over the years. He says it has been hard to see some of the older buildings where he has childhood memories come down and he always cringes a little when more earth gets paved, but the changes to the landscape have mostly been positive from his perspective. But Mike says what makes Harlemville such a great place to call home is the community here. “The people know you for who you are and how you are,” he says. “There’s something about being in a place where you’re accepted no matter what.” As his youngest son is graduates from Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School this June, Mike is ready to try something new. He is following his passion for aviation by working as a helicopter pilot for tours and excursions. He says he’s loved flying since he was a teenager and worked to pay for flight lessons in Great Barrington. He plans to stay local for now, but would love to fly for a company like National Geographic, if an opportunity came along. Thank you Mike, for all you contribute to our community, and we wish you all the best on this next stage of your life’s journey!