The Hartsbrook School

Alumna Profile: Caroline Winter ’93 (8th Grade)

“Journalism is something I fell into by accident,” says Caroline Winter, a member of The Hartsbrook school “pioneer class” of ’93 (8th Grade), the first graduating class. “My Waldorf education, with its emphasis on exploration and imagination, was instrumental in helping to prepare me for this compelling work.”
“I was fortunate because I was able to choose Hartsbrook, a school that was right for me,” says Caroline. Unhappy at her previous school, she visited Hartsbrook part way through first grade and knew immediately that she wanted to join the class permanently. “It was the feeling I got being there, the beauty of the physical environment,” she says. “There was also an atmosphere of care, spiritual depth and joy created by the teachers.” On later visits, Caroline recalls being amazed by how healthy and happy the Waldorf students look, something she senses in how they play and greet the world and people in it.

One aspect Caroline especially loved about Hartsbrook was the focus on poems, language and legendary stories, such as the Norse and Greek Myths, which she found engrossing. She also speaks lovingly of all the plays throughout her Hartsbrook experience. The plays are attuned to the class’s developmental stage, providing opportunities for students who are ready to rise to meet new challenges, such as the year that normally shy Caroline grew into and mastered the lead role of Joan of Arc in their eighth grade play.

An Unexpected Path:
Hartsbrook’s Waldorf approach nurtures creativity and inquisitiveness, attributes that would feed anycareer path, says Caroline. Before falling into journalism, Caroline completed her pre-medical studies and was admitted to medical school. In her words, “…my Waldorf education taught me how to think logically and as an individual, to ask questions and to do anything I really wanted.” Caroline’s first venture into professional writing came about quite by accident. In 2003, she had just finished college and was on a fellowship in Germany. For fun, she began exploring abandoned buildings throughout former East Germany and stumbled upon a grand villa that had once served as Iraq’s embassy to East Germany. Following Germany’s reunification, the embassy had shut down, but was left filled with a disheveled disarray of books, banners, and pictures from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

A Journalist Is Born:
Despite never having taken writing classes in college, Caroline resolved to write a piece about her embassy adventure and sent it off to The New York Times for potential publication. She recalls being elated when The New York Times published the article, “Saddam Hussein Is in My Kitchen,” on their “Opinion Pages.” Caroline was hooked. Since then, Caroline has written for several more publications, including the New York Times magazine and Spiegel International. For the past seven years, she has been a staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York, focusing on a wide range of topics spanning rogue scientists to obsessive businessmen. This spring, Caroline was named a fellow of the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT for the 2017-18 year. She will join nine other journalists from four countries in program’s 35th class. Hartsbrook is looking forward to welcoming Caroline back to the campus to share her stories and become a part of a tradition of inspiring the next generation of journalists, scientists and all students who are educated by curiosity, exploration and storytelling. For a sample of articles written by Caroline, visit www.carowinter.com.