Valuing Tradition: 11th Annual Summit for the Planet

Tradition played a huge role in my childhood. In fact, many of my fondest childhood memories can be pinpointed to a family celebration where traditions were plentiful. Sights, sounds, and smells can trigger memories and suddenly bring on the giddy feeling of nostalgia. At Thanksgiving the smell of fresh stuffing out of the oven can transport me back to watching my Grandpa Pedro make his famous stuffing, stealing a spoonful here and there to make sure the taste was spot on. The sound of Tejano music, which can be best described as polka music sung in Spanglish (a perfect blend of the English and Spanish languages) inexplicably makes my feet tap as I imagine myself being twirled by my mom or dad on a makeshift dance floor in someone’s backyard in celebration of a cousin’s birthday, baptism or graduation. Tradition not only fills my mind with memories, it fills my heart with gratitude for a childhood rooted in strong relationships.

The tradition of Summit for the Planet for the last 10 years is a testament that through tradition, relationships are cultivated, strengthened and honored. A successful Summit for the Planet requires community involvement and commitment. Our students are encouraged to fundraise to contribute to their education and collectively reach a goal ($130 per student, $26,000 all-school) required for their most favorite programs to continue. Parents are asked to volunteer their time assisting with the planning and execution of the event, a necessity to keep the event safe, organized and of course, fun. All faculty and staff pitch in on the day of the event by filling in wherever their help is needed, showing their students that they care for them beyond Monday through Friday and outside of the four walls in which their classrooms are situated.

By the end of the day our students, families and friends will have reunited and made new connections, executing the Mount Madonna School mission that “…a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships, and service to society.” Someday, the sight of friends smiling at one another, the sound of children laughing, singing and playing, and the smell of freshly baked naan may transport you back to the tradition of Summit for the Planet and fill you with warmth and joy for the opportunity to be a part of this community event.

Information to prepare you for Summit for the Planet:

Each student’s individual goal is $130.00 to meet the all-school goal of $26,000. Registration is easy and automatically creates a site for you to share with friends and family to send donations to. If paying by check please make its made payable to Mount Madonna School and the donors name and email is included. If paying by cash, please make sure the donor’s name and email are included. All pledges submitted to the school should be in a sealed envelope with your student’s name on it.

If you haven’t registered your student, please do so at – it takes less than 5 minutes! Every person who plans to walk the course must register!! Registration is free, however if you would like a commemorative t-shirt, a gift of $35 is required.

*Parents with more than one student need only volunteer for one task. Parents with students in Lower and Upper school should volunteer for an eco-carnival task. When all eco-carnival tasks are taken please volunteer for a walk-a-thon task.


By Linda Manzur

Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Director of Marketing & Communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.


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