Pentathlon 2020

 May 14 & 15
Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor

Our annual Greek Pentathlon is a coming-of-age competition and a celebration of grace, athleticism, sportsmanship and the upcoming independence of adolescence.

Waldorf students study Greek history at the end of their fifth grade year, learning about the Gods and myths and also about historical Greece and its cultivation of democracy, philosophy and the arts. These lessons intertwine and culminate into a day when the intellectual meets the physical and academics reach a peak of relevancy in the students' minds.
As the students come together with other schools to compete, they do not compete by school, but are instead combined together in cooperative relationships with new peers. All students are assigned to be part of one of four teams representing the Greek city-states of Thebes, Sparta, Corinth and Athens. From there they are directed to the stations of competition for one of the classic Greek events —  Discus, Long Jump, Foot Racing and Greek wrestling.
The events are not scored on athletic performance alone, but instead on a number of factors including the athlete’s form (grace and beauty which the Greeks revered) and also on sportsmanship with the other players.
There are many learning opportunities which are both essential and developmentally appropriate for 11-12 year olds to learn during this event. They must learn to test their physical abilities, manage and accept disappointment in their performance, make new friends, strive to exceed their personal bests and be gracious in the face of loss.
Surrounding both sides of the competition itself are times of community togetherness. Before the day of festivities, the students gather to read oaths from their school regarding the event and sing Glorious Apollo before a Greek dinner with families. On the day of competition there is an opening ceremony complete with trumpet fanfare, an Olympic pledge and the torch run.
These gatherings hold reverence for the students as they begin and complete this coming-of-age event which inspires aspiration, determination and celebration.


This year we welcome:

Detroit Waldorf School

Waldorf School of Pittsburgh

Spring Garden Waldorf School

Cincinnati Waldorf School

Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor

We look forward to welcoming your 5th grader to our school for the Pentathlon.  Below is important information in order to prepare for this exciting event. Please read through all of it and contact Kriste Brown at with any questions.




Registration for the Pentathlon will be open through March 25. Please complete the online registration and promptly return your payment to your child’s class teacher. The fee for each athlete is $50. This includes Thursday dinner, Friday snacks and lunch, t-shirt and water bottle. Family members may purchase Thursday dinner, Friday lunch and t-shirts on the registration form for an additional fee. 





Long Jump

In the past, out-of-town students have spent the night before the Pentathlon in the homes of our fifth graders, while visiting parents have stayed at a local hotel. It’s a fun way for the students to get to know each other before the big day. We put classmates together in pairs or small groups. Most host families can offer floor space; a few can offer a spare bed. We need to know who would like to stay with a host family and whether there are any special needs (e.g. dietary, allergies, etc.). Please let us know on the online registration form if your child will be spending the night with a host family. All host families have had background checks.


Greek Feast - Thursday, May 14 at the RSSAA Lower School


It has been a festive tradition to enjoy a reception together the evening before the Pentathlon. On Thursday, May 14, we will all gather to meet one another, sing, enjoy a Greek dinner, share class presentations, divide into city-states and review instructions for the next morning. To share the expenses of the reception, the RSSAA Pentathlon committee is asking that all attending families and guests over 5 years of age contribute $10 for the reception. This does not apply to student athletes and their teachers. A pre-payment is required in order to help us better plan. On the online registration, please indicate the number of parents and siblings who will attend the reception.


Friday Food Options:


Families:  Our school will provide complimentary bagels, hot tea, coffee and water in the morning for teachers and families. Our Grade 7 class is offering pre-ordered lunches ($12 each) for parents and visiting family members. Lunch includes a sandwich, fruit, and a drink. You can order lunches through your athlete’s registration. A bake sale will be available with additional snacks for family members.


Athletes: On Friday morning, host families will provide a nourishing breakfast for their student guests. Food for athletes at Pentathlon is included in their registration fee. Water, nourishing snacks and lunch will be provided for the athletes at the Athlete Food table.




Please talk with your children about the importance of drinking lots of water and wearing sunscreen and hats in the event we have extremely warm weather. There is very little shade on our playing field. If the weather is cold, students should wear layers under their Pentathlon shirts.


We ask parents to be mindful and respectful of judges decisions. Keep in mind that these judges are volunteers and have been trained by our Games teacher. Corey Walsh, our Games teacher, will be available if any one has questions about the judging process.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 14
4:30 pm: Arrive at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, 2775 Newport Rd. Register and then find host families, identified by signs in the hall, and leave luggage in that spot. Proceed to the gym.
5:00 pm: Welcome, City-State announcements and distribution of t-shirts and water bottles.
5:15 pm: Proceed outdoors to the fire for Teachers’ Blessing. Oath reading and burning. Singing of Glorious Apollo.
5:30 pm: First run
6:00 pm: Dinner
6:30 pm: 2-3 minute presentation from each class on the stage
7:00 pm: Athletes depart **
Friday, May 15

8:30 am: Welcome and Warm-up with Mr. Walsh
9:05 am: Trumpet fan-fare as Athletes proceed to the Compass
9:15 am:
9:30 am: Torch Run – “Let the games begin!”
12:45 pm: Games have ended, lunch time
1:30 pm: Awards, Closing Ceremony
2:00 pm: Departure
** Following the Greek Feast, join us at Rudolf Steiner High School for an
Open House for parents from 7-8:30 pm.
2230 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor MI 48105

Pentathlon City-State

What to Bring

• Pajamas, toothbrush, and other necessary overnight personal items.
• Sleeping bag & pillow.
• Lawn chairs for visiting parents.


Weber’s Inn
3050 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103
* Restaurant on site
* Indoor pool, whirlpool, exercise room, game room
Wyndam Garden Hotel
2900 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 665-4444
* Indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness center
* Restaurant on site
Hampton Inn & Suites
2910 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor MI 48103
* Complimentary full hot breakfast
* Restaurant on site
* Indoor pool and fitness center
Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown
120 West Huron Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104
* Located a short walk to Main Street
* Complimentary full hot breakfast
* Indoor pool