Comments from former students that attended Tinicum Art & Science:

Before I went to TAS I felt like I had no place in the world. Everywhere I went nothing seemed to work out. Then I found the school. For the first time in my life I had friends as well as teachers who cared. My teachers helped me get my life together and ready me for college. If I had not gone to that school I would not have the appreciation for the arts that I have nor the friends for life that I made.”

Justus Altmiller




Aaron Smith

I definitely consider my life leading up to the beginning of my sophomore year in high school a downwards spiral approaching a point of no return. For some reason, I thought that no one cared about my well-being, and as a result had virtually no control over my emotions, and was as introverted as they come. Then I found out about about the miraculous existence that I am proud to call my Alma Mater, Tinicum Art and Science. Throughout the three years I attended high school there, I learned so many things that helped me become the person I am today. Through various forms of meditation, mindfulness practice, and trying to combine these two things to help me train Shim Gum Do (a Korean sword-fighting martial art), this wonderful institution not only helped show me how to truly control my emotions and use them productively, but also enabled me to realize that I have such a huge support system in my life, and that asking for help is more than okay. I don’t know what I would have done or where I would be now without the school, but I do know for sure that it has changed and bettered so many lives, and for that, I am forever grateful.”


“I attended public school for my freshman year. By the end of the year, I had lost all interest in academics, I was bullied and I was more anxious and depressed than I had ever been. I was in real danger of serious academic issues. My parents pulled me from that school at the end of that year. Through a friend, we had heard about TAS and looked into it. It ended up being the best thing I could of done.

Brandon Shorts

I attended the school from my sophomore year through the end of my senior year. I graduated with a high school diploma and a set of life skills I would of never learned anywhere else. I learned everything from languages to critical thinking to physics and chemistry. My passion in science and math was nurtured and it put me on a path leading to college for chemical engineering. I ended up pursuing, and will be graduating with a degree in industrial engineering instead. But that broad foundation has been integral in my further education, regardless.

Even more importantly though, the school taught me the skills to cope with life. I learned everything from coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression, to socializing, to self-care. I can absolutely say the skills I learned at TAS had an essential influence on the well-adjusted and functional adult I am today. I left my freshman year hating high school, academics and many aspects of my situation. I was an intelligent kid in serious

trouble. I left my senior year with a 3.7 GPA on a path that would, ultimately, lead to becoming an engineer. The TAS model transformed my academic life and changed me as a person even more. I will always be beyond grateful for what I experienced there and even more hopeful the model lives on to always help more kids who struggled like I did.”



Comments from visiting teachers:

Over the past year I have had the opportunity to interact with the students of Lotus as a guest Martial Arts Teacher. Having met Peter Ryan at an event at the River Valley Waldorf school, and after getting to know each other and our similar followings with martial arts, he graciously invited me to attend the schools morning meditations and martial arts classes. One of the first things that hit me when arriving at the school and meeting several of the students were their independence. Of course they were polite and respectful as you would hope any student is to a guest, but it was the way they carried about their morning. Preparing for classes, making their own breakfast, tidying the halls, interacting on a very adult level. This impressed me.

On the times I have taught in their class or even had several students travel to my dojo to attend class the students have always been out going and respectful. Of course there are students that are introverted and shy, but even still they were inquisitive and open to the experience. When introducing someone to an activity or movement outside of their usual comfort zone this can be a common source of stress. I have watched the students of Lotus adjust to new material presented to them and tackle the task of understanding it.

Over all I consistently enjoy the time I spend with the students of Lotus. Their thirst for knowledge and approach to learning inspires me. I hope to raise my own child with similar teaching values.

Robert Nichols
Chief Instructor/Owner
UNION UTA Martial Arts


For the past 13 years I have been making regular visits to Tinicum Art and Science, averaging a week every semester. I enter as Visiting Faculty/Artist-in-Residence, teaching and presenting music and sound work at the extreme of the avant-garde; my Visiting Artist Residencies have included Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Oberlin Conservatory. Tinicum students have been open to engaging aesthetic experiences that are new to them and well beyond dominant trends. They have engaged extremely challenging work with great intelligence, skill, and most importantly: open minds. I have never encountered an institution with a culture as inclusive, flexible, and fundamentally mature as at Tinicum Art and Science. Patience, humility, and an interest in the unknown -rather than fear of the unknown- are the ways I have come to know and recognize Tinicum students.

Vic Rawlings