Students in K-4th grade at Friends School will have an opportunity on Friday afternoons to discover new interests, participate in community-building activities, deepen their knowledge in a favorite subject area, and/or develop a new hobby through a new program directed by Karen Maynard. Karen will work with teachers, staff, community members, parents, and most importantly - students, to craft a rich mosaic of programming to enhance the Friends School curriculum.
Karen is a Penn State graduate with a B.S. in Childhood Education and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She has served as a Friends School Summer Camp co-director and counselor, and most recently taught at the Bennett Family Center at Penn State. In addition to her new role as enrichment leader, Karen will be the teaching assistant for the 2/3 classrooms.
With a background in music and dance, and a deep interest in handicrafts, nature, and learning new things, Karen will bring creativity, experience, and passion for working with children to Friends School. "Once students have an opportunity to settle in to the new school year, we'll start the Friday Afternoon Enrichment Program with a series of multi-age activities to build our own school community," said Karen, when asked to describe her ideas for roll out of the new initiative. These activities will include ice-breaker and team-building games, team-work challenges, and a local field trip.
"Faculty, staff, and parents have offered so many ideas for rich programming throughout the year -- from photography and journaling to rocket science, drumming, rock collecting, financial literacy . . . the list goes on," said Karen with a big, bright smile. Head of School Donnan Stoicovy and other staff say they are eager to hear from students about which avenues to pursue to satisfy their interests. "We have the scaffolding in place for this new venture, a solid idea of what our schedule will look like, and a terrific leader to organize and grow the program," said Donnan. "Now we just need to start school!"
Earlier this summer, State College Friends School made the difficult decision to close Friends Schoolhouse on E. Prospect Avenue. Just two weeks ago, Friends Schoolhouse Teachers Deb and Migelle put the finishing touches on the new Pre-K classroom at University Drive. "This is a really exciting time for our K/1 students who are eager to meet and help their new younger friends," said Lisa Gamble, associate head of school. From the youngest students to those about to graduate, this expression of affection and friendship has been one of the hallmarks of the school. Multi-age classrooms and a school that encourages student-to-student mentoring create a nurturing environment for our new friends.
Friends School can now offer families a pre-kindergarten option, as well as a K/1 option. Associate Head of School, Lisa Gamble is highly experienced in helping to determine the best placement for children. As a child-centered independent school, we look at the whole child as we determine their best placement; the social and emotional skills of a young student often being the most important developmental characteristics to determine readiness.
A number of Friends School summer campers, students and alums were present at the downtown Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on Children's Day. The campers were participating in activities on the lawn of Old Main, where face painting was one of the most popular activities. Several students and alumni were set up for exhibition and sale of their work.
Rising fourth grader Liam had a draw for window shoppers: "Sure, you can try the wands and pick them up." The enterprising-crafter made no claims or guarantees about the efficacy of his hand-crafted wands made with wood and other found and recycled materials. The lack of promise didn't seem to deter would-be buyers. Unfortunately, Liam blinked at the snap of the photo below. Perhaps that blink was a cover to hide the twinkle of magic in his eye as he described the potential of the Potter-like wands to curious customers. By festivals end, Liam sold out!
Mattie got busy right after graduation in June, building her varied stock for this year's festival. She returned to the youth sidewalk sales this year with her popular stencil T's and succulent gardens; and added a collection of original art. Mattie's creativity and success in past years served as inspiration for a trio of younger students who created their own variation of T-shirts to go along with their hand-poured scented glycerin soaps. Rising first grade student Camille (below), practices some amazing customer service skills in describing the way the T-shirts were designed. (Not pictured, but equally engaged: partners Clarisse and Arden, both entering third grade).
Friends School alum Sergio named his new jewelry collection after a Kingfisher seen in his backyard. With inspiration from his mom, who has made and sold jewelry, he settled on the idea of leather cuffs, charms, and pendants, stamped with initials and affirming words like hope, sing, free, kind . . .
The stamps he used were on display in a wooden box with a patina that looked as if they were from the distant past. It turns out hey belonged to his great-grandfather. Perhaps that's why the new jewelry looked like it came from the hands of a wise, experienced crafter.
State College Friends School is very pleased to announce that Donnan Stoicovy has been hired as Interim Head of School for the 2018-2019 academic year. Donnan will oversee all aspects of administration while the school completes a national search for a permanent head.
Stoicovy, who retired in 2016, served as principal at Park Forest Elementary School in State College for more than 27 years. In that position, she was instrumental in cultivating a safe and rich learning environment designed to empower thoughtful, active, and engaged citizens. Under her leadership, Park Forest Elementary enjoyed recognition for environmental education and for an award-winning recycling/zero waste program.
At Friends School, Stoicovy will fill the position recently vacated by Dan Hendey, who pursues new career opportunities after nearly eighteen years of service. Hendey began his tenure at the school as a teacher and helped start the middle school program at Friends. Subsequently, he served as business manager for several years before becoming Head of School. As head, he was instrumental in making improvements to playgrounds and facilities as well as the curriculum. In 2010, Hendey added Pre-K to the school’s offerings, and prior to his departure, he facilitated the relocation of that offsite program to the school grounds at 1900 University Drive, where a PreK-4/K classroom will open this fall.
In her new position, Stoicovy will work with faculty and families to deepen community relationships and to help shape a new enrichment program for students of all ages, beginning this fall. Donnan says she is excited to bring together her passion for stewardship of the environment and her commitment to building a strong, caring, loving community. “I believe my experience and core values align very well with the Quaker values taught and modeled at Friends School,” said Donnan. Donnan says she is looking forward to meeting both current families and interested community members adding, “I’m especially eager to learn from students how they embrace the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.”
Following their speeches and the presentation of gifts and diplomas from faculty and staff, eight middle-school students pulled the strings of their confetti poppers amid joyous applause from the audience. These young, bright students are off to enjoy a summer of family fun before embarking on their journey through high school. Thank you to Elizabeth Pennock and Rene Witzke for sharing photos of this special day at Friends School.
At the close of the 36-hour online giving event, Centre Gives, State College Friends School had raised $17,100. Thank you to all who contributed to the Centre Foundation event.
Northwest Savings Bank has always been a community partner in State College, through involvement in local events and programs to support families. This spring, Northwest Savings Bank contributed $5000 to State College Friends School to help families cover the cost of tuition. The EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit program of Pennsylvania authorizes the award of tax credits to qualified businesses that make contributions to scholarship organizations and/or
educational improvement organizations contained on
a list published by the Department of Community and Economic
It's easy being green if you're a student at State College Friends School. The practice of reducing waste, recycling, and re purposing materials is widely embraced from PreK through grade 8 at Friends School as one of our guiding values at the school is stewardship. At the recent Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority awards luncheon Friends School was one of 58 organizations to be honored as one of College Township's best green businesses. State College Friends School was one of 5 recipients of the highest award - the Emerald.
Over 100 area business owners, teachers, school administrators and employees were present at the awards luncheon, held in coordination with Earth Day, to receive recognition for their efforts both in recycling and sustainability.
CCRRA’s Recycling Coordinator, Joanne Shafer addressed the crowd and spoke of our 2018 Emerald Award Winners: The DEP Moshannon District Mining Office, Grace Lutheran Church; Grace Lutheran Preschool & Kindergarten & State College Friends School.
This is a reprint of an article published on www.statecollege.com on March 15, 2018. You may view an expanded version of this story on our Facebook page.
Middle school students at State College Friends School joined others around the country on Wednesday in participating activities to remember the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and advocate for school safety.
But they've also undertaken another initiative to show their support for the Stoneman Douglas community.
They've been hand writing on paper hearts messages such as “You are not alone,” “We support you,” and “You are strong,” to send to the high school's 2,972 students, with the goal of brightening their days, if only for a moment.
Bailey Kellermann, middle school teacher, said in a release that on Feb. 14, the day of the shooting that claimed the lives of 17 Stoneman Douglas students and faculty, Friends School students were sharing affirmation hearts with each other, a Friends School Valentine's Day tradition.
“As the news broke in waves over our community, one of the most surprising reactions was resignation: school shootings and gun violence are now the reality in America,” Kellermann said. “But this is not the world I want to live in. I cried. I pondered. I felt helpless. I tried to picture my students in that situation. I cried some more.”
Kellerman soon learned through social media that a teacher at the Parkland school was requesting letters of support and encouragement for the survivors.
She pitched the idea to the students: each would write 125 affirmation hearts, one for each of the high school's students with some left over for teachers and staff.
She knew it was a lot, but every student immediately agreed and they spent hours writing, cutting out and filling bins with thousands of hearts with messages of support.
“When I learned about the shooting, I was so sad,” said eighth-grade student Miranda Morrison. “I imagined what it would be like to be in that school, to see my friends or my brother be killed. When Teacher Bailey brought up the affirmation idea, I was excited to participate.”
Morrison said after several days their hands hurt, "but we felt it was important to reach out and let the students know we care about them.”
Kellerman said the students' efforts made her proud and optimistic about the future.
“Each affirmation they wrote reminded me that this is the world I want to live in; these young adults make it so."
Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday has come and gone, but students at State College Friends School continue to learn about civil rights. On Thursday, February 1, children in 2nd and 3rd grades were treated to a visit by Julia Williams, the grandmother of 2nd-grade student Jade Dickens. Born and raised in Statesboro, Georgia, during the 1940s through the 1960s, Julia spoke with the children about her experiences with segregation.
According to Joanne Thurston-Griswold, a 2nd/3rd-grade teacher at the school, the visit followed the children’s field trip to the Bellefonte Art Museum’s Underground Railroad exhibit and the Friends School’s annual “time in” on Martin Luther King Day to learn about and reflect on the importance of equality, one of the core values emphasized at the school. The Friends School is the only school in the State College area that is in session on Martin Luther King Day.
“How were you discriminated against?” one of the students asked Julia. Having spent several weeks learning about the civil rights movement, the children were not surprised by Julia’s response. She spoke about her experiences being excluded from restaurants, being forced to give up her seat on the bus for white patrons, receiving hand-me-down textbooks at her all-black elementary school, and running away from white children as they threw rocks at her and called her names.
The children were, however, shocked to learn that Julia’s brother had participated in setting fire to a restaurant that refused to serve blacks. The restaurant had been closed for business at the time and the arson did not harm anyone. Julia explained that some people, like Martin Luther King, chose to use peaceful measures to bring about change, while others chose more forceful measures.
The idea that sometimes people choose to break the law in order to change those laws for the better is something that the children had already considered following their trip to the Bellefonte Art Museum’s Underground Railroad exhibit. In their class discussion of the field trip, one child asked how lying to the police in order to harbor and protect a runaway slave fit with the concept of integrity—another of the core values emphasized at the Friends School. The children all agreed that the abolitionists were right to break the law in that case because doing so was the true act of integrity.
Other questions the students had for Julia included, “Were you a slave?” “Did you hear Sojourner Truth’s speeches?” and “Did you know Harriet Tubman?” “It was a valuable lesson for the students to learn about the order of events,” said Joanne.
Julia explained that she had not been a slave, although her great grandfather had been. “I was born after slavery was abolished,” she said. “My generation followed and benefited from the efforts of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.” It also benefited from the important people who worked on behalf of equality during her own time—Martin Luther King and Ruby Bridges, for example, she added.
Julia continued. “The most important moment in my life was when Barack Obama became the president of the United States,” she said. “African American people went from not being able to read all the way to the White House in just 100 years.”
Julia closed the discussion with some recommendations for the schoolchildren to carry forward the legacy of the civil rights movement. “We should think of ourselves as one human race made up of unique individuals,” she said. Ultimately, she added, the world will be a better place when everyone does their best to be good people and to love each other.
As the 2nd and 3rd graders at the State College Friends School move forward with their studies of civil rights, they are working with Becky Misangyi, an assistant teacher at the school, to write new lyrics to the song “What Can One Little Person Do?” that incorporate three people from modern times who have worked on behalf of the greater good. For example, they wrote a stanza about Christian Bucks, an elementary-school student who recently popularized the idea of a “buddy bench,” where children can sit when they need a friend and other children will respond with friendship. On Friday, February 9, the students presented the three contemporary change-makers with posters about each and then sang the new verses with the entire school.
The students also are examining current-day issues with equality. They interviewed their parents about times when they were discriminated against, and discussed their findings with their classmates. “The students were upset to learn that their mothers had been paid less than men for the same work,” said Joanne, “and that their parents had witnessed older, more experienced workers bypassed for jobs in favor of younger, less experienced workers, among other issues that came up.”
According to Joanne, this emphasis on civil rights is a regular feature of a Quaker education. “Our students are learning to follow in the footsteps of those who have already done so much good in the world,” she said. “They are learning that ‘one little person’ can do so much when they act with love.”
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