By Melanie Leggett, Director of Admissions
From an Admissions standpoint, opening our Middle School has been quite a ride. I’ve had moments of glory, moments of adversity, and everything in between. From creating applications, to learning the details of a new program, to figuring out just what a middle school shadow day should look like, my job has never been boring. All along this road, a bright beacon of light has been seeing the Friends School mission and vision come to life in our middle school students, and seeing how 6th, 7th, and 8thgraders thrive when they are challenged academically, and at the same nurtured and honored for who they are.
The most recent “mission moment” that I have had the honor of experiencing in our middle school has been working with Kevin, Shelby, and members of the enrollment committee to bring a student ambassador program to fruition. This program aims to formalize student involvement in our admissions process by developing leadership skills and representing our school during tours, shadow days, prospective parent information meetings, and events.
Selfishly, having these ambassadors will make my job easier, because they are some seriously kind, bright, thoughtful, and engaging kids. Seeing the amount of time, effort, and care that each student put into the application process was one of the true highlights of my year. The process involved a paper application and an interview (a first for almost every applicant), and we were wowed by how much the applicants rose to the occasion. They were responsible, articulate, inspiring, sweet, and funny. I learned a lot from their answers – about them as people, and about our amazing school.
In the end, the only challenge was that we wished we could choose every single student who applied. For this inaugural year, I’d like to present our student ambassadors:
7thgrade– Makena McComb, Agi Willis, and Cedar Wine
8thgrade– Audrey Adler, Charlotte Commons, Allison Hoeffler, Avery Lidge, and Tori Schell
As we kick off our training, I thought I would share a few excerpts from their applications with our greater community. Enjoy, and schedule a tour of our middle school someday soon to meet these rockstar students!
“I am not going to lie to you middle school is a lot harder than elementary school. It is a big step, but what helped me at Friends was how supportive everyone is. I think at Friends the teachers and students are always there for you in a way I think is really special and most middle schools don’t have the capacity to create that kind of environment.”
“At Friends, teachers not only teach in diverse ways so that every student can understand topics, they also help each student understand how they can learn best. I think this is a really important skill to have by the time you go to high school.”
“I would begin to describe how the community at Friends is very trusting, accepting, and diverse. I would say that everyone is allowed to be who they are, and no one will judge them for that.”
“I know that when I was coming to Friends I had no idea what to expect. This was very nerve-wracking. When I finally came relief flooded over me. I realized that the teachers were almost the nicest on the planet and seemed to somehow understand everything you were going through. This of course made coming to school very easy. I very quickly made friends and still enjoy every day.”Read More
Friends School’s first 8th grade class will be graduating in May. As they look towards high school, we’ve taken the opportunity to interview each of them to find out about their time at Friends School, whether they are “lifers” (here since Preschool) or brand new to Friends School. Please enjoy this interview of Charlotte Commons, one of Friends School’s lifers.
Name: Charlotte Commons
What grade are you in?
How old are you?
14. I started here when I was 3.
What do you remember from preschool?
My first preschool teachers were Sherri and Christie. They were really nice. I had Christie for both years in preschool. One vivid memory that comes to mind is of Sheri collecting all of the hoodies that we had left around and stacking them on her head. In the spring when it was warm we would take the hose in the back yard and make a beach in the sand and play with beach toys there. We would also play inside the “spiderweb” and the teachers would rescue us. We also liked to play on the bikes – Allison (Hoeffler) and I would play a game called the dirty Olympics.
Share a memory from a ceremony or trip. Tell me about the experience and what it meant to you.
Two come to mind. After Silver and Gold in 4th grade we all ran off the stage, went into our classroom and changed all of the 4’s, where they referred to grade, to 5’s. After 5th grade we all went to a party at Allison’s house and there were food trucks and all kinds of things. It was probably the biggest party many of us had ever been to and it was so much fun to be there altogether. My favorite trip was to Crow Canyon in fifth grade. Instead of just relaxing, our entire class spent our free time filming this movie. It was really fun even though it was never finished because, well, the kid who was making it…his camera got run over by a car.
What is a life lesson that you learned here?
Probably to always be yourself and accept other people for being themselves. That is really cliché, but to not be afraid of being you. I think at Friends the community is so accepting and you learn that everything is truly better when people are themselves.
Tell me about a project or class that stands out and/or inspired you.
Middle school science has really inspired me. I liked science from the time I was really little, but we did not do as much of it as we do in Middle School. Now we do so many cool experiments and labs, and Kevin is such an inspiring teacher. I am interested in so many more branches of science now, not just space. For example, in 7th grade we studied biology and I had never done anything with that before. In sixth grade we did a project called “the inhabitable planet” where we had to take a planet and figure out how you could make it into a place where people could live. We had unlimited resources and had to figure out how to solve problems in new ways.
Tell me about a person from Friends that stands out and/or inspired you.
A teacher that I had that really stands out is Diane. I had her for second and third grade, and again for middle school. She is so kind and the most generous person. She was always just a wonderful person to be around. Her joy and positivity radiates onto everyone else.
What’s a question I should ask another interviewee?
How has being at Friends School changed your view of the world?
What are 3 words that describes your whole Friends School experience?
Inspiring, life-changing, supportive
Do you have advice for future Friends students?
Always be kind and treat others well. Then they will treat you well, too!
Do you have any advice for me, things to change/things not to change?
Continue to make it fun, challenging and good for everyone!
Do you know where you will go to High School? 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice
I sort of have four that I am thinking about: Monarch, Boulder High, Dawson or Peak to Peak.
What are your passions? What makes you, you?
Music, playing instruments like piano tuba, euphonium and violin). I don’t have a favorite, but I have been playing piano since I was 5. Another passion I have is sports – biking, skiing and softball.
What was it like to be part of the first middle school class?
I thought it was really cool to be the first ones. We got to see what the school was going to be like and help shape it to be reflective of the students interests.
If you could wave a wand……
If I could wave a wand, I would make it so that we could have our buildings on one campus. It would be fun to see people more often! I might also make the middle school a little bit bigger.Read More
Volunteer Profile: Amy & Thom Teten
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Personal: Children: 2; Cash (8, 3rd grade at Friends) and Woodrow (5, Kindergarten at Friends) Pets: 1 dog; a pure bred Standard Poodle, Heddy
Education/current or previous employment: B.A., History, University of Texas at Austin, M.B.A., University of Texas at San Antonio
Career:Currently I’m the Vice President of Customer Experience & People Ops at TeamSnap, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado
Hobbies/passions/talents:Alpine skiing, bouldering, hiking, camping, smoking anything on my Green Egg, watching history documentaries, attending outdoor concerts, spending time outdoors with my family and friends … the list goes on! I’m also interested in learning how to fly-fish, dabbling in organic soap-making, and am excited to begin trying to make kombucha from scratch.
Volunteer activities at Friends: 2nd grades sleepover (I’m still recovering) (2017), Annual fund classroom chair (2017 & 2018), Parent participation: grounds clean-up day (2017 & 2018), Advancement Committee member (2018), 3rd grade room parent (2018), Colorado Gives Day donation coordinator/aide (2018)
Q: How did find Friends School & why did you choose it for your children? When we made the strategic decision to move from Texas to Colorado, we knew we wanted to land in the greater Boulder area. Finding the perfect education haven for our children was our chief priority. In speaking with a regional education consultant, we were introduced to Steve de Beer at Friends School, performed research on the school, met with a few Friends parents, interviewed, and quickly became enamored with the school’s culture, philosophy and overall approach to whole-child learning. We have happy, engaged, well-adjusted, and thriving kiddos, and we attribute much of that to the match we found in Friends.
Q: What motivates you to volunteer? When I get involved in something, I give it my all. I am deliberate about where I focus my time outside of work and my family. Getting involved as a volunteer for my kids’ school was an easy decision because:
- It affords me the opportunity to give back to something that serves such a key purpose in my children’s molding.
- I get exposed to a variety of people whom I might not have regularly met, giving credence to the ethos of community that Friends offers.
- Hopefully my kids see the importance of the spirit of volunteerism, and that it inspires them to volunteer, too.
Q: What books are you reading right now? (Alternate question: If you could have one super power what would it be?)
- “Powerful” by Patty McCord
- “Garden of the Beasts” by Erik Larson
- “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery & the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward E. Baptist
Q: How do you recharge?
- Head to the bouldering gym
- Get a massage
- Turn off the notifications on my phone and put it away for a few hours
Q: If we were to open your fridge, what would we find? (consider taking a photo of the inside of your fridge!)
Hearty homemade soups, eggs, meats, fruits & veggies, lots of condiments
Hometown: I grew up in the military, but was moved to San Antonio, Texas in the middle of high school and I ended up sticking around for 21 years, so I consider it home. ¡Puro San Anto!
Education:BA in Political Science, with a Minor in Philosophy @ University of Texas, San Antonio
Career: Prior career: Tech. Current career: Trophy Husband
Hobbies/passions/talents:Being outside: especially hiking & snow sports. Art: I have a background in printmaking and wood sculpture, and am currently vocal training for a foray into performance art. Learning: I spend more hours than I can count falling down rabbit holes to learn (at a minimum) a little about everything.
Volunteer activities at Friends: Parent Volunteer Days, Chaperoning Field Trips, Helped build playground stage, Art teacher hiring committee, whatever task Bryn, Rebecca, or Caroline need help with (like swapping art displays or sweeping, etc.)
Q: What motivates you to volunteer?Because my kids still think it’s totally cool to see me hanging at their school. Because it truly takes a village, and I also want my kids to learn how to be good villagers, by example. Because educators are the hardest working folks who should get ALL the support they need, (and also I selfishly always learn new skills around them that boost my parenting toolkit.)
Q: What books are you reading right now?
Last: “My Beloved World,” by Sonia Sotomayor
Current: rereading “A Different Kind if Intimacy,” by Karen Finley
Next: “When They Call You a Terrorist, A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Q: How do you recharge? Blast music waaaaay too loud, hike, play with our dog, cook, and if I’ve really lost my mind, I just rearrange all the furniture in the house.Read More