K-8 PE Teacher, Steve Fragleasso (pr: frag-lee-AH-so) joined the Friends School team in January this year, bringing the joy of outdoor education to our students. Learn a little bit more about him in this brief interview.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Golden, Co. Its proximity to trails and mountains shaped my future. Since then, I have bounced around the Colorado area a little, spending about two years in Lakewood and the past 9 years in Boulder. I just moved to Lafayette with my partner, Megan, where we bought a house.
Personal stats (family):
I have one younger sister who has a 1 and 4 year old that I take on adventures often. My father still lives in my childhood home in Golden.
What did you do before working at Friends School?
Before coming to Friends School I worked with a handful of organizations that got kids outside learning about camping, climbing, biking and other outdoor activities. One of those organizations is Avid4 Adventure and it is where I plan to continue to spend my summers.
What do you think will be interesting, fun or challenging about your job at Friends School?
When guiding and working with summer camps, I only get to spend about a week with the same kids before they are on to the next thing. I’m very excited to get the opportunity to work with students for longer periods of time.
What’s an interesting fact about you?
When I was 26, I attempted to hike the Colorado Trail solo only a few months after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I overcame a large learning curve and I hiked from Denver to Gunnision in 18 days. In Gunnision I had to end my hike because of early winter storms.
What’s your favorite kind of music, favorite band, book, movie, food – you pick?
My favorite food is coconut lemongrass green curry.Read More
by Friends School mom and local trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW
Many thanks to Friends School mom and trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW, who met with our staff last week to provide tools and resources to navigate these challenging times. Lauren shares her experience as this week’s guest blogger.
I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with our incredible teachers and staff at Friends School. We addressed what it means to be living in trauma and how to actively and purposefully cultivate resilience. And how to do this while being both present in our bodies and with each other. Our time together was a little bit of everything.
As a trauma therapist, I have been working in a microcosm of this pandemic. Sitting with individuals and feeling the depths of their experience through the unique lens of each life that sits with me on my screen. We dive deep into pain, we connect in vulnerability, we rebound in connecting to resources and resilience, often times we laugh and then we do it again the next week. This work is profound. I am privileged, humbled and honored to be invited into peoples’ worlds in this way.
Yet, there is a part of me that feels connected to something so much bigger as I think of all the shared pain, loss and fear; all who are sacrificing during this time. Each day I take the kids to school and pick them up, I find myself moved by the commitment our community is making. All of us! How can we truly support and show up for this community from within. From our core sense of self, reaching each individual who so passionately commits to our families and our children. I invite you to consider the same. Not just for our Friends School community, but for all communities in your life…family, friends, groups you are a part of, others in need. What could this look like if we all put our whole hearts into loving and showing up for each other?
Resilience. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but when we do this, when we give, even if we feel we have nothing to give, we expand our capacity to cultivate resilience. And with that, I leave this letter here for our incredible teachers and staff.
Dear teachers and all staff… all who work tirelessly to keep our school running,
You continue to show up in ways that you did not choose or necessarily sign up for. What you are enduring now, was likely far from your radar when you chose to engage in this line of work. You are being asked to establish safety for our community and our children and in that, to monitor behavior and circumstances that require hypervigilance every single day. Your roles have been renegotiated. How you connect and work as a team has been redefined. How you adapt is requiring intense flexibility and rigidity all at once. You are not only having to work with your own emotional needs and livelihoods, but you are supporting our children in theirs and identifying how to relate to and work with parents who likely all have a unique reaction to how everything is being handled. All while still teaching…still educating our children in their whole sense of self.
Oh and let’s please not forget, you all were heroes before this pandemic entered our lives. Committing to our children and our families through incredible skill, knowledge, collaboration, and empathic care. I said this when I first invited you to join me – you are warriors. Warriors who will forever be imprinted in the maps of our lives and in the narrative of our stories. We are forever grateful.
With all my love,
Learn more about Lauren and her work at laurenhassan.com.Read More
She’s the heart of our elementary school and knows every student and their families by name. She’s worn many hats at Friends School over the last 20 years, but there’s a lot more to know about Front Desk Coordinator, Jana Bledsoe.Read More
He’s at both of our campuses, arriving very early in the morning, often here on weekends, and mostly behind the scenes. Sean Kehoe, our Facilities Manager, is a valued member of our staff who keeps our campuses running smoothly and looking great.Read More
Halloween and Day of the Dead are not the same thing. Friends Spanish Teacher, Maria Gamboa, loves sharing this important tradition of her native Mexico with her students and integrating it with beautiful art projects.Read More
by Honor Taft, Friends School Head of School
At this end of the month , I’ll be taking a trip abroad. Normally, a head of school wouldn’t take time away during the busy month of January. This trip, however, is deeply meaningful to me, so I’d like to share why I’m going.
On Saturday, January 26th I will set off to Leiden, Netherlands in honor my great-grandfather, Peter Debye who among many accomplishments, won a Nobel Prize in 1936. He is perhaps most famous for his discovery of the “dipole moment” (Dipole moments occur when a molecule creates temporary charges and builds bonds between atoms) and development of equations to calculate the size of the dipole moment (called a Debye). His discovery contributed immeasurable to our understanding of molecules which is the foundation for so much of what we understand and can accomplish in science today.
Along with some members of my family, including my father, step-mother and my father’s cousins, I will attend an event at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave. This event will honor and celebrate the handing over of heritage objects, including letters, photos, school diplomas among others items, which will be added to their national science collection. This museum already holds heritage collections of many Dutch Nobel Prize winners, and they are excited add these to their collections.
During this event, a number of people will speak about the importance of my great-grandfather as a Nobel Prize winner. Wiel Rousseau, a Dutch scientist who learned from my great-grandfather and with whom I have kept up a connection, will talk about his discovery of the heritage objects and how he has cared for them through the years. My father will also speak about his life growing up with Peter Debye’s in Ithaca, New York, where Peter served as Professor of Chemistry, Principle of the Chemistry Department and eventually Professor Emeritus at Cornell University (our family donated his Nobel Prize, and some other medals to the University in 2004). These medals had an interesting life of their own, a story I would love to share one day.
Of particular importance for me in the story of Peter’s life is that he was born into a poor family in Maastricht, Netherlands. As such, he was entitled to an education only through grade 5. During his schooling, however, a teacher took note of his potential and lobbied to the state requesting that his education be funded (this letter is among the heritage items that will be presented to the museum). Achieving this funding laid the groundwork for Peter Debye’s rise through academia and ultimately for his contributions to science, which arguable impact how we live today. This story reminds me of what I believe and why I do the work that I do – a teacher, through their belief in a child, can change the course of that child’s life, and even change the world.
I look forward to sharing photos and moments from this trip as I travel, and when I return. You can follow me on twitter @HonorTaft for ongoing updates from my adventure.
Congratulations to Friends AfterCare teacher Rashel Gandhi-Besbes who has been named the outstanding graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder for fall 2018. Rashel’s honor thesis is about conservation efforts in Tanzania. She is graduating summa cum laude in anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Read more about Rashel’s work and award here.Read More