(Photo: Earth Day 2015- Student Joe Lawton- Class of ’19- helping Lower School students prepare an organic garden bed for planting fruits & vegetables for the Frederick Community Action Agency’s Foodbank program. Courtesy of Friends Meeting School)
Over 900 pinwheels, crafted by students and painted with messages of peace, were sent from Frederick’s very own Friends Meeting School to Students Rebuild to reach Syrian refugees and other in-need communities across the world. Second through fourth grade students lead this project at the local private, Quaker school in order to serve these communities from afar, manifesting knowledge of teamwork, stewardship, and leadership in each student.
It’s service projects like Pinwheels for Peace that make Friends Meeting School truly stand out as an exceptional educational institution. Their student body of nearly 85 students constantly works together to build a strong foundation of peace, equality, and service. “We are incredibly proud of our students and the impact they make on our community,” remarked Mara Nicastro, head of Friends Meeting School in Frederick.
With a rigorous curriculum, local service initiatives, and community service mission trips incorporated into the school year requirements, this private school offers each student with the opportunity to become the best and brightest person they can be.
The school hosts and attends a number of different events throughout the year. The Haunted Trail event, lead by drama Instructor Brenda Yankaskas, is an annual favorite. By the end of September each year, scenes, scripts, and costumes are created by the performing arts team in order to put on this spooky attraction. The 50 acre nature trail located on campus is decorated and adorned with lights come October when students and staff set up tents to perform for the public. There is a small fee to enter and open concessions for all visitors. “It really is a fun event,” Nicastro said. “The past 2 years have been extra special since the students made the decision to collect the income from admission fees to raise scholarship money for incoming students.” This year alone, the initiative yielded nearly $1,000 for student scholarships.
Gardens thrive behind the school where students from lower, middle, and higher school levels maintain a garden of healthy fruits and vegetables that are donated to The Frederick Food Bank. A weekly bake sale raises funds for one student’s drive to help rainforest conservation efforts. Their student-lead National Honors Society (NHS) actively participated in the 2015 Baltimore Leadership Conference. These trips, and many more planned throughout the school year, promote understanding of social justice and equality in each child.
Based on the Quaker Friends Education Model, a 300+ year old model that promotes an environment for positive inner and outer growth for students and staff alike, The Friends Meeting School of Frederick prides itself in their students and their aspirations to graduate on to renowned colleges and universities to further their education. “We love to tell people that every single student that has graduated from Friends has been accepted to their first choice college or university,” said Harris. “It’s incredible to be able to work with this talented team of students and teachers.”
The small class sizes and advanced placement learning opportunities create an unbeatable atmosphere for students and staff to get to know each other and truly work together to achieve academic excellence. “It’s not uncommon for students to keep in touch with their teachers after they leave us,” Harris said. “They form a lasting connection that goes further than just their days in the classroom.”
Everyone is encouraged to look into the programs and consider Friends Meeting School for their children’s education. “We take great pride in our students, and our students take great pride in their education,” Nicastro said.
For more information, visit the school January 21st at 9am to meet the staff and learn more about how you and your family can join Friends Meeting School. Application process is available online. For more information, visit www.friendsmeetingschool.org.