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A Publication of Friends School of Wilmington



Spring 2018

Why I Give To The Annual Fund “I give to the annual fund for the same reasons I shop local or buy organic; I benefit from it personally, as well as knowing that I am supporting an organization that aligns with my values and benefits my community. Supporting our amazing teachers so they can help us shape our young people is something I can do to ‘be the change.’” Rebecca Joh, Parent of a First Grader

On the cover: Kindergarten student, Claire, enjoys free play during after school care. Above: Kindergarteners enjoy lunch, al fresco, at Mike’s Farm. Located in Back Swamp, NC and dating back to 1945, Mike’s Farm has evolved into an educational destination. Opportunities to visit such places are available thanks in part to the success of the Squeaky Wheel Campaign.

“With a long career in independent schools (as a teacher, administrator and consultant), I have visited more than 150 schools around the country. Quaker schools, and especially FSW, stand out for me in conveying the highest standards for personal achievement and character development. Wilmington is fortunate to have such a unique place of learning.” Douglas Jennings, Partner, Educators Collaborative, LLC and FSW Board Member

“Before we came to Friends School my son was convinced he hated math and that he wasn’t very good at it. Now that math is more than worksheets it’s become one of his favorites. He even said, ‘I bet you never thought I’d be getting such great math scores, it turns out I am good at it!’ Statements like that are why I give to the Annual Fund.“ Lindsey McCoy, Parent of a Fourth Grader

The 2017 Fund-A-Need’s ‘Squeaky Wheel Campaign’ added a new bus to the FSW fleet.

In This Issue: p4. FSW Master Class p5. FSW Community p6. Reflections p8. Building Friends p10. Teacher Spotlight p11. PTO

“Working in Admissions, I meet families as they begin their journey here, as well as see firsthand many of those magic “aha moments” within the classroom. Every day, I witness FSW faculty & staff actively living and teaching our mission and see the impact it has on students and families. That’s why I give to the Annual Fund; not just because I am a staff member. I am part of a whole community committed to seeing our children flourish.”Jen Wilson-Mathis, Staff Member


Fearlessness Welcome to another edition of Connections. I know you will enjoy the stories, essays and pictures linking you with the vibrant life of Friends School of Wilmington. Particularly exciting this time, are the details we share of our Building Friends project (pp. 8-9). One of many carefully designed aspects of this plan is the deliberate use of outdoor space. We will use pathways to traverse the campus and gather to learn and play in outdoor “classrooms.” These ideas were just a glimmer in our eyes when an accreditation team from SAIS visited in October, 2015. It is no surprise that the torrential rain event they encountered (Hurricane Joaquin to the east, low pressure off the coast, and a stalled cold front, remember?) led them to wonder what we would do on this future campus in case of inclement weather. I love recalling their visit. School was closed on the Monday they were scheduled to interview current parents, observe classrooms, talk with teachers, and meet alumni parents and the administrative team. Instead, we threw on raincoats and met them at their hotel that morning. Later in the day, the Garden House served as our headquarters and groups waded in, arriving in good spirits and ready to share their feedback on life at FSW. Our words were enthusiastic, but our actions were intrepid. We showed our school spirit and our fearlessness. During our most severe weather events, school is closed as it was that day in October. But Wilmington’s climate is moderate, calling us outside to dig into place-based education all year long. Our unified campus is designed around this ethic. Children will walk, they will breathe the fresh air, and when they arrive for an all-school gathering in the gym, or meeting for worship at the labyrinth, or in the “Wild Things” wetlands lab to observe turtles and eastern newts, they will be ready to learn. Vigor at its best! George Fox exhorted his early Quaker followers to “walk cheerfully over the earth, answering that of God in everyone.” Maria Montessori pleaded that “there must be provision for the child to have contact with nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony… so that the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates.” And, Jill Stockman says, “At Friends School, there is no such thing as bad weather, only improperly dressed children.” Friends School of Wilmington grows bold and fearless children in a world where their spirited action can make a real difference. What will we do in case of inclement weather? If it is severe, we will stay safely at home. But if we are at school, we will put on our raincoats and go. All the best,


On the Forefront of Social Change: FSW faculty & staff explore identity, cultural competence and equity with Jada Monica Drew Jada Monica Drew facilitates the class

FSW faculty and staff began the school year with a full day of in-service in the Equity & Inclusion Master Class. Led by Jada Monica Drew of Social Designs Consulting, the workshop provided an opportunity to further develop awareness of bias, perceptions of culture and how to turn dialogue into action. During our time with Jada, we dug deep into understanding how systemic racial and economic barriers present throughout history and affect communities such as our own. These conversations and examinations provide additional context to work already being done at FSW. Last year our middle school began recovering and transcribing articles from The Daily Record, a newspaper that was destroyed during the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898. Our kindergarten class has quarterly activities like collecting donations for NourishNC or the Diaper Bank. Helping our students understand the history and make-up of our community enriches projects like these.

Ideas flourish among FSW friends

Jada Monica Drew is an acclaimed facilitator who transformed the diversity landscapes and policies at both Guilford College and Leadership for Educational Equity. She is also the author of Revolutionize Now: Creative Leadership and Action for Social Change and More Than Enough: Steps Into The Next Level of You.

Below left: Exploring Inclusion; Below right: After a powerful and productive day, FSW staff enjoys a light-hearted moment with Jada.

4. FSW Graduation

At FSW, we pride ourselves on the work we do during the month of January surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the year we turn to our diverse classroom libraries, intentional connections within the community and guest speakers to enrich our cultural curriculum. As FSW continues to lift our mission, the work during the master class has served to reinvigorate us and reaffirm what we do. Building on our progressive foundation, we pursue programming that is meant to guide decisions, conversations and actions at FSW. Issues relating to diversity, equity and inclusion are not isolated to the classroom, but rather permeate all parts of daily life. We continue to cultivate relationships with diverse groups to foster a collective voice for change. Goal setting and action steps, such as exploring current curricula across all subjects, are helping our teachers to identify their strengths and to share strategies and materials with each other. Additionally, teachers are challenged to find new ways to address diversity to promote social justice within our school and the larger community. Jada and the Social Designs staff will return this spring for an additional workshop on transformational change model, racial healing and the history of race and racism.


Power of the pen... and the word. Last November, Friends School of Wilmington hosted Writers’ Night, an evening focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The event was moderated by WHQR News Director Rachel Lewis Hilburn (aunt to a current FSW student) and featured current FSW parents Clyde Edgerton, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Emily Colin and Wiley Cash, as well as alumni parent, Dana Sachs. Joel Finsel of manna (and a writer as well!) mixed original, literary cocktails and the evening was opened by The Beehive Blondes. we raise the profile of our diversity mission and create opportunities for meaningful conversations, we are giving a voice to others that are often ignored. Writers read from their original work and spoke passionately on playing active roles in economic, racial and social justice. FSW’s role in this work was lifted up in remarkable ways. Our hope is that as we raise the profile of our diversity mission and create opportunities for meaningful conversations, we are giving a voice to others that are often ignored. It was an exciting night in an aspirational way –and plans are underway for another event this fall!

Writers and members of the Friends School community gather for an evening dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


Delivered with Compassion Peace, patience, confidence and empathy at FSW By Friends School Parent, Clyde Edgerton

I’ve been reading about the years


East Tennessee--with its relatively large Quaker population

preceding the Civil War in East Tennessee. In those days,

during slavery times--supported the Underground Railroad

many East Tennessee citizens and leaders wanted to make

and advocated for abolition of slavery, unlike the rest of

their mountainous, small-farm region of the south into an

Tennessee (in general). Friends School today supports racial

independent state. Most East Tennesseans did not like the

integration through its diversity initiative, unlike our public

support of slavery found in Middle and West Tennessee. And

school system (in general). FSW embraces humanitarian

one reason for East Tennessee’s abolitionist tendencies was

ideals of equality and embraces research which shows

the prominence of Quakers in the region. Way back in 1820

the benefits brought to all students through diversity and

a newspaper in East Tennessee called The Emancipator, run

integration. Wilmington’s public school board, unfortunately,

by Elihu Embree, the son of a Quaker minister, condemned

seems unable to embrace and act on such ideals and research.

slavery (in a slave state). It was widely distributed. Friends School of Wilmington also resembles old East I think that Friends School of Wilmington is like pre-civil war

Tennessee in its support of peace, through teaching and

East Tennessee in some important ways.

action, as did East Tennessee when it refused to vote in favor of secession from the Union.

6. Reflections | A Parent’s Perspective

Many of the things I wish for our children and the world—peace, patience, confidence, empathy— I see as a systematic part of the FSW curriculum...

Moving to a personal level, my wife Kristina and I have two children currently attending Friends School, and because our times—in interesting ways—resemble pre-civil war days, we are thankful for the healing atmosphere at Friends, the fact that both joys and hurts get attention, and that children’s views, regardless of their content, are respected systematically.

I wish I had grown up being mentored by older friends—and having opportunities to mentor children younger than me. As a consequence of the FSW curriculum, we’ve joined our kids in nursing home visits, we’ve heard about field trips, sometimes last minute field trips. And these trips always happen with a view toward a respect for life in all its forms—animals, plants, rivers and marshes. And not just respect, but a reverence and love of them in ways that tend to get us out of the house and into the sunshine. An activity that seems extraordinarily important to me is the mentoring

Clyde Edgerton teaches creative

and teaching of kids in the lower school by kids from the upper school.

writing at UNCW and is the author

How beneficial for the kids, both younger and older. I wish I had grown

of ten novels and two books of

up being mentored by older friends—and having opportunities to mentor children younger than me.

nonfiction. He and his wife Kristina are proud parents of two Friends School

Many of the things I wish for our children and the world—peace,

students. Kristina is also proud that

patience, confidence, empathy—I see as a systematic part of the FSW

Clyde is banned from public school

curriculum, and when I have an opportunity to chat with a FSW teacher, I sense a commitment that makes me confident that the goods are being delivered with compassion.

grounds because of issues related to his advocacy against racial discrimination. Connections–Spring 2018


Building Friends together. We’re excited about the shape of things to come. Join with us to make amazing things happen for our students, our school and our community. Founded in 1994, FSW is growing. Two campuses and modular classrooms do not offer an optimal learning environment for our eager students and dedicated faculty.

families, and our community will have easier access to our inclusive environment where Quaker values underlie an academic program that grows intelligent, socially responsible, global citizens.

We seek to create a unified campus where the entire Friends School community can gather indoors and outside for the business and pleasure of educating our children. Building Friends will transform our school into a permanent presence in the region, ensuring that current and future generations flourish. Students,

Putting down strong roots will provide a solid foundation. Our $6.9 million goal is exciting. Success will provide students and the community with a consolidated campus complete with innovative indoor spaces and a unique outdoor learning environment.

THE PROPOSED MASTERPLAN Designed by architect, Bill Monroe of WGM Design, Inc.



8. Building Friends Together


CURRENT AMOUNT RAISED NEXT GOAL: Only $100K needed to begin architectural drawings & stay on track TOTAL NEEDED FOR PHASE 1 TOTAL NEEDED FOR PHASE 2

Thanks to you, we are moving toward our goal. Let’s work together to reach our next milestone!

THE LEARNING GARDEN Designed by parent, Sheri Chisholm of Flora Landscapes.

Visit to view the 3D rendering of the new campus & more! Connections–Spring 2018


The Elements of Successful Teaching

Positive Reaction: Meet Laura Rezac If you’ve heard the ohhs and ahhs coming from the Peiffer campus, chances are there’s a science class in session. Laura Rezac joined Friends School of Wilmington this past fall, sharing her passion for science and embracing her role as a teacher and mentor, with our community. “A perfect classroom experience involves students having lively conversations, and discovering correct answers through collaboration and critical thinking,” says Laura.

The flexibility teachers have at Friends School to follow student interests, try creative lessons, go on field trips, and modify plans to meet student needs is what speaks to Laura. Currently, Laura’s 6th grade class is completing engineering trials, where students are expected to design and build their own creations. In the midst of studying Newton’s laws, they’ve been assigned the balloon car challenge: build a car, using recycled materials, that is powered by air being released from a full balloon. “So far,” reports Laura, “I have seen students debating aerodynamic designs, learning to use hand drills, sharing supplies with each other, and having a blast painting their cars. I am teaching them about Newton’s laws, for sure, but also about problem-solving, design, the scientific method, and effective teamwork.“ Laura continues, “they are learning this through their own experiences, not through a teacher talking at them.” Laura and her husband, Chris, enjoying their honeymoon

“They are learning this through their own experiences, not through a teacher talking at them.”

In addition to teaching, Laura is a postulant for priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. She is in her second year of a low-residential seminary program, which will culminate in a Master of Divinity degree. She received her undergraduate from Agnes Scott College and continued into graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill. Laura has studied abroad at Temple University Japan and Kinjo Gakuin University. Immediately embracing the ethos at FSW, Laura quickly passed the test for her CDL, became one of the 7th Grade Advisors and began seeking opportunities for hands-on learning in the region– all after an eventful summer marrying her husband, Chris, and moving to Wilmington from Chapel Hill. The flexibility teachers have at Friends School to follow student interests, try creative lessons, go on field trips, and modify plans to meet student needs is what speaks to Laura. She likens her role as a teacher to that of a coach. “I believe students are inherently resourceful, curious, and whole and that my job is to facilitate and guide their own learning.”

10. Teacher Spotlight | Laura Rezac


Save the Date!

Important, upcoming dates for this spring & summer... be sure to mark your calendar!

GrandFriends Day Thursday March 29, 2018 FSW Spring Soirée Friday, April 27, 2018 Graduation & Summer Break Begins Friday, June 8, 2018 First Day of School Wednesday August 22, 2018 Back to School Picnic Sunday, August 26, 2018


When we gather with Friends, great things happen! Clockwise from top left: Extended day Stargazer students practice under the instruction of UNCW Professor Dr. Gualdi during Strings Class • Alumni & faculty gather over the holidays at Wilmington Home Brew to catch up • The Sea Star Kindergarteners perform Mele Kalikimaka at the Night of Peace concert • Teacher Liz welcomes guests to the 5th grade World Science Fair.

350 Peiffer Avenue | Wilmington, NC 28409

A Statement from the Friends Council on Education

regarding the primary purposes and guiding principles of Quaker schools: Friends Council member schools are based upon the core principles, faith, and practice of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Each school is recognized individually for offering fine academics and a holistic approach to the moral development of each student. Friends schools operate on the founding Quaker principle of equality, and seek to maintain admissions and financial aid programs that ensure accessibility, affordability, and an embrace of human diversity of all kinds. Friends schools continually review and change curricula to respond to the current world, in ways that reflects the historic Quaker practice of promoting peace, justice, and the basic human and civil rights of each person. Friends schools teach the values of world citizenry, including the love for freedom, an appreciation for religious difference, the embrace of democracy, and respect for human dignity, including those who are oppressed.

Spring 2018 Connections, Friends School of Wilmington  
Spring 2018 Connections, Friends School of Wilmington