Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

At the end of their final Collection, the class of 2024 streamed onstage for a final dance, and shouts of SEN-IORS!
Class of 2024's Last Collection [Brief & Video]
With heartfelt speeches and whole-class choreography, seniors said farewell to their teachers and underclassmen.
Members of Friends Schools class of 2025 pose for a photo before their first prom.
Photos, Dancing, Memories - and Don't Forget the Food [Brief]
Missed prom? A Quill correspondent and first-time attendee recaps everything you need to know.
Friends juniors prepare for the 2023 Homecoming dance.
'Back to the Future' at Friends School [Brief]
Homecoming 2023 threw students from the '80s to the future, as DJ Ok got everyone on their feet, and even faculty busted a move.
Fans line up for snowballs from a Kona Ice truck during a break in the rain on Scarlet and Grey day.
Scarlet & Grey Day Hits the Quarter Century Mark [Brief]
On a recent rainy Saturday, Park and Friends School sports teams faced off in a series of contests, cheered on by hundreds of soggy fans.
On the final day of Spirit Week, seniors dressed in Friends School colors - scarlet and grey - for the annual Pep Rally.
A Silly, Spirited Week [Brief]
Leading up to Rivalry Day, students dressed up to show their school spirit - and sense of humor.
A senior accesses the Common App landing page for the University of Delaware. As college deadlines approach, the class of 24 is sleepy and stresses.
Seniors Feel College Pressure as Early Deadlines Approach [Brief]
The mood in senior hall is tense, as sleep-starved teens scramble to finish their essays - along with a heavy load of mid-semester schoolwork.
The Morgan State University Marching Band processes down the Friends School driveway, lined with cheering crowds of students, from preschoolers to 12th graders.
In a Year of Tragedy, Morgan Band Concert a Particular Gift [Brief]
Friends students expressed gratitude for the marching band's energetic performance - especially so soon after a shooting on the Morgan State University campus injured five students.
In Orioles fan and 12th grade dean Josh Carlins office, Friends memorabilia and a recent Baltimore Sun front page celebrating the teams winning season have pride of place.
Fans Dress for MLB Success on Friends' 'Orange Thursday' [Brief]
Led this season by an exciting core of young, up-and-coming stars, the Orioles have won back the hearts of many Friends School fans.
Award-winning novelist Jenny Offill visits the 10th grade English class of Rob Traviesso - her own former student.
Upper School Author Visit Brings Reunion [Brief]
Novelist Jenny Offill spent a day on campus meeting with students at the invitation of her own former student - English teacher Rob Travieso.
Senior Maeve Reichert, head of the literary magazine Mock Turtle, talks to potential 9th grade recruits during the 2023 clubs fair.
Highlights From Upper School Clubs Fair [Brief]
Dozens of clubs showed their stuff and courted new members at the high-energy, candy-fueled gathering on the quad.

He Tried the Law, But the Math Won

Carl Schlenger, a 30-year veteran of the Friends math department, almost took another path in life. Today, students say he personifies the school’s Quaker values.
Keller Handwerk
Beloved Friends math department chair Carl Schlenger sits in his classroom, three decades after he made the decision to leave the law for teaching.

Carl Schlenger has been a math teacher at Friends School of Baltimore for 30 years. In that time, he has seen many students walk through the halls. But his own journey to Friends is quite the unusual one. 

Schlenger graduated from the University of Virginia. As a young adult, he worked for three and a half years as a lawyer. But he found the job less fulfilling than he had hoped. 

“I had a bunch of experiences that made me question whether the practice of law was what I wanted to do for my career … they accumulated over time. And I finally decided: I’m in my mid-20s, I’m not married, I don’t have a mortgage. If I’m going to switch careers, now’s the time to do it,” Schlenger says.

He began to think about switching careers. To see what his future might hold, he reflected on his past. 

“I was always strong in math, and I had wonderful math teachers in high school,” he says. “I was thinking that would be an enriching career.”

Once he made his decision, the switch was quick. Over one weekend, Schlenger transitioned from being a lawyer into his teaching career. 

“I had a class the next Monday, which was kind of a culture shock,” he says. “I was an attorney on Friday, and Monday [I was in] a classroom with a bunch of budding teachers.”

While learning how to teach, Schlenger substitute-taught at different schools in the Baltimore area, trying to gain insight and experience. One place he taught was Friends. 

“Whenever I substituted Friends … they were always good days, and the kids were wonderful,” he remembers. “I’d walk into the classroom, and they’d be: ‘Well, what are we learning today?’ They expected to be taught, which was cool.”

They connected with him, even as a substitute teacher.

“And sometimes in the hallways, they’d say, ‘Hey, Mr. Schlenger.’ And it just made me feel like: what a wonderful community this was,” he says.

So when a position opened up in the Friends math department, Schlenger threw his hat in the ring. He went through the interview process, moving past each stage with reserved confidence.

But when he reached the final stage, he really began to hope for the job. Then, Upper School Principal Stanley Johnson* called.

“He called me a few days later and offered me the position, and I accepted on the spot. That was May 2nd, 1994,” Schlenger recalls. He has been at Friends ever since.

Over the past three decades, Schlenger has taught classes from Calculus to Math of Finance – and he’s taught thousands of students.

It’s hard to narrow a career like that down to a favorite moment.  

“The [best] moments that I’ve had in the classroom were just enjoying teaching,” he says. “That’s my favorite thing to do, is being in the classroom with the kids.”

Over time, Schlenger went from being the youngest member of his department to the department chair and most senior member. One teacher who has known Schlenger for almost 30 years, as a colleague and as a friend, is Ken Fowler. 

“[Early on,] he was someone that I could go and talk to him about math. Teaching was new to me. He also came in from outside of the teaching field. So we had a little bit in common,” Fowler says. “I came as an engineer. He was a lawyer. So we talked about a lot of stuff.”

Many students are curious to learn more about Schlenger. Fowler shared one little-known fact.

“The funniest thing about Mr. Schlenger that maybe students don’t know is that he hates vegetables. He will not eat something green,” he says. “So if we go out for a department dinner or department meal or whatnot, we’re always joking because he will not eat green vegetables.”

Many students say they have enjoyed taking Schlenger’s classes, and they enjoy his presence in our community. 

“He was always very supportive,” says senior Nigel Mckinney. During his time in Schlenger’s math class, Nigel says, he was struck by his teacher’s encouragement.

Like, it’s a ‘Good job,’ if I had just taken a test, or ‘I expect you to do well on this one,’ or something like that,” he says. 

Over Schlenger’s 30-year career at Friends, he has transitioned from a brand new teacher to one of the school’s very best. Senior Keely Carter says he is a teacher who embodies the Quaker values at Friends. 

“Mr. Schlenger holds his students in the light. He always makes sure everyone in the class understands the material before quizzes and tests, and even if you are unprepared he might let you take it later,” she says. “I feel it is a very supportive way of teaching.”

Schlenger is one of the teachers at Friends who embodies the Quaker spirit of holding others in the light. 


Correction: The original version of this article misstated the name of person who called to offer Mr. Schlenger his job. It was Upper School Principal Stanley Johnson, not Head of School Byron Forbush.

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Keller Handwerk
Keller Handwerk, Contributor
Keller is a student at Friends School, class of 2024. He is very involved in athletics as a captain of the cross country and wrestling teams, a lacrosse team player, and a member of Friends School Athletic Association.
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