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

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.
Seniors line up in the heat to have their final yearbook photos taken.
Seniors Say (Melted) Cheese? [Brief]
This year's senior yearbook portraits fell during a record heat wave.
Lunch & M? Try Lunch & Melting [Brief]
Lunch & M? Try Lunch & Melting [Brief]
Heat broke records this month at Friends School of Baltimore.

Andrew Spawn, Quaker Crime Fighter

You may know Mr. Spawn as a lighthearted Middle School science teacher. But he used to fight crime on the streets of Philly.
Nick McGowan
Veteran Life Science teacher Andrew Spawn confers with a sixth grade student.

You may know Andrew Spawn as a kind, lighthearted science teacher. But he used to be a tough crime fighter on the streets of Philly. During high school, Mr. Spawn volunteered with the peacekeeping group the Guardian Angels, roaming the streets to fight crime.

“At night, I went down to South Broad and put on a set of fatigues and a red Beret and patrolled the Philadelphia subways with 24 Guys, you know, standing like that in the doorway of the subway cars,” he says. “We stopped crime just by physical presence.” 

The fact that they were unarmed was important to Spawn. He’s a Quaker, who attended a long line of Quaker schools – all the way through college. He went to a small Quaker school in Indiana called Earlham.

“I went to college and focused really early on in biology,” he says. “Since high school, I’ve been really interested in biology. And [then] Earlham had a really strong ecology department.” 

So Spawn studied biology and ecology in college.

“I was a brand new graduate, 21 years old. So I kind of walked out of Earlham, went up to Minnesota for a summer [of scientific] field work, and then went right to Friends and started teaching.”

Friends School of Baltimore would be Spawn’s first and only teaching job. Thirty-seven years later, he is still teaching at Friends as a 6th grade Life Science teacher. 

When senior Nigel Lewis thinks back to Middle School, Spawn stands out to him as a teacher who earned his respect.

“I think Mr. Spawn was a good teacher,” Nigel says.

One memory in particular stands out.

“I have a not so fun story,” says Nigel. “When I was in 6th grade, I had took notes off of a peer’s homework assignment, and Mr. Spawn assumed that I had cheated on the homework. Because of this he gave me and the friend a bad grade. Since then, I never cheated in his class again.”

Nigel says he has believed ever since then that Mr. Spawn is a man who shows a lot of integrity, and is a follower of our honor code. 

But Spawn is not just a teacher – he’s also a wrestling coach.

Spawn began wrestling himself in 6th grade, and continued through college. At Friends, he has used his passion for wrestling to teach others. Many young wrestlers at Friends have been coached by him, including current senior Langdon Ottman.

“He’s a Quaker that wrestles and he’s very strong,” says Langdon admiringly.

Spawn’s strength surprised Langdon when he first wrestled him. He was even more surprised when he learned his coach was a Quaker. Langdon says Spawn is one of the reasons he still wrestles to this day – and that the veteran coach and teacher is influential in students’ lives both in and outside of the classroom.

“He’s a great wrestling teacher; very enthusiastic about his job,” Langdon says. “And he’s also a great science teacher.”

These two very different perspectives on Andrew Spawn show how he follows his Quaker values – even though he wrestles. 

“Back in my day, Mr. Spawn taught us to not use the full nelson, an extremely dangerous, illegal wrestling move that was effective in subduing an attacker,” Langdon remembers.

This technique isn’t just used on a wrestling mat, however. It can also be used to fight crime – just like Andrew Spawn once did.

Spawn says he has a lot of memories from his Guardian Angel days – but only one memory he can think of that’s appropriate for the Quaker Quill’s all-school audience. 

“The punk rock concert that they selected was a group called Black Flag, which you probably never heard of, but they were a hardcore punk band. And they were performing at Knights of Columbus Hall in South Philadelphia, a tiny little venue.” 

The Guardian Angels were not a fan favorite of the punk rockers when it came to attending the concerts for security. But they did what they needed to on the job.

This night turned out to be one of Spawn’s favorite memories from his work with the group. Being a Quaker student during the day and crime fighter at night shaped Spawn into the teacher and man he is today.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nick McGowan
Nick McGowan, Contributor
Nick, class of '24, is a multi-sport athlete playing on the varsity lacrosse and varsity wrestling teams. He is a diligent student athlete who strives for greatness.
Donate to The Quaker Quill

Comments (1)

All comments will be approved by Quill editors. Comments containing inappropriate language will not be approved.
All The Quaker Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • C

    Connor EnnisJan 31, 2024 at 9:53 am

    I love Mr. Spawn