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.

Student Leaders Find Meaningful ‘Mirrors’ at Diversity Conference [Opinion]

For us, SDLC was a chance to think about parts of our identities, and broader communities, that we don’t always see represented at Friends School.
Courtesy of Manny Rodriguez
Friends students and staff pause for a photo en route to this year’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference in St. Louis.

On November 29th, six Friends students woke up bright and early to catch a flight to Saint Louis. We were headed to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. SDLC, as it is known, gathers students from independent schools across the country and world, as part of its annual People of Color Conference.

After two short flights and a layover, we arrived at the Westin Hotel downtown, with a view of Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play. Students Jaden Green, Audrey Lin, Shirene Gehawi, Khadejah Allen, Rebekah Desta, and I headed up to our rooms. 

Our first event was a lovely dinner. Afterward we headed to the conference center and got our badges. This year, the conference theme – “Bending the Arc Toward Justice: Radical Optimism, Transformational Joy, Resilience, and Brilliance” – took its inspiration from a famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A band called The Slants kicked off the conference. Band members talked about their childhoods as Asian American kids growing up in predominantly white areas. During the concert, they touched on numerous anti-Asian stereotypes – one of which was the origin of their name.  

Following the performance, the six of us and our chaperones headed back to the hotel – but not before we stopped at a dollar store to stock up on snacks! We headed our separate ways to prepare for the next day of the conference – which would begin at 7:30 am. 

I had never experienced or been a part of a Middle Eastern and North African affinity group [before]. It was my first time seeing other people reflect my identity, and in turn that shaped my confidence and authenticity. I’ve been given the chance to physically see my community, and that is something so powerful.

— Shirene Gehawi '23

We woke up bright and early. The sun had not quite risen. After a stop at a jam-packed Starbucks, we made it to the conference.

It began with a few keynote speakers. Following this, broke into ‘home groups,’ which consisted of around 50 kids from all over the US and the world. Within those groups, we were divided again into smaller groups. These were called our family groups.

We spent the morning with these groups. While we played some games, we also had serious conversations, especially about stereotypes we’ve heard at school about minority groups. 

At lunch, the line was exceptionally long, as 8,000 students scrambled to get the warm food first. After that, it was another struggle to find our friends in the cafeteria. 

Meantime, we were making new friends. The first day, a student with a speaker brought us together by starting a sing-along to “Love” by Keyshia Cole. We all definitely bonded over this moment.  

At the end of the day, we split into different affinity groups. There were a number of identifiers involved.  

Senior Audrey Lin attended the East Asian affinity group.

“Being in the East Asian affinity group was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had,” she says. “It felt so validating to be surrounded by people with similar experiences to mine, and I felt instantly connected with everyone.” 

Meanwhile, senior Shirene Gehawi was in the Middle Eastern and North African Group.

“Going into SDLC, I had never experienced or been a part of a Middle Eastern and North African affinity group. It was my first time seeing other people reflect my identity, and in turn that shaped my confidence and authenticity. I’ve been given the chance to physically see my community, and that is something so powerful,” she says. “I loved every part of the conference.”

I spent the evening in the South Asian Affinity group. In it, we spent time preparing skits and talking about how stereotypes have negatively affected us in the school system. We bonded over our shared experiences, and learned from one another. 

On the last day of the conference, we once again began in our home groups, then continued to lunch. Then, we returned to our affinity groups, where we played games, sang songs, and sadly said our goodbyes.

The final tear-jerker was when we headed to the auditorium for the closing ceremony. There, speaker Rodney Glasgow, who had accompanied us through our whole experience, invited a few of us to the stage before asking us to speak words of appreciation to one another, and get in our final goodbyes.  

SDLC was an amazing experience, and such a wonderful opportunity. Learning about cultures that are not as well-represented as some was exceptionally interesting, and it opened my eyes to how diverse our world is. The conference also allowed me to find a newfound appreciation for my Indian and Hindu culture – which at times I have overlooked. It was an experience I will always treasure.

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About the Contributor
Kohena Basu
Kohena Basu, Contributor
Kohena, class of ‘25, is in Friends School’s Journalism class.  She is also involved in numerous activities, including chorus, jazz ensemble, and Pleadies, the school's female a cappella group.
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