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.

Wisdom from Brain Guru Jared Horvath [Opinion]

The visiting neuroscientist’s iconoclastic and self-assured advice gave me – fittingly – lots to think about.
Courtesy of Jared Horvath
Last month, Jared Cooney Horvath spoke to Friends Upper and Middle School students, and teachers and parents, about the neuroscience of learning.

Last week, I met with Dr. Jared Horvath, who came to Friends School to talk with students, teachers, and parents about the science of learning.

Horvath is an award-winning cognitive neuroscientist and lecturer at Harvard. He’s a former professor and founder of the company LME Global: Learning Made Easy. Our eye-opening discussion included: the failures of science, his academic passions, and what makes for true genius. 

First, Horvath opened up about the failures of math and science. I had never heard anyone talk about this before, even though I have family, friends, and parents who are doctors, and my brother is on a pre-med track. Still, I had never seriously considered the limits of science before. 

I had heard from my mom that the Malaria vaccine her lab was developing wasn’t working. But in our discussions, I never got from her the sense that that might be because science had reached its limit, and no vaccine could be produced. She describes it as a human error, not a scientific error. 

Horvath gave a different perspective. He contended that scientists and researchers know the limits of science and math – they just would never tell anybody outside their field. He said the reasons for this are simple: identity and tribalism. 

If you’re a scientist, science is your identity and your tribe. You probably have many friends who are scientists, and a scientist employs you. So if you go around talking about how science sucks, you could lose your friends and your job. 

In our conversation, Horvath seemed very sure of himself. He said he wants to publish a controversial book about the flaws he sees in scientific research. Describing it, he seemed unfazed by the fact that it could end his career as a researcher. 

“My career is going to go like this” he said, pointing upward, “and then like this” pointing sharply down.

Since his research is on the brain, and specifically focused on how people perceive stuff, we talked about seeing both sides of an argument or a story. He said that, doing that well is one of the things that makes a genius a genius: they already know what their critics are going to say.

Horvath contended that a genius must do two things. First, they must become an expert in the status quo. If you’re trying to make advancements in physics, you need to know everything about the status quo of physics. You need to learn the lay of the land so that you can change it. 

Horvath said a common mistake change-makers make is that they don’t learn the lay of the land first – they just try to make change. But then they don’t know what to do, or what makes their option better than the status quo. 

Second, he said a genius must be outstanding at recognizing their own weaknesses. 

“I always know what people are going to say about my paper. I know when to say it’s a valid criticism, and when I can simply dismiss it,” he said.

Finally, we talked about high school life, and some of the dos and don’ts. While in high school, he said, a teenager’s brain is changing and developing so much that by the time they graduate, they will become a completely different person. 

I asked, does that mean it’s better not to put all of your eggs in one basket in high school, despite the fact that having a centralized focus gives you an advantage in the college process? 

“It’s complicated,” he said. 

He agreed that getting into college now often feels like it’s about selling your brand – and if you have no brand, you may suffer in the process. But in the long run, he said, it’s a bad idea to lock yourself into one idea or identity. Being able to try out a lot of different things and not focus on one is better for your brain and your development, because you learn so much more. 

So what to take away from this conversation? First, be yourself. I know it’s cliche and our senate co-presidents already said it, but the science backs it up. Second, it’s important to be able to take criticism of your own work, and to face your flaws. Lastly, our school is full of potential change makers – but in order to make change, we should first master the status quo. 

Thanks again to Dr. Horvath for an insightful conversation that made me think!

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