Nine Friends School of Baltimore Upper School students were selected to participate in six exciting fully-funded intensive Russian language and culture immersion programs this summer.

Leah Fuzayl, Sasha Rosenthal, Sophia Clark, and Nathan Renard will head off for their Russian STARTALK four to five-week residential full-immersion Russian language camps at the University of Pittsburg, the University of Oklahoma City, and the University of Georgia.  

Caroline Andrews, Sam Gerardi, and Maya Williams are recipients of the prestigious National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) summer study scholarship. Maya and Sam will participate in a six-week program based in Daugavpils, Latvia. Caroline Andrews was selected for an NSLI-Y scholarship based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. All NSLI-Y programs include intensive language study, a homestay with a Russian-speaking family, and cultural excursions. Russian student Nathan Renard was also awarded a full academic year NSLI-Y scholarship to learn Korean in South Korea.

Finally, Asish Chhetri and Hannah Pangaribuan have been selected to be our 2023 Friends School Pushkin Scholars. They are headed off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to participate in the Pushkin Summer Institute, an exciting intensive five-week Russian language and culture program on the UW-Madison campus intended to diversify the field by promoting enthusiasm for the study of Russian among exceptional students who are nationally under-represented in the study of Russian.

Russian is one of eight languages identified by the U.S. government as most needed and lacking for U.S. security. Consequently, there is significant funding to support the study of Russian. STARTALK is funded by the National Security Agency. The NSLI-Y program is funded by the U.S. State Department. The Pushkin Summer Institute is funded jointly by the U.S. Russia Foundation (USRF), the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Friends School.

Friends School’s Russian language program dates back to 1956 when history teacher and self-taught Russian speaker Claire Walker– one year before Russia launched Sputnik – began teaching students the then-“forbidden” language. (At the time, the School was one of only 16 U.S. high schools, public or private, to offer Russian.) Since that time, Friends students have consistently distinguished themselves in the U.S. and abroad in the study of Russian language and culture, earning annual awards in state and national contests and frequent selection by the American Councils of Teachers of Russian to represent the United States on the U.S. delegation to the International Olympiada in Moscow.

Eight Friends students since 2009 have received full-year scholarships and over 60 have been awarded summer scholarships for intensive study of Russian in the U.S. or abroad.

Upper School Russian teacher, Lee Roby, has been nationally recognized twice in the last two years for her contributions to the field of pre-college Russian teaching: first in the receipt of the Indiana University Russian and East European Institute 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award and in February 2023 with the American Association Teachers of Slavic and European European Languages 2022 Outstanding Service to AATSEEL Award.   

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