Photo via Etsy
Photo via Etsy

For Jonah Haas, a recent graduate of Friends School of Baltimore, there is a lot of pride in being a Baltimorean.

Haas, a member of the class of 2016, has lived here his entire life. Although he will be leaving the city in the fall to attend Syracuse University and study film, he feels there’s a very good chance he’ll return in the future. “I cannot see myself in a place other than Baltimore,” he said.

Baltimore sports in particular have always been a passion for Haas, which he harnessed during his time at Friends. During his sophomore year, he founded Quaker Nation — the school’s medium for broadcasting sports coverage — with the aid of two of his teachers. What began as a Twitter-only method of updating the Friends community about its athletic competitions has transformed into a multi-social media platform with over a thousand followers.

“[Quaker Nation]’s a huge thing at Friends now,” Haas said. “It’s really changed the way fans can experience their sports teams. So that’s grown to something that I’ve never even imagined.”

Jonah Haas and his parents at an Orioles game. Photo courtesy of Jonah Haas
Jonah Haas and his parents at an Orioles game. Photo courtesy of Jonah Haas

Last summer when Haas participated in a bike trip with other kids from across the country, he experienced outsiders’ perspectives on Baltimore at a time when the city was receiving negative attention on a national scale. But Haas has always maintained his faith and pride in his hometown.

Caroline Kaufman, a member of the Bryn Mawr class of 2016, had a similar experience when she attended Camp Chateaugay in upstate New York during a recent summer. She said that when one of her fellow campers discovered she was from Baltimore, they asked her if she’d ever been shot. Kaufman said that she wrote one of her application essays for Tufts — where she will be attending in the fall — about the dichotomy between the outside perception of the city and her perception as a community member.

Kaufman added that there will be many things about the city she’ll miss when she leaves for college, including the group of students at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School that she has tutored for going on three years. “I’m going to miss being able to see their progress, because I’ve already seen them grow so much,” she said.

Kaufman believes she will continue tutoring kids when she goes to college, and hopes that she’ll be able to find “the same kind of open discussions and engaged community” that she experienced at Bryn Mawr. As for returning to the city, she said, “It’s very much where my roots are. I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I can definitely see myself coming back.”

Michael Holmes, who just graduated from Gilman, is not quite as sure that he’ll return to Baltimore in the long run but has many fond memories here nonetheless. A native of Mt. Washington, he is set to venture to Yale for the fall semester, but he’ll take with him his recollections of high school.

“There’s a lot of small moments you remember,” he said. “Times when a bunch of people stayed late after school because they didn’t have rides and you just end up playing foosball in the senior room for like an hour.”

Michael Holmes
Michael Holmes is a recent graduate of Gilman. Photo courtesy of Michael Holmes

Artscape is a favorite Baltimore tradition for Holmes; both of his parents are artists who graduated from MICA, and have taken their son to the city’s art festival for as long as he can remember. He felt that growing up in Baltimore afforded him many opportunities to explore, particularly with its abundance of museums and other locales like the National Aquarium.

“I guess diverse is the word, just sort of in terms of what you can do,” Holmes said in describing his hometown. “There’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of extracurriculars, a lot of fields you can get interested in.”

Lauren Eller, a student at Kenyon College, is the Baltimore Fishbowl summer intern.

Lauren Eller is a graduate of Friends School and a student at Kenyon College. She is the Baltimore Fishbowl Summer 2017 intern.

2 replies on “High School Graduates on What Baltimore Means to Them”

  1. Really well written Lauren! I like the contrasts of the different students and their feelings about returning to Baltimore. The Quaker Nation platform is exciting to read about!
    Jeff Eller

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