Tag: friends school

Move Over French Club – At Friends School, They Restore Gorgeous Vintage Vespas


Screen shot 2013-06-13 at 9.09.20 AM

The most complicated thing I ever made for a high school club was bleu/blanc/rouge cookies for French Club that one time. That’s nothing compared to what goes on at the Friends School of Baltimore‘s Vespa Scooter Club, where students learn how to restore and rebuild the beloved mod scooters — and do a handy job of it (evidence above). Like what you see? That gorgeous cherry red 1962 Vespa VBB 150 is available for purchase.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex


Baltimore-based sex educator Deborah Roffman has a tough but important job:  talking to tweens and teens about sex. Phew, some parents out there might be thinking, Maybe I can get her to come to my kids’ school and I’ll be off the hook! But that’s exactly the wrong move, according to Roffman, because parents should be their kids’ primary (first AND most important) sexuality educators. “Data consistently shows that conversation helps postpone the age of first intercourse and it slows kids down,” Roffman says. “Same with all other risk-taking behavior. Parents matter.” Here are some of her tips for making those conversations more helpful and honest, and less miserably awkward:

  • It’s better to talk than to not talk. Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing, Roffman notes. There’s no perfect approach or correct speech to give; instead, it’s more important to open the doors of communication and talk, talk, talk.

Gangs at Friends? Just the Musical Kind: “West Side Story” Opens Tonight


Tonight the dynamic, genre-redefining 1957 musical West Side Story opens at Friends. Music by Leonard Bernstein, conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show is inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Michael McVey, Friends longstanding choral director, has always loved the complex production and dreamed of staging it someday. He played Tony in both college and grad school. But he’d vowed never to attempt the song-dance-script-intense show of warring New York gangs at Friends School. Then he considered this year’s senior class, a group packed with stronger performance chops combined than McVey’s ever seen charge a single auditorium. The show runs Friday through Sunday.

Friends is famous for having a stellar music department. Why were you super hesitant to attempt WSS?

Never say never. But I said I would never do West Side Story because it was too big a challenge for high school kids to handle. The male dancing alone – it’s not enough to have a couple of strong dancers, you have to have tons. The singing roles are very mature for kids. The orchestra parts are very hard for kids – and adults. Our rehearsal schedule is bare bones; we don’t rehearse forever as some other schools do. We don’t rehearse after school, in order to include athletes. We rehearse Saturdays. Other area schools do 6-10 p.m. nightly for two weeks before it opens. We did Monday and Wednesday night this week. Earlier, we rehearsed Saturdays; three rehearsal groups, doing music, choreography and staging, all happened at once. Then we used the regular 40-minute concert chorale period in the school day, [but only] after our spring concert…

What is so special about this particular group? Will they go on to pursue performance professionally?

I have 16 seniors in the musical, 55 kids total. The seniors have been major players in our theater, musical theater, and music programs since they were freshmen. They’re just a special group of kids who have this intense interest in performing, singing, playing instruments; they do it all. There are some uniquely talented kids in this class. I have never seen this many in one class. I’m already in mourning for next year.

Friends School Scarlet and Gray Day, Roland Park’s Ciclovia and Race for the Cure


Friends School Scarlet and Gray Day: The annual carnival for the area’s oldest private school offers fun, family-centered activities, children’s carnival games, mouth-watering fare, and loads of varsity sports action from the school’s field hockey, football and soccer teams among others. The popular Used Sports Equipment Sale will be held again as well as a free lacrosse clinic for lower and middle schoolers. And what would an event at Friends School be without music? Lower and middle school students will be jamming in a variety of school-sponsored and student-organized rock and jazz ensembles all day long. When: Saturday, October 22, 10 a.m – 4 p.m. Lacrosse clinic from 10 – 11:15. Where: Friends School, 5114 N. Charles Street, Roland Park. Lacrosse clinic will be held on field #2. Attire: It’s Friends, so styles will run the gamut from uber preppy to uber crunchy. Come as you are. Admission: Free. But bring cash for the food and fun.

Roland Park Ciclovia: The Roland Park Civic League hosts its fourth Ciclovia, a community building event that originated in Bogota (learn more about Ciclovia in the video on our landing on the homepage). Vehicular traffic on Roland Avenue will be diverted so that residents can socialize, walk, jog or bike in the street, from Northern Parkway to Cold Spring Lane. Mt. Washington Bike Shop will be on hand to tune bikes along the course and instruct children on bicycle safety. Back by popular demand, a “bike rodeo” will be organized for the youngest cyclists, courtesy of Bike Maryland.  Gilman School teachers’ band, Teachers for Sale, and the band Mambo Combo, will provide entertainment. Food concessions will be available along the route. Community organizers from other Baltimore neighborhoods will be there too, to see if Ciclovia will work in their communities. When: Sunday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Roland Avenue between Northern Parkway and Cold Spring Lane. Attire: LL Bean constitutes high fashion in Roland Park. You’re good to go. Admission: Free. Bring cash for the goodies.

For more on Ciclovia, see the blog post from Roland Park resident and freelance writer Kathy Hudson. 

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure: It’s not too late to register for the Race for the Cure, the 5k Run (3.1 miles) and 5k Walk (3.1 miles) and One Mile Family Fun Walk for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to benefit breast cancer research. When:  6 a.m. – Survivor, Pledge & Registration Tents Open, 6:40 a.m. – Parade of Pink (Survivor Recognition Walk), 7 a.m. – Survivor Photo,  7:15 a.m. – Aerobic warm-up by Brick Bodies 8 a.m. – 5k Run, 8:30 a.m. – 5k Walk and One Mile Family Fun Walk, 10 a.m. – Awards Ceremony. Where: Komen Maryland Race for the Cure Race Village, 11350 McCormick Road, Hunt Valley (across the street from the Hunt Valley Towne Centre). Attire: Pink! Your race day T-shirt and running shoes. Admission: Registration fees range from $10 to $40. For more information click here.

Taking Care of the Earth


The graduation speech of J.D. Robinson, Friends School Class of 2011. He heads to McDaniel College in the fall.

Listen. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of your frontal lobe processing thought. We’re all thinking. Some of us have been thinking for a long, long time. Others have just ventured into the realm of thought. But what have we been thinking about? The future? Sometimes. The past? Well, only in History class. No, today, we think about today. The day we’ve all been waiting for. The day we officially move forward. The day we move out into this huge world that we call Earth.

However, we must remember. This Earth is not like what it was before. For the first time in history, we are said to be worse off than those before us. This Earth has become unforgiving. An Earth with a dwindling environment. An Earth of violence and death. An Earth of struggle. But this in no way means we should lose hope. Quite the opposite, actually. We are provided an opportunity. An opportunity to change, to reshape, and to rebuild. Change an Earth with a dwindling environment into one with a vibrant and sustainable one. An Earth of violence and death into one of tranquility and harmony. An Earth of struggle into an Earth of peace. 

Now, you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. We’ve all had these dreams. To end war. End hunger. End deforestation. End poverty. End crime. Thanks to the past years we have been given the tools and the mindset to take steps in these directions. Possibly even leaps and bounds. But steps. Small, Mila- and Fiona-sized steps. 

I used to think that the new school motto was laughable. I deemed it too pretentious and snooty in my own mind. But the more I think about those words, “The world needs what our children can do,” the more I think of the extraordinary things my fellow classmates have done, not because they felt it thrust upon them by the world, but to show the world that they haven’t turned away. They can rebuild townhouse after townhouse and give those homes to someone less fortunate. They work with food banks and homeless shelters to make sure those shelves stay stocked and that those shelters get proper equipment. They fly down to Haiti to replant trees to help recreate the lost environment, and have redoubled their efforts to help the Haitian people once again. 50 + hours between 99 students. And if the math is right, Miles spent a good hour working this equation out, that’s about 5000 hours of work for the community and the world. See? We’re making those steps already. Sure, you can say that later in life, we’re going to run out of time to be able to do these things. But time is something we don’t have to worry about.

Because Time isn’t an enemy. Nor is time a friend. Time is merely a companion. We can’t be afraid of time because it only moves one direction. And we’ve spent a lot of time here. 

I’m forced to admit that these years were quite different. These weren’t just more calendar years filled with pleasure and work, happiness and sadness, gain and loss. These years have truly changed us, in every way that matters. 

When I look back I don’t see days or weeks, or months or cycles or day 1’s or day 4’s. I see smiles, and laughter, and the ever so tenuous steps toward the future. Toward this day. I see my classmates grow older, wiser, more mature, and myself a little bit too. I see 2011 growing closer and closer together and becoming the family I never expected I would get, or even want. But I got them anyway, and over the years I’ve learned to accept and embrace them for who they all are. The people I will not soon forget. The people I take pride in calling my friends. The people who I will truly, dearly miss.

As I look forward to the years to come, I see it through a new perspective. Through a new set of eyes. A set of eyes that knows I have people I can trust. People I can lean on. There’s a quote from a favorite TV Show of mine. “If you can’t run, you walk. If you can’t walk, you crawl. And if you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.” I can truly say, that if I can no longer run, walk, or crawl, I can find someone in the class of 2011 to carry me. I’ll leave you with this. Take stock of the things that truly, truly matter. And I’ll see you on the other side, 2011.