How long have you been at MFS?
Since freshman year.
What made you decide to attend?
After I came to visit the school, I noticed how friendly everyone was, and it seemed like a lot of people had close relationships with each other. I saw the sense of community from the students, and also how the students and teachers interacted. When I shadowed a freshman in eighth grade, that was the day that I decided that I would really like to come to MFS.
What was it like being new in ninth grade?
Coming in freshman year was a completely different world at first, in a good way. There was a lot more freedom and a lot more choices. Coming here was nice because of all the clubs and all the opportunities. I feel like smaller classes help you to have a better connection with your teachers, and through that it’s easier to learn and be comfortable in your environment.
What are your favorite subjects?
Right now, I’m most interested in music and the sciences. I’m planning on taking AP Music Theory next year, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a singer. When I first came to the school, I didn’t try out for solos. One of the Intensive Learning options my freshman year was that everyone in the choir could go on a trip to Florida to perform, and I tried out for a solo and I got it. We sang at different retirement homes, and then we went to places like Disney and Universal together.
I became very interested in chemistry when I took it with Mr. Newman, who was very supportive and encouraging. I’m taking a second year of chemistry now (Honors Chemistry II). As Mr. Newman teaches, he’ll expand on how you can relate his lesson to the outside world. When I was taking his class, I felt like I wasn’t just memorizing information to learn it and get a good grade, but I was learning the information so that I could apply it to life and a career. He seems to really love the subject that he teaches. I feel like when a teacher loves what they’re doing, it’s easier for a kid to love what they’re doing.
If you could recommend one more teacher, who would it be?
Mr. Thomson, my history teacher. Instead of memorizing facts, and then testing on it, and then memorizing new facts, he’ll narrate what happened in history and then he’ll modernize how the people would talk so it’s easier for us to understand. I have him for history this year, and right now we’re playing a game called Trivial Pursuit. We were broken up into teams at the very beginning of the year. After we read a chapter or two in class, everyone is assigned terms and he puts them into the game so we answer the questions as teams. It gets really heated because everyone’s competing! Through that, we’re able to become more confident with our understanding of history.
Do you feel that ethical education is an important part of the classes you’re taking at MFS?
I feel like learning about Quaker values and ethical values at a young age is important to students because it will shape their character. In our 10th grade Ethics class, we learn about a lot of different ethical dilemmas and different people’s ways of approaching the situations. We don’t just learn about the “right” thing, but we learn about all the different possibilities of what we could be doing. Knowing all the different ways to solve a problem, I’m able to choose my own ways to solve the problem.
What’s an example of an ethical problem you’ve confronted?
We discussed self-value in ethics class, and we were given the example of two men stranded in the middle of the ocean: one is a very wealthy doctor who has done a lot with his life, and the other person doesn’t have a job, doesn’t have a very good education, and hasn’t really done much for society. And the raft can only hold one person — so who should stay on the raft? Those two people need to decide. We spent a really long time debating this in class because everyone had their own opinion and everyone thought that their opinion was the best way to solve the problem. In doing that, I learned a lot of different people’s perspectives. I feel like that question has no clear answer, because we’re taught that everyone is equal, and you can’t really make that distinction of who should stay on the raft or not. Through arguing that scenario, I’ve learned to better take a position and stick to it in a debate.
What kinds of activities are you involved in outside of class?
I’m involved in the school choir and the school string ensemble. I’m also the secretary of FOCUS Club, which is a place to learn about God and discuss the Bible. I’m the vice president of Animal Awareness Club, too, where we discuss issues related to animal abuse and collect money to donate to different animal shelters. We have Veggie Day a couple times a year, where we make vegetarian food and invite everyone to come during lunch. I’m on the Service Committee, too.
We’re starting a handbell club called MFS Ringers with Ms. Bixby, the choral director. I’m also on the Deborah Heart Challenge team, which meets on Friday mornings before school.
I’ve been on the lacrosse team at school since freshman year, and I’ve played club field hockey since freshman year as well. I was selected to represent my club at the National Festival Field Hockey Tournament in Palm Beach, Florida over Thanksgiving weekend.
Outside of school, I sing in my church choir at the First Presbyterian Church in Moorestown, and I sing in the Princeton Girlchoir. For Girlchoir, I’m going on tour to Trinidad.
Do you feel MFS has supported you in your love of music?
Ms. Bixby is like a voice teacher to us. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from her. The choir teachers have helped me to try new things like auditioning for solos and trying different styles of music. Last year, I sang at Carnegie Hall in the High School Honors Performance Series. It was probably the best experience that I’ve ever had.