Shared throughout the feature is a sampling of memories of and reflections on Larry Van Meter submitted by MFS community members. An abundance of memories were submitted and all will be presented to Larry as a keepsake.
"The easiest way to describe Dad's time at MFS is to say that it was his greatest woodworking project of all time. Over 50,000 hours in the making, in collaboration with the very best faculty and staff. MFS today reflects the care, wisdom, and perfectionism that my dad reserves only for those things he really loves."
— Luke Van Meter '05
"Larry's visionary impact on Quaker education extends beyond Moorestown Friends School. During Larry's tenure on the Friends Council on Education, he led the effort to develop what is now called the Member Renewal Process, designed to insure that Quakerism remains the beating heart of every Friends school."
— Drew Smith, Executive Director, Friends Council on Education
"Larry epitomizes Quaker Leadership at its best. He is persuasive without being rigid, he is passionate without being pushy, he is moral without judgment, and I would put my life in his hands."
— Whitty Ransome '63, Trustee
"Larry has given of himself and his time freely and deeply to fulfill the role of leader, pastoral guide, facilitator, Quaker visionary, strategic thinker, chief fundraiser, and thoughtful voice of the community."
— Steve Zakroff, Director of Development
"Larry has guided MFS through strategic plans, master plans, and several building projects. His vision and dreams for MFS were always foremost in his thoughts."
— Jim Price, Alumni Parent
"Larry is truly an inspirational leader who cares deeply about brightening the future of the world through engaging the 'tender hearts' and 'tough minds' of students. I'm grateful for his vision, his values, and his wisdom in doing all the right things for all the right reasons in service to making MFS a great place to work, teach, play, and learn."
— Mark Mitchell '86, Vice President, National Association of Independent Schools
"I have known Larry for many years in my capacity as a School Committee member and have been inspired by his ability to lead the school in a manner that provides an outstanding education while fostering a strong sense of community. Larry has provided the vision to take MFS from good to great while never forgetting to care for the individuals who comprise the school."
— Mindy Holman, Trustee and Alumni Parent
"Because of his reserved personality, I think people sometimes didn't fully appreciate what a strong and accomplished leader Larry was, but over time, his ambition, creativity, and deep love for the school bore spectacular fruit. MFS is an example for Quaker schools everywhere of how to embody Friends' principles of respect, equity, nonviolence, and social justice."
— Katy Rinehart, former English Department Chair and Director of College Guidance
"Whether it be setting the clock in Stokes Hall with Lower School students, attending sporting and arts events, or hosting Hoagies with the Head, he finds ways to get to know students in the school and foster relationships with them. He is a genuinely kind and good human and lets his life speak in remarkable ways."
— Kimberly Clarkson, Middle School Director
"Larry would surprise us with unannounced visits to the preschool classroom so he could visit with the children. One of my fondest memories of Larry happened to be one of those visits when he also brought a guest with him who he introduced as his prekindergarten teacher. They shared stories of Larry's classmates as well as remembering his favorite places to play in the classroom. I fondly remember how heartwarming it was to listen to their shared memories of Larry's very first year at Moorestown Friends."
— Patricia McEwan, former Preschool Teacher
"The most memorable and treasured moments definitely have to be his warm, welcoming speeches on the first day of each school year. I remember in vivid detail how, without fail, every year Mr. Van Meter would claim to have butterflies in his stomach from all of the excitement. Much to the amusement of everyone present, he would then open his coat to reveal several bright butterfly pins attached to the inside of his jacket. The room would erupt with giggles, especially from the crowd of younger students, and any apprehension felt towards beginning a new year would melt away almost instantly. Mr. Van Meter brought so much fun, light, and love to the school community and truly created an environment that focused on the joys of learning and putting both heart and soul into anything and everything one might pursue."
— Katia Hehn '20
"Whenever I see Mr. Van Meter, I see smiling eyes and a sense of spirit of calmness. He always appears to be free -- from disturbances and annoyances -- and yet, as Head of School, his shoulders always carry the weight of his responsibility to his peers and students. Every time he sees me, he SEES me -- he remembers my name, my parents and my sisters, and now, my children. The effort it takes to engage with every person he encounters with individualized attention is truly appreciated and has always made me feel welcomed on campus."
— Sonia Mixter Guzman '02, Parent
"The best kinds of teachers are the ones who guide you and support you, trust you and challenge you, but don't necessarily provide you with a map to your destination. As I chart my own path as the next head of school at Moorestown Friends, I couldn't be more appreciative to have Larry as my teacher. Already in our short time together, he has provided encouragement and wisdom, but has left me ample space to reach my own conclusions and follow my own inner compass. There is a peacefulness about him that communicates confidence and kindness, and I can see clearly why he is so beloved at MFS. There is simply no way to fill Larry's shoes, so I don't plan on trying. Instead, I will firmly plant my own pair of shoes next to his, track where his path of leadership has led him and this wonderful institution, and pave my way forward with his sage advice surrounding me. I count myself among the luckiest heads of school to have Larry as my teacher, and I will give my full heart to honoring his work and vision for MFS."
— Julia de la Torre, the next Moorestown Friends Head of School