Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Price (’08)

October 23rd, 2020
Category: Alumni News, News

Amanda Price, PMFS ‘08, grew up to work for Google, speak fluent Spanish, and travel the world. But when she first joined the PMFS community as a Kindergartener, she couldn’t yet read. She vividly remembers when it “clicked” for her, and the joy of finding books she loved in the PMFS library. Amanda credits her Kindergarten teachers for turning her into a voracious reader.

Amanda speaks highly of the Fifth Grade Mexican Exchange program. She says new friends and colleagues are always wowed when they find out she lived in Mexico for two weeks at the age of ten. This program helped lay the foundation for Amanda’s love of travel and the Spanish language.

Amanda still values the relationships she built with classmates and teachers at PMFS.  She attended a class reunion last year and was impressed to see the variety of fields her friends have ended up in, believing that it was PMFS that gave them the confidence and skills to pursue their dreams. As for her relationships with her old teachers, Amanda calls them “deep” and “meaningful,” even after more than a decade.

After graduation from PMFS, Amanda went on to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. As a Ninth Grader, Amanda had the self-knowledge and vision to apply to boarding school on her own. Determined to find a good fit, she did research and made the decision to transfer to St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH. Amanda had the opportunity to pursue her passion for dance and continue to improve her Spanish. The small classes and close relationships were rewarding, and reminded her of her experience at PMFS.

For college, Amanda went to Columbia University where she studied Political Science and Sustainable Development. While at Columbia she had an internship in Madrid, and a study abroad program that included a research project about tech entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires. Amanda also interned for Mastercard, then for Google.

Amanda now works as an Associate Product Marketing Manager at Google, a position that is part of a rotational program where employees learn multiple parts of Google marketing for different apps. Her focus so far has been on marketing YouTube subscriptions. The position requires strong communication skills – balancing different stakeholders and explaining how and why specific decisions are made.  Amanda says that as she’s doing this communications work, she often thinks of the “I” messaging techniques she learned as a Plymouth student. She attributes some of her success to PMFS’s early lessons about empathy and vocalizing feelings.

Amanda looks forward to a time when alumni can visit the PMFS campus again. She feels proud when she says, “my life’s journey started at PMFS and it has played a big role in who I am.”

Student-Designed Sensory Path

October 15th, 2020
Category: News

Fifth and Sixth Grades are working collaboratively to create a sensory path from The Little House to the Corson. They are designing and painting a colorful set of visual cues (jump from lily pad to lily pad!) on the existing pavement to encourage fellow students to move their bodies and travel with style. Kelly, our PE teacher, surveyed the First and Second Grade class about what kind of exercises they enjoy, and so our Fifth and Sixth Graders are including some of those ideas in the design of the path.

PMFS in the News: Peace Day

September 25th, 2020
Category: News

All They are Saying — Give International Day of Peace a Chance

Article on the Times Herald website

By M. English For MediaNews Group
Sep 18, 2020

PLYMOUTH — Sept. 21 is the International Day of Peace, an annual United Nations commemoration created in 1981 to provide “a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.”

Easier said than done…

In fact, the most recent Global Peace Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace reports “peacefulness has declined 2.5 per cent since 2008.”

Afghanistan heads GPI’s list of least peaceful places for the second year in a row, “followed by Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.” But as both national and international headlines scream daily, the globe’s hot spots number way more than five.

Clearly, managing the seemingly non-ending turmoil is a challenge for the world’s adult leaders. On the other hand – given the effectiveness of young activists like Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai (female education), Nobel Prize nominee Greta Thunberg (climate change) and the Parkland, Fla., teens who survived 2018’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (gun control) in spreading their messages – how might the kids of the world foster global tranquility?

“Appreciation of difference as well as commonality through a curriculum built on respect” is central to the educational approach at Plymouth Meeting Friends School, and – not surprisingly – the local students have a thought or two on the subject.

Consider the following reflections by a group of PMFS fifth-graders:

“…kids can foster world peace by being kind,” Leo Kessler observed. “As some people would say, treat others as you want to be treated.”

“Kids can donate food to homeless shelters,” added Declan Guarino-McWilliams.

Or, “start a yard sale and, then, earn money to donate it to kids in need,” said Guarino-McWilliams triplet Stella.

Tosh Conlon agrees.

“…giving things in need to homeless people and, also, making equal rights in the world,” Conlon said.

Reese Guarino-McWilliams figures attention to the latter is key:

Specifically, “have men and women talk about their equality so they have equality and…rights to be who they are and not be afraid to speak out.”

“I think what a kid would do is not participate in war,” said Noreen Hoskins. “Ban all the racism to the shadow realm. Money isn’t people’s life.”

“…be nice and kind to everyone and anyone in need of food and water,” Sophia Nadeau-Bogota recommended. “Start a peaceful protest, and make sure everyone is treated equally.”

She gets no argument from classmate Callista.

“I can help out around the community and maybe make a club and not make anyone feel excluded so everyone will be equal,” she said. “I also think that we could do some peaceful protesting while this stuff is going on around the world.”

PMFS sixth-graders Elise Drury, Suraayah Greene, Oscar Gasga and Hannah Hoskins see a similar path to peace.

Elise: “We can protest for equal rights with our families.”

Suraayah: “One of the few things a kid can do is give food or share food and goods to people that need them. Or they could…tell others to join them (and) have like a weekly yoga and talk time or something so people can just get to know each other – just something that brings other people together.”

Oscar: “Be respectful, kind, nice. As long as the kids are nice, everything will be fine. A kid should show everyone respect and that we can all be kind and not do bad things. Since COVID is going around, we all have to work together, not show more division and anger.”

Hannah: “We can surround ourselves with good people who, hopefully, will join and try to become better people than people in the past and help us when we are faced with hard problems of good and bad because, sometimes, the right choice is not clear…try to see all sides of a situation so we may make the best choice for us and the people around us.”

Hannah’s brother, Calvin, a PMFS third-grader pointed to “getting our economy back together…electing Joe Biden,” while fourth-grader Leah Armstrong vowed simply: “I will try to stop the violence.”

In the end, Icelanders might well offer the best advice for world peace.

According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland “remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008…joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark

Alumni Spotlight: Jamaar Julal (’08)

August 27th, 2020
Category: Alumni News, News

Alumni Spotlight: Jamaar Julal

From First through Sixth Grades, Jamaar was a student at PMFS, graduating in 2008 with what he calls “lifelong friends.” These are the people he still talks to every day, explaining that they are reminders of all the good memories from Plymouth. While at PMFS, Jamaar was taught to treasure different types of people and cultures and be accepting of everyone. He recalls using “mediation,” a social-emotional skill taught to PMFS students for expressing feelings, when speaking to peers about his thoughts and concerns. After graduating from PMFS and moving on to Renaissance Academy Charter School in Phoenixville, Jamaar struggled at times as he encountered classmates who had not developed a similar set of interpersonal skills. 

After graduation from high school, Jamaar focused on what he enjoyed – working in a restaurant.  He enrolled in the Restaurant and Hospitality Management program at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Jamaar was focused on “front of the house” positions in the restaurant, but the Executive Chef of The Restaurant School saw other talent in Jamaar and upon Jamaar’s graduation in 2019, granted him the 2019-2020 Culinary Fellowship.  

Honored but nervous, Jamaar needed to make a decision – should he step out of his comfort zone in the front of the restaurant and consider being a chef in the “back of the house?” Jamaar accepted the challenge and took the position as Culinary Fellow at the Restaurant School, reminding himself that you “need to get out of your comfort zone to obtain a better outlook on yourself.” 

As the Culinary Fellow at The Restaurant School, Jamaar experimented with flavors and foods, in addition to sharpening his leadership and teaching skills. This gave him the confidence and palette to perfect his kombucha flavors. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jamaar was able to delve more deeply into his passion for fermentation and brewing kombucha. While many people were home and focused on their sourdough starters, Jamaar was home fermenting teas and experimenting with his kombucha. As friends tasted the brews and shared with others, the word and demand spread. 

Jamaar has just formally established his business, JamBrü, and has started a GoFundMe to financially assist with the shift from brewing in his kitchen to a commercial space. Even if you are not able to donate, he asks that you share his story wherever possible! How do you get JamBrü kombucha? – follow JamBrü on Instagram @jambruphl or check out his website Congratulations Jamaar!

Alumni in the News

August 13th, 2020
Category: Alumni News

Jamaar Julal, class of ’08, was recently featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer for his innovations with kambucha. Check out the full article here.

With supercharged flavors, Jamaar Julal is creating Philly’s culture of kombucha

photo credit: Tom Gralish

Alumni Spotlight: Anya Rose (’95)

August 13th, 2020
Category: Alumni News

Anya Rose, Class of ’95, and her Ants on a Log musical partner Julie Be have put together a fantastic compilation album for kids that affirms and celebrates gender diversity. They are making it available for free, and are accepting donations to benefit a summer camp for transgender and nonbinary youth. Give a listen to the NPR article on them!

Julie Be and Anya Rose (right)

Check out their album here.