Dana Robinson '02

"Keep listening. There are a lot of words besides your own."
The most important things I learned at FCS were strategies and methods for problem-solving, and to search both logically and emotionally for a solution. I learned it in math classes that taught multiple algorithms (and yes, we called them that) for doing multiplication, spelling workshops that pointed out the letter and phonetic patterns in the very strange English language, Primary Team that taught you to go with your gut in terms of what craft you wanted to do, queries in Big Meeting that offered opportunities for many people to share their views on a topic, writing many drafts of the same essay, and in conflict resolution processes and class meetings.

The thing I am really excited about right now is continuing to travel fearlessly and respectfully, deepen my relationships with my partner and friends, improve my practice as a teacher, and get ready to study acupuncture to work as a holistic healer to help activists and helpers be their strongest, happiest selves. 

The teachers at FCS who had the greatest impact on the person I am today are Marcy and Renna, because they showed me that you can be a great leader by being yourself. Both are very unique people who let their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses shape how they ran their classes, and that made a really welcoming, honest environment for everyone in the room. 

The thing that concerns me most about the world today is our increasing reliance on screens, especially cell phones in social settings and to entertain kids. I'm really grateful for my upbringing with minimal exposure to video games, instant messaging, etc., and I worry about everyone's attention span, ability to be alone, and appreciation for tactile and natural things outside of the digital world. Also pollution.

I couldn't be where I am today without FCS's writing program. The emphasis on daily reflective writing has honestly kept me sane and out of trouble. Even before I could reliably write words, I had a marbled composition book that was mine to create, enjoy, and use as a tool to process the world around me. 

When I’m not at work or school, you’ll most likely find me on the streets of Valparaíso, Chile, where I have been living and working as a teacher for the last year. I might also be in the yoga studio (I just learned to do a handstand!), on a bike ride, typing furiously in an internet cafe, on the beach (the South Pacific is too cold to swim, but it's great for reading, relaxing, and people-watching), or in my kitchen making something delicious. 

If I could give a few pieces of advice to my 12-year-old self, they would be the following:
-Keep listening. There are a lot of words besides your own.
-Don't worry too much about "who you are"; the details of that make themselves clear every day.
-Yes, you should make that costume/Power Point/poster and write that report/talk to that person/ask for help. Get yourself in the habit of trying new things, making art, and completing projects. Don't worry about other people saying it's good, or even showing it to them. Just do it!
-No, you do not need to wear make up. Yes, you do need to wear deodorant. 

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Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, Maryland 20740
301-441-2100