Alumni Quotes

“I believe an effective adult is a person who can live by his or her own means and be happy while doing so… I believe that anything can be achieved; I just need to make it an explicit goal first… Opportunity comes within your grasp; it’s up to you to reach out and take it. The components of life as an effective adult are akin to common sense to me. To be a person who can live by his own means and be happy reduces to four main elements: a career, friends, a healthy supply of life experiences, and the lessons that come from them. These four elements form a cycle of continuous improvement… Fairhaven School has been a huge experience as a whole and has helped me mature in many ways.” — David Roskind

  What I’ll Miss the Most A poem by student Zoë Woodbridge, read aloud at graduation on May 30. 4:50 – that magic number Each day we hear the page echo through both buildings telling us it’s time to go. We grab our lunches, backpacks, art projects or instruments, pack them in our cars and drive back home only to return the next day. I’ll miss the drive, to be honest. There’s nothing quite like rolling through the shade of trees on Queen Anne and pulling up to Amy on her little pink bike, little boys playing four square, then turning off the car no longer hearing Fugazi or Mewithoutyou or whichever CD Eli’s blasting that day, then putting the Camry in park and walking up the stone path into school. I think maybe I’ll miss that the most: that first look up at the porch while you hear Heart and Soul being played in the Chesapeake Room sunlight, that first breath we take before starting the day. Or maybe Zoe and Livvie running up to me “Zoë! Zoë!,” then wrapping their tiny arms around my legs, the other little kids yelling hi as they run off to Capture-the-Flag or kickball, just the general smiles in the morning saying “We’re so glad to see you.” And then there’s the talk and the laughter rolling through the hallways all about Jimmy’s Halloween costume or Billy’s JC excuses. I’ll miss that, too. But maybe the one thing that I’ll really have to work on living without is that head turn I do each day while walking back to the Camry. I’ve signed out and gathered my poems, then I turn my head full of brownish hair and look back at the Old Building porch, the New Building, at this school that’s been built on so much more than dirt and rock. I take it all in one last time before heading home. A big part of me hurts when I think, when I know that Friday will be the last time I do all of these things in this particular order I have. I know that of all the places I’ve ever left Fairhaven will be the hardest to leave. But do we really ever leave? We all come back, either when leaves change or on this day, to our foundation to this place that beckons us like a home, this place we sometimes need to be. I’ll cry. I know I’ll cry. And I know that of all the places I’ve ever missed, somehow, I’ll miss this one the most.

“I’ve been part of Fairhaven School from day one. I was a member of a founding family…I’ve had the freedom to decide how to spend my days for most of my life. This means that I was in charge of my education. To most parents this may seem like a risky move but my parents really believed in the school and trusted me to make the right choices. I’m so glad that my parents took that risk. Not being forced to take classes and have homework made me want to have classes and I chose whether or not I had homework. Because this was my decision I would really pay attention and learn a lot.” “Being JC Clerk kept me informed with what’s happening at school; it tested my patience and my ability to keep order when fifteen different people would try to say what happened all at the same time. After running some of those three-hour long meetings I know how tedious it can be, however, I gained a clear understanding of the democratic system. I learned how to weigh arguments and make fair decisions. I believe this is very important when dealing with people and making decisions in my everyday adult life.” “Attending School Meeting and being involved in heated arguments taught me how to get my point across, and stand up for what I believe in.” — Mary Brewer

  “While I have problems, I find that I am, in general, a happy person. I try, and mostly succeed, to keep a positive outlook on life and to focus on the good, rather than the bad…The other half of being a happy person is knowing what is going to make one happy and finding a way to make it happen. For example, I carefully considered what I wanted to do after graduating from Fairhaven and decided that I wanted to go to a four-year university. I looked at quite a few colleges and applied to the three that looked most interesting.” “It took more thought and effort on my part to get them to even consider my application than it would have if I had a traditional high school transcript with grades. But with perseverance and hard work, two thing I learned at Fairhaven, I was accepted into the University of Maryland, College Park, and Goucher College and offered a place on the wait list for Ursinus College.” “In the next four years I plan to earn a degree in theater at the University of Maryland, College Park. Acting is something I enjoy but I also find costuming and prop construction to be fascinating and challenging. I am not sure exactly where I will end up, but I know that, whatever I am doing, it will be something I love.” — Pallas Bane

  “When I first came to Fairhaven I didn’t understand how it was possible for a school like it to exist. It was incredible. I could draw when ever I wanted to. I could go outside and play basketball or sit inside and watch a movie. I didn’t have to talk to anyone if I didn’t want to or I could talk as much as I wanted to. I think the fact that Fairhaven is in the woods is one of the main reasons I like it so much. It is so beautiful and peaceful and I guess I feel like it is in the middle of nowhere.” “Since coming to Fairhaven I have directed a play, been JC Clerk and Alternate, participated in countless School meetings and JC cases, and investigated theft cases. I have been to different Corporation meetings and have attended classes such as German, Comparative Religion, Spelling, Yoga, Silk Painting, Dance, and Photography. I have been working on a painting for about a year and a half. I have spent a lot of time on this and it is one of the things I really love to do.” “I think being in the unique democratic setting we have at Fairhaven has helped me by showing me how the democratic process works. It is a very cool thing to be able to participate in all the aspects of the school from hiring the staff to making new rules… I currently hold the role of JC Clerk. This position has further helped me understand how our justice system works and has helped me develop leadership skills.” “I have learned to communicate and deal with people of all ages at Fairhaven, from very small children to much older adults. Everyone at Fairhaven is treated with respect and as an individual and this teaches us to treat others the same way.” “I was very reserved and quiet when I first came to Fairhaven…I have since become a very loud, extremely outspoken individual—well, compared to how I was before. I attribute a lot of that to the people involved in the school and my friends at Fairhaven.” — Maryalice Escobedo

  “I have prepared myself to follow my dream through to the very end. I expect to achieve fantastic heights of skill and renown, but if I were to die penniless and unknown on this endeavor, I would die knowing that I had never relented, and that would be enough.” — Erika Long

  “I consider an effective adult someone who’s able to take responsibility for their actions, able to create relationships, and grow and learn from new situations. I could also throw financial stability in there, but to me it doesn’t matter if you’re loaded or if you have to struggle to get by, just as long as you are happy with what you are doing in life. Happiness is a huge factor in becoming an adult. Without it you don’t get as much as you should out of life experiences, which in turn makes you not as prepared for what’s to come. Figuring this out, along with a few other things, allowed me to change some things in my life so that I was able to adapt and adequately prepare myself for the present and future.” “One day [a friend] told me about a school with a democratic setting where my opinion would actually be heard. I would be able to pursue my interests instead of being stuck in a classroom for seven hours a day doing mundane, unneeded work. It sounded like everything I had been trying to find in public school. So after a bit of convincing I went in for a visiting day. I was absolutely amazed by children being in charge of their education, and by just how much of a say every person had. That amount of freedom came as quite a shock considering I was coming from a place where your entire education was planned by what you needed to learn for a certain test. Fairhaven was just what I needed to re-ignite that desire to learn that had been stifled throughout the years.” “I began to realize that learning could happen outside of a classroom. You didn’t necessarily have to have information shoved down your throat; exploring and talking seemed to teach me as much, if not even more. I also was able to spend time with people of all ages, which helped me realize that someone’s age doesn’t define their maturity. In its own way that helped me grow. I no longer disregard someone’s opinion because of their age. I realize that I can learn a lot from people older and younger than I am. Being able to do that has greatly helped my social skills over the years.” “…Life problems have made me realize that you can’t let life get the better of you. I know now that I am capable of adapting and dealing with situations that arise and that I won’t crumble under all of the responsibilities that come along with life. Being capable of that is a huge part of becoming an adult.” — Marlee Mincher

  “Over the past three years that I have attended Fairhaven, I have put a lot of thought into the question, ‘What defines an effective adult?’ I have identified five main traits that one should have. One should be able to communicate effectively, be financially independent, be responsible, contribute to the larger community, and last but certainly not least, know how to pursue happiness.” “One way I learned how to communicate effectively was by going to meetings at the school. When I first came to the school I quickly fell in love with School Meeting. Knowing that my words could affect the school so directly felt very empowering. I was almost always there, always making my voice heard.” “I’ve known since I was twelve that I wanted to make movies. I mainly want to be a writer, but I’ve taken on many other roles of filmmaking as well, including directing, production, shooting, editing, and acting… I need a job that can pay the bills. About a year ago I decided to focus on sound editing. I looked at many schools and have chosen Video Symphony, in Burbank, California. One of the admissions people was so impressed by how much research I had done on the school that she hired me…to do research. Having working experience in Burbank before I even get there will only help a positive reputation spread.” “I have over ten years of experience at public school. I am very familiar with the way classes and homework work. What I didn’t have in public school, which I do now, is determination.” “With new revolutions such as YouTube, spreading information across the world has never been easier. I plan to pursue this and other resources to spread ideas. It may be through documentaries or something else, but I believe that we are at the birth of an age where the common people have much more power than we ever have before.” “After much self-discovery at the school I have discovered that I achieve happiness through accomplishment and success. The great joy in my life comes from setting goals and achieving them. Fairhaven has been the perfect environment for me to practice that.” — Richard Morris

“Fairhaven has opened up a new way of looking at learning and that has led me to realize that I could think on my own.” “I have come to believe that an effective adult is somebody who takes responsibility for their actions and can adapt to their surroundings. In other words, what life has in store for you. “ Art is my passion… I plan to attend Ringling School of Art…I taught myself frame-by-frame animation three years ago at school. I have been animating ever since… If I had continued at a traditional school I would not have acquired this skill or even known about it. In my environment I have had homework-free years to practice and develop an animating style which contributed to a large portion of my portfolio.” — Peter Carlson

“I believe an effective adult is someone who can face obstacles head on and rise to overcome them, someone who doesn’t run from things that need to be done, someone who doesn’t bottle up their problems, someone who is always working toward self-improvement. As for an effective adult in the larger community? I believe this is an… adult who can support him or herself and try to help others with their problems.” “Fairhaven was so different from public school. Here was a place with no cliques or bullies. Everyone was so nice and patient and understanding….It was tough at first having so much self-responsibility, but I think that it has helped me so much. During my years at Fairhaven I have become increasingly self-reliant and confident… Here at Fairhaven I have learned how to make things happen. If I want something done, such as having a school pet or changing a rule, I know I have the power to go to School Meeting and fight for it, using the system.” “At Fairhaven the adults are my equals. They are subject to the same rules and regulations as I am. When I talk, they listen and vice versa. I am treated more like an adult myself, which has helped me learn to start acting like one. Both these experiences dealing with adults helped me when I got my first job.” “After I graduate, I plan to go to Anne Arundel Community College and take some courses, starting with a course on becoming a veterinary technician. I will continue to study there until I decide exactly what it is that I want to do, then I will transfer to a school that specializes in that field. I know I want to work with animals, maybe become a Vet. Tech or a dog trainer.” — Alison Everett

  “At every chance I get I try to see what a certain situation taught me. Every experience I have changes me in some way, even if it is not evident at first. Life continually challenges me, and I come out with a better understanding of things because of it.” “I find a great number of topics fascinating and intend to take courses at college to gain more insight into what those fields are like… There are times when I get so involved in reading things that I can spend days on a subject that I initially set out to find a single fact about. One of the more vivid examples in my mind is when I was trying to figure out how fast flytraps shut and ended up with information on how to cultivate a dozen species of carnivorous plants.” Graduating from Fairhaven is bittersweet. I will miss this school immensely. However, the world is jumping up and down while screaming my name. I am more than ready to chase my dreams and pounce on opportunities.” — Cath Roskind

“Ever since I can remember, freedom to learn and grow in my own way has been important to me…I’ve always wanted to be a business owner and entrepreneur… Over the years, I started filling in the dream with details of owning nightclubs and entertainment businesses.” “During these years [at Fairhaven] I learned to read as a result of wanting to understand something, playing a game or communicating with someone via the Internet. Because of my interest in money, I’ve naturally had to learn enough math to be skilled in money calculations.” “To earn money, I am studying currency trading and intend to form a part time business with my father in this field.” “The most important part of my personal education thus far has been my ability to network with all types of supportive people, including mentors and advisors… Fairhaven has become a wonderful extended family to me.” – Luke Schmith

“The change started at the beginning of this school year. … I was aiming to graduate. I wanted to move on to college, which I knew wasn’t a forgiving or easy environment. I would have to work to prepare myself… I started working on building skills that I perceived as valuable in the larger community. I began by working as School Meeting Secretary, a duty that has been both rewarding and extraordinarily challenging.” “The [next] and most obvious step was to get some college experience of my own. I signed up for a Psychology 101 course at the local community college, and guess what happened? I found out that college was fun.” “I’m finding that having writing as your greatest passion lends itself to many other fields of interest….I believe that computer gaming is an extraordinarily important and powerful part of my writing… Not only has gaming helped me prepare for entry into an increasingly electronic and technical world… the games I derive the most enjoyment from and spend the most time playing, heavily involve character, plot, and world development… In the Dungeons and Dragons campaigns I play with my friends, I am consistently drawn to developing the characters we interact with: filling out their lives, their histories, and their actions… it certainly helps with my ability to interact with real people.” — Eric Steigerwald

“Life started out being fun…But, as I got to first, second third grade, it was less and less fun….We weren’t playing any more, we were always working…. I knew I would get out of school eventually, but I was only eight! I had an eternity to go. I hated school. Luckily, my mom noticed how miserable I was and we tried something new. We went to a little school called Fairhaven. It was like a miracle! Suddenly, I was having fun again…. Everyone was so… open. I could feel free to speak my mind without being ridiculed and you had a choice in what you did… Everyone was friendly, and they weren’t faking it to be polite. The light was back on.” “An effective adult is someone who loves what they’re doing…. I plan to design computer games. I want to work as a software designer for a computer game company, someone who writes the code that makes the game stick… Making a game is actually a whole lot of work, but I found it to be fun. As I became a better programmer, I began to think this could be my career. last summer I went to Washington State to take some courses in game design at a college named Digipen. I took all three levels (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) at the same time. “I was nervous that I couldn’t make it in ‘real’ school anymore, after spending so long at Fairhaven. I was pleasantly surprised. I came out of my first [college] class with a 4.0 and recently received 2nd place in a math competition at my college. They were both accomplishments that left me feeling great. “I’ve done what I can in the last years to prepare myself for my future. I have job experience, and am constantly improving my math skills. My time at Fairhaven improved my social skills. I think I’m ready to take on life, and to have fun doing it. If life’s a game, I plan to play it well.” — Austin Scholze


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