Friends School’s first 8th grade class will be graduating in May. As they look towards high school, Honor has taken the opportunity to interview each of them to find out about their time at Friends School, whether they are “lifers” (here since Preschool) or brand new to Friends School. Please enjoy this interview of Tori School, at Friends School since 3rd grade.

Name: Tori Schell

What grade are you in?  8th.

Tori on the first day of 3rd grade at Friends School

How old are you? – 15 years old. My birthday is February 17.  I have been at Friends School since third grade. Before that I was in a Montessori school, and before that I was in SC at a school called St. Matthews.

Tell me about a person from Friends that stands out and/or inspired you. Diane Bramble inspired me in so many ways. She is the person who taught me to read which is so incredibly special. Diane has been there from the beginning. She will talk with me about absolutely anything and she always listens to me, too. I know that Diane always has my back. 

When did you feel like Friends School was the place for you? For me, this happened on my first day of school. I started a couple of days late, because I was on a trip or something. So it was a few days into the school year in Diane’s class and things had already gotten started. Also, many of the kids already knew each other from second grade. So I was a little nervous. I walked in and there was no one in the room. All I saw was Diane sitting there quietly and I was really confused. I walked in and then, to my surprise, everyone jumped out from behind bookcases and couches and surprised me! I felt welcomed and excited and I knew then that this was the place for me. 

Tori and her 5th grade class

Share a memory from a ceremony or trip. Tell me about the experience and what it meant to you.

We were just talking about a memory today – when we went rafting.  I got teary-eyed – there have been so many fun times. Every memory I have of a trip or ceremony has been special to me in different ways. I can’t really choose a favorite because I loved them all.

One memory that shows how caring everyone is takes me back to Grade 5 when we were coming back from our trip. I had gotten very sick and still wasn’t feeling well on the bus. To make things worse, we had completely run out of tissues. My teacher, Liz, got the bus driver to go to Target and everyone was encouraging her to get the best tissues for me. She returned to the bus with a big box of tissues and I slept in the back of the bus for the rest of the ride feeling supported and cared about by my teachers and friends. 

Tori and her 8th grade class

What was it like being a part of starting the middle school

It was really fun, I have to say. There have been times when we’ve had to be flexible and go with the flow, but we are such a connected class and it really feels like we are a part of something special. Whenever we say, “do we have to…?” Kevin always says, “no, you get to…!” After hearing that for three years, I think it’s finally starting to sink in.

Do you know where you will go to High School?

I am going to Monarch. I’m excited and a little bit nervous. Mostly, I’m nervous about getting lost. 

Tori performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 8th grade

What will you take from your experience here into your future? There are a lot of lessons I have learned from being here. Especially in the middle school. I was shy and being here has really brought me out of my shell, and helped me believe in myself. I am still a perfectionist, but being here has taught me that it is okay to be a little less perfect. Learning this has been helpful because I now try new things and feel good about who I am.

Tori today, heading to high school!

Do you have advice for future Friends students? I think the advice I would give is to really connect with the people around you. Knowing that you have a community around you will really lift you up. I can’t say enough how grateful I am for my friends and the friendships I have. Bring your peers up and they will bring you up too.

What question haven’t I asked you that I should have?

What makes this school special? It is the community. It is really special and I am going to miss it a lot.

Challenging minds. Nurturing spirits. Honoring individuality.