Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year visits Friends School

by Melanie Leggett, Former Director of Admissions

A key piece of a Friends School education is inspiring our students to be their best selves, creating their own agency and global advocacy as graduates. At the end of the Friends School journey, we graduate 8th graders who are empathetic, inspired to make a difference in the world, and possess the social and emotional, and academic tools they need to do so.

Last week, our 5th graders and middle school students had an exciting opportunity to meet with a shining example of these ideals we hold for our graduates. Gitanjali Rao, a 15 year old Colorado high school student, was recently chosen as Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year. In addition to her Time Magazine honor, she was also voted to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and was named America’s Top Young Scientist when she was in 7th grade.

More important than her accolades are the incredible ways she has used curiosity, empathy, science and technology to help solve our world’s problems. In her own words “I cannot see a world filled with kindness without science and technology being involved”. Her inventions include a mobile device to test lead in drinking water, inspired by the Flint, Michigan water crises, and a phone and web tool that uses artificial intelligence to detect early signs of cyberbullying.

Our students were able to spend an hour with Gitanjali getting to know her, learning about and practicing her innovation process, and asking her questions about her journey. As a fly on the wall during this experience, what I was most inspired by was the feeling that by meeting Gitanjali in person, it could help take our students’ big dreams and make them feel possible and attainable. Her authenticity shone through the Zoom screen as a kid who is truly just like them – or as she put it “just a kid doing what she loves with a little extra spice”.

I hope that her visit helped inspire our incredible kids even more for their future endeavors!

Learn more about Gitanjali here:
Time Magazine Article and Interview with Angelina Jolie


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