In Kristen Fairey’s Ethnic New York class, I researched Murray Hill, the neighborhood I live in and how the story of New York City can be told through its architecture. I took ethnographic field notes, wrote a 10 page paper based on primary and secondary resources, recorded two interviews with residents of Murray Hill, and made a visual exhibit which combined all of the previous work I did. It was intriguing to learn about the history of the Murray Hill Historical District along with the ethnography of the neighborhoods where my peers reside.
In Ethnic New York, everything we learned led up to a single final research project, in which we had to provide a historical and ethnographical look at the neighborhood immediately surrounding where we live. Going into it, I was excited to have the opportunity to look into the lives of people who previously lived there and how what they did has shaped my experiences living there. One important part of the project was to conduct and record interviews with long time residents of the neighborhood, which at first seemed like a daunting task but became extremely rewarding after doing it. Being able to hear people talk about streets that I walk along everyday and describe a completely different world and experience honestly amazed me and only made me appreciate living in this city more than I already do. Not only did it change my perspective of the past of my neighborhood, it changed how I see it now. I find myself looking at the details of the world around me more, trying to figure out the significance that I now know that even the smallest thing can have.
I had a great time being the scorekeeper for Friends Varsity Basketball for the second year in a row. I score kept for all home and away games and went to Arizona over winter break to help score the team there. I helped to compile player’s individual and as well as team statistics for every game as well as the season as a whole. I also filled in for Andrew Harsh when other basketball team’s games needed scorers. It is a great position to have as you get to interact with the team throughout the season and work with numbers.
Over this past summer I went on a six-day trip to Tobago with the rest of the boys varsity soccer team. This was one of my most favorite trips I have taken. Besides from being able to explore the country, have fun in the caribbean sea, and play a lot of soccer, we partnered up with the organization Kleats for Kids. We all collected as many used cleats as we were able to fit in our luggage and bring to Tobago, and we brought them with us. At these clinics, the players participated as leaders as we took the children through drills that we do as the varsity soccer team. At the end of these clinics we gave out our cleats to the children so that they would have better equipment to use when they play. Being able to help the local community grow in a facet of life I am passionate about made the trip feel all the more worthwile.
The Friday before the Spring Fair, Elena and I were two of many who blew up balloons to make the balloon arch. Initially, I figured it would be an easy task but it proved to be quite difficult. When we first arrived, we were told to watch a video describing the complex process of making a balloon arch. This video utterly challenged my previously acquired knowledge of blowing up balloons. Instead of using our breath or helium to fill the balloons, we used a machine. I also learned about the existence of this contraption called a balloon sizer, which is basically a box used to ensure that all balloons were of the same diameter. The one sold by the company was about thirty dollars, so instead we were supplied with a piece of cardboard with a hole cut out to size the balloons. Despite these resources designed to aid the arch making process, there were still many challenges to overcome. First of all, there were a lot of people who were helping make the arch and only one air machine and balloon sizer to be shared. We also had to precisely follow the instructions of the video and had to make certain that the individual parts of the arch would all fit together which ended up not being as easy as i thought.
With so many people and so many balloons and only one machine, I expected chaos to ensue. However, after a few minutes, people of all ages were seamlessly working together to create this arch. There were many smaller groups all responsible for a different part of the arch, all using the same balloon blower to complete their tasks. I alternated using the blower to blow up balloons with people from other groups. Elena sized the balloons I blew up, lower schoolers tied these balloons, and others attached them to the rings to be connected to the arch. Although it was a bit hectic with so many people and so much to do, everyone’s enthusiastic attitudes towards each other made the process as efficient and enjoyable as possible. Through the preparation for the Spring Fair, the true spirit of Friends was revealed. Despite the hardships, Adults and children united and were able to create something colorful and beautiful. The Quaker values of Friends have supported me since Freshman year and helped me grow into the person I am today. It was the least I could do to help prepare for the Spring Fair, an event that would further bring the community together and foster an atmosphere of love and acceptance.
on Halloween last year I participated in the annual Friends Seminary soccer tournament. We brought canned foods as our ticket to go, but we also played in the tournament. I made the semifinals with my friends, and we all dressed up in floral shirts as a uniform. It was a great feeling to do what I love, play soccer, and to encourage others to donate foods at the same time. I look forward to doing it again! Maybe I’ll win next year.
I really enjoyed my service for this year. I had a great time scorekeeping basketball games and it taught me a lot about statistics and officiating. I also learned a lot giving a tour for Kristen Fairey’s history class. It was a satisfying experience to lead tours for burrowing through the burrows. I enjoyed teaching the people on the tour about the area near Friends. I am looking forward to doing service next year.
Last September, I took part in the largest climate march in history, The People’s Climate March. When my friends and I arrived at 86th street, we had to wait for what seemed like forever for the march to start. I was hungry, tired, and started complaining to my friends who kept reassuring me that the march would start soon and it would be all good. Eventually, it started, and as my friends and I walked down along the west side of Central Park, zig zagging across the west side and making our way downtown to 34th street, we encountered many diverse peoples all fighting for the same cause. I met individuals who had come from all over the world for the sole purpose of partaking in this climate march. Some of these people had traveled many miles and crossed oceans to arrive there whereas all I had to do was take the subway uptown. With a little help from my friends, I realized that my grumbling stomach was insignificant in comparison to the cause I was marching for and that food would have to wait. Although I was just one person out of hundreds of thousands, my presence was necessary for a change to occur. Every single person’s presence resulted in making this climate march the biggest in history and raising the huge amount of awareness that it did.
Although you may feel insignificant in the battle against climate change, the difference one person can make is enormous. Changing the climate requires each individual to take that first step in reversing the damage that multitudes have created. Climate change affects every form of life. From plants to animals, our actions as humans have devastated this planet to a point where salvation seems impossible. I never thought I would be able to make a difference; I never thought I would have enough motivation to walk for miles on an empty stomach. I cannot emphasize enough how the support of my friends kept me going throughout the climate march, and how your support may be the difference that drives one other person to save the planet. Changing the climate requires the combination of many small efforts, not one big fix-all. Raising awareness through this march required the combined presence of everyone who attended. Rest assured, after it was over, I bought a hot chocolate and a scone to satisfy my appetite. However, my new hunger for change was insatiable and I would make a continued effort to save the world through my own life choices, no matter how small.
Doing service this year was a very good and well-rounding experience for me. I learned a lot and it will prepare me for future tasks. The highlight of my service this year was volunteering at the explorers club. I looked through slides and put their descriptions into a database. They were slides from Robert Peary’s expedition to the north pole. The slides were black and white images, sometimes painted in color, that had been put into glass and preserved. Many people will look at the explorers club database and see the work I have done. I feel good knowing that I have helped this non-profit organization out and knowing I have developed the skills I have. It was great working with actual artifacts from real expeditions. I am thankful that I did this service this year.
For service day this year the whole tenth grade went to Staten Island. To say the least, the trip was disappointing. At first it was fun, we got on buses and went down to and got to ride the Staten Island Ferry. Once we got of the ferry we had to wait for the other two buses to take us to the reserve. The first one took a while to arrive, and then we had to wait for the second one. Once we finally got to the site I was already tired. It was interesting to learn the history of Staten Island but we went all the way there to do service. Then we went on a hike before lunch. All this, end we ended up running out of mulch thirty minutes into replacing it so that concluded the service for the day.