“Throughout college I spent my summers volunteering at Nemours hospital and since then, I always dreamed of working there as a physician.”
This dream is now a reality for Grayton Downing ’14 as she recently matched with Nemours Children’s Hospital and is currently in her first-year working as a General Pediatrics Resident! Grayton, who always knew that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine and spent her senior exploration at WFS shadowing local doctors, is most inspired by the patients themselves. She states, “I absolutely adore working with pediatric patients because they are some of the most inspiring patients. Despite being sick in the hospital, they never fail to bring a smile to my face and they light up the whole hospital. I also love pediatrics because we really focus on treating the whole family. At Nemours we make sure siblings, parents, and relatives all feel like they are a part of the medical team.”
A proud graduate of Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University (with Alpha Omega Alpha honors), Grayton spent her undergraduate career at Haverford College where she majored in Biology and minored in Psychology. Outside of the classroom, she was a member of the women’s lacrosse team. During her career, she started 31 games for the Black Squirrels, was a two-year member of the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll, and was a member of the IWLCA Division III Academic Honor Roll in 2017.
Prior to her time on Lancaster Avenue, Grayton was a member of the WFS community. An IB student at WFS, she also made her presence felt on the athletic fields as she earned All-Conference honors in both field hockey and lacrosse. When asked to reflect on her Friends experience, Grayton is thankful for a variety of reasons. She notes, “WFS not only prepared me academically for college, but they helped me learn how to think critically and taught me how to search for answers and ask for help when needed. I love how WFS fosters a collaborative learning environment between students and teachers, this is something I took with me to college!”
Her advice to the Class of 2023 as they embark on the college process? “When preparing for college, trust your gut and your friends and family around you. You are beyond prepared for college after coming from WFS and wherever you chose to go next will set you up for the future you want as long as you continue to stay motivated.”
Last April, two dozen students, staff, faculty, and WDEL gathered in the library for a glimpse into the future. Theo Nix, Jr. ‘72 presented on why the sky’s the limit in opportunities for FAA-certified drone pilots. The former corporate counsel for DuPont has founded a business to train pilots in five states including Delaware - and he wants to expand internationally, starting in Kenya.
“Make yourself known in everything that you do. It’s very easy to get ‘lost in the numbers’ at a large university, so it is important that your professors are able to put a face to the name and that you make an honest impression. These connections that you make with professors, advisors, and coaches can last a lifetime and can open up new opportunities that you never knew existed or help you achieve experiences that you have always dreamed of . . . I am able to do what I love in a way that I never thought was possible because of these professors, advisors and coaches.”
Susan Woolley Katz ‘88 was a Lifer at Friends, as were her sisters (Laura Kemper ’81, Lisa Anderson ’82) and parents (Cynthia Pyle Woolley ’56, Clark Hullihen Woolley ’57). Many other generations of her family also attended WFS.
Eric Kelley ’10 graduated from Williams College in 2015 with his degree in English. While at Williams, Kelley captained the Varsity Men’s Lacrosse team and served as a member of the Black Student Union.
“I believe that the concept of active listening and learning was cultivated at WFS, and this included being open to feedback. Being willing (and knowing it’s okay!) to change your mind, and constructively disagreeing helped prepare me for post HS life. On the topic of seeing something differently, it was here that I learned that it is perfectly fine to disagree with someone or not see eye to eye, but it’s imperative for everyone’s personal growth and development to do so in a kind, respectful, and gracious way. I think this is the most powerful lesson I took away from Friends and one that I see necessary to practice daily in our world, now more than ever.”
“One of the greatest lessons I took from Friends was how to think critically, which has served me well throughout my educational journey and into the professional world. It’s truly a skill that is valuable regardless of what you do in life."
“I greatly appreciate WFS for giving me the opportunity to become an independent learner and teaching me how to write. Without these skills, I would not have had nearly as much confidence to go into research as I do now.”
I attended Wilmington Friends School for 14 years, and by all accounts, I consider myself a “lifer.” WFS provided the bulk of my educational experience, which was the basis for my development as an artist and an activist. Throughout my attendance at Friends, certain core values such as integrity, community, equality, peace, stewardship, and simplicity were foundational.
Peter Henderer ’89 attended Friends for three years for Pre-1st through 2nd grades, and then returned for 10th through 12th grades. On campus, he played football and lacrosse, played in the Concert Band and Jazz Band, served on the Service Committee, and was Clerk of the Business Meeting. After graduation, Peter studied at Bowdoin College, majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies, and serving as Co-President of the Bowdoin Outing Club. After Bowdoin he studied law at The George Washington University Law School and went on to the private practice of law in Richmond, Virginia. Peter’s practice is in commercial real estate, with a particular focus on tax-credit financed multifamily housing. On the side, Peter has grown a portfolio of his own residential rental properties. Outside of work, Peter has served on numerous non-profit boards, and is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees at Richmond Montessori School, a Toddler through 8th grade school in Richmond. Peter is married to Armistead Edmunds Henderer and they have two teenage children.
Laura Robelen ’78 was a 13-year veteran of Friends, following in the footsteps of her mother, Lois Moodey ’53. At Friends, Laura enjoyed participating in chorus and especially the annual Spring musicals. She served as Secretary of her senior class. The friendships made at WFS have stood the test of time, thanks to social media, and she regularly gathers with classmates living in the Wilmington area. Laura graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a major in Communication and Theatre and a minor in Psychology. Since 1988, Laura has been a licensed Realtor and is also an Associate Broker. She teaches the Pre-Licensing Sales class for her brokerage Long & Foster. Laura has been a fundraising volunteer for Delaware Hospice for the last 25 years. She has served as chair of The Festival of Trees for most of those years and also serves on the Board of Trustees and as Co-Chair of the Development Committee.