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.
“My time as a WFS student built a foundation of curiosity, empathy, and determination that I will always carry with me, but the most important lesson I learned as a WFS student comes from the George Fox quote in the front entrance of school: ‘Let your life speak.’
2018 At Friends since Kindergarten, Cecilia ’18 has interspersed her Humanities studies in California with experiential learning in Germany. After a gap year in Berlin teaching children cooking on a kitchen bus, she entered an intensive program in Classics & Philosophy and designed costumes for the repertory Shakespeare Company during her freshman year at Stanford. When the pandemic moved classes online, she joined a Berlin social enterprise as a Marketing Manager.
1978 A big fan of the Stoic philosophers, David's mantra is: Strive, not arrive. Winner of both the Mendenhall and Bush awards, David played sports, sang in musicals, and acted at Friends. He finds the faculty to be the School's core asset. Harry Hammond and Rick Reynolds in particular influenced his development.
2017 Hannah Kushner ’17 was a Lifer at Friends. On campus, Hannah ran on the cross country team and was involved with the FIRST Tech Challenge, Poetry Speaks, and Amnesty International clubs. After graduation, Hannah attended Lehigh University, where she studied environmental engineering and urban policy, with a focus on climate resilient cities. At Lehigh, Hannah was involved in political activities and stormwater management research. After graduating in January 2021, Hannah stayed on at Lehigh to pursue a master’s degree in environmental policy while serving as a Resilience Fellow with the City of Boston. Hannah intends to continue working in local government to develop climate resilient and socially equitable infrastructure. Connect with Hannah or learn more about her work on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/hannahkushner
After spending two decades as a private practice trial lawyer, Shirley shifted the focus of her career to public service. She credits WFS with instilling in her the many values needed to be an effective U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Joey Gutierrez '07 joined the WFS community in 3rd Grade. After graduation, he attended Bucknell University, where he majored in Comparative Humanities and founded a student group focused on philanthropy education. After college, Joey moved to the Bay Area where he has held various roles in education technology and impact investing. He most recently completed an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business and started working at an edtech startup in San Francisco.
Josh just completed his second year as the head coach at Johns Hopkins University. The Blue Jays were conference champions in 2018. He joined Friends in the sixth grade and had four other siblings who attended the school, including Chris ’00 and Cassandra ’05. At WFS, Josh played football, basketball and baseball, and was involved in The Whittier Miscellany, Student Discipline, and theater. He played basketball and football and was awarded the McCabe Scholarship. He has coached college basketball since graduation, acting as an assistant at Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Williams, Lafayette, Rutgers, and Loyola Maryland. He served as the head coach at Stevens Institute of Technology from 2006-08 where he helped take the Ducks to the Sweet 16. Josh and his wife Helen, live in Baltimore with two children.
After graduating from WFS, Kenji matriculated to Brown University and pursued animation and computer graphics. He interned at Pixar and had the chance to work on "Incredibles 2." Kenji is currently working as a technical director at Blue Sky Studios, whose next movie starring Will Smith is due out in the fall of 2019.
2015 Macon Sheppard ‘15 came to Friends in fall of 2006, along with his brothers, Owen Sheppard ‘17 and Grant Sheppard ‘19. At Friends, Macon was involved in the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club after-school program, the World Affairs Club, the football team, and (briefly) the Model Organization of American States. After graduating from WFS, Macon studied at Georgetown University, where he majored in International Relations and minored in Arabic and Economics. At Georgetown, Macon was involved with the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and he studied abroad in Amman, Jordan in the summer of 2017. In August of 2019, Macon moved to Dubai to join McKinsey and Company as a Business Analyst in their Middle East Office. When he has free time, he enjoys exploring the city with friends, traveling, and making a fool of himself in foreign languages.
After retiring from a successful 30 year career at Ikea, Marty has embarked on an exciting second career as a transition life coach in Wilmington. Working as a life coach helps Marty pursue her passion of helping people achieve their goals. She credits WFS with instilling in her the curiosity, self-confidence and enthusiasm to try new things.
For Mike Coleman ’88, giving back is part of his DNA. Following his graduation from Wilmington Friends, Mike has remained a fixture at the School as a coach, a mentor, a volunteer, and a financial supporter. Throughout his 23-year stint at the YMCA in Wilmington, running youth sports leagues and summer camps, he refined his skills in youth development, skills he’s brought to his work at Wilmington Friends. “I loved my time at the YMCA,” Mike explained. “It really helped me to understand a lot about youth development, and also helped me hone my relationship building skills.”
2018 “Throughout the years, I’ve been lucky enough to view WFS as being a family to me, throughout the tough times and the good. Quaker philosophy tells us that everyone has a light within them and I think this is exemplified by the incredibly caring nature of the school community.
Tyrie is a pioneer in eye care. She was the first person to perform LASIK in Hawaii, and more recently, was the first to perform laser assisted cataract surgery. She has fond memories of her experiences at WFS, and believes this school’s commitment to educational excellence has made her value life long learning.