The Amenra Family Finds Peace of Mind at Friends School Haverford
When Kim and Kahiem Amenra’s son Jordan was in elementary school, they noticed a serious problem with his education: well before the age of eight, he was already bored.
“I realized that Jordan was a different kind of learner early on,” says Jordan’s mother, Kim. As a seasoned, dedicated public school teacher and a Southwest Philly native, considering a suburban private school for her children had never been in Kim Amenra’s purview. But when Jordan started performing two or three levels above his grade, she knew he needed a change.
“That was a really hard decision, because I love teaching in a public school,” she says. “I was very apprehensive. I visited so many schools, I even visited other Friends schools. But when I visited Friends School Haverford, everything just clicked.”
Friends School Haverford—a Quaker nursery-through-eighth grade school featuring rigorous academics, a hands-on learning style, and encouragement towards artistic expression and independent thought—was a perfect fit for Jordan’s intellect. The Quaker principles, which foster a culture of respect, stewardship, and kindness within a close-knit, intentionally diverse community made Jordan, and his parents, feel right at home. From the moment they walked in, Kim observed an atmosphere of inclusiveness, openness, welcome, and transparency. Jordan’s take on FSH after his tour? “Yeah, Mom, this is where I want to be.”
Now entering seventh grade, his fourth year at FSH, Jordan’s comfort level within the community has only grown. At FSH, Jordan has developed into the confident, curious, ebullient bookworm he was always meant to be.
“I worried about my son,” says Kim. “He’s his own self, he’s quirky, he has his own sense of humor that other kids don’t always get. Now he’s in an environment where he can be loved and respected. He is so content being himself. That is one of the things I praise FSH for, just letting him be who he is. He can be proud of his culture, his skin, his academics.”
Kim lauds FSH for its courage in academically addressing both local and global concerns. “They don’t shy away from the hard topics,” she says. “They are interested in what is going on in the world. They present a platform where these things will be discussed. Jordan is not missing out on any aspect of his life. Culture is embedded in the work. He’s reading black authors, all of the kids in the classroom are given a platform to discuss their views. I appreciate that they’re bringing these issues to the forefront, teaching children how to discuss these issues even when they don’t agree.”
For every child, and every parent, starting a new school in a new environment comes with anxiety about not fitting in. At Friends School Haverford, the Amenras have always felt free to reach out with questions and concerns, and they’re addressed with openness, welcomed as an integral component of Jordan’s academic process. For his part, Jordan feels embraced and free. “He has grown in his confidence,” says Kim. “He is comfortable being as kind as he wants to be. I get great feedback from his teachers, but the thing that I’m most proud of is that he continues to be himself.”
Kim, as much as Jordan, is open and grateful towards the guiding principles of Friends School Haverford. “Sending my son there inspires me to be that kind of teacher to my own students,” she says.
Friends School Haverford has helped Jordan find his voice and grow his self-confidence, opening opportunities for him in high school, college, and the future of his choice. Jordan’s little sister Brooklynn just turned five. Her Friends School Haverford future is in progress.
Visit haverfordfriends.org to learn more and get information on any upcoming virtual tours. You can also reach out for a private virtual tour/Zoom to get to know their community better and discover if Friends School Haverford is the right fit for your child.
This Sponsored Story by Karen Barbuscia supports the Main Line Parent community.
Photography by Ivory Tree Portraits.