Innovations in Quarantine: Quakes of Discovery

As much of the world continues to rapidly innovate and respond to a number of unprecedented challenges, many Friends School community members are finding new ways to stay connected. One of these innovations, Quakers of Discovery, put a quarantine-friendly spin on summer camp. 

Quakes of Discovery, a virtual summer camp program, was spearheaded and organized by FSB senior, Dan Musachio, with the support of several faculty and administrators. The program was an impressive effort to make the best of an unusual summer, and gave younger students the opportunity to take a variety of interdisciplinary virtual classes from 18 Upper School student instructors. Quakes of Discovery ran for 38 days, officially wrapping up on August 13.

Musachio credits his participation in the FSB exchange program with Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica for helping him come up with idea for Quakes of Discovery. Muscahio recalls that “there was a huge emphasis placed on inter-grade learning. We each had a fifth-grade buddy who we would do fun activities with each Friday. I really enjoyed these activities and realized that I wish Friends School of Baltimore did something like that.”

When his own summer plans fell through because of COVID-19, Musachio revisited this idea after realizing that many, if not most, of his fellow classmates, were also coming to terms with unexpected changes in plans. Additionally, he thought about all of the younger kids who would be stuck at home after the option to attend in-person summer camp was eliminated. Musachio wanted to offer a new kind of “camp” experience,  a virtual summer camp where younger students could learn from and interact with Upper School students, and Upper School students could have the opportunity to teach topics they were passionate about. After presenting the idea to administrators, it was fast-tracked and launched earlier this summer.

The program consisted of nine different classes, 60 learning sessions, 500 hours of learning instruction, and reached 100 students. Faculty advisors worked with the student teachers to help students develop curriculum for their classes, and with any other needs that came up. But for the most part, the students confidently ran their own classes. Muscahio says that he had the opportunity to teach Spanish4Fun with Julian Marchetti '21 and Charlie Wayner '21, as well as Russian4Fun: Summer Edition with Manny Sachs-Kohen '21.

Parent survey results reflected huge enthusiasm for the program. Teachers and parents alike were impressed by this student-led initiative from the interesting course offerings to the friendly and enthusiastic student instructors. All are looking forward to whatever the next iteration of Quakes of Discovery might be. 
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