On April 12, Friends School of Minnesota 8th graders presented their capstone project “Love is Love: Defeat the Amendment” – a video about the issues surrounding the Minnesota Marriage Amendment and our community. 

Love is Love: Defeat the Amendment

FSM 8th graders worked with humanities teacher Rebecca Slaby on their captsone project. They surveyed Friends School of Minnesota community members about their views of marriage and the upcoming vote on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. Students read these responses in their video.

School and greater community members gathered to hear about the 8th graders’ project and process. There was also a panel of representatives from three community organizations working for marriage equality:

  • Javen Swanson (OutFront MN)
  • Paul Landskroener (Twin Cities Friends Meeting)
  • Kate Brickman (Minnesotans United for All Families)
Kate, Javen, and Paul spoke about each of their organizations’ work to defeat the Minnesota Marriage Amendment

Introducing Thursday evening’s event, FSM’s head of school Lili Herbert shared these thoughts:

“This capstone project, as we call it, is a culminating project for our students, that asks them to think about what they have learned about the Quaker values of Friends School, and then to do something that speaks to that learning and will have a lasting impact on the community. You will hear from our students about their process and product.

I am proud of the students. But more than proud, I am moved and awed by their work. As a Quaker school, we are guided by the tenet of there being “that of God” within each of us. To take this seriously means we need to act in accordance. Our conflict resolution program, addressing all people by first names, and teaching about multiple perspectives across the curriculum, are just some examples of how we do this.

We also recognize that truth comes from all of us, including young children. And we design our program to help students internalize core values. The middle school humanities curriculum, for instance, is organized around key questions. This year 7th and 8th grade students focused on these questions related to integrity:

  • How have societies changed by interactions with other societies?
  • How do I have my values when confronted by other values?
  • How do people decide when and how to take a stand?

I believe the capstone project work and the film you will see tonight reflect deep thought and discernment about these key questions. This is not a “cute” project by children. This is truth, thoughtfully discerned, and movingly expressed.

Lili introduced the 8th Grade Capstone Project

I have learned a lot from the eighth grade students. In good Friends School fashion, my learnings lend themselves to queries. I hope we, as a school community, can explore these queries:

  • How does fear of change (or the possibility of conflict) influence my actions?
  •  In what ways do I allow my mind to become more powerful than my knowing?
  •  How can love and equality ever be wrong?

Letters of support from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Senator Al Franken were also read. (Click on the images to enlarge and read):

letter from St. Paul Mayor Coleman
letter from Senator Franken

Friends School of Minnesota 8th graders answered questions about their capstone project.

We urge you to share Love is Love: Defeat the Amendment and talk to people about the upcoming vote!