The Insight

The Student News Site of Friends Seminary

The Insight

The Insight

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New Teachers Join Upperschool

This year we are welcoming four new teachers into the Friends High School: Alycia Thompson, Jared Fortunato, Patrick Cahill, and Kevin Donnelly. Many of you have likely passed these new teachers in the hallways or even have classes with them, so we interviewed them in hopes that it would help everyone in the Upper School get to know more about these new members of our community. 

Alycia Thompson is a new middle and High School visual arts teacher. She moved a lot throughout her childhood, relocating every two or three years. Because of this, she says her secret talent is being able to pack up quickly. Before working at Friends Seminary, she worked at Hunter College High School. Thompson first came to Friends as a temporary replacement for Stephanie Teo, but she stuck around, as she enjoys the community and classroom environment. Throughout her childhood, Thompson always knew she wanted to be an artist but was not sure about teaching. She thought that if she ended up teaching, it would be in colleges, but she ended up finding her passion teaching middle and upper school. In her free time, Thompson enjoys walking her dog, Danny, listening to music, and working on new art pieces.

Jared Fortunato teaches art, photography, and graphic design in the Upper School. He grew up in Pennsylvania, but moved up and down the East Coast throughout his childhood. As a child, Fortunato always wanted to be a teacher but was dissuaded from it as he grew up. After finishing college and moving to California, Fortunato worked in tech, marketing, and graphic design until an economic downturn made him reassess his profession, leading him to start teaching. Before coming to Friends, Fortunato had worked at several schools throughout California and New York. You may have seen him before this year, as he was here last year as a temporary replacement for another teacher on leave. Fortunato said that he loved the community, so when he saw that another art teacher was leaving, he applied for the job. Fortunato is another animal lover, with two dogs that he enjoys walking in his free time. He is also a voracious reader who always needs to have a book going. Fortunato is excited to be teaching at Friends and to be a part of our community. 

Kevin Donnelly is very excited to return, after five years, to a school community as our new Spanish teacher. Donnelly believes Friends is a good fit, as he is interested in CPEJ and loves the Quaker values and how progressive the school is. Growing up, Donnelly lived in two different countries, but he considers New York to be his true home. He likes to run, cycle, read, and travel. Before coming to Friends, Donnelly worked at a tech start-up and at an educational non-profit in Mexico. Because of this, he is still adjusting to a school environment after not teaching for so long. Despite having lived in two different countries growing up, Donnelly wants to continue to expand his horizons, and he’d love to visit Japan. He would also like to hike the Appalachian trail despite not wanting to have to camp along the way. Donnelly’s friends would describe him as being a good listener, diplomatic, and energetic, and if he had to describe himself using an ice cream flavor, he would choose mint chocolate chip. 

Patrick Cahill is joining the Upper School as a math teacher after being drawn to the Friends community by its friendly and supportive environment. For his PhD, Cahill researched theoretical mathematics. He grew up in a small town near Albany and before working at Friends, he worked at several schools, including a number in the CUNY system, as well as Rye Country Day School. In his free time, Cahill enjoys reading, juggling, and making art. He can also balance a hat on the bridge of his nose and is a stained glass artist. Two items on his bucket list are working at a glass-blowing studio and traveling around Europe to visit ancient history sites. Cahill’s friends would describe him as laid back, funny, sarcastic, helpful, and nerdy. Cahill says that if aliens came to Earth, he would let them beam him up as they probably did not come this far to kill humans. 

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