As Philly Free School approaches its tenth year, we caught up with recent alum Marley (‘19) to see what they’re doing now. To support the Real Learning, Real Results at PFS, please consider donating to help us meet our $20k fundraising goal:

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Marley’s a very fresh alum, and they’re in the midst of hunting for a job as a barista or in front-end food service. They said communication has been the most valuable skill they picked up at PFS: “I’ve been having to write so many professional emails. If not for PFS, I’d be bumbling, tripping over myself. I’ve been doing it with a surprising amount of confidence.” 

Marley describes their experience of navigating applications, networking, and references with ease, but they haven’t always had the confidence to communicate like this. “When I first came to PFS, I was extremely outgoing, but I kept a lot of things bottled up to myself. I had a version of me that I brought to PFS, but there were a lot of things I kept at home.” For a couple of years, Marley spent most of their time playing Minecraft, but as they gradually built relationships, friendships and conflicts pushed them to develop deeper interpersonal skills.

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As Marley matured at PFS, they started giving back to the school community. They took on clerkships for the Aesthetics Committee, the Fundraising Committee, and JC and served terms as School Meeting Secretary and Chairperson. “That administrative work taught me that communication is extremely important and you gotta be on the same page. PFS hammered home for me that sometimes I need to make the first step in talking to people even though it’s hard.”

Marley’s taken this commitment to open communication with them into life outside of PFS. They tell me about their experience working in the kitchen at summer camp: “I feel like I tried to do a lot of work to get my team on the same page. I tried to get us to talk as much as possible. Sometimes I struggled because of my anxiety, but I tried. You have to be willing to talk about serious things.”

Knowing how valuable communication and participation are, Marley’s keeping their eyes open for a workplace founded on democratic principles, where everyone’s needs and voices can be heard: “a proper democratic process is probably the way I’d feel least exploited in a workplace.”

PFS: Real learning. Real results. To support, please consider contributing to our Annual Appeal fundraiser:

Haley Tilt, November 18th