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Olney Friends School educates students for lives of service in the local community and in the world. The school enrolls 50-65 boarding and day students in grades 9 through 12. Several each year are from Barnesville and the surrounding area. This year, nine students are from Ohio. Thirteen different states and 10 countries are represented. Because Olney awards financial aid, the group is socioeconomically diverse.
The school’s aim is to graduate critical thinkers and researchers, skilled citizens, and conscientious stewards of the world’s resources. The college preparatory curriculum features an integrated humanities program and math/science classes leading to AP Calculus, AP Physics, and Environmental Science. Surveys of students nationwide indicate that boarding school students study and do more homework than their day school peers (The Association of Boarding Schools, 2010).
Community service is an integral part of the Olney curriculum. Service projects typically include such activities as assisting at the local Head Start program, picking up trash and running the concession stand at local Pee Wee football games, and directing runners at a Barkcamp State Park trail run to raise funds for cancer research. In recognition of students’ significant efforts from year to year, the Village of Barnesville gave the school its annual community service award in Spring 2011. Collectively, students log several hundred hours of community service annually.
At Olney, service is understood even more broadly. Taking care of the natural world comes as an outgrowth of a strong education in biology and environmental science. The school’s location on 350 acres in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains presents many opportunities for hands-on learning in science and conservation. Ongoing student projects include reforestation in conjunction with the Barnesville Area Reforestation Kommittee (BARK), assisting local authorities with water quality monitoring, and providing strong muscles and keen eyes for local hellbender research. Students also enjoy working on the school’s organic farm, providing food for the community.
Recent graduates of Olney Friends School…
…have found academic success at a variety of colleges, including some of the country’s most selective institutions. Olney Friends School alumni are teachers, social workers, physicians, scientists, researchers, artists, and businesspeople. One hundred percent of Olney graduates are accepted to at least one four-year college or university. The school provides support for the application and decision process. In 2008, five Olney graduates were enrolled at Haverford College, a school routinely rated as one of the ten most selective colleges in the country. Frequently, Olney students are recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for academic achievement.
Last year, students were offered millions in scholarship and financial aid by the colleges and universities to which they were accepted. A partial list of the schools attended by recent Olney graduates includes: Agnes Scott College, Brevard College, Case Western Reserve University, College of Charleston, Colorado State University, Earlham College, Guilford College, Haverford College, Hampshire College, Indiana University, Kalamazoo College, Kenyon College, Lewis & Clark College, Mills College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Widener University. A full list of college acceptances is available here.
Olney is a Quaker school. Like other schools affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Olney challenges students to grow both intellectually and socially, as individual young adults and as members of a community, during their high school years. Integrity, simplicity, skills for living in community, equality and environmental stewardship are core values that are emphasized in and out of the classroom.
Award-winning Olney teachers…
…are dedicated and accomplished in their fields of study. Recently recognized are biology teacher Leonard Guindon, who was named Ohio Conservation Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Districts, and former Humanities teacher Abigail Chew, who received the George G. Skinner and Lela Skinner Bailey Teaching Development Award for professional development. Olney Friends School welcomes visitors to campus for public events and tours.
The School owns…
…its 65-acre main campus, including the Main Building, which houses classrooms, a multi-purpose room for all-school events, administrative offices, a library, kitchen and dining facilities and a gymnasium; two separate dormitories, one built in 1968 and one built in 1910 and renovated in 1978; a greenhouse; a shop for maintenance; single-family homes for faculty; a former dormitory, which now houses the school infirmary, faculty apartments, guest rooms, and a ceramics studio. Two-hundred eighty-five acres of farmland and forest are leased from Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends.
Financial support for Olney Friends School…
…has grown substantially since the reorganization of the school in 1999. In addition to successful completion of the $2.0 million Renewal from the Roots campaign in 2003, Olney Friends School has witnessed a two-fold increase in the number of donors to the Olney Friends School Annual Fund over the past decade and a 325% increase in annual support for the school increasing from $47,000 in 1998 to approximately $200,000 in 2010. The A Time to Build Campaign, completed in 2011, with priorities of increasing endowment, dormitory improvements (new furniture and windows), exterior restoration of the historic Main Building, increasing Annual Fund giving, and planning for a new green Activity Center, exceeded its goal of $4.5 million by $94,417. Out of the thirty member schools in the Ohio Association of Independent Schools, Olney now ranks among the top 10% in terms of dollars raised annually per student.