40+ Years of Friendship

Thank you to Jane Knowles ’81 for guest editing the most recent issue of the Moses Brown alumni magazine, Cupola (mailing now), and sharing her own thoughts on the theme of Friendship with us. She has several family connections to MB including her father Lewis Knowles ’36. Jane joined MB the first year it went co-ed (1976) and has fond memories of being one of the three girls in eighth grade that year, a pioneer of MB co-education. 

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” – Aristotle

“Like a slow ripening fruit, my friendship with Moses Brown School began 45 years ago in 1976. Females were being admitted to the school, returning Moses Brown to coeducation, after having been an all-male boarding and day school. As the last of all daughters in my family, it was an exciting time for me when MB went coed and I was able to have the opportunity to attend my father’s alma mater. It never occurred to me how much I would value the friendships and connections to Moses Brown that I’ve made along the way.

“Joining a new school meant making new friends. I knew no one. Entering eighth grade was scary, considering there were only three girls in my class (Miriam Levin, Jackie Wiley and me) and over 60 boys! Because there were so few girls in Middle School that first year, we were all kept together in Team 1, with the boys in Teams 1, 2 and 3. Along with sixth and seventh grade females in Team 1, we were known as pioneers! And it was at MB that I established lifelong friendships. My connections to the rest of my classmates and other MB alumni I interact with make the MB bond special. To this day, I continue to connect yearly with Cheryl Schadone Cohen ’81 and Ashley Haffenreffer Wagstaff ’82 through phone, texts and personal visits. Ashley and I have met up nearly every summer since graduation, and Cheryl and I continued our connections through our college days at Wheaton, and now yearly college weekend gatherings.

“My MB friendships have remained strong thanks to social media and reunions every five years. I love catching up with my classmates at reunions. I feel as though I am reconnecting with relatives I haven’t seen in a few years. Because we grew up together as adolescents, it’s great fun to see how we’ve matured but can still look back on our time together reminiscing about a common bond in a particular class, event or favorite teacher or coach. Even remembering a familiar smell brings back fond memories. Nostalgia takes over and that’s a good thing!

“I stayed connected with the school right from the get-go. From volunteering at MB Annual Fund phonathons beginning in the 1980s, to helping organize class reunions, participating on various committees, and serving two stints on the MB Alumni Association Board, I have stayed connected to the school and made new friends along the way. I continue to connect with classmates through social media and can honestly say how proud I am to be an alumna of MB and to have established lifelong friendships at 250 Lloyd Avenue.

“As you will read in the articles in this issue, many bonds have been established and relationships nurtured among classmates, alumni, faculty, and staff at Moses Brown School. It’s no accident that those friendships began at a Friends school!

Jane retains her acceptance letter from MB to this day and has enjoyed staying connected to MB since graduation, from volunteering at Annual Fund phonathons and helping organize class reunions to participating on committees and serving on the MBAA Board. “Moses Brown helped shape my life,” Jane says. “I have my father to thank for instilling me with MB pride and the MB faculty for helping shape me into the person I am today.” Jane received MB’s Service to Alma Mater Award in 2019 and is currently Recording Clerk for the Moses Brown Alumni Association.