During the first term of this new school year, we spend a lot of time getting to know one another. Much of the work occurs at the team level, but we come together every day in Community Meeting to acknowledge and celebrate our shared life in this boarding school. We also employ specific strategies and embrace long-standing traditions to facilitate the development of close friendships across the school. Today during the long Wednesday Community Meeting, we experienced the Franklin Academy version of Speed Friending.

Teachers briefed students regarding tips for starting conversations. They discussed the importance of facial expressions, eye contact, and body language to communicate a positive rapport. Everyone was mixed and matched across teams and divided into four equal groups, each assigned to a large classroom in the Humanities Building. Sitting in two facing rows, participants engaged in 90-second speeding friending conversations before rotating to the next desk.

By the end of the session, everyone talked with ten or twelve different people. Perhaps some were already friends and classmates, and others were less well-known. Regardless, students and teachers walked away from Speed Friending, knowing each other a little better.