Olney Friends School celebrates commencement

Photo Provided Graduating seniors at Olney Friends School

Barnesville — Eight students will graduate this weekend from a local Quaker high school.

Olney Friends School in Barnesville will host its 185th commencement ceremony this weekend. The commencement events will start today and continue into Saturday. Some events include a silent auction, an alumni gathering and farm-to-table meals. Eight students are expected to receive their high school diplomas at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The silent auction will begin at 4 p.m. today and will end at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Collection Room. Danyel Stringham, the marketing director at Olney Friends School, looks forward to the auction each year.

“Every year items are donated by the community, faculty and alumni to be auctioned off. Many of them are handmade, and some are bought. We are a nonprofit school, so the money we earn from the auction helps support our school,” she said.

The auction is open to the public.

Each year Olney Friends School also hosts an alumni gathering. All alumni from any graduating class are welcome to join. The alumni gathering will start at 4 p.m. today and continue into Saturday. Alumni who spend the night can stay in a guesthouse or camp out on school grounds. Stringham described previous alumni gatherings as being “like Woodstock because everyone camps out and has a good time.”

Olney Friends will also host a large dinner at 6 p.m. today that will be open to the public.

“We are a farm-to-table school, so all of the food is grown here, both the animals and the crops,” said Stringham.

The school will also host a breakfast before the commencement ceremony Saturday from 7:30-9:15 a.m. and lunch after the ceremony at 12:15. p.m. Stringham encourages members of the community to stop by to enjoy the freshly prepared meals.

The commencement ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Stillwater Meeting House. John Rataiczak, a board member of the Barnesville Area Chamber of Commerce, will be the commencement speaker. Rataiczak has lived his entire life in Belmont County and is also the voice of the Blame My Roots Festival. He will discuss reflecting Olney’s impact on the community.

Olney Friends School is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory boarding and day school offering individualized instruction in small class settings for grades 9-12.

Olney Friends School was established in 1837 by the Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends. The school has an average of 30 students each year.

Olney Friends School serves students from a variety of religious, cultural and geographic backgrounds.

The school offers unique experiences for students by integrating working in the kitchen and on the farm with their academic requirements, its website states.

Olney is accredited by the Independent School Association of the Central States and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the Friends Council on Education. It is located at 61830 Sandy Ridge Road, Barnesville.

For those who cannot attend the commencement ceremony in person, Olney Friends will livestream the event on its Facebook page. For more information about Olney Friends School and its commencement events, visit olneyfriends.org.

The complete list of events includes:


∫ 4-6 p.m. Alumni reception on the front lawn; sign in and greet your classmates; light refreshments

∫ 4 p.m. Silent auction begins in Collection Room

∫ 6 p.m. Dinner, serving line in the dining room, seating on the front lawn and beside the gym

∫ 7:30 p.m. Alumni and Friends Gathering in Stillwater Meetinghouse


∫ 7:30-9:15 a.m. Breakfast

∫ 10:30 a.m. Commencement in Stillwater Meetinghouse

∫ 12:15 p.m. Lunch on the front lawn, serving line in the dining room, seating on the front lawn and beside the gym

∫ 2 p.m. Silent auction concludes


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