Patrick Donahue is a Grade 5 teacher with Maplewood Elementary School. He began his fifth year of teaching at Maplewood. He spent his first two years teaching third grade, three years in fifth grade, and anticipates teaching for another twenty years. “I believe in being fair, kind, and generous with each student I work with,” stated Mr. Donahue.
During his time with Fort Wayne Community Schools Mr. Donahue has had numerous conversations with parents and teachers who wished there were after-school activities for elementary age children.
“I am very excited to announce that Maplewood Elementary is starting a new after-school program. The name of the program is Junto. With the help of community members and volunteers like you I believe we can make this happen,” he said.
The mission on the Junto is to provide an individualized education that addresses students’ unique learning styles, cultivates independent thought, promotes the building of character and volunteerism, enabling them to contribute to their communities in meaningful and positive ways. The Junto strives to be a community of learners in which all members use their minds well and care about one another.
This semester there will be at least two courses club members can participate. One course is titled Domesticated Animal Studies. Participants will learn about and handle live animals such as chickens, ducks, geese, goats, turkeys, and more. In another course participants will learn conversational Spanish.
Please learn more about this new after-school club and if you are interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Mr. Donahue at 260-908-4807.
An introductory meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 12 for new members at 4:30pm. The next session of Spanish instruction will be Wednesday, October 13 at 4:30pm.
The Junto was a club established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin for mutual improvement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also known as the Leather Apron Club, its purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs1
Franklin organized a group of friends to provide a structured forum for discussion about money. The group initially composed of twelve members. The members of the Junto were drawn from diverse occupations and backgrounds, but they all shared a spirit of inquiry and a desire to improve themselves, their community, and to help others. Among the original members were a printer, a surveyor, a cabinetmaker, a clerk, and a bartender. Although most of the members were older than Franklin, he was clearly their leader.2
Franklin was an outgoing, social individual and had become acquainted with some of the businessmen at a club called the Every Night Club. This gathering included prominent merchants who met informally to drink and discuss the business of the day. Franklin’s congenial ways attracted many unique and learned individuals, and from these, he selected the members for the Junto. The club met Friday nights, first in a tavern and later in a house, to discuss moral, political and scientific topics of the day.3
Franklin describes the formation and purpose of the Junto in his autobiography.
I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding year,  I had form’d most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased.
Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory.4
The Junto’s Friday evening meetings were organized around a series of questions that Franklin devised, covering a range of intellectual, personal, business, and community topics. These questions were used as a springboard for discussion and community action. In fact, through the Junto, Franklin promoted such concepts as volunteer fire-fighting clubs, improved security (night watchmen), and a public hospital.
This is a list of questions Franklin devised to guide the discussions at Junto meetings.
•Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto?
•What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in conversation?
•Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation? or who has committed an error proper for us to be warned against and avoid?
•Hath any deserving stranger arrived in town since last meeting, that you heard of? and what have you heard or observed of his character or merits? and whether think you, it lies in the power of the Junto to oblige him, or encourage him as he deserves?
•Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?