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School News

From a three day field trip to Nature's Classroom to supporting Asian American seniors, the Friends campus is buzzing with activity! To view more photos of campus events, visit the School's website, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.


NYSAIS Accreditation

Friends Seminary recently completed its Five-Year NYSAIS Progress Report. In conjunction with this report, the NYSAIS Five-Year Progress Committee also spent the day visiting our campus.


God’s Love We Deliver

Last month, families and alumni continued the annual bag decorating events for God's Love We Deliver (GLWD). On Thursday, December 1, members of our community hung the handmade bags in the Meetinghouse where they will be enjoyed during the holiday season. GLWD will then use the bags to carry nutritious holiday meals to our fellow New Yorkers living with severe illnesses.

This tradition began back in 1990 when art teacher, John Jones, decorated 40 bags with his visual arts class and since then, it has grown and today we decorate almost 1,200 bags every year.

“As an alumna, it was a hugely meaningful part of my experience,” Annah Heckman ‘15, a Specialist for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Friends, said, “and it’s a joy to help to facilitate this tradition in partnership with the Parents Association.”

In addition to the bag decorating activities, more than 36 Friends Seminary runners braved the freezing temperatures on November 20 to help raise almost $7,000 during the annual GLWD Race.


Lower School Students Foster Deep Connection to the Natural World During Nature’s Classroom

Grade 4 students enjoyed a three-day overnight field trip to Nature’s Classroom in Ivoryton, CT. This long-standing tradition at Friends gives students an active role in their education through entertaining, informative projects, and investigation of experiential science concepts and exploration of the natural environment. They hiked and took in the natural landscape, learned about composting, and integrated community values and Quaker testimonies in the program as they identified practical ways to apply the testimonies of simplicity and sustainability. Students bonded each evening with a sing-along and developed a deeper appreciation for one another, increased confidence and a greater awareness of the environment.


Grade 5 Students Create Masks Inspired by Photographer Phillis Galembo

Fifth grade artists in Andrew Harrison’s class recently created vibrant, mythical, large-scale masks. Students were inspired by their study of fine art photographer Phillis Galembo, whose portraits on masquerade practices in Africa and Mexico “underscore the power of masks and ceremony to transform and to perform within an ornate code of political, artistic, theatrical, social, and religious symbolism and commentary.” Middle Schoolers were challenged to draw several otherworldly masks before combining their ideas to engineer a single mask made entirely of cardboard that would fit over their heads.


Friends Integrates Service with Academics to Support Asian American Seniors

For the second year, Middle and Upper School students have supported the non-profit Heart of Dinner by writing notecards in Chinese for Asian American elders. Mandarin teachers Lynn Lin and Yu Tan worked with the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice on this unique opportunity to connect what students are currently learning in the classroom with advocating for those in our local community. Heart of Dinner works to fight food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American seniors throughout New York City, delivering weekly care packages that are filled to the brim with culturally thoughtful hot lunches, fresh groceries, pantry essentials, and bulk ingredients while supporting local small businesses. Lynn explains, “Poverty, anti-Asian hate and the pandemic have further isolated and impacted elderly Asian Americans in a disproportionate way. Our goal at Friends is ‘to help bring out the world that ought to be,’ and this is a great way students are making a difference by combining their knowledge of Chinese characters and creativity.” Building on the success of the partnership, the Upper School’s Asian Culture Club hosted a lunchtime session. Students were so enthusiastic about the activity that they took cards home to design with their families. Lynn continued, “We are a diverse community with students of different ethnic backgrounds. It’s inspiring to see us come together to aid our Asian

American elders.”


Author Kyle Lukoff Visits Upper & Middle Schools

The Library and Parents Association recently hosted author Kyle Lukoff. Kyle has written several picture books, a poetry book, an early reader series and two chapter books. He has received the Stonewall Book Award (twice), a Newberry Honor and has been the finalist for the National Book Award. As a librarian turned author, Kyle has used his years working with young people to craft beautiful stories about gender identity. Programming at Friends was scheduled for the entire community. On November 2, the Friends community gathered for a Book Club discussion of Kyle’s most recently published book, Different Kinds of Fruit, a funny and hugely heartfelt novel about a sixth grader’s life after she learns her father is a transgender man. On November 10, the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Center for Peace, Equity and Justice (CPEJ), and the Library hosted a lunch discussion with the author for all members of the Upper School community, faculty, and staff. The following day, Kyle presented to the Middle School on current issues regarding challenging and banning books in public and school libraries across the country. Later during the Lower School Community Period, Kyle walked students through his process for creating the picture book “When Aidan Became a Brother.”


Upper School Autumn Choral & Orchestra Concert

On November, 17, Upper School musicians performed in the Great Room during the Fall Vocal and Orchestra Concert. View more photos at


Upper School Students Attend RED performed by Will Noling ’12

Barry Blumenfeld’s ChoreoLab recently attended RED performed by Will Noling ’12, founding collaborator with 2nd Best Dance Company, at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn. “RED walks the fuzzy, shag-carpet line between dance performance and narrative play, leaning into both text and movement to tell an abstracted version of a well-known fictional story of survival: Little Red Riding Hood. By cycling through distinct characters, both true to the original story and entirely new, 2nd Best Dance Company explores how we confront the many-faced “big bads” that lurk on our personal wooded paths.” Lucia ’23 commented, “The show was both hilarious and moving, and watching a Friends alum from the audience was super inspirational for me!”


Upper School Artists at the Intersection of Technology and Fine Art

Upper School students in Stephanie Teo’s Digital Painting and Design class put a contemporary spin on a classic still life assignment. Influenced by 17th century Dutch memento mori paintings to Frida Kahlo’s Viva La Vida Watermelons to Patrick Caulfield’s pottery, students selected objects that represent different parts of their identity—sharing a glimpse into who they are through the things they use. Using a limited color palette, they were challenged to simplify their objects in a graphic manner.

Later in the course, students selected a specific emotion as a jumping off point for designing an original character. Inspired by Pixar’s Inside Out and Expressionist portraits, Upper School artists created a character sheet, which is a design brief that visually tells the viewer about their personality and a general sense of what the character looks like and how they behave. Digital Painting and Design is a new elective that Stephanie is pioneering using a new class set of iPad Pros and Apple Pencils. These works are only the start of an exciting creative venture this academic year. Currently, the Graphic Still Life and the Character Designs can be viewed on the second floor landing of the Townhouse.


Friends Athletics

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