A Message From Bo Regarding the Community Survey
Earlier this spring, Friends Seminary shared an anonymous e-survey with the full Friends community in an effort to seek feedback on perceptions of the School, including strengths and areas for improvement, and advice regarding long-term priorities.
I am grateful to each one of the more than 800 community members, including parents, alumni, school employees, and more, who took the time to share their ideas. From preferences for how Friends should approach the future of athletics at the School, to useful suggestions around increasing engagement with our alumni community, to our DEI work, and so much more, your observations and counsel are welcome.
Highlights of the insightful community participation and feedback we received include:
77% of respondents shared they have a very positive or positive view of the School.
78% of respondents indicated they are satisfied with their volunteer and giving experience at the School.
50% of respondents signaled that Friends is their highest or a high charitable priority.
Of the long-term priorities under consideration, the Endowment and Athletics were indicated as the top two priorities, with the Center for Math, Science, and Engineering a very close third.
360 current parents, 155 alumni, 121 school employees, 53 grandparents, 85 parents of alumni – and additional friends of the School – participated in the e-survey. Many who participated identify as a part of multiple constituencies, demonstrating committed involvement with the School.
62% of respondents have spent 6 or more years in the Friends community, 28% have spent between 1 to 5 years in the community, and 10% are new to Friends.
Friends leadership will reflect on the results to ensure this feedback is integrated into School planning, fundraising and programs. We are dedicated to strengthening community ties following the unique circumstances of COVID and have begun having well-received grade level meetings with division heads, among other social and school-related events.
The survey was an important step in hearing what’s on your mind and gives us lots to reflect upon. Thank you all for your engagement and for your commitment to the mission, history, traditions and future of Friends Seminary.
Barry Blumenfeld Recognized As DEL Lab School Recipient
Barry Blumenfeld has long enjoyed being a part of the dance educator community with Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at 92NY and is honored to have been recognized as a DEL Lab School Recipient. DEL Lab Schools is a new initiative to celebrate dance educators bringing the DEL Model to life. Rooted in innovative and current educational philosophies, the DEL Model is an inclusive and accessible framework designed to be applied in a wide variety of dance education contexts for all learners and practitioners in dance education. This distinction honors educators who are implementing the DEL Model in their dance classrooms. Recognition as a DEL Lab School is a wonderful opportunity for dance educators to gain professional acknowledgement and visibility, build community, and share resources.
Upper School Students Lead 2023 Choreo Show
Upper School students performed “ChoreoShow” May 11 and 12 in the Great Room. The show is the culminating event for the Upper School choreography class, ChoreoLab, taught by Barry Blumenfeld. All of the dances were choreographed by the students. Click here to view performance photos.
Congratulations to 2023 Graduates
Friends is proud to announce the college matriculation of the class of 2023. Click here to see where this year’s senior class will be headed in the fall. Their graduation ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 8 at 1:30 PM at SummerStage in Central Park. Read the Student Artist Spotlight that features two seniors.
James Turrell Skyspace at Friends Seminary Coming in Fall 2023
Designed and donated by James Turrell, a leading American artist and Quaker, this installation is the capstone of the School’s Campus Redevelopment Project and is located on the roof of the Townhouse Building on the School’s 16th Street campus. This work of art will be the only public Skyspace in Manhattan and the first one attached to a K-12 school anywhere. At Friends, it will also serve as a spiritual and educational space for our community. Click here to read more about the Skyspace.
“Bringing about a world that ought to be” takes on many forms in the modern world. A humanitarian approach to law-making through the voice of our youngest generation is one path to fulfilling this mission. In Model Congress, led by teachers Rachel Barany and Joseph Sills, Middle Schoolers worked diligently since January to develop a solid understanding of government function, analyze current events, and effectively put their solutions to real world problems into writing.
Students in Grades 6-8 constructed bills on a range of topics. Olivia ’29 and Lily ’29 concentrated on free access to healthcare for those under the poverty line and offered a financial analysis to support their measures. Other topics included banning standardized testing for college admissions, regulating medicinal drug prices, abolishing private prisons, regulating overseas drone strikes, and access to contraceptives for minors.
Click here to learn more.
By Kara Kutner, Director of the Center for Peace, Equity & Justice
Fifteen Upper School students recently traveled to the cities of Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans for an immersive experience—Civil Rights and Music: Blues, Jazz and the Politics of Race, sponsored by the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice. The program provided an opportunity to examine—and in some cases experience first hand—painful pieces of our country’s history, from slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement and the present day. A thread that unified all of this history was the powerful current of Black music and the ways that Black people have created and used music to signify, communicate, celebrate and protest throughout the struggle. The music, the art, the history, the people, the experience of walking the land and simply watching it go by from the bus window all had an impact.
“Before going on this trip, I thought of music and civil rights as entirely separate. But through this experience, I learned how deeply rooted Black music is in the history of this country, how enslaved people sang songs to secretly spread messages of when and how to escape,” Safira ’26 explained.
Click here to learn more.
Celebrating Arabic Culture
On May 8 Arabic students in Grades 5-12 joined together for an afternoon to celebrate Arab cultures. The community event began in the Meetinghouse with performances from each class, ranging from skits and dance to poem recitation and singing. Highlights included Grade 7 students reciting the poem “To My Mother” by Mahmoud Darwish, in honor of Mother’s Day. Safira ’26 sang and played a classical Fairuz song on the ’oud. Sam ’23 and Sidney ’23 emceed the evening, which ended with a raucous Arabic language rendition of SNL’s Weekend Update. The celebration ended in the Outer Courtyard with food from Zooba, henna tattoos, calligraphy lessons, and more.
Middle School Students Celebrate Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month
In honor of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander month, the Middle School welcomed Asian American artist Warren King to learn about his process, inspiration, and heritage. Warren’s figurative cardboard sculptures are born from a mixture of his ancestry and people he encounters in his everyday life. Warren brought several life-sized creations and shared his journey and stories about people who have inspired him to create and become an “accidental” artist. Students were intrigued, excited and curious about the work and engaged in a thoughtful Q&A with the artist.
Seniors Win Second Place at NYU’s Rock That Movie Chinese Video Competition
Congratulations to Grade 12 students in Vicky's Advanced Chinese language class who won second prize in NYU’s Rock That Movie Chinese Video Competition for “Sense of Belonging.” Ahron ’23 wrote and directed the original short story in Chinese about a girl finding a sense of belonging at Friends. His fellow classmates, Hilary ’23, Liam ’23, Nini ’23, Theodora ’23, Sam ’23, Annika ’23, Alex ’23 and Jenny ’23 all acted in the piece.
OWL Sports Roundup
Friends Teams Win ACIS Championships
Congratulations to the Golf team and Coach Warren Salandy for winning the ACIS championship on May 16 at Silver Lake Golf Course on Staten Island.
On Monday, May 15 Friends Boys & Girls Track Team won the ACIS Championship. Congratulations to the Owls!
For the most up-to-date sports news, follow Friends Athletics at www.instagram.com/friendsathletics for weekly team and senior features!