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School News

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.

 

Friends Welcomes New Staff

Meet our new Director of Admissions and Dean of Studies below.


Director of Admissions, Nisa Bryant


Nisa Bryant says, “I enjoy bringing the community together and having the opportunity to witness students grow into the amazing humans that they are destined to be. I am honored to have the baton passed to me to continue the wonderful traditions of this institution.”


What are you most excited about in coming to Friends?

There are a few reasons as to why I am excited about joining the Friends community.

Friends is a special institution with an amazing historical footprint in New York City. The Quaker testimonies that guide this community are unique and have allowed the School to remain steadfast in its mission during its storied history. I have the opportunity to continue to position Friends as an independent school leader. Lastly, over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting students and alumni. While all different, their curiosity, humanity, commitment to community, and intellect is what they shared in common. Needless to say, this left an indelible impression. Although I have been in my role for about six weeks, this has been a wonderful transition. I am looking forward to this adventure!


How would you describe your approach to leadership?

My approach to leadership is best described as a combination of styles that I hope have been both effective and respected. Different circumstances call for different approaches. However, I do my best to lead by example, learn from others as much as I teach, provide opportunities for growth and agency, collaborate, and seek consensus. Lastly, respect, authenticity and integrity are integral to my role both as a leader and an individual.


What are your strengths as a leader?

In addition to what was previously shared in the question above, I’d like to think that I am an effective communicator who thinks strategically and creatively about the work I do. Additionally my leadership is guided by empathy, with a dash of humor, joy, and enthusiasm.


How do you plan to be an advocate for new students and families?

Admissions and Enrollment work is equally complex and fulfilling. There are a myriad of institutional wants and needs as we look to enroll a group of intellectually curious, dynamic, interesting, and diverse, change-making students. I see this as an outpouring of the care and pride that this community has for this beloved school, which is greatly appreciated and respected. And, while this is an interesting aspect of the work, I am most honored by being in the position to listen to the unique stories and aspirations that each student and parent/guardian share. I advocate on behalf of the School, and I advocate for those who will join us. It’s about relaying what’s important to them to colleagues; it's about helping them fulfill the hopes and dreams they wish for; it’s about providing reassurance along the way when the journey is uncertain. The advocacy and support does not end once a family has enrolled for it continues throughout the duration of their tenure at Friends.


At Friends part of our mission is to help prepare students to engage in a world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be. How do you plan to support this?

While it is our charge to help prepare students to “engage in a world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be” by way of education and providing exposure, guidance, and support, this mission is also delivered by living and leading by Quaker values as best we can. I am proud to be a part of a community that in many ways, reflects the values that I embody.


What are your hopes in "bringing about a world that ought to be?"

My hope is that all are treated with dignity, respect, and kindness; we can truly appreciate and embrace all of the differences that make us uniquely who we are; and that we use our privilege and power to be of service to others and to our communities.



Dean of Studies, Hassan Wilson

Hassan Wilson says, “In some respects, I feel like I’m returning where I left off. People have been welcoming and genuinely excited that I'm back. I’m excited to take on new challenges and questions that will come up. I think this new role will be the best of both worlds and allow me to collaborate with new people.”


What are you most excited about in your return to Friends?

I'm most excited to be back into this wonderful community. This has been home for 18 years, and returning to home is a dream come true. I'm equally excited about supporting faculty and Department Chairs in the work they do to bring our rich curriculum to life.


As a long serving administrator and faculty member at Friends, how do you plan to use your experience and institutional knowledge in your new role?

I understand some of our unspoken and unwritten practices and customs. I also understand how certain aspects of the School came to be. Having this institutional knowledge can help us work efficiently and hopefully avoid repeating mistakes or going down dead ends. I also have strong ties in the community which can help with having open and transparent discussions.


Are there any specific classes or initiatives you plan to create?

I do have some ideas based on my experience at Friends in various roles, but I'm more interested in learning about the experiences of others, to find out what is working from their perspective, as well as their challenges. It's important to see the perspectives of others so that you get a fuller picture; therefore, my major initiative is to visit classes and engage K-12 teachers in discussions about what they are teaching, and to get a bigger picture of our program.


How can you be an advocate for students?

It's important to center the experience of our students. Our work is meant to prepare students for the skills, content, habits and dispositions they will need to be successful and to leave a positive impact on the world. I hope that teaching a class and being an advisor will help me keep an eye on the needs of students.


What are your hopes in "bringing about a world that ought to be?"

I hope students will graduate from Friends being well equipped to understand the world as is but also have the skills and courage to bring about a world that ought to be. We need to continue to cultivate a program that is dynamic and can adapt to the changing world—whether it is the explosion of A.I. or the increasingly diverse world, students need a program and curriculum that will empower them to affect change.


 

Friends Spooktacular


Friends families had a ghoulishly good time on Saturday, October 28 during the annual Spooktacular organized by the Parents Association. Thank you to all who volunteered! Click here to view the video.

 

Making Faces

Lower School students in Math Specialists Hilary Berliner’s and Monica Witt’s classes put their geometry and problem solving skills to the test through the creation of “math faces.” Students studied pattern block shapes, their attributes, and how some of the shapes can be recreated using only the green triangles. Each student created a “face” using a variety of blocks (no face could be made with only green triangles). Grade 1 worked to create a face with the value of 10 green triangles, Grade 2 made their faces with the value of 20 green triangles, while Grades 3 and 4 made faces with the value of 30 and 40 green triangles respectively. This activity incorporated addition, multiplicative thinking, algebraic thinking, and reasoning.

 

Friends Library and Parents Association Sponsor Guest Author


American-Ghanaian author Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond visited Grades 3 and 4 to talk about her book Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky. Blue was named among the best books of 2022 by NPR, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, among several other honors. The book is also an NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literature for Children.

 

The Great Outdoors


In October, Grade 8 students traveled with their advisors to Camp Mason, NJ, staying overnight in cabins on the campgrounds. This Middle School trip is a longstanding tradition and an important event for Friends Seminary eighth graders. It is a chance for our students to get to know each other and their advisors and teachers in different ways by working and doing a variety of activities together.


The trip focuses on building community and communication skills and helps the class to develop a sense of leadership and responsibility for themselves and each other. Rehka ‘28 explains, “I was able to step out of my comfort zone and be one with nature. I was able to form deeper connections with my classmates and get to know more about the people around me. I tried new activities that were challenging and fun.”

 

US Student Spotlight


Young philanthropic leaders today are tasked with a different set of rules in an evolving and complex world. They must lead with kindness, confidence, humility and intelligence. Above all else, they must possess the courage to continue to fight for their cause against the weight of societal pressures and growing up. Maya ‘24 does this with a particular warmth and cheerfulness that is almost contagious. She is fighting to be in the last generation to see cancer—a generation that promotes literacy in under-resourced public schools—a generation that truly enjoys giving back. Community engagement is a core component of the Friends Mission (all Upper School students are required to complete 25 hours of service per year). But Maya doesn’t limit herself to a number. “It doesn’t feel like an obligation. Being able to give back fills me with so much gratitude,” she says. Maya began her journey at Friends in Kindergarten. In her Lower School years, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. During her treatment, her mother was inspired to work with Cycle for Survival, which supports pioneering research and lifesaving clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) where she was a patient. As a family they participated in the cycling event (Maya was only in second grade at the time). Service is a core value in her family, and she felt the call to give back to the doctors and researchers who saved her mother's life. She explains, “My mother’s cancer diagnosis forced me to grow up fast, but the silver lining is that it motivated me to get involved in fundraising for two incredible charities and to support cancer research.”

Click here to read more.

 

The Owls Sports Roundup


Girls Tennis Champions


The Girls Varsity Tennis Team are ACIS Champions! Friends defeated Avenues on Friday afternoon at the USTA Tennis Center in Queens to capture the title. Isabelle ’25 and Anika ’24 won their singles matches, but the Aviators brought the match to a 2-2 tie with two wins in the doubles matches. All eyes were on the third singles match as the tournament title hung in the balance. Eighth grader Georgie delivered with a comeback victory! The Owls earned the #1 seed going into the tournament, and defeated Berkeley Carroll in the semis last Wednesday to advance to the title match. The Owls finished the season as champion of both the regular season and the league tournament!


Click here to view more OWLS Sports Roundups. For the most up-to-date sports news, follow Friends Athletics at www.instagram.com/friendsathletics for weekly team and senior features!


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