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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.


Presenting Friends Seminary's Updated Faith & Practice

Last month Friends Seminary revised Faith & Practice, a document first created and approved by the Board in 2012. This document is not intended to represent Quaker theology, because, other than the Testimonies, there is very little. However, many Meetings and other Quaker entities elect to create documents like this to offer guidance to their Quaker community on the Testimonies, to offer queries that might illuminate those Testimonies, and to provide definitions to words and concepts that may seem unfamiliar to those who are not Quaker. Click here to read the document in its entirety.


Investing in the Future of Friends: Friends Seminary Annex Scheduled for Renovation

Friends Seminary is excited to share that the 15th Street Annex, home to many Upper School classes, will be revitalized this summer. In 1997 Richard Eldridge and the School Committee had the foresight to acquire the Annex, and in fall of 1998 the building opened, providing 15,000 additional square feet for classes and artistic performance. The building has served students and faculty for more than 25 years, with very few changes, and the time has come to not only make necessary technical and mechanical updates, but also align it to the rest of the School and future of the curriculum taught in its classrooms.

This much-needed renovation is configured to make the space more light-filled, more community friendly, more pedagogically appropriate and inspiring, and, overall, more collaborative. These upgrades are designed to help us attract and retain the best teachers and students and are the continuation of the campus redevelopment project begun almost twenty years ago. It will provide our students and faculty a place that is respectful of their work and better suited to their academic needs while also providing casual seating areas for collaboration, study or simply relaxation.

This project represents a critical and exciting step in achieving our long-term vision to improve spaces for math, science, computer science, engineering and design programming. It will also include updates of the McCray black box Theater, and will transform the cellar level into additional performing arts space. The math and science faculty offices will be combined to engender collaboration and interdisciplinary exploration, and include new equipment. One floor down will be a technology lab and faculty office. Many of you may have studied in the Annex and others attended Friends before the Annex became part of the School’s footprint - please look through the representative renderings below to provide greater context. This project is a major step forward for our School and the programs and people housed in the Annex. We are grateful it can happen.


Decades-Long Holiday Assembly Occurred on the Day Winter Break Began


Seniors Exposed to the World with Alumni Panels: Friends Alumni Return to Campus and Share their Experience with Grade 12 Students

Alumni-Senior Career Panels were held on December 21. Grade 12 students had the opportunity to hear from alums working in the Arts, Business, Education, Film & Media, and Law and Real Estate. Special thanks go to the alumni panelists for their generous participation: Peter Diamond ’68, Steven Auerbach ’78, Natasha Gray ’83, Tom Sellar ’87, Amanda Melnick Blitstein ’93, Jordan Barowitz ’93, Brandon Primack ’94, Evan Pazner ’95, Elæ Moss ’97, Dan Shapiro ’97, Elizabeth Chan ’98, Doria Santlofer ’01, Akaash Mehta ’01, Eric Obenzinger ’03, Adam Miller ’04, Jaya Saxena ’04, Truan Savage ’04, Jean Fischman ’05, Evan Drellich ’05, Jonah Mandell ’05, Juliet Kaye ’06, Emma Quaytman ’07, Samuel Cammer ’08, Marc Mechanic ’08, Evan Olonoff ’08, Brynn Wallner ’08, Taku Ito ’09, Charlie Burlingham ’11, Audrey Engelman ’13, Georgina Renée Johnson ’14, Amanda Shepherd ’14, Daphne Darwish ’19.


Peace Week 2023: Threads of Our Community

Friends Seminary’s annual Peace Week celebration took place December 11-15, 2023. Activities included assemblies and workshops featuring poet, activist, and musician Joy Harjo. In 2019, she became the first Native American United States Poet Laureate. A mem­ber of the Mvskoke Nation, she is the author of several books, and as a musician, has released seven award-winning albums. Organized by the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice at Friends Seminary, Harjo’s visit to campus included poetry and musical performances and discussions with students and faculty—weaving together a captivating tapestry of mysticism, spirituality, and nature for community members to experience. Started in 2005, Peace Week is an annual exploration of the fundamental Quaker testimony of peace. As an extension of this year's school-wide theme, Continuing a Culture of Connection, this year's Peace Week theme, The Threads of Our Community, examined our individual and collective stories and histories—the threads that bind us in our study and pursuit of peace.

Artwork above by Oona Brangam-Snell ’07: Canaries in the Coalmine, 2021

Jacquard Woven Polyester and Cotton with Hand Embroidery 49 × 40.25 × 1 inches

In addition to Joy Harjo’s lecture, community members were invited to view the works of two community fiber artists: Oona Brangam-Snell ’07, and her former teacher, Faculty Emerita Daphne Taylor. A collection of their works has been reproduced on transparency paper and is on display in the window bays of each stairwell landing from the first to sixth floor. Additionally, the installation features one original, large scale piece from each artist. The exhibit will run through January 19, 2024.

Harjo’s visit was made possible in part by the Isaac Rauch ’08 Fund for Literature.


2023 SLDC Conference

Members from the Upper School Diversity, Equity & Belonging (DEB) Committee attended the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in St. Louis, MO. The conference brought together almost 3,000 high school students to develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles.


Upper School Lobbyists Advocate For Peace-building Programs & Investments In Conflict Prevention

During the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Lobbying Weekend, Friends students and the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice collaborated with more than 100 Quakers from across the country who came together to lobby congressional offices for robust funding in the FY2024 for peace-building initiatives like, Complex Crises Fund, Atrocity Prevention Fund and Reconciliation Programs.

During the event, which took place November 15-17, 2023, students were able to hear from a number of guest speakers from a variety of organizations, including Peace Direct, Mercy Corps, and the American Friends Service Committee. In addition to plenary sessions, students and CPEJ staff had the opportunity to participate in a variety of breakout workshops. All were designed to equip participants to be effective lobbyists and advocates for peace-building. Friends Seminary students were among the most active participants at the event — a testament to just how much they had gained from this training sponsored by the largest Quaker lobbyist organization.

Over the last five years, Friends Seminary has worked to strengthen this aspect of our civic engagement programming. Whether it be through in-school lobbying workshops and phone banking, Service Committee letter-writing campaigns, the CPEJ-sponsored trips to Albany, or the continued collaborations with FCNL, Friends students are amplifying their voices as lobbyists and using their capacity to call for changes to public policy that would help bring about a world that ought to be. The students who participated in the 2023 annual FCNL Lobby Weekend Youth Conference were: Alden ’24, Dashiell ’26, Graham ’26, Jack ’25, Livia ’25, Thalia ’27.


Middle School Winter Concert

On December 13, Middle School musicians performed in the Meetinghouse during the Winter Concert. Please enjoy more photos from the event here.


Upper School Fall Play

The Upper School Fall Play, "Merely Players," performed Dec. 8-10 at Baruch College. On stage and off, over 40 students came together to make this original play a sold out success. Congratulations also to Director Steve Borowka, our Performing Arts Department Chair, who also wrote the play for the students! To view more photos, please click here.


Owl Sports

For the most up-to-date sports news, follow Friends Athletics at for weekly team and senior features!


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