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School News

From celebrations to reunions to school plays to concerts to student project presentations, the Friends campus is buzzing with activity! To view more photos of campus events, follow Friends on Instagram at

Congratulations to the Class of 2022

As the 2021-22 academic year draws to a close, Friends is proud to announce the college matriculation of the Class of 2022. Director of College Counseling Audrey Reynolds comments, “Despite the challenges of the past two years, the Class of 2022 navigated the college process well. We are proud of their hard work, resilience and optimism. We wish them all the best as they head off to their colleges of choice this fall.”


Board of Trustees Celebrate Bo Lauder and His 20 Years of Service to Friends

From left: Trustees Peter Rahbar and Isaac Henderson, Head of School Bo Lauder, and Trustee Kennedy Cogan

The Board of Trustees recently celebrated Bo Lauder and thanked him for his 20 years of service as Friends' Head of School. Current and former trustees and administrators attended the event, which was held on the Upper School Terrace. "In today’s world, being a Head of School is not an easy job," Isaac Henderson, Clerk of the Board, said. "It was never easy, but the challenges over the past 20 years have been unique, nuanced, and divisive at times. But Bo persists and we persist. Without a doubt, he cares greatly and deeply for this school and its people. Above all, he cares for our students." During his remarks, Isaac also shared a few of Bo's accomplishments which include:

  • The creation of the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice—a substantial platform for our Quaker values.

  • The addition of two non-Western languages, Arabic and Chinese, to the curriculum.

  • The first Faith and Practice document for Friends Seminary, a guide to how we live the Quaker testimonies.

  • The creation of the Academic Center to provide equality of access to learning support for all students in Grades 7-12.

  • The creation of the School's annual Peace Week celebration, and the creation of the Visiting Scholar Program.

  • The complete renovation of the School, making the campus 100% ADA accessible.

  • The growth the endowment from $6 million to $41 million, an eight-fold increase.

  • The long-anticipated independence from the NYQM and the incorporation of a Board of Trustees.

  • Gift income of more than $100 million for endowment, the operating budget and capital improvements.

  • The expansion of enrollment by 200 more students, stabilizing the School’s admissions and the expanding diversity of students and employees.

Over the past two decades, Bo, the School's 35th Head of School/Principal, has transformed Friends in many ways, while underpinning the foundation of the School – its Quaker heritage and values.


Celebrating EID with Friends!

On Monday, May 3 the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice and the Arabic program hosted an Eid celebration attended by students across all divisions and their parents. Attendees enjoyed hawawshi burgers and falafel sandwiches from Zooba (owned by Chris Khalifa and Salma Sabry, P ’31), and sweets from Edy’s Grocer. Shayaan ’24 gave a presentation on the traditions of Ramadan and Eid. After the presentation, students shared how they celebrated Eid with their families this year. Students talked about going to mosque to pray, eating feasts, and spending time with family and friends. Eid Mubarak to the Friends community!”


Students Advocate for Non-Profits through Youth Philanthropy Initiative

Integrating service-learning and the history curriculum, Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is a capstone experience for Grade 9 students. Students select and research a nonprofit dedicated to improving a social issue in NYC. Each team researches their chosen nonprofit’s mission, history, programs and impact. They learn how to interpret publicly available information, such as IRS 990s and annual reports, and to conduct site visits, as well as staff and client interviews. Students gain an understanding of the role the philanthropic sector plays in addressing social needs in NYC.

For the 12th year, in April, Grade 9 finalist teams advocated for their chosen nonprofits to a panel of judges, classmates and friends in the Meetinghouse. Eight teams vied for grants for their respective nonprofits. The team advocating for Girls Write Now was awarded the $5,000 YPI grant. Bronx Defenders and Benefits Data Trust were awarded secondary grants of $1,000 each from the School’s Administration and the Parents Association. Panelist, trustee and parent, Sabrina Philson P’23, commented, “The day was a remarkable showcase of the students’ work and talent!”


Lower School Students Welcome Grandparents and Special Friends to Campus

Judy Anderson ’66 with Helen Rhim ’93, Helen’s parents and Oscar ’34.

On May 6, Students in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 welcomed their grandparents and special friends to campus. Students performed a concert in the Meetinghouse for their visitors, and then welcomed them into their classrooms. View photos from the concert here.


Pippin Delights Audiences

Upper and Middle School students thrilled audiences with a glittering production of Pippin which was staged at the 14th Street Y. Determined to cast as many interested students as possible, Head of Performing Arts, Steve Borowka and assistant director, Calvin Ware ’22 directed two casts allowing more than 45 students to participate. Steve reflects, “It was a huge commitment with 12 weeks of intense rehearsal. I am so proud of what students achieved and how they have grown!” Students received an inspirational video message from Ben Vereen, who played Leading Player in the original 1972 Broadway production.

Pippin, the story of a young man seeking meaning in life, was written by the late Roger O. Hirson ’43 with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. In a 2012 interview, Roger reflected “Spending ages 5-17 at Friends Seminary made me who I am. I drew on a lot of myself for the character of Pippin. Pippin is a Friend’s kid.” Click here to read the 2012 Stage and Screen issue of News from Friends (see page 23).

The ultimate goal of Pippin, and all School productions, is to nurture confidence and creativity in students. Steve comments, “We are helping to create humans who are kind. I tell my students if you move to a new city, get involved with a play. You’ll meet people who are kind and empathetic. You’ll make friends.” Click here to see photos.


Middle Schoolers Perform Play in Great Room

Grade 5 and 6 students performed “Stunt Doubles,” a play directed by Shayna Strype, in the Great Room. To view photos, click here. Congratulations to the cast and crew on an incredible production!


Latin Students Showcase Work During Annual Colloquium

Plum '22 answers questions from the audience following her keynote address.

On Friday, May 13, Upper School Latin students showcased their semester’s work during Friends’ annual Latin Colloquium. Plum ’22 presented the keynote address, “Women, Citizenship, and the Reframing of History.” Latin V Colloquium presentations included:

“The Vengeful Child of Love” by Annie ’23

“Death: Shadows from the Light” by Julian ’23

“Animalized Behavior Projected onto Women” by Juliette ’23

“Desire and Regret: Propertius and vacuus amor” by Paz ’23

Advanced Latin Colloquium presentations included:

“The Role of Ekphrasis” by Ishan ’22

“Cicero’s Stance on War and Conflict” by Aidan ’22

“The Power and Role of Ghosts” by Harry ’22

“Cicero’s Understanding of Astronomy and Science in Somnium Scipionis” by Varun ’22

"Cicero’s Idea of The Perfect Government” by Riya ‘22


Félicitations les étudiants!

Students in Ellen Mittelholzer’s French II and French IV classes participated in the 2022 National French Contest, also known as the Grand Concours. In French IV, three Friends students earned silver medals, six earned bronze medals and four earned honorable mention. 3,220 students nationwide completed the level four exam. In French II, one student earned a silver, four students earned bronze medals, and four others earned honorable mention. 5,492 students nationwide completed the level two exam.


Rockin' the Meetinghouse

On May 11, the Upper School Jazz bands had the Meetinghouse rocking! To view more photos, click here.

Jazz Band Director Bob Rosen, right, speaks to the seniors in the Jazz Band following their performance.

The Owls Soar!

On Saturday, April 30, Connor ’22, Ben ’25, Nolan ’23, and Ahron ’23 competed in the 4x400m relay at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
On May 17, both boys and girls track teams won ACIS championships at Kaiser Park in Brooklyn. Congratulations to all the runners and coaches.
Congratulations to the Grade 7/8 Softball team, and standout pitcher Kaya ’27, for closing out an undefeated season with a 5-0 shoutout victory over Packer.
Congratulations to the Boys Tennis team for their second place finish in the ACIS. The team lost a hard fought championship match to Staten Island Academy. Spencer ’24 (sixth from left) was selected to represent Friends in the NYSAIS tennis championship.

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