Oak Leaves Spring 2018

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Richard N. Berman Athletics Center

Breaking New Ground for AFS Student-Athletes


This spring, AFS began construction of a $9 million athletics center that will replace the Hallowell Gym.

N. Berman TRichard Athletics Center his past July, I was traveling in Ireland for a week with my 28-year old son, Mike. On a wind-swept afternoon, climbing along the spectacular vistas of the Cliffs of Moher, I heard a far-off, energetic cry of “Riiccchhh!!” Looking farther up the trail, I saw two of AFS’s newest alums, Naomi Grigoryan and Annika Gartner, members E TClass A I L SofI2017. NSIDE ofDthe What a joyful reunion in such an unexpected place! I learned that Naomi and Annika were traveling on their own, having arrived just a day earlier. They were still feeling new to the adventure and figuring out their surroundings, but I loved hearing the heightened spirit of their voices in this new place, mixed with pride in their own independence and a little bit of vulnerability and uncertainty as well. After several days in Ireland, they were planning to continue on to Spain. It was wonderful to see them in this world so far from the AFS campus, amid such wild beauty. I truly admired their resourcefulness and courage in taking this trip on their own.


As a person who loves the life of the mind and who is easily transported by books and ideas, I sometimes forget just how powerful a sense of place can be. But every time I travel, I find my spirit enlarged by new landscapes — summits above the tree line that are desolate and wind-carved; the rolling power of the ocean; the solitude of a lake at dusk; stars in a cold night sky; mists that float through an early morning campsite. It is as if the wonder of what surrounds me creates a refreshed space within me, one that I carry home and renews me as I return to the familiar. I love the spirit of discovery I feel in cities new to me, with surprises around corners, hidden gardens and parks, the artifacts of previous generations that are found on side streets. It awakens in me a fresh and

This keepsake issue of “Oak Leaves” is dedicated to the late Richard N. Berman. Richard N. Berman was a deeply beloved brother, son, uncle, father and grandfather in the extended Berman family. He was known to all — among fellow business leaders, friends, family and in the larger community — as a man of great compassion, integrity, care for others and community involvement. He enjoyed a lifelong interest in athletics, well-being and teamwork. Richard lived a life of purpose and contribution to community with humility and an uncommonly generous spirit. Above all, Richard was deeply devoted to his wife, Sharyn, their six children, his loving parents, three brothers and many nieces and nephews.

May his memory be a blessing.



n Alumni Day this past May, History teacher Drew Benfer and I led a walking tour for all alumni who wanted to see the campus. Among those who signed on were a lively, joyful and spirited group from the Class of 1948, who had come back to AFS for their 70th (!) reunion.

“Despite all the changes and growth in the School over time, somehow our campus has simply flowered to reflect ever more fully the vision for Quaker education that so powerfully shapes the community.” - Rich Nourie

It was such a treat to see the hallways, classrooms, performing-arts spaces and playgrounds of our school through the eyes of this group of alumni. Even on a Saturday afternoon, with the buildings empty of students, the spirit of our community breathed through every inch of the place. We saw the Senior Art Show in all its glory, the beautiful meditations and artwork of a seventh-grade project reflecting on the theme of Worship and the wall of Lower School self-portraits, created in Spanish class, which revealed the wide racial diversity of our school. In every space of the school, we saw evidence of student voice, creativity, initiative and active exploration of contemporary ideas and issues. The artifacts of everyday life at AFS spoke eloquently of the breadth of an AFS education and the Class of 1948 alumni particularly reveled in the liveliness of it all. One might think it difficult for those returning to a 70th reunion to find connection to a campus that has changed so dramatically over those many years. While they were students here, and until the late ’60s, our school was contained almost entirely in the Triangle Building. The modern campus dates to 1968 when the single, long hallway of the new Middle and Upper Schools was built, along with the Hallowell Gym, to usher in a new era of coeducation at AFS. The Lower School was built in the early ’70s, the Science Wing was added in the late ’80s and the dramatic addition of the Muller Theater and Cafeteria arrived in 1990. And in 2004, the gorgeous new facilities of the Faulkner Library and Learning Center and Student Street arrived.

Despite all the changes and growth in the School over time, somehow our campus has simply flowered to reflect ever more fully the vision for Quaker education that so powerfully shapes the community. Rather than signaling successive breaks from our 321-yearold history, changes to the campus have moved us ever closer to our deepest commitments for an AFS education: a diverse and inclusive community; creativity; a profound respect for all and a reverence for the sacred in our midst. Our mission also embraces a love of language and reveling in the life of the mind; an active concern for peace, justice and equity and an appreciation for the natural world and its stewardship. These strong strains, which radiate from the Meeting House itself, unite alumni from all eras of our School. Though members of the Class of 1948 were curious about all that they saw, the tour came to its apex on the Headwaters Discovery Playground, which opened in September 2016. That outdoor learning space, with its spectacular tree canopy walkway and landscape of large boulders, water play and open space, spoke to the Class of 1948 of childhood itself, as purely expressed today as it had been during their days at AFS. It was magical to see them effortlessly make that connection. And now we celebrate, with this issue of “Oak Leaves,” another milestone for the campus, the addition of the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center, the completion of a campus master plan envisioned under the School Committee leadership of Hank Faulkner, beginning in the 1990s. Here we are able to tell the story of the extraordinary commitment of alumni, current parents and friends of the School to once more dramatically advance the mission of Friends education at AFS. It is an honor to be part of a community drawn together by such powerful, enduring and inspired values.


10 Scrapbook



Breaking New Ground



Why Athletics Matter

The Architect’s View






How We Did It


Richard F. Nourie, Head of School Devin Schlickmann, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Lillian Swanson, Director of Communications and Editor of Oak Leaves Lisa Budd, Director of Alumni Engagement and Special Events Melissa Calder, Director of Marketing King Design, LLC, Publication Design Abington Friends School main switchboard: 215.886.4350 For the most up-to-date news and photos, visit us online at abingtonfriends.net


oak leaves spring-summer 2018

Oak Leaves is a publication of the AFS Communications and Development Offices.

P H OTO G R A P H Y Photography by Rebecca Barger, David DeBalko, John Flak, Ryan Samson ’07, Ryan Smith, Lillian Swanson, Maria Young P H OTO R ES E A R C H Chloe Bartlett ‘18 Leah Condon ‘18 Khaaliq Van-Otoo ‘18




What’s Next?

A Fond Farewell




5 L E T T E R F R O M T H E 8 M I L ESTO N ES 54 C L A S S N O T E S 62 I N M E M O R I A M 64 E N D N O T E



The Meeting House

Alumni Day 2018


Photo by Rebecca Barger The student-athletes pictured on the cover, from right to left, are Paige Mott, Kai Haynes, Vijay Kumar, Maggie Waldman, Jamie Fromm, Sydney Smith, Noah Shanken and Chase Balick.





The collaboration between Abington Friends School and the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership to restore the water quality of Jenkintown Creek was recognized in several ways this spring. The Open Space Institute created a film featuring AFS seventh grade science students as they planted in a campus rain garden that keeps pollutants from flowing into the creek. At a news conference announcing $42 million in additional funding for its Delaware River Watershed Initiative, the William Penn Foundation lifted up the AFS-TTF collaboration as an example of a local partnership that has worked well. And, on April 24, the partners in the creek project received a “2018 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.” The award is the highest statewide honor for environmental performance and innovation.





About 225 Middle and Upper School students joined in the National Student Walkout Day on April 20, leaving their classes at 10 a.m. and carrying homemade protest signs as they marched peacefully to Jenkintown Square for a rally. The student-organized protest focused not only on stopping mass shootings in schools, but also on all forms of gun violence. Support for stricter gun laws was a major theme as students gave speeches, recited original poetry and led fellow students in singing. A representative from CeaseFirePA and local politicians also addressed the crowd. Maria Sperger, an AFS senior who led the protest, told students who were eligible to vote to be sure to make their voices heard on election day. 8

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The protest rally was the second major demonstration at AFS since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead and 17 others injured. On March 14, the first month anniversary of that shooting, Upper and Middle School students, joined by administrators, faculty and staff, left school and formed a large circle on the front lawn and stood in silence for 17 minutes. Students in the Lower School spent the morning engaged in peace activities and then went outside to form a circle and sing songs together.

The 2017-2018 AFS varsity girls’ basketball team successfully defended its Friends Schools League title, defeating Moorestown Friends School, 42-24. Sophomore Kendall Hodges, who played a key role on defense, and eighth grader Mihjae Hayes, paced the Roos with 12 points apiece. Sophomore Paige Mott poured in 9 points and sophomore Jordan Smith tallied 8 points in a balanced AFS attack. The 2018 championship was the 34th FSL title won by AFS teams. In the days leading up to the league championship game, messages of support flowed in from three alumni: Jade Young, Khadijah Hickson and Alyssa DeNofa, who led the team to the title the year before. Jade reminded the current students of the team’s embrace of “#hrt,” — a reference to hard work, respect and togetherness.



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The joy of discovery was in the spotlight as students, families and friends turned out in droves for Science/STEAM Night, which has no rival as the most popular academic event of the school year. Fun-filled interactive activities in Lower School gave way to explanations of student experiments in the Middle and Upper Schools. Everywhere you looked — in the library, across the lobby and up and down hallways — students were standing by their display boards, answering questions and sharing what they had learned. The rocket launch that usually serves as the finale for the night was cancelled because of high winds.




The Upper School student productions of “Peter and the Starcatcher” and “The Diary of Anne Frank,” along with the Middle School staging of “Mary Poppins Junior” offered students the opportunity to learn about live theatre from every angle. From nuanced performances on stage to designing imaginative sets, and from precision lighting and sound checks to getting the props and costumes just right, students honed their skills and plumbed the depths of their creative talents to ensure that when the curtain rose, their audiences would be treated to nothing less than top-flight productions. The Upper School productions won numerous awards, including “Best Play” for “Diary of Anne Frank” in the Cappies Awards competition.

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Scrapbook The Marshall Concert this year brought two musicians from the Broadway musical “Hamilton” to the Muller Auditorium stage. Singer Nik Walker and pianist Ian Weinberger put on an electrifying concert for students. Jeff Gammage, immigration reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, gave the Susan Salesky Rudin ’57 Visiting Professorship Lecture. He spoke with conviction about the importance of a free press in a democratic society. Daniel Moses, the guest speaker for the Evan J. Greenberg Lecture, described the work his organization, Seeds of Peace, is doing to try to bring peace to regions in conflict.

Our talented faculty members innovate and inspire as they help students deepen their knowledge and develop a lifelong love of learning. Whether it’s pitching in to create scenery for a school play, editing life stories that will be read aloud to elderly residents or dropping eggs to test student designs of protective coverings, our teachers are continually looking for ways to bring out the best in each student.

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Both the Upper School and the Middle School Winter Concerts focused on the theme of “Home” this year. In Upper School, the theme was interpreted to mean spiritual, intellectual and emotional places as well as structures made of bricks and mortar. The music varied widely, too, embracing Latin jazz, opera, classical music, the Great American songbook and even a Bruno Mars tune. At the Middle School concert, one of the highlights was the choral selection “Come In From the Firefly Darkness” as students in sixth through eighth grades sang tenderly of “children growing toward the sun.”

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Recognizing the value of friendship and other relationships was the focus of the Candlelight Dinner, a message that was woven throughout the dinner shared by seniors and juniors and the ceremony that followed in the Meeting House. Upper School Math Teacher Niall Hood, who was invited by students to be the dinner speaker, told the seniors he was “in awe of how well you look after each other.� Afterward, the students silently walked down a luminary-lined path to the Meeting House, where they spoke about how much they valued their friendships and the seniors offered advice to the junior class.

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Scrapbook About 600 volunteers came together in community for this year’s “King Day of Service” at AFS, lending a hand to one of the two dozen projects aimed at helping those who are homeless, elderly or ill. Volunteers made soup; created fleece blankets; sewed teddy bears; built birdhouses out of recycled materials and much more. U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) visited the school to talk with the volunteers and to thank them for their work. You can watch a video of the day’s big-hearted activities at https://bit.ly/2ECch6f

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The Lower School Winter Program, “Dream Catcher: Ruyah’s Truth,” told the engaging story of a little girl who took a fanciful journey that proved the value of holding on to imagination and creativity. The program, written by Music Teacher Keisha Hirlinger, featured choreographed dances created by the students, lively music and creative staging, costumes and sets. Students from Early Childhood through fourth grade entertained appreciative audiences as the kids conveyed the importance of holding on to wonder and creating space for the unconventional child.




On Halloween, the driveway circle in front of the school became a parade route for fun-loving students, teachers and staff, who marched around happily in their colorful costumes. Spectators ringing the driveway laughed and applauded the passing scenery, pointing out the cleverness and imagination on display.

Themes of family, peace and community were lifted up during Winterfest, the all-school celebration of the holidays that is an AFS tradition. The program, held in a darkened Hallowell Gym, reflected the school’s diversity by honoring Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Chinese New Year and more. Students and teachers, accompanied by a lively jazz band, sang along to holiday tunes. Head of School Rich Nourie joined Teachers Keisha Hirlinger, Mark Kraft, Jayne Borrås and Justin Solonynka in performing a song of peace. As they sang, many students lifted lighted phones in the air and swayed along in time.

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On a spring day brimming with excitement, gratitude and joy, Abington Friends School took a big step toward a bright future by breaking ground for a $9 million athletics center. Five community members who had led the effort to build the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center raised wooden shovels with AFS-blue blades and turned over patches of fresh earth. This symbolic gesture marked the start of construction for the new building that will both swallow up and replace the 50-year-old Hallowell Gym, and be nearly three times larger.

From a small stage erected in the Upper School courtyard, Head of School Richard F. Nourie told a crowd of about 250 community members that the new athletics center would have a profound impact on the historic Quaker school. “We are thrilled to lift up the athletics, Physical Education and health and wellness programs so they can fully take their place alongside our outstanding academic and arts programs. Most important, this new facility will ensure the strength and vitality of this great school so its mission can be strong and vibrant well into the fourth century.”


NEW GROUND A New Athletics Center Will Have a Profound Impact on AFS

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That mission, Rich continued, prepares students to make a positive impact in the world by giving them a strong “grounding in essential values, deep capability for navigating a world of increasing diversity and interconnectedness, and a spiritual capacity to recognize and value the sacred in their midst.” continues on page 26

By Lillian Swanson

Architect’s renderings by WRT


Replacing the Hallowell Gym is expected to help draw more families to AFS and be a more welcoming home for our student-athletes, visiting teams and neighborhood leagues. The new building also will provide large public spaces for community gatherings and events. The extended Berman family, with three students currently enrolled and three others who are AFS graduates, donated the lead gift for the new building and chose to name it in memory of a beloved family member, Richard N. Berman, who passed away in 2011. Four generations of the family attended the groundbreaking ceremony on May 5.

In an interview, one of Richard’s younger brothers, Marc Berman P’19, P’20, said his family was motivated to give the transformative gift “so the school could be the very best version of itself, and attract a wide range of students.” “We have an appreciation for the mission of the school, especially its commitment to diversity, and there’s a deep sense of gratitude for the leadership and the faculty of the school,” he said. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Marc spoke of his admiration for his older brother Richard, a devoted family man and successful business leader. Marc told the assembled guests that his brother had taught him many important lessons, including the value of integrity, loyalty, goodwill and hard work. “Though my brother was many things — a father, son, husband and business leader and friend — to me he was also a teacher,” Marc said. “Much of what I know about being a good person comes from the example he set.” Marc also spoke about his gratitude for the school’s impact on young lives and the ripple effect from that vision for education on the larger world. “What I appreciate most about AFS is that we not only learn to recognize the goodness in ourselves, but also develop the ability to see the same in others. This is at the core of our education and a gift that extends well beyond the reach of this campus,” he said. In his closing remarks, Marc addressed his beloved brother. “I am proud to have your good name stand with this thoughtful and dynamic community,” he said.

Turning over the first shovelsful of earth for the new athletics center, above, from left, are School Committee Clerk Margaret Sayers, Parents Marc and David Berman, Head of School Rich Nourie and Susan Salesky Rudin ’57. Below, four generations of the Berman family attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

After the ceremony, an elegant reception in the Faulkner Library and Reading Room gave guests a chance to continue to celebrate and savor an extraordinary day in the history of this 321-year-old Quaker school.

Slated to open early in spring 2019

The new athletics center, slated to open early in spring 2019, will feature a competition-size basketball court; two full-size practice courts; a large fitness center; a


is the capstone of the school’s 2011-2017 strategic plan. 26 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

public lobby with a concessions stand; and a large multi-purpose room that will be used for fitness and wellness classes as well as events. A suite of rooms for the athletics program will include a training room, three team rooms, a boys’ locker room, a girls’ locker room and five offices. The exterior will be a gray stone on the bottom and a white or light-colored brick on the top. Multiple large windows on the building’s sides and a clerestory row of windows on the roof of the gymnasium will flood the interior in natural light. The main public entrance, situated on the curved driveway of the school, will face the current parking lot. An entrance that students will use during the school day will face the Upper School courtyard and open directly into the fitness center. The 32,895-square-foot building will be constructed partially within the Hallowell’s footprint, and reuse the old gym’s steel ribs, concrete floor and foundation. “We’re building a building that will stand the test of time for 70 or 80 years,” said Dave Campbell, a School Committee member whose family contributed significantly to the new center. “That’s the part that excites me.” “There’s a certain humility that I see at Abington Friends that I really appreciate, and have a lot of respect for. The feeling here always seems to be focused on the program. If it meets the program’s needs and enhances the student experience, we’re going to do it. We’re making [the building] very nice, and people will be drawn to it, but it’s not over the top,” he added. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Margaret Sayers, clerk of the School Committee, told the crowd that she felt like she was celebrating a special holiday. “Despite the warm spring weather and the redbuds bursting with color, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve,” she said. “I am just so excited about what is getting ready to happen for our beloved school.”

An ambitious capital campaign

Funding for the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center came from the money raised during Phase I of an ambitious capital campaign titled “Now More Than Ever: The Campaign for Abington Friends School,” which was launched a year and a half ago. So far, 94 families have donated a total $8.262 million, and school leaders are confident the remainder needed for the $9 million building will be raised before the facility opens. Coming next, in Phase II of the capital campaign, are plans to build a $3 million three-season track and artificial turf field complex. Fundraising for that project will begin as soon as Phase I is completed.

‘AFS brings out the best’

AFS parents Marc and David Berman are among many community members who have a personal and longlasting connection to Abington Friends and its mission of sending well-rounded graduates out into the world. “I can hardly remember a time when Abington Friends was not a second home for our family,” David Berman said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “A place where our sons, Daniel and Andrew, have engaged in exceptional academics and learned how to be good citizens.” David, who is a co-chair of the fundraising campaign, said he got on board in the fall of 2016, at the same time the country was going through a divisive election with a national discourse that “included strong anti-immigrant sentiment and, at times, societal divisions.” “AFS brings out the best in human nature, promotes exploration and understanding of complicated issues, issues which do not have quick or easy solutions. This makes our graduates better suited to thoughtfully address societal problems. For these reasons, “now more than ever”, it is vitally important that AFS continues to grow and be strong. I have long held great pride that AFS, as compared to our peer schools, rises above the rest in percentages of racial and economic diversity. And I believe that this intentional diversity is key to our success.”

Integrating the Early Childhood and Lower School programs Opening of the Redbud and Headwaters Discovery Playgrounds

OTHER MAJOR INITIATIVES in the plan that have already been completed

Creating a special fifth and sixth grade program in the Middle School Opening the Wilf Learning Resource Center Starting the Center for Experiential Learning Adding myriad programming in design, engineering and robotics in each division of the school


“The new athletics center will mean more opportunities for AFS. It will mean more opportunities to show the world how amazing we are as a school and as a community.” —Paige Mott '20

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“The new center will show the importance of sports in our community and help AFS attract dedicated student athletes. As a student athlete, I am excited about what the new center will mean to the next generation.” —Emily Fishman '18


“I think the athletics center will greatly improve the entire community environment at AFS. I am excited to have a new facility with enough space to accommodate all the teams. Being a member of the track team means that we will finally have a true track to perfect our sport and improve as an individual and team, hopefully leading to even more victories in the near future!” —Sophie Waldman '18

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“I think it will begin a new era of sports at AFS. The Hallowell was a great place to play in because of its history, but the school definitely needed an upgrade. I can’t wait to see what this project will do for the future of AFS athletics.” —Kenan Sayers ‘18




By Rich Nourie

While we have been hard at work envisioning and designing the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center, we also have been taking a fresh look at our athletics and physical education programs as we reimagine and reaffirm their place in the lives of our students in the 21st century. Last spring, we held a retreat of students, coaches, parents, alumni, administrators and School Committee members to think anew about the AFS athletics, physical education, health and wellness programs. We discussed what a vision of excellence at AFS looks like, the contours of the student-athlete experience, how to develop a culture of coaching excellence and what might create deeper connections to our surrounding community. Following the retreat, a committee continued the conversation about how to usher in a new era of athletics at AFS, one aligned fully with our overall vision for education. The core of that distinctive vision is a comprehensive view of development of well-rounded student-athletes. We know that in a digital age, the direct experience gleaned from the physical world and the social richness of play, exploration and healthy competition are essential for children. Our strategic plan for athletics, PE and wellness will be completed over the next two years under the leadership of Athletics Director Jeff Bond and Lisa TreadwayKurtz, who will step into the new role of Chair of the Physical Education and Wellness Department. As we move forward, here are some of the themes we will be integrating into our new vision for our program, a vision that will complement the beautifully designed new space of the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center. Our tradition of inclusion of all students in AFS athletics programs will remain central, as we lift up the value of life lessons and lifelong friendships. In speaking with alumni about athletics at AFS, many of them emphasize that friendships and relationships with coaches were the lasting treasures and memories of their experience and they want to ensure that those aspects of the experience remain central even as our program develops in other significant ways. We envision a new and deeper integration of our programs in physical education, health and wellness, mindfulness, outdoor play and athletics across all divisions. From Early Childhood through Upper School, each of these elements exists in our current program, but

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we see an opportunity to deepen faculty expertise in each of these areas and to better connect the program into a coherent whole. Over the next two years, our PE, Health and Wellness Department will collaborate with faculty from Early Childhood to Upper School as well as the Athletics Department to create a comprehensive curriculum plan that ties together our environment of Quaker reflection and mindfulness; development of physical skills; knowledge of one’s body in health, nutrition and human sexuality, and social development through play, competition and experience of the outdoors. We aspire to a comprehensive program that builds each student’s confidence, skills, knowledge, strength and ability to challenge and stretch. We want to help each student-athlete reach his or her full potential, yet we will push back against a larger athletic culture of year-round, single-sport obsession. We want our athletics program to support children as athletes, as students, as leaders in various areas of school life and as artists. We believe that a program of excellence that is in concert with and mindful of students’ many commitments and that is supportive of the multisport athlete is most in keeping with our overall Quaker vision for education. We envision a culture of coaching excellence at AFS that builds on our tradition of faculty excellence. The faculty culture at AFS is one of continual professional development, collective and collaborative investment in the success of students, thoughtful, coherent curriculum design and a strong sense of common purpose in the mission of our school. We believe that coaches, like teachers, are essential to the quality of student experience day to day. Recruitment, particularly of AFS teacher-coaches, professional development, support of comprehensive program leadership on the part of Varsity coaches and deeper connections to the overall AFS community will be essential for nurturing a culture of coaching excellence at AFS. We highly value the Friends Schools League as the arena for interscholastic competition, and will seek to be successfully competitive in the League over time in each of our team sports. The Friends Schools League is composed of nine schools, including seven Friends schools, that collaborate to create an environment of healthy competition for students. This environment emphasizes character, sportsmanship and respect for all, as well as athletic skill and success. The schools in the league provide a range of competition in various sports and we will include competitive success in the League in our planning and goal-setting each year for each 33

interscholastic team at AFS. Development of athletic skills and team play within each program, admission of student-athletes and support and evaluation of coaches are all elements necessary for success of our teams in the league. Finally, we see community building as an essential role and opportunity for AFS athletics. As an Early Childhood through Upper School community, athletics is a wonderful opportunity to draw the community even closer together. Lower School Spirit Days feature fervent cheering sections of our younger students, who fill the gym floor at halftime for fun and games

that allow them to imagine themselves one day as the older students they look up to. Parents bond along the sidelines over the years, forming what often become lifelong friendships. Our new facility will better serve as a meeting place for the thousands of people we welcome to campus every year for athletics events and will be a much-improved space for the many community leagues that call AFS their home.



And so there is much to look forward to as we develop these major themes and make changes to our program as part of our continual quest to find ways to enhance and enrich the student experience at AFS. Go Roos!

By Jeff Bond

“Everyone is an athlete at AFS.” That’s a statement that I say a lot here on campus. I greet Middle Schoolers with those words when I attend their class meetings at the start of each school year. I incorporate that sentence into my remarks at our Upper School athletics awards ceremonies. I even offer it to prospective families at Admission events. It’s a simple idea, but one that I believe in wholeheartedly and one that speaks authentically to who we are as an institution. The statement rings true on the most basic level because of our requirement that all sixth through 12th graders participate in at least one season of athletics every year. We make this mandatory because we believe that engagement in physical activity on a consistent basis and in a supportive environment is critical to the health and wellness of young people. In an increasingly sedentary world, one that is rife with the siren song of social media and the screens on which it lives, we believe it is imperative that children are provided with the time and space to be physically active. This is not to say all our students must be the same type of athlete. In our program, student athleticism takes many different forms. We have room for future college athletes ­— about 10 percent of the last 15 graduating classes — ­ who thrive here as they prepare for intercollegiate competition. Our program also embraces the reluctant participant who discovers a lifelong love of yoga through personal fitness classes, and the active Middle Schooler, who dives right into three seasons of sports in one academic year. More than

half of our fifth through eighth graders over the past five years have been engaged in this way. Being an AFS athlete, however, means so much more than simply being physically active and being encouraged and supported in every kind of athletic endeavor. An AFS athlete develops leadership skills and learns how to be a valuable teammate while making the sacrifices necessary to reach shared goals. Being an athlete at AFS means practicing good sportsmanship at home and away, in wins and losses. It means experiencing the pure joy of a thrilling victory on the wrestling mat, a hard-fought three-set match on the tennis court, a Friends Schools League championship on the basketball court. It also means feeling the disappointment of narrow losses, errant passes, unrealized goals; those constant personal and team challenges inherent and universal in athletics. Out of this adversity comes the growth of resiliency, which is among the greatest of skills all athletes develop at AFS. That skill is a muscle that we know will help our graduates navigate whatever life struggles lie ahead. Not every athlete at AFS will become a champion, but every athlete is championed by our coaches and community to experience all that athletics has to offer and to fulfill his or her potential on and off the fields and courts.


THE ARCHITECT’S VIEW In designing the new athletics center, architect Maarten Pesch and his team at WRT were faced with the task of balancing two objectives that appear at first blush to be in conflict with each other. “We wanted the new center to be special and stand out, and we wanted it to be compatible with the style and architecture of the existing buildings on campus,” said Maarten, a principal at WRT. Pesch and the WRT team started by visiting campus, engaging with school leaders to understand the critical needs of the program and connecting with students, coaches, and others who will use the building on a regular basis. By synthesizing the information gathered through their site visits and on-campus interviews, Pesch and his team found a way to achieve both goals for Abington Friends. The overall design and accompanying materials chosen for the new athletics center reflect many elements of existing campus buildings, and especially those of the Faulkner Library, which is located directly across the courtyard. The new building’s metal roof, the clerestory atop the gymnasium, the pitch of the roof and the natural stone all echo and complement design elements of the library. Additionally, the white or off-white exterior brick of the new athletics center building was chosen to mirror the outside walls of the Muller Auditorium and classroom buildings.

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A marked improvement over the Hallowell Gym will be the inclusion of many large windows, giving the new athletics center a more uplifting, connected feel for those inside as they look out to the rest of the campus. The orientation of the new building was strategically designed with the future in mind. The new competition gym is rotated from the rest of campus so that the windows will offer an unobstructed view of the three-season track and artificial turf field that have been proposed as the next major enhancement to the campus. “Together, it will feel like an athletics complex,” Maarten said. The new building’s large expanses of glass means that it will join the Faulkner Library in shining as a bright beacon of light at night. “It will glow at night,” Maarten said, “You’ll see the activity inside. To neighbors and the community, it will say AFS is alive and well.” What does he hope that people will say about the new athletics center a decade from now? “I hope that people will say that it strengthened the community at AFS,” he said.




Fun facts about AFS that we bet you didn’t know!


about the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center

26,000 The number of bricks that will be used on the exterior of the building


The number of large sets of windows in the new gym that will face Greenwood Avenue


Water fountains

441 The maximum number of people who will fit in the bleachers

38 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

1,000 Square footage of the new multipurpose room


A strong sense of community is an invisible bond that weaves its way through Abington Friends School. That shared love for the school and its vital purpose became visible over the last 18 months as the dream of a new athletics center became a reality. So far, 94 families have joined in making donations to “Now More Than Ever: The Campaign for Abington Friends School,” making construction of the $9 million Richard N. Berman Athletics Center possible. “This is a community effort,” said Marc Berman, a cochair of the campaign and a member of the extended family that gave the lead gift. “The achievement of building this new building is the result of many people’s work and effort. It’s certainly not on the shoulders of one group of people, or one family. We are a community where every person is important, and in this campaign, every person has been important.” The reason that so many people from so many parts of the community have stepped up to contribute is important to recognize, Marc said. “That speaks to the appreciation that people have for the school and the value that they place on the work that it is doing,” he said. “That’s the most important message out of all of this.” The three families who made the most significant gifts to the new athletics center are connected to AFS in very different ways, but they all have one thing in common: Gratitude for the school’s impact on students’ lives.

MARC AND DAVID BERMAN P’19, P’20 said they found at Abington Friends School the commitment to diversity and inclusion that they were hoping for when they enrolled their two sons in Early Childhood classes 14 years ago. “The reason we were looking for a place like AFS is because we have a lot of differences from the mainstream in our family,” David said in an interview. “Two dads, children of color, a family formed by adoption. We were looking for a place that would be — and has been — sensitive to all those issues.” David, who is also a co-chair of the capital campaign, noted the diversity that the family found at AFS extends far beyond the makeup of families — to inclusion of families from different races, religions, socio-economic status and other social identifiers. Marc said that over time he has seen how much his sons and other children have learned by being a part of such a richly diverse community. “What the school has done in achieving such an interesting community, filled with all different types of people, is truly remarkable. And it is certainly not by accident,” he said. But their appreciation for the mission of the school was not the only reason they were motivated to give. 39

The Campaign for Abington Friends School Campaign Donors as of June 13, 2018

“There’s also a deep sense of gratitude for the leadership and faculty of the school,” Marc said in an interview. “It feels very genuine, and there’s a sincerity about the way the teachers care for their students.”


Marc said the decision to name the building in memory of his brother Richard was important, but it was made after the family decided to make a transformative gift.


“Our driving force in all of this was that we wanted to make a difference,” he said. Above, second from left, Susan Salesky Rudin ’57

SUSAN RUDIN graduated from Abington Friends in 1957 when it was an all-girls school. She and her late husband, Jack, have supported several previous projects, including a lectureship that annually brings a prominent speaker to campus and the Headwaters Discovery Playground, which has been designated one of the five top outdoor learning spaces in the world.

Above, Dave and Gwen Campbell

DAVE CAMPBELL, A SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER, AND HIS WIFE, GWEN, have long been associated with the school through three of their children, who all have benefited from an Abington Friends education. Dave said he has seen how the faculty has helped his own children, who each have different gifts, and their classmates identify their passions and build confidence. “I’m all about helping people recognize and realize potential. I see this place, Abington Friends, doing that every day,” he said. When first approached to make a gift, Dave said he and his wife were interested in donating to improvements to the arts wing, a part of the program that had drawn the interests of two of their children. But Head of School Richard Nourie, and School Committee Clerk Margaret Sayers convinced them that the new athletics center was the most pressing need. “I have tremendous respect for the school,” Dave said. “I have tremendous respect for Rich. I have a lot of respect for the leadership of the School Committee. I think Margaret is phenomenal. So, to me, if the leadership feels like this is what’s needed, I’m going to support it. Our commitment to this project is the largest commitment we’ve ever made.”

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“I feel as though the school has made a big difference in my life,” she said, in explaining her record of generous support for AFS. She joined Marc and David Berman in serving as a co-chair of the campaign committee. As for her major gift to the latest project, she said, “I think it represents far more than an athletics center. It is part of what the school represents, and the values it is teaching.” David and Marc Berman, too, are looking at the bigger picture, to a day in the not too distant future, when their sons will join the ranks of AFS alumni. “We wanted to be sure the school is doing well and thriving.” David said. “We think it is institutions like this that will produce the citizens who will work to fulfill the mission of Dr. King, the mission of more equality for everyone. We want to make sure this organization is strong.” Marc, too, said he thought it was important that all the main aspects of the program — academics, the arts and athletics — were strong. “Students who are interested in the arts can feel they can come here and be supported in their passions. We want students who are athletically inclined to feel the same way. When all areas of the school are strong, the school itself is stronger,” he said.

Anonymous (2) Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Alicia and Chris Agoglia Ken and Diane Ahl P’01 P’05 The Balick Family Matt Balick and Nicole Goroskovsky Doris Benfer G’24 Allison Kanofsky Berg ‘89 and Larry Berg Fred and Bryna Berman P’08 Jordan and Deanna Berman G’04 G’06 G’08 G’19 G’20 GG’30 Marc and David Berman P’19 P’20 Sharyn Berman Steve and Ilene Berman Family Foundation David and Nina Bisbee Marcia Boraas and Eugene Lugano P’10 P’12 Amy Brantz Bedrick and Rick Bedrick Joan Brantz G’15 Rebecca and Michael Bubb Loyda Camacho and Jerry Fluellen The Campbell Family Karen Cheney and Tom Avril P’16 P’21 Heather Clark and Joseph Quinn P’30 Reina and Michael Cohen Julie and Brad Copeland P’22 P’26 P’28 Nick and Alix Davatzes P’23 P’27 The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation Faulkner Family Foundation Julia and Sam Finney P’16 Stew and Susan Fisher The Fishman Family Ann Frankel P’24 Sam ’82 and Wendy Frieder John and Beverly Gandolfo Saly A. Glassman and Ira S. Berman/ YouThePlanet Foundation Matthew and Audra Gurin P’12 P’14 Edward and Mary Hayes In Honor of Lena Ingerman In Honor of Louis Platt ’17 In Honor of Richa Chauhan Carolyn and Gabriel Jackson Rachel Kane, AFSA Donna and Stefan Keller Maria Kiernan and Salvatore G. Rotella, Jr.

Pledges Totaling

$8,262,747 Jonathan Korein and Jane Rovins Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Margaret Lockwood ‘90 Susan and Terrance Lohr Andrea and Thomas Macey P’17 Jonathan Makler ’95 Susan and Todd Makler Carl and Marla Manstein P’08 P’12 Courtney and Matt Marsallo John McGlynn ’09 Kelly McGlynn ’11 Margie and Kevin McGlynn P’09 P’11 Rosanne Mistretta and Steve Miano Holly and Barry Myers P’11 P’13 Rich and Robin Nourie Deborra Sines-Pancoe and Craig Pancoe, AFSA Mary Grace and Bernard Panzak P’17 The Perry Family Bethany Perry and Seth Newman Pine Forest Camp Mira Rabin and Tom Whitman Janani Rangaswami and Ram Balu P’27 Susan Salesky Rudin ‘57 Amy and Mitch Russell P’11 P’16 Rod and Tracey Sandmeyer Aram Sarkisian and Sandra Laiss-Sarkisian P’30 Drs. Steven and Margaret Sayers Martha Scache Devin and Megan Schlickmann Peter ’75 and Bonnie ’75 Schorsch P’03 P’10 P’13 Ross and Lori Shanken Marijke and Arlen Shenkman Jacqui and Jay Silverman Richard A. Simon ’82 The Sperger Family David and Anne Steinberg Marianna and Michael Sullivan Sarah Sweeney-Denham and Dan Denham Tyson Memorial Fund Diane Vernon P’76 Christine J. Washington P’94 G’23 Dan and Cyndee Weinstock P’17 P’19 The Windmill Foundation Karen Zinn and Doug Brownlie P’17


CAPITAL CAMPAIGN IS A BLUEPRINT for PHILANTHROPY AT AFS “Now More Than Ever: The Campaign for Abington Friends School” not only has been successful in raising money for the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center, but it has also laid the groundwork for future philanthropy at the school. When asked what he hoped people would say a decade from now about the new building, Dave Campbell, a School Committee member, at first talked about the structure itself, and how it was special yet not overwhelming. Then, he turned to something less tangible, but equally important, that he hoped future generations might experience when they view the athletics center. “I hope when they look at this building, they see possibility. They say, ‘Okay, this has weathered the test of time. What are other things that we can be doing around this campus to enhance the student experience?’” There’s no doubt the current campaign achieved something remarkable in a relatively short period of time. “I think the fact that you can build something and have it paid for is tremendous,” Dave said. Here is the backstory of the “Now More Than Ever Campaign,” which raised $8.262 million from 94 donors in less than two years. When Margaret Sayers, Clerk of the School Committee, joined the fundraising drive to build the new athletics center, she happily volunteered for a job that she knew she could do. She offered to write the thank you notes. Like most other members of the Campaign Leadership Committee (CLC), contacting and asking potential donors for large sums was outside her expertise and her comfort zone. But by the time the campaign was in full swing, Margaret was going out to meetings with prospective

42 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

several months, the focus narrowed to raising funds for the new athletics center, which was designated Phase I of the campaign. Funding for a $3 million track and field would come next, in Phase II. Improvements to the arts wing will be raised again as the school begins discussion on its next strategic plan. Matt Stoessel, from Changing Our World, led members of the CLC through training in how to contact and talk with prospective donors. The committee members were joined in the training by Head of School Rich Nourie; Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Devin Schlickmann and Director of Major Gifts Courtney Marsallo.

donors by herself and confidently sharing with them her excitement about the project.

“The consultants gave us a process to walk through, and we had beautiful materials to show to prospective donors,” Margaret said. “But mostly they talked about what inspires people to give — and that is relationships.”

Thanks to her dedication, along with that of other members of the CLC, and with the strong support of the school administration and consultants, the school broke ground on the athletics center knowing that nearly all the money for it had been raised or pledged.

“It wouldn’t be because you said exactly the right thing. It would be because of your relationship with them, and your mutual relationship with the school, and the joy and excitement in seeing this come true for students and faculty. That was very, very helpful.”

What had occurred over the intervening year and a half? How did this campaign — which one fundraising veteran described as “the best-organized campaign” she’d ever seen — unfold?

The committee members got down to work, sending emails to prospective donors to seek a meeting, and following up with phone calls. Every other week, they met to check in on how the campaign was faring.

The answer begins in the summer of 2015, when the CCS consulting firm tested the feasibility of a major fundraising campaign at Abington Friends. Under CCS guidance, school leaders met with small groups of AFS community members to explore the potential for a major capital campaign. Though the need for a new athletics center had been identified in the school’s strategic plan, written in 2011, other initiatives had been tackled first because of the lingering impact of the 2008 recession. The results of the consultants’ work, showing that a major capital campaign could be successful, was given to the School Committee and the school leadership in December 2015.

“A big part of the process is the meeting with families,” David said. “You work hard to get the meetings. And when you get a meeting, it’s very important.” Alone or often in pairs, the committee members met with AFS community members to describe the overall campaign and the impact it would have on the school. After pairing up with Rich for a few meetings, Margaret was ready to set off on her own. Each of her hour-long meetings, except one, was in person.

In the spring of 2016, another consulting company, Changing Our World, was hired to guide the execution of the campaign. Susan Rudin ’57 and Marc and David Berman P’19, P’20, agreed to become campaign co-chairs. At first, the goal was to raise enough money to build the athletics center, add a track and field and make major renovations to the arts wing, the Josephine Muller Lobby and the theater’s workshop. But over the next

“I really learned that it is important to set a goal for prospective donors,” she said. “We were asking everybody to stretch. I think we got to where we are because people did stretch,” she said. By January 2018, more than $8 million had been raised from 88 families. The fundraising would continue until all $9 million was raised, but the total was enough for the School Committee to give the green light for construction of the new athletics center. “One thing I think that is important about this process is the timing,” Margaret said. “We have known for forever that the athletics facilities were inadequate.

It’s sort of the culmination of the strategic plan that was born in 2011. It was really hard to imagine we were ever going to get it done after the economic downturn and the slow recovery. So, I don’t think it could have happened before now. I think that our leadership really gets credit for that. Rich and the [entire] School Committee, being able to realize that this is the time to do this.” Margaret praised the work of Marc, David and Susan in leading the campaign committee. “They did an amazing job. They are continuing to do an amazing job. Those people are just on fire,” she said. A big factor in the success of this campaign, Marc said, stemmed from the work that the trio of school administrators — Rich, Devin and Courtney — did. “Their leadership has been a driving force that I know moved this forward. Our success would not be possible without them,” he said. David also lauded the school administrators for “their leadership, their organizational skills, their consistency and their fast follow-up. They are so on top of this campaign,” he said.

Above, School Committee Clerk Margaret Sayers.

Susan, who is a veteran of many fundraising efforts, said this effort had been singularly impressive. “It was the best organized campaign I’ve ever seen. It was the most thorough, the most organized, the most consistent — ever. I’ve never heard of a campaign being launched and breaking ground less than two years later.”


WHAT’S NEXT? A $3 Million Track and Field For a long time, the AFS track team has cheerfully repeated this tongue-in-cheek slogan: “No Track, No Problem!” But as the school’s track and field and crosscountry programs have blossomed, the need to build a track complex on the campus has grown even stronger. Phase II of the capital campaign aims to raise $3 million to construct a regulationsize home track and artificial-turf field. The school hopes to add a 400-meter, equal quadrant track, which would be built on the field just below the new athletics center. The EPDM rubber-surface track would have six lanes and be surrounded by a safety railing. For events, there would be designated areas for long jumps and high jumps, and mobile hurdles that could be moved into place. The track would encircle a multi-purpose, artificial-turf field that would be used for soccer, lacrosse and other games. An efficient stormwater-management system would be installed beneath the field. Bleachers and a casual viewing area for fans would complete the track and field complex. The project would not only be an excellent home for our aspiring young runners, but would also be a welcome community resource for neighborhood residents. If you’d like to make a gift to this important project, please contact Devin K. Schlickmann, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement, dschlickmann@abingtonfriends.net, or Courtney N. Marsallo, Director of Major Giving, cmarsallo@ abingtonfriends.net. You can also reach them by telephone at (215) 576-3967. 44


School Committee

Margaret Sayers P’16 P’18 ..................................... Clerk Claudia Lewis P’17 P’20 P’22 .................................. Assistant Clerk Michael Sperger P’15 P’18 P’21 ............................... Treasurer Marc Berman P’19 P’20 ......................................... Secretary


Leadership Team

Amy Brantz Bedrick P’15 Susan Salesky Rudin ’57 Becca Bubb ’02 P’32 Irvin Schorsch III P’14 Loyda Camacho P’20 Ross Shanken P’17 P’20 P’24 David Campbell P’11 P’14 P’21 Sarah Sweeney-Denham Deborra Sines Pancoe AFSA Sue Tressider P’18 Diane Vernon P’76

Campaign Leadership Committee

Marc and David Berman P’19 P’20........................Co-Chairs Susan Salesky Rudin ’57 .......................................... Co-Chair Cindy Balick P’13 P’19 Amy Brantz Bedrick P’15 Carolyn and Gabriel Jackson P’27 Margaret Sayers P’16 P’18 Ross Shanken P’17 P’20 P’24 Sue Tressider P’18

School Leadership

Richard F. Nourie, Head of School Devin K. Schlickmann, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Martha Scache, Director of Business and Operations Courtney N. Marsallo, Director of Major Giving

Architects WRT LLC

Owner’s Representative and Builder Anchor Management Group

46 oak leaves spring-summer 2018


Our students said a fond farewell to the Hallowell Gym on May 4 by performing a series of funny skits that depicted how the gym had been used for basketball and so much more over the course of its 50-year history.

a Fond

Farewell 48 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

Our youngest students found special delight in the tales the Upper Schoolers told. Appearances by “Old Man Hallowell,” a Coach Steve Chadwin impersonator, boys dressed in vintage basketball uniforms and girls wearing 50s-era PE gear helped bring the gym’s history to life. In addition to hosting basketball games and physical education classes, the gym also has been a home for concerts, awards ceremonies and school programs down through the decades. Following the skits, and to bid the gym a final adieu, the Upper Schoolers slowly lowered a felt “Abington Friends” banner from the gym wall. Then current boys’ basketball players grabbed a few basketballs and put on an impromptu dunking exhibition at one end of the court, prompting cheers from wide-eyed Lower School children. After a few minutes of slam-dunk fun, a toss from junior Taalib Hollomon to senior Ace Bibbs sent the ball swishing through the net one last time, the final student bucket in 50 years of basketball in the Hallowell.

Thanks for the memories! 49

A LUM N I D AY 2 0 1 8 On Alumni Day 2018, former Associate Head of School Debbie Stauffer came out of retirement to coach the Whites, while current staffers Brian Schiff and Josh Leopold ’08 piloted the Blues. The two teams were picked at random, based on whether the alums graduated in odd- or even-numbered years. A handful of current players and coaches filled out the rosters. Among the alums watching from the bleachers were Carla Fisher and Lisa Norton, both of the Class of 1985, who sat alongside classmate Suzanne Hodges, who is now AFS Director of Admission. “It’s always amazing to be back here,” Carla said. “I love it here. It’s always home for me.” Lisa talked about her own days playing on the Hallowell court, first as a Middle Schooler and then on Upper School varsity teams. “It’s sad, but I’m looking forward to new beginnings with the new space. There are a lot of memories in here, but a new gym will allow the school to continue to grow.” Lamar Plummer, Class of 1997, was watching from the stands, too, as the Blues and Whites battled it out. “I was a basketball player here,” he said. “I was actually the alltime leading scorer. I had 1,800 or 1,900 points. I can’t remember. That’s Michael Jordan out there. He was my backcourt mate.” Out on the court, the Whites led by 11, 72-61, late in the second half before the Blues staged a comeback, and trailed by only 1 point, 79-78, with 1:15 left in the game. A timeout was called and then, in the final minute, the Whites pulled ahead for good, with help from critical conversions at the foul line. After the game, Coach Stauffer was asked about her strategy. “The timeout was critical,” she said, “in getting better ball handlers and three-point shooters onto the floor. And they played good defense without fouling.” How does it feel to pilot your team to a win? “It feels like it always feels,” she said. “Awesome! You play to win. You don’t play to lose.” And with those words, the 50 years of competition in the Hallowell — the buzzer beaters and the blowouts, the pumped fists in victories and the quiet tears in defeat — came to an end. A short time later, AFS broke ground on the new athletics center.

50 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

Our alumni said goodbye to the Hallowell Gym by playing one last basketball game on the familiar hardwood, staging a fiercely contested matchup that went down to the final buzzer.


A LUM N I D AY 2 0 1 8

On May 5, more than 60 of our graduates were warmly welcomed back to campus, where they had a chance to reconnect and reminisce with each other. Among the alums who returned were a handful of members of the Class of 1948, who were celebrating their 70th class reunion. A walking tour of the campus, led by Head of School Rich Nourie and Upper School History Teacher Drew

Class of 1948

Benfer; the final basketball game in Hallowell Gym, and an Alumni Meeting for Worship were among the highlights of the day. During the time of quiet reflection in the Meeting House, the alums spoke of their fond memories of being students, shed happy tears and talked about their gratitude for the lifelong friendships they had formed here.

Class of 2003 Class of 1978

Class of 1998

Marianne Mebane ’48 and granddaughter

52 oak leaves spring-summer 2018


CLASS NOTES 1948 1963

Class Chair- Anne Collins

JUDITH FUSS writes “six members of the Class of ’63 embarked on an Asheville Adventure in October 2017. Betsy Mayers, a long-time resident of Asheville, N.C., proved the organizational skills she learned at AFS by designing three days full of sights and great food. Betsy secured a van so we wouldn’t miss a moment of conversation and we were driven around by a delightful chauffeur, complete with cap! Anne Ebert, Linda Friedrich Fogel, Judy Chestnut Fuss, Mary Lou Hay Gallucci, El McFarland and Betsy, of course, almost filled the charming Dry Ridge Inn. Hosts Kristen and Howard plied us with extravagant breakfasts and endless stories. Alice Atkinson Christie had to pull out at the last minute and she was much missed. Not to be forgotten was the Purple Bus Tour and encounter with Asheville’s boys in blue! On a more somber note, we mourn the loss of our classmate Cindy Ervin Beshel, on November 6, 2017, at her home on her beloved Long Beach Island, N.J. Our condolences to her children; her sister, Cheryl Ervin Baldi, Class of 1965, and her extended family.


NANCY LARZELERE PUFF has sent in new contact information. Her main residence is 321 Palmetto Point, Vero Beach, Fla., 32963. In the summer, you can reach her at 22 Washing Pond Rd., Nantucket, Mass.


BART (NANCY BARTO) HEMMERICH writes “we hiked the very challenging High Route in the Italian Dolomites for 11 days this past September. Although we had rain, fog and snow for several days, it was worth it to be surrounded by so many magnificent peaks. We were more remote than when we circumnavigated Mont Blanc last year, but we were always with small groups as we picked our way long narrow paths with steep drop-offs to one side. We were at one with the mountain goats! We did two more tough hikes in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Then, over Thanksgiving week, my hip started to hurt. I had it replaced on February 27 and am expecting to be back on a bike by late April.”

54 oak leaves spring-summer 2018


SALLY SALON writes, “An AFS reunion. Really great to catch up after 30 years!!”

JEFF WILDRICK is happy to have completed 35 years of pastoral ministry before retiring on July 1, 2017. He and his wife, Kathleen, plan to begin long-term travel this November in a 37-foot motorhome (along with their three dogs and one cat). You are invited to follow their adventures via their blog and YouTube channel at www. milesandsmiles.us

CLAIRE-MONIQUE VAN RHIJN writes, “my 10-year-old adopted daughter and I live in a suburb of Phoenix, Ariz. I enjoyed living near Boulder, Colo., for 25 years, but five years ago moved to Phoenix to be closer to special friends. I work part-time at the local high school, which gives me time off so that I can participate in my daughter’s school activities. I also have the same days and weeks off that my daughter has, which is perfect! During my extra time, I read and do needlepoint. I look forward to hearing from others from 1977!”

McFarland and Anne Ebert.

Alpha. Thomas (former AFS '17) is now doing a gap year at home and at the time of this writing, waiting to hear from colleges. Additionally, I completed my first half marathon in April 2017 in snowy Gloucester/Rockport, Mass. And since it wasn’t a total failure, I decided to run as Snow White in the Disney Princess Half Marathon at the end of February 2018 in Orlando. I was the lone Eagles fan in Massachusetts (or at least it felt like it) for the Super Bowl...GO EAGLES! Can’t wait to hear from other AFSers in future “Oak Leaves”.

1975 1977

s From left, Linda Friedrich Fogel, Mary Lou Hay Gallucci, El

ANDREW PRITZKER writes that his sci-fi film, “E.P.G.,” won “Best Director” at the First City Film Festival in Leavenworth in March 2018. “E.P.G.,” a tale about two professors trapped in a wormhole, also won “Audience Choice” at the Kansas International Film Festival in November 2017. Andrew’s oddly heartwarming comedy, “OH BOY!,” which he wrote and co-produced through his company Qikfinger Films, was nominated for Best Short and Best Supporting Actor at the First City Film Festival.


Class Chair- Tricia Schoor

s Left to right, Class of 1983 alums Jody Smith Long, Katherine Trow, Sally Salon, Paula Seitchik and Sheryl Sitman.


JENNY B. HAMMOND sends greetings from Western Mass! She writes, “just in case some of you are not connected with me on social media or don’t receive my New Year’s card, here’s an update. I’m still working at Deerfield Academy as the Director of Alumni & Parent Engagement. It is going on eight years now. Craig is still working from home and is involved in community activities. Josh (former AFS '15) is in his junior year at the University of Richmond as a finance major in the Robins School of Business. He’s a member of Lambda Chi

s Photo taken May 2017.


Class Chairs- Shalimar Reddy and Jill Kaplan DAVID B. LEESER writes, “I have moved to Greenville, N.C., to East Carolina University as Professor and Chief of Transplant Surgery and Immunology and Chief of Transplantation at Vidant Medical Center.


CLASS NOTES MEGAN ROTHMAN BLACK t and her husband, Chris, welcomed their son, Arsenal Matthew, on April 26, 2017.


JESSICA (JANOFF) ZOZOM s writes, “My husband, Matt, and I welcomed our son, Max Logan Zozom, on June 21, 2017.

RUSSELL NADEL t and his wife, Tara, are expecting their second son around the middle of June! Big brother Ari, who will be 3 in August, doesn’t quite understand yet, but is excited anyway.



LOUIS KLAPPER writes, “I decided a year ago that it was time for a change. In August I graduated with my second master’s degree, this time in Energy Systems Engineering, from Lehigh University. After treating myself to a summer study in improv sketch- comedy performance and writing at the Second City Theater in Chicago, I was hired as a consulting Energy Engineer for a wonderful small firm in upstate New York. I now primarily focus on energy-saving efficiency measures for large and small facilities. I keep sustainability and stewardship in mind as my firm advises clients, such as the federal and local governments, manufacturing plants, hotels, and even one of the largest malls in the country, on how to save energy, and as a result, produce less of a footprint. On a personal note, I was recently engaged to my girlfriend of six years, and we are excitedly planning a wedding this fall. Everything is going great, and I hope to make it back to see my AFS friends and family soon!” JIM PIERSON, AFSA writes, “My daughter Emily ’05 finished two years of field work and classes and now has a Master’s Degree in Restoration Ecology from Montana State University. She is working as a Biologist for the USDA.”

JILL BATDORF s writes, “I have been living in the Philadelphia area for the past three years after living in Dallas, Texas, and Melbourne, Australia. I am currently an Evaluation Analyst at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, but will be leaving the position this spring to move to Brno in the Czech Republic. I got married in October 2017 and will be moving there with my husband, Panagiotis Alexiou, as we were both hired to work at a research institute.”

56 oak leaves spring-summer 2018



Class Chair- Katie Gross

t Bride Hana Lee and Groom Jeremy Hurst ‘07, with Class of

BRIAN HENSKE AND ASHLEY FERGUSON HENSKE ’06 t welcomed Olivia, their first child, on March 23. They are preparing to move to Algeria in August to begin their life as U.S. diplomats!

JEREMY HURST married Hana Lee on November 5, 2017. Ann Thompson P’07, P’11 shared this photo. 2007 members Andrew Mason, Sam Tiburzio, Lindsay Garrison, Mike Wolk, Jane Esslinger, Kenny Shin, Rebecca Simon, Dan Montalbano, Brian Burke, Robert Armstrong, Anna Fanelli, Rachel Chizchoff, Katie Lambert, Brandon Williams, Michael Mutchler and Casey Mutchler ’11 and John Mutchler ‘07.


ANN THOMPSON P’07 P’11 s sent a photo of AFS parents attending the wedding of her son John Mutchler this past October on Long Island. John attended AFS from kindergarten through eighth grade. Pictured here are Sue Anthony P’08 P’06, Jim and Cynthia Burke P’06, Howard Weitz P’07 P’07 P’10, MaryAnn and Bob Watson P’10, Susan and David Wolk P’07, Janet Binswanger P’11 P’15, Marcia and Aruthur Chernoff P’02, Elaine Dorsey P’07, Judy Mason P’07, AFS Teacher Anne Fields and Ann Thompson and Pat Mutchler P‘11, P’07.


Class Chairs- Melissa Ward Schorsch and Adam Schorsch


CLASS NOTES continued from page 57

GABBY HANDLER writes, “After getting a degree in fashion design from Moore College of Art in 2012, last year I got an associate’s degree in graphic arts and web design, and I am currently doing freelance work. I married William Rivera on November 5, 2016, and on November 21, 2017, we welcomed William ‘Liam’ Handler Rivera into the world.”

Adventures During My Gap Year I traveled extensively, completed an internship in Israel and learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy.

Class of 2017 members enjoyed a dinner together in Center City Philadelphia.

LOUIS PLATT ’17 writes, “I was with my advisory, sitting in Rich Nourie’s office on a cool and sunny April afternoon a year ago, when he asked us what we were looking forward to after graduating from AFS and starting college. I had not thought about this since the previous November when I was traveling with my dad in Israel and I began to sketch a blueprint of my gap year. I realized during that trip that maybe college could wait a year if it meant experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and stepping outside my comfort zone. These were sentiments expressed by my Israeli cousin, Yaara, that really stood out to me when she told me about her two years abroad before going to college. So, this past August, as my friends attempted to stuff the last few things into their parents’ cars for college orientation week, I tried fitting a seventh shirt into my heavy-duty traveling backpack. First, I was off to Europe for two months. As I stood under the blue and golden Roman sky in the crowded Coliseum, the building transformed in my mind’s eye to the elegant and dignified social center it once was.

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A couple of weeks later, Dariush Sosnowski ’17 and I stood at the top of the Palace of Pena in Sintra, Portugal, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean and pointing to where we thought Philadelphia might be if we set sail at that moment. Shortly afterward, I set off for Bologna, Italy, to live with an Italian family that owns and operates a farm and restaurant. My “8 a.m. class” on the farm was picking spinach and my afternoon was spent with the lively chefs teaching me how to make fresh pasta. After Italy, I settled into my cozy Jerusalem apartment for the last three months, interning at a solar energy company, Gigawatt Global. Each destination or job presented its challenges, including communicating with an Italian shop-owner with my limited Italian vocabulary and adapting to a business environment straight out of high school. No matter how difficult the obstacle, I reminded myself of my answer to Rich Nourie: “I am excited to test the ‘working-world’ skills that AFS helped me develop while I travel.”

MAX MANSTEIN s writes, “I will be graduating from Temple University School of Medicine this May. I recently matched into a Surgery residency at Dartmouth. I will become the third generation of Manstein surgeons. My grandfather, who passed away in December, and my father are both plastic and reconstructive surgeons. My residency will be five years long, but I plan on doing an additional one to two years of surgical research. My clinical interests include plastic surgery and cardiothoracic surgery. After completing my residency, I plan to do a fellowship in one of those two fields. Go Roos!”


ALEX BAILEY writes, “I’m loving the biology program at Ursinus College where I’m currently a junior. It feels great to finally take classes focused on animals! This past summer, I was asked by my biology professor to join his research team on insects and ecology during the school year, and to go to Sweden with him for two months to research predator bug efficiency with the changing temperature. I was able to present my work at my school, and I never ever thought I would enjoy research with bugs! This past winter break, I went to Costa Rica for three weeks to research bat ecomorphology and to visit five field sites. We didn’t catch as many bats as we would have liked, but we did catch a couple of rare ones, including the White Honduran bat, which only weighed 6 g, and is very, very cute! In the lab, we’re researching the minute pirate bug as well as organic solutions to pesticides, such as using more predator bugs in the fields. Looking to the future, we’re going to submit the work we did in Sweden, and hopefully the minute pirate bug research, to the Entomological Society of Northeast America. We hope to present either in Annapolis or in Vancouver, depending on how large the travel grant from the school is! Right now, I’m looking at attending a grad school program in Uppsala, the city in Sweden I stayed in. I just can’t wait to get back there!”


Class Chairs- Vincent Manta and Tatiana Lee

BENJAMIN FORMAN s has been named captain of Clark University’s Men’s Varsity Cross Country Team for the year 2018-19. s Alex Bailey with a nectarivore bat caught in Costa Rica.


RACHEL YAKOBASHVILI writes, “​I work for the American Friends Service Committee as a Human Rights Learning Program Coordinator and part-time development assistant in both the Washington, D.C., and Philly offices! It’s been great to meld my academic/professional interests with my Quaker background, which was what got me the job in the first place. Thanks AFS!” JOSHUA DIAMOND writes, “During my freshman year, I started a student-run consulting group for Tulane students called St. Charles Solutions. Prior to starting the group, I was accepted into an innovative and successful

student-venture business incubator, where the group was developed and planned out. The group offers local small businesses in New Orleans business assistance for free. The goal is to help the New Orleans economy by stimulating small business. It is now one of the most upand-coming groups on campus, continually receiving a large number of new members. We are working to have a productive year, help the local community and economy, and continue to make news around the area. I credit AFS with instilling in me a value of community, a desire to succeed through helping others and an ability to speak and present in public. AFS pushed me out of my comfort zones, helped me strengthen leadership skills and expanded me as a person.”

Alumni Office Launches Class Chair and Reunion-Year-Giving Program Class Chairs will work alongside the AFS Advancement Office in keeping fellow alumni informed and encouraging them to attend reunion activities. Additionally, they will lend support with the Reunion Year Giving program, which is a way to honor your AFS experience with a meaningful gift to the school through the Annual Fund.

Tha nk you to th e fol l ow i n g al u m n i , w h o vol u n te e re d the i r ti m e to s e r ve as C l as s C h ai r s : Class of 2013 - Vince Manta and Tatiana Lee Class of 2008 - Katie Gross Class of 2003 - Adam and Melissa Schorsch Class of 1998 - Shalimar Reddy and Jill Kaplan Class of 1978 - Tricia Schoor Class of 1948 - Anne Collins

A LUM N I FA C U LT Y A N D STA F F A S S O C I AT I O N ( A F S A ) N O T E S APRIL TVAROK and her wife, Kacie, welcomed their beautiful daughter, Dara, to the world on October 30, 2017. April is currently freelancing as a TD/carpenter around the Philadelphia area and being a part-time Dad. AN AFSA ART EXHIBIT ON THE AFS CAMPUS This fall, AFSA will sponsor its first art exhibit, according to AFSA members Lynne Mass and Barb Handler. The 60 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

exhibition of paintings, sculptures, prints, photography and sculpture will be held from September 4 to October 12 in the lobby of the Muller Auditorium. The exhibit will feature works by the following AFSA members: Sally Fenley, Gail Fox, Donna Haines, Barb Handler, Samantha Matlock, Emily Paar, Lynne Mass and Randy Schwartz. Please stop by and see the beautiful works created by our talented retired staffers.

THE MEETING HOUSE A Grave Marker for Benjamin and Sarah Lay By Lillian Swanson As a crowd of about 100 people stood witness, a simple grave marker was unveiled in the Abington Monthly Meeting’s cemetery to commemorate the lives and legacies of early abolitionist Benjamin Lay and his beloved wife, Sarah Lay. The ceremony on April 21 also honored the memory of the enslaved people whose plight had stirred the conscience of Benjamin Lay and led him to relentlessly attack the evil of slavery. “We acknowledge their contribution to truth and justice,” George Schaefer, Clerk of the Meeting, told the crowd. “May they inspire us to live lives of integrity and truth.” The reflections that were offered during a Friends Memorial Meeting held later that afternoon made it clear that even though nearly three centuries have passed, Benjamin Lay’s courageous stand continues to do just that.

American stand up here and say thank you.” The ceremony was meaningful, too, to the Meeting’s Rosie Bothwell, Loretta Fox and Dave Wermeling, who had played key roles in making it happen, as well as University of Pittsburgh historian Marcus Rediker, whose recent biography of Lay has sparked renewed interest in his place in history. s From left, Dave Wermeling, Rosie Bothwell and Avis Wanda McClinton.

“This commemoration is to celebrate someone who had a very high set of ideals,” Rediker said shortly before an emerald green cloth covering the marker was lifted. “Two hundred eight years after he was disowned, he’s come back.”

s This grave marker was placed in the oldest section of the cemetery.

Benjamin Lay was a widely known and controversial figure in the early 18th century who confronted and denounced wealthy fellow Quakers who owned slaves. The Abington Monthly Meeting disowned him in 1738 because of his disruptive behavior, though he continued to attend Meeting. Armed with evidence that Quakers he had targeted had likely led the movement to oust him, the Meeting late last year reversed course and acknowledged him as “A Friend of the Truth.” “I’m so overjoyed this day has come,” Avis Wanda McClinton, a Meeting attender, told the crowd gathered for the unveiling. “As a descendant of the people that Benjamin fought so hard for, I thought it was important that an African

In the Meeting House, actor Benjamin Lloyd delivered a monologue taken from the abolitionist’s own words that described slavery as “no greater sin hell can invent.”

Queries announced by the clerk invited reflections on modern evils that need to be uprooted, and require the same courage as Lay had shown. The responses spoke of the systematic persecution of undocumented people in America and the implicit racial bias that instructs white actions and routinely restricts the freedom of people of color. “Benjamin Lay’s work is not done,” one woman said. “We need to take his words to heart,” said another, “ and act the way he would want us to.”


IN MEMORIAM ELAINE K. COATE ’46 Elaine K. Coate, 90, a retired social services executive, died March 17 at Hahnemann University Hospital. Ms. Coate, who lived most recently at the Watermark, was executive director of the Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children, a Quaker social services agency formerly known as the Friends Shelter for Girls, from 1975 to 1992. She served on the group’s board for seven years before that. She also worked as a civic and political leader, serving as Democratic Committee chairwoman in Radnor Township, and advocating in Harrisburg for children’s issues. “She was the ‘cool mom’ who was really supportive, particularly of young women,” said her daughter, Cathryn Coate. “She would go up and down the street and grab them and say, ‘Go to a better college, get a master’s degree, further your career.’ ” Born in Philadelphia and raised in Mount Airy and Abington, Elaine became a Quaker at age 15. After graduation from Abington Friends School, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. She traveled extensively, her daughter said, and was an “avid bird-watcher, camper, poet, rock collector and lover of music, especially Charlie Parker and Pink Floyd. She could identify nearly every plant and tree in the woods and recite Walt Whitman by heart.” Ms. Coate and her late husband, James M. Coate, raised their family in Rosemont and then Malvern. After his death in 2013, she moved to the Watermark. She was predeceased by a daughter, Cecelia “Cissy” Coate. In addition to daughter Cathryn, she is survived by two sons, James Jr. and Robert; six grandchildren; a great-grandson, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. A Quaker memorial service was held on May 13 at Valley Friends Meeting in Wayne. Contributions in her memory can be made to Cape May Bird Observatory, 701 E. Lake Drive, Cape May Point, N.J. 08212. JANE RING TROUT ’49 Jane Ring Trout, 84, of Silver Spring, Md., an occupational therapist and painter, died September 18, 2016. She was born on October 21, 1931, in Ayer, Mass., and was married to her beloved David Linn Trout for 52 years, living many of those years in Laurel, Md. Jane graduated from Antioch College in 1954 with a major in creative arts and biology. She worked as an occupational therapist after receiving a degree from Richmond Professional Institute, now part of Virginia Commonwealth University. Jane loved painting. She taught watercolor classes and exhibited her works at many local art shows. She was a board member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society and past president of the Laurel Art Guild. Jane and David were active members of Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church (PBUUC), where Jane was the head of the Arts Committee for many years. She is survived by two sons, Steven and Bruce, and 62 oak leaves spring-summer 2018

a daughter, Catherine, and five grandsons. A memorial service will be held at PBUUC, 3215 Powder Mill Rd., Adelphi, Md., on October 8. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to PBUUC or the Laurel Art Guild, c/o Treasurer M.E. Simon, 8704 Royal Ridge Lane, Laurel, Md. 20708. CORINNE ROXBY ’53 Corinne Roxby, 82, passed away on June 24, 2017. She is survived by two daughters, Elisabeth Roxby and Susanna Forjohn, and two granddaughters. Her husband, Maj. Gen. William C. Roxby, Jr., preceded her in death. She grew up in Glenside and graduated from Abington Friends School and Mount Holyoke College. She was a longtime member and supporter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center Board of Associates and Calvary Presbyterian Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Board of Associates, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 or Calvary Presbyterian Church, 217 Fernbrook Ave., Wyncote, Pa. 19095. LOUISA (FRIEDRICH) BUCK ‘57 Louisa DeMott Friedrich Buck, 78, a retired English and Latin teacher, died on November 7, 2017, at her home in Galesburg, Ill. Born in Philadelphia, she was a conscientious student who graduated from Abington Friends School and was a Phi Beta graduate of Cornell University. Her first marriage, to Barry M. Barash, ended in divorce. In 1973, she married Stephen E. Buck, who survives. Also surviving are her children, Scott Barash, Washington, D.C.; Rob Buck, East Galesburg, Ill., and Brandi Buck, Galesburg; grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and a sister, Linda Fogel ’63, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Louisa taught English and Latin for 38 years, most of them with Galesburg District 205. She retired from teaching in 2000. She was a member of the Knox County Democratic Women and was named Woman of the Year in 2007. An active Knox County Democrat, she was an alternate delegate for Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention in 1976, and served for several years as a precinct committeewoman. She also served for a year and a half as chairwoman of the Knox County Democrats. She had served on the Galesburg Public Library Board of Trustees and the Galesburg Public Library Foundation Board, and was a member of the Friends of the Galesburg Public Library. She was a student of history, a Civil War buff, a political junkie and an avid reader, who especially enjoyed mysteries and Shakespeare. She greatly enjoyed reading to children as a Reading Buddy at Cooke and King elementary schools. Donations in her name may be made to the Galesburg Public Library Foundation or the FISH Food Pantry of Galesburg. — Adapted from an obituary published in the Galesburg Register-Mail.

CINDY ERVIN BESHEL ’63 Cindy Ervin Beshel, 72, of Brant Beach on Long Beach Island, passed away peacefully at home on November 6, 2017. Cindy was born in Philadelphia and raised in Jenkintown. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Hood College she taught first grade, which she loved. She and her husband raised their four children, first in Blue Bell, Pa., and then in Princeton, N.J. As a little girl, “Bebe” summered on Long Beach Island. The tradition continued with her “birdies” and “grand birdies” (children and grandchildren), gathering every summer in the family home in Brant Beach. In 2015, Bebe became a full-time resident of LBI, where she enjoyed being part of the Garden Club of LBI. She also was a lifelong member of the Brant Beach Yacht Club. Passionate about horseback riding, Bebe volunteered her time for many years with the Special Equestrians organization. For the past 12 years, she wintered in Marco Island, enjoying the company of family and friends, enjoying walks on the beach and studying the habits of the local osprey. She loved stargazing and all holidays, which she celebrated with exuberance and a great deal of glitter. Bebe was predeceased by her husband of 32 years, Joseph Jacob Beshel Jr. in 1999. She is survived by her children, Jeffrey of London, England; David of Melrose, Mass.; Jonathan of Maplewood, N.J., and Susan Beshel of Princeton, N.J., and four grandchildren. Also surviving is her sister, Cheryl Baldi of Doylestown. Donations in Cindy’s memory may be made to the Special Equestrians, 2800 Street Rd., P.O. Box 1001, Warrington, Pa. 18976 or to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, Fla. 34102.

Francisco. Sylvia’s true vocation, however, was practicing kindness; she was an extraordinary listener and friend, and had a rare gift for accepting people on their own terms. She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Peter Dworkin; her daughters, Kate and Meredith Dworkin; her mother Theodora Raab, and sisters Jamie and Victoria Raab. Donations in her memory may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. — Originally published in The San Francisco Chronicle

SYLVIA RAAB DWORKIN ’69 Sylvia Raab Dworkin, 63, passed away in her home in San Francisco on March 31, 2015, after a courageous two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in New York and raised in Englewood, N.J., and Elkins Park, Pa., Sylvia knew from her first trip to California as a teenager that the Golden State was where she wanted to live. In the 1970s, not long after graduating from Hunter College, she moved to San Francisco. Sylvia pursued pre-med studies at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., and began medical school at the University of Alabama before switching to business and obtaining a master’s degree in Business Administration there. Returning to California, she was the founding marketing director at the College of Professional Studies of the University of San Francisco. After marriage and the birth of her first daughter, she dedicated herself to her family and friends, and to community service, notably as President of the Hamlin School Parent Association and as a founder of the Friends of the Carol Frank Buck Breast Care Center at the University of California at San 63

END NOTE Getting to the Heart of Things BY JESSE DOUGHERTY ’12 When I first heard about Abington Friends’ new athletics facility, I found myself tossed into the past, standing outside the Hallowell Gym, behind a foggy window, beneath an unrelenting snow. Since that day a decade or so ago, I’ve become a reporter at The Washington Post, zigzagging the country in search of stories, deconstructing them all, to some measure, with the five W’s. For the memory above, that would go something like this: Who? Me, Jesse Dougherty. What? A 12-year-old me, nose inches from the frigid Plexiglass, watching the Abington Friends varsity boys’ basketball team practice while Coach Steve Chadwin — known to all as “C” — pointed his players into place and, when agitated, reached for the whistle hanging around his neck.

I first learned this at Abington Friends, in the school’s classrooms, dissecting each word of a poem or decoding one of Shakespeare’s plays. On athletic teams, discussing strategy or debunking an opponent’s. In the Meeting House, where the answer often came amid the silence. Why? Just listen. So why, then, did I stand amid the falling snow watching a basketball practice on that long-ago winter evening? I can’t really say. But I do know that I dreamed of playing varsity basketball for Coach C, and to be part of a tradition threaded through generations now and into the future. And whether it is to join a team or an honors class, or to learn a new instrument, or to meet a new friend, those goals matter. Those goals are the why.

Why? Well … that answer is a bit more layered.

I did make the varsity team years later, though I never played much. So whenever I did get in the game, I looked around, I soaked it in. I remember one winter game against Academy of the New Church in my senior year and the Hallowell was packed. It didn’t take too many fans to fill the place, with those small sets of blue bleachers on only one side of the gym. But when I looked at the window I once stayed behind, I saw three young boys standing there, jackets zipped up to their chins to combat a biting wind. They stood watching, maybe staring down a dream.

I make a living asking people about their lives, and I find myself asking “Why?” more often than any other question. It gets right to the root of the matter, the reason, the gray area waiting to be colored by emotion and complication and all other intricacies of the human condition. It is, in a word, the most accessible entry point to grasping more of each other and ourselves.

I expect there to be a lot more seats in the new gym, and maybe there will be no reason for anyone to peer in on the games from the outside. But I know there will still be a kid — or dozens of them — shaking in the cold, wanting to be nowhere else, longing for the day when they are finally invited in and shown why they ever stood there in the first place.

When? About 2006, in the heart of a knee-shaking winter. Where? 575 Washington Lane, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

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Save the date for Homecoming 2018 Wednesday, November 21 Reconnect and reminisce with your former classmates and remember your days at Abington Friends. All alumni are welcome to come back home.