VOLUME I | 2017
GFS BULLETIN EXPLORING DEMOCRACY 10 ALUMNI SHARE THEIR VIEWS
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IN THIS ISSUE Page
Reflections on Democracy Ten alumni share their thoughts on America’s new reality, and how the current political climate has challenged or altered their ideals. Featuring Jessica Brown ’84 Danny Ceisler ’10 Joan Countryman ’58 Paul Farber ’02 Ken Hellendall ’73
Linda E. Johnson ’76 John P. Relman ’75 Jeremy Ross ’69 Claire Saint-Amour ’17 Jacob Schwartz ’17
A Fond Farewell After a notable career spanning 30 years and five different roles, Rita Goldman retires from GFS—and the community responds.
I Walked 10,437 Steps in Your Shoes As part of the strategic visioning “Shadow a Student” project, I carried a 20-pound backpack, traversed Coulter Street six times in one day, and crashed-andburned in calculus—all in pursuit of the authentic student experience. By Meg Cohen Ragas ’85
B AC K
FRONT 1 2 3 11 12 14
In This Issue From the Head of School News & Noteworthy Snapshot Sports Beat Supporting GFS
Faculty Focus Class Notes
O N T H E COV E R Oklahoma Red Buds in bloom on the campus Common. Photographed by Scott B. Foley on April 20, 2017.
This magazine is printed on recycled paper.
Volume I 2017 |
FROM THE HEAD OF THE SC HOOL
Dear Friends, It is with great enthusiasm that I share with you this latest issue of the GFS Bulletin. Regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, I think it’s safe to say that, for many of us, our current political HEAD OF SCHOOL
Dana Weeks CLER K , SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Patricia Rose D I R E C T O R O F A DVA N C E M E N T
Colette Kleitz DIR ECTOR OF C O M M U N I C AT I O N S
Hannah Caldwell Henderson ’91 EDITOR
Meg Cohen Ragas ’85 CON TR IBU TOR S
Michael Branscom, photography Mirangela Buggs Alyce Callison Scott B. Foley, photography Robin Friedman Will McQuillan ’19 Amanda Reath ’89 Lisa Solinsky Lila Sternberg-Sher ’17 Sam Sullivan Traci Taylor Diane Mallery ’80 The GFS Bulletin is published twice a year for the alumni, parents, faculty and friends of Germantown Friends School. We welcome your comments to the editor at: email@example.com.
reality is deeply disorienting. In times like these, we look to our communities, family, and friends; we crowdsource meaning and direction, in a sense. In fact, there are some notable parallels to this approach in Quaker process, which relies on inquiry, attentive listening, and faith in the wisdom of the group to discern the way forward. For this issue, we turned to our extended community in search of new insights and perspectives on these complex times. In the pages that follow, you will see a rich variety of meditations on democracy from alumni. We hope that, in addition to provoking new or unexpected thinking, this collection serves as a reminder that you are part of a thoughtful, engaged community that believes in dialogue and the united pursuit of greater meaning. We also have taken on the difficult task of bidding farewell to a handful of the many heroes of the GFS faculty and staff, including Associate Head of School Rita Goldman, who are retiring after more than a century of collective service to generations of grateful students and colleagues. Our school and countless individuals are better for their contributions, and we
are honored to carry forward their legacies of visionary teaching and leadership. Finally, this year has been one of seeking, challenging assumptions, and bold thinking, as GFS has engaged in the Strategy Through Inquiry process—a delightfully creative, fruitful series of activities, demonstrations, and conversations about our vision for the future of education. This undertaking has been a treasured chance to revisit and even reimagine how we go about the important work of preparing our students to become compassionate stewards and leaders of this rapidly changing world. This summer, we will be working with the School Committee to articulate the final vision, which we look forward to sharing with you in the fall. Happy Reading!
Dana Weeks Head of School
NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT 31 W. COULTER STREET—AND BEYOND
The Elusive Ona Judge The incredible, untold story of George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave—and why her narrative is one for the history books. By Mirangela Buggs Erica Armstrong Dunbar ’90, author of the critically-acclaimed Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, is an expert historian of 18th- and 19th-century AfricanAmerican women. Through her research, she has carved new paths in U.S. history—and, more specifically, African-American women’s history. Dunbar’s many contributions to expanding historiography through the telling of often hidden and overlooked stories—working from obscure documents combined with informed interpretation—has steered the fields of African-American, Black, Africana, and gender and women’s studies in directions that are both enlightening and informative. “I made the decision to craft a text that told the story of Ona, but also told the story of free black Northerners and enslaved black Northerners,” said Dunbar of Never Caught, which she got the idea for 20 years ago while doing research for her first book, A Fragile Freedom; she came across an ad for a runaway slave from the president’s house in a newspaper from 1796. “The adverstisement made me pause, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. Who is this woman? Why don’t I know her story? Why am I someone who is focusing on early African-American history and I don’t know her name? That’s a problem.’”
Dunbar’s work brings to light the ordinary and extraordinary ex istence of black wom en when faced with the chal l enges of American life throughout his tory. A Fragile Freedom was lauded for its documentation of the lives of free black women and their navigations of urban space in the new republic. Never Caught highlights the extraordinary escape of Ona Judge, an enslaved woman owned by President George Washington and his wife Martha, and is a riveting exposé of one woman’s bold claim of freedom, escaping from bondage from one of the most powerful families in early America. Dunbar’s fascinating chronicle of Judge’s journey—she spent 50 years of her life avoiding capture—paves the way for our discernment of the agency, wit, defiance, and insistence upon freedom that can heighten our knowledge of black women’s creativity and determination in the face of injustice. “Ona’s life allowed me to get at a new version of the founding of the nation,” Dunbar said at a GFS Community Writers Series event at the Friends Free Library on April 4, “and to get at it through the body and the lived experience of a black woman.”
Dunbar credits her love of history and critical thinking skills to GFS, where she was a lifer. “Going to school in a place that allowed you to be yourself and to speak your mind gave me a sense of empowerment at a very young age,” she shared. “As a student, I never felt that I shouldn’t or couldn’t be heard. Luckily, I was in an institution that allowed me to speak my truth.” She pursued history and African American studies at the University of Pennsylvania, then went on to earn her MA and PhD at Columbia University. Dunbar is currently the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware, and has dedicated her career to uncovering the realities of black women, foregrounding their histories and experiences by illuminating the specificity of black female existence in the Americas. In Never Caught, which took her nine years to complete, she delivers an inspiring story of possibility, a piece Volume I 2017 |
NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
of U.S. history that is both compelling and enlightening, known by few but recognizable to many. “The reality is, if I had stuck to what’s only in the archives, there would be no black history for [this] time period,” Dunbar shared with the Community Writers Series audience.
“What I did was use information about the lives of other people that we know existed, that we have documented proof of, to craft this narrative. It’s the work of a historian who is comfortable with source material, but also willing to enlarge the story to make connections to other people and places.”
And stories like Ona Judge’s are crucial interventions in the field of black history. “It’s the kind of history that moves the masses,” said Dunbar. “I want this book, Ona’s story, to reach many. I believe firmly in the accessibility of history.”
Lord of the Dance
RUSSELL JANZEN ’07’S HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE WAS DIFFERENT FROM MOST KIDS HIS AGE . WHEN HE WAS
16, he and his family left Philadelphia—and GFS—for New York City, so he could attend the School of American Ballet, an affiliate of the professional company. “It was great,” he recalls. “I was there to dance, and I had all of these wonderful opportunities to work with the Company while I was in school. We got free tickets to the New York City Ballet every night, and I was surrounded by people who were interested in the same things as me.” Janzen, who began dancing at Philadelphia’s Rock School of Ballet at the age of six, when his family was living in Wyndmoor, accepted a one-year apprenticeship with the New York City Ballet after high school. He
joined the company’s corps de ballet in 2008, where he danced for nearly six years, then spent two-and-a-halfyears as a soloist. His breakthrough role came in 2014, as the protagonist in George Balanchine’s “Davidsbündlertänze.” In February 2017, Janzen was promoted to principal dancer. In his new role (just as when he was a soloist), he’s often partnered with another dancer for performances. “Depending on the partner, it can be really great or really difficult,” he says. “Dancing with each person is different every time, even if you’re doing the same steps … [The parts I do] go much better if we establish some sort of connection onstage, and that is always a negotiation. But it’s great. I’m generally much more comfortable dancing with a partner.”
At times, Janzen has struggled with injury, but says being sidelined has helped him gain a healthier perspective. “When I was younger, I wasn’t very good at creating a balance between other things and ballet, so [if I was] injured, my days were pretty empty,” he explains. “I was just waiting to get back, and worried I was going to miss out … That’s just a reality of the work. As soon as you go out, someone replaces you in everything you’re in, and it’s really disheartening … I think being injured, in terms of knowing that I need to take better care of my body, [has helped me gain] a better perspective on my work.” Despite having left GFS after his sophomore year, Janzen remembers his years in Philadelphia fondly, and says there are certain aspects of GFS that still resonate with him. “GFS really instilled a sense of curiosity [in me],” he shares. “I was encouraged to be interested in all sorts of different things and to value other people’s experiences. I’ve definitely taken that with me, always wanting to know more about something, to experience more, to engage with something in a thoughtful way as opposed to just being an observer.” Janzen recently finished performing in the Here/Now Festival at Lincoln Center, which showcased works written for the New York City Ballet over the past 20 years. The 2017-18 season begins on September 19. –Will McQuillan ’19 Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnick
The Interview: Nathaniel Frank Nathaniel Frank ’89—author, historian, commentator, and LGBTQ strategist— has written the first full-scale history of the marriage equality movement in the United States. Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America, published in April 2017, closely examines the 50year struggle—and the community that made it happen. We chatted with Frank about his motivation to write the book, how marriage equality came to be a focus for the LGBTQ community, and how his Quaker education has influenced his career. W H AT I N S P I R E D YOU T O W R I T E AWAKENING? There was a controver-
sial book published in 2014 written by someone who was not very familiar with the LGBTQ movement, and it basically claimed that some straight people “rescued” the marriage equality movement from “obscurity.” A lot of us in the LGBTQ movement were angered because we understood that moving towards marriage equality had taken decades of hard work. I wrote a piece for Slate about it [“The Gay Marriage Story Jo Becker Needs to Hear”], and an editor at Harvard contacted me to say they’d been thinking about publishing a book on marriage equality, and would I be interested? It was a natural fit for me. I had written a book about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military [Unfriendly Fire, 2009], and I’d written articles and op-eds on marriage equality, so I jumped at the opportunity. HOW WOU L D YOU DE SCR I BE T H E BOOK? It’s the remarkable story of
a tiny, scorned minority—who didn’t even think of themselves as a minority—rising up to try to achieve equal rights. This took decades. A lot of people who weren’t tuned into that battle may have first heard news
stories about it around 2000 or so, but I try to set this story into the larger history of LGBTQ culture and identity. It was a long game, even if it seems like things happened quickly. In 2004, zero states had marriage equality. In 2015, all 50 states [did]. But getting to that first state took 50 years of activism. IN RESEARCHING THE BOOK , WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT SURPRISED YOU?
HOW H A S YOU R GFS E DUC AT ION INFLUENCED YOUR WORK? This may
sound sentimental, but there are so many things about the Quaker values that GFS instills in you, and you don’t realize how unusual they are until you’re outside of GFS. Respect for individuals, respect for critical thought, listening deeply, respecting silence and stillness, being awake to privilege and social responsibility—these are not necessarily part of the “common sense” of the rest of the world. In many ways, my activism has been a way to share the values GFS taught me, to broadcast them to a larger audience.
The most surprising thing I learned was how LGBTQ people themselves had evolved on the issue. There was a tension between assimilation [into traditional marriage norms] and upending those traditions altogether. Many didn’t feel that marriage was an appropriate goal for the movement. There was a great evolution of thought; eventually marriage was seen not only as a key tool to bringing equality, but as something that LGBTQ activists could embrace personally, too. Many who were quite cool WHAT DO YOU SEE AS NEXT FOR THE to marriage as a concept ended up LGBTQ MOVEMENT AND YOUR WORK? I’m currently working on transgender getting married themselves. military rights with the Palm Center, WE'RE IN A TIME OF PROTEST AGAIN. a think tank I collaborated with when W H AT LE SSONS DO YOU SE E FOR I was writing Unfriendly Fire. I’m OTHER SOCIAL MOVEMENTS FROM also director of the “What We Know THE SUCCESS OF MARRIAGE EQUAL- Project” at Columbia Law School. It’s I T Y ? Trump’s election is a stark a collection of research on LGBTQ reminder of how vulnerable social policy, and our next project is an outchange can be to backlash. In order comes study of medical interventions for social change to stick, success has for transgender people, and how they to build incrementally. The past 30 can be lifesaving. The current attenyears’ achievements—overturning tion being given to the transgender anti-sodomy laws, gaining access to community is very heartening; some the military, winning marriage equal- of us had worried that the most vulity—were all won over time, in ways nerable members of our community that included broad outreach, includ- might be left behind. –Alyce Callison ing to conservatives.
Volume I 2017 |
NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
Examining Immigrant Experiences
THIS JANUARY, WE OFFERED AN ELECTIVE CLASS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH THE GOAL OF ENGAGING
in dialogue surrounding the history, culture, and questions facing immigrants and immigration in Philadelphia. We asked ourselves: What have immigrants contributed to our city? What has been the government's attitude toward new groups? How do immigrants shape Philadelphia’s society and culture today? We directed our inquiries toward areas that felt particularly urgent. We learned about the history and current status of the DREAM Act, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans; we studied the so-called ‘Sanctuary City Movement,’ and the discursive problems that the phrase
can pose for activists fighting for the rights of people with undocumented status; and we gained insight into the struggle for municipal IDs and driver’s licenses for undocumented people. We also spent time considering the distinctions between refugees and immigrants, and how and why the U.S. has constructed these categories. The city of Philadelphia became our classroom. We visited Centro de Oro, where we learned about the history of the Barrio at the Taller Puertorriqueño (pictured above), and took a salsa dancing class. We visited Southeast by Southeast, the community center in South Philadelphia for refugees from Southeast Asia, and met a group of women from Burma and Bhutan, who have banded together to form a textile collective.
K Through Life THIS FALL , GFS WILL WELCOME NEW K I N D E R G A R T N E R A N NA R IC H E LSON , A F I F T H GE N E R AT ION GE R-
mantown Friends School student! Richelson is following in the footsteps of at least 17 of her relatives: Great-great grandfather H.B. West graduated from GFS in 1918, and great-grandmother Betty Baton Mellor graduated in 1937. Both maternal grandparents Andy Williams
and Sally West Williams (Class of 1972) and great-grandparents David West and Susan Quillen West (Class of 1949) met as classmates at 31 W. Coulter Street. Richelson (Class of 2030), who will carry on the long West-Williams GFS tradition, is pictured, right, with her great-grandfather David West, as they make their way into the Kindergarten East classroom.
We helped the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society move refugees from Syria into Northeast Philly. We were students in the class as much as we were teachers, and welcomed guest speakers with experience in the field as organizers, historians and activists. Professor Sarah Paoletti, from the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, taught us about the legal battles regarding the status of workers at the federal and state levels. GFS parent Inez Ramos informed us about Puerto Rico’s unique situation and the diaspora as it pertains to Philadelphia. Activists Sheila Quintana, of the New Sanctuary Movement, and Maria Sotomayor, from the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, shared their personal experiences, and explained how they support immigrant and mixed-status families across Pennsylvania. We designed the class to give students the exposure and tools they need to begin participating in (and listening closely to) the conversation surrounding immigration in Philadelphia as it continues to unfold. We learned just enough to know that there is way, way more to learn—and even more to do. –Robin Friedman and Sam Sullivan
The Face of Feminism
ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2016, I VOTED FOR THE FIRST TIME . THAT MORNING, AS I STOOD IN LINE AT THE
polls, I was giddy with excitement, daydreaming about how, one day, I would tell my grandchildren the story of my first voting experience—and how I cast my ballot for the first female president. I foresaw a utopia in which having a female president who was Jewish or Muslim, American Indian or African-American was the norm. I was proud of my country and ready to finally feel like my voice mattered. A month later, after Trump’s victory, Rebecca Traister ’93 came to campus
as the annual alumni assembly speaker and a Community Writers Series author to discuss her latest book, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, published in 2016. Traister, who came to GFS in seventh grade, then matriculated at Northwestern University, shared that her English education “was really shaped by Anne Gerbner and Meg Goldner Rabinowitz,” two beloved teachers in the English department (who have taught me as well). As a senior heading to college in the fall, hearing Traister talk about the many lessons she learned at GFS, and how they shaped her, further solidified my confidence in my GFS education. After graduating from North western, Traister moved to New York and interned at St. Martin’s Press. In 1999, she landed a job as an assistant at Talk magazine, but left after a couple of years to become a fact checker and reporter at a weekly newspaper called The New York Observer. In the fall of 2003, Traister joined the online magazine Salon to write about women’s issues (“sex, relationships, parenting, education, religion, all the mushy girl stuff”). “When I was growing up, feminism was very out of fashion,” recalls Traister. “Even at GFS, no one called themselves a feminist.” It was only after she landed a well-paying job she
loved that Traister realized that she was, and always had been, a feminist. Following the 2008 election, Traister wrote many articles covering three powerhouse women—Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin— and realized that if she wanted to help the American populous understand the true story of women and “how they participated in electoral and presidential politics,” she would need to write about it. Traister called her agent with her proposal, and within a year she published Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women (2010). The publication of the book coincided with a huge turning point in her life—her impending wedding— prompting Traister to think about “marriage as a thing that starts your adulthood versus the thing that happens in the midst of already independent adulthood.” This idea became the basis for All the Single Ladies, which explores the long history of unmarried women and their ties to social change in the U.S. Even though we didn’t get our female president, hearing Traister speak about the huge rise in feminism over the past 20 years, and the changing role women continue to play in our society, gave me hope that, maybe one day, we will all proudly call ourselves feminists. –Lila Sternberg-Sher ’17
Tech Titan ARI WEINSTEIN ’12’S STAR CONTINUES TO RISE IN SILICON VALLEY. IN MARCH, A PPL E ACQU I R E D WOR K F LOW, A
personal automation tool that enables the user to string together apps and functions to create workflows for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, which Weinstein developed with Conrad Kramer, Nick Frey and Ayaka Nonaka. “We are thrilled to be joining Apple,” Weinstein (center) said in a
statement. “We’ve worked closely with [them] from the very beginning, from kick-starting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can’t wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world.” Workflow won an Apple Design Award in 2015. –Meg Cohen Ragas ’85 Volume I 2017 |
NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
Raising Her Voice As the new president and CEO of Oxfam America, Abby Maxman ’84 embraces the opportunity to advocate for our people and planet during a politically volatile time. By Hannah Caldwell Henderson ’91
Abby Maxman ’84, with husband Charlie Danzoll and their three children—Michaux, 15, and twins Holling and Ana, 10—in the French Alps near Geneva, their home since 2014.
In the recesses of the 1984 yearbook, Abby Maxman’s senior page reveals an 18-year-old delighting in the company of her two dogs and a quote by Thornton Wilder: “My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.” Maxman can’t recall exactly how she chose this quote, but the latter half certainly speaks to her current disposition—and the sense of presence she exhibits in her life and work. As to inquiring “why or whither,” she’s made that a rule to live by. With a career in international humanitarian relief and development spanning 25 years, Maxman has traveled the world over, working to
address injustice and inequity. She estimates having visited between 60 and 70 countries, but admits she’s lost track at this point. This month, she assumes her new role as President and CEO of Oxfam America in Boston. After completing her under graduate degree at Colorado College, Maxman entered the Peace Corps and was assigned to a rural village in Lesotho as the AIDS epidemic was exploding. Nelson Mandela was still in prison and a strong movement against apartheid was underway. She recalls a local official calling her into his office to ask how she, a young college kid from the U.S., had the hubris to show up in his town and
think she could make things better. He challenged her to make an impact swiftly or go home. Maxman accepted the challenge and soon found she could make a real difference as an agriculture and community development worker. Her contributions were many, including securing funding to build a school for children with disabilities who were typically hidden away; setting up the first district milk collection center with the Ministry of Agriculture, which linked local farmers to the capital city’s milk production and provided milk processing; and organizing a school self-reliance program to replace a decades-old school feeding
program that was being phased out by the World Food Programme. “These experiences had a profound impact on me personally and professionally, in understanding issues of power relations at the local and national levels, and about blockers and enablers to positive social change,” she shares. Following short assignments in Zimbabwe and Washington, DC, Maxman went on to earn her Master of International Administration from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. In 1995, she joined CARE International, living in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, and Tbilisi, witnessing the atrocities of genocide, drought and corruption, as well as countless inspiring steps forward. Maxman worked side-by-side with women and families who had experienced the first-hand horrors of genocide, and yet mustered the strength and courage to resume food production and the rebuilding of social fabric at the communicty level. She helped devise political and structural solutions to institutionalize large-scale food security programs that kept more than eight million people from famine conditions, strengthening their resilience to drought and other shocks in Ethiopia. And she collaborated with families and communities to rebuild homes and livelihoods in Gonaives, Haiti, following the largest flood to hit the country in more than 40 years. Throughout her experiences, she has observed a common theme: “The incredible capacities of humanity to be generous, forgiving, and to work tirelessly to give their children a better life.” During the course of Maxman’s 22 years with CARE, her charge and territory progressively expanded, first to include East Africa and the Middle East, and eventually extending to the oversight of international programs and operations for CARE USA. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Secretary General of CARE International in Geneva, responsible for
the global governance of the confederation, organizational development, accountability, and oversight of the Secretariat’s functions. “Working with CARE has been an incredibly enriching, rewarding, and diverse experience, with new challenges and continuous growth and learning,” she reflects. Through Maxman’s work and travels, her resolve to make a positive impact on our people and planet
“So much of what I feel proud of, I attribute to GFS: my values, my principals, and the guiding adage, ‘seek first to understand, not to be understood.’” has only deepened. She sees this new opportunity at Oxfam America as the chance-of-a-lifetime, one that grants her a formal voice to advocate for policies that address inequities and injustices in our world. And she is particularly thrilled to be joining an organization that has invested so heavily in research—and is so disciplined about supporting its work with data. “I admire Oxfam America’s commitment to informed advocacy, as well as their ability to pivot and speak out boldly on issues that are consequential and timely,” she says. While she was interviewing for her new position, Maxman recalls being asked how she would feel about speaking out on issues facing the new administration, and thinking, “How would I feel? This is what I’ve been waiting for!” Maxman’s closest friendships began at GFS and continue today. She
describes a sense of deep resonance with Quaker values, and though she’s not a practicing Quaker, has sought out Quaker Meeting over the years when in need of solace and comfort. “So much of what I feel proud of, I attribute to GFS: my values, my principles, and the guiding adage, ‘seek first to understand, not to be understood.’” Her memories from GFS classrooms are hazy, but she describes the spirit of her experience—“an almost Socratic approach to life”—as seared into her personal and professional life. Maxman traces her drive to understand and address injustices in our world back to a seed that was planted at GFS, when she saw images of the famine in Ethiopia at an assembly, which are still vivid in her mind today. Now as a parent, with her children having attended a number of international schools, she realizes how unique her GFS experience was. “I only came across something similar to GFS for the first time recently, when we were looking at a Quaker school in Boston for one of our children,” she says. “I was reminded that being able to connect with adults without having symbolic or power structures in place is a big thing.” As Maxman embarks on the next phase of her professional journey, she reflects on our world today and the problems she sees as most pressing. “While apartheid itself sits in the rubbish bin of history, the trends of institutionalized segregation, inequality, and discrimination persist today,” she says. “And with incremental executive orders coming from the new administration, trends and threats to policy changes that disproportionately neglect or harm the poor (and the inherent racial discrimination therein), these problems are potentially deeper and more pervasive than the more overt days of apartheid.” It is with great poise, perspective and care that she begins to tackle these challenges as the new leader of Oxfam America. Volume I 2017 |
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Getting Creative in the Kitchen
Andrea Regli ’19 acts and sings an original song in the 1869 kitchen scene. THE IDEA GREW OUT OF ANNE GERBNER’S JANUARY TERM PLAYW RITING COURSE AND ANDREW WESTERHAUS’S
Advanced Music Composition class: To draw inspiration from primary source materials to create original
work in connection with Cliveden’s Living Kitchens project, an expansion of the Cliveden Conversations program, which brings regional and national speakers to the historic estate—built as a summer home for the Chew family in 1767, and site of the Battle of Germantown in 1777— to ignite conversations around race, history, and memory in Philadelphia. On April 28, 2017, GFS faculty, staff, parents, and members of the general public gathered at Cliveden to watch the students perform in the estate’s two historic kitchens, from 1869 and 1959. The scenes, written and performed by the playwriting class, evoked two very different eras in the home’s past, imagining the relationship between servant and mistress in 1869, and between cook and family member in 1959. The Advanced Composition students composed original music inspired by the kitchens: Maya Keren ’18 arranged a piece influenced by jazz music from 1959 (the year Cliveden’s “modern” kitchen was installed), and
Matthew Flynn ’19 wrote a piece of electronic music inspired by kitchen sounds, both of which were incorporated into the 1959 kitchen scene. Following the performances, the students discussed their plays and music with the audience. All of the characters portrayed were based on real people who lived and worked in the Chew family home, the details culled from historic documents. “We were trying to think about who was really doing the work in the kitchen,” said Moriya Dichter ’17, who wrote part of the 1959 scene and acted in the 1869 scene. Added Lucy Curtis ’17, who penned the majority of the 1869 scene: “People make history. You need to know who they were to put yourself in their shoes.” This creative arts collaboration connected the students to historical research and interpretation, beautifully highlighting the vitality, resources, and complex history of one of Germantown’s most storied homes. –Alyce Callison
Making Our True Selves Known IN JANUARY, THE GFS COMMUNITY WAS INVITED TO “BRING YOURSELF TO WORK DAY,” A CONCEPT INTRO -
duced by first grade teacher Hal Morra and Brandon Jones ’00, director of Upper School admissions and diversity recruitment. Co-clerks of the “Diversity + Integration” query, which is one of the areas being explored as part of the school’s Strategy Through Inquiry process, Morra and Jones encouraged faculty, staff, and students
to share their personal passions with the community, acknowledging that a variety of conditions may inhibit full self-expression. Prompted by the question, “What should people know about you?” participants exhibited hobbies, interests, and talents—from acting and singing abilities to quilting skills and Boy Scout Troop leadership—for their colleagues and peers. “Diversity work is hard for a lot of people, and it’s impossible without
trust,” says Morra. “I think part of building community is that you have to keep rebuilding and reworking. Helping our community feel strong and aware of itself requires a sense of self on a very personal level. It’s hard to do deep, difficult work with someone you barely know, so just getting to know each other in some fun and silly ways is a big step toward earning each other’s trust.” –Meg Cohen Ragas ’85
Highlights: Our Year of Inquiry THIS SCHOOL YEAR , WE HAVE ENGAGED THE EXTENDED GFS COMMUNITY— STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF, PARENTS, ALUMNI, FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS— IN CONVERSATIONS AND EXPERIENCES THAT ENCOUR AGED BOLD AND
innovative thinking about education and our role in preparing students to thrive in the GFS community and beyond. Thus far, we have included more than 1,300 people in 25-plus events, both on and off campus. We look forward to sharing the vision and directions that have emerged from this work in the fall. Many thanks to all who have joined us in this effort! –Hannah Caldwell Henderson ’91
(Clockwise from top left) Strategy Through Inquiry clerks at a letterpress studio, printing their carefully worded queries in preparation for a year of listening and discernment. A student in GFS’s Early Childhood Program shares his thoughts on the Community Input Wall in response to the prompt, “Awesome learning happens...” Middle and Upper School students reflect on life balance by charting the gaps between how they currently spend their time vs. their ideal allocation of time. The Living Systems Symposium at The Barnes Foundation on February 23, 2017, an event for Philadelphia area friends and alumni to reflect on what makes for thriving living systems. From left to right: Ryan Kuck, Greensgrow Farms; David Young, Cliveden; Scott Ritchie, SMP Architects; Mark Croxford, GFS environmental sciences teacher; Michael Williamson, GFS art teacher; and Dana Weeks, head of school.
Volume I 2017 |
Game Changers Three seasons of GFS sports ended with a few league championships, dozens of personal bests, and a whole lot of Tiger Pride. By Traci Taylor
SPRING HIGHLIGHTS Each program showed incredible motivation this season, showcasing what Germantown Friends School athletics are all about. “GFS had a historic spring,” said Director of Athletics Katie Bergstrom Mark. “We won two championships, and all of our programs made the playoffs. Our philosophy of success means that while certain student athletes are recognized for individual successes—AllLeague, All-State, Academic All-American—all of our team members work hard to achieve their best.” The Boys Tennis team was top seed in the Friends Schools League, and went on to win the FSL title for the first time since 2000. Freshmen standouts Henry Ruger and Danny Loder were key additions to the team this year, and Ruger’s undefeated season and Loder’s clinching match helped the Tigers win the championship. Said senior co-captain Jeremy Berman of the season overall, “Our team mantras have been ‘number one’ and ‘we have championships to win.’ We did not disappoint.” Berman and Tim Peterson ’18 improved their play all year and won at first doubles to help secure the 3-2 championship win. Boys Track and Field claimed the FSL championship for the eighth consecutive year and was dominant in the meet, with standout performances by Jack Lentz ’17, Alex Rittler ’17, Jonnie Plass ’17, and Nick Dahl ’17, to name just a few. GFS competed hard in the PAISAA Championships,
where the 4x800 relay team of Plass, Colin Riley ’18, Zach Goldberg ’18, and Dahl won with a state meet, recordbreaking time of 7:57.28. Girls Track and Field saw many athletes achieve personal bests, including Portia McKoy ’18, Teasha McKoy ’18, and Griffin Kaulbach ’17. The softball and lacrosse teams both managed to beat their opponents in the FSL semifinals, demonstrating incredible team effort—and landing them each a spot at champs. Softball held on until the last inning against Friends Select, eventually losing by one run; the Tigers without a doubt have a bright future with freshman Ava Sinai on the mound. Lacrosse succumbed to longtime rival Friends’ Central in the finals, but had some notable milestones to celebrate, amongst them Celia Meyer ’18’s 100th career goal and Corin Grady ’18's achievement of 400 career saves in the cage. Both were recognized as Academic All-Americans by US Lacrosse. The defense, led by Lindsey Golden ’18, was able to hold Shipley to four goals in the 5-4 semifinal upset. Baseball had a well-played season that landed them in the FSL semifinals against Shipley. Notable student athlete accolades go to Garrett Melby ’17, who broke the GFS record for all-time runs scored; Dylan Yachyshen ’17, who was named one of Southeastern PA’s high school pitching leaders; and Thomas Primosch ’17, who was one of SE PA’s high school hitting leaders.
reached 103 career wins this winter, finishing 43-4 for the As temperatures dropped, the intensity grew for the season, and was named All-American. Tigers. Winter was a season of change for some programs, and thrilling memorable moments for all. Assistant FALL HIGHLIGHTS Athletic Director Michael Lintulahti made his debut as The fall season was characterized by inspiring moments head Varsity Girls Basketball coach, unifying the team and fresh beginnings. GFS welcomed a few new coaches and laying the groundwork for future seasons. Varsity into the community, including Nakira Downes, who led Boys Basketball senior Michael Buckmire ’17 shined on the field hockey program through a fantastic rebuilding the court, scoring more than 1,000 career points and season (which included a 1-0 win over Friends’ Central, getting recognized with the Markward Club’s Ferguson with a goal by senior captain Livi Pinover, for a Felsen Award for Academics. Boys and Girls Squash teams had Cup point!), and Cailin DiGiacomo, who guided the Girls hardworking seasons as they competed often on the road Soccer team to a Quaker Cup victory. and in high-ranking competitions. For the first time in GFS The Boys Soccer squad had quite the standout season: history, nationally-ranked siblings Jack ’17 and Daisy ’19 They beat Shipley for the first time in nine years (1-0). Lentz were recognized with honors. Girls Tennis went 7-1 in the Friends Schools League, Members of the Girls Indoor Track team excelled this which earned them second seed in the semifinals, where winter, with Portia McKoy ’18 setting the school record in they beat Shipley. They ultimately succumbed to rival the 55m, Teasha McKoy ’18 setting a new school record Friends’ Central in the FSL Championship, but played a in the throw, and Griffin Kaulbach ’17 running an impres- well-executed match with a lot of heart. sive 5:17 at the Varsity Classic. The highlight of the Boys The Boys Cross Country team had a season that went Indoor Track season was without a doubt the dynamic down in the GFS history books. Nick Dahl ’17 (who will 4x800 relay team of Jonnie Plass ’17, Nick Dahl ’17, Colin compete for Yale in the fall) ran each race with focus, Riley ’18, and Daniel Stassen ’17, who set a GFS record winning the FSL title for the fourth year in a row. He was with a time of 7:47 at States, earning a US #2 ranking. also recognized as the MileSplit Cross Country Performer The Boys Indoor DMR (distance medley race) also set a of the week for his outstanding time of 15:23 at the George school record of 10:12, securing the US #3 spot. School Invitational, among his many accomplishments. The wrestling team had an outstanding season overall, Griffin Kaulbach ’17 led the Girls Cross Country team to but one wrestler stood out from the pack: Tunde Sogo ’17 a fifth place finish at the George School Invitational.
ABOVE: Varsity Track & Field athletes are honored on Senior Day. LEFT: The Varsity Boys Tennis team won the FSL Championship for the first time in 17 years. Volume I 2017 |
Expanding Our Circle of Friends A new tax credit program at GFS aims to make Quaker education more accessible. By Lisa Solinsky “It was an easy decision,” says Michelle Toll ’87 of her choice to support GFS through the Friends Education Equity Collaborative. “It allowed my husband and me to maximize our gift to the school and support student scholarships, while minimizing the impact on our personal finances. It was a simple way to help students get scholarship money needed for a Quaker education.” Businesses in Pennsylvania have long been able to support scholarships at Germantown Friends School in exchange for a state tax credit through the popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. But thanks to a new organization called the Friends Education Equity Collaborative, this tax-advantageous opportunity is now available to individuals as well. GFS is grateful to its donors who took advantage of these programs, contributing more than $500,000 in new scholarship dollars for students over the next two years. So what exactly is the Friends Education Equity Collaborative? Organized by a dedicated group of staff and volunteers of small Quaker elementary schools in the greater Philadelphia region, the Friends Collaborative was founded to make Quaker education more accessible and foster the growth of Friends education among a more diverse student population; a number of GFS alumni, including Peter Evans ’76, Joe Evans ’64, Dan Rosin ’88, and Jeff Markovitz ’88, were instrumental in the leadership of this group, or offered professional services pro bono. GFS’s Advancement Office served the Collaborative in an advisory role, and the Friends Council on Education was essential in organizing and advising the Collaborative member schools. “As a GFS alumnus and current parent, and a Plymouth Meeting Friends School parent and trustee, I understand just how critical this need is—not just at GFS, but across all Quaker schools,” says Markovitz. “It is so gratifying that GFS, in collaboration with 11 other Friends schools, has made such a meaningful impact.” In 2016, the Friends Education Equity Collaborative formed a Special Purpose Entity (LLC) to take advantage of changes in the EITC and OSTC programs, allowing individual investors to participate and receive state tax credits on up to 90 percent of their donations, as well as a federal tax deduction on the remaining 10 percent (see chart for example). On December 7, 2016, the Collaborative was awarded $750,000 of Pennsylvania tax credits in the EITC program,
An example of how a gift to GFS might look using the Friends Education Equity Collaboration program: PA Taxable Income of Donor PA Tax of Donor DONATED AMOUNT PA State Tax Credit 90% Charitable Deduction 33% Cash Out from Donor Tax Savings NET COST TO DONOR
$293,160 $9,000 $10,000 $9,000 $330 $10,000 $9,330 $670
and had 60 days to find qualified donors willing to help. Although GFS was not an original member of the Collaborative, the school was invited in January to share a portion of these credits—and secured nine donors to fulfill its allotment of the Collaborative’s tax credits. Their contributions are currently helping to support financial aid at GFS. (In late May, an additional $400,000 in tax credits were made available to the Friends Collaborative in support of scholarships.) “Kim and I are proud to support scholarships for GFS students,” says Adam Kamens ’89, who, with his wife Kim (parents of Spencer ’21), made a gift through the program in memory of Adam’s mother, Harriet Rothman. “My mother was a teacher as well as an artist, and to give a gift that ensures that deserving students receive the benefits of a GFS education in her name is a fitting legacy.” There are many options available for donors who wish to support scholarships at Germantown Friends School while receiving tax benefits, either as individuals or through a business. To learn more about joining the Friends Education Equity Collaborative, or participating in the EITC or OSTC tax credit programs, please contact Colette Kleitz, Director of Advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 951-2340.
Showing Their Tiger Pride—Again The fourth annual Tiger Giving Challenge soared to new heights in 2017, garnering 267 gifts totaling $16,043. From February 6-14, motivated and dynamic young alumni from the classes of 2002-2016 earned an additional $25,000 for GFS from challenger Ken Hellendall ’73, for a total gift of $41,043 to the Annual Fund, the most dollars raised yet in the four years since the challenge debuted. “I give back to GFS so that the school can move forward and help the next generation enjoy the same great education that molded me into the person I am today,” Hellendall said of his motivation to create the challenge. The Class of 2007 was triumphant, winning the Tiger Trophy for the third consecutive year. With Chaz Kelsh ’07 and Julia Miller ’07 leading the effort, the young alums secured a record-setting 33 gifts. “We are fortunate to have such a terrific class that doesn’t need much encouragement to give back to GFS,” Kelsh shared. “I think we all appreciate how much we received from our GFS educations and are eager to pay it forward.” –Amanda Reath ’89
WAYS TO GIVE TO GFS
BLUE ENVELOPE Use it to send cash, checks, or credit card gifts.
ONLINE Make a gift to GFS from your computer or mobile device.
SECURITIES GFS welcomes gifts of appreciated securities. You may avoid capital gains tax and take a charitable deduction for the full value of the stock.
BEQUESTS AND PLANNED GIFTS Name GFS in your will, or designate GFS as a beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k), or other retirement plans. This can help reduce your income and estate taxes.
PA STATE TAX CREDIT PROGRAMS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS The Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTC) allow eligible businesses in Pennsylvania to earn tax credits for contributions to qualified scholarship organizations like GFS.
FRIENDS EDUCATION EQUITY COLLABORATIVE Founded in 2016 to help make Quaker education accessible to a more diverse student population, the Friends Collaborative allows individual investors to participate and receive state tax credits on donations, as well as a federal tax deduction. See “Expanding Our Circle of Friends” (opposite page) for details. Volume I 2017 |
Annual Fund 101 The Annual Fund provides the working capital for the GFS operating budget; tuition alone does not cover the full cost of educating each student. When you make an Annual Fund donation, you can direct it to one of the following areas:
GREATEST NEED These gifts are invaluable to GFS, and allow the school to fund projects it identifies as highest priority.
GENERAL SCHOLARSHIPS Gifts directed toward scholarships help provide need-based financial aid.
ATHLETICS These gifts boost our athletics programs and teams. Go Tigers!
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS These donations directly support our excellent faculty and curriculum.
ARTS Support for the arts nurtures our many visual, dramatic and musical offerings.
Success! The GFS community responded swiftly to two fundraising challenges this year, allowing the school to achieve two major goals in February 2017. The Jonathan Cohen ’88 and Julia Pershan Challenge for Financial Aid This challenge matched 2:1 every dollar raised up to $250,000 for Upper School students from middleincome families in need of partial aid. Thanks to the numerous donors who stepped up in support of this growing area of need in our community, the total raised ($750,000, which includes the match) will fund Upper School partial scholarships for the next four years, beginning in the 2017-18 school year, benefitting 14 or more students. The Edward E. Ford Foundation Challenge This fundraising effort—for the development of a comprehensive, social justice-themed, community involvement-oriented curriculum—was achieved, thanks to an alumnus and parents of alumni. Over the next four years, faculty will craft and pilot this new interdisciplinary program, enabling students to study ideas, concepts and essential questions relevant to social justice, defined by a collection of courses, curricular lessons, experiential learning, classroom-based partnerships, partnerships with outside groups, and community involvement projects.
REFLECTIONS ON DEMOCRACY Ten alumni share their thoughts on America’s new reality, and how the current political climate has challenged or altered their ideals. Art and photography by GFS faculty and students
FE ATU R I N G
Jessica Brown ’84 Danny Ceisler ’10 Joan Countryman ’58 Paul Farber ’02 Ken Hellendall ’73 Linda E. Johnson ’76 John P. Relman ’75 Jeremy Ross ’69 Claire Saint-Amour ’17 Jacob Schwartz ’17 Volume I 2017 |
LIBRARIES: SOCIETY’S MOST DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS By Linda E. Johnson ’76 Germantown Friends School was founded in 1845, when religious persecution was, for the Quakers and others, a recent rather than a distant memory. The tenets of the school, and of the country—democracy and religious freedom—were still fragile. The future of the young nation’s grand experiment was far from assured. More than 150 years later, those tenets remain central to the curriculum. I learned about them in Lower School. But I did not learn about them merely as historical facts, principles that had been established long ago and would flourish forever more. At GFS, we were taught, and I continue to believe, that it takes constant work to maintain a democracy. This is something our nation’s founders were keenly aware of, even in the very moments of its inception. Leaving Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a passerby what sort of government we would have, a republic or a monarchy. “A republic,” he answered, “if you can keep it.” I have had the privilege of leading institutions that carry on the continual labor of democracy, tracing it from its point of origin into the present. I served as president of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and then the National Constitution Center, which educates the public about one of the finest documents human thought has ever produced. I am currently the president of the Brooklyn Public Library, one of the nation’s largest library systems. Libraries are society’s most democratic institutions, where all people have equal access to humanity’s accumulated wisdom and are free to read and learn and think about various points of view, including the many eloquent arguments that have been advanced through the centuries for and against democracy. At libraries, civic engagement is encouraged, intellectual rigor is celebrated, and controversial ideas are discussed in an open forum. The texts that constitute democracy’s lifeblood are made available for free to anyone with the imagination or inclination to consult them, and they take on new life for each generation of readers. In this, libraries demonstrate the link between language and freedom, democracy and literacy. A troubling feature of the current administration, in addition to its
assault on science and expertise, is its continual denigration of language. Our president does not believe that words are important, as evidenced by his abuse of them. Yet words are at the heart of diplomacy, which depends upon the ability of two parties to trust that the language they agree upon is imbued with meaning. When language is rendered meaningless by habitual lying and the propagation of “alternative facts,” diplomacy, and therefore peace, slide out of reach. I remain an optimist because of what I witness at the library every day. People continue to come here to do their best thinking and to engage with one another, which they have done in the past few months with renewed vigor. In January, we launched a 48-month discussion series on George Orwell’s 1984 and were quickly overwhelmed by the response, with every seat booked through October. It would seem that language and democracy, as inextricable as they are, still have their champions. But, just as in 1787 or 1845, the future of democracy still remains to be seen. We must carry on its work, by remaining curious and by encouraging reading and writing and informed discussion. We must also support institutions that allow everyone to participate in these essential democratic pursuits. I have not forgotten the motto of GFS: Behold, I Have Set Before Thee an Open Door. That sentiment is echoed in the inscription on the façade of Brooklyn’s Central Library: While men have wit to read and will to know, the door to learning is the open book. As long as that door remains open, and people continue to pass through, I believe that democracy will endure. A free and informed people remains its best hope, and a mortal threat to tyranny. These words were authored by one of the Library’s former presidents, who served through the turbulence of the First World War, right up until the outbreak of the Second. As I walk in and out of the doors every day, their meaning is renewed. If we are to keep our republic, we must fight to keep that door open for everyone. Linda E. Johnson is the President and CEO of the Brooklyn Library, one of the largest publicly-funded institutions in New York.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Ignorance is Bliss, 2015 (image transfer collage on board)
“I was inspired to create this piece because of our society's nature to avoid or shun any discussion of racism or grand-scale issues in other countries, Africa in particular. The image of a young Black girl, with her eyes painted over to hide her pain or humanity, is the definition of ignorance; we never see the people affected by these issues, and by hiding the girl’s eyes (or soul), we are able to live blissfully unaware.” –Anna Collins ’18
TEACHING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE (AND ALL ITS IMPERFECTIONS) By Jeremy Ross ’69 A recent writing assignment given to my senior U.S. History classes asked the students to analyze President Trump’s inaugural address as expressing contemporary populist ideas and themes. They were to use the 1892 Populist Party platform and the late Richard Hofstadter’s claim that American populism was less a coherent political ideology than a “paranoid style” of politics, expressing extreme nationalism, dislike of foreign people and ideas, simple explanations for complex events, and resentment of “elites.” As an example of an “elite” opinion dismissive of the feelings and thoughts of regular people, I provided the following excerpt from a 1924 column by H.L. Mencken: Democracy is that system of government under which the people, having 60 million native-born adult [men] to choose from, including thousands who are handsome and many who are wise, pick out a Coolidge to be head of the state. It is as if a hungry man set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies. The students successfully indicated their understanding of some of the economic and social forces that underpin populist eruptions, which was the chief goal of the assignment. A significant number also went on to join Mencken in expressing some alarm about the functioning of representative democracy in the U.S., viewing Trump’s election as a foolish—or worse—response to what may nevertheless have been genuine concerns for many Americans.
“It seems to me that the biggest electoral problems in the U.S. today are not too much democracy, but too little.” Since one of my duties is to challenge students and complicate their first thoughts in responding to a query, several things occurred to me as a rebuttal. First, the president, of course, is not elected by the people who vote on
the first Tuesday in November of an election year, but by the electors given to each State by the Constitution, equal in number to each State’s total congressional delegation. It is therefore of course possible, as happened this past November, for a majority of U.S. voters to vote for a candidate who does not win in the electoral college, by losing narrowly in key states while racking up huge popular vote totals in other states. The adoption by the constitutional convention of the Electoral College system was motivated chiefly by concerns about information barriers for 18thcentury voters, which today are obsolete. That system also did not at all contemplate the immediate appearance of national political parties. Whatever its relative merits and deficits, the Electoral College certainly is not “democratic” as ordinarily understood. To that extent if no other, the last election was not a defect of representative democracy. Second, the structure of the Constitution makes it very difficult for any president (absent an electoral tidal wave including Congress, as occurred during the first administrations of FDR and LBJ) to get whatever he wants. Even in a period of extreme partisanship such as now, members of Congress and the president have separate interests and electoral bases, as the failure of the proposed Trump/Ryan health care bill indicates. No president is capable of doing as much mischief as his most ardent opponent fears. Finally, it seems to me that the biggest electoral problems in the U.S. today are not too much democracy, but too little. Many states have passed laws that seem intended to suppress, rather than increase, participation by every eligible voter. Further, the effects of gerrymandering of congressional districts, which allows politicians to choose their voters instead of the reverse, is to discourage people from voting by implicitly indicating that their votes are either surplus to or insufficient in affecting the election results. If these barriers were eliminated, or even just reduced, I think that public life in this country would improve significantly. I certainly understand the response of many of my students to the election of Donald Trump. But in response to Mencken, let me offer Winston Churchill, speaking to the House of Commons in 1947: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Jeremy Ross teaches U.S. History to seniors at GFS.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Untitled, 2017 (acrylic paint on paper)
“The colors and order are that of the transgender pride flag, and the piece as a whole is an exploration of transgender bodies and physicality.” –Laila Okeson ’17 Volume I 2017 |
A LESSON IN CITIZENSHIP By Joan Countryman ’58 My father came home from work early on Election Days and often I joined him on his walk around the corner to the polling place to vote. During the weeks before each election, of course, our house received lots of leaflets and flyers from candidates, some I knew my parents were supporting, some I knew they weren’t. As we walked, my dad would warn me about the people standing on the street supporting candidates, and remind me that the ballot was secret and his vote anonymous, so we should just smile and thank the waiting poll watchers and take their literature. Inside I’d watch him greet the workers who signed him in, then stand politely outside the curtain while he went inside the booth to vote. I must have been in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Looking back, I
realize that those informal lessons in citizenship—conversations about the right to vote, the duties and responsibilities of a citizen, participation in civil society—shaped my understanding of democracy, nurtured an interest in student government, and eventually led me to join members of my generation in the ’60s to march into poor communities in the rural south and urban north to create and support organizations that promoted voting rights, quality education, and access to public accommodations. They also explain why I have seldom, if ever, missed an opportunity to vote since I became eligible, at age 21, in 1961—but grew in my understanding that voting itself is only a small part of what it means to participate in a democracy. John Dewey said that the purpose of education was not to fill vessels with knowledge but to free seedlings to grow. And the goal was to help create wise citizens in a free society. For Dewey, the experience of democ-
racy was central to effective education, and membership in democratic school communities would lead to a healthy society. Horace Mann, the “father of the Common [or Public] School,” had argued that education should be universal, non-sectarian, and free, and that public schooling was critical for democratic participation. Indeed, Mann said, “A republican form of government, without intelligence in the people, must be … what a madhouse…” These so-called “progressive educators” are remembered more for their focus on experiential learning than for their concern for healthy citizenship. My concern is that our democracy will only survive with access to excellence in education for every child. Joan Countryman came to GFS in 1970 to teach mathematics, eventually serving in administrative roles. She went on to be head of the Lincoln School in Providence, RI, and was founding head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
“I grew in my understanding that voting itself is only a small part of what it means to partcipate in a democracy.” –Joan Countryman ’58 HONORING THE RULE OF MAJORITY By Ken Hellendall ’73 Democracy, in modern usage, is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body. Democracy is sometimes referred to as “rule of the majority.” Last November, the majority spoke and elected
Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Our forefathers who began our democracy intended that “we the people” would select our president every four years in a democratic process. In more than 40 years of voting, I don’t recall ever being more concerned at the reactions of my fellow Americans than after the 2016 election. Immediately after the election, there were protests, schools and colleges closed for “days of reflection,” there was violence, and the bashing of the president elect began. This all took
place before a single policy was added or changed, before a single advisor was appointed or position filled. Please do not view this as my being a Trump supporter, but rather as a supporter of democracy. I did not believe in many of President Obama’s policies, nor do I believe in many of President Trump’s, but I was willing to listen and learn before making a decision. Were you? The Quakers believe, and we were taught at GFS, to treat everyone equally and with respect. This included people
Second Grade Artists, Warhol-inspired Peace and Love Prints, 2016 “Second grade artists, inspired by the work of Andy Warhol, made these prints. Warhol believed that creating repeated images stressed the importance of the subject; it elevated common symbols and subjects to stress their status and relevance. What could be more important than ‘peace’ and ‘love’?” –Heather Chu-Marvill, Lower School Art Teacher Volume I 2017 |
A Great and Sudden Change, 2016 (ink collage on paper) “The title of this work springs from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, ‘Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.’ I was reminded of this quote only after completing the collage, which I considered a response to a childhood memory of a dry thunderstorm, a storm at night with no rain. The elegance of collage lies in its juxtaposition and confluence of disparate parts in a single plane.” –Susan Lowry, Upper School Art Teacher
of all colors, races, and sexual orientation. It should also include those with liberal and those with conservative beliefs. The reactions by many after the recent election did not speak well to this equality nor to our democracy. If our democratic society is to continue, we must learn to appreciate all sides before making a decision or protesting. We should not assume, but rather reflect and consider. If we disagree, we should work with “the other side” to create change. During my tenure at GFS, I stood in many peaceful protests against Vietnam and apartheid. Protests are part of a strong democracy, and allow the citizens to let their voices be heard. There is no place for the type of violent protests we saw after President Trump’s election. You may be a democrat or perhaps a republican, or a libertarian, socialist, or independent, but we are all Americans. When our forefathers created our democracy, they did it for all. There are many who have fought to maintain our democracy through peaceful protests and military actions. We should honor them by allowing the process to take its course. Everyone should be heard and respected: that is democracy. The motto of the United States is “e pluribus unum.” It is Latin for, “Out of many, one.” It is time that we again become “one” nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Ken Hellendall and his wife Nancy operate a business in Cheltenham, where he is also director of the Cheltenham Township Emergency Medical Service.
DEMOCRACY AND FEAR By Claire Saint-Amour ’17 In December of my sophomore year, our teacher, Jim Barron, came into Roman History class and drew an upside-down V on the whiteboard, like an absolute-value graph or a crude picture of Mount Olympus. “This,” he said, pointing at the drawing, “is the trajectory of Roman history.” Under the left end of the V he wrote, Rape of Lucretia—Foundation of the Republic, which we had studied in September, and under the right end he wrote, Accession of Augustus—End of the Republic, which we wouldn’t learn until May. Under the peak of the V he wrote, Second Punic War. “What we are learning this week is the golden age of the Roman Republic,” Jim said. “After the Second Punic War, we enter the ‘decline-and-fall’ period; from there, it’s a straight line to the Empire.” This is a story Western civilization really likes to tell about itself: Golden Age, decline, fall. Edward Gibbon applied it to empires; Jim Barron and the liberal media apply it to democracies. I was a little wary, at first—the decline-and-fall narrative can fairly quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the law of entropy, the principle that the universe tends toward chaos, bears out that prophecy. If a functional democracy can be considered a site of localized order, then of course its tendency is towards
dissipation, towards a hierarchy governed less by law than by the basest parts of human nature. Of course a democracy has a natural half-life. The decline-and-fall narrative is also pretty consistently borne out by historical precedent. Ancient Athens rose briefly to democracy, arguably the only purely democratic government in Western history, before dissolving back into monarchy after the conquest of Alexander the Great. Rome, of course, failed to preserve the integrity of its Republic from the encroachments of executive power. For me, the most urgent question in the wake of November’s election was this: Is American democracy necessarily headed in the same direction? Do history and the laws of physics condemn us to a descent towards empire or, perhaps worse, anarchy? To answer this, I think we have to understand the causes of those precedent declines and falls. (“Human nature” seems an insufficient explanation for democracy’s impermanence, and “entropy,” though it works nicely as an analogy, isn’t an explanation at all.) So this is the way in which I’ve come to understand it. Rome lost its republic to fear. It wasn’t fear of the Gauls or the Carthaginians, the foreign enemies against whom they defended their borders. It was the fear patrician officials felt toward their own plebeian citizenry, an other within
their borders. Athens lost its democracy because its elites were afraid, not of the Spartans or the Persians, but of their own “silent majority.” Executive power was concentrated among elite administrators because those elites no longer trusted the people they governed. America’s liberal intellectual elite made a mistake last year, the same mistake Roman patricians and Athenian aristocrats made in the centuries BCE. We saw that our democratic values were under threat; we thought
that our nation’s “silent majority,” our internal other, was the source of that threat. But we had it the wrong way around. Far from being threatened, our democracy is defined by those internal others, and by the idea of internal otherness, which, at GFS, we know as diversity. If we’re really committed to democracy, then our job is not to renounce connection to the people who elected our current president. Instead, we have to place our trust in diversity and otherness and majority rule; we have to enfranchise
and educate and—perhaps most difficult of all—we have to learn. Maybe then we won’t be tied to an entropic model of democratic statehood, to the self-fulfilling prophecies of Western decline-and-fall narratives. This, I think, is my generation’s most immediate task. Without the mutualism, the respect for diversity, which exists in a true democracy, we will be utterly unable to meet the challenges we face as a nation. Claire Saint-Amour is a member of the GFS Class of 2017. She will attend Yale University in the fall.
THE CHALLENGES OF COLLECTIVITY By Paul M. Farber ’01 As a historian, I engage cities that are identified as beacons of complex freedoms: Berlin and Philadelphia. I study each locale as a source for my writing, teaching, and curating. Each city is positioned in the transnational public imagination as a site and symbol of freedom. These respective identifications can be traced back to iconic moments of democratic awakening, across multiple generations and epochs, that took place on the city’s streets and in its monumental buildings; these urban centers, too, evince the times in which repression operated as a dominant historical force. From enslavement to emancipation, sectarian conflict to social
movements for peace, erecting walls to building bridges, these dialectics continue to function as enduring landmarks in these cities. Neither city is complete without its stories of transcendence or reckoning, to be read in the continued cycles of time and layers of historical memory legible in the cultural landscape. Democracy lives in each city, as an affect and artifact, a form of testimony and continued longing. In either case, it bonds us to the challenge of collectivity. As writer Rebecca Solnit suggests, “Democracy requires us to co-exist in public.” When studying these cities, and others like them, a phrase has come
to me while I write over the years: Democracy is an incomplete construction. Its foundations lay firm and open; its fullest architecture has yet to be achieved. On the morning of November 9, 2016, the day after the election, I set out to teach two of my history seminars at Haverford College: “Visual Histories of the Civil Rights Movement” and “How to Build a Monument.” Each class was structured not as a rigid timeline of progress attained, but in a series of movements, pathways, and returns. I had been inspired to think of history in this way by a book I read as a GFS eleventh grader, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Untitled, 2017 (collage and acrylic paint on canvas) “I based my collage on a quote [from James Joyce’s Dubliners]. I wanted to represent a map of the city on one side (the right) and rural area on the other side (the left). The white space between the two sides is meant to represent the separation between the two environments. The painted lines are meant to represent the river from the quote, and the painted lower-right corner is meant to represent the chaos of silence and loneliness. The piece is made from images of the Irish countryside and maps of Dublin cut into pieces and glued onto the canvas.” –Ellie Zack ’17
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to acknowledge for my students in each class that the world operates “not like an arrow, but a boomerang.” The book, which I continue to keep close on my bookshelf, gave me strength to prepare a short lecture on a weighted day, one that was one of my most challenging as a professor. My entry point: I shared a litany of dates drawn from Berlin, all pacing the city’s November 9’s historical trajectories. I recalled a series of dates that speak to the profound tides of history, in Berlin or anywhere: I reminded my students that on November 9, 1938, on a night now known as Kristallnacht, German Jews were terrorized in their homes, libraries, businesses, places of worship, and on the streets, sparking an unfathomable wave of violence and suffering. This was the last day a status quo would hold onto a semblance of peaceful order for marginalized communities in Germany. Several epochs later, I told them, on November 9, 1989, East Germans dismantled the Cold War boundary of the Berlin Wall, in a bullet-less revolution, that brought down a vicious concrete border in a city scared by its own divisions. In doing so, they
pushed history open like a portal, and invited a generation who grew up with no experience of an open Berlin to see a world without walls, and break apart a border and state of mind. Neither one of these dates finished the construction of democracy. Both, together, served as reminders of our strange inheritances and immense work of social justice. On that day in November 2016, I invited my students to weigh their commitments and solidarities, and to seek historic forms of healing over derision and division. After the short lecture, we also sat in silence until members of the class were moved to speak, to heed and break the quiet, as necessary. We spent the entire class period listening to one another, reflecting back on and forecasting ahead the possibilities of our collective visions. That day, after I lectured, I looked to my students for guidance. I told them I did not see them as individuals who needed my historical framing to proceed, but invited them to be beacons in their own right. I told them what I believed: I had to try to learn from them, more vigorously and earnestly than ever before. I stood by that
idea, as my best teachers had done for me. Together, I relayed, we held the possibilities for what would come next. Our words, actions, and convictions, before and after November 9, could push and hold up our current historical arc. That is the truth of the world, in which co-existence endures over myths of individual person or moment. Democracy compels such conviction and toil; the work continues. Paul M. Farber, PhD, is a historian at Haverford College and the author of Boundaries of Freedom: An American History of the Berlin Wall (forthcoming from University of North Car0lina Press). He is also the artistic director of Monument Lab, a public art and history project based in Philadelphia.
THE FLAG OF DEMOCRACY By Jake Schwartz ’17 I have always thought of democracy as a fairly sturdy thing, but, like a flag in the wind, it changes direction at the whim of the world, and is never too steady for too long. I have clear memories of a train station in Camden, NJ, back in 2008, propped up on my dad’s shoulders watching Barack Obama speak so clearly and so directly to the people that even a 10-year-old could vaguely follow along, at least to his main theme of hope. Hope is something everyone can comprehend, even a kid whose only worries were how he would make friends in Middle School. Democracy is a powerful force, and one that I think plays a bigger role in people’s lives than they appreciate. By 2012, I was old enough to truly understand what was happening around me, and GFS was buzzing with election-year excitement. There were units in American History and readings in English devoted to the election, and democracy was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. After the election, there was elation in the air, and a definitive feeling that the col-
lective body of GFS had won. That is the inherent problem with being part of a community that is as polarized as GFS: Everyone feels the exact same way at any given time. At times of victory for our community, such as 2008 and 2012, the feeling of excitement and hope throughout the school was tangible, and ignited the whole community. Hope, however, only goes so far. I was hoping that high school would be a breeze. I was hoping I would get into one of my top colleges. I was hoping Donald Trump wouldn’t win the presidency. After staying up all night on November 8, I was expecting the next day at school to be a blur. Instead, I have memories from that day I will never forget. We held a special Meeting for Worship that morning, and never have I ever heard more raw and unfiltered emotional despair. Walking into school on November 9 was like walking onto the set of a horror movie: Everywhere you looked, everyone had the same empty, zombie-like expression on their face. The image I will remember above all others, however, is seeing some of the strongest people I know, students and
teachers, walking around campus that day unapologetically crying, unable to contain such powerful emotions. I think it is fair to say the political wind has shifted. Polarized as ever, GFS is united in its opposition to America’s current political reality. For many, these last six months have changed their expectation of politics— and of democracy as a whole. For me, the flag just changed direction; it will whip back around, it always does. Democracy is tougher than most people give it credit for. It is by no means perfect, but I undoubtedly think it will survive environmental harm, it will survive social divides, and it will come out of the next four, or possibly eight, years stronger than ever. The flag of democracy is never at halfmast. Jake Schwartz is a member of the GFS Class of 2017. He will attend American University in the fall.
LEFT: RESIST, 2016 “This photo was taken in Easton Cemetery, a historic, garden-style cemetery. The original image had the phrase REST carved into the top of the gravestone. I had this image in my head for a few days before it came to me to alter it in Photoshop and clone the current typeface into RESIST. I’m sure our current political climate can take credit for guiding me toward making this visual adjustment.” –Robert Reinhardt, Middle School Art Teacher OPPOSITE PAGE: Women’s Rigts, 2017
“I took this photo at the Philadelphia Women’s March in January. I was taking pictures of different signs, and thought the little girl was powerful. I printed it in black and white because it really emphasized the message and was more aesthetically pleasing.” –Lilly Dupuis ’17
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PRACTICING DEMOCRACY IN SCHOOLS By Jessica Brown ’84 In many Middle School classrooms across the country, teachers introduce a poem by George Ella Lyon called, “Where I’m From,” and students use it as a prompt to write creatively about their experiences and background, giving voice to where they come from. For some, especially in our public schools, education presents challenges: We are from 33 students in a classroom. We are from multiple languages spoken and cultures from all over. We are from empty school libraries but experience authors like Allende, Smith, Tan, Achebe, Malala, and more. We are from caring environments and different places, classes, races, sexual orientations and political outlooks. We are from high stakes accountability. We are from resources that we know are not equally divided and yet still we succeed. With all of the obstacles that many, but not all, public schools face—lack of funding, teacher shortage, standardized testing, and such—it is a more critical time than ever to be intentional in building our classrooms as democratic
“Democracy is a developing concept, and means not only the right of all citizens to participate in the political process, but equal opportunity for all citizens to develop their potential fully.” communities. Without teaching the skills of cooperation and active citizenship, we are doing a disservice to our children if we want to prepare them to experience true democracy.
Democracy is a developing concept. For me, it means not only the right of all citizens to engage in the political process, but also equal opportunity for all citizens to develop their potential fully. At the present time, we are not there, but I have confidence that we are working toward these goals. I believe that the most important route to a robust democracy is through education, when students have the space to examine competing ideas and the freedom to participate. Last month, I visited a fifth grade classroom that was studying fish. Groups of five students sat at their desks, clustered together in a tiny room, listening to the teacher introduce the concepts they were studying. All 33 students waited eagerly to hear about zebrafish. A small fish tank was distributed to each group to observe. As they watched, the teacher talked about how scientists have found the DNA code (sequence) of a zebrafish similar to the sequence of the human gene. Guiding questions were posed to the students: Which fish was female and which was male? What type of fish will the offspring be? The students formulated hypotheses based on prior knowledge, assumptions, and predictions. Each fifth grader argued his or her viewpoint. One student determined that the zebrafish was male because it was aggressive, while another student in the same group argued that the color of the fish determined gender. The children tested their ideas and expressed their opinions eloquently. Next, they recorded observations, which would later be turned into data, from which they would draw conclusions. Not only were the students engaged in the scientific method, but they were practicing how to consider different interpretations. The bundles of connections that the students made during the lesson were powerful. They were learning activities and moments that no standardized test can capture. These are Dewey moments: John Dewey understood that doing is creating meaning, and his pedagogy is just as meaningful now as a century ago. It is this type of deep thinking in our education, of asking essential questions to make meaningful connections, that our democratic nation should be pursuing—and which will be remembered, repeated and passed on by our children. Jessica Brown is the principal of the Julia R. Masterman School in Philadelphia.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Hope, 2017 “This photo was taken at the Women’s March in Washington, DC. When I [took it], the main thing I was thinking about was how unified everyone was that day. It was really great for all of us to be so united, and it allowed me to see how much stronger we are when we all [stand] together.” –Lily Zukin ’18
THE BURDEN OF DEMOCRACY By Danny Ceisler ’10 Democracy is a burden. It is a burden because the great freedom that a democractic society affords its citizens comes with an even greater responsibility to maintain it. If people don’t make it work, it will wither and die along with the rights and privileges we’ve all come to take for granted in a democratic society. What does it mean to make democracy work? It’s simple. There are really only three things that a person needs to do: Stay informed, stay involved, and do something to make your community a better place. Fortunately for us, we have the First Amendment, affording us easy access to information. However, just having access to news isn’t enough. Free press only strengthens a democracy when people actually take the time to stay informed and develop opinions on how our country is being governed. The next step is to get involved, and politics is a great place to start. Politicians get a bad rap... and often for good reason. That’s why it is so important for people to get into politics for the right reasons. In order for the government to make positive change, it needs to be populated by good people with selfless agendas. So, run for office one day!
Or, if that’s not your thing, support good candidates and campaigns you believe in. We all have to commit to doing something—that is our most important responsibility as American citizens. And there are many ways to contribute: Become a teacher and instill good values in the next generation of citizens, serve in the military, start a business, support charitable causes… the possibilities are nearly endless. If too many people fail to shoulder these responsibilities, our country will cease to be a true democracy. Sure, it might still look like one. We might still hold elections, we might still have three branches of government, but the interests of the people will be replaced by the interests of the people who stayed informed and involved—and had the means to bend the democratic process to accommodate their narrow interests. And the worst part? No one will be able to tell the difference because, at that point, too many people will have lost a grip on what representative government should look like. We have it in our power to avoid that future. Danny Ceisler served as a military intelligence officer with a Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. He is currently a law student at Temple University. Volume I 2017 |
WHY WE CANNOT WAIT By John P. Relman ’75 We come together at a critical time for the civil rights movement. The post-election shock and grief may have abated somewhat, and emotions may be less raw than they were last November, but the sense that the unthinkable has happened has not changed. Every day the breaking news alerts bring new challenges. Each one seems more urgent, and more in need of response than the one before. The day after the election, I gathered our law office together. This was my message: We are grieving; we are hurting; we are in shock and disbelief. It is OK to share these emotions, to talk about our feelings, to shed tears, to lean on each other as we confront a deep sense of loss. But there are three things we have to remember, I said.
hold sacred. The Voting Rights Act. The Fair Housing Act. Workplace protections. Disparate impact. Affirmatively furthering. We must stand together as never before. We should not delude ourselves about what we are facing. We are in for a rough ride. I expect as rough as I have seen in my lifetime. But that is the nature of democracies. As President Obama observed, democracies don’t move in straight lines. They twist and turn, double back, and just when you think you have lost ground, you find yourself with a new path to ever-higher ground. This is the third thing to remember. The civil rights movement has been a long struggle. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
“The history of our movement teaches that those who seek to divide and exploit, they come and they go. Justice endures.” First, remember that we have been through this before. For those old enough, you remember Ronald Reagan, Ed Meese and Brad Reynolds. Theirs was a systematic attack on civil rights. We survived and came back stronger. There was eight years of George W. Bush. Torture; Guantanamo; Cheney, Rumsfeld, roll backs on civil rights and conservative appointments to the High Court. We survived and came back stronger. We are about to be under assault again. But we have been there before. And we will come back stronger. We have been on the offensive for the last eight years, thanks in large part to the leadership of President Obama, and the committed, talented men and women who have worked under him at the Department of Justice and HUD and the CFPB and many other agencies. The wind has been at our back, and great progress has been made. But here is the second thing to remember: If you thought what you were doing the last eight years was important, what you are now about to do will be far more important. You will be playing defense. Defending the hard won gains of the civil rights struggle. Protecting all that we
Four years may seem like a long time right now. We have to focus one day at a time, first on tomorrow, and then next week and next month. We will make it through the next two years with hard work, sacrifice and commitment. Twenty-two months from now we will flip the Senate, halt Trump and Bannon in their tracks, rally around a new leader of our cause and party, and then take back the White House in 2020. That was my message last November. Much has happened since then. All of it has confirmed what I felt then and believe is required now. We have to fight! We must not give in, give up, or appease. We know what Trump stands for. We have to fight the alt-right and what they stand for. We must not let them hijack our country. Not now, not ever. In the short time since January 20, we have shown our mettle. Important victories have been won. The Muslim travel ban stopped dead in the courts. Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act defeated. Protests are taking place in Washington and in cities across the country. The Russia investigation is gaining momentum. It will not take much for the wheels to come off the
Hope at Hoops, 2008 “Hoops Barber Shop was a place where you came to connect with the community, listen to stories, laugh, cry or just to rest. It was a place you felt safe to be yourself before returning to the outside world. Once I lost $20, either at the shop or on the way there; I was supposed to use the rest for groceries for my mom. I told Charlie, the barber and owner, and he gave me $20 out of the register; I will never forget that gesture of kindness. Hoops was more than a haircut, it was a reset or a rebirth that inspired and encouraged you to do better, love yourself a little bit more, and love and uplift others.” –Michael Koehler, Upper School Photography Teacher Volume I 2017 |
Trump White House and the Republican Congress. Both are morally bankrupt, transparently incompetent, and unfit to lead. As the war within the party grows—between the traditional conservatives in the Freedom Caucus and the Bannon white nationalists in the White House—the likelihood of passing meaningful legislation diminishes. Trump was elected in part because he promised to get things done. It will be clear soon enough that he does not
know how to enact his agenda. As that realization sets in, we will be in position to win back the House. We need to flip only 22 seats. As important as it is to focus on the practical, immediate challenges, always remember the long view. The history of our movement teaches that those who seek to divide and exploit, they come and they go. Justice endures. I know the road ahead looks long and uncertain. We will be tested by ever-stronger headwinds that are
coming. We will rise to this challenge, just as we have done before, and just as those before us have done. As Dr. King told us so many times, we will overcome. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. John P. Relman is the founder and director of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, a civil rights law firm in Washington, DC. This is an excerpt from a longer speech he gave on April 5, 2017, in San Raphael, CA, to civil rights advocates on the path forward for fair housing under President Trump.
End Protest Unite, 2015 (image transfer collage on board) “While I was creating this work, a big issue in society was police brutality. It is still prevalent today, but while I was working on the project it really spoke to me. Not only was I astonished at how certain policeman were treating civilians of color, but time after time the judicial system not only let me down, but so many others as well. I felt that my project should be one of protest, but also a cry for justice.” –Teasha McCoy ’18
A FOND FAREWELL After a notable career spanning 30 years and five different roles, Rita Goldman retires from GFS—and the community responds. “Rita’s intellectual power, good will, and seemingly indefatigable energy have impacted every aspect of our community. It is no exaggeration to say that Rita has—with grace, good cheer, and professionalism— worn more hats at GFS than can be easily imagined, and her work has been invaluable. Her retirement is a particularly bittersweet moment for me because, in addition to her immeasurable institutional impact, Rita has been a trustworthy confidante, a gifted mentor, and an unwavering advocate. More so, and I believe I speak for our entire GFS community, Rita has been a dear and treasured friend.” –Dana Weeks, Head of School
WHEN RITA GOLDMAN WAS APPOINTED GERMANTOWN FRIENDS SCHOOL’S FIRST DIRECTOR OF MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS IN 1999 FOLLOWING A NATIONAL SEARCH, THEN HEAD OF SCHOOL DICK WADE WROTE IN A MEMO TO FACULTY
and staff: “It is clear that we are fortunate to have someone of Rita’s knowledge, experience, and stature to lead us in our renewed effort to promoting diversity at GFS … I am confident Rita will offer the vision, the energy, and the honesty necessary to move us to the next level.” And indeed she did: Goldman created and led the school’s Diversity Day program and helped pave the way for GFS as a national leader in multicultural education—including when it was honored in 2003 with the NAIS Leading Edge Award for Equity and Justice. She has brought intelligence, grace and compassion to all of the positions she has held during her 30-year tenure at GFS: Associate Director of Admissions and Director of the Community Scholars Program; Director of College Counseling; Principal of Upper School; and Associate Head of School, to name the other four. As the following testimonies prove, she was loved and respected—and will be missed—by many.
“Rita gave me my first lesson in how carefully deployed grace, elegance, and, most of all, humor could get things done. She is always poised, and I think I'm probably not alone in saying that I'll always remember her humor. Not frivolous, a joke-forthe-joke’s-sake humor, but humor as a palliative for a hard truth, or to soften up an admissions director. Or maybe, most of all, just to show warmth. Thank you, Rita.” –Jeff Stern ’03 “I’ve known Rita quite intimately as a colleague and friend. We’ve shared meals together and family gatherings. Justin Goldman was my college advisee, and we sat at my dining table hammering out the framework of his college essay that got him admitted to Brown University. Kara Goldman was my assistant in the art studio at the Creative Arts at Springside Camp. For many summers, Rita, Meg Goldner Rabinowitz, and I would spend a week traveling the country visiting colleges and universities in our roles Volume I 2017 |
Goldman at her desk in the Admissions office in 1989.
as college advisors. We laughed a lot on these trips. I’ve spent countless hours on countless committee meetings either at Rita’s house or at school. Often we’ve argued about any number of things, but more often we nod in agreement and finish one another’s sentences. We have shared tremendous joys and life-altering losses over these past 27 years. I will miss Rita not calling me ‘Miguel.’ Whenever I hear the song ‘Brick House,’ I will smile and think of Rita. Rita is an institution at GFS and has had such a positive influence on policy and procedure in her [many roles]. She has been a consistent voice of wisdom, holding this community to the very highest ideals of Quaker values. Rita abhors complacency. Always, always, her voice, her comments, lead us toward upholding the highest ideals of equality, fairness, and compassion. Rita is truly led by the spirit, a power beyond the temporal. At GFS, Rita has been that voice at the forefront, reminding students, colleagues, parents, and alumni that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’” –Michael Williamson, Upper School Art Teacher “Rita cares deeply about her students and is invested in the success and well-being of each and every one. She embodies what a brilliant, strong and compassionate leader looks like. On a personal level, I owe so much to her. When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, Rita stepped up to ensure that I had the support of my
teachers, advisors, and the broader community, and personally supported me every step of the way. She has been a powerful advocate and role model for me. Rita has made GFS a better place. It won’t be the same without her dedicated and compassionate leadership, but the effects will be felt for years to come.” –Isabelle Linguiti ’13 “Rita and I met 25 years ago in a cross-school discussion of racial issues in Quaker schools. We have partnered happily over this work ever since. We love to discuss complex school situations, analyze the dynamics and identity issues in play, problem-solve, argue from different perspectives and experiences, and celebrate and console each other as dramas unfold. Rita makes diversity work fun, doable, rich, and fascinating. Her commentary is hilarious, her compassion is deep and unfailing, and her judgment is keen about what’s at stake—and who’s at the stake! In meetings and conferences, she can spot and name tricky issues, call for clarity and directness, empower those at the margins, and protect the vulnerable while keeping everyone accountable. Rita’s legacy is very powerful, especially as a woman of color and a woman of faith who has inspired several generations. GFS has been blessed by her leadership.” –Pat Macpherson, English teacher at the Westtown School, former GFS English teacher and Emeritus member of the School Committee
“Three words come to mind when I think of Rita: integrity, levity, and love. Each describes my feelings and experiences with her during my time at Germantown Friends School. Integrity: From my first time meeting Rita when I was in ninth grade, she demanded that I live with integrity. She did not give me long lectures. She did not scold me. Instead, she taught by example. I felt Rita’s presence and encouragement throughout the halls of GFS. Rita constantly reminded me that I was not a guest in a stranger’s house. She made me feel that I belonged. Levity: In 2006, when Rita took over as Upper School Principal, she hosted an evening for the families of Community Scholars. Our meeting took place in the new Hargroves Center. Alumni had come back to campus to be present. As the meeting got underway, Rita turned to us and said, “It’s so cold in here. They need to turn the heat up!” A few of us looked at each other, turned to Rita, and said, “Rita, you are they.” The meeting was in full swing, and we were in a corner failing to suppress our laughter while reveling in the irony and humor. It was a beautiful moment. Love: For many reasons, my mother did not feel comfortable coming to campus. After one of her visits with Rita, I remember her coming home and saying, “That Rita woman is really nice.” I will never know exactly what my mother witnessed or experienced, but it was an important moment for
which I am forever grateful. Rita effortlessly extended With deep gratitude and love, Karen Barbarese, Upper love and support at every turn during her time at GFS.” School Administrative Assistant –André Robert Lee ’89 “I want to highlight Rita’s talents as writer and public Dear Rita, A quarter of a century has passed since I first speaker. Rita is a pro, an ‘old school’-style orator with a rare laid eyes on you. You came trotting out from the college and wonderful gift for language. She knows the power of office with that sly smile and those devilish eyes, and I a pause and the delight of a rhyme. In Monday Morning knew, right then, that I was drawn to you … but what I Assembly or in her office, her stories made us think—and couldn’t have imagined in 1992 was that in 2017, I would often made us laugh. As Upper School Principal, Rita still be watching you scoot down the front hall, with that commemorated the senior class by giving her speech same sly smile and those same devilish eyes that now entirely in rhyming couplets. But just as often, Rita made hold 25 years of stories, memories, and a lasting friend- us reflect with reverence on a moment or person. Rita ship between us. So, humor me, my friend, and allow me found the right language for every occasion, using finely rendered insights, powerful biblical injunctions (‘Judge to reminisce for a moment: Sitting in that enormous hallway on Anderson Street, not lest ye be judged!’ or ‘Who shall cast the first stone?), surrounded by cartons (laughing, laughing, and some- and sharp colloquial ripostes (It ain’t that simple!). times crying) … “That’s nice…” (laughing, laughing, and What we didn’t hear from Rita was an abundance of sometimes crying) … Watching your mom strut her stuff education jargon. I don’t recall hearing the terms ‘multiple (and her hat) down the middle of Germantown Avenue by modalities,’ ‘mission-critical,’ or ‘schemas.’ If she did use herself, having just moved to Philadelphia after a lifetime a trending word, she’d often cite the source: ‘what Angela in New York (laughing, laughing, and sometimes crying) … Duckworth calls GRIT.’ Collapsing on your couch, every afternoon, to unwind and Authentic and polished, Rita never sounds like anyone decompress (laughing, laughing and sometimes crying) … else but herself. She respects precision and insists on Road trip to David’s wedding—amazing we ever got there clarity. Rita once told me that she was raised in a home where she was expected to speak “the Queen’s English.” In turn, Rita has passed on her love of language to her children: her daughter Kara was the editor of Earthquake and her son Justin wrote for his college paper. For 30 years, Rita’s way with words has influenced the wider school community and gratified those of us in the English Department. Rita leaves us a vital legacy of speaking truth to power—with clear language, resonating with warmth, and acknowledging the spirit of our community.” –Anne Gerbner, Upper School English Teacher and Director of Independent Study
“Rita earned authority through deep personal relationships. She understands how empathy and humor enable connection between colleagues far beyond the shared workplace. In other words, she builds community.” –Richard L. Wade
(laughing, laughing, and sometimes crying) … Camden Aquarium Prom—standing paralyzed, mesmerized by what we were watching on the dance floor (laughing, laughing, and sometimes crying) … Our post-graduation lunch tradition—you, me, and Elissa, and sometimes extras (laughing, laughing and sometimes crying) … The blind leading the blind—literally (laughing, laughing, and sometimes crying) … “Brick House” (laughing, laughing, and, once upon a time, dancing) … And, of course, our daily check ins with one another (laughing, laughing, and sometimes crying). So, my friend, I end where I began, not quite able to imagine what this next quarter-of-a-century will hold for us. But I do know that whatever it is, we will be doing it together … Laughing, laughing and sometimes crying.
“Rita Goldman is no less than the face of the GFS community. For 30 years her smile and laughter have defined our school. How did she do it? What are the key ingredients of her leadership? Preparation is a priority. Rita reads voraciously. She is knowledgeable about trends in education, child development, college admissions. Monday assemblies and parent meetings where she has been the speaker reflected this quality of preparation. I saw first hand the scripts she brought to these audiences, always accompanied by an engaging smile and just the right touch of humor. I also had the pleasure of co-teaching an elective course in psychology with Rita. Our training having been some time ago, we were both challenged by the scientific orientation demanded by the course. I counted on her to carry us most of the way through! And she did! Leadership requires presence in every sense of the word. Woody Allen commented that 90 percent of success is showing up, and Rita seldom missed after-school events, despite all the pressures on her time and health. She Volume I 2017 |
earned authority through deep personal relationships. She understands how empathy and humor enable connections between colleagues far beyond the shared work place. In other words, she builds community. Rita’s contribution to the Quaker character of the school has been extraordinary. Watching her deftly lead faculty meetings over the years, I saw her employ Quaker process to involve her colleagues passionately in shaping the life of the school. Others in leadership have made unique contributions. But GFS is known nationally for its diversity and multicultural character. Leaning into the conflict that this effort stirred within the community was perhaps Rita’s crowning achievement and legacy. And now for a Motown shout out: “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day/When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May/I guess you’ll say/What can make [us] feel this way?/Rita. Talking about Rita.” –Richard L. Wade, former GFS Head of School, 1992-2012
a brief part of her career, and like so many, many others, I will miss her. –Ellen Berman, Administrative Assistant to the Associate Head of School
“Rita! I can't imagine my life at GFS without her. We worked in so many areas together—and I have so many memories. But as I thought about sharing one or another, I kept thinking, ‘No, this is too personal,’ ‘No, this would embarrass so-and-so,’ ‘No, that experience was way too intense to remember publicly.’ Finally, I realized, Rita’s gift has been that she always creates such a safe space that folks meeting with her feel they can share their experiences freely. Rita makes each person feel that she really understands what he or she is feeling. And then she helps them understand how others might feel differently. Rita helped me understand what it meant to be a white person. I watched her meet with parents who were deeply anxious about their children’s antics, and she made them feel that she understood their worries in her heart. She anticipated hostile responses and defused them before they could happen. Rita makes our Quaker values work.” –Florence Battis Mini, retired GFS Classics teacher
“It was 14 years ago that I interviewed for a position at Germantown Friends School. During the course of the day, I met and talked with many pillars of the GFS community. Those meetings were laden with all the anxieties associated with looking for a job in the field of education, and after the position was offered and accepted, I pretty much let the experiences of the day gradually fade from my mind. However, one session from that day remains vividly with me: my meeting with the Director of Multicultural Affairs, Rita Goldman. Her effortless and calming smile, her leaning forward to engage me when she talked, the implicit welcome of her demeanor brought me to a different place than the other encounters I had that day: Rita took me out of a job interview and brought me instead into a conversation about common interests, shared visions, and spiritual convictions. The personal bond she generated between us that day has only strengthened over the course of the intervening years. My working association with Rita was likewise the consequence of a fortuitous coincidence: She became principal of the Upper School the same year I became a grade advisor. Our weekly meetings, during which her example inspired and her mentoring was gentle but firm, instilled in me a resolute purposefulness to let Quaker practice be my guide in my interactions with students, parents, and colleagues. Whenever I failed in that determination, Rita was there to pick me up and light the flame anew. The real blessing of our friendship—and that is what our association has become—has been my ability to share my faith with her. Rita has offered me spiritual light and comfort through family tragedies and loss; she has guided me through trial and doubt, and has shown me how to do the very difficult work of caring for an aging parent through infirmity and illness, offering the labor of love as a sign of faith in the God who calls us to such work while strengthening us to do it.
“Here are a few of the things I will miss the most about Rita (in no particular order): Her sense of humor; her institutional memory; her execution of a perfect three-point turn on her scooter; her initial resistance to getting an iPhone and then becoming totally hooked; her never saying no to a meeting, no matter how full her calendar might be; her “open door policy” (except the door never stayed open for very long due to the steady stream of people wanting to see her); her warmth and way of making people feel instantly comfortable in her presence; her ability to remember the name of just about every student, parent, and faculty member she ever worked with; her love of music; her request for soup every Monday (which always seemed to be chicken noodle); her inability in spite of herself to stop being a news junkie; her tirelessness, resilience, and dedication to GFS. I feel fortunate to have worked closely with Rita, even if only for
“I always had trust in Rita’s moral compass. She never veers away from calling it as she sees it, and at the same time, develops constructive paths forward to solve demanding issues. She has extremely high standards and can be tough when it is called for. At the same time, no one has greater kindness, empathy, and compassion. Rita’s humor is legendary. Her laugh always brought perspective when we were taking ourselves too seriously. Her devotion to her job, to always bringing her best each day, inspired me. She never made excuses, even when dealing with MS and its effects on her energy and wellbeing. What a loss for GFS, but so happy for Rita to start her next adventure in life.” –Della Micah, retired GFS Director of College Counseling
Whenever I pass through the front hall and glance at Rita’s open door and see her pouring through her endless stream of emails, I recognize that GFS would be so much less of what we love and prize about ourselves without her; or, put the other way around, GFS has become better in every way because of her. I know I have.” –Jim Barron, Upper School Classics Teacher and Eleventh Grade Advisor Dear Rita, We first met more than 30 years ago when our children were students at GFS. While I could share many stories/anecdotes of our time together, I will just mention two, and then close with three quotes by my favorite poet and author, Maya Angelou. I vividly remember many of our administrative group meetings, from 1990-2000, when you, Michael Williamson, and I were part of the admin group and a comment would be made that either made no sense or was very insensitive. Simultaneously, and without looking at one another, our arms would cross over our bodies and we would give each other (what in today’s vernacular is) a “side eye.” Eventually, the arm crossing and side eyes lessened and we were better able to express our concerns and engage in positive and constructive dialogue and move forward.
As I searched through files, I came upon a photo of you and me from 1999 when we went to San Francisco to attend the NAIS People of Color Conference. (I must say we had far less gray in our hair back then.) At that time, you were the Director of Multicultural Affairs and I was the Lower School Vice Principal. During the conference, we were co-presenters of a workshop entitled, “Developing a Strategic Plan for Diversity.” If memory serves me correctly, the sessions were enthusiastically received. I know that throughout your years at GFS you have continued this most important work. “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and strength." “I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition.” “Don’t get older just to get wiser. If you get older, you will get wiser—if you dare. But get older because it’s fun!” —Maya Angelou Enjoy your well-earned and much-deserved retirement. May it be full of joy, sunshine, and fun. Smiles to you, Frannie Smith, former Lower School Vice Principal
Volume I 2017 |
I WALKED 10,437 STEPS IN YOUR SHOES As part of the strategic visioning “Shadow a Student” project, I carried a 20-pound backpack, traversed Coulter Street six times in one day, and crashed-and-burned in calculus—all in pursuit of the authentic student experience. By Meg Cohen Ragas ’85 A P R I L 2 1 , 2017 8 : 1 2 A . M . – HOM E RO OM
that is due on Monday. He carefully highlights passages in the text and takes notes in the margins. When his history Evan McClelland ’17 strolls into the front hall of Germantown teacher, Aaron Preetam, approaches the table, McClelland Friends School’s Main Building, and takes a seat at the proudly shows him that he’s reading ahead. “senior” table that doubles as Anne Gerbner’s homeroom meeting place. But his day began much earlier: He woke The “Shadow a Student” project was initiated by Health up at approximately 6:45 a.m., like he does every school Education Department Head Maryanne Rawlings and Art morning, showered, and sat down to breakfast at around Department Head Megan Culp as part of their work as 7:05 a.m. He packed his backpack, stole a few minutes to clerks of the “Whole Being” query in the strategic visionenjoy a cup of coffee, then left his Fishtown home around ing, Strategy Through Inquiry process (see “Snapshot,” 7:30 a.m. His morning commute to Germantown—he drives page 11). Based on the program of the same name that himself—is usually 25-30 minutes in average traffic, but can was developed at the Stanford d.school (whose executive take as little as 20 minutes or as long as 40 minutes. He director, Sarah Stein Greenberg ’96 [Bulletin 2016 Vol. II, aims to arrive on the early side so he can snag prime street “Agent of Change”], is an alumna of GFS), it matched up parking on Germantown Avenue in front of Holsey Temple. members of the faculty and staff with student volunteers McClelland warned me that he may be a little late today— (in grades 5-12) for an opportunity to walk in a student’s he has a free first period due to taking a night course for shoes for a day, including after-school activities and Essentially English, the eight-week spring elective program homework. (Our youngest students were nominated by for students in grades 10-12 that replaces their regular English teachers based on how comfortable they were with the classes during the spring semester, coupled with the fact that idea of being followed around by an adult.) he’s a senior and has off-campus privileges, which include “When it comes to student well-being across all three the option to come in late when you don’t have an early class. divisions, people really operate from an anecdotal place, McClelland manages, thanks to the Traffic and Parking what they see through their ‘small’ lens as, say, an Upper School science teacher or a Middle School math teacher,” Gods, to arrive in time for homeroom anyway. explains Rawlings of her and Culp’s decision to run the project. “But we don’t get the pulse of [a student’s] whole 8 : 20 A . M . – F I R S T P E R IOD McClelland is a second-semester senior who was accepted to day. What happens in extracurriculars? At our playing the University of Pennsylvania Early Decision, yet he is still fields, which are five blocks from school? How far away diligent about school. He uses his free period to do homework, do the students live? How long does it take them to get tackling a set of statistics problems for 20 minutes that to school? These are all really big factors. So that’s sort are due later in the day. Then he turns to history reading— of where we’re coming from: How do we break down the Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917— anecdotal, get beyond that smaller lens and get people Volume I 2017 |
to actually see the whole picture, what it’s like in the life of a GFS student?” While the collective response from those who shadowed students was an overwhelming “Wow,” highlighting a lot of positives about the GFS community and how we treat one another, the experience also brought to light the fact that our students have a lot on their plates, including athletics, extracurriculars, and homework; go through a number of transitions each day; and keep an incredible pace. There was also some speculation among the faculty and staff members who participated in the Shadow Project that the students being shadowed weren’t always comfortable showing their true selves. One eleventh grader shared with her shadow, “I pride myself on being able to hide my stress well,” while another junior admitted,
The classroom is still set up from the previous evening, with the various projects on display, and the students take turns explaining their research—Ruben’s Tube, Dancing Water, Superconductor Levitation, to name a few— to one another. They spend approximately three weeks creating their projects, starting when they return to school after spring break. The class is dismissed 10 minutes early with the promise of a new unit beginning the following week. 9 : 4 6 A . M . – FOU N D T I M E
For McClelland, unscheduled time means squeezing in one of his many extracurriculars; in addition to starring as Curly in the spring musical Oklahoma!, he’s also acting in the Upper School drama showcase Poley Fest, and is a member of the choir, the a cappella group, and the founder of a barbershop quartet. McClelland has just written a new arrangement of “Coney Island Baby” (which took him “a few hours” to do the previous evening, after returning home from Science Night) for eight parts—the four regular quartet members, plus four “guest” faculty members—and the group will be rehearsing during the upcoming lunch period. McClelland wants to review the new arrangement with Teri Gemberling-Johnson, the group’s faculty advisor, before the rehearsal, so we’re headed back across Coulter Street to Poley Auditorium, on the second floor of the Main Building, to find her. So if McClelland is rehearsing during lunch period, when does he actually eat lunch? “Today I’ll probably just nibble in between [singing] parts, sneak in some bites here or there,” he says matter-of-factly, and I get the feeling that this is the norm for him. “My mom still packs me lunch every day.” (And when her shadow commented on her centered approach indeed, during the barbershop quartet rehearsal a little later, to school and homework, “Looks can be deceiving. I’m a I catch McClelland sneaking apple slices during warm-ups.) different person on assessment days.” “I never have a free lunch,” he admits. “I have rehearsals four Although Rawlings and Culp are still fine-tuning their out of five lunch periods a week.” Philosophical Statement, they have come to the conclusion that, as a school, we need to hold wellness at our center, 10 : 10 A . M . – T H I R D P E R IOD especially as it relates to Quakerism. “We’re calling it a We arrive at Aaron Preetam’s U.S. History class in the Alumni ‘recentering’ or a ‘realignment.’ The Quaker testimony Building five minutes late. McClelland forgot about the thirdthat has come up the most in terms of where we need eighth period switch, so we went to calculus in Hargroves to turn is simplicity. We live out a lot of the testimonies first before he realized his mistake. On the way, I ask him if already, and students can see them at work around us, he finds it hard to concentrate on school when he’s known like community and stewardship, but we need to embrace since December that he was accepted to Penn for next year. simplicity more.” “I’ve actually found it to be helpful,” he shares. “For
“I suppose I sometimes find school stressful, but I never let it show regardless,” says McClelland. “I understand the importance of just muscling through. Everything I do, I signed up for.”
9 : 02 A . M . – S E CON D P E R IOD McClelland and I are on the move to advanced physics in the Wade Science Center. As we make our way across Coulter Street, we are joined by Evan Gorski ’17, who turns out to be in many of McClelland’s classes; Gorski hands him an enormous glazed breakfast pastry, one of their shared, unspoken morning rituals. It’s the day after the annual Science Night, and Gorski and McClelland were partners on the project “Guitar Pickups”: They built individual electric guitar pickups, which involved wrapping very thin wire around magnetics, and put them in an old guitar body.
example, if I don’t finish a homework assignment, I’m more relaxed about it now, I don’t beat myself up over it, I feel less stressed. It gives me better perspective.” McClelland estimates his homework load for the year as “between three and four hours a night,” and even in his senior spring comes to a nightly average of three hours. He aims to go to bed by 10:45 p.m. on school nights, in pursuit of eight hours of sleep, but admits that his bedtime is usually closer to 11:30 p.m. When we finally enter Preetam’s class, the students are engaged in playing The Great Game, which entails foreign policy machinations to make one’s nation the most dominant in the world through the creation of public and private
treaties, serving as a preview to the entangled alliances that dragged numerous nations into World War I. McClelland and Evan Gorski are teamed up together again, representing Belgium. It’s a frenzied game of diplomacy, with the students circulating the room trying to make alliances and plan invasions in order to achieve dominance. McClelland and Gorski get caught up in the chaos, but by the end of class have aligned and unaligned with various countries, leaving them alone and vulnerable. 10 : 52 A . M . – LU NC H After history, it’s back across Coulter Street to Poley again, for official Barbershop Quartet rehearsal. As McClelland and the rest of the group run through the arrangement, and stanzas of “Coney Island Baby” drift through the room, I can’t help wondering to myself, It’s not even 11 a.m.? How come his day feels like it goes by so much more slowly than mine? 1 1 : 3 9 A . M . – F I F T H P E R IOD We arrive at McClelland’s next class, Reader’s Theater, in the West Room of the Loeb Performing Arts Center. It’s a survey course for juniors and seniors interested in reading plays within a theatrical historical context. The class is busy divvying up parts in “Angels of America,” Tony Kushner’s Tony-winning play that they’re currently in the middle of. It’s a nice break from the hectic back-and-forth of the last couple of hours, and I can feel McClelland relax beside me as he follows along in the script, munching on a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich. As part of their year-long, Strategy Through Inquiry discernment process, Rawlings and Culp collected information on the subject of student well-being from various stakeholders in the GFS community: students themselves, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, School Committee members, and friends of the school. Through conversations, focus groups, and pilot projects, they recorded feedback and accumulated data, and came to three main conclusions regarding the needs and desires of faculty and students (which are pretty much aligned with one another): They want more unstructured time in their day—to reflect, to connect with one another, to recharge; they want more agency and choice, to feel empowered and have permission to simplify their schedules and say “no” to things; and, most importantly, they want to be known. “Everyone wants more unscheduled time in their day to get things done,” Rawlings says. “Faculty wants to be able to connect with colleagues, meet with students, or prepare for their next class. Students want more face time with teachers and with one another, they want to feel more of a connection to the community, they want more all-school, cross-division, large group activities. Everyone
has too much on their plates, and expressed a desire to make choices based on passion and love, not just need. And at the heart of it all is the wellness component: the desire for each student to be known beyond how they look on paper. This translates into creating a better structure to support them as individuals, to check in with them more often to ask, ‘How did that feel?’ and have them actively reflect on their student experience.” This spring, Rawlings and Culp asked focus groups of Upper and Middle School students to fill out pie charts documenting how they actually spend their time versus their ideal allocation of time, and then asked faculty and staff members to do the same. In the Upper School, the range of hours spent on homework was 1.5-5 hours per night, and both students and faculty indicated, consistent with the current research on the value of homework, their “ideal” would be to minimize the amount assigned. Last August, department heads convened around the concept of homework, and came up with a few models for the faculty to experiment with. “One thing that was suggested was to give no homework and see what that does to teaching and learning, or have students do reading and work in class to see how long it actually takes,” explains Rawlings. “I think there’s a disconnect sometimes between our expectation of how long we think homework should take and how long it actually does take.” 1 2 : 2 1 P. M . – S I X T H P E R IOD McClelland’s statistics class meets in Hargroves, so we cross campus—and Coulter Street—yet again, and take a seat. The teacher is absent today, so a substitute distributes a confidence interval quiz, which McClelland tackles quickly, followed by a worksheet that is supposed to be completed by the end of class. While many of the kids are still finishing their quizzes, and others are goofing off—even after the substitute asks them repeatedly to settle down—McClelland methodically makes his way through the worksheet and records his findings on the board. When I remark later that
HE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE: As part of the study of electrostatics, McClelland (above) uses a Van de Graaff generator to produce a large static spark. Volume I 2017 |
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along, but I can’t concentrate. All I can think is, How does he do this every day? How did I do this every day when I was a student at GFS? So many transitions and location changes, my Fitbit is going berserk! And he still has play rehearsal after school! S T U DE N T S T R E S S I S R E A L .
he seems very relaxed at school, and didn’t seem stressed at all during the course of our day together, he responded, “I suppose I sometimes find school stressful, but that’s mainly because of the workload at home, and I never let it show regardless. When I’m at school, I understand the importance of just muscling through and not being a bad sport about it. Everything I do, I signed up for.” 1 : 05 P. M . – S E V E N T H P E R IOD To get to the choir room, which is on the third floor of the Main Building, we cross Coulter Street again, and ascend three flights of stairs. I’m carrying McClelland’s backpack now, which is beyond heavy—20 pounds!—and wondering how he does this all day, every day. McClelland is the choir president, and is obviously well liked by the other members: Everyone greets him as he enters the room; he is clearly in his element. He settles into warm-ups before the group is split into parts, and the tenors and basses retreat to another room for section rehearsal. McClelland tells me later that Barbershop Quartet and choir were his favorite parts of our day together, and I can see why: he seems the most relaxed, inspired, and invested when he’s engrossed in the music, singing along with his peers. 1 : 52 P. M . – E IG H T H P E R IOD I must admit, calculus is a blur, even with the dynamic teaching of Devra Ramsey, who has embraced the concept of the “reverse” classroom: She assigns video lessons for the students to watch at home in the evenings, then has them do their homework in class. McClelland walks me through each problem on his worksheet, patiently explaining as he goes
This is another of Rawlings’ and Culp’s most important findings during their year of exploring student well-being. And the idea of “competitive stress”—acting stressed to seem like you care or to go along with the group—exists as well. “If everyone’s freaking out about something in class, instead of kids saying, ‘It’s fine, don’t worry about it,’ they do the opposite. They think—and this is why stress is contagious—‘If I act stressed, too, it’s like me showing that I’m in it, that I care and want to do well, and I will do well if I act stressed.’” As part of their Whole Being study, Rawlings and Culp have piloted a few projects to directly address the stress factor. Rawlings introduced the Mindfulness Program in the tenth grade health education curriculum, an eightsession, mindfulness-based stress reduction program, developed in conjunction with renowned Philadelphia pediatrician and health and wellness expert Dr. Bidi McSorley. It exposes students to strategies and skills to deal with stress and create awareness, showing them how to “check in” with themselves to see how things feel. There is also hope that the new schedule the school is adopting for the 2017-18 academic year will also benefit students’ well-being: built-in time for community and collaborative learning; scheduled student club and activity time in an effort to keep lunch periods free for eating and socializing; fewer—and longer—class periods per day, resulting in less transitions; a delayed start time one day per week so students—and teachers—can feel more rested and less rushed. Head of School Dana Weeks sees the implementation of the new schedule as a crucial step toward envisioning the future of education at GFS. “Central to our mission is to know our students and to empathize with their experience, and no two students—or their experiences—are exactly the same,” she says. “We have to make sure to allow for sufficient flexibility and responsiveness. We need to put in place the proper conditions in order for our students to thrive.” And Rawlings and Culp believe that focusing on wellness, on students’ “whole being,” is the way to get there. “We have to raise the bar as a school,” Culp concludes. “With great opportunity and expectations also comes the responsibility to nurture students who learn to navigate life, passions, and responsibilities in the healthiest ways. This needs to be held up as our guiding star.”
READ ALOUD: McClelland (above, center right) is relaxed and engaged during his Reader's Theater class in the West Room, which doubles as his lunch period.
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Departing is Such Sweet Sorrow As eight longtime members of our faculty and staff prepare to retire, we asked them to reflect on their many years (207 combined!) at GFS— and share their fondest memories.
Saku Longshore, Margaret Fleisher, Anna Ferguson, and Marjorie Spaeth (left to right), photographed on the GFS Common on Friday, April 14, 2017.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: I have loved so many things: class-
room play performances that give kids a chance to shine in different ways; committee work that was both heavy POSITIONS HELD: Kindergarten teacher, clerk of the Lower and light-hearted, and taught me so much about myself School Quakerism Committee. and this community; and simply those days when the FONDEST MEMORIES: Teaching singing to the Kindergart- classroom is humming with learning. ners, watching the children grow and develop socially, IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE: That welcoming parents into the classroom to do special cul- I tried to see each child’s strengths and challenges and tural presentations. what brought them joy. YEARS AT GFS:
IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE: My
NEXT ADVENTURES: Working with fabric—I love to cut it up support of the Quaker aspect of GFS, and my care for and sew it back together! I look forward to taking classes the way children learn about the Quaker testimonies and having time for practice and mistakes. I also love to and way of worship. read and write and plan to do a lot of both. And spending NEXT ADVENTURES: Plenty of singing and music, a trip time with my family, including two grandchildren. to Japan and Thailand in the fall. WHAT I WILL MISS MOST: First, being with children every-
The beautiful energy of the day. I consider that a privilege and wish everyone could children and the amazing creativity and passion of our have the opportunity to learn from students. Second, my wonderful colleagues at GFS. They have taught me faculty. so much about life and respect and equity. Third, being PARTING WORDS: Love is the greatest wisdom of all. at a Quaker institution. I never take for granted what a special community we share at GFS. WHAT I WILL MISS MOST:
Margaret Fleisher YEARS AT GFS:
POSITIONS HELD: Business office assistant, Lower School
assistant teacher, lead LS teacher.
PARTING WORDS: Many years back, a student was doing
a report on Pythagoras and his theorem. She filled out a KWL (What I Know, Wonder, Learned) chart as she began, and her Wonder was: “Did Pythagoras have a Volume I 2017 |
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happy childhood?” I have always remembered this, and I hope that in some small way I have been part of a few happy childhoods.
Teri Gemberling-Johnson YEARS AT GFS:
POSITIONS HELD: First music teacher in the GFS Nursery,
Middle School music teacher, MS Choir accompanist, Upper School music teacher, MadriGals director, choir/ chorus accompanist, Barbershop Quartet advisor, music director for US musicals.
Rita Goldman YEARS AT GFS:
Associate Director of Admissions, Director of College Guidance, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Upper School Principal, Associate Head of School. POSITIONS HELD:
I am proud of the work I did to further our school’s commitment to equity and multicultural education. It wasn’t always easy, but the support of the School Committee, head of school, and the willingness of the faculty and staff to lean into the discomfort was remarkable, and led to our well-deserved reputation as a leader in these efforts. I’ve held several roles at the school, and each has helped me grow as a person and as a leader. It’s been a great ride. CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
Listening to the choir sing the Benediction, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” as they surrounded their audience in the Meetinghouse. It was always the last song on every program. When we were IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE: My on a choir trip to Poland, we spent the day in Auschwitz. sense of humor and relationships within the community. On our tour through the concentration camp, we walked NEXT ADVENTURES: Rest, read, and figure out what’s next. into a building recently built to commemorate Jewish victims, and saw the words, “The Lord bless you and keep WHAT I WILL MISS MOST: The community and all therein. you,” written on a table. The choir spontaneously started It’s been a big and wonderful part of my life. PARTING WORDS: Keep on keepin’ on. Keep striving. The to sing the Benediction. best is always yet to come. ONE OF MY FONDEST MEMORIES:
“As you grow and change, remember to keep community front and center, and to seek that of God in each other.” –Joanne Sharpless, parting words Teaching MadriGals, an Upper Janet Kalkstein School women’s ensemble, and nurturing young women YEARS AT GFS: 31 through making music together. Accompanying Larry Hoenig and the US choir and chorus for 19 years, and POSITIONS HELD: Lower School assistant teacher, sixth chaperoning choir tours to Poland, Vienna, Slovakia, grade lead teacher, Middle School softball assistant coach, MS a cappella activity Scandinavia, and China. IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE: My CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: The development of the Middle unwavering desire to offer my passion and love for music School, 25-year intergenerational partnership with Center in the Park. to all of my students CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
NEXT ADVENTURES: Traveling, singing with the Mendels-
FONDEST MEMORIES: I always enjoyed the caring and at-
sohn Club, enjoying my grandson, playing and accom- tentive faces of my students when they worked with their Center in the Park, second grade, and nursery partners. panying, traversing the Jersey beaches. They listened very carefully to their Center partners and PARTING WORDS: When Al Clayton, a wonderful Quaker asked perceptive, thoughtful questions, as well as brought man and wise musician who taught at GFS for 39 years, their sense of humor and willingness to share ... I enjoyed hired me in 1986, he gave me this advice: “Teach what the plays my class wrote and performed about Elizabethan you love, and the students will love it also.” or Renaissance themes, as well as full sixth-grade performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Godspell.” I also
My wonderful Middle School faculty and kids. Both have provided me with so much support and laughter over the years.
WHAT I WILL MISS MOST:
PARTING WORDS: Follow the Golden Rule. The only real thing of value that we have is our ability to be compassionate and empathetic. All else is just vanity and dross.
Joanne Sharpless YEARS AT GFS:
Front desk receptionist.
FONDEST MEMORY: On January 16, 2013, the [preschool-
aged] Caterpillars came to my desk and sang Happy Birthday. Carmindy ’28 (daughter of Brandon Jones ’00) remarked after the song, “Where’s the cake!?” Of course, I rewarded them the next day with shortbread cookies and fresh strawberries. IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE:
Teri Gemberling-Johnson, Joanne Sharpless, Rita Goldman, and Janet Kalkstein (left to right), photographed on the GFS Common on Thursday, April 27, 2017.
tried to help everyone who called or came to my desk. NEXT ADVENTURES:
I plan to work for social justice.
WHAT I WILL MISS MOST ABOUT GFS: Being a part of this
very special community. I will miss everyone. enjoyed getting to know my colleagues through faculty plays, including “South Pacific,” “Damn Yankees,” and PARTING WORDS: As you grow and change, remember “Oklahoma!,” to name some. So much talent and people to keep community front and center, and to seek that of stretching themselves to learn dances, be silly and have God in each other. a blast! There were collaborations to create the women’s a cappella group and bell choirs, too. These creative outlets Marjorie Spaeth were a regular source of fun and joy for me. YEARS AT GFS: 30 IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE:
POSITIONS HELD: Middle and Upper School Spanish Supporting my students and colleagues and encouraging teacher, comparative cultures teacher, coordinator of them to take risks, try new things or challenges. the ninth grade International Exchange Program, ninth NEXT ADVENTURES: Continuing to explore dancing, grade advisor. music, and travel. CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: The teaching, of course, but also
The joy and creativity, and the amazing range of experience, talent, and expertise of the parents, staff, and faculty I have worked with; it has been a continuous source of inspiration and education. WHAT I WILL MISS MOST:
the work we have done on the Exchange, our times in Tlaxcala with our dear friends there, Mexico City, my research trip to the Yucatán and Chiapas. I had an amazing six-plus weeks in Madrid with an NEH grant, studying the “Authors of the Prado.” I have been so fortunate to have had so many great opportunities to learn and grow.
IF I AM REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING, IT WOULD BE: As a good teacher and as a caring and supportive person. I POSITIONS HELD: Middle School administrative assistant. have given my heart to my work and my students! FUNNIEST MEMORY: The faculty production of “South NEXT ADVENTURES: Grandparenting and teaching our Pacific” was a riot, and I will always remember everyone’s [granddaughter] Spanish. Spending more time with my good-natured willingness to make fun of themselves. husband and family in Philadelphia and on Squirrel Island, The roar that went up from the packed Loeb Auditorium ME. Hopefully some travel, perhaps to Spain and other nearly raised the roof when the chorus of men in grass adventures in Mexico and Central and South America. skirts and coconut bras came out to dance. It was a lot Just tending my garden sounds awfully good, too! of fun to watch the kids enjoy seeing their teachers in PARTING WORDS: “Nuestras obras son nuestros hijos.” unusual roles. —Miguel de Unamuno. (“Our works are our children.”) YEARS AT GFS:
Volume I 2017 |
CLASS NOTES Want to stay connected? We encourage you to visit the GFS website at germantownfriends.org/alumni to share your stories and submit Class Notes. Follow us on Facebook! Search for Germantown Friends School and click “like.”
JARVIS HARRIMAN and his wife Nancy live in an assisted living community in Tucson, AZ. They have traveled extensively over the years with theater groups throughout western Germany, India, and Switzerland. He shares, “Now, like the rest of you in the Class of ’40, I am 94, and my wife is 93. It’s been a good life. I am grateful for the years with Germantown Friends. They’ve been a great foundation!”
LIZZIE BECKER ’16 recently completed her freshman year at Dickinson College, where she played basketball under Head Coach KATHERINE BIXBY ’06. This past January, coaches, classmates, and friends showed up to support the alums in their game against Bryn Mawr College. “The fact that both students and faculty at GFS are invested in the alumni really speaks to the kind of place GFS is—a tight-knit community that genuinely cares about each individual member,” says Becker. Pictured (from left): SUSAN KINNEY ROBINSON ’99, JACK ROBINSON ’30, TSEGA AFESSA ’20, CURRAN McLAUGHLIN ’20, Mike Lintulahti, GIGI GUIDA ’19, Tom Myran, AJAI DEBOSE ’17, LILLY DUPUIS ’17, Colleen Christian, LIZZIE BECKER ’16, Margot Boigon, CORIN GRADY ’18, Craig Stevens, MADDY BERG ’16, BECCA GENYK ’16, Deb Brackett, ABIGAIL GARD ’16, Steve Genyk, ELIZA COHEN ’16, MICHAEL COHEN ’82, James Becker, ANDREW BECKER ’13, and Carl Tannenbaum. In front: DESIREE NORWOOD ’21 (left) and EVELYN ANDERSON ’19.
PETER SPITZ delivered the keynote speech at the Gulf Petrochemical Association Meeting in Dubai in November 2016. MARY-LEE WEBSTER PABST writes, “I have lived in the state of Washington nearly 25 years. Bill and I enjoyed happy years here. He is sadly deceased as of May 2014.”
NANCY BISHOP reports, “Another great summer in Maine. Still travelling at 90—Germany, Portugal, and Botswana this year.”
SAMUEL LUKENS writes, “We continue in moderately good health, about all we can hope for these days.”
CLASS NOTES IN THE BULLETIN: It is sometimes necessary to edit notes to reduce the length so that we can accommodate as many entries as possible. We hope we have retained the essence of your news while also providing space to include messages from your classmates. Please contact us at 215-951-2340 or email@example.com if you have questions or want more information.
MARGERY BUEHLER ENGLISH says, “Hello to my fellow 1945 classmates!”
ANNE MIDDLETON FLOOD shares, “I was blessed to attend the beautiful concert given by the choir on April 8. It was magnificent! I have many wonderful memories of singing under Miss Brewer. It gave me great training for my singing throughout my life.”
ALAN CAYO has a message for the Class of 2017: “Dear Friends, on Alumni Day in 1948, my classmates and I were awed to meet alumnae of the Class of 1879 attending their 69th reunion. We whispered unQuakerly thoughts of zombies and the living dead. Now, in revenge, we will be there on Alumni Day next May. Greetings, young and bold soldiers of a distant 69th reunion. You will meet in 2086. What will the world be like then? It is YOU who will shape it!”
excellent trip to Bhutan, 2017—at home receiving friends and family.”
HENRY S. BROMLEY, III shares, “My family and I work in a local food pantry. We purchase food on Mondays, and pack 125 bags on Tuesdays. We give out these bags on Wednesdays. We have been at this for about five years.” MORRIS H. WOLFF reports, “I loved my visit to GFS last Spring. I keep up with CHUCK DAVIS and LEW ROSEWATER.” PETER AND LETITIA MCPHEDRAN write, “We are 80. There must be some mistake!” MEREDITH FRAPIER shares, “My husband and I spent the year between the USA (Maryland), the U.K, France, and Spain.”
TOM DINARDO (pictured, above right, with conductor and music director designate of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin), longtime arts journalist for the Philadelphia Daily News, is pleased to share the news of his recently published books. The first, Listening To Musicians: 40 GEORGE L. SPAETH shares, Years of the Philadelphia Orchestra, “After having my ophthalmology tells the story of the renowned colleagues rank me the number ensemble through conversations one influential ophthalmologist with its last five conductors, guest in the world, it may be time to try performers, and its great musicians. something else.” The second, Performers Tell Their Stories: 40 Years Inside the Arts, is a four-decade adventure through jazz, opera, ballet, musicians’ insights, MIMI PHILLIPS writes, “Thanks producing an opera, and much to ELLEN DECKER and JOHN STEVENS, our 65th reunion in May more, wrapped in the quirky world of the newspaper business. Another 2016 was lots of fun.” recent book, Wonderful World of Percussion: My Life Behind Bars, is a biography of the legendary GINNY BUSSER RYNNING reports, Hollywood percussionist, Emil “2015—fantastic trip to Tibet, 2016— Richards. CHARLES T. MAXWELL writes, “Dear Class Members, I am so delighted and grateful to reach 85 years and still have so many of you around me. Let’s keep it going.”
MARY LYNNE GROVE IVES writes that she gets together with JOSEPHINE F. WALKER, CLAIRE VOGEL CAREY, JUDY BUTTERWORTH REINKE, MARY BENEDICT MONTEITH, PATRICIA HAMILTON THOMAS, CAROL HOPE CUSHMAN and E. ELISE COUSINS frequently for lunch.
JEANETTE H. TAYLOR shares, “Looking forward to our eleventh visit to Myanmar with my sister, EMILY H. FISHER ’53. Our Burma projects now have a website: www. mettapartners.org.” DIXIE PALMER PEASLEE writes, “I am sorry to report that my husband of 54 years died this past August. He succumbed to complications associated with the multiple sclerosis he lived with for 30 years.”
ELEANOR STOKES SZANTON reports, “I wouldn’t be who I am without 14 years at GFS. Always grateful.”
CHARLES I. SHUBIN says, “Grandsons Benjamin Cohen ’25 and Jacob Cohen ’27 are loving GFS!”
CYNTHIA BOUNDS LUCAS shares, “Our 50th wedding anniversary was graced by our daughter Penny’s adoption of a newborn baby, Sydney Noelle, with her husband Andy. Joy!” PAM HEYL HORRISBERGER writes, “My husband John died in 2015. I continue to love life in the Low Country of South Carolina, but escape to Maine for the summer. Any alums in the area?”
Volume I 2017 |
IN M EMO RI AM
MARY LEE LOWRY-COPE November 23, 2016
SYDNEY S. MAHENDRA March 7, 2017
BRIGITTE SAPIN BINCTIN (pictured below, with her granddaughter, Marie-Victoire, and great grandson, Philippe) is beaming over the arrival of her first great-grandchild, and the marriage of her granddaughter, Constance. Brigitte’s daughter, HELENE DAGUET BINCTIN ’84, is the mother of Constance and grandmother of Philippe. Both she and Brigitte were Falaise exchange students at GFS.
JOAN W. MESCHTER January 6, 2017
WILLIAM S. TASMAN March 28, 2017 JACK A. THALHEIMER December 31, 2016
JANET ROSENWALD BECKER January 30, 2017
ELIZABETH T. KHURI March 25, 2017 SHIRLEY STEVENSON HOCH September 3, 2016
LOIS E. MARCUM February 1, 2017
WALTER S. HALLOWELL January 27, 2017 RICHARD F. LEONARD February 12, 2016
L. RICHARD WOLFF April 4, 2017
JOYCE L. ILLINGER March 4, 2017
MILES HOFFMAN writes, “My wife and I moved to Givens Highland Farms retirement community in Black Mountain, NC, in March 2016.”
KITTY LEVESQUE SAUL shares, “Love retirement in the Sierra Foothills. Reading, playing bridge and traveling.”
LESLIE BLAND CASEY reports, “Hurricane Matthew dropped two trees on our home. All better now, but it’s a lot sunnier.”
CATHIE BEHREND has been busy building her Ventures Vision art tours business, developing arts curriculum modules for NYU, and RICHARD (DICK) GROSSMAN is traveling. Her 2017 destinations still working on stabilizing human include London and Berlin. population, including writing JIM NAPIER shares, “Been a monthly column, “Population thinking about you all. Here’s to a Matters.” Please contact him if great year ahead.” you share this concern: Richard@ population-matters.org.
KARIN ZAPF HAMPEL reports, “On the eve of our 55th reunion, I reflect: four children, five grandchildren, a husband, Joe, of 50 years. I would not change a thing. A brother, ERIK ZAPF ’55, who showed me the way, and parents, Sofian and Dagmar Zapf, who sent us to GFS. At 70, I enrolled as a Master Class piano student at West Chester University, where daughter Laura teaches psychology and her sister Julie teaches theatre. A lifetime of involvement at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia. Playing for the annual Christmas “Lucia” Festival of Lights, in which our children, grandchildren, cousins, and their families participate. Such cooperation. Such teamwork. Betty Cadbury taught us before every hockey game, ‘All for one, and one for all.’ Go, GFS, fight and win.”
BETSY POST FALCONI shares, “We gained a fourth grandchild this year, bringing great joy, and lost my sister, BARBARA POST WALTON ’59, bringing great sadness—an emotional rollercoaster.” LUCY BODINE NATTRASS shares, “I have reduced my working days as an ESL teacher to spend more time with grandchildren. Still active in singing and playing viola in orchestra and chamber music groups.”
MARION C. CHILDS is retired and has four grandchildren. She reports that the slower lifestyle is very enjoyable.
ADRIAN GURZAN writes, “Friends—all good here. Hope all
is well with my former classmates. Best to you all.” JIM MAYER reports, “I’m looking forward to seeing TOM MAYER and ROB MAGAZINER—Class of ’73, also STACY MOGUL, JIM FERNBERGER, JOHN WELLENBACH—Class of ’74. Really enjoy that all our kids’ next generation enjoy each other’s company. It all started at GFS.”
the Corporate Executive Board, while DAVID ’06 teaches rock climbing and outdoor education.
IN M E MOR I AM
VALENTIN GORSKI writes, “My wife Adina and I are delighted that our son, EVAN ’17, graduated from GFS in June!”
FRANK STODDART shares that on October 30, 2016, with the help of his TOM AND BARBARA PIXTON accomplice, KATHY NICHOLSON share, “We are enjoying work, PAULMIER, he was able to lure music, family and community LAURA HUNGER into what used in Arlington, MA. Our daughter, to be known as the Boys Gym. Once Catherine, added a third grandchild inside—the site of many high school to our clan—Lilly, now six months! dances in the ’70s—a slow, romantic Tom recently retired from MIT after song began to play, one that had 18 years, but continues to consult played many times “back in the day.” for them. Barbara’s design business Frank took Laura's hand and asked continues to thrive. Come visit us!” her to dance, like so many years ago. There was one slight difference this 45TH REUNION time around: He asked her to marry him. “She said yes!” DAVID LODER writes, “Looking forward to seeing as many 35TH REUNION classmates as possible at our … Can you believe it…? 45th reunion.” JACQUELINE JOSEPH shares, “I finally picked up where I 40TH REUNION left off with my Junior Project, which was in film, by making GWYNETH M. LEECH recently my first documentary—www. travelled to Benin in West Africa thewinningfilm.com.” for a 10-day exchange as part of the U.S. Art in Embassies Program. As well as exhibiting her artwork in the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, she REBECCA WOLF ROSHON implemented workshops in several reports, “On March 1, 2017, my art centers and visited the studios first book was published! It is a of women artists in Cotonou. sci-fi fantasy novel called Haven, and I have been working on it NED FINKEL shares, “Tawnya for a long time. I am very excited and I have been married for 33 for it to be published! I have just years and our daughters, Abby, 31, started working on the follow-up, and Molly, 28, live in England and Idaho. I am in the antiques business so look for that in a couple of years. on Ebay (16 years), and Tawnya is a My husband and I are still busy CPA. We live in an 1852 farmhouse working and giving back to the community with the Lions Club—I in the White Mountains of New have GFS and my parents to thank Hampshire. Doing well.” for instilling that interest in me!” GRAHAM ROBB reports, “My wife Betsy and I live in East Mt. Airy. I continue to work as an attorney at KATE SCHELTER writes, “I’m Merck, and spend lots of time in my garden and fixing up our house excited for my book, Classic Style: Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It (when I’m not volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and Gearing Out, an illustrated autobiography of my fashion career, launching May 2, Up.) Our son, HENRY ’07, lives in 2017 (Grand Central).” Washington, D.C., doing sales for
DAVID R. SACKEY January 15, 2017
BARBARA POST WALTON October 11, 2016
PETER GORDON April 11, 2017
EVAN A. POST January 1, 2017
RICHARD G. HARTLEY December 3, 2016
Faculty BYRON DAVIS January 31, 2017
LET’S STAY IN TOUCH! Have you moved? Switched jobs? Changed your email? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we want to know! We love to hear what our alumni are up to, and want to keep you abreast of our latest news. Please visit the Alumni page on the GFS website to update your information: germantownfriends.org/ alumni/update-information. Volume I 2017 | 47
ALUMNI WEEKEND 2017
On Saturday, May 13, alumni returned to 31 W. Coulter Street to reconnect and reminisce with friends and classmates. The All Alumni Gathering in the Meetinghouse offered a number of special moments: Following a short Meeting for Worship, David ’49 and Susan ’49 West presented the West Alumni Award to Joe Staples ’49 and Mary Clay Platt Lee ’48, honoring their many years of distinguished service to the school. Also honored were Associate Head of School Rita Goldman and music teacher and Madrigals director Teri Gemberling-Johnson, who are retiring in June after 30 years each at GFS. Alumni young and older came together for a festive picnic luncheon in the Field House, followed by the opportunity to experience Strategy Through Inquiry sessions. The school has been engaged in a yearlong process combining Design Thinking and Quaker practice, and the afternoon program gave alumni the chance to participate in the process—capping off another successful Alumni Weekend! —Diane Mallery ’80
KATE ZIPIN shares, “I have started a non-profit called Own Your Awesomeness, which offers skillbuilding workshops to high school girls so they can develop and recognize their awesomeness!”
KATHERINE BIXBY, head coach of the women’s basketball program at Dickinson College, was delighted to see old coaches, classmates, and friends come out to support LIZZIE BECKER ’16 and Dickinson Women’s Basketball (see page 44). “To see some of my mentors from GFS was heartwarming,” she says.
MADDIE HAWES, HANNAH KORUS, NATAYA FRIEDAN and AVERY WILLIAMSON (pictured below, left to right) spending time together in Palo Alto, CA, where Hannah, Nataya and Maddie are living.
Scenes from a Reunion (clockwise from top left): Joe Staples ’49 and David West ’49; alumni explore campus in the rain; Head of School Dana Weeks, along with student guides, leads a campus tour for the Class of 1967; Larry Hoenig, retired GFS music teacher and choir director, shares a joyful moment with (left to right) Jenny Harland ’77, Susan Harland Zuke ’72, and Saul Perlmutter ’77; Rita Goldman, far left, at lunch with André Robert Lee ’89, Karlynne Staten ’96, Nicole Williams Sitaraman ’96, and Denise Parks.
MEGAN HELLENDALL received a Fred H. Pumphrey Outstanding Pre-Engineering Student Award for 2017 from Auburn University, where she was also inducted into Pi Gamma Tau’s freshman engineering honorary society Auburn Chapter. HANNAH GOLDBERG and ISABEL SCHMIDT ’16 participated in a 26-hour dance marathon hosted by UCLA’s Pediatric AIDS Coalition, which is fighting to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and to end the associated stigma.
Byron Davis, 1965-2017
SINCE I’VE BEEN PREPARING TO WRITE THIS PIECE , I HAVE FELT BYRON’S ESSENCE WITH ME. NOT IN A CREEPY WAY, BUT IN ONE THAT IS MOST PLEASURABLE, CAUSING
me to recall the times we shared together, the stories, the jokes, the music. He described me as “old school” in my taste in popular music, and when I was in his car, he played discs made especially for me, at least that’s what he said. I believed him. Byron was such a charmer. We loved to talk politics, his vast historical knowledge and background enriching the conversation. What fun Byron would have had during this particular time in our history, with its proliferation of “alternative facts.” Byron came to Germantown Friends School in 1995 as a Middle School history teacher. I remember meeting him as a candidate. His knowledge of United States history was expansive, deep, and vast, translated through the experiences and learnings of an African-American scholar. I knew he would be a hit in the classroom, for during the short period we were together, he captured my interest. He told me stories about his life, how much he loved history, and how excited he would be to join our teaching staff. I was so pleased that we had the good sense to hire him.
Byron made an immediate impact on all of us when, upon his return from the Million Man March in Washington, DC, he gave an Upper School assembly on the March, which was organized to promote African-American unity, spiritual renewal, and connection to family. The March was controversial, but Byron presented an emotional testimony about what it meant to him as an African-American father and husband to be in attendance with a million African-American males. It was moving and deeply engaging, concluding with students rising to their feet to honor him. I knew then that Byron would have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on our community. Byron told me he considered former Lower School Assistant Principal Frannie Smith and me his mentors and “elders” from whom he learned to navigate the ways of GFS. It can be a difficult place to navigate, especially in 1995 when Byron arrived, when less was written down and more was learned through trial and error. But this mentor-mentee relationship was reciprocal, for I learned as much from him as he from me, especially when he joined the Upper School teaching staff in 2003, and became an eleventh grade advisor in 2006. We worked together more closely then, and I could always count on Byron to speak truth to power, and provide just plain good sense to some of the issues we confronted. It was not always easy. We had misunderstandings. We made mistakes. But we always returned to our center and worked out our differences. He was a special colleague. In 2003, my life changed with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. The GFS community rallied round (which I shall never forget), and Byron was a leader among them. Quietly, respectfully, and gracefully, he would come to my office to “check on” me, reminding me not to tire myself, offering his services, and surreptitiously checking in with my son, who was then a senior. My son, like many of our children, held Byron in high regard, as witnessed by the outpouring of testimonies given by his former students at his memorial service. He was a most relatable teacher, able to listen deeply to what his students had to say, whether it was a Middle Schooler struggling with Middle School drama, or an eleventh grader managing the ups and downs of the junior year, or a senior making a way through the rigors of twelfth grade. Students knew that Byron would always show up when needed. And he did. It is apt that my final communication before my retirement is about my friend and colleague, Byron Davis. I wish it were not so. I wish we were still graced by his smile, his humor, his leadership, and his plain ol’ good sense. We miss him so. But we were blessed to have him among us for 20-plus years. He shall never be forgotten. –Rita Goldman Volume I 2017 |
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Students across divisions assemble on the Common for All School Meeting for Worship on May 16, 2017. Photo by Scott B. Foley.