Fall 2016 Highlights at Friends' Central

Fall 2016 at FCS was eventful! We've witnessed academic, artistic, and athletic successes, received visits from illustrious visiting artists and speakers, celebrated International Day of Peace 2016, watched our grade 7 students head to Echo Hill for the quintessential FCS Middle School experience, and opened The Ulmer Family Light Lab, a new Lower School center for innovation and creation.

In November, we were very proud to host a number of events, including the second annual Diversity Conference. See below for more details about these and a number of other fall 2016 highlights.

The Ulmer Family Light Lab Opens

On October 21, Friends' Central hosted a grand opening of The Ulmer Family Light Lab, a groundbreaking Makerspace dedicated to the creation and innovation of our youngest students in Nursery School through grade 5. The construction of The Ulmer Family Light Lab was made possible by the generosity of the Friends’ Central community, particularly the $1 million gift donated by Rich Ulmer, Friends’ Central Class of 1960, and his wife, Bev, who were in attendance at the grand opening. Read more here, and click here to see photos from the opening.

Diversity Conference

In November, Friends’ Central School hosted the second annual diversity conference, titled Different Voices, Same Vision: Selfhood and the American Perspective. Created in 2015 and led by FCS student Simone Gibson '17, this year's conference provided a space for students and teachers from Philadelphia area public, private, and parochial schools to discuss topics in race relations, make sense of this year's election, and inspire people to take action and advocate for change. Read more and click here for photos from the conference.

Theater & Music Productions

In October, Upper School drama students captivated audiences with their outstanding and emotional performances of Infinite Black Suitcase, receiving stellar reviews from CAPPIES critics. Click here for photos. 

Talented Middle School actors also hit the stage this fall with their dynamic performance of Disney's The Lion King, Jr. The Lion King is one of Broadway’s most successful and longest running shows, and the Middle School production was a huge hit, fully living up to the high expectationsClick here for photos.

In December, Friends' Central rang in the holidays with a wide range of choral and instrumental performances across all the grades. Read more.


Athletic Triumphs

  • FSL Championships for FCS sports: Varsity girls' cross country and Varsity girls' tennis, won league titles for the Phoenix. Click here for a great article about girls' tennis senior captains and head coach Alex Margolies '10.
  • Asa Bell '17 was named Main Line Times Athlete of the Week in November. Read more.
  • In October, Emily Lorry '18 was named Main Line Times Athlete of the Week. Read more.
  • Phoenix Athletes Sign Letters of Intent: Twelve student-athletes in Friends' Central's Class of 2017 have each signed a letter of intent to compete in collegiate athletics next year. 


Appreciative Inquiry

The Friends' Central community spent much of last year engaged in an Appreciative Inquiry process. Our year of exploration and reflection upon our community's strengths included input from students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni/ae, and Board members. The wisdom gained through this process has been passed on to the Long Range Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees for incorporation in the School's upcoming planning process. Click here to read a booklet that summarizes the themes, along with supporting quotes from community members, that emerged through the process.

International Day of Peace 2016

On September 23, Friends' Central observed 2016 International Day of Peace, with a number of events and assemblies held throughout the day in all three divisions of the School. Click here to see photos from the day.

Lower School Celebrations

A much-loved FCS tradition is the annual Lower School Pumpkin Fair in late October, and this year was another great one! Click here to see photos.

On the same day as Pumpkin Fair, alumni/ae came back to the Lower School campus with their babies to celebrate FCS Alumni/ae Baby Day 2016! Click here to see more photos.

Benj Pasek '03 Wins Golden Globe

Friends’ Central alumnus Benj Pasek ’03 won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for "City of Starsin the highly acclaimed film La La Land starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. La La Land, which won a record-breaking seven Golden Globes on January 8, was written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and features a score by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Pasek and songwriting partner Justin Paul.

Keep your eye on Pasek and Paul, as they are in the midst of a number of exciting high-profile projects. In addition to La La Land, Pasek and Paul have a hit original musical, Dear Evan Hansen, currently running on Broadway, and they are writing the music for an upcoming film with Hugh Jackman called The Greatest Showman, which tells the story of P.T. Barnum, founder of the circus that became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Read more.

HearStrong Champion

FCS Eighth grader Elliot Gross was named a HearStrong Champion by the HearStrong Foundation, which "serves to celebrate individuals worldwide who have not only faced hearing loss but conquered it with a determined spirit, a focused mind, and an unwavering heart!" Elliott is an important advocate and uses his voice to inspire change. Last year, he gave a presentation about hearing loss to his seventh grade class. Because Elliott is aware of the life-changing benefits of music, he raises money for the Clarke School of Hearing's music program and performs for the students each year. Read more.

Upper School Makers Triumph

In September, a project created by Upper School students Jonathan Roach ’20 and Ben Lehrer ’20 earned three ribbons at the National Maker Faire in New York, including “Best in Show.” Their electric saxophone – which used a pressure sensor in the mouthpiece to activate the Arduino, creating the saxophone sound – was also named one of the "Coolest Projects" at Maker Faire by PC Mag. Read more.

Read all about Friends' Central's outstanding Maker Education program in the 2016 issue of Suburban Life Magazine and MainLineNeighbors.com.

Middle School Mix-it-Up Day

In October, the entire Middle School community participated in Mix-it-Up at Lunch Day, a national campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance 14 years ago that encourages students to identify, question, and cross social boundaries.

Fall/Winter Quaker Works

The fall/winter 2016 issue of Quaker Works, the Magazine of Friends' Central School, is now published. Visit the Publications page of our website to read the magazine, and check out our other great publications - many by students themselves!

College Admission Highlights

As members of the Class of 2017 await their college news, they are filled with equal measures of hope and trepidation. Like the classes before them, they have done careful research to assess programs and schools that match their interests. They've thought about school cultures and worked hard on their essays and applications. We are confident that, like the classes before them, the Class of 2017 will find themselves at schools that are objectively outstanding and excellent matches for them and their passions. A quick look at early returns for the Class of 2017 and a look back at the Class of 2016 indicate that they have nothing to worry about.

Over the last five years, well over 20% of students have enrolled at top 20 colleges and Ivy League universities. In the last two years, our graduating classes have earned over $6 million in merit offers (covering four years).

Thus far, about 80% of the Class of 2017 has been admitted to college with almost 40% of seniors already admitted to their first choice school.

Grade 2 Students Become Teachers in Science Class

Grade 2 students demonstrated their understanding of the digestive system of earthworms in December when they partnered with Pre-K students to teach the day’s lesson. After starting with questions in the garden, helping to harvest the season's vegetables, the class learned about compost collected from the kitchen and delivered to the garden, and they learned about the incredible contribution of worms! 


Students combined their new science knowledge with their individual creativity, as they each built a 2-foot long model of a worm, complete with internal organs, which were researched, built, and diagrammed. Each grade 2 student then taught a Pre-K student, using their wonderfully unique models as a guide. Read more here.

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