Transforming Athletics to Athletics and Wellness at FCS
Transforming Athletics to Athletics and Wellness at FCS

This coming year, Friends’ Central is thrilled to introduce a new title and experience for the FCS Athletic Department. Now under the umbrella of Athletics and Wellness, the department will work more closely with Support Services, division principals, and curricula in an effort to better educate the whole child, Nursery-grade 12.

One key element of this change from a traditional athletic department to an Athletics and Wellness Department is a better connection between the distinct, yet interrelated, realms of physical and emotional wellness, as a key element of Quaker education is the belief in the connection among mind, body, and spirit. The Department will continue to promote a high level of play and competition for student-athletes, while establishing school-wide, mission-driven wellness programming, including nutrition education, health, and fitness for life in Nursery through grade 12.

At the helm of this change will be Michelle Crowley, Director of Athletics and Wellness, and Phillip Annas, Assistant Director of Athletics and Wellness, two seasoned educators and coaches who are dedicated to Quaker education. Phillip, who has a BS in Health and Physical Education from UNC Wilmington and an MS in Sports Administration from Appalachian State University, has served Friends’ Central in multiple capacities since 1991, including as Associate Director of Athletics, Middle School Athletics Liaison, and Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach. He shares, “I am excited to be continuing my career at FCS within the role of Associate Director of Athletics and Wellness and am thrilled to be working with Michelle on programming across all three divisions that will provide alternative avenues to the mental and physical balance and harmony of the whole person. With a heightened awareness of each individual's personal growth and well-being, we want to focus and promote both a healthy lifestyle and lifelong wellness through our programs and offerings for all members of our community.”

Michelle shares, “As the Athletics and Wellness Department, we will be able to broaden and expand the opportunities to educate children at FCS. From creating a Wellness Committee that looks at N-12 programming to looking at and connecting to the curriculum to promote the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of our students, we look forward to creating more deliberate and more meaningful opportunities for our students and each other.”

A few exciting changes in this transition include increasing the athletic requirements in the Upper School to six seasons out of a possible 12, choosing from team sports and performing arts, as well as greater, more flexible fitness options for students, including yoga, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and strength & conditioning. Another key change will be an expansion of the previous Freedom from Chemical Dependency program for students and parents in grade 10, featuring a more deliberate and holistic approach encompassing programming for students and parents in grades 6-12. In collaboration with Michelle Crowley and Middle & Upper School Counselor Frederick Pratt, the new program will be led by A. Michael Blanche, LCSW, one of the most highly respected prevention and substance use professionals in greater Philadelphia, and will include an assembly and presentation involving a different young person speaking from their personal experience, small group discussions, and parent evenings. Additionally, the health program has been revamped in Lower School for students in grades 4 and 5, with the goal of developing positive, proud feelings around the changes that their bodies are going through and to counter any negative ones that children may observe in the media.

We look forward to sharing more information in the coming months!