Abington Friends School

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Abington Friends School
The façade of the school.
Location
575 Washington Lane
Jenkintown, PA 19046

Coordinates 40°05′42″N 75°07′14″W / 40.0949°N 75.1205°W / 40.0949; -75.1205Coordinates: 40°05′42″N 75°07′14″W / 40.0949°N 75.1205°W / 40.0949; -75.1205
Information
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Quaker
Established 1697
Head of School Rich Nourie
Athletics conference Friends Schools League
Mascot Kangaroos
Website

Abington Friends School is an independent Quaker school in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, serving students from age 3 to grade 12. Abington Friends School has stood on its original campus in Jenkintown since 1697 and is the oldest primary and secondary educational institution in the United States to operate continuously at the same location under the same management.[1]

For more than three centuries, AFS has been a leader in Friends education, with a challenging curriculum balanced by a caring environment that places value on excellence and goodness, spirit and intellect. Within these dynamic tensions the School seeks to inspire deep inquiry, rigorous analysis, inner spirit and true passion in learning. Students at AFS are fully engaged in the classroom, in the arts, on the athletic fields, in community decision making and in the larger world. The work of the School is rooted in its core Quaker values, which include a profound respect for individuals and an emphasis on equality, simplicity, integrity and service to others. Rich in racial, socioeconomic and ideological variety, the School draws students from approximately 75 ZIP codes around the greater Philadelphia area, 100% of whom go on to four-year colleges.[2]

Campus[edit]

Abington Friends School sits on an verdant fifty acre campus which includes a creek, meadow, historic Quaker Meetinghouse and extensive playing fields. Lower, Middle and Upper School buildings and athletic facilities sit at the center of the AFS campus. Campus facilities include: The Faulkner Library and Learning Center, a modern dramatic space alive which is home to a collection of over 25,000 print volumes, special collections including a peace collection and a leadership collection, The AFS Outside Classroom, the first nature playground an outdoor classroom in Pennsylvania to be accredited by the National Arbor Day Foundation, A Media and Design Lab, home to Computer Assisted Design and engineering software workstations, The Wilf Center, which provides resources to enrich skill sof active engagement, discernment, collaboration leadership and continual learning, The Josephine Muller Auditorium, a fully equipped professional theatre, The Black Box Theatre, a flexible space for student produced performances, cabarets and open mic nights, Art, Ceramics and Photography Studios, housing multiple potters wheels, five kilns and a fully furnished dark room and lab, Choral, Instrumental and Music Classrooms and an Electronic Music Studio, featuring Apple and Roland recording software and hardware, Baby grand pianos, and a full instrumental backline, Athletic Facilities that include the fully furnished Thode Fitness Center, four soccer fields, six tennis courts and several baseball and softball diamonds.

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Academic Program[edit]

The Early Childhood and Lower School Program at AFS serves students age 3 to 4th grade, the Middle School Program 5th through 8th grade and the Upper School program 9th through 12th grade.[3]

History[edit]

Abington Friends School was founded in March, 1697, when John Barnes, a wealthy tailor who belonged to the Abington Monthly Meeting, donated 120 acres of his estate “for and towards erecting a meetinghouse for Friends and toward the maintenance of a school under the direction of Friends.” The School has been continuously operated on the same plot of land since its founding in that year, making it the oldest school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with such a claim. AFS operates under the care of Abington Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. In its earliest days the School was located in one large room in the Meeting House, with the principles of the Religious Society of Friends dominating virtually every aspect of school life. In the 1780s the school moved to a structure of its own, the present day caretaker’s house adjacent to the Meeting House on Greenwood Avenue. Boys occupied the first floor room, while girls were instructed in the upstairs room. Boys were responsible for supplying firewood for the stoves in each room and the girls collected drinking water from the small brook behind the Meeting House. Coeducation was not the only way in which the School observed the Quaker testimony of equality. By the mid 18th century, Abington Friends School admitted African American students too. Throughout the 18th century, AFS provided an education for the primary grades only, with enrollment fluctuating between 20 and 40 students, most of whom were Quaker. The foundations for the modern school we know today were laid in the 1880s, when the school was transformed from an ungraded primary day school with around 90 students and two teachers to a boarding school that served kindergarten through twelfth grade. The new school was opened in 1887 on the triangular property bordered by present-day Greenwood Avenue, Jenkintown Road and Meetinghouse Road. By 1931, the school had become an all-girls college preparatory school, which offered a more progressive education than many of the all-girls schools by including exchange programs with European schools, mandatory community service and greater diversity in student enrollment. AFS entered the 1960s with a strong commitment to a progressive education firmly rooted in Quaker values. Consistent with those values was the School Committee’s decision to return to coeducation in 1966. By 1975 all grades, kindergarten through twelfth, contained both boys and girls. Under the leadership of headmaster Adelbert Mason, the school’s facilities expanded, with new buildings for the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. Growth continued in the late ‘80s with a new science and arts wing in the Lower School.[5]

Athletics[edit]

Abington Friends has enjoyed a rich and successful athletic history in the Friends Schools League, competing against schools with similar values like the Germantown Friends School and the Friends' Central School. AFS offers a host of sports, including soccer, basketball, baseball, cross country, wrestling, swimming, tennis, softball and women's lacrosse. The current athletic director is Jeff Bond, a former two sport star (baseball & basketball) at Williams College. AFS prides itself in its athletic philosophy, which-- marked by making each student play a sport in at least one season, stressing the team ideals over individual pursuits, and valuing sportsmanship and class above wins and losses--it believes provides an open setting for students to experientially learn through athletics.

The AFS boys basketball team has been the schools most successful team, winning numerous FSL titles under the mastery of National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum selection Steve Chadwin. Chadwin has coached an array of players at AFS that have gone on to have very strong college careers. Currently, AFS grad, Jabril Trawick is a senior on the Georgetown University men's basketball team. [6] His classmate, Kenneth Johnson, just transferred to the storied MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, where he will be a junior. [7]

AFS has also enjoyed sending several distinguished non-basketball student athletes to college. Most recently, Nate Simon (class of 2010), a five time All-Friends League performer while at AFS, garnered the Centennial Conference most valuable player for baseball, while also setting a series of school records for Gettysburg College. [8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]