Friends' Central School
|Friends' Central School|
|Wynnewood, PA, USA|
|Headmaster||Craig Normile Sellers|
|Student to teacher ratio||9:1|
|Athletics conference||Friends' Schools League|
|Average SAT scores (2010)||649 Math
Friends' Central School (FCS) has been consistently ranked among the best-performing academic, athletic, and artistic college-preparatory schools in Greater Philadelphia. It is a Quaker school which educates students from Nursery through Grade 12 and is located in Wynnewood, a community in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania in Greater Philadelphia.
Informally known as "Friends' Central," the school encompasses three divisions: Lower School (nursery through 5th grades), Middle School (6th through 8th) and Upper School (9th through 12th). The Middle and Upper Schools share their campus, and the Lower School occupies its own site.
Friends' Central School was founded in 1845 in Philadelphia at 4th Street and Cherry Street, serving as an upper school for the Quaker primary schools with grades 7 through 12. In 1857, the school moved to 15th and Race Street, remaining at this location until 1925, when it then moved to its current campus on City Avenue (formerly the Wistar Morris Estate). The main house of the estate, constructed in 1862, remains and serves as the administrative building of the school as well as an architectural focal point of the campus. In 1988, due to the growth of the student body, Friends' Central acquired the Montgomery School's property and relocated the lower school there. Recent expansion includes construction of the Shimada Athletic Center (2000) and the Fannie Cox Center for Science, Math and Technology (2003). In 2011, David Felsen retired after 23 years of service as headmaster; beginning in the 2012 school year, Craig Sellers was named Head of School.
Emphasis and incorporation of Quaker values
Quaker values such as community, service, equality and integrity are all incorporated into student life. All students attend a weekly Meeting for Worship on Wednesdays for 40 minutes, sharing messages when "moved to speak". The community convenes in one room in silence and individuals stand when expressing thoughts to the community. Students are also required to perform off-campus service for a set of mandatory hours. In the middle and upper school, students are required to take three religious courses concerning the history of the Society of Friends and the central philosophies of Quakerism from a non-religious perspective. In middle school, 5th and 7th grade learn the history and faith of Quakerism, and the 9th grade course further explores the Quaker faith and practice, focusing on a deeper understanding of the religion's history and its testimonies. 11th and 12th graders may take additional study in the origin and philosophy of religion in general.
Friends' Central School students achieved the highest average SAT scores in all three sections (Math, Verbal and Writing) of the 19 schools that had scores reported in Suburban Life Magazine's 2010 report on suburban Philadelphia private high schools. The scores were 649 in Math, 669 in Verbal, and 666 in Writing. This report also indicated that Friends' Central had a student-faculty ratio of 9:1, a yearly high school tuition of $25,400, and that 100% of the 93 students in the senior class went on to a four-year college.
Of the 2009 graduating class, eight schools enrolled 30% of the senior class: The University of Pennsylvania (6), Muhlenberg College (4), Johns Hopkins (3), Haverford (3), Carnegie Mellon (3), Temple (3), Washington University in St. Louis (3), and Sarah Lawrence (3). Fourteen students enrolled at Ivy League institutions.
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- Hilda Doolittle (Class of 1903) - Noted poet and novelist.
- Edmund Bacon - Urban planner, architect, educator and author
- James Wolfenden - United States Congressman from Pennsylvania
- Sylvia Hill Williams (Class of 1953) - former director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art
- Elizabeth Osborne (Class of 1954) - Renowned artist
- Brian De Palma (Class of 1958) -Film director
- K. Barry Sharpless (Class of 1959) - 2001 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
- Stacey (Goldsborough) Snider (Class of 1978) - CEO, DreamWorks
- Daniel Porter (Class of 1984) - Former CEO OMGPOP, Creator of Draw Something Game, Former President of Teach For America
- Raymond Lohier (Class of 1984) - a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and formerly an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
- Jonathan H. Adler (Class of 1987) - Professor of Law at the Case Western University School of Law
- Sonya Sklaroff (Class of 1988) - Artist
- Adam Goldstein (Class of 1991) - Renowned Disk Jockey, also known as DJ AM
- Andy Greenwald (Class of 1995) - Author
- Hakim Warrick (Class of 2001) - NBA Player (Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies), former NCAA Player (Syracuse University, member of 2003 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship team)
- Benj Pasek (Class of 2003) - Tony-nominated and Oscar-winning songwriter - Pasek and Paul, A Christmas Story, Dogfight, NBC's SMASH, Johnny and the Sprites
- Mustafa Shakur (Class of 2003) - NBA Player (Washington Wizards), Polish Basketball Player, former NBA Player (Sacramento Kings), former NCAA Player (Arizona)
- Amile Jefferson (Class of 2012) - NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Basketball Player for the Duke Blue Devils (2012-2017) National Championship Winner 2015. Due to an injury Amile Jefferson had to play for Duke for an extra year.
- Frederick Taylor Pusey (Class of 1899) - Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1902-1906.
- Mildred Scott Olmsted (1890-1990), peace activist
- "Community Profile." Lower Merion Township. Retrieved on April 30, 2014. (contains maps of Lower Merion).
- "Directions." Japanese Language School of Philadelphia. Retrieved on March 30, 2014. "The Japanese Language School of Philadelphia utilizes the campus of: Friends Central School 1101 City Avenue, Wynnewood, PA"
- Greg Heller, Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics, and the Building of Modern Philadelphia. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) p.17
- "Alum Destined for The Great White Way!". Friends' Central School. Retrieved June 1, 2012.