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explore our CAMPUS

What's cool about our campus is that it's spread out over seven acres in Philadelphia's historic neighborhood of Germantown. The buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, a unique look and feel more consistent with a college campus. With three gyms, three auditoriums, a student center, numerous open, green spaces and nine classroom buildings, it's a place worthy of adoration and exploration. The Meetinghouse, at the center of it all, provides a beautiful and spiritual focal point.

1. Main Building 2. Meetinghouse 3. Sharpless 4. Hargroves 5. Wade Science Center 6. Alumni Building 7. Admissions 8. Living Graveyard 9. Dead Graveyard 10. Loeb Performing Arts Center 11. Smith Gym 12. Cary Building 13. Friends Free Library 14. Field House 15. Scattergood Gym

we have deep roots in this place

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The Pillars of A

Quaker Education

At GFS, students and teachers gather in Meeting for Worship once each week. This is a time for shared, silent contemplation. Anyone who feels moved to speak may rise and do so. It is a simple formula, and can be a remarkably powerful experience.In these days of constant connectivity, the ability and opportunity to sit in silence have special value. Meeting for Worship is a cornerstone of the GFS culture that many come to cherish throughout their lives.

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speak the truth

We strive to deal fairly, equally and honestly with everyone. We aim to do as we say, reflecting our beliefs in our actions. even when it is inconvenient or challenging, we stand by our convictions, striving to lead lives of integrity.

Shine Together

We are all blessed with remarkable gifts. We are equally qualified to seek truth and to hear the voice of God. Every person deserves equal respect. For these reasons, we work against prejudice and discrimination and for equality.

stay connected

"Alone we can do little; together we can do so much."* We know there is strength in cooperation and wisdom to be found when many perspectives come together. We believe in the power of community.*
The words of Helen Keller.

keep it simple

In every way we can, we try to minimize the distractions that can draw our attention from the important things in life. This means not becoming overwhelmed by the busyness of daily routine. It means seeking balance. It means embracing simplicity.

care for all

This planet we inhabit, the talents we've been given, the community of which we are a part- all hold remarkable value. We must be responsible, imaginative and proactive in protecting these gifts and caring for the world and people around us. We must exercise good stewardship.

promote peace

We believe each life is precious and unique. We stand against war and violence and work to eliminate their root causes, including ignorance, racism, hatred and oppression. We are committed to creating peace.

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Ellery Biddle '01, Global Voice

Ellery Biddle '01, Global Voice

This year's Alumni Speaker, Ellery Biddle '01, spoke about digital culture and the importance of free speech online. 

By Eva Sun '20


On Friday, December 14, Ellery Biddle '01 delivered a speech during the annual Alumni Speaker assembly. Biddle is the advocacy director for Global Voices, an international media organization of bloggers, journalists, and activists from more than 170 countries. She writes regularly for Global Voices and Slate, focusing on reporting and advocating for internet censorship surveillance around the world.

After a brief introduction by Anne Gerbner, Biddle shared her experience at Germantown Friends School. She appreciated her Spanish class in which she was exposed to the film Fresa y Chocolate. The film was set in Cuba under the administration of Fidel Castro in 1979, a time that saw vehement media control and rampant propaganda. She recalled how the film kindled her enthusiasm for social justice with regards to media censorship. 

Biddle then narrated the ordeal that the team of the blog Periodismo de Barrio underwent in Cuba. In 2016, journalist Elaine Díaz and her colleagues went to Baracoa, Cuba, to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. While there, they were arrested for "reporting without a permit." Their pieces of equipment were confiscated and the contents were erased. The women in the team were physically examined, but not their male counterparts. 

view of stage with news article displayed on screen reporting on Ellery's arrest

Her poignant recount proved that the peril of being arrested for reporting is, regrettably, real. Hence, the aspiration of building a global community that works together towards telling stories free of censorship.

With free speech naturally comes ethical queries. What is the relationship between free speech and social media? Who makes the decision about which statements get to stay on a platform and which do not? There is a power triangle consisting of government, community, and enterprises. Media are generally viewed as an agency that supervises the government. Who, then, supervises the media? Who will hold the companies accountable? The power dynamic between media and government is inherently complex. Biddle related an anecdote about a social media platform that provoked a brouhaha in the audience. According to her experience, the social media's zone of cyberspace was almost a dictatorship. The policies are utterly arbitrary and non-negotiable. "Social media platforms have no constitution," Biddle declared.

Biddle's talk was emotive and thought-provoking. For most GFS students, her speech was a novel exposure to the arena of government and media. 

After the assembly, Ellery Biddle spoke with students in Anne Gerbner's English class.