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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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GFS Community Comes Together for Poetry and Fellowship

GFS Community Comes Together for Poetry and Fellowship

Creative voices filled the Friends Free Library when students and community members joined together for a Poetry Lunchtime Chat.

Creative voices filled the Friends Free Library when Upper School students and community members joined together for GFS' Poetry Lunchtime Chat in February. The event—sponsored by the GFS blog Irony of A—gave students the opportunity to read their poems aloud in front of parents, peers, faculty, neighbors, and friends. Poems comprised a number of different themes from student life and gender norms to coming of age stories. Using rhyme schemes, imagery, and prose, the readings were introspective, funny, and others powerful. For some, the Poetry Chat was the first time students read their own work aloud. 

An open-forum event brings the local community together. "Poetry should not be a discipline that...sprinkles whomever amongst the masses is lucky enough to snatch it...An open-forum strengthens our discourse and places poetry right where it should be," says English teacher Sam Sullivan. It's accessible to everyone. 

Sullivan has encouraged students to "gain agency with language" and develop their voices through poetry. "One paranoia I always feel about poetry in schools is that it will be reabsorbed by the academic, institutional framework and therefore robbed of its radical, spiritual power." That's why there are no writing guidelines in his class, a poetry minor for students in grades 10 through 12. Instead, Sullivan encourages his students to explore works by a variety of different poets. If they're unsure where to start, he suggests writers like Kay Ryan, Ethridge Knight, e.e. cummings, Terrence Hayes, William Shakespeare, Gwendolyn Brooks, or Julia de Burgos. "We should be showing young people how to become active participants in shaping and expanding and destroying and renewing the language," says Sullivan. "Normally, we dangle 'correct' or 'beautiful' or 'meaningful' forms of language above [students'] heads and say, 'come get it.' Poetry forces us, the adults, to come to terms with the agency of young people as thinkers."

At the event, students were joined by faculty and staff, as well as members of the GFS and Germantown community. GFS alumna Joan Countryman '58, a retired math teacher, joked, "I taught math for many years...but now, I'm a poet," before diving into her written work. 

Poetry serves a greater purpose for the students too. English Department Head Alex Levin adds, "When students begin to understand one another as poets, as artists with unique styles and voices, they come to appreciate one another more. They start to realize that the world is full of poets, some who are currently engaged in the work of writing poetry, and some who have yet to be invited to write."


The following passages are from student-written poems, presented during GFS' Poetry Lunchtime Chat on Wednesday, February 26.

I call the eating disorder hotline 
and hang up like a slamming door
A big stone drops back
I hold the stone and get dropped off at school in the day
And pantry at night

My red throat grows into a large stone
Bleached by water
It's fitting of many more things                 you can 
suck the tea bag but 
Its nectar will not quench that thirst
Day by day I knock the stone into drips of powder
Then hot milk
A spoon stirs
I have measured out my thighs with spoons
The scorch dims in a blink 

No love marks to be left on this swath of skin
At every dawn I lose it again
Does my unhappiness impress you yet

- A poem by Liwa Sun '20


When I Was Growing Up 

When I was growing up, 
We didn't have allergies 
There was no gluten to be free of 

We drank our soda straight from the source 
We didn't worry about cups and bottles and cans 
We turned on the hose and guzzled sweet candy water 
Until our teeth turned gray 

Curfew was the town screamer 
Us kids would be outside, playing Shoot the Indians all day, no parents in site 
Until the town screamer would run all around town and scream 
And then we knew 
it was time to go home

Our bearded grandfathers taught us how to hunt 
not with guns or bows, with flamethrowers and poisoned darts 
But first we'd pray to the demon Romulus 
And organize our blood jars 

If you wanted to climb a tree, you climbed it 
We had no knee pads or safety nets 
You'd check to see if there were any tree elves 
If there were, you'd say "excuse me Mr. or Mrs. Elf, I'm climbing this tree," 
And then you'd just climb it! 

When I was growing up 
We said no to the candy men in clown suits! 
We murdered our fathers when they said PLEASE 
We understand what it meant to bury a bone in the dirt 
We didn't believe in "object permanence," or "the linear passage of time" 

What is it with kids these days 
With their iPhones 
And their Adderal 
What happened to respect 
What happened to decency 
What happened to community horse executions 
Those were the best Saturdays 

Today is nothing like when I was growing up

- A poem by Brenden Dahl '20