This Week

Friday, May 1, 2020

Jordan Smith Rises Against Injury and a Pandemic to Get to Division I WKU

After a successful junior year during which she made All-Friends Schools League First Team playing basketball at AFS, Jordan Smith ‘20 headed to Paris for an ExTerm trip in May 2019. Upon her return home, she immediately headed back on the court with her AAU team. Jordan was getting back into the rhythm and went up for a basket when she heard a disturbing pop. The diagnosis was a torn ACL, meniscus and a sprained MCL. She’d need surgery and the projected recovery time was nine months. Read more.

Read the full story at

First Grade Class Donates Post Office Sales to Alex's Lemonade Stand

Our first grade students sell stamps and collect, sort and special deliver "mail" to the entire school each fall. The first grade post office supports many areas of learning including math, where children learn to count by tens and add and subtract for customer stamp transactions. They also learn organizational, editing and reading skills as they must check each letter to make sure they are addressed correctly, then date stamp pieces of mail and finally sort them for delivery.

As school closed its physical doors and AFS Everywhere opened, the first grade classes have continued their lesson. In math class, they counted up the coins and dollars from their stamp sales! Susan Arteaga's class decided to donate their earnings to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

Before deciding on Alex's, There were many thoughtful ideas about the places and people that the class desired to help with the stamp money, including: hospitals, sick people, elderly people who might be stuck in their rooms, nurses because they need more equipment, social workers who help people when they are sad, children who need it and homeless people.

Susan's class raised a total of $49.85 by selling 498 stamps! 

AFS Everywhere Care Packages Delivered to Students 

Middle School Art teacher Pete Thobaben has been working for weeks to assemble care packages for each student in the middle school. Pete collected and logged orders, packed boxes in his basement, and coordinated drop-offs of the boxes by Middle School faculty and administrators to students' homes. Every child got or will get a big box filled with books, journals, art supplies, various types of paper and writing materials for their AFS Everywhere assignments (along with some personalized touches).

Fifth grade student Eliot Bramson '27 has already used an item from his package to make a wonderful botany discovery. He emailed science teacher Mike McGlinn excitedly about his class assignment saying, "I was able to identify the tree as a Devil's Walking Stick...I cut off a leaf, brought it home, pressed it, and looked at it through the jewelers loop [magnifier] that you sent me. I found that the veins don't run right up to the margins, so I have a Devil's Walking Stick near me."

English teacher Sunshine O'Donnell shared her experience of the contact-free delivery of the packages to students saying, "I cannot express just how amazing it was to see the looks on parents' faces when I went to drop off my stash of boxes in Northeast and Northwest Philly. Families were so surprised and delighted - and deeply grateful."

While much of the task as hand was a tremendous and heartfelt undertaking for Pete, many Middle School teachers helped with the deliveries. Thank you for epitomizing what it means to be an AFS educator, Pete. 

Write for What's Right: The Class of 2024 Writes for Change
Adelia's Documentary: Institutionalized Racism

During the last trimester of eighth grade English with teacher Sunshine O'Donnell, students explore an issue that concerns them and learn how the power of language can help to promote social justice. Once a student selects an issue that they want to address, they conduct research into the issue and learn how to create a powerful and persuasive text. They then select a way to showcase their writing through either performance or publication.

This year, eighth graders conveyed their points of view in documentaries, speeches, essays, poetry series and more. You can view every 8th grade assignment on this page created by Sunshine for AFS Everywhere, along with the group brainstorm of ideas for possible issues to explore. Adelia's Documentary on Institutionalized Racism is shown above and a selection of other creative projects are highlighted here:

Alexis' Speech: Child Abuse
Kaydin's Poetry Series: Police Brutality
Charlie's Documentary: Plastic Water Bottles
Rainey's Website: Jailtime for Sexual Offenders


Thoughts From a Distance: Poetry in a Pandemic

In Mary Lynn Ellis’ 11th grade AP Literature class, students did an in-depth study of contemporary American poets. Last week, students were asked to choose a line or more from any poem by any poet that resonated with them in a new way during the present pandemic. They used that line or any number of lines as a title, first line or last line of their poem or wove it into their poetry in some way.

The human range of emotions that one might be feeling from day to day or minute to minute are reflected in the resulting poetry, which expresses gratitude, fear, loss, hope and joy. Please enjoy one of the pieces from Sophie Peterson ’21 and read more of the student poetry at

Why Must We Practice This Surrender?
                        after Ada Limón   

“Why must we practice this surrender?” When we wake up 
each day time begins its tireless effort to stand still. A new routine
will not prevent the days where we sit upside down on the couch,
our legs, empty and upright; our heads, dangling towards the floor
and filling with blood. As we sit the world spins. 
Who can say how we long we’ve been here, but each can say the day
they didn’t realize they were saying goodbye. 
It’s easy to see how little we knew, that day.
Today, our mind runs the same as the last. A cup of coffee, 
a walk, watch the kids bike down the block and then
do it all again. 
Each day the earth grows a little bit brighter, and we stay static. 

-Sophie Peterson

Read more of the student poetry, here


Abington Friends School Summer Camp Survey

We could use your help making informed decisions about AFS Summer Camp 2020. We do not yet know if we will be able to host our traditional Summer Camp at AFS this year. Our campers are the number one priority and a final decision will follow the direction of government mandates combined with guidance from local authorities and public health officials. 

If you are currently enrolled or considering enrolling in AFS Summer Camp, please complete this short (less than five minute) survey to tell us about your thoughts around and plans for your child's summer experience at this time. Answering these questions will go a long way in informing how we can best support you this camp season.
Complete the AFS Summer Camp Survey
Reach & Raise is Coming Up on May 17

Living Beyond Breast Cancer's Reach & Raise is Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Join us and friends across the country as we virtually gather united for a morning of connection, community, and an all-levels yoga class. The proceeds will help women and families across the country impacted by the hardship of breast cancer and COVID-19.
Click the button below to sign up, and please share with friends and family to join TEAM AFS. No yoga experience is needed!

REACH & RAISE - Sign Up to Join TEAM AFS
Hope Notes for the Community

AFS parent, School Committee member and Friend Michael Sperger P'15 P'18 P'21 has created an uplifting newsletter called Hope Notes and we welcome everyone to subscribe and get a dose of hope each week:

  • Personal Belonging Pick-up at AFS – May 11-12 – Details from each division to come
  • Lower School Conference Day – Friday, May 15 Please find conference sign ups HERE
  • Virtual EGIS Night – Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. - The entire community is invited, more information to come

Other event updates can be found here:

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