- George School
Infobox Private School
name = George School
motto = "Mind the Light"
established = 1893
type = Private, Boarding
religion = Quaker
head_name = Headmaster
head = Nancy Starmer
city = Pennsylvania
state = PA
country = USA
campus = convert|265|acre|km2
enrollment = 532 total
293 boarding 239 day
faculty = 81
class = 14
ratio = 7:1
colors = Green/White, Buff/Brown
mascot = Cougar|conference = Friends Schools League
homepage = [http://www.georgeschool.org/ www.georgeschool.org]
George School was founded in
1891and opened in 1893. It is named for John M. George, who donated much of the money for the school. It was intended as a school for Hicksite members of the Society of Friends(Quakers) who wanted an alternative to Orthodox Westtown School. Although most of the early boarding students were Quaker, day students have long come from outside the Friends community, and today Quakers represent about one-fifth of students and one-third of faculty [ [http://www.georgeschool.org/explore.asp?content=19 George School | Quaker Values ] ] .
The campus was built on convert|227|acre|km2 of the Worth Farm. The owners retained 60 additional acres, including the 1756 Tate House and 1804 Worth House. The bulk of the school property was given over in the early years to a farm managed for the benefit of the school. The school's milk and much of the meat was producded there into the 1920s. The remaining property including the two historic houses was purchased in 1945. Parts of the campus were leased or given over to
Newtown Friends Schoolin 1947 and Pennswoodretirement community in 1979 [ Kingdon Swayne, "George School: The History of a Quaker Community", Philadelphia: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1992, pp 9,199-203] Following World War II, teacher Walter Mohr, who had worked with the American Friends Service Committee, organized affiliations with two German schools, Jacobi Gymnasium for boys in Düsseldorf and Gertraudenschule for girls in Berlin, at first sending relief supplies and organizing student exchanges. In 1950, the first of almost twenty years of German workcamps began. In the late 1960s, these affiliations and work camps began to spread, to Russia, Africa, and Latin America, and came to include work projects domestically. [ Kingdon Swayne, "George School: The History of a Quaker Community", Philadelphia: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1992, pp 68-71]
During the mid-1950s,
Julian Bond, later a prominent civil rights leader, attended George School. While he did encounter some cases of racism while attending there, he was impressed by anti-racist philosophy of the school, and first encountered ideas of non-violence and social action. [http://www.thehistorymakers.com/programs/dvl/files/Bond_Julianb.html The HistoryMakers video oral history interview with Julian Bond, 2000. Web site is abstracted summary] One event in particular involves Bond, a varsity athlete, going to Philadelphia with his white girlfriend while wearing George School apparel. Upon returning he was reprimanded by the dean. George School has claimed it was based on a policy of not wearing George School insignia apparel off-campus, but Bond believed it was based on racism and "That was just like somebody stopping you and slapping you across the face." [http://www.answers.com/topic/julian-bond Answers.com site quoting Contemporary Black Biography, by the Gale Group, Inc., which in turn is quoting John Neary's article on Bond in "Life" magazine.]
September 18, 2007, Barbara Dodd Anderson, George School Class of 1950, gave a gift of $128.5 million to George School. The gift is to be received over a period of twenty years from an irrevocable charitable lead trust and is the single largest gift to an existing private school in U.S. history. [ [http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20070918_George_School_receives__128_5_million_from_alum_whose_father_taught_Warren_Buffett.html George School receives $128.5 million from alum whose father taught Warren Buffett | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/18/2007 ] ] The gift has its origins with billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Warren Buffett.
David Dodd, was a renowned economist and professor at Columbia UniversitySchool of Business. The young Buffett sought out Professor Dodd at Columbia and was a student of his. Dodd became an early investor in Buffett's Berkshire Hathawayand remained good friends with Buffett throughout his life. Ms. Dodd stated that "This gift is meant to honor not only my father, David Dodd, and his legacy, but also all of the teachers at George School who had such an impact on me and are so important to their students today. I want to help George School because of the excellence of its faculty and because it is a school without pretensions, where caring for and learning from each other are as important as academic success." [ [http://www.georgeschool.org/explore.asp?content=386 George School | George School to Receive $128.5 Million Gift ] ]
Location and geography
When founded, George School was quite isolated. It had its own train station on the
Reading Railroad's Newtown line (later the SEPTA R8 line), and its own post office branch. As Bucks County has grown and urbanized, the campus has become something of an island of green amidst the sprawl. A campus map is available [http://www.georgeschool.org/campusmap.asp here]
The campus is adjacent to
Neshaminy Creek, and Newtown Creekcuts through the property. Both rivers are in the less-developed western part of the campus.
The Pennswood retirement community and
Newtown Friends School, also Quaker institutions, are on George School land and adjacent to the campus.
George School is governed by the George School committee, which is self-perpetuating by approval of the
Philadelphia Yearly Meetingof the Society of Friends. Quaker influences on the school are apparent in many of the Friends-derived procedures of the school, especially in the consensusformat for faculty and other committee meetings, where all present must either agree to proposals or "stand aside" in order for them to be approved. A four-year course of spiritual study begins with a term of peer group meetings the student's first year, year-long "Health and the Human Spirit" class sophomore year, and trimester-long Bibleand Quakerism classes during the junior and senior years, respectively. Additionally, all students and faculty gather for a twenty-five minute Meeting for Worshiponce a week, and all boarding students and resident faculty attend a longer meeting on Sundays. Also in the Quaker spirit, since 1942every student has a "co-op" job, the equivalent to other schools' work-study jobs, but shared equally among all students regardless of their financial aid status. Finally, in the most apparent difference to outsiders, teachers and students all refer to one another on a first-name basis. [ [http://www.georgeschool.org/explore.asp?content=19 George School | Quaker Values ] ]
George School offers a college-preparatory course of study. To graduate, students must complete 4 years of English, 3 years of mathematics, 3 years of history, 3 years of science, 4 years of arts and the religious courses noted above, and demonstrate third-year proficiency in a foreign language.
George School offers the two-year
International Baccalaureateprogram, which certifies students to attend colleges and universities around the world.
George School also offers
Advanced Placementcourses and examinations in Biology, Calculus(AB and BC), English, U.S. History, Physics, Statisticsand the school's four foreign languages: French, Spanish, Latinand Chinese. Additionally, students in the Portfolio Preparation class have been known to submit their work for the ArtAP. [ [http://www.georgeschool.org/explore.asp?content=34 George School | Advanced Placement (AP) ] ]
Students must take four full years of art. George school offers classes in
pottery), chorus, dance, digital imaging, drama, music seminar, newspaper ("The Curious George", formerly "The George School News"), paintingand drawing, photography, stagecraft, video production, orchestra, woodworking(mostly carpentry), and yearbook. In recent years, the school has begun to offer an Arts Foundation course that offers one trimester each of three different arts, and encourages most freshmen to begin with this course.
All George School students are required to complete a sixty-five hour
community serviceproject before they graduate. Students work on projects and in programs that reflect Friends' practices. Projects must be grounded in one-on-one contact with communities and persons who are disempowered because of social, racial, economic, or health factors. These projects include intense, two-week experiences in school-sponsored, domestic or international work camps; once-a-week experiences that extend throughout the school year; and preapproved independent projects. Service projects may be completed during the school year or vacation time, any time after the completion of a student's sophomore year.
George School's work-camps began after the
Second World War, with students traveling to help those in need both domestically and internationally. Recent work camps and service trips include India; Nicaragua; Cuba; Costa Rica; Boston, Massachusetts; Coastal Mississippi; Israeland The Palestinian territories; France; South Africa; Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Americus, Georgia; South Carolina; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; West Virginia; South Korea; and Vietnam. [ [http://www.georgeschool.org/explore.asp?content=21 George School | Service Learning ] ]
While more than half of the students at George School are on significant financial aid, proportionally few of those students can afford to go on international service trips as the maximum scholarship offered on most trips amounts to roughly half of the total costs, which range from $2000 to over $5000.
Students are almost always required to play a competitive sport or participate in a
physical educationprogram. Starting in the 1996- 1997school year, certain fully-scheduled students were permitted to take one trimester with no athletics. Still, underclassmen must play two interscholastic competitive sports and juniors and seniors must play one:
*Fall: cross country, equestrian,
field hockey, football, cheerleading(Football) soccer, and tennis(girls)
basketball, cheerleading (Basketball) swimming, winter track, volleyball, and wrestling
baseball, equestrian, golf, lacrosse, tennis(boys), and track and field
Where possible, George School competes in the
Friends School League, but in certain sports, such as equestrian, football, and swimming, this is not possible due to the small number of nearby Friends schools that also participate.There is an annual competition with Westtown which results in the awarding of the Patterson Cup, which most students and faculty refer to as "The Moose". The scores are based on the results of all varsity and junior varsity competitions between the two schools.
The School has a swimming competency requirement for graduation.
*"The Curious George" is the school's student produced newspaper on campus, formerly "The George School News".
*"The Georgian" is the alumni newspaper that is circulated to alums, parents, and faculty.
*"Argo" is a student-produced literary and arts magazine.
*"Opus" is the school's yearbook.
The school has a very active performing arts program of long standing. Although it is not formally an "arts school," many of George School's most prominent alumni are performing artists.
Theater productions are both student and department produced, and are performed on the Walton Center main stage or the smaller green room stage. Productions include conventional high school productions, such as
Guys and Dolls, and more controversial pieces such as the Laramie Project. The most recent production is Lanford Wilson's " The Rimers Of Eldritch".
Also George School's dance classes perform in Dance Eclectic every year. Dance Eclectic is a combination of student choreography and teacher based choreography.
The George School Community Chorus includes both students and adults from the community, and offers an annual winter concert.
ymbols and logos
*The school's seal is an
oil lampwith the inscription "Mind the light," referring to the Quaker conception of Godas the inner lightwithin all people.
logoconsists of the two words of the name (the school is never referred to as "The George School") separated by a stylized tree, reminiscent of the large one on the south end of campus. The current logo, adopted in 2000, replaced a more stylized, "bare branch" logo adopted in the late 1970s. [http://www.georgeschool.org/files/georgian/web_v72n1fall00.pdf "Georgian" blurb about new logo, Fall 2000]
*The school colors were historically buff and brown, but those proved harder and harder to find for sports uniforms. Since autumn
2000, the school colors have been green and white.
mascotis a cougar, portrayed by one of the cheerleaders.
Donzaleigh Abernathy— actress, daughter of Rev. Ralph Abernathy
Barbara Dodd Anderson— philanthropist, daughter of notable Columbia UniversityBusiness professor David Dodd
Edward G. Biester, Jr.— U.S. Congressperson
Julian Bond— civil rights leader and chairman of the NAACP
Mario Capecchi— winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine
Jojuyounghi Cleaver— Daughter of Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver
Kathleen Neal Cleaver- Black Panthersleader, wife of Eldridge Cleaver
Ennis Cosby— Son of Bill Cosby
Blythe Danner— actress, mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow
Kevin Davis- actor in multiple films, notably one of the Black Panthers in Forrest Gump
Keir Dullea— actor
James Hammerstein— Broadway director and producer
* Stephen Lang — actor
J. Howard Marshall— businessman and husband of Anna Nicole Smith
Meredith Monk— dancer, composer and choreographer
George Segal— actor
Stephen Sondheim— composer
Henry S. Taylor— Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
Dawn Timmeney– news anchor for WCAU (TV)in Philadelphia
Charles Walton— holder of the first patent for RFIDtechnology
Kenneth Geddes Wilson— Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics
Leon Bass— educator
James Michener— (1933-1936) novelist
Most from George School web site.
List of Friends Schools
* [http://www.georgeschool.org/ George School web site]
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