The Birth of the Meadow Garden and Bee Yard
This year we saw tremendous growth is what we have come to call The Farm at AFS. Over the spring and summer of 2021, faculty, students and community members worked together to build, plant, grow and harvest an impressive garden adjacent to the Meadow Field. This effort coincides with start of a Bee Yard on the AFS campus, near the triangle building.
Upper School FarmEx students have been working with Nick Lodise of Bee Happy Honey & Hives to bring an apiary to our campus. The students built bee boxes, stands and frames for honeycombs. Lower School students event joined in on the efforts by painting all of the bee boxes with colorful designs.
Then, over spring break of 2021, Willa Hollinger ’23, Sophia Wang ’24, Kathy Liang ’21 and Sara Ni ’21 (supervised by Nick) suited up to transfer an estimated 30,000-40,000 bees into our school’s very first hive!
Work by faculty and students continued throughout the spring and summer to keep the bees happy and healthy.
Read FarmEx Mentor Sheila Pai‘s “End Note” about Renewal and Reformation in the Meadow Garden. Many other faculty and staff members are engaged in the continual growth of The Farm at AFS including, but not limited to Brian Cassady, Dan Toboada, Lisa Ammirati, Michael McGlinn, Nikki Kent and Karloye Eldridge.
Upper School Play “Everybody” Comes to Life on the Outdoor Stage
The Upper School Theatre program worked overtime this past spring to successfully envision and create a unique production of “Everybody” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. “Everybody” is an inventive, provocative and humorous adaptation of a 15th century morality play, originally written during a time of pandemic. While it’s a comedy, the work addresses issues of race, white fragility, social media, friendship, family obligations, materialism, mortality, and what makes for a life well-lived. Technical Director Seth Schmitt-Hall, stage managers Catherine Gingrich ’21, Camille MacKenzie ’23 and Katie Chrzanowski ’24, and other crew members designed and constructed the outdoor set for “Everybody”. The team built three stages in front of AFS, which enabled actors to follow pandemic protocols and to be adequately spaced while unmasked when acting during the shows and rehearsals. The audience moved and changed their perspectives during the play with the help of ushers to guide them through the story with the parallel performances of no more than two actors at a time happening on the three stages.
One of the most exciting aspects of the play was that the main role is chosen at random between four members of the cast at each performance – the actors did not know whether they were playing the role until the show actually started. The actors cast in the lead role of Everybody were Isabella Aguilar ’21, Isaiah Kirkland ’22, Silas Lloyd ’21, and Youyang (Sophie) Qin ’23.
Read thoughtful Q&A’s with some of the “Everybody” lead actors on the AFS website. The students reflected upon the unique opportunity to play this complex role in the production.
New Leadership of the AFS School Committee
Abington Friends School is under the care of Abington Friends Meeting, which oversees the School through one of its standing committees, the School Committee. Composed of members of Abington Monthly Meeting, parents and alumni or past parents, the School Committee sets the strategic direction and vision for the future of the School and ensures ongoing faithfulness to our Quaker mission and values.
This year, Margaret Sayers P’16 P’18 ended her term as Clerk of the School Committee and Becca Bubb ’02 P’33 P’35 moved into the Clerk position in June of 2021. During Margaret’s 12 years on School Committee, nine of those serving as clerk, she was part of the Campaign Executive Committee for the tremendously successful Now More Than Ever campaign. She was also deeply involved in the on-going strategic planning process for the future of AFS and helped to facilitate the school’s growth in numerous way in the last century.
Of Margaret’s leadership, Head of School Rich Nourie said, “[Margaret] has navigated crises with me with care and clarity of values, overseen the many accomplishments of our previous strategic plan and served as a tireless advocate, fundraiser and friend with utter commitment and devotion to both School and Meeting.”