On Friday, December 9th, students were treated to performances by the Walnut Street Theatre’s multi-cultural Touring Outreach Company. For over 30 years, Walnut Street Theatre has brought high-quality professional theater to schools in the greater Philadelphia area.
This group of four actors impressed with high levels of energy and their flexibility to play several different characters, making many fast costume changes along the way. Pre-K through 4th grade saw a performance of A Philly Phairy Tale, a retelling of the classic Cinderella, with a distinctive Philly twist. The main character Cindy, a fan of all of the Philadelphia sports teams, has always been kind. A mantra that her family always shared with her is, “When push comes to shove, you will always be from the city of brotherly love.” The students were completely engrossed in the story and enjoyed participating by calling out, “Hey Rocky!” when Rocky Balboa’s character (who was the narrator of the play) needed to return to the stage to keep telling the story. They also especially loved the cameo by the Philly Phanatic (Cindy’s fairy godmother).
Fifth through eighth grade students saw a performance of the new musical, #whatsurbox. The show uses the lens of social media and technology to tell the story of four middle school students trying to figure out what identity “box” they fit in, and how the online spaces filled with their peers can present pressures and challenges, which then influence their friendships and self-image. This show was developed from interviews that had been done with middle school students from the Delaware Valley. The messages of the story seemed to hit home as NFS students were fully “tuned in” during the performance.
Following both performances, students were given the opportunity to ask the four actors questions about themselves and the show. They learned that when these young adults are not busy acting, some of them enjoy reading, writing, and dancing.
This year, there is a new 7th and 8th grade elective class being offered - Quakerism. The course co-taught by Kristen Sanchez, Director of Curriculum, and Sarah Matthews, School Counselor, currently has sixteen students enrolled.
The course aims to address the following three questions: “What does it mean to be a Quaker?” “How have Quakers changed the world?” and “How can we use the Quaker testimonies to change our world?”.
Students are currently working on a research project where they will create a music video about a notable, famous Quaker. One eighth grade student, who has been attending NFS since Pre-K commented, “I didn’t know there were so many famous Quakers in history. I had only been familiar with George Fox and William Penn.”
On Friday, December 2nd, the class went on a field trip to Newtown Friends Meeting, the Monthly Meeting whose care our school is under. The students met and heard from four members of the Meeting about their identity as Quakers and how their faith has shaped social activism in their lives. They also toured the meetinghouse and saw how it is similar and different from George School’s meetinghouse, where students attend weekly Meeting for Worship.
When asked about the course in general, a seventh grade student reflected, “I like this course, because it helps me better understand what this school is about.”
Third grade students are organizing our annual gift drive for preschool children served by fellow Quaker organization, Mercer Street Friends. Based out of Trenton, Mercer Street Friends provides a range of education and health services to fulfill its mission of helping families make the journey out of poverty. The third grade students, along with their teachers, Jennifer Beccaris and Kate Fagal, will deliver the gifts to the Mercer Street Friends preschool on December 15th. We are thankful for the generosity of our families during this season of giving!