|Germantown Friends School|
31 West Coulter Street
Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|Motto||Behold, I have set before thee an open door.|
|Head of school||Dana Weeks|
|Faculty||87 Full Time 24 Part Time|
|Athletics conference||Friends School League|
|Affiliation||Religious Society of Friends|
Coordinates: Germantown Friends School (GFS) is a coeducational independent PreK–12 school in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States under the supervision of Germantown Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). It is governed by a School Committee whose members are drawn from the membership of the Meeting, the school's alumni, and parents of current students and alumni. The head of school is Dana Weeks.
Germantown Friends School was founded in 1845 by Germantown Monthly Meeting, which had grown in size and stature in the Philadelphia Quaker community during the previous several decades. The school was founded in response to a request from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Until the early 20th century, Germantown Friends was a "select" school, meaning that only the children of Quaker parents were admitted. Germantown Monthly Meeting was an Orthodox meeting and valued classical education. Athletics and the arts were considered a diversion from the essentials needed by young people.
Since 1993, Germantown Friends has been divided into four divisions: Early Childhood, the Lower School (K–5), the Middle School (6–8), and the Upper School (9–12). Students in each division school attend weekly Meeting for Worship.
The school's music department features the GFS Choir. Other activities include the 9th Grade Musical, the Dionysia (an Ancient Greek dramatic festival performed by 10th-grade Ancient History classes), the Latin III Debates during the annual "Classics Day," and a Writers Assembly showcasing pieces by writers from the Middle and Upper School.
A graduation requirement at Germantown Friends School is that each junior complete an independent project, known as a "Junior Project." If completed in January, students are given the month off to pursue the project. Students must pay for at least half of all project expenses out of money earned through work (rather than through a parental allowance).
Commencement in recent decades has taken place at Arch Street Meetinghouse in Philadelphia. The ceremony begins with instruction concerning Meeting for Worship by a Quaker member of the graduating class, followed by a meeting. Currently, GFS does not calculate GPA for purposes of class ranking, and therefore no valedictorians or salutatorians are selected. Instead, the graduating class elects one faculty member and one member of its ranks to give addresses after the conclusion of the meeting. Following the addresses, the Head of School speaks and then awards diplomas to each member of the graduating class.
Germantown Friends School athletic teams are nicknamed the Tigers and compete in the Friends Schools League (FSL). In 2008, the boys' track team won the High School Boys' Distance Medley Championship of America at the Penn Relays. The relay's time of 10:11.54 was the second fastest high school Distance Medley Relay in the nation at the time, and the fastest in Pennsylvania. In 2009, the boys' cross country team finished second at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional Championship, qualifying for Nike Cross Nationals. A rivalry exists between GFS and Friends' Central School, who compete with each other for possession of the Felsen Cup, named after an administrator who has worked at both schools. In 2017, the boys' track team won the Distance Medley Relay with a time of 10:14.85 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. The Germantown Friends Boys Varsity Soccer Team won the 2021 Quaker Cup.