What a year it's been! In this issue of A Friendly Voice, we celebrate the SCFS community and all the rich teaching and learning that has taken place during this dynamic year.
Our Incoming Head of School, Joe Doherty, reflects on the sense of a community anchored in love that he experienced upon his first visit to SCFS, while our Interim Head of School, David Kern, looks back on the small, special moments during the past year that shed light on the beauty of this community. As the school year draws to a close, we invite you to reflect with us on all the SCFS community has to celebrate.
On May 27, our eighth graders gathered with their families, teachers, and K-7th grade students to celebrate their graduation from State College Friends School. It was a profound moment of togetherness and a return to many of the traditions our community missed over the past two years.
Each graduate spoke about their time at SCFS, sharing their favorite memories and gratitude to teachers, friends, and parents. Tr. Laura awarded each graduate a patronus, an animal carefully selected for the specific traits that represent all that is known and loved about the student. The celebration closed with community singing.
We are so proud of graduates, and so excited for the next steps in their journeys. Congratulations, class of 2022!
May 23, 2022
This morning, as we all arrived at school, our Lost & Found items were on full display by our front door. Right next to the Lost & Found items, one of our students and another family had grown plants to give away to our school families. It was a wonderful scene at the front of our school building. People looking through plants and lost items, talking together, enjoying all that we have at SCFS.
As we greet this good day at SCFS and prepare today for Water Games and the ensuing celebrations to end our school year together, I, like all of us, am also filled with deep sadness regarding the events in Uvalde, Texas. My heart goes out to Robb Elementary School and I know you join me. Please let us hold them and all of the families of that community in the light.
Friends and Friends school’s commitment to Peace is both a source of comfort and strength for me now. I also find myself drawn to the testimony of Community. In our modern world, it seems more possible to become isolated and detached from the communities that sustain us. I am reminded in moments like these how important it is for us all to help those who may be more isolated, to reach out and help them rejoin the community that can help bring a renewed meaning to the lives we live. My hope is always that we can extend the loving community we have at SCFS outward to everyone we know and have contact with.
In the days ahead, please let us at school know if there is anything we can do to help you and your family - especially if the events in Texas are weighing too heavy. It is in times like these that we can rely on our Friends community to comfort us all. Thank you for all the caring and support you give to your children and our school.
Peace be with you,
Interim Head of School
Nearly 90 members of the State College Friends School gathered virtually this past Saturday for the Winter Gathering: 40 Years of Spreading Light. We lit candles to represent the light in each of us, eternally connecting us all even when we are far apart. We looked back on 40 vibrant years of Friends education at SCFS, and looked ahead to our next chapter with words from our incoming Head of School, Joe Doherty. We sang songs and enjoyed original music and covers from Laura Boswell, alumna and professional musician. It was a beautiful evening of light, music, and togetherness.
To close the evening, our Interim Head of School, David Kern, spoke about all the love we cannot see. He encouraged us to find the big and small moments in which we can witness this love within our community, if we pause to notice. In all the ways that friends contributed to the Winter Gathering, we see that love glowing bright around our school.
We are grateful to friends who attended the live event, prepared and purchased meals, shared music, donated and bid on auction items, hosted breakout rooms, contributed reflections for the 40th Anniversary video, and made gifts directly to the SCFS Scholarship Fund. It was inspiring to witness the love of this community and a joy to experience the sincere connection between us.
To learn more about the SCFS Scholarship Fund or make a direct donation, you can click here.
The State College Friends School Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Joe Doherty as the next Head of School. Following a search process that yielded a high-quality slate of candidates, the Board was in unity that Joe would be the best person to lead our school. This decision came after careful consideration of each candidate and the feedback provided by families, teachers, and staff. There were multiple strong candidates for the Board to consider, and we saw overwhelming support for Joe’s candidacy across the school community. This feedback provided a strong light to guide the Board toward its final decision.
Most critically, the Board engaged in deep reflection about the future of the school and the steps necessary for Quaker education in the State College area to prosper long into the future. From this reflection it became clear that Joe’s talents, energy and creative ideas, combined with his commitment to Quaker education, captured the kind of leadership the school needs at this moment.
Joe brings 25 years of experience in independent schools, including several years in Quaker education. He began his journey in 1997 teaching astronomy and physical science in California. The student-centered approach to teaching, along with a focus on discrepant events and inquiry-based learning, sparked a lifelong passion for teaching and learning. Another career highlight was his work at Tandem Friends School as a 6th-grade math and science teacher, which completely changed his life. The sense of community, commitment to Quaker testimonies, weekly Meeting, and seeing "the light" in each individual helped frame his role as an educator in a profound way -- “I couldn't be more excited to rejoin a Friends community! It is a great honor to join the State College Friends School community. From the very first time I stepped on campus, I felt the palpable commitment and care from all of the teachers, students, and parents. Every classroom I visited was filled with engaged students, an active learning environment, and an alignment of purpose and vision. My family and I look forward to relocating to State College and being part of this incredible Friends school.”
We could not have reached this point without the support of the community at large. The Board expresses its sincere thanks to the teachers, administrators and staff at the school who welcomed our candidates for in-person visits in a warm and safe manner. Our candidates saw children playing and learning, and saw teachers and the school administration working together. The Board also thanks the many families who turned out to meet with our candidates either in person or over Zoom. Our candidates saw first-hand the depth of caring that families have for the school and for their childrens’ education.
The Board is also thankful to those who spent many hours involved in the search process for an Interim and permanent Head of School over the past nine months. Kat Alden, Allen Behrer, Seth Blumsack, Miranda Kaye, Karen Maynard, Dana Mitra, and Lauren Tomasch devoted a tremendous amount of time to the entire search process. Annie Boggess, Larry Boggess and Lori Pacchioli worked tirelessly last spring and summer as we searched for and welcomed our Interim Head of School. Julie Hartley from Foxdale Village supported the search committee with her deep expertise in human resources. Jackie Elliott handled many requests from the committee to aid in communications and set up the e-mail account used by the search committee. We also thank David Kern, not only for his service as Interim Head but also for the time he devoted to advising the search committee this past fall and his help in identifying potential candidates.
We are thrilled that Joe has accepted our offer and that he and his family will soon be joining our school community. Joe will officially begin his appointment on July 1, 2022. The Board is also exceptionally grateful to David Kern for his willingness to lead the school on an Interim basis during this year, and for the wisdom and experience that he has brought to the Board and to the search process. The Board pledges its support to Joe as he transitions into the leadership of our school at a critical time.
Miranda Kaye and Dana Mitra
Co-Clerks, State College Friends School Board of Trustees
Thanks to the generosity of over 75 donors, this community unlocked a $10,000 gift to the Annual Fund from a school family. On November 30, we received more than double the 30 gifts needed to unlock this special gift. Even more exciting, 23 Friends School families took advantage of the opportunity for their gift to be matched, raising an additional $1,066.
Together, we embraced abundance and made Giving Tuesday a community success. We are so grateful for your support and radical generosity. Thank you for keeping Friends School strong and growing.
The second-ever SCFS Get Outside Challenge took place October 13-27. This event was designed to deepen community ties, raise funds, and encourage friends to enjoy the great outdoors. Participants walked, ran, hiked, and biked their way through ten mile markers chosen in collaboration with the 5th- and 6th-grade Geography class. In just fifteen days, our hardy crew travelled from State College, PA all the way to San Francisco, CA - over 2,700 miles! It was a joy to students track their laps around the Friends School campus loop and parents organize class hikes on the weekend. We even had friends of the school log miles in other states.
Friends School was thrilled to work with community partners on this challenge. Local businesses, organizations, and individuals pledged to fund mile markers along our route to benefit the 2021-2022 Annual Fund. As participants logged their miles, they "unlocked" these gifts along the way. We are so grateful to this community for their support and dedication.
Stay tuned for a full report on this year's Get Outside Challenge to find out our final mileage total, the amount we raised for the Annual Fund, and a breakdown of who traveled across the country with us. Congratulations, friends! We did it.
WHAT PARENTS HAVE TO SAY
news and noteworthy
IRS notice for 501 C3 non-profit organizations: State College Friends School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.