George School is a private Quaker boarding and day Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA.
George School was founded in Hicksite members of the 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 a small but active minority of students.
Quaker influences on the school are apparent in many of the Friends-derived procedures of the school, especially in the consensus format 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 Bible and Quakerism classes during the junior and senior years, respectively. Additionally, all students and faculty gather for a twenty-five Meeting for Worship once a week, and all boarding students and resident faculty attend a longer meeting on Sundays. Also in the Quaker spirit, since 1942 every 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.
Aside from the religion program, George School offers a rigorous academic course of study. One of the highlights of George School's academics is the English, French, Spanish, and Latin. Additionally, students in the Portfolio Preparation class have been known to submit their work for the Art AP.
Students must take three full years of a chosen art, of which George School offers a wide variety: ceramics (mostly chorus, newspaper (The Curious George), painting and 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 service project before they graduate. Students work actively in projects and programs which are consistent with Friends' practices and are organized to meet the needs of others through ongoing one-on-one contact.
Each project must take the form of direct interaction with people who are disempowered because of social, racial, economic, or health factors which limit their functioning easily within the mainstream of their own society. These projects vary from intense, two-week experiences in a school-sponsored, domestic or international work camp, to once-a-week experiences that extend throughout the school year, to preapproved independent projects.
By extending themselves to others, students develop a sense of commitment; learn the potential rewards and frustrations involved in service; learn how specific agencies, cultures, and institutions operate; develop an appreciation for complex social support networks; and gain insight into their own values and life goals.
Service projects may be completed during the school year or over the summer. Students can fulfill the service requirement any time after the completion of their sophomore year.
George School has offered service trips to India; Nicaragua; Cuba; Costa Rica; Boston, Massachusetts; Coastal Mississippi; Israel and 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.
Students may also design their own 65-hour service project, as long as it involves sufficient face-to-face contact with the community being helped.
Students are almost always required to play a competitive sport or participate in a physical education program, thus the old saying "Doing nothing is not an option". Starting in the 1996-1997 school year, certain fully-scheduled students were permitted to take one trimester with no athletics. Still, underclassmen must play two competitive sports and juniors and seniors must play one:
- Fall: cross country, equestrian, football, soccer, and tennis (girls)
- Winter: winter track, wrestling
- Spring: 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.
Symbols and logosEdit
- The school's seal is an oil lamp with the inscription "Mind the light," referring to the Quaker conception of God as the inner light within all people.
- The logo consists 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 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.
- The cheerleaders. Some say that the cheerleader's cougar costume is more reminiscent of a leopard, due to its spots.
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