Each Wednesday, our whole-school Meeting for Worship concludes with a handshake passing from one person to another. Similarly, some traditions at FCS have been passed from one generation to the next. Here is a primer.
FCS was founded in 1986 by Adelphi Friends Meeting. The School is separately incorporated but remains under the spiritual care of Adelphi Friends. Parents and students are welcome to attend Meetings for Worship at 10 a.m. each Sunday at 2303 Metzerott Road, in Adelphi (301-445-1114). Childcare for babies and preschoolers and classes for school-age children are provided.
In keeping with the Quaker tradition of celebrating the Inner Light in each of us, special days like birthdays and Valentine’s Day present opportunities to share affirmations--positive statements affirming a friend’s special qualities. The sharing on birthdays takes place in a circle, as each classmate strings a bead on a necklace and shares an affirmation about the celebrant. For Valentine’s Day, every class takes part in the FCS tradition of writing individual affirmations on homemade cards. Often the culmination of a long-term writing project will include a celebration, in which classmates read each other’s work and leave affirmations on sticky notes; parents are invited.
For 30 minutes a week, the school gathers in Meeting for Worship, a silent gathering to open oneself to the Light and be fully present. The Meeting ends with a chain of hands linking one by one, until the whole community is connected.
Older and younger students are paired as Meeting Partners for Meeting for Worship, lunch once a week, and service projects. The sharing that develops from this pairing benefits all students, enabling them to relate to students of various ages and engaging their senses of responsibility and community.
Ever since its founding, FCS has considered Catoctin Quaker Camp a mountain home-away-from-home. Every FCS class, K-8, makes an annual camping trip to Catoctin in Thurmont, Maryland (about 90 minutes away). Students love returning year after year to re-live the traditions of camping in a cabin or tent, preparing meals together, searching the pond for frogs, campfires, candle boats, and much more.
The Fall Fair is an annual tradition organized by parent volunteers. Current families and alumni look forward to this festival that includes the FCS Cafe featuring food prepared by our families, games, a moonbounce, a yard sale, and more.
As each school year draws to a close, students organize their work from the year in a portfolio. The portfolios are shared with parents but usually kept at FCS until the student finishes the Lower and Middle Schools.
At FCS, meetings are conducted in the manner of Friends. Many decisions of the school and PA are arrived at through Quaker-based decision making. Meetings begin and end with a period of silence to center the assembled group. Decisions are reached through discussion and the group finding unity. A clerk is responsible for overseeing the discussion, clarifying, and helping the group arrive at a decision that respects many points of view.
On one day near the end of the school year, the entire school gathers at carline to say goodbye to the graduating 8th graders by linking hands to make a giant tunnel.
Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School 5901 Westchester Park Drive College Park, Maryland 20740 301-441-2100