Just over ninety years ago (in 1931), Morris E. and Hadassah M. Leeds gathered 90 educators from different schools to envision a Council on Friends Education. We don’t know exactly what the setting looked like; however, we can easily imagine the excitement and energy as educators from different Friends schools came together as a group for the first time. What a wealth of knowledge sharing and exchange as people took pen to paper furiously scribbling to capture ideas and plans.
90 years later, Friends Council is still going strong. On April 28, 2022, More than 90 educators from schools across the country gathered at Arch Street Meeting House in Philadelphia for the Annual Meeting and final 90th Anniversary.
How times have changed!
Cell phones, tablets, PowerPoint and Zoom have replaced pen and paper, enabling virtual attendance, our first-ever watch party, and digital voting during a Friends Council history quiz game. What hasn’t changed is the connectivity, camaraderie, and rich exchange of ideas that happens when Friends School educators come together. As in the beginning, there was excitement and energy, and the joy of connecting and re-connecting in shared celebration.
Executive Director Drew Smith ushered attendees through Annual Meeting business: recognizing members of The Evergreen Circle of Friends (Friends Council’s planned giving donors) and delivering his executive director’s report. There was approval for the Board Executive and Nominations and Governance Committees. The heart of the program included action research presentations from graduates of the Institute for Engaging Leadership in Friends Schools and their graduation from this two-year program.
All in all, the vision that Morris and Hadassah Leeds had over 90 years ago has become a thriving reality. We can hardly wait to see what the next 90 years will bring.
Photo credits: Eddie Einbender-Luks