Lisa and Ben Handy watched the ribbon cutting at the new building at Frankford Friends School with more than curiosity last Saturday. They stood holding the hand of their daughter Angelina, a 6 year old student at the school, knowing that the school had taken a giant leap ahead in improving the physical facilities. It is not that they were dissatisfied, they praised it highly when I talked to them a few days later in their cozy living room in their house on Sellers Street in Frankford.
They moved into that house on the day Angelina was born and as many new parents do, began thinking about schools. They had not become Quakers at that point and were not really aware that there was a Friends school only blocks away. Things happen in life and they became aware of the Society of Friends as they were searching for a place of worship. The Quakers seemed like it might be good fit and they paid a visit and it just felt right. So when it was time for Angelina to start school they were willing to to what they thought was the best thing for her and aimed at Frankford Friends.
The tuition is a large hurdle for them but they believe it is well worth it. The philosophy of the school fits in with their beliefs; a form of education which will develop an attitude of courageous independence, a readiness for responsibility, and a spiritual basis for life. Ben and Lisa are now looking 8 years ahead and wish that Friends could have a high school running by the time the have to think about that.
The new building does present a contrast to the old. On the one side is the meeting house, a wood frame clapboard structure. Only feet away is the new building of glass and steel with a skin of warm toned clapboard style boards. On the inside, it is big with classrooms in the back away from the street. On the street side is an open space that could be a gym, auditorium or play space. The ceiling soars high and the space is filled with light.
See the slide show below:
The building was dedicated in honor of Madge Trickey who was a vital part of the Meeting and school for many years. You can read about her in this piece by Joe Hohenstein at this link. Congratulations to Frankford Friends who got this project done the Quaker way.