2013-10-02 16:54:38 - WEST CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA (October 4, 2013) Goshen Friends School and Frederick Douglass Christian School will celebrate their 3rd Annual Friendship Day on the Goshen Friends’ campus located at 814 N. Chester Rd., West Chester, Pennsylvania. Friendship Day began as a music teacher’s dream, what follows is her story.
A few years ago, a retired public school music teacher began teaching in two independent elementary schools, neither of which is far from her home in Wallingford. The schools are very similar. The student body of both schools spans Kindergarten through fifth grade with each serving approximately 60 students. Both are faith-based schools. There is one difference. All of the students at Frederick Douglass Christian School are black. The students of Goshen Friends School are predominately white.
Dividing her week between the two schools, Tr. Charmagne DeVinney recognized that both communities could grow and learn about each other, and should. She approached the heads of both schools, one white and one black, and proposed that the children be given the chance
to meet each other. Both administrators recognized an amazing opportunity. You may stop reading here thinking, “What’s so amazing? This happens all the time--people from the suburbs volunteering to help urban kids.” But that was neither the intent nor the result of the relationship that has blossomed between the two schools.
In the fall of 2011, the students from Chester piled onto buses and made their way out to the suburbs to meet the children they had been corresponding with and hearing about from their music teacher. Of course, music and singing were an important part of the first “Friendship Day”, but a more tangible piece was what the day represented--the beginning of a new, diverse community that was created whenever the two schools were together.
Since that first meeting in West Chester, the two schools continue to meet and every February they join together in Chester to celebrate Black History Month with a concert. The relationship between these two schools is unique and important. It is not a relationship based upon one group “reaching out” to improve the situation of the other. Instead, it is a relationship built upon mutual respect, friendship and common bonds. The mindful and purposeful community created by the interaction of the two schools will forever serve as a model for its members.
More information about FDCS can be found at www.worldimpact.org. To learn more about Goshen Friends School visit www.goshenfriends.org.
About Goshen Friends School
Guided by the Quaker values of equality, integrity, simplicity, community, and peace, Goshen Friends School provides a strong academic foundation through a responsive curriculum and small classes to nurture joyful learning.