The Quaker faith guides us. Over a third of our teachers and about a fifth of our students are Quaker.
We don’t try to turn students into Quakers. We will, though, teach students about the things we believe. We will teach about simplicity and non-violence. We will encourage students to serve others. And we will help students discover how they can discern truth and gather strength in silent meditation through attendance at meeting for worship.
The school’s motto, “Mind the Light,” reflects Quakers’ strong belief in the presence and power of the Inner Light—that of God within each individual. The Light makes each soul sacred and worthy of respect.
In a Quaker school, teachers work to assure students of their individual worth, helping them refine gifts that are already evident or uncover gifts that haven’t been developed. They believe that if young people are convinced of their own value they will, in turn, seek and speak to the good in others.
Quaker meeting for worship, which is central to the George School philosophy, is a time for silent inward searching and prayer, as well as for sharing insights aloud.
All students are assigned to either Tuesday or Thursday morning meeting at 10 a.m. and all students on campus on Sunday morning go to meeting at 10:45 a.m. Day students are not required to attend Sunday morning meeting for worship unless they are on campus that morning.
On the athletic field, Quakerism plays itself out by setting a tone of cooperation. No student is a superstar. If anger erupts, it needs to be dealt with by non-violence, according to football coach John Gleeson.
In the dormitories, students have a much larger voice because the relationship between faculty and students is less power-based, according to Walt Hathaway, head of Drayton Dormitory (1975-2007).
In the classroom, the Quaker principle of listening to and respecting others’ opinions gets a daily workout, said English Department Head Stephanie McBride.
Students and teachers call each other by their first names. This tradition is founded on the Quaker belief that all people are equal in the sight of God.
People often comment on the friendliness and respect that teachers show to students and that students, in turn, show to teachers. Many students find that this practice of calling teachers by their first names makes teachers seem more approachable.
All students perform various tasks to help in the daily operations of the school. Each student spends between one and one-half and two hours each week doing co-op duties. Duties run the gamut from working in the kitchen to running audio-visual equipment to doing recycling pickups.
Students get new co-op assignments each year. All students can expect to work a minimum of three terms in the dining room during their years here. If students are unable to complete their co-op assignment at the scheduled time, they must make arrangements with their supervisor in advance.
The co-op program was initiated by students in 1942. Up to that time scholarship students had worked in offices and other places on campus to earn part of their tuition. This left them very little time to participate in the extracurricular life of the school. A senior, Margaret Meeker, led the drive to have everyone work a little bit so that all students could have a better chance to participate in the life of the school.
To this day, the money saved through this program goes to the financial aid budget to support the school’s scholarship fund.