Jessica ’96 and Avery Wong ’24 have a lot in common when it comes to their experiences as students at both Newtown Friends School (NFS) and George School. Each attended as day students and have a passion for sports, especially soccer. Their intergenerational experience has led to a strong legacy connection to the shared space that each institution occupies.
“I feel like it is all connected in a way,” reflected Avery when asked about the relationship between Newtown Friends, George School, and Pennswood Village. “When I went to NFS, we had a community service class where we would spend time with the residents of Pennswood. During my 3rd grade year, Pennswood residents would come and read to us. We also spent time on George School’s campus, often visiting the library and attending meeting for worship in the meetinghouse.”
“I think of two things when I think about the multi-generational nature of the NFS, George School, and Pennswood communities,” said Jessica. “I agree with Avery one hundred percent that the first aspect is a community that supports learning across the lifespan. Technically, you could be there from 4 years old to 100 years old without leaving the community. You could go to NFS and George School, stay to teach at George School, and then move into Pennswood. The second aspect is in terms of legacies—teaching and supporting families across the generations of their families. I went to Newtown Friends School for 8th grade and then to George School after. I never thought that my child would attend George School. When I was there, a lot of the teachers had attended George School, but there were not as many children of alumni who attended.”
“I felt like the next step was always George School,” Avery continued. “It was always there during my time at NFS, and we were raised around it. A few of my classmates lived on George School’s campus so I was already familiar and of course, my mom went there. She always talks about it.”
“Since we lived in the area, I sort of always thought that Avery was going to attend George School,” said Jessica. “I really benefitted from the smaller community, smaller classes, and the stronger relationships that I could form with my teachers at George School and NFS. It really helped me focus and start to fulfill my potential instead of sliding on by. As Avery began getting ready to apply to high school, I knew that she would benefit from the smaller community and that it was a natural fit.”
“Looking back on my time at George School, I really appreciate the independence the school offers the students,” reflected Jessica. “I did not have that same experience at public school. George School created opportunities for me to socialize when I stayed on campus for sports. I played soccer, basketball, and softball at George School. George School provided me with a huge opportunity to grow and mature, especially with sports. I always played sports outside of school, but it would have been different if I stayed in public school where I would have been the small fish in the big pond. At George School, I felt like a big fish in a small pond, which helped me with the self-confidence that I did not have prior to coming to George School. This enabled me to excel athletically and academically.”
After George School, Jessica attended American University and played soccer while there. She then went on to get her Master’s in Information Systems and worked as a buyer with Urban Outfitters before leaving to help the family business expand and grow. She later went back to school and got her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. “Avery’s brother has autism, so I now have a pediatric clinic that offers therapeutic services for children,” explained Jessica. “Definitely an unconventional track but it works.”
Avery is in her second year at George School and enjoying her time on campus. “My favorite aspect of George School is definitely the campus. I like how it is not just one building with hallways and classrooms. All of the buildings are different with unique environments. Bancroft is different than McFeely. I really like all of the outdoor space with trees and swings. Walking around during free time is great.”
When asked what she wants to do in the future, Avery said, “I have absolutely no idea where I see myself after George School. I am too stressed about the SAT to even look past that.” If you asked Jessica, Avery would make a great therapist, yet if you asked her dad, he would say she would make a great attorney because she is really good at arguing. Her parents support Avery in anything she wants to pursue.