A coed Friends school, pre-K to 12, on 47 acres in East Falls, Philadelphia


MS Assembly Room Now "Ford Commons"

MS Assembly Room Now "Ford Commons"

Former head of school Darryl J. Ford made many lasting impressions at Penn Charter, none more impactful than those he left at the Middle School. Ford began his PC career there as director in 1997.

Now, fittingly, his name has a dedicated place in the school to inspire future generations.

On September 22, the former Balderston Commons -- a 200-seat assembly space and amphitheater in the Middle School -- was formally renamed Ford Commons at a dedication ceremony held in the space. Richard A. Balderston OPC '69 and Claudia Balderston joined the celebration along with Ford, Gail Sullivan, and their son Jameson OPC '20 (pictured). Also in attendance were Head of School Karen Warren Coleman, former head of school Earl Ball, members of the PC board of trustees, and other friends.

“There really is no better place to carry Darryl’s name and legacy than a place where students shine,” said Richard Balderston, who, along with Claudia, supported the construction of the Middle School, built in 2002. “Throughout his leadership at Penn Charter, Darryl Ford has always kept the students at the center.”

"For more than two decades, the Balderston Commons has been a space that fosters community, academic inquiry and celebration, and we are excited to continue this legacy with the renamed Ford Commons," Coleman said. "As I have gotten to know Darryl and have become more familiar with Penn Charter, I have come to appreciate the indelible imprint he has left on this community, on Quaker education, and on generations of OPCs."

A photograph gifted to Ford by Wilson Felter, the current director of the Middle School, at the event underscored these sentiments: it features Ford sitting in the assembly space now named in his honor, surrounded by smiling middle school students.

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