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


Middle Schoolers Flex Civics Muscles

With the national election just four days away, Middle School students gathered in Balderston Commons to challenge each other on key policy issues in the presidential race.

Eighth grade civics students began studying the issues weeks ago and recently divided into two groups: one group prepped to answer in the persona of Hillary Clinton and the other in the persona of Donald Trump. Those two groups further divided so that, in preparation for the Town Hall, small teams of eighth graders could dig deeper into individual topics. Four students acted as moderators.

In a full assembly in Balderston Commons, sixth and seventh graders rose to ask questions of their older mates. The eighth graders, without knowing the questions in advance, rose to answer on policy – including the economy, job creation, income inequality, immigration, climate change, ISIS, Middle East, crime, mass incarceration. 

Impressive! More photos.

At the end of the Town Hall Q&A, Lee Payton, chair of the social studies department, led the students in a review of the experience, asking how they would describe the session. Some of their responses: Informative. Ambitious. Heated.

“Our politics are important,” Payton said. “The people we elect pass laws, affect policy. They affect your parents and you.

“The time is coming when you will vote,” Payton said. “I hope that the conversation will be about substance.”