News & Features

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Life in the Upper School

by Caroline Bartholomew ’15, Anthony Candelori-Moraglia ’16, Sophie Geagan ’18, Beth Pipes ’18, and Evan Sweitzer ’20 As the Middle and Upper School newspapers worked together on this collaborative issue, we realized that there were many things that we did not know about each other. Until now, the different parts of our school have been separated, but now we are joining together as “OneFCS” to learn and share, respectively, about life as an upper schooler from the writers and editors of FOCUS. As middle schoolers who will soon be going to upper school, we were curious to learn what the upper schoolers had to say about life in the Upper School. SG, BP, and ES: What is the most important thing you have learned in your Upper School experience? CB and ACM: Learning to have an open mind. There are a lot of opportunities in Upper School, so students learn to…


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A Soundtrack to Life at FCS

by Zoe Ginsberg ’17, Anjali Gupta ’18, and Talia Rosenberg ’17 Anjali Gupta of The Phoenix Inquirer recently embarked on a mission with FOCUS staff members Talia Rosenberg and Zoe Ginsberg to form a playlist that represents life at Friends’ Central. This soundtrack includes favorite classic songs like Swimming to the Other Side along with new pop songs such as Same Love or Happy. The main theme of these songs is love and acceptance of yourself and others. Each of these songs carries an important message with them that connects back to the values instilled at Friends’ Central every single day. At FCS, everyone’s love holds the same meaning, no matter if it is a boy who loves a guy, a girl who loves a girl, or any relationship in between. At our school, the goal is to maintain a safe and healthy environment through acceptance and love, and we believe that the…


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Middle School, Then and Now

by Jream Barnett-Matthews ’19, Natasha Guy ’16, Pierce Hayton ’20, Elizabeth Raphaely ’16, and Gordon Wilcox ’20 Friends’ Central proudly maintains many traditions in the Middle School on which even upper schoolers can still look back fondly. One of these is the always-fun Phoenix Game Day, the final hoorah to a successful school year. Always balancing competitive spirit with good-natured fun, this day is still significant in the lives of current middle schoolers at Friends’ Central, providing some of the most treasured memories of middle school. Collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald house is not only fun because it contributes to the points of a team, but it also emphasizes the service component that is essential to the Friends’ Central experience. Another tradition essential to the Friends’ Central Middle School experience is the week-long 7th grade trip to the overnight camp Echo Hill, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Echo…


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“Will Grayson, Will Grayson,” “Daylight Saving,” and “Beautiful Creatures”

  “Catherine and Claudia’s Top Spring Reads” will be a recurring feature in the final months of the 2013-2014 school year. If you’re looking for your next independent reading book for Language Arts or are in need of a good read for summer, look no further! Summaries and ratings of three books will be published every two weeks. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is about two boys named Will Grayson. Will Grayson 1 is trying to go through life unnoticed. Will Grayson 2 goes through life without anything to hold on to except an online relationship with a boy named Isaac. Both characters go on a trip and find out that neither of them are the only Will Grayson in their city.  Stars: 8/10 Rating: PG-13 Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan is about a boy named Daniel. Daniel’s dad takes him on a vacation to a sports complex, where Daniel meets Lexi,…


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YA Writer Alex London Visits FCS

Have you read Proxy yet? Proxy is a “futuristic thriller,” according to Miss Schwoebel’s book talk video. This young adult novel tells the story of Knox, a boy from a wealthy family, and Syd, a boy who has to pay Knox’s debt. Proxy takes place in a dystopia where there is debt that makes the poor become proxies and take punishments for the rich. This amazing book was written by Alex London. If you have ever read this book, you have probably wondered, “Why did it end that way?!” Well… Mr. London has released a sequel to Proxy, titled Guardian. On Tuesday, May 13, Mr. London came to our school to talk about Proxy and his new book, Guardian. Mr. London also offered a writing workshop to a few Language Arts classes! This class was not just any workshop; we wrote a dystopian fairy tale. We were honored that we were able to receive copies of Guardian before the world did, so I hope you did…


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Spring Music Comes to Life!

On May 16, 2014, in Shallcross Hall, the Middle School instrumental groups rocked the crowd with an enthralling performance.  The Middle School Orchestra played a wide variety of pieces from Adele’s “Skyfall” to Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.” The Jazz Band played several enjoyable pieces such as the lively “Jive Samba” and the intense “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. The Middle School Chorus performed a medley of styles and musical techniques including a cappella and show tunes.  “This concert had fantastic repertoire by the Chorus and included songs like “I Won’t Say I’m In Love,” says Annie Roberts, an eighth grade flutist and singer. Another exciting performance was the premiere of the Middle School iPad Ensemble. They played a song on iPads by Brahms. Evan Sweitzer, sixth grade clarinetist and pianist in Jazz Band and Orchestra, promised the concert “would be a huge success” and we were not disappointed.  He…


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The Scoop on 1:1

In an attempt to learn more about the upcoming 1:1 iPad program, The Phoenix Inquirer interviewed Middle School Principal Alexa Quinn. She provided information about the 1:1 iPad program, including why the school decided to provide Chromebooks to the 7th grade last year as a pilot program. Mrs. Quinn shared that the administration wanted to see what the 7th graders would have to show for their exposure to technology by 8th grade. They did not give the Chromebooks to 5th graders last year because they felt 5th graders were not ready to care for them. They also did want to give it to last year’s 8th graders because they are in Upper School this year and the administration would not have an easy way of knowing whether the 1:1 Chromebook program worked. We also asked Mrs. Quinn whether she could provide insight into the iPad program. She responded that Dr. Schuster, the…


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“Okay? Okay.”

Book Review by Claudia McLendon The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl named Hazel Grace, 16, who has been battling thyroid cancer since age 13. Only through the use of  experimental medicine is she still alive. Hazel meets a guy named Augustus at a cancer support group, and Hazel and Augustus continue to see each other at the support group. Brought together by his reckless driving and her love for books, the two become good friends. When they go to Amsterdam to meet the author of Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, they have some difficulties. However, once the plots start to get better, the story takes an unexpected turn. This fast-paced, heart-wrenching, tear-producing, laughter-inducing book was one of the funniest and most real love stories I have ever read. It is filled with suspense and excitement. YOU NEED TO READ IT! Okay? Okay. Trailer Review by Catherine…


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Your Science Update

In Dr. Zaradic’s eighth grade science classes, students have been writing weekly blog posts on topics that interest them. The Phoenix Inquirer, in collaboration with Dr. Z., selects a handful of these to feature on our website. We will continue this regular feature as more exceptional blog entries are written so that student learning can benefit, and be enjoyed by, the entire community.   “Need A Limb? Here’s A New One” by Evan Paszamant Imagine if you could replace old limbs and other body parts in your body with new ones? While the thought of that might seem fake, scientists have found a way to do it. In a hospital in north London, scientists are growing limbs and not from the ground! They are growing them using stem cells and a cake-like material. So far they have been able to create tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes. Currently, they are beginning to create customized…


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Console Wars

PS4 vs. Xbox One: The Introduction Sony and Microsoft released their new systems, PlayStation4 and Xbox One, at around the same time in November. Sony and Microsoft are trying to outsell each other by making better games, better softwares and better designs. The Xbox One starts at $500 including Kinect whereas the PS4 starts at $400. Xbox One and PS4 are still gaming consoles but Xbox took a turn to multimedia capabilities, while PS4 still focuses only on gaming. Both consoles are extraordinary, so choosing the one that is right for you just depends on what you value. PS4 vs. Xbox One: The Console The PS4 has a nice, sleek black design which can be propped vertically or horizontally. The PS4 also comes with a Blu-ray player so the owner can watch Blu-ray discs. Additionally, it has two USB ports in the front for headphones or charging stations. The PS4…


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