Oakwood Friends School
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|Oakwood Friends School|
|School type||Boarding and day|
|Head of school||Charles Cianfrani|
|Average class size||15|
|Student to teacher ratio||1:8|
|School color(s)||Orange and green|
|Accreditation||New York Yearly Meeting|
Oakwood Friends School is a college preparatory school located at 22 Spackenkill Road in Poughkeepsie, New York, United States. Founded in 1796, it was the first college preparatory school in the state of New York. It was first located in Millbrook, New York under the name of Nine Partners Boarding School.
Nine Partners School
In 1794, the New York Yearly Meeting appointed a committee of twenty-five to establish a school; their first meeting was on January 13, 1795. On May 1 of that year the New York Yearly Meeting purchased a house and ten acres from Joseph Mabbet, a Quaker from Connecticut, for 1600 pounds, a down payment of 214 pounds was made from the donors, Tripp Mosher, Isaac Thorn, William Thorn, Joseph Talcott, Shadrach Richetson and Jonathan Deuel. With plans of opening a school for the children of nearby Quaker families, it opened on December 20, 1796, and was given the name Nine Partners School in Mechanic, which is now in South Millbrook, New York. This was the state's first co-educational boarding and day school. The school's first superintendent was R. Tripp Mosher, and its first principal was Jonathan Talcott, a children's book publisher. The school had a total of one hundred students: 70 boys and 30 girls. The children were between the ages of seven and fourteen years old for girls, and up to age fifteen for boys.
A teacher at the school was Jacob Willets, one of the first pupils its opening day of the school. He became the head teacher in 1806 and taught until 1828. He was the author of an arithmetic text, a geography text and an atlas, textbooks which were highly recommended and extensively used throughout the academic day. His wife Deborah, also a former pupil, became a teacher of grammar and mathematics. They were head teachers together and contributed to the school's success during its early years.
Another teacher and former pupil was Lucretia Coffin Mott, who entered the school at age thirteen in 1806 and graduated in 1810. While there, she met teacher James Mott, son of one of the founders, whom she married in 1811. Lucretia later led abolition and women's suffrage campaigns as well as working as a teaching assistant.
Friends Academy and Oakwood Seminary
In 1853, the school and its land was sold to a private party who kept it until 1863. In 1857 the New York Yearly Meeting was eager to open a boarding school in Union Springs in central New York. On September 1 of that year a property southwest of the town of Auburn was purchased for $9,842. The first day of classes was May 11, 1858, with grades 1-12, with only four boarders and twenty day students. The school changed its name that year to Friends Academy.
On March 23, 1876, the school officially changed its name to Oakwood Seminary; the name was adopted after the large oak grove on the grounds. The school taught regular classes, with extra classes optional for an extra cost, such as commercial, literary and science courses. By 1896 a biblical course was established.
In the 1890s, the school dropped the lower grades and only offered grades 8-12 for both boarders and day students. The only requirement was that all students be over 12 years old.
In 1915, English teacher Eliezer Partington was acting head of school while they searched for a permanent head of school. In 1916, William J. Reagan was appointed principal of the school, which then had sixty-one students. His first months were not easy. On January 2, 1917, a fire damaged a small portion of the upper levels of the main building, so much so that the board needed to consider the school's future.
In 1918, the board decided that with the fire damage and the declining population of Quakers in the Union Springs area, they would relocate the school. The final graduating class was in 1920, and that September the school moved to the 75-acre Coleman Farm in Poughkeepsie, New York. Its first day of operation was on September 28, 1920, with a total of 112 students in grades 1-12. About 58 were Quaker. Although proper buildings were not ready on its opening day, the school made do and quickly reorganized to comply with the regulations of New York State.
The large racehorse stables were converted into the main building, with the upper floors as the girls' dormitory. The stairs between the floors were yet to be built, with wooden ramps for the first months of school. The doors had no knobs. The Meeting Room, as it is now known, was called the Assembly Room, and was nearly completed in the first year of school in 1920, until it was released that the room violated a building code which caused them to drop the floor several inches, explaining why the windows are up so high. The Assembly Room was redone in 1965, renamed to the Meeting Room, and benches were constructed. It wasn't until 1994 that the Meeting Room was remodeled with carpet and laminate flooring.
In the summer of 1920 a two-story structure began to be built, but the school did not have the funds to complete it, so they used two army barracks from the first World War and attached them to both sides of the preexisting building. This was described in a 1921 article in the Oakwood Bulletin: "As temporary quarters for boys, two army barracks have been secured and are to be joined to a permanent, bell-built center. This will contain boys' dormitories, apartments for teachers, and a large reading room for the boys, in addition to toilets, showers and lavatories." The two army barracks were transported to the campus by train from Massachusetts, the school having purchased them directly from the US Government.
The first building built during the school's operation was Lane Auditorium, begun in March 1923. It was announced that the building would be named for Aaron H. Lane, the president of the board of managers. The building was completed in the autumn of 1924 but the school could not afford both plumbing and electricity in the building at that time. They installed electricity, and plumbing was installed in 1927. The building last served as a gym in 1959 when it was converted into what was called the Fine Arts and Student Recreation Center. The name quickly changed back to the Aaron H. Lane Auditorium and was used only as a theater thereafter.
The campus began to grow in the coming years. In 1927 a faculty cottage was built on the north side of the dining hall, and it also served as the infirmary. In 1928 the Gulley House was purchased and called Henderson Cottage, which also housed students. That same year the cottage later known as Craig Cottage was given to the school. The Assistant Principal, Ruth Craig, moved in the following year; Craig Cottage also housed students. Also in 1928, the first seven grades of the school were discontinued, leaving only 8th-12th grades. In 1929 the boys' dormitory called "The Boys Barracks" was renovated and two wings replaced the old army barracks. The building could house 64 boys and all single male teachers. Also that year, the Wallace Dempster Williams Library was established, and opened in early 1930 in the Main Building. The year 1930 also marked one decade since the school had moved to Poughkeepsie, and the school still had so much to be done. That year, cement pathways were constructed, and the school discontinued the front hay field and mowed it down to construct athletic fields.
Despite the school having purchased their campus from a farm, they still maintained the farm. In 1931 had "six cows producing 75 qts milk per day, ten pigs, sixteen head of sheep and twelve lambs." The pigs and lambs were cared for by students and sold at the end of each year. Also that year the school began farming potatoes. In 1933 the school made a decision that created controversy among faculty, students, parents of students, and alumni alike. The headmaster William Reagan was all in favor and made great strides to accept the school's first African American student. Enrolled as an eighth grader, he went on to graduate in 1938. In 1934 the board of managers approved a petition put together by students to allow dances on campus. Also that year, rows of maple trees were planted near the dining hall. The hurricane of 1938 toppled the shallow-rooted poplar trees that lined the main drive to the main building. Board of managers president John I. Lane donated broad-rooted Schwedler maples to be planted in their place. Twenty years after the move to Poughkeepsie, the school underwent a major renovation that significantly changed the exterior of the main building, Also that year the school store called "the Dug-Out" was built in the basement of the building.
|Soccer||V, JV, MS||Fall||Boys, girls|
|Basketball||V, JV, MS||Winter||Boys, girls|
|Ultimate frisbee||V, JV||Spring||Co-ed|
- Lucretia Mott, abolitionist, attended, 1806-1809 
- Julia Wilbur, abolitionist, suffergette and relief worker, student 1829-1831
- Eliza Maria Mosher, physician, educator, founder of the American Posture League, professor of Physiology at Vassar College, class of 1862 
- Charles E. Courtney, professional rower and rowing captain at Cornell University 1883-1920, class of 1867
- Ethelwyn Wetherald, journalist and poet, class of 1875
- George Aaron Barton, author and clergyman, class of 1879
- Frank L. Young, New York State Assemblyman and a Justice of the Supreme Court, class of 1882
- Pliny Earle Goddard, linguist and director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, post-graduate class of 1890
- Lee Miller, photographer and journalist, attended 1921-1923
- Robert Yarnall Richie, photographer and filmmaker, class of 1926
- Clark V. Poling, Protestant chaplain on troop transport Dorchester, class of 1929
- Calvin D. MacCracken, inventor, class of 1936, son of Vassar president, Henry N. MacCracken
- Lee Marvin, actor, class of 1943, attended 1938-39 
- Thomas R. Kane, WWII combat photographer, aerospace professor at University of Pennsylvania & Stanford University, class of 1941 
- Mark Strand, poet, class of 1952
- Patricia Walker-Shaw, first female President of the Universal Life Insurance Company, 1983-1985, class of 1956
- Jonathan Talbot, artist, class of 1957 
- Steven Vogel, bio-mechanics researcher and former professor at Duke University, class of 1957 
- Hugo F. Sonnenschein, economist and former president at University of Chicago, class of 1957 
- Patsy Norvell, artist, class of 1960
- Bonnie Raitt, singer-songwriter, class of 1967
- Juan Williams, journalist, class of 1972
- Annie Finch, poet and author, class of 1974
- Garrett Uhlenbrock, punk rock musician, class of 1982
- Keith Bunin, playwright, class of 1989
- Dara Greenwald, artist & activist, class of 1989 
Notable faculty members
- Jonathan Clark Rogers, President at the University of Georgia 1949-1950, taught 1907-1911 
- Goold Brown, grammarian, taught 1811-1813 
- Lindley Murray Moore, educator, abolitionist and Principal at Haverford College, taught 1808-1812
- Rufus Jones, writer, philosopher, and social reformer, taught 1886-1887
- William J. Beal, teacher of Natural Sciences, botanist, professor of botany at Michigan Agricultural College, taught 1858-1861
- James Mott, anti-slavery activist, taught 1808-1811
List of headmasters
- Joseph Talcott, 1796-1801
- Alexander and Phebe Brown, 1801-1802
- Isaac and Ruth Hallock, 1802-1803
- Jacob and Deborah Willets, 1806-1828
- Benjamin and Mary Griffin, 1828-1844
- Jarvis and Lydia Congdon, 1844-1858
- Ezra and Jane Willets, 1858-1860
- William J. Beal, 1860-1862
- Egbert and Martha Carey, 1862-1863
- Thomas and Mary Burgess, 1863-1864
- Frank S. Hall, 1864-1866
- Henry K. Pinkham, 1866-1867
- George Sisson, 1867-1868
- Jacob and Lucy Vining, 1868-1869
- Elijah Cook, 1869-1889
- Charles H. Jones, 1889-1894
- Isaac Sutton, 1894-1895
- Elijah Cook, 1895-1897
- H. A. White, 1898-1899
- Jonathan Dickinson, 1899-1900
- Thomas H. Chase, 1900-1901
- Francis N. Maxfield, 1901-1903
- Samuel H. Hodgin, 1903-1905
- Walter Hallock Wood, 1905-1915
- Eliezer Partington, 1915-1916
- William J. Reagan, 1916-1948
- Joseph B. Shane, 1948-1950
- William W. Clark, 1950-1956
- Charles W. Hutton, 1956-1962
- Thomas Purdy, 1962-1968
- John J. Jennings, 1968-1973
- David L. Bourns, 1973-1979
- Theodore Lehmann, 1979-1980
- Clark McK. Simms, 1980-1988
- Robert R. Coombs, 1988-1991
- Stephen Waters, 1991-1993
- Lila A. Gordon, 1993-2000
- Peter F. Bailey, 2000-2015
- Charles Cianfrani, 2015-
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- Keith Bunin, "From the Writers’ Picket Lines: ‘I Hate That I’m on Strike", Beliefnet, November 15, 2007.
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