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Sidwell Friends School is a Quaker private school located in Washington, D.C.marker and Bethesda, Marylandmarker in the United States offering pre-kindergarten through secondary school classes. Founded in 1883 by Thomas Sidwell, its motto is "Eluceat omnibus lux" (Let the light shine out from all), alluding to the Quaker concept of inner light. All Sidwell Friends students attend Quaker meeting for worship weekly.

The school's admissions process is merit-based. As documented on the school's website, it gives preference in admissions decisions to members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but otherwise does not discriminate on the basis of religion. The school accepts vouchers under the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, but this program is due to be discontinued under the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009.

Described as the "Harvard of Washington's private schools", both of President Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia, currently attend Sidwell. Vice President Joe Biden's grandchildren also attend the school with the Obama girls. Previously, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton sent their children to Sidwell. Vice President Al Gore's son, Albert Gore III, also graduated from Sidwell Friends.


Before moving to Wisconsin Avenue, Sidwell's campus was on I Street in downtown Washington. The Wisconsin Avenue property was first used for athletic fields while the campus was still downtown, with students shuttling between the two sites by streetcar.

Sidwell's male sports teams compete in the MAC, while the female teams compete in the ISL.

Sidwell dropped its dress code in the 1970s.

The Wisconsin Avenue campus recently saw the completion of a new parking garage and sports field, and the construction on the Middle School has been completed. The athletic facilities are still under construction.

Former Head of School Bruce Stewart retired at the end of the 2008-2009 school year, and Thomas B. Farquhar will replace him starting in the 2010-2011 school year. Stephen K. Barker is the interim Head of School for the 2009-2010 academic year.


The Sidwell Friends Upper School has a particularly strong English Department. In 2005, Sidwell's AP English Exam scores were the highest of all Medium-sized schools (300–799 students in grades 10–12) offering the AP English exam. Sidwell does not offer an AP English course.

All students must acquire at least 19 credits before graduating. Students are required to take four years of English, three years of mathematics, three years of history, two years of one language, two years of science, and one year of art. In addition to this, all freshmen must take the semester long Freshman Studies course.

Sidwell has one of the region's strongest Chinese studies programs, with classes in Mandarin beginning in Middle School and extensive Chinese history courses offered in the Upper School. Every year the Sidwell Friends Upper School is host to two Chinese exchange students. Sidwell is also a member school of School Year Abroad.


Sidwell's sports team are known as the Quakers; their colors are maroon and gray. The Quakers compete in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference for boys' sports (after previously competing in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) until 1999) and the Independent School League (ISL) for girls' sports. Sidwell offers teams in Volleyball, Golf, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Football, Field Hockey, Girls and Boys Soccer, Boys and Girls Basketball, Swimming, Wrestling, Boys and Girls Tennis, Baseball, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Boys and Girls Track, and Softball.

Sidwell's athletic program has strengthened over the years, with many teams winning city, regional and national accolades. Sidwell has also won the MAC Director's Cup (for overall excellence in Boys sports) for the past 8 of the past 9 years (through 2009).

Boys' soccer

Over the past 3 years, the Sidwell Friends Boys Soccer program has become one of the preeminent programs in the entire Washington, DC metro area. In fall, 2006, the boys' varsity soccer team compiled a 19-2 record and was recognized as #9 in the Washington Post Top Ten soccer schools in the metropolitan area. The 2007 Boys Varsity Soccer team again won the MAC Boys' Soccer championship and achieved a second consecutive Washington Post Top Ten ranking, reaching #3 in the final poll with a 20-2 record. The 2008 team continued their recent success by winning their 3rd consecutive MAC title, and their 4th in 5 years, with an undefeated 16-0-1 record for the season. Again, the Quakers finished the season ranked #3 in the area by the Washington Post and #36 nationally by The 2009 squad began the season ranked #22 in the country by ESPN.. In October of 2009 the squad achieved a prestigious #1 Washington Post ranking. Sidwell soccer alums have suited up at a number of top schools, including Marylandmarker, Stanfordmarker, GWmarker, Yalemarker and Brownmarker.


Despite lean years as of late, Sidwell previously dominated Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference football. Sidwell's teams from 2000-2005 won 6 consecutive conferences titles with a combined record of 19-1 in MAC play. This included the 2001 team which outscored MAC opponents by a 128-0 margin. Former Sidwell football players have gone on to play at many Division 1 schools, including Stanfordmarker, Wake Forestmarker, Tulanemarker, Navymarker, Indiana, Brownmarker, Columbia, Dartmouthmarker, and Georgetownmarker.


The wrestling program at Sidwell has also been a success, taking 10th place in the national prep tournament in 2003, and winning the DC Classic, a competition among all DC private schools that compete in Wrestling, in 2007 and 2008. In February 2008, the Boys Varsity Wrestling Team claimed their 7th banner in 9 years of participating in the MAC. It was also their 4th straight banner. They established clear dominance, winning the tournament by over 100 points, and boasted 8 MAC champions and one additional All-MAC selection. In January 2009, the Sidwell Wrestling team had an impressive showing at the MAC wrestling tournament -- having 7 MAC champions and winning the tournament by over 80 points.

Boys' basketball

The 2006-2007 Varsity Boys' Basketball team also enjoyed measurable success, winning the school's first ever outright conference championship in Boys' Basketball, as well as completing the most successful conference season in MAC Boys' Basketball history with a 14-0 conference record.

Girls' basketball

The Sidwell Friends girls' varsity basketball program has a long winning tradition, with numerous conference titles as well as local and national rankings. Head Coach Anne Renninger, a pioneering player at the University of Maryland and one of the youngest Division I college coaches ever (at George Washington University), has led the Quakers to over 400 victories. Over a two year stretch from 1997-1999, the Sidwell girls' basketball team lost only two games, while winning back to back conference championships and achieving both Washington Post Top 10 and USA Today rankings. Former Sidwell girls basketball players have gone on to play for schools such as Dukemarker, NC Statemarker, Wake Forestmarker, Stanfordmarker, Tennesseemarker, Harvardmarker, Pennmarker, George Washingtonmarker and William & Marymarker.

Current profile

  • For the 2009-2010 school year, 1,109 students (560 boys and 549 girls) are enrolled.
  • 40% of the student body belong to ethnic minorities.
  • 23% of the student body receives some form of financial assistance.
  • The school employs 145 teachers and 103 administrative and support staff.
  • Tuitions for the 2009-2010 school year are $28,842 (prekindergarten-grade 4) and $30,842 (grades 5-12).
  • The school does not release its SAT average scores or college admission list. However, the school releases to the most recent alumni class a list of which institutions each recently graduated student is attending.
  • The school does not rank its students, as this conflicts with the Quaker Testimony of Equality.


The Middle and Upper School campus is located at 3825 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.marker, 20016-2907
  • 15 acre (61,000 m²) Wisconsin Avenue campus in the Tenleytownmarker section of Northwest Washington
  • Earl G. Harrison Jr. Upper School Building
  • Middle School building with LEED platinum certification, designed by architect KieranTimberlake Associates and landscape design by Andropogon Associates. The wood-clad building was designed around a sustainable use of water and energy, exemplified by a constructed wetland in the center of the campus, part of a wastewater recycling system. On the interior, the building uses thermal chimneys and louvers that admit diffuse light to limit the need for artificial light and thermal control. Lastly, the building contains a centralized mechanical plant that uses less energy than normal, much of which is produced by photovoltaic banks on the roof. The materials used and the environmental technology are referenced architecturally and made accessible to students, either physically, or by explanatory signs, as an educational feature.
  • Kogod Center for the Arts
  • Richard Walter Goldman Memorial Library
  • Zartman House (administration building)
  • Sensner Building (Fox Den Cafe and school store)
  • Wannan and Kenworthy Gymnasiums
  • Three athletic fields (the football field is closed for the new construction), five tennis courts, and a six-lane track (also closed for construction).
  • Parking facility with faculty, student, guest and alumni parking (2 floors, 200+ parking spaces), as well as offices for security, IT and maintenance

The Lower School campus can be found at 5100 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesdamarker, Montgomery County, Marylandmarker, 20814-2306
  • 5 acre (20,000 m²) Edgemoor Lane campus in Bethesda (formerly Longfellow School for Boys; opened for the 1963–64 school year)
  • Manor House (classrooms, administration, and Clark Library)
  • Groome Building (classrooms and multi-purpose room)
  • Science, Art, and Music (SAM) Building
  • The Bethesda Friends Meeting House
  • Athletic fields, a gymnasium, and two playgrounds

Both campuses underwent major renovations throughout the 2005-2006 school year, and construction and renovation of the athletic facilities is still ongoing.

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of Sidwell Friends include:

The following notable people attended Sidwell but graduated elsewhere:


External links

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