Tag Archives: Westtown School


Todd Gurley and Kelvin Bryant. We played for the same team, albeit at different times.

Cam Reddish, Mo Bamba, Daniel Ochefu. We played for the same team, albeit at different times.

Steph Curry. We played for the same team, albeit at different times and in different sports.

You see where I’m going with this. I was on a roll until I got to SE Asia.

Learners will inherit the earth

First graders this year will graduate in 2030.

By 2030 up to 800 million workers around the world will have lost their jobs to automation.

In a presentation at Westtown School recently, New York Times journalist and Westtown graduate Kevin Roose said, “Things are going to keep changing rapidly… People who are able to adjust to [new industries] rather than clinging to the old way of doing things are going to have a big advantage.”

Eric Hoffer famously said,

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exits.

In 2030, today’s first graders will need competencies such as creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and empathy.

Next fall, Guilford College will bring forth “The Guilford Edge.” It is designed precisely to develop the learners. Learners first, learned later.

Westtown BBall on ESPNU Monday

Westtown School v. IMG Academy, January 15 @ 5PM on ESPNU. Have hummus and pita at the ready (celery or carrot sticks optional). Which Westtown player going to Duke next year?


The most liberal art

Masada Israel-2013-Aerial_21-Masada

Masada overlooking Dead Sea

Lifelong learning is the ultimate liberal art. It is the single skill or attribute that is most important for a school or college to impart to its students.

The truth never changes. But our understanding of it must change continually. If not, we are dead or dying.

Where lifelong learning can’t be imparted, it should be thrust upon.

And, that is what happened to MidLaw on that recent trip with 18 members of the senior class at Westtown School to Israel and Palestine.

It was not a trip. It was a master class in “You aren’t 18 years old anymore.”

Hike the Snake Path to Masada before dawn to see sunrise over the Dead Sea? At age 70?

Is that lifelong learning, or the lack of it?

öéìåí àåéø ùì îöãä, ìéã éí äîìç.

Snake Path visible at left



Cahiers de Hoummous: The Return of MidLaw from the Levant

Version 2MidLaw is back. Back from the Middle East. Israel and Palestine.

MidLaw traveled with a group of 18 students and 5 teachers from Westtown School. We came from China, Korea, Nigeria, Kenya, England and many parts of the United States. (MidLaw’s hummus studies proceeded parallel to the students’ work.)

We visited a broad range of communities, groups, families and a settlement in Israel and Palestine. Our meals were served “family style.” During the first week, we were served hummus at literally every meal (but one). Hummus at breakfast, lunch and dinner. After the first week, the pattern was the same. ALWAYS, we had hummus at breakfast.

And so, MidLaw has eaten hummus at

  • hotels and restaurants
  • the home of an Israeli businessman and military officer (where I learned that he is CEO of the largest supplier of chickpea seeds in the region)
  • the home of a Palestinian author, religious leader and peace activist
  • a kibbutz
  • a Palestinian refugee camp
  • a Palestinian family farm
  • a Bedouin encampment
  • a Druze village
  • an Israeli youth hostel
  • a Christian guest house in Bethlehem
  • The Friends School in Ramallah (in the company of the leader of Palestine’s largest telecommunications company).

In East Jerusalem, we had hummus from famed hummus bar Abu Shukri. In Jaffa, to MidLaw’s dismay we were not able to get to Abu Hassan, although we had hummus at another place nearby.

In Nazareth, we had a meal that was presented as typical of what Jesus would commonly have eaten. Turns out Jesus was a big fan of hummus.

2016IsraelPalestine - 102 of 776-L

At the center of Barta’a

The best hummus for MidLaw’s money was at a café in the center of the village of Barta’a. Uniquely, Barta’a sits directly on “the Green Line.” The Green Line is the line drawn on maps to demark Israeli territory at the end of the 1948 War. At Barta’a, the map was misread. What looked on the map like a river, was in fact a drainage ditch – and so, the Green Line was drawn right through the middle of the village, down the ditch. That created a bizarrely split village, with different laws and different taxes depending on what side of the ditch you’re on.

Anyway, there’s a café in Barta’a that sits just on the Palestinian side of the ditch. The hummus there is fantastic.

Lunch at Barta'a

Lunch at Barta’a

So, MidLaw has seen a lot of hummus. And eaten it all with enthusiasm. Three times a day. And after careful study, MidLaw has concluded that the hummus in the Levant is fully the equal of MidLaw hummus. I mean it! It’s very good.

Still, the Lesson of the Levant is that the key to great hummus is roll your own – with MidLaw Mind.

YOU are Abu Shukri.

MidLaw goes to Middle East; hiatus on posts; hummus studies to ensue


The Friends School, Ramallah

With this post, MidLaw is entering upon a hiatus for international travel. During this period, expect no new posts, either as to MidLaw or regarding Divers Items.

But, the great work will continue. MidLaw will travel to the Levant: to Israel and to Palestine. Yes, even unto Jersalem, Jaffa and Ramallah. And, in these and nearby venues, hummus explorations and investigations will continue; indeed, they may escalate.

I am serious!

I am going to Israel and Palestine. On this journey, I will be under the guidance of hummus enthusiasts Jon Evans and Melissa Graf-Evans. Jon and Melissa are former residents of East Jerusalem; Jon, an international development executive; and Melissa formerly a teacher at Ramallah Friends School, which we will visit. We will be in the company of students from Westtown School in Pennsylvania, and we will visit a broad range of leaders, business people, activists, educators and social justice groups.

The students will take up weightier studies than mine — but readers of MidLaw know already that hummus studies are a path to peace.


The Friends School


The Friends School

Pounds and Pounds of Kale and Collards

Pete’s Produce at Westtown School .Peteartint

27,000 pounds is a lot, but I’m thinking it cooks down a lot. You don’t know what you’ll have after you cook it.

Pete’s is a great place. And Westtown School is the best.


Westtown School

For all that, I did pretty well with both kale and collards at the Greensboro Farmers Market  last week.

Greensboro Farmers Curb Market

Love among the Friends – long concealed Quaker passion revealed in new book

Quaker loveFormer Guilford College trustee and person of many parts, Ann Trueblood Raper, has written yet another book (this one following her National Continuing Care Directory: Comprehensive Information on Retirement Facilities and Communities Offering Prepaid Contracts for Long-Term Care, published in 1984).

Raper’s latest goes in a new direction: love crossing boundaries between Quakers at a time when tensions were high within the divided sect. With this story – a Hicksite cavorting with an Orthodox Friend, trysts at Earlham and Westtown, star-crossed lovers seeking to unite the tribes – Raper has ripped the covers off a previously hidden story of love, religion and revival among Friends.

Just published, the book is A Quaker Courtship: A love story in discovered letters and photos of two Young Friends in 1922.

A Quaker Courtship is an intimate, endearing story of love and a tantalizing glimpse of the life, key leaders and organizations among Quakers in 1922, revealed in letters, photographs and telegrams exchanged almost daily by Paul Furnas and Betty Walter as they met, courted and planned to marry.

Paul and Betty were Quakers from different branches of Friends: the Furnases were Orthodox and the Walters were Hicksite. Their own courtship coincided with an effort among young adult Friends to unite these disparate branches and revive the Religious Society of Friends in the United States. As leaders of this movement much was made of their own union.

Reveiwers say

This is an exquisite book. Despite the formality of the times and the serious issues they were confronting, the couple’s letters reveal a sweet and playful relationship that I found quite moving. Fascinating setting, thoroughly enjoyable story.

* * *

Excellent and enlightening.

One hesitates to reveal the outcome of the story — but history shows that the issue of this union went on to provide leadership and support for Quaker institutions from Westtown School to Earlham College, Guilford College, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and many more.

Fruit of a once-forbidden union.


I’m on fire but don’t put me out, just let me burn

FireI saw something last week that almost literally and certainly figuratively set me on fire. It was Guilford College’s Convocation.

The president, Jane Fernandes made a stirring address. It was high minded – about values. And it was well done. Fully the equivalent of what I heard when I started college in 1964. The Guilford College Choir led the singing of the alma mater.

What was new to me though was the rest. Students and faculty convened at a small college. The faculty and upperclasses inviting new students to research – to research and learn about what turns them on.

Professor Melanie Lee-Brown lit the fire. She was up there literally setting things on fire and flinging them into the air. (I am assured that what she was doing complied somehow with the fire code.) Real research is for everyone, students and faculty. Faculty will be there to help every student, one-on-one. Every one. Students are not required, but invited to do this.

Older students were showing what they did last year: Science (things were smoking), music (things were smokin’), history (Raphael and Pope Leo X). A really good jazz group, the Blue Roots Jazz Band, doing research and featuring a graduate of the famous Westtown School.

New students were invited by the community they were joining to follow their passions – and join everybody else who’s already doing that.

They were not told, “We will convey to you what you must know.” They were encouraged to go after it for themselves and assured that the faculty will help. It was personal.

Very cool. Sign me up. Let me burn.