Barb Caden Suddenly Fired From Dining Hall Commons By Healthy Foods by Choice {Updated}

Without warning Thursday afternoon, Barb Caden, who worked the contract register in the Dining Hall Commons, was terminated by Healthy Foods By Choice. 


“When the big boss [Karen Gosik, owner of Choice Foods] came in yesterday she said, ‘Barbara, I have to let you go’ and I said ‘why?’ and she just said ‘we are making new changes next year, and there is no place for you.’ That’s exactly what I was told.” said Caden, reached over the phone. “I asked if there was any other reason and she just said that there was no place for me.” 

Caden has worked at the Dining Hall register for nearly 14 years. The Dining Hall operates under Healthy Foods By Choice, a separate organization from the school. She will collect unemployment. 


The news of her termination came as a shock to many students and faculty. “She was always there with a smile on her face. She always knew my name and always acted in a friendly manner towards everyone,” sophomore Sonia Patel said. 


“I think I cared too much, and I really do care about the children. I care[d] about everything that they care[d] about. I want[ed] what they want[ed] . I want[ed] to make them happy…The teachers would come and I would put their numbers in and I would know everyone,” Caden told WordsWorth. When Caden first joined in 2003, the Class of 2017 was starting their first year of Pre-K in the White Building. She said she has been crying since she was let go. 

“Everybody was like family to me, and I miss them all like they are family. I feel like I went to Europe and I can’t see them anymore,” said Caden. She explained how touched she was when Head of School Larry Van Meter sent her a handwritten note when her brother died. “I’m not that far away if anybody needs me,” said Caden. She said that she will attend some school functions such as theater productions and sporting events. 

Healthy Foods By Choice responded early Monday evening stating, “Health Foods By Choice (Choice Foods, Inc.) values the privacy of its employees and has a strict policy against commenting on the circumstances why an employee is no longer working for the Company.” Read the full response below. 

WordsWorth reached out to Kimberly Watson, Dining Hall Manager, who directed us to contact Choice Foods owner Karen Gosik. This article has been updated to include a quote from Karen Gosik.  

Health Foods By Choice (Choice Foods, Inc.) values the privacy of its employees and has a strict policy against commenting on the circumstances why an employee is no longer working for the Company.  It would be a violation of our policy, as well as the privacy of the former employee involved, for the Company to comment publicly on the reasons why any employee is no longer an employee.  Even when an employee wishes these matters to be public, the Company will not vary from its standard policy, so as to protect the privacy of all its employees.


MFS Set Design Class Goes Big for the Winter Drama Production

The set for MFS's production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)"

MFS Woodshop teacher, Michael Webster, and his Set Design students took on a huge challenge with the larger-than-life set for this year’s Winter Play.


Director Angela Wertner and the MFS Drama Department had already chosen an ambitious project with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a production including actors playing up to 3 different roles and even audience interaction.


Still, Mr. Webster kicked it up another notch with his complex set structures. The structure features 4 new entryways, 3 separate platforms, 2 flights of stairs, an extension of the stage and a few other surprise aspects.


This may seem like a lot to construct, but when asked about this, Mr. Webster said that the structure of the Set Design course allowed for such a big undertaking: “We started building this in January, so because of that extra time, we figured that we would try to do something a little more ambitious than usual.”


Sophomore Eli Gamber, a student in Mr. Webster’s Set Design course, said it was a bit difficult to bring everyone’s ideas to life in time, but luckily, the construction didn’t conflict with their schoolwork: “Webby’s really good at being organized, so it was helpful that we could do almost all of the work in class.”


The purpose of a set like this one is to enhance a performance for the audience and the actors and Mr. Webster created one huge playground for the student actors involved. As for audience perception, he said he wanted the genre of the show to bleed into the set as well: “[A part of that was] trying to create some elements that were comedic and could be used for comedic effect in the actual set design.”


Mr. Webster, as well as the students involved, even researched how actors worked off of sets in silent films in order to make sure that the crazy dramatics of Complete Works was shown through the ways actors used set pieces throughout the show.


These efforts were well appreciated by the cast.


Sophomore Cameron Stirner, who portrays Benvolio and Claudius in the production, said, “With such an ambitious set that has multiple layers, staircases, [and] a thrust out into the audience, I really think it’s gonna increase audience engagement and make it more fun for the actors onstage.”


Junior Caroline Cook, who will perform as Titus Andronicus and Hamlet this weekend, told WordsWorth, “I like [that it’s] something different and we’ve never had anything like it before, so it’s fun to get to learn how to use it.”


Unfortunately, Mr. Webster will be leaving MFS next year, as we announced last week, so as of now there is no news of what will become of the Set Design minor in the 2017-18 school year.


To see the final product of the MFS community’s work onstage and off, purchase tickets for the Winter Play at


Hanamirian Tapped as New Upper School Director

Director of College Counseling Meredith Hanamirian will be moving to a new office just down the hall at the start of next year, when she assumes the position of Upper School Director. Head of School Larry Van Meter announced the appointment in an email to the community on Thursday evening.

“Meredith was selected from a strong group of finalists, emerging from a comprehensive national search,” Van Meter wrote. He cited her many accomplishments as Director of College Counseling, Upper School Spanish teacher, co-clerk of Upper School faculty meetings, and co-clerk of MFS’s diversity committee. Hanamirian also co-designed the praised Peer Leadership program, a favorite among students.


Hanamirian will replace current Upper School Director Justin Brandon, who announced his departure to Francis W. Parker School in Chicago in early February.


This article has been updated to include a response from Hanamirian: 

“I have spent more than 20 years of my life in Quaker schools as a student, teacher, parent, administrator and college counselor,” said Mrs. Hanamirian. “I believe strongly in the value of Quaker education and look forward to working with our community in this exciting new role.”


Michael Webster to Leave MFS at End of This Year

Photo courtesy of Michael Webster (


Beloved MFS teacher Michael Webster has announced his departure from MFS after 5 years teaching woodshop, photography, scenic design, and other arts classes.

When asked about the future of the scenic design course during an interview, Webster told WordsWorth, “As far as the future…Since I am not going to be teaching at MFS [next year] I don’t know what’s going to happen [with the course] in the future….[My departure] was released yesterday as far as information.”  

He will be teaching sculpture at Wofford College, a small liberal arts school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He joins Upper School Director Justin Brandon and Head of School Larry Van Meter as the third member of MFS faculty to announce their departure from MFS in the next two school years.

WordsWorth wishes Mr. Webster all the best and knows he will be missed!


New Year’s Baby MFS English Teacher Blessed With First Philly Baby of 2017

MFS English teacher Claire MacKenzie poses with Jamie MacKenzie, the first baby born in 2017 in Philadelphia.

Thinking about the New Year often brings images of change: new resolutions, new habits, and even new people. The elusive New Year’s Baby, born just in time to celebrate the changing of the date, is special indeed. And this year, that something special came to MFS.

On New Year’s Day, Jamie Mackenzie was annointed the Philadelphia region’s official 2017 New Year’s baby. While most of us were busy excitedly celebrating the new year, MFS English teacher Clare MacKenzie’s son was born at 12:12 AM. Born at Pennsylvania Hospital, Jamie Mackenzie was the first baby born in 2017 in Philadelphia.

“It was a complete surprise!”, exclaimed Ms. MacKenzie when asked whether she was expecting her son to be born at such a monumental time. “I had no idea what time it was at that point.” Perhaps Ms. MacKenzie’s sense of shock sprung from her expectation that Jamie would be born on his due date, December 26. “He needed a little extra time, but it’s exciting that he ended up being a New Year’s baby,” stated Ms. MacKenzie.

A common rumor has it that the family of a region’s  New Year’s baby receives a cash prize. Unfortunately, Ms. MacKenzie squashed these rumors, at least for the local area, stating that, “if there’s a gift, I haven’t seen it.”

To most of us who were ebulliently celebrating the New Year as midnight struck on the first of this month, being the mother of the 2017 New Year’s baby sounds like a perfect reason to amplify our usual New Year’s celebrations. However, upon being asked whether Jamie being ordained the 2017 New Year’s baby was of strong importance to her, Ms. MacKenzie happily denied. “It was cool, but nothing in comparison to how happy I was about Jamie being born,” she explained contentedly.


What’s Changed? Teacher/Student Survey Yields Surprising Results


“Behind a Wells Fargo Bank.”

“This old abandoned factory.”

“I have no friends.”

The list above includes just a few of the eccentric responses received from students and teachers when asked where they like (or, in the case of the teachers, liked) to hang out as a high school student after school. Rest assured though, while some of the responses were indeed strange, common themes emerged: a popular response to that particular question was “Anywhere there’s food.”

WordsWorth conducted a survey on the school population, asking students and teachers a variety of questions, ranging from what their favorite subject was to what extracurricular activities they participated in, in order to see if anything had changed over the years. The teachers were also asked whether they went to a private or public school and what year they graduated. Some of the data collected was interesting; for example, nearly all the teachers who graduated from high school in the last twenty-five years attended private school themselves.

The increase of STEM programs within schools in the past few years as well as the popular fields for employment for today’s youth seem to have influenced the choice of favorite subject for students. The subject most favorited in high school by the teachers was English, followed by History and Math. However, with students, Math was in the lead, followed by Science and then English.

As far as sports go, soccer is far more popular with students than it was with the teachers, as the number of participants in the game from students to teachers has nearly doubled. Baseball has lost popularity somewhat, as has football, which saw a massive decrease, with some teachers to no students playing the sport. However, some new sports are on the rise. Fencing and Lacrosse are much more popular among students than they were with the teachers, likely due to the rising popularity of both sports in recent years. The amount of people who do not play a sport has remained relatively the same for both groups, showing that while the relative popularity of specific sports has changed over the last few decades, athleticism itself has not.

Participation in high school extracurriculars was high among both groups, although the data did show a slight drop in popularity of band, orchestra, and student government from the teacher’s time to ours.



Experiencing an Alice Paul March


After the march, protestors crowded around the stage in front of the Art Museum to hear guest speakers.

Going into
Alice’s March for Equality last Thursday, I was expecting a small group of Friends school students walking along the sidewalk holding up some signs and pictures of Alice Paul.

I was way off.

As soon as we walked up to Philadelphia’s City Hall, I saw the scope of people who had come to the march. There were Friends schools, but in no way were their numbers tiny. A group of Girl Scouts from Moorestown had also shown up in support of Anna Holemens, the Friends Select student who had organized the march as part of her goal to earn the Girl Scout’s highest honor — a Girl Scout Gold Award.

Once at City Hall, we were greeted by a perky high school staff member from the march who taught us some cheers and gave us bracelets, buttons and posters. It was at that point I learned that we weren’t just marching to commemorate Alice Paul, but we were marching to gain support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Once the march began the TV cameras started rolling, darting in between the police officers on bikes, desperate to get the perfect shot. As we marched the student who had given us the bracelets began leading us in the cheers, such as “Build a bridge, not a wall” or “ERA means equal pay.”

The roads had been cleared for us to walk. The planning and organization needed to make this all happen must have been tremendous, especially for a high school student.

Along the way to the Art Museum, where the march would end, we were cheered on by some little kids who were too young to participate. The signs that most of the marchers chose to display were actually quite witty. One read, “Rain Drop, Drop Top, Wage Gap, Gotta Stop-Stop.”

Once we reached the stage located in front of the Art Museum, we were led in a few more cheers while we waited for the speakers to get situated. The ceremony began when the high school participants gathered on stage and gave the reasons they were here. For about an hour and a half after the opening speech, the stage was graced with the presence of multiple speakers from the Girl Scouts and school administrators, who spoke about equality for women. After all of this, Anna came back on stage and delivered a speech directed to President Trump. She asked for his help in giving women equal rights, but also detailed that the movement wouldn’t slow down or wait. It would continue with or without him. That line got lots of applause.

The march wasn’t at all what I was expecting. However, it was really inspirational to see high schoolers get together and organize a way to express themselves. The image of people of all ages and genders getting together to declare their beliefs is one I will never forget.


Top 10 Movies of 2016

Out of all the crazy happenings in 2016, one was more controversial than any other—and no, we’re not talking about the election. With 2017 just beginning, now is a perfect time to look back on the best movies that you might have missed from the last year. So, without further ado, let’s get going!


10) La La Land

An aspiring actress tries to make her way in the big city- we’ve all heard that plot before, but La La Land takes this generic overused concept and give it a unique twist. Not your average, run-of-the-mill musical romance story, La La Land is sure to wow any type of movie goer. The film starts out seeming like a generic musical, but as the movie progresses it becomes more and more unique. With great dance numbers, acting, and cinematography, La La Land is truly unique.


9) 10 Cloverfield Lane

Described as a “spiritual successor” to Cloverfield, the hit 2008 monster movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a psychological thriller that is about a woman named Michelle who escapes an apocalyptic event by hunkering down in an underground bunker with doomsday planner Howard and his helper Emmet. While initially distrustful of Howard and his intentions, Michelle begins to accept her new life- that is until she notices some strange behavior…


8) Sing Street

Definitely the movie for all the musicians out there, Sing Street revolves around Conor Lawlor. In order to impress the beautiful model Raphina, Conor recruits several schoolmates to form the aptly named band Sing Street. This musical comedy is full of enough humor to keep you smiling, while simultaneously full of enough drama to keep you engaged.


7) Moana

Moana made its appearance into the world of cinema as one of 2016’s most popular movies, and for good reason. Once again, Disney rolls out its cold, hard method of printing money out of younger and older viewers alike in this fantasy adventure. Moana sets out on a journey to save her island from the evil consuming it, recruiting the help of demigod Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. What emerges is the adventure of a lifetime, taking Moana across the ocean and even doing battle with gods. Moana is a must-see for all Disney fans.


6) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Do you remember the beginning of Episode IV when Princess Leia had the plans to the Death Star, gave them to R2D2, and sent him off to Ben Kenobi for safekeeping shortly before getting captured by Darth Vader? Most of you probably don’t, and even less of you wondered how Leia got those plans in the first place. Well, since George Lucas and Disney just can’t seem to resist that sweet money train that is Star Wars, they made a movie out of that very topic. Seeing as the movie took place between Episodes III and IV, it was technically a prequel, and since Star Wars fans know that prequels are never a good idea, this movie was expected to either be amazing or flop terribly. Luckily, it was the former. Interesting characters, quippy dialogue, and a spectacular ending will be more than enough to sate the hunger of fanboys until the next installment.


5) Manchester by the Sea

After the fiasco that was Batman v Superman, it was though the Affleck name could never again appear in a well made movie. Luckily for Ben, his brother Casey is picking up the slack with Manchester by the Sea. Although not a major blockbuster like some entries on this list with a budget of only $8.5 million, Manchester by the Sea more than makes up for its lack of flashy effects with spectacular storytelling. Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, a janitor who is forced to care for his nephew when his brother is hospitalized. Anyone who needs a healthy dose of emotion should definitely watch this movie.


4) Dr. Strange

Taking most by surprise when it was announced, Dr. Strange quickly became one of the most anticipated movies of 2016. Being the first real introduction of magic in the Marvel cinematic universe, there was much concern as to whether Dr. Strange would be a complete disaster, similar to the situation Rogue One was in. Just like Rogue One, we were not disappointed. Dr. Strange was a strange psychedelic journey that told the tale of a surgeon turned sorcerer. The special effects alone would make this movie a must-see, but there’s much more than that in this flick that should be at the top of any superhero fan’s watchlist.


3) Moonlight

A somewhat different film on this list, Moonlight is widely considered by many to be the best movie of 2016 and for good reason. In this drama film you follow the story of Chiron, a young man who journeys through life while discovering his own sexuality. Although not an action-packed adventure like other films this year, Moonlight has a well earned spot at the top of the list for 2016’s best movies.


2) Captain America: Civil War

Easily one of the best superhero movies of 2016, Captain America: Civil War is a must-see film. Do not let the name fool you, because this movie has way more superheros than just Captain America in it. With Captain America saying that superheroes should be able to defend humanity without government restrictions and Iron Man disagreeing with him, the Avengers are forced to choose sides. Throughout the course of the movie friendships are broken and people get hurt. This movie also introduces some new faces into the Marvel cinematic universe. With good plot and interesting characters, Captain America: Civil War is a highlight for Marvel and will echo into many movies to come.


1) Deadpool

Our pick for top movie of 2016 is none other than the merc with a mouth himself, Deadpool. Easily one of the most popular movies of 2016, Deadpool is enjoyable to not just the hardcore comic book fan, but to the average movie goer as well. If somehow you have not seen this movie already, then it is about a mercenary who gets the power of invincibility due to the treatment he received for his terminal cancer, however this treatment also made him extremely deformed. Throughout the course of the film Deadpool must save his girlfriend from the man who gave him his powers, while meeting a few interesting characters along the way. Laced with non stop humor, action, and fourth wall breaks, this movie is great for anyone who can handle a lot, and we mean a lot, of profanity.


NFL Super Bowl 2017

So, the Super Bowl has come and passed, and this year showed us one of the most impressive comebacks in perhaps all of sports history. Coming from behind after a tough first half to win it all in overtime, the New England Patriots became the most decorated franchise in NFL playoff history, and Tom Brady cemented his status as the greatest of all time, winning his fifth Super Bowl ring by scoring twenty-five unanswered points.

Before the game, however, we sent out a poll asking members of the MFS community how they thought the game would play out; and the results were truly interesting. As you can see in the pie charts below, the people of Moorestown Friends School truly do know their football—either that or they are fantastic guessers. MFS predicted the Patriots as the winner of the Super Bowl by a sizable majority, along with Tom Brady having a better game than opponent Matt Ryan. One area, however, that did not do well was the overall scoring – MFS was far from accurate on that front. A plurality of voters predicted the total scoring to be somewhere in the range of 30-45 points total, while the final score of 34-28 far exceeded that.

WordsWorth thanks everyone for their participation in the survey.

Poll Results
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