Event Horizon

By Loren Hardenbergh

A look back at over a century of student journalism at Sidwell Friends.

Sidwell Friends students have always had something to say. From covering the latest in School news, club activities, and sports to expounding on current events, causes, and culture, journalism has been a core part of the student experience since the School’s earliest days. While the mastheads have changed, a commitment to publishing student voices has never wavered.

1885

The Friends’ Literary Club publishes the first and only issue of Friends Literary Journal; the editors request “a club-room wherein we may assemble to read up subjects for thought, prepare articles for the press.”

1902

A second student publication, Mercury, launches and fails due to a lack of advertisers.

1903

The first issue of Quarterly, an all-School news and literary magazine, publishes—at a rate of 1 dollar per year or 25 cents for a single issue.

1955

Younger members of Quarterly publish The Sideline, a more frequent and less polished mimeographed newsletter covering clubs, sports, events— and breathless coverage of Quarterly: The “cover for this winter’s Quarterly was nicely sketched and the contrast between the easy, free drawing and the finished lettering was quite effective. ... In the title, the ‘Q’ was very attractive.”

1963

After receiving $600 from the administration, students use offset printing to produce a full-size four-page newspaper on slick paper. The first issue of The Sidwell Friends News features photographs of construction on the new Lower School campus. Meanwhile, Quarterly moves away from sports and news coverage, and focuses on creative writing and art.

1974

After a disappointing showing at the national student journalism conference, The Sidwell Friends News goes out of print and is replaced with Horizon: The Student Newspaper of the Sidwell Friends School. In its first year, editorial disputes between administrators and editors get heated.

1976

After causing distress over the lack of Middle School coverage, Horizon adds an 8th grade editor.

2001

Horizon puts out an online version for the first time: sidwell.edu/ horizon.

2020

With COVID-19 eliminating in-person school for several months, Horizon publishes exclusively online for the first time.


Snapshots In Time

Journalistic headlines, rather than descriptive headers, started appearing in the 1960s, and offer a window into the changing world the students found themselves in.

1968

“Hippie vs. Athlete at SFS”

1969

“Leftist Movement Reaches Washington”
“SFS Debates Use and Danger of Marijuana”
“Sidwell Students Join Peace Vigil”
“War Strike Interests Many Friends Students.”

1979

“Student Revolutionaries Battle ‘State,’ Each Other”
“Punk Rock Is Dead at Sidwell.”

1982

“Statehood Is an Inalienable Right for DC.”

1983

“Walkmans Needed for ‘Escape’”

1984

“Breakdancing Swirls Students into Spotlight”
“Prince Proves Unworthy of Crown; Purple Shower Merely a Drizzle”

1986

“The Beat Goes Carnivorous: Fine Young Cannibals Triumph” “Eighties Serve as Flip-Side to Sixties Liberalism”

“D.C. Go-Go Sound Grooves Across Nation”

1987

“Education About AIDS Tops List of Students’ Concerns in School Poll”

1988

“Students Hold Demonstration at South African Embassy”

1991

“MTV, Sleeping Are Highest Among Senior Pastimes”

1992

“Nirvana: MTV Puts Underground Band Over Top”
“New Columbia Must Become 51st State”

1995

“Sidwell Students, Faculty March Against AIDS”

2005

“Sidwell Welcomes Katrina Evacuees”
“Admin. Bans Facebook on Campus”

2009

“Sidwell Students Call for Climate Action at Power Shift”

2010

“Snowpocalypse: A Second Winter Break”

2017

“Sidwell Community Participates in Women’s March on Washington.”

2020

“Coronavirus Sparks Panic; Sidwell Responds”


Check Your Attics!

The SFS Archives has almost all the student publications in the School’s history, but we are missing a few critical ones! If you have either of these, let us know!

  • Mercury: 1902, any issues!
  • The Sideline: 1955, Vol. 1, No. 1

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Sidwell Friends Alumni Magazine is published three times a year for the community. It features School news, stories, profiles, and alumni Class Notes.

Email magazine@sidwell.edu with story ideas or letters to the editor.