Kendall (Class of 2023) working on the design of her clay tile on MLK Day 2022
Martin Luther King Day
Full of Inspiration and Creativity
“Life’s more persistent and urgent question is,
‘What are you doing for others?’”
Celebrating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brought students, teachers, and staff together for a day of service, prayer, community circles, conversations, and creative expression.
The Philadelphia Clay Studio’s Claymobile came to campus with all the supplies for students to make clay tiles reflecting the themes of community, land acknowledgement to the Lenape peoples, and agape love. Our students are familiar with the word "AGAPE" as a form of love and also know it as our classroom culture acronym: “Adaptability, Gratitude, Awareness, Patience, Excellence.” The tiles will be displayed in our new school building.
“Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. When you rise to love on this level, you love all...not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them. This is what Jesus meant when he said ‘love your enemies.’”
– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Students also participated in a prayer service with inspirational readings from the messages of Dr. King. We reflected on the readings and were given time to journal about what it means to “throw down the sword and live by the principle of love.” Student responses included:
“Do the hard and good work, not the easy work.”
“Show mercy instead of fighting.”
“Appreciating the gifts we all have and share in that.”
“Do not be violent, use your love to bring peace.”
The day's keynote speaker was Tyler Ray, Neighborhood Organizer at Urban Creators and a member of the Church of St. James the Less Sunday Night Mass community. He talked about the importance of honoring one’s own space by working at the local level and asked students to think about what they can do for their community.

Dr. King once said, “Agape is a willingness to go to any length to restore community,” and our service day gave extra meaning to his words.
A Word with… Douglas Faxon, Jr. — Social Studies Teacher and Mental Health Counselor
Meet Douglas Faxon, Jr., who is not actually new to St. James! He has been providing mental health counseling services to our graduates since 2021. But he recently assumed the additional role of social studies teacher and we are pleased to welcome him to the teaching team!

Tell us about your background.
I’m a lifelong Philadelphian and grew up in Mount Airy. I earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from Temple University, and a master’s in criminal justice from Saint Joseph’s University. After considering careers as an urban planner or a lawyer, I began working with children and discovered I loved it! I taught middle school for a year and high school for three years, working with children who have special needs and behavioral challenges. It was very rewarding and fulfilling. In particular, I realized I loved working on the mental health side of things, learning what makes kids tick. I went back to school to earn my second master’s in counseling and psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Now, I’m pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Wilmington University.
What brought you to St. James?
Director of Student and Family Services Levi Lee is a former colleague. We became friends and stayed connected. I heard him talk so glowingly about St. James! In 2021, he helped connect me to the school. It’s been a love affair for me. I love working with the graduates, the students in grades 4-8, and all the staff. I learned about the opening for a social studies teacher in the fall and decided to go for it!
Does your background in counseling influence your teaching?
It really helps me develop relationships, which is the most important part of teaching. It helps me gauge where people are emotionally, meet them where they are, and direct them to where they need to go. It’s almost like a sixth sense. It guides my awareness of how safe of a space the classroom is for students.
What is your favorite part of working at St. James?
The environment, the resources, and the amount of thought and care provided help students be who they’re supposed to be. The children here know they are loved by all the staff, so they do not have walls up. I was able to begin creating connections from day one because their hearts and minds are open.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a proud dog dad to Trè. I love nature and spending time outdoors with my boyfriend Christopher. We take daily walks on the Wissahickon Trail. I also love to work out and travel. A favorite place I’ve visited was Japan.
What’s a fun fact about you? 
When I was 19, I drove to California with a friend, even though I didn’t know how to drive! I was a slightly better driver by the end of the trip.
8th Grade Girls Find Community
Members of the 8th Grade Girls Group with leader Sonya Kedarnath
In this week’s after-school 8th Grade Girls Group, led by Graduate Support Associate Sonya Kedarnath, club members reflected on Planned Parenthood’s recent visit to St. James School. They learned how to speak about mature topics and discussed healthy relationships and boundaries. Asked what they like about Girls Group, Kameera shared that “everyone can talk honestly and openly without feeling judged.” Brianna said the girls “feel comfortable with each other and talk about things they might not discuss normally.” Saani said she simply enjoys “spending time with friends and Ms. Kedarnath.”
Huskies Basketball Returns!
St. James Huskies facing the Germantown Eagles basketball team
After a two-year break, the Huskies basketball team is back! Coached by Eric Todd and Shelby Rowe, our basketball players are thrilled to be playing competitively again. The basketball team also netted their first victory of the season in their most recent game! Since our outdoor court is covered by a dining tent during construction of our new building, the team has been practicing in the nearby gym at Mercy Career & Technical High School. Go Huskies!
More COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
Thanks to a partnership with a neighborhood Rite Aid, our students and community members have been receiving COVID-19 vaccines right here on Clearfield Street! Our youngest students recently received second shots.

In four months, we’ll return to in-person gatherings for our signature scholarship benefit event. Plan to join us for a tented outdoor celebration on Tuesday, May 24th at the Mann Center for Performing Arts!

We Will Honor Dr. Ala Stanford
+ Pediatric and adult general surgeon
+ Medical correspondent 
+ 2021 CNN Hero nominee for her work in health equity
And We Will Honor
The Very Rev. Canon Martini Shaw and the people of
The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas 
+ A Christ-centered community of faith located in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia
+ Founded in 1792 as the first black Episcopal Church in the United States.
+ A church on the forefront of health and wellness for their members and the larger African American community
+ A church that committed early to the work to reduce the incidence of disease and death from coronavirus
For more information, contact Martha Heuser at

Invitation and COVID-19 safety protocols to follow.

Susan and I are raising our hands,
will you join us? 
Head of School Dave Kasievich and Grants Manager Susan O'Hagan Marley are among more than 100 supporters donating to scholarships for St. James School students by participating in the PA Tax Credit Program.
Raise your hand if your know the answer:
What kind of donation is critical to our school's ability to remain tuition-free for all 85 students?
The correct answer is:
Donations made through the PA Tax Credit Program.
Now, raise your hand again if you are willing to help us turn your PA tax dollars into scholarships for our students. We're calling on you! We are currently recruiting participants for the Spring 2022 Cycle.
St. James School is a faith-based Philadelphia middle school in the Episcopal tradition, committed to educating students from an under-resourced neighborhood within a nurturing environment. The school is a community that provides a challenging academic program and encourages the development of the moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical and creative gifts in its students.
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