School Chaplain Brings Church to Classrooms During Lent

As always at St. James School, students can choose to receive a blessing or communion during Mass. Throughout Lent in this pandemic year when students can't safely gather in the Church of St. James the Less, our school chaplain, The Rev. Andrew Kellner, is visiting classrooms to deliver the sacrament. Pictured above is 5th grader Skylar receiving communion and below are some of her classmates praying and receiving blessings.
Ahmoni receiving blessing
5th graders praying
Malan is blessed
Our Students Stand Out in District Poetry Competition

Following in the footsteps of Amanda Gorman, first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, here come the St. James poet all-stars! London (7th grader, above) won first place among middle school students in the 4th District Black History Month Poetry and Spoken Word Competition for her poem, “One Nation.” Click the video above to watch her recite the first stanza or click here to read her poem in entirety. Thirteen of our 6th-8th graders participated in the competition, which was hosted by Philadelphia City Council members Curtis Jones and Allan Domb. St. James students, including London, won four of the six prizes awarded to middle schoolers!
DeSean (Class of 2024) introducing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Brad Garfield speaking on behalf of Saint Mark's Church, Philadelphia.
Celebrating Our Church Partners with Bishop Michael Curry
The St. James School community celebrated a decade of faithful partnership with our more than 160 church partners during a March 16 virtual event highlighted by a visit with The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

It was the biggest event in St. James history, with 415 participants representing 50 churches and friends from across the country: Maryland, Virginia, Florida, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, Texas, and more! The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. All evening, affirmations posted in the chat filled our hearts: “I’m proud and honored to be here” ... “We love you” ... “So good to celebrate St. James School.”

Posters made by church partners commemorating various aspects of their St. James partnership were shown. Click the video below to see the posters. Three longtime partners shared stories on their impactful partnership in short video segments. Click here to view those on YouTube.

DeSean, a 5th grader, was hailed as a "rock star" in the chat for his engaging introduction of the Bishop. Click the video below to see his introduction. DeSean shared Top 10 Fun Facts about him, in which we learned he has two daughters and seven grandchildren, once served as rector at a Baltimore church called St. James, and favors butter pecan ice cream. (DeSean added that his favorite is vanilla with sprinkles.) DeSean ended his introduction with, “Please welcome the legend himself, Bishop Michael Curry.” The Bishop quipped, “I think DeSean is the legend here!”
In his inspiring remarks, Bishop Curry lauded the impact our church partners made, and continue to make, helping St. James School fulfill its mission one dream and one student at a time. "That's the way the world ever changes," he said. "Changing the world with one student at a time, one DeSean at a time ... because one day, those children will save us.” 

Four students — DeSean, 7th graders Randy and London, and 6th grader Brynn — engaged in a Q&A with the Bishop, who appeared to enjoy learning fun facts they shared about our school. Asked if he had any advice for his younger self, the Bishop said, “Don’t forget to dream!” then recited the poem “Dreams” by Langston Hughes. 

Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez closed the event in prayer: "As the sun sets on this joyous night, we ask for your blessing on all your beloved children. Blessings for all the partners of St. James who supported this ministry the past 10 years and their continued support for the next 100 years.” Amen!
Laura Sibson taking about impact on behalf of Church of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Chestnut Hill.
Bonnie Buchak sharing the impact story from St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Newtown Square.
Let’s Break New Ground Together!
Did you hear the news? This summer, with your help, we begin construction on a new building to expand our campus and programs!

In Case You Missed It:
We want everyone in the St. James School community (including you!) to point to this new building and say, "I helped build that!"

We Invite You to Join Us for a Virtual Briefing
You'll enjoy a guided tour of the building plans with Head of School Dave Kasievich. You'll learn how you can support the Reach & Sustain Campaign that is fueling our growth!
St. James School, through the efforts of our Graduate Support Team, has entered into unique partnerships with four colleges and universities to date:
We make a commitment when students enter St. James School to walk with them through their high school and post-secondary journeys. We promise to prepare them for adult life. Members of our Graduate Support Team build strong relationships with students and families, so our students (they are always our students) always have the support they need to be successful.

Our college and university partners are committed to improving the college completion rates of low-income students who are often the first in their families to attend college. To that end, they ensure that accepted St. James students will have additional resources and a lower financial burden.

We plan to continue adding to our list of partners as our students explore their potential and reach for their dreams.

To learn more about Graduate Support visit:

To help support our graduates in college, click here:
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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