St.James students who are learning rock climbing skills get an assist from Penn Charter students at the Discovery Center.
Fall-ing for St. James Autumn Activities
So much has happened during our first 8 weeks of school! Here are several glimpses into some of the exciting events!
Five St. James Students Gain Rock Climbing Skills with Penn Charter Club
Our partnership with William Penn Charter School’s Climbing Club has continued to grow. This year, five of our students have joined Penn Charter staff member Thomas Rickards and two Penn Charter students to learn all about rock climbing. They visit Penn Charter’s campus, the Discovery Center, and Philly Rock Gym to practice their climbing skills!
Di Bruno Bros. Hosts Event for St. James School at its New Venue
Close to 100 people gathered to learn more about St. James School at a sneak peek event on October 8th in Di Bruno Bros.’ newest venue: Banca (located at 6th and Spring Garden in Philadelphia). Hosted by St. James Board member and Di Bruno Bros. co-owner Bill Mignucci, guests were treated to signature charcuterie as they heard from St. James leaders about our work and our partnership, and heard from one of our graduates, Kevine, who is interested in pursuing culinary arts.
4th Grade's First Field Trip was Apple Picking at Rock Hill Farm
Rock Hill Farm, home to St. James supporters Tris and RuthMarie Colket, hosted our 4th graders for their very first field trip. It was a beautiful fall day and the students loved visiting the orchard of apple and peach trees. They learned how to use apple picking tools and picked bags full of delicious apples to share with family and friends (favorites were Granny Smith and Red Delicious). Students also toured the greenhouse, learning about orchids and other plants, and got to pot their own plants to care for at home.
8th Grade Girls Retreat was an Afternoon of Laughing and Bonding
Sweet treats and giggles punctuated the time spent bonding and learning about one another at the fall 8th Grade Girls Retreat. The afternoon started with meditation led by The Rev. Arlette Benoit-Joseph. Volunteer extraordinaires Allyson Ross and Kathryn Miani taught the girls how to make stuffed baked apples (so delicious!) using an apple corer that they got to take home. Mandisa John, associate director of Graduate Support, led the girls in “getting to know you” and "I appreciate you" activities. We concluded by sharing gratitude and having a merry sing-a-long on the drive home!

Bel Cantos Concert Drew Agnes Irwin School Community to St. James
Good friends of St. James, Murray Savar and Joyce Rehorst, organized a concert at the Church of St. James the Less to deepen our connection with the Agnes Irwin School community. Despite a rainy Sunday, over 80 guests crowded into our church sanctuary to hear Agnes Irwin’s popular a capella group, The Bel Cantos. Songs including A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time,” and the Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” were directed by Murray, chair of Agnes Irwin's Visual and Performing Arts Department. Before the concert, guests were invited to visit the grave of Agnes Irwin in the churchyard cemetery, and learn more about this visionary educator. The concert introduced St. James to an audience of Agnes Irwin students, parents, and alumnae. The audience ended the concert by singing “Happy Birthday” to Murray.
Our Students and their Families Take Field Trip to St. David’s Fair
Our annual trip to the St. David's Church Fair is by far the most well attended family field trip of the year. Our students and their family members love being able to attend thanks to the generosity of the St. David’s Church congregation. Working with longtime volunteer Robert White, our students have fun selling lemon sticks and telling all the fairgoers about St. James School. Thank you St. David’s Church!
Mark Your Calendars - Thursday, June 4, 2020!
You’re Invited to “Imagine” at the 6th Annual Dr. Audrey Evans Scholarship Benefit!

Join us for a fun and festive evening to support student scholarships at St. James School

WHYY, Dorrance H . Ham ilton Public Media Commons, 150 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Honoring Lorene Cary
Distinguished Educator, Author and Activist; Founder of Art Sanctuary;
Recipient of the Philadelphia Award and Six Honorary Doctorates

For more information, contact Martha Heuser at or 215.226.1276 x114
A Word With… Javvieaus Stewart
Javvieaus Stewart is our new Director of Choral Music and Music Education.

What are you looking forward to your first year at St. James?
So many things! The different Masses and working with all the choirs and seeing what songs will be most appropriate. I’m looking forward to the Lower and Upper School Choirs singing and presenting a concert with Tune Up Philly for senior citizens.

What excites you about music?
That all humans can create it and all cultures have it. My grandparents always had records and music playing, and I grew up with that. I like singing because it transcends. A few Masses ago, with the blessing of the animals, the dogs were singing with us! I think it’s interesting that creatures respond to singing.

Please tell us about the new choir you've added at St. James.
New this year is the Community Choir, which rehearses every Sunday from 3:00 - 4:00pm at the Church of St. James the Less. It's open to anyone from the community. We also have a Faculty and Staff Choir that generally rehearses on Professional Development days and will sing for special Masses.

Through music education, what do you hope the students will gain?
The overarching thing is that being a musician is a profession. People are paid to perform and performing is not the only thing. You can tune instruments and be a musician. You can be a sound engineer and be a musician. Units I'm covering include drumming, vocal technique, instrument families and musical theater.

Can you describe yourself as a middle schooler?
Annoying! [laughter] I remember being inquisitive and shy. I never liked talking, but felt strong singing. I wanted to sing instead of presenting. It's how I still feel now.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I'm really excited to see the growth of the students as their musicianship progresses and as their learning blossoms. I’ll be interested to know if music is something they will carry with them past St. James.
In Their Own Words…
“Life at St. James: Opening Doors”
Student Newspaper
By: Da’Jah, Class of 2020

An excerpt from The Clearfield Breeze, St. James School’s first-ever student-run newspaper!

The Opening Doors Ceremony is where we all celebrate the new students or teachers who will be joining our community. The Opening Doors ceremony can be full of all emotions. For some students or teachers, it can actually be fun starting a new chapter in your life. Here at St. James we are a welcoming community. Here is a new 4th grader named Brian.
Da’Jah: Brian, can you tell us how your experience is going?

Brian: I had mixed emotions about going to a new school and making new friends.

Da’Jah: Can you tell me more about that?

Brian: I wasn't nervous to meet new teachers or friends because it was a new start for everybody in my class. For the whole week, I was still nervous but closer to the end of the week things got better.. I’m starting to like it so far!

It is new to me to be in a whole different environment from my old school but I’m getting the hang of it everyday. I’m just taking it one day at a time.

So the old school they used to fight a lot and every time we go to cafeteria there would be fights. I like the award ceremony [at St. James] because we all come together as a community.
One Way You Can Help This Week:
Help Us Collect Healthy Snacks!
When our school is closed for breaks like Thanksgiving and Christmas, our families' biggest expense is extra food for their growing children. Can you donate healthy snacks so all 87 students have enough during the time off? Fruit cups, granola bars, and goldfish crackers are the most popular items.

For more information or to help, contact Maggie Sanborn at or 215.226.1276 x106.
St. James School is a faith-based Philadelphia middle school in the Episcopal tradition, committed to educating traditionally underresourced students in 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.
St. James School | 215-226-1276 |