Lashay Smith, Triumphal College Junior
One of our first St. James graduates, Lashay Smith (SJS 2015, Little Flower 2019, Cabrini 2023) has won multiple awards and honors from Cabrini University this spring: the SOAR (Students Owning Academic Readiness) Program Distinguished Honor Award, and induction into Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, the Communications Department Honor Society, and the Society for Collegiate Journalists.

Her reaction? "I am so proud of myself! I'm glad that my dedication is paying off and that other people can see how hard I've been working. These awards make me want to strive for more!"

She is a Digital Communication and Social Media major and assistant editor for the student newspaper, The Loquitur.
Lashay's induction into the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society
What drew you to journalism and media studies? 
I love all things media! It allows me to express myself and teaches me things that I don’t know. For example, I learned how to cook from watching videos on social media. As for journalism, I love writing stories, especially about social justice. I want to create and highlight stories that matter.
Lashay (right) works with fellow St. James alum Sydnee Reddy in the Cabrini Communications Department studio
What are some classes you are taking now? 
I’m taking a class called “Social Nexus,” which has students act as a marketing agency to help small businesses establish their brand identity and marketing strategy. I’m also taking classes about social media analytics, digital reporting, and web design. 

How else are you preparing for a career? 
I'm looking to intern at a marketing agency that's based in India. They’re looking for college students with a passion for social media marketing and management, which is exactly what I want to do. Through this internship, I want to gain more hands-on experience in the field.

Are there projects you've especially enjoyed? 
Last semester, I created a PSA about underage drinking in my video production class. My professors and classmates gave me really positive feedback, which made me feel good about myself and my work. I also recently wrote a story about a woman in Ukraine who is assisting refugees. It was definitely challenging but rewarding as well.

How has St. James impacted your college journey?
The classes were fast-paced and we were taught material that was well beyond our grade, so St. James definitely prepared me for high school. In college, I keep in touch with Mr. [Kevin] Todd and Mr. [Fabian] Austin. They make sure I'm on track with my homework and courses and ask if I need help with anything. They make sure that I'm okay, that I'm not putting too much stress on myself. I’m very thankful for them.

Students processing with palms through the lychgate
Our Community Comes Together for Holy Week and Easter
For the St. James community, Holy Week is a time to renew our relationships and work together on reconciliation and restorative justice as we turn our hearts to God. After two years of a modified Holy Week in the height of the pandemic, we were back together to worship and reflect on the events of Jesus’ last days, finding hope in His resurrection.  
On Palm Sunday, a group of students was invited to read the Passion Narrative at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. We celebrated Palm Sunday as a school on Monday. Palms were blessed at the lychgate for a procession around the churchyard and into the Church of St. James the Less. Students read the Passion narrative during Mass, helping us reflect on Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and foreshadowing His betrayal and arrest.  
On Wednesday evening, members of the Church of St. James the Less celebrated Tenebrae, a liturgy utilizing music, light, and darkness to help us contemplate Christ's suffering and death. The music showcased the talents of our community choir and choir director Javvieaus Stewart.   
The Rev. Andrew Kellner washing reader Sarah Carroll's feet
Easter altar decorated with colorful spring flowers
On Maundy Thursday, all took part in reenacting how Jesus washed the feet of His followers. It reminded us of the importance of humility and service to each other. On Good Friday, our lower school and upper school each took part in Stations of the Cross, remembering Jesus’ journey in his last moments and reflecting on social justice issues of our time.

Saturday night, our church community celebrated the Easter Vigil, joined by members of St. Christopher’s Church, including The Rev. Callie Swanlund, who served as deacon for the Mass. The Vigil began with a fire in the churchyard, from which we lit this year's Paschal Candle, handmade by our Servant Year members. The Vigil was both a joyous celebration of Christ's defeat of the grave and a reminder that Christ brought new light and life to each of us through His resurrection.  

On Easter Sunday, students, family members, and neighbors took part in a hunt for over 300 eggs in the churchyard prior to the evening Mass. A festive community dinner followed.
Althea and Mulani are all smiles at the Easter egg hunt
The Easter egg hunt in the churchyard was fun for all ages
You're Invited to Help in 2 Ways
St. James is embarking on an exciting project — updating our Mission Statement and creating a Vision Statement! Take a couple minutes and fill out this survey to answer a few questions. Your responses will help us find the words and phrases that best represent who we are and want to be. We are asking ALL members of our community to participate. You are welcome to submit the survey more than once. 
Questions? Contact Martha Heuser mheuser@stjamesphila.org

Our community is coming together at the Mann on Tuesday, May 24th! Join us in person with "Pay What You Want" tickets or make an impact and be a sponsor!

We look forward to celebrating the work of St. James and recognizing our honorees: Dr. Ala Stanford, and The Very Rev. Canon Martini Shaw and the People of The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.

Here's what else you don't want to miss: 
  • A summer-inspired, multi-course meal from Di Bruno Bros. with specially paired wine from Moore Brothers
  • Engaging student-led activities and presentations 
  • An optional After Party with late night snacks from Down North Pizza 
  • Your chance to bid on exciting auction items ranging from weekend getaways to an Eagles game

Invite a friend or two, and spread the word about our first in-person event in 2 years! 
We celebrated our outstanding students once again with a Saturday morning Honor Roll Breakfast. Adult Education Coordinator Musa Macenyane inspired us with her keynote speech. As always, students and families loved dining on Principal Dave McDonough’s pancakes.
Graduate Support Associate Sonya Kedarnath recently led our Adult Education participants through a relaxing yoga workshop on a Saturday morning. What a wonderful way to start the weekend!
We can’t believe how fast our new building is growing and changing. The builders are now constructing the roof! Father Andrew Kellner took some graduates on a tour of the building, which will feature a whole floor dedicated to alumni services.
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.
St. James School | 215-226-1276 | www.StJamesPhila.org