Congratulations, Class of 2017
On the eve of graduation, students, staff, and families gathered Friday, June 16 for the 2017 Baccalaureate Mass at the Church of St. James the Less, a pre-graduation celebration. Led by school chaplain The Rev. Andrew Kellner, the evening was a special service that ended with a beautiful candle lighting to mark students’ passage from St. James to right-fit high schools.
St. James School celebrated its third graduating class, the Class of 2017, on Saturday June 17. In the cottage yard adjacent to the historic Church of St. James the Less, family members and St. James School supporters gathered under a light rain to witness this special ceremony. Staff and board members lined up with 8th graders to march to the stage to the triumphant strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Daniel Perez, the newly selected executive director of NativityMiguel Coalition, served as keynote speaker.
Following the invocation from The Rev. Betsy Ivey, Head of School David Kasievich welcomed everyone for gathering to celebrate the students’ accomplishment. As a graduate and staff member of a NativityMiguel school, Mr. Perez brought his personal perspective to the Class of 2017 on the unique ways NativityMiguel schools, such as St. James School, guide and support students as they reach their potential. Mr. Perez’s life story reminded graduates that they will carry St. James School with them during their academic journey.
Following the commencement address, Assistant Head of School Dave McDonough conferred diplomas with Rosalie Cooper, president of the neighborhood’s RAH (Ridge Allegheny Hunting Park) association.
Class Salutatorian Tynira Pratt and Class Valedictorian Nydira Harvey both delivered heartfelt speeches for their fellow classmates. St. James School co-founders The Rev. Sean Mullen and Dr. Audrey Evans presented the Founders Cup to John Macon and Tynira Pratt for their outstanding achievements. Dean Fabian Austin thanked the families of the graduates for their years of support.
Frank Mitchell of Opera Philadelphia closed the program with a stirring rendition of “It Took a Miracle” and The Rev. Andrew Kellner performed the closing benediction. Following the ceremony, the St. James School community gathered for a delicious outdoor dinner prepared by Chefs Deborah Anthony and Sean Brooks. Amidst the tears of joy and the flurry of photo taking, graduates were launched into the next step of their academic journey . . . to high school and beyond.