215.226.1276
The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia
St. James School students Jonathan and Journee with their family

Today we are sharing some good news about the achievements of our students and the support they are getting to learn at home from caregivers and parents like Asia Rowland, shown with her wife Marquise (left) and children Jonathan (St. James 6th grader), Journee (St. James 4th grader), Quiniece and Tristan. Read Asia’s story below.

Dear Friends of the St. James School Community,

Holy Week is a time to commemorate, through sacred services, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In recent years, our school community has looked forward to, and fully engaged in, the sacred mysteries of Holy Week. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have been challenged to be more creative in how we share these sacred rituals.

Father Andrew Kellner, our school chaplain, recorded a series of videos providing a new way to experience church for our families and neighbors. In the first video, he told of blessing the palms at Palm Sunday Mass. He also announced that the Church of St. James the Less was giving out Holy Week kits that included a guide for prayer and a different object for each day, such as a towel for Maundy Thursday.

Father Kellner’s Holy Week videos and kits are helping our families to remember and draw strength from the stories of Jesus’ last days, His death and resurrection.

photo of Welcome Table at St. James School

Click on the photo to view the video.

Another video recorded this week is for you: our donors, volunteers and friends. In it, Father Kellner shows the work of our Welcome Table team as they fill the grocery bags handed out daily from a table in front of our school. Watch the video to see the love and care they bring to nourishing our students, families, and neighbors — and to see how your contributions and food donations are enabling us to continue fulfilling this critical mission.

Your continuing generosity is one of the blessings that give us strength to meet the ongoing challenges of this time. Among our other blessings are the achievements of our students and the support their families are providing to help them attend school remotely. I am delighted to share those blessings with you. Please scroll down to enjoy this good news and a photo of spring’s arrival on our campus.

I give thanks in my prayers for you and your deep commitment to our work. Within the darkness of a difficult time, you are making the St. James light shine brightly.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, and blessed Easter!

God Bless You,

David Kasievich
Head of School

DONATE TODAY

WE ARE BLESSED by the generosity of our friends

  • Sprouts Farmers Market has been donating food throughout the year and continues to do so during these tough times. Volunteers make pickup runs at least four times a week.
  • Di Bruno Bros. donated hundreds more pounds of pasta and sauce – their third week of providing this support.

WE ARE BLESSED that our students are achieving

  • Justin (Class of 2016) has committed to Ursinus College, which has awarded him a full scholarship as an Abele Scholar.
  • Students in 6th-8th grade have finished reading three novels: Our 8th graders read “Night,” 7th graders read “The Giver;” 6th graders read “One Crazy Summer.”
  • Our Huskies champions are staying in shape and improving their skills by participating in in-home basketball drills via a video by their coach Kevin Todd, Director of Graduate Support.

WE ARE BLESSED by the support our families provide

We spoke with St. James mom Asia Rowland to learn how she and her family are coping with the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has brought.

With four kids at home, finding enough space and devices for all of them to learn at the same time has been a challenge.

“It’s a small house,” Asia says. “They’re all at the dining room table together. Journee and Jonathan are often trying to do schoolwork on their phones so their younger sisters can do work on the iPads. But there’s only so much you can do on phones, so they take turns.”

As she navigates the new parental challenges of supervising remote learning, Asia communicates often with Father Kellner and her children’s St. James teachers.

“I’m a very proactive parent and I keep hoping I’m not getting on the teachers’ nerves by reaching out so much! But they always respond right away,” Asia say, adding, “Journee (4th grade) had a great phone tutoring session with Ms. Padilla today.”

As if all those challenges weren’t enough, Asia is recovering from pneumonia and waiting to hear whether she has tested positive for COVID-19. When most job sites were closing down, she had to continue working as an essential employee for a state psychiatric facility.

Asia remains hopeful and maintains an inspiring attitude-of-gratitude. “I’m grateful my kids have the opportunity to be part of St. James,” she says. To our donors and volunteers, she adds, “Everything you are doing is awesome. I really commend you!”

WHAT WE NEED MOST from you right now

We continue to ask for your generosity as we provide food, remote teaching and academic support, as well as pastoral care through social-distanced home visits.

  • Pray for our students, families, and staff
  • Send needed items to St. James from our Amazon Wish List
  • Make an online donation to support our street food program
  • Deliver food directly to St. James School or drop off at St. Christopher’s Church (226 Righters Mill Rd, Gladwyne, PA 19035). Large plastic bins marked “St. James School” are under the cloister walk between the school building and the church.
  • Share an idea for how to spread joy to our families. Let me know by replying to this email or call me at 215.226.1276 x108.
  • Follow us on Facebook to hear more updates

photo of magnolia tree in bloom on St. James School campus

Spring’s beauty is blooming on the St. James School campus, reminding us that God’s creation endures and inspires us through all human travails.