The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

Ajia Hendricks loves to write and sing music.

“She just walks around the house singing all day,” says her mother. “She’s always making the words up as she sings.”

When music teacher Beth Dzwil heard Ajia’s talent, she was impressed. Suddenly there was this wonderful chance to help cultivate a student’s talent individually. When Ms. Dzwil heard one of Ajia’s songs, it turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for Ajia.

Ms. Dzwil brought in her fiance Andrew McMaster (pianist, composer and multi-media producer) to create the harmonization for Ajia’s melody. They met several times to rehearse early in the morning, sometimes before 7am when the school day begins.

And after a lot of hard work, she finally had her song down pat. She was asked to sing during the offering at the school’s weekly Wednesday afternoon Mass, this one in particular celebrating the life of Absalom Jones.

And she nailed it!

Ms. Dzwil recorded the two working and (with the help of St. James School’s Development Associate Maria Newman) sent the recording to the director of the Philadelphia Girls Choir, who was impressed with Ajia’s talent. Ajia had her audition for the choir scheduled the Saturday following her church performance, and good news…she was accepted! Congratulations, Ajia.

With such devotion and dedication from not only the music teacher, but also the students, the music program at St. James School will surely continue to flourish.