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The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

Fifth grade students prepare to receive their blazers during the 2017-2018 Opening Days Ceremony

It seems that every year, St. James School is blessed with beautiful weather for the annual Opening Doors ceremony. Monday, September 11, 2017, was no exception as the school celebrated the beginning of year 7.

Sixteen years after the tragic events of 9/11, the service began with an address delivered by Abraham Lincoln in Edwardsville, Illionois, on September 11, 1858. The words, delivered by 8th grader Micah, spoke of a better future for America. Lincoln said: “What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us.”

Following was a moment of silence in remembrance of the tragic events of 9/11. Opening prayer began with St. James School Chaplain The Rev. Andrew Kellner, and was shared by The Rev. Sean E. Mullen (Co-Founder and Board President), The Very Rev. Jarrett Kerbel (Rector, St. Martin-in-the-Fields), and The Very Rev. Canon Martini Shaw (Rector, African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas).

Head of School David Kasievich welcomed guests, family, and new students in grades five through eight. Assistant Head of School/Principal David McDonough and Dean of Students Fabian Austin then introduced Opening Doors Blazer Ambassadors, who flanked the podium and presented the new students with their signature maroon St. James School blazers. This year’s group of ambassadors included:

  • Rose Cooper, President, Ridge, Allegheny and Hunting Park Civic Association

  • Kevin & Pam Hicks, Members, Wanamaker Scholarship Society

  • Dr. Sharon Dupree, Head of School, Hope Partnership For Education

  • Jacqueline Jefferson, Friend and Supporter

  • Fred & Barbara Sutherland, Wanamaker Society Members

  • Randall Jefferson, Founding Advisory Board Member

  • Beth Johnson, Director of Middle and Upper School Admissions, William Penn Charter

  • The Rev. Jo Ann Jones, Associate Rector, Church of the Redeemer

  • Deborah McCleod, Alumni Parent

  • Kathryn Miani, Wanamaker Society Member

  • The Very Rev. Jarrett Kerbel, Rector, Church of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields

  • Mae Pasquerillo, Volunteer & Supporter

  • Brian Bernhardt, Founding Advisory Board Member

  • Joyce Rehorst, Founding Advisory Board Member

  • Tasha Rivera, Admissions Counselor, Cristo Rey High School

  • Bill Donahue, Assistant Director of Admissions, Mercy Career & Technical High School

  • Laura Sibson, Friend and Member, St. Martin-in-the-Fields

  • Dr. Darryl Ford, Head of School, William Penn Charter School

  • Varsovia Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Customers Bank

A beautifully sung musical reflection “Guide My Feet: Tribute to Leontyne Price” was provided by Laurice Simmons Kennel of OperaDelaware, accompanied by The Rev. Kyle Babin on piano. Guests were then encouraged to say the Student Pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance with students. The ceremony was ended with thoughtful words from The Rev. Sean Mullen and The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Lee, Jr.

Guests enjoyed post-ceremony snacks and conversation as students headed off for their first official day of class.

The audience listens to special remarks by The Rev. Sean E. Mullen