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The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

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Students accept their blazers from special guest ambassadors

Students accept their blazers from special guest ambassadors

On Monday September 15, St. James School became a full middle school. Over 75 friends, families and supporters gathered in the schoolyard to celebrate St. James School’s expansion and to officially welcome 19 new students in the 5th, 6th and 7th grades. As guests arrived on campus for the annual Opening Doors Ceremony, they were treated to a festive display of maroon and gold balloons, trumpeters, and large banners proclaiming “Thank you for helping us become a full middle school!”

St. James School first opened its doors in 2011 to one class of 16 fifth-graders. Since then, the school has steadily grown in size and impact, adding a grade every year thanks to a network of committed supporters. This year the school has grown to 63 students as its founding class moves on to 8th grade and prepares for high school next fall.

Guests prepare for the ceremony

Guests prepare for the ceremony

Speakers during the ceremony included Head of School David Kasievich, The Reverend Sean Mullen of Saint Mark’s Church Locust Street, St. James School’s co-founder and visionary, and Bishop Edward Lee, Jr., assisting Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

In what has become a special yearly tradition, all new students were announced and invited to receive their St. James School blazer for the first time. Special ambassadors, including community members, partner churches, corporate and individual supporters who have been an integral part of the school’s growth, proudly presented students with their new blazers.

Father Mullen presented a ceremonial key to the many supporters and advocates gathered.

“The key that you see before you has come to represent the unlocking of doors in this place,” said Father Mullen. “Those who just put their blazers are the last students who will ever be the first students to do what they’ve done here at St. James School.”

In recognition for their gifts to St. James School (which have opened both literal and figurative doors to new classrooms and opportunities for students) the key will serve as a reminder what a committed network of caring individuals can accomplish.

Fr. Mullen continued, “We want to present this key not only to our special guests who are gathered behind us but also to all of you and many others who contribute to the mission of this school and enable us to carry out the learning and love that takes place here. We present this key to all of you who have helped open the doors and unlocked the locks to St. James School.”

ABC_6295Special recognition was given to St. Christopher’s Church, Gladwyne; St. David’s Episcopal Church, Wayne; and ECHOES Around the World for sponsoring the renovation of the former chapel into the new 5th grade homeroom.

The ceremony concluded with students and guests reciting the St. James Student Pledge in unison, committing to be agents of positive social change. The students were given one more round of applause then lined up and headed into school for a first day filled with math, science, art, music and more.[/column][column col=”1/4″]

Opening Day Photos


Thank You Opening Doors Ambassadors

Rosalee Cooper; President, RAH Civic Association

Susan Damiano; Outreach Committee, St. David’s Church, Wayne

Nereida Gordon; Co-Founder, ECHOES Around the World

Bishop Edward Lee; Assisting Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

Kathryn Miani; St. James volunteer and advocate

Dana Brown; Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Banking, National Penn

Philip Price; Board Member and former Executive Director, Allegheny West Foundation

Jo Ann Townsend; St. James volunteer and advocate

Nancy Toland; Tax Manager, Pep Boys

Eula Harris; Mother of 8th grader John Taylor. Ms. Harris represents the first family to apply to St. James School

Amy Gorman; Manager of Events and Promotions, Di Bruno Bros.

Mary Hopkins; St. James volunteer and advocate

Sister Rose Martin; Executive Director, Hope Partnership for Education

Daniel Keith; Center City Sales Manager, Republic Bank

Amanda Smoot; St. James volunteer and advocate

Peggy Maltz; Outreach Committee, St. Christopher’s Church, Gladwyne

Susan Swanson; Director, Community Outreach & Service Learning, Episcopal Academy

Steveanna Wynn; Executive Director, SHARE

Bishop Allen Bartlett; Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1987–1998

Jim Ballengee; Board Member, Director of Service Learning, William Penn Charter School

Bill Eagleson; Friend and advocate of St. James School

Peggy Freeman; representing the Freeman family and Freeman Auctioneers

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