The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

It was a rainy Tuesday morning as the students, faculty, family, friends and supporters of St. James School gathered at the steps of the locked gate. The school was decorated with balloons, and new street signs, banners and more marked the landscape of the historic stone building. At 8:00 am, the church bell to the Wanamaker Tower rang. By 8:15, all the restored bells in the Church of St. James the Less rang for the first time in years. As Mother Marie Swayze welcomed all gathered, John—the first student to enroll at St. James School—turned and walked between the parting sea of 15 students, allowing him access to the lock at the front of the gate. With a quick turn of the key, students Jamaal and Ajia promptly opened both gates and the students joined faculty in officially entering the new school.

Staff and board members followed a welcome message by Executive Director David Kaseivich in announcing each student individually by name and asking them to “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.” Father Sean Mullen personally thanked each and every one involved in the project from inception, and concluded ceremonies with a prayer.

Attendees stayed for refreshments a quick tour of the school. By 9:30 am, class was off to a great start. The students began initial testing, followed by math lessons and more. They were dismissed at 12 noon in order to return Wednesday refreshed for their first full day of what will be come a remarkable year of school.

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