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St. James' Episcopal School

St. James' News Update

September 30, 2011

Letter from the Head of School

Dear Folks…
Here’s an interesting riff on last week’s theme of doing things over until you finally get it right.  How about focusing on the gift of new beginnings.  My own new beginning as the Head of School at Saint James’ may be far from earth shattering in the great scheme of cosmic events, but in my particular life, and perhaps in those of your children and even yourselves, my arrival was an event of no small consequence.  Some of you looked forward to it with hope, some with anxiety, some with anticipation and excitement, and some with skepticism. Personally, I felt like a squirrel preparing for winter, scurrying about gathering nuts and acorns for almost a year prior to my actual move from Santa Barbara.  I studied Saint James’ last strategic plan; I read Andrew Wooden’s final reports, and listened with all the focus I could muster to my devoted Board members.  I probed Father Paul’s perceptions of the school, and jotted down all the tidbits I’d culled from conversations with you.  My energy soared as I mentally matched my skills and understandings with your needs and dreams.  And then there was that final, electric surge of energy in the weeks before I started that’s kept me buoyed up with physical, psychic, and spiritual excitement ever since.  Thanks to all of you, it’s been a delicious, stimulating, utterly fulfilling first few weeks. So I’ve concluded that a new beginning is a wonderful thing: it recharges your batteries, reinvigorates your spirit, reorients your life’s plan, and restores your vocational commitment.
This week, to my own great surprise, I preached a sermon in chapel.  My theme?  “The Gift of God: New Beginnings.”  So, quite aside from analyzing my own new beginning, I was called upon to inspire the children I hold dear to seek their own new beginnings.  I walked into chapel with my capacious pockets stuffed with stones.  We talked about New Year’s Day and the plethora of resolutions we make in honor of the New Year, and the equally stunning number of resolutions we break before the first week of that year has passed.  We talked of Noah’s new beginning after the flood and the rainbow in the sky reminding him of God’s willingness to forgive, forget, and start the world anew.  And then we spoke of the great gift we have of allowing ourselves a new beginning every day.  We can forgive, forget and start each day afresh, and even start our friendships afresh.  And then I showed the children how much lighter and happier I became as I removed the heavy stones from my pockets, one rock at a time, just as we do when we lighten our load by forgiving the pain our friends may have caused us and leave behind our frustrations and fears.  Freed of the stones in our pockets, we can dance through life with joy.
I’ve always subscribed to the line from The King and I, “If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught.”  And now that I’m a preacher, I’ve learned that God inspires us to preach the very sermons from which we ourselves (and maybe those around us) most need to learn.  We can forgive, forget, and skip lightly down the captivating road of life; or we can carry stones in our pockets.  So, here: take this gift of a new beginning.  It’s a present to you from God and me.  And best of all… it’s free!
Love, Debbi

All-School Announcements

The 2011-2012 Annual Fund campaign is off to a terrific start. We currently have 52% of our families that have made a commitment to the Annual Fund. So far we have received gifts and pledges totaling $386,713.69. Thank you to all of the donors who have made a contribution to the Annual Fund this week:
Christus Ahmanson
Karalyn Ahmanson
Kathryn Ahmanson
Angelina Arrington
Brenda Bass-Roper, M.D.
Clyde and Kay Beffa
James Casey
Jana Castanares
Jae Won Chang
Charles Choi
Louis and Jihye Chung
Jeni Cregan
Rick Danenberg
Mieke Holkeboer and Joel Delman
Scott and Debbie Eagle
Reed and Allison Garwood
Amanda and Emad Ghobrial
Mr. Alan B. Heppel and Mr. Michael G. Lyons
Jess and Andrea Hill
Jonathan and Brooke Hodge
Vincent Jacquard
Dennis and Dia Kim
Grandma Carol Lee
Drs. Soon-Ki and Young Jik Lee
Cindy Ann Bader and Greg Lindy
Cindy and James MacPherson
Clara and Bret Martin
Jim and Alice McDiarmid
Mrs. Bernice McIntosh
Kelly McNamara
Dete and Paul Meserve
Lennox Munro
David and Lucy Norland
Dona Oxford
Julian Pappas
James and Lori Park
George and Dina Phillips
Ken and Marcy Pullard
Christopher Murphey and Mary Shaifer
Diane and Roger Sherwood
Sang Jun Song and Joo Hyun Shim
Mr. and Mrs. Nahchey and Megan Storer
Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Tatton
The Parent Association of CEE welcomes clinical neuropsychologist Kristina Pappas to discuss learning differences on Tuesday, October 4th from 7 pm – 9 pm in the Community Center at CEE. Dr. Pappas is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specific expertise in learning and achievement. Dr. Pappas is an advocate of early identification and intervention and works with children, teachers and parents to help identify a child’s strengths and develop an effective learning environment. For more information please visit the Parent Education section of the CEE website. If you would like to attend this event please RSVP online at
Mrs. Reveta Bowers, Head of School at CEE, welcomes best selling author, Lisa See, to discuss her novels, including her latest, Dreams of Joy on Wednesday, October 26th from 7 pm – 9 pm in the Community Center on the CEE Campus. If you would like to attend please RSVP online at

Every two weeks, selected members of the faculty and staff meet to discuss health and safety-related issues within the school.  This group was developed to ensure a sense of quality control, develop policy and procedures, and to keep your kids safe.

Elementary School Announcements

Grandparents and Special Friends Day is Tuesday, November 22nd. Please remember to complete the GPSF Day flyer listing each grandparent or special friend that you would like to invite and return it to the school office by Monday, October 3rd. See attached flyer
The LA Consortium of Independent Schools Secondary School Fall Fair will be at Willows Community School on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. This event, geared toward Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade families, is a middle school fair where different school make brief presentations and have tables where you can speak with admissions officers and collect information from each school.  Most of the independent secondary schools in the Los Angeles area will be represented.  For more information, please visit or contact Ms. Arrington at

The K classes will do a bake sale on Tues Oct. 4 during all recess times, and our parent volunteers will be selling baked goods and Krispy Kreme donuts in order to raise money to continue our yearly support of 2 children through the Save the Children foundation. Save the Children enable school and community-based organizations to offer literacy, physical activity and nutrition, early childhood development and parenting programs. Please visit the Save the Children website for more information,
Community Gathering is on Friday, October 7th at 8:15 a.m. All elementary school parents are welcome to attend.
Summer Reading Certificates will be awarded at the next Community Gathering on Friday, October 7.
The Sixth Grade Middle School Admissions Workshop will be on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 6-7 pm. We will discuss choosing the best school for your child, deadlines, ISEE testing, paperwork, and other issues related to completing the application.  Please make every effort to attend this important event.  Contact Ms. Arrington at with questions.

If your child has signed up for an after-school program in which the program routinely picks children up after school, please make sure to send an e-mail to St. James’ authorizing us to release your child to these programs. The school will not release children to people that are not on the authorized pick-up list.
The fall session of the after-school enrichment program is underway. If you would like your child to join a class, please contact Ms. McNamara and she will let you know if there is still space available in the class.

·      It's never too late! Please send in your Info/Emergency and other summer mailing-related forms into the Front Office ASAP. 
·      Please email Mr. Zapata ( and Ms. Kim ( in advance regarding pick-up and play date arrangements.
·      Please email Ms. Kim ( of any student/family-related information changes.
Our own 6th grader Ty Mahar will be collecting used pants for men and boys to be distributed at the Westside Thanksgiving Dinner at the Santa Monica Civic Center on Thanksgiving Day. He’s invited all of us to join him in this project. Ty is excited to have Saint James' join the ranks of the many independent schools in Los Angeles who have supported this worthy cause over the past several years. Since 1982 an inter-faith group of volunteers has united for the purpose of reaching out to serve those whose basic needs are greater than our own. Although the group usually solicits turkeys and canned goods, Ty came up with the concept of distributing pants after learning of the extreme need for clothing in the community that attends this special Thanksgiving celebration. He has developed the idea on his own and we are so proud of his initiative and compassion. Ty will place a box in each classroom beginning on November 3. You can deposit pants or slacks in those boxes for a full week before he removes them for distribution on Thanksgiving Day. Ty's campaign to gather pants for the poor is the embodiment of the caring and creativity we intentionally foster at Saint James'. Your initiative makes us very proud, Ty Mahar!

PSF Announcements

It is not too late to join other St. James' families at El Capitan Canyon located just north of Santa Barbara. October 8-10 (Monday is a school holiday!)  This is a perfect opportunity for you to spend time with old friends and meet new ones. Kids and parents alike enjoy bike riding, hiking, field games, and campfires with singing and s’mores.  It is a wonderful weekend not to be missed!!!  ***The meal plan is optional this year, which is a change from previous years.  If you plan to attend, please make your reservation as soon as possible as space is limited.  If you have any questions, please contact Co-Chairs Vicki Carrington, Susan Kneafsey, Dina Phillips, or Betsy Powell-Wood.  Click here for the flyer and the Form

Used Uniform Closet is full and we can no longer accept donations at this time. Thank you all for your generosity.

Church Announcements

All are welcome to join in the festivities! Everyone is invited to bring their most beloved pet be it a dog, cat, chicken, snake or rabbit to be blessed.
Join other parents as we discuss long-held claims of the Christian faith and our doubts about those claims. We meet on the following Tuesday mornings 8:30 - 9:30 am in the Parish Meeting Room (2nd floor, Parish Building):  Oct. 4 & 18, Nov. 1, 15 & 29, Jan. 10 & 24, Feb. 7 & 21, Mar. 6 & 20, April 17, May 1 & 15.  Every one of all beliefs is welcome and encouraged to come anytime throughout the year.
Join us after school for a simple supper provided by our parish chef Julia Rhoton at St. James’ Café, located in the Parish Hall on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. All school families are invited. Look forward to seeing you there! Suggested donation $5.

Head of School Debbi David and Art Teacher Rick Danenberg cut the ribbon to the brand new art room
The Art Room Ribbon Cutting

Table of Contents

A first grader plays air-guitar while participating in the first ever Arts in Motion performance.
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