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St. James' Episcopal School

St. James' News Update

October 21, 2011

We thought it might be interesting to you if we asked a student to take over the editorial desk this week!  Brittany Hong’s charming piece that follows on Astrocamp is a reminder that these very special extended field trips can be life-changing events.  Independent schools plan these experiences to build confidence, teach tenacity, foster courage and teamwork, and contribute to the lifelong bonds these children are building among themselves.  Hear what one dedicated Saint James’ student has to say about her experience:

The Sixth Grade Trip to Astrocamp
By Brittany Hong

On the morning of October 12, 2011, all forty of the sixth graders were busy waving good-bye to their parents and making sure they had their entire luggage with them. Then the sixth graders boarded the bus along with five chaperones: Mrs. Dummett, Ms. Cefaly, Ms. Rodrigues, Mr. Zapata, and Mrs. Sae-Low. After the teachers and students settled into their slightly uncomfortable seats, the bus began to move. The next thing I knew, I was on my way to Astrocamp.  I’d been looking forward to this trip for years; and suddenly I was on my way!
Since all of the sixth graders were allowed to bring the iPods with them on the bus ride, everyone started listening to music or playing games on them. After a few hours on the bus, we finally arrived at our destination. After we got out of the hot bus, we took out our lunches and started devouring them. After lunch, we all went for a small hike to see our new dorms. The dorms were clean, organized, and welcoming. Once we unpacked most of the things in our luggage, we went out to have our first class.
The first class in Group One was the sky coaster. Everyone was extremely excited about the sky coaster, but before we got a chance to ride on it, we had to put on the harnesses. After a long and struggling time putting them on, we headed out toward the sky coaster. The sky coaster is basically like a regular roller coaster, but you don’t sit on anything. Then, one of the instructors will hook all of the loops on the harness. After that, all of the other students and teacher will run with a rope pulling as hard as they can. While the other people are busy holding the rope, you just go up, up, and up until you reach the highest tree in the forest. When you reach the top, all you need to do is to pull a small cord that hangs around your harness. Once you pull on it, you go down extremely fast. The sky coaster was one of my favorite classes at Astrocamp! It was a memorable experience that I will never forget.

After the exciting class, Group One’s next class was “Initiatives.” In that class, all you do is play fun games, but I bet we were learning something in those games, too. After a long day of work, we all ate a delicious dinner and had our last class for the day. The last class was Space Night. In that class, we observed the sky using telescopes. Then, all of the sixth graders went back to their dorms and slept soundly.
The next day was very similar to the day before, but our first class was Building & Launching Rockets. The class was about how to make a rocket out of a soda bottle. After you make the rockets, you just put them in a special machine and launch it. Our next class of the day was the Zip Line. I personally thought this was the best class at Astrocamp. The zip line is a line high above the ground that you zip across with a partner or a friend. The most exciting and scary part of this class is when you climb a long net onto a platform where there is very little room. Then with your partner, you get onto some small steps and quickly jump off. That is why the zip line was so much fun. For our night class for the day, we were divided into small groups of about six people for a scavenger hunt. This class was called Messier Madness and you just solved three, small puzzles.

The next day, we all had two more classes to end our trip. We learned about Atmospheres, Gases, Lights, and Lasers. We all got to do interesting and awesome experiments with lights and gases. We then had our last meal at Astrocamp and waved good-bye to our instructors. The best and unique thing about this trip is that many of the students overcame their fears.  We challenged ourselves, grew stronger and braver, and really learned the meaning of courage. Many people were afraid of heights, darkness, and confined spaces but still managed to control their fears. And we worked as a team, supporting each other and bonding in ways we never dreamed possible.  We really felt like family! That is what I think the most special thing about this trip was.  It’s so much more than just a camping experience; it’s one that really prepares you for life by teaching you that you can do anything if you’re willing to try hard and let your group cheer you on to victory.

All-School Announcements

Next Wednesday, October 26th is EARLY DISMISSAL (exact times are posted later in this e-mail blast) and it’s also the second in our series of A.I.M. (Arts in Motion) assemblies.  We’re excited to announce that professional flautist Martin Glicklich and his wife Carmina, a professional pianist, will perform for us that day.  Their son Sam in our 6th grade and a talented pianist in his own right will join them.  The assembly will run from 2:30-3:30 this Wednesday.  Please do NOT pick your child up during that time.  You can pick up either before or after the assembly.   It is really too disruptive to the performers if we have to pull students out of the performance when you arrive.  If you do have to pick up during the time of the assembly, tell your child to remain on the playground rather than attending the performance and then you will go directly to the playground for pick up.
Please talk with your child about the nature of this assembly.  The Glicklich’s are classical musicians who are highly respected in the musical community and beloved here as parents.  But you have a choice to make.  Students who won’t be able to sit still, listen, and be respectful for 45 minutes should probably stay with our playground staff rather than coming to the assembly.  It is your choice.  If you want your child to play rather than attend the assembly, please send a note to Miss Kim in the main office by Tuesday afternoon stating your preference.  If we don’t hear from you, we’ll assume you want your child to experience this great performance with us.  We’re certainly looking forward to it!


We would like to acknowledge the following donors who have donated this week:
Kelly and Norman Basham
Fausto and Nora Bustos
Joan Fullmore and Walter Green
Meara Daly and Tom Perkins
Zoe Proser

If you haven’t made your Annual Fund Pledge for this year, you will be contacted by your Annual Fund Class Representative regarding your support.  Please take a moment to complete your pledge form.
Thank you to the following parent volunteers who are helping the school’s advancement efforts.
Annual Fund Class Representatives:
Stephen Bedikian
Jeff Hall
Seth Horowitz
Nora Houndalas
JungEun Kim
Jeff Lane
Calvin Lee
Tina Lynam
Angela Roessel
Valerie Seitz
Lucy Wolf
The race is on for us to achieve 100% participation.  Each grade level that receives 100% participation will receive a Free Dress Day this spring.  Below are the latest participation rates for each grade level with 3rd Grade, 5th Grade and 6th Grade currently battling it out for victory.  

Elementary School Announcements

Please join us for the Halloween Mask Parade on Monday, October 31th at 1:45 p.m.


The Larchmont Fair is on Sunday; October 23rd from 12-5 p.m. on Larchmont Blvd. Please come visit the St. James’ booth where there will be games, a bake sale, Korean BBQ, and much more! It’s so important that the whole community see how vibrant, exciting and interesting the Saint James’ parents and students really are.  So, please join us.  If you have a Saint James tee shirt, sweatshirt, baseball cap or apron, wear it on Sunday so everyone can see our spirit!  I know we’re going to see YOU at the Larchmont Fair
 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


 The Sixth grade class is holding a fundraiser on Friday, November 4th, to help earn money for their class gift they will present to St. James’ School upon Graduation. This event will be held all day at the California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) in Downtown LA at Seventh & Figueroa Streets where 20% of the proceeds will be donated back to our fundraising efforts. You just need to eat at this CPK location at any time during the day and present our flyer to your server for credit. This event will also provide a wonderful evening to celebrate with our families, teachers and staff, church members, friends, and co-workers! Bring the whole family for dinner after school with our St. James’ Community.  More information will follow. You can also e-mail Gretchen Kasai ( for more information.  Thank you for putting this date on your calendar early!

Preschool Announcements

There will be a Preschool Open House on Wednesday, October 26th at 3:00 p.m.

Elementary Campus Announcements

Attention Parents! Ms. Cefaly is offering technology classes in the Computer Lab just for you! In order to accommodate as many people as possible, each hour-long class will be offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Next week, on Tuesday, Oct. 25th and Thursday, Oct 27th, Ms. Cefaly is offering a digital art class using Wacom drawing tablets. No artistic ability or prior tech experience required! Come enjoy the lab and have fun with technology! Sessions are being offered on Tuesday 2:30-3:30 or Thursday 8:30-9:30. RSVP to More classes to come - watch Backpack Express for details!
Early dismissal for students is on Wednesday, October 26th. Below are the times in which grades will be dismissed:
1:45 p.m. – Kindergarten and First Grade
2:00 p.m. – Second Grade and Third Grade
2:15 p.m. – Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade
Marlborough alum Alexis White invites all parents to a panel discussion titled “Middle School Mania: Understanding Your Teen’s Transitions in Middle School” on Wednesday, November 2nd from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Blvd. The discussion is geared towards helping parents of current and incoming middle schoolers understand how psychological development affects the academic and emotional state of 5th-8th graders and will feature several specialists. White’s company, The A-List Tutoring Services LLC, is hosting this discussion to help benefit KIPP LA schools. Entry is $45 per person. To RSVP go to Please see the attachment for more details.

News from Admissions

Wow! We had a wonderful turnout for our first Open House this past Wednesday. The energy was infectious. As we continue into the Admissions season, we will harness this energy to make St. James’ known to the greater Los Angeles community. This week we sent Open House fliers to preschools we know and cherish and to those we would like to create new and lasting relationships. If you would like to distribute a few of these fliers to associates and friends, we have them available. I will leave them at the front office. Please stop by and pick some up. We are spreading the good news of St. James’ and couldn’t be happier to share our gifts as a school with those who do not know us.
Thank you

Adriane Rothstein, Director
Lower Elementary, Admissions

Open House Dates:
November 9th9:45am-11:45am
January 11th, 9:45am -11:45am

We would like people to RSVP: 213 382-2315x255 to speak with our Admissions and Marketing Coordinator, Porcha Dodson.

PSF Announcements

It is not too late to pre order your Korean BBQ meal. Attached is a pre order form that you can return to the Front Office. If you have any questions please contact Stephanie Kim at

Friendly Reminders

Join other parents as we consider long-held claims of the Christian faith and our questions about those claims. We meet on the following Tuesday mornings 8:30 - 9:30 am in the Parish Meeting Room (2nd floor, Parish Building): 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.

 Chris Zapata from the Saint James' Episcopal School staff will provide childcare from 5:00-6:30 p.m. for families attending the Saint James' Cafe dinner every Wednesday evening. What a fabulous opportunity to have a night out and know that your kids can be involved in healthy, active, supervised play after they eat dinner so you can relax and enjoy each other's company.  Thanks, Mr. Z!  We love that you're providing this terrific service to our parents!

Head of School Debbi David poses with one of our many Student of the Month Award Receivers
Fourth Graders take the stage at the Hispanic Heritage Assembly this past Thursday

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