The View from a Graduate

By: Mrs. Maria Stamas
St. James Academy Parent

You may think this blog is being written by an 8th grade graduate, but at St. James Academy, we as parents graduate, too.  We also leave our heart at SJA!

If I had to define SJA in one word, it would be just that – heart. It is the center of a positive, tight-knit community that props people back up and prods those people who are ready. Our 8th graders are prepared to face the new world of high school…but most parents aren’t so ready.

Here is my viewpoint as a graduating parent and the top 10 reasons why I don’t want to leave:

10. It’s like dropping your children off to Disney World every day! The smiling teachers and administration greeting the carpool line in the morning is precious. You can’t help but be in a good mood no matter if you’ve had your coffee yet, or what kind of morning you’ve had.

9. The 100-acre setting is beautiful.  I love driving my girls into school every morning and home every afternoon. It is a peaceful drive –for the most part — except that one time we were on Hess Road and saw a horse and its foal trotting toward our car without their owners!  You never know what you will see.

8. I can walk through the halls on any given morning or afternoon and talk to most of my daughters’ teachers about their progress. They care about the individual student just as much as the parents.

7. The administration and teachers allow the “kids to be kids.”  They allow them to play outside frequently, but also enable a safe, nurturing environment so that they don’t need to grow up so fast.

6. My kids can do it all! My child can play three sports and still juggle being an officer for Student Council, being part of the theater group, editing the yearbook, and hold head’s list all year.

5. I’ll miss having three children under one roof.  The K-8 model was something I didn’t quite understand while on the strategic marketing committee. Seeing the confidence of the 8th grade students when interacting with Kindergarteners and adults is worth every dime.

4. The people. I haven’t met one SJA parent that I didn’t like — down to earth, unassuming, and humble. They are smart and committed to their children and their education. 

3. It’s literally all under one roof! You might think “oh, sleepy Monkton,” but no…you can have top-notch after-school voice or instrumental lessons, as well as chess, Lego club, Rec soccer or lacrosse and not have to drive anywhere! So, Monkton then becomes really convenient!

2. Cleanliness. Not only is the air fresher on the outside because you are in horse country, but I have never seen more caring sextons who do their work diligently until10 pm most nights with a smile!

1. Home. (I’m not saying my home is anywhere as clean as this school.) But, I will say that there is a spirit about this place that makes it feel like home. It is a place where Christian values come to life and there is a mutual respect between the teachers, students and parents in this journey together.

I need to pause here and reflect while my first of three daughters graduates…even though she is moving on, my last daughter will have to drag me out of here. SJA has been such a blessing for our family and I will always want to give back somehow because I leave a huge part of my heart here.

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