St. James has been the brightest light I have had in my life so far. This school is the most amazing place I could have ever possibly imagined learning at. Any person who walks into this building can immediately feel the love that is so abundant here. No matter what the circumstances are, I know I will always have a safe place to come and interact with people who truly care about me.
By Isabella DeZeeuw, Class of 2022
Transferring in high school is an incredibly scary endeavor. Walking into a new school and not knowing many of the students or teachers can make you feel lonely, but that wasn’t the case when I came to St. James Academy. When I went through the transfer process, the administration here at SJA stressed the importance of community. I’m not going to lie, at first I was very skeptical of this amazing community the administration talked about. My skepticism was quickly fixed when I came and shadowed. I shadowed one of my closest friends, and she took me through a day as a student here at St. James (well half day because of COVID, but it was still an awesome experience). Immediately when I walked in, all the new faces were friendly and welcomed me like I was already one of them. Everyone was excited for me to be here and was excited to get to know me and help me understand how much support and love there is here. After my shadow day, I knew just how much I would love this school and just how much love it would show me.
One thing I think is so special about this school is the community between all grades and between students and teachers/staff. The way they structure the community system helps students get to know people they might not have gotten to know otherwise. Within our communities, they have split us into houses, and each house has students from every grade and a teacher mentor. Coming into a house as a transfer student was intimidating, but my house mentor and house members did such a good job welcoming me and showing me I was part of their SJA family. The community here brings so much love and joy to the students and helps create comradery between the grades.
The standards we are held to academically set us apart from other schools. Teachers expect students to work hard and be excellent in order to thrive. These standards allow students to learn in an environment where they are not afraid to ask questions and seek answers. The teachers challenge us to work hard, not only so we can grow academically, but also as people. Having questions is one of the best ways to learn, and here at the Academy questions are embraced. Teachers are always willing to make time to help students in academic situations and life situations. Feeling comfortable with my teachers has helped me grow academically and has taught me no question is too small to be asked.
Having a positive relationship with your teachers in high school can greatly affect the way you act with others later in life. The faculty and staff here serve as amazing role models. The teachers at SJA exemplify the faith so well that it allows students to learn how to walk in their journey of faith. As students, we learn a lot from our teachers’ actions, words, and behaviors. Every teacher here sets a wonderful example for how students should act in order to live the way God intended us to. Without these wonderful role models coming into a new school would have been much more difficult. These teachers all truly care about each and every one of their students’ thoughts, well-being, and struggles and want what is best for them on the journey through academics and in faith.
St. James has also helped me grow in my faith and has given me the opportunity to think more deeply about my vocation. Being a part of a community where faith is the center of all activities lets all people at SJA pass on the faith just how our mission statement wants us to. Faith-based learning allows all students to search for the truth and learn how to live virtuously. My apologetics class has especially taught me to seek truth and understand so I can help educate others on all the good the faith can bring. We also are blessed enough to have our teachers and peers give us witnesses on how the faith has impacted their lives. These witnesses are a true form of light in the craziness that we can get caught in with our everyday lives.
Dr. Rapp has a saying and it is: be honest, be excellent, and take care of one another. This saying is the perfect way to explain the goal of the student body here. Here at SJA we all try to be the best version of ourselves. This comes with being honest with ourselves and our peers. This can be hard as we are sometimes afraid of speaking up to others, but there is a level of respect students have for one another which makes this a lot easier. Being excellent is something we all push each other to be because we all care about each other. We all walk alongside each other in our journeys of faith, so pushing each other to be excellent helps guide us on the proper path. Taking care of each other is the main one I have experienced here. Through the struggles this year has brought, everybody has gathered as one whole community to show love to those who most need it.
St. James has been the brightest light I have had in my life so far. This school is the most amazing place I could have ever possibly imagined learning at. Any person who walks into this building can immediately feel the love that is so abundant here. No matter what the circumstances are, I know I will always have a safe place to come and interact with people who truly care about me. Even though transferring is a scary endeavor it has been the most wholesome experience I have had in all my high school years. St. James has become home to me and for these experiences, I am so incredibly grateful.
By Isabella DeZeeuw, Class of 2022