Why We Are Going to Haiti

October 2018

Later this month, a small group of parishioners led by Fr Ben will travel to south-west Haiti.  

Our goal is to expand the mission of Saint James’ Episcopal Church & School by finding an Episcopal church and school in that region of Haiti, share our stories and our culture, and help them prosper in their mission to expand access to primary education in their community.

In a country where educational opportunities have all too often been reserved for a tiny elite, the impact of support like this has the potential to be far-reaching.

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Volunteer at Preschool Workshops

lse sjecInterested in volunteering for a preschool workshop? Register here!

Why volunteer to help with the Preschool Workshops Saint James’ is co-sponsoring?

Here are some facts about preschool that may surprise and inspire you to help:

  1. Preschool can help combat crime, teen pregnancy, and high school dropout rates. When children have the benefit of a high-quality early childhood education, they make cognitive and social gains that prepare them to start school. These foundational skills allow them to build on their learning and knowledge through school and into adulthood. As a result, a child without an early childhood education is 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 40 percent more likely to become a teenage parent, and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
  2. Early childhood education has a better return on investment than the stock market. Some policymakers worry about the upfront cost of early childhood education. However, studies show that early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make—and that includes investments in the financial market. The estimated return on investment for high quality early childhood education is ten percent. In comparison, the average return on investment in the stock market is 7.2 percent.

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Learning Starts Early, and you can help!

Saint James’ is so excited to launch Learning Starts Early. How can you help grow this ministry? Register as a volunteer for any or all of the three Free Preschool Parent Workshops Saint James’ is helping make possible. 20 volunteers are needed for each session. See a complete description of volunteer opportunities.

lse sjecWhat do children learn in preschool?

Statistics show that on a weekly basis:

  • more than 90 percent of preschool students spend time learning the names of letters and seeing print while reading
  • more than 80 percent practice writing
  • 89 percent work on writing their own names
  • more than 90 percent of preschool
  • students practice counting out loud at
  • least once per week
  • 90 percent use geometric manipulatives.

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Vitamins Needed for Honduran Students!

helping hondurasHello, my name is Gabe Spector:

For my Fifth Grade Service Project I would like to, with the help of a friend from the International Health Service, help the Jungle School in Honduras provide the children there with vitamins. These vitamins will be used to help supplement the diets of the children that often lack the necessary nutrients that the human body needs.

The Christian organization of which the Jungle School is a part hands out, on average, 100 vitamins per day. My original goal was raise money to send vitamins to the school, but my hope is to have each student, staff member and parishioners of Saint James’ donate a bottle of vitamins to the cause.

Here is an idea of how many vitamins we could provide:

  • One 100 count bottle of children’s vitamins is about $10.
  • 100 V’s per day X 30 days (1 month) = 3,000 Vitamins
  • 200+ students and staff at Saint James’ X 100V’s per bottle= Over 20,000
  • 20,000 Vitamins can provide a 6-7 month supply.

We will start accepting donations starting Monday, December 7th and end on Monday, January 4th. Vitamins donated must be taken to the school office and left in the basket provided. Items can also be dropped off at the church office.

Thank you very much for your help!

History of Saint James’: Private Schools in Warrenton

Recollections of Private School Attendance at Saint James’ – 1912-1954

In 1912, the Stuyvesant School for boys was established by Edwin B. King (1876-1950) on Winchester Street (now the site of St. John the Evangelist Church).  The school had an enrollment of about sixty boys each year and offered a wide range of pre-college classes in a non-military environment.  Mr. King was a long-time member and vestryman of Saint James’ Church; he and the schoolboys attended church on Sundays.

In 1915, Mlle. Lea Marie Bouligny (1865-1976), a prominent educator, established the Warrenton Country School for girls on Springs Road (now the site of a U.S. Government facility).  It stressed college preparation and cultural courses, with a heavy emphasis on spoken French.  Both schools enjoyed excellent reputations.

In the Warrenton tradition, each school encouraged students to become skilled in horseback riding.  Boys and girls from the two schools competed with each other in equestrian events.  Moreover, the girls were invited to Stuyvesant’s homecoming dances and to other special events at the boys’ school.  Mlle. Bouligny strongly believed that her school should be engaged with the community, including the church.

Saint James’

Each Sunday morning the girls, shepherded by faculty members, “trooped two-by-two” from the school along Springs Road, to Culpeper Street, to Saint James’.  Dressed in purple and white uniforms with hats, they occupied several rows in the back of the church.  Seated directly in front of them were the boys from Stuyvesant School.  Parishioners recalled there was much “mutual observation” between the two groups.

A parishioner remembered that when he was a student at VMI (Virginia Military Institute), he came to Saint James’ in his uniform and was greatly embarrassed by all the attention he received from the Warrenton Country School girls.  Headmistress Bouligny was very protective of her students.  Often after Sunday services, young men of the town would drive through the school grounds, actively encouraged by some of the girls.  Mlle. Bouligny reacted by installing nuisance speed bumps around the school buildings.

In 1949, Mlle. Bouligny retired. Warrenton Country School closed the following year. Mr. King died in 1950. Stuyvesant School closed in 1954, thereby ending a chapter in the history of Warrenton and Saint James’ Church.


Note:  Many of the students have lived interesting lives.  One, Oona O’Neill (1925-1991), daughter of author and playwright Eugene O’Neill, was known for her musical talent, acting, and modeling ability.  At age 18, she married actor Charlie Chaplin, 36 years her senior.  The couple had eight children, many excelling.

Sponsor a Student in Soroti Diocese, Uganda

AKAYO Harriet Grad Photo2 copy
Akayo Harriet, a recent graduate of a masters program at Uganda Christian University. Betty and Richard Gookin have sponsored her for about nine years.

Through our Soroti Ministry, parishioners at Saint James’ currently sponsor nine students – from middle school to graduate school – in Soroti Diocese, Uganda, and it is changing the lives of these students!

This year, we added three new students at the middle school level, and we are seeking sponsors at all levels to add more students or help with other expenses such as transportation, administration, summer programs and other educational needs in this region.

You can help! If you are interested in hearing more about this program, please contact Wayne or Caren Eastham.

Akayo Harriet Graduates Ugandan Christian University

AKAYO Harriet Grad Photo2 copy

Through our Soroti ministry here at Saint James’, Betty Gookin has sponsored Akayo Harriet, a Ugandan student, throughout her secondary and post-secondary studies. On July 3, she graduated from Ugandan Christian University with her masters’ degree, and has started a job as school headteacher.

She writes,

“Dear Mr and Mrs. Gookin, I am glad to say a word to you again. it is long when we last communicated. Sorry for taking that long.I was busy moving up and down for the teachers appointment letters and posting instructions from ministry of education and sports, thank God that we finally got them, so I am fully appointed and posted headteacher. We are now waiting to start earning salaries…”

Betty adds,

“I am so proud of Akayo Harriet’s achievement. It has been a long hard road for her over at least 10 or 12 years.  I have sponsored her from the beginning and actually “illegally” through this final masters degree which involved opening an account for her in Uganda, and not getting tax credit.

I hope it would encourage others to see what it means to sponsor a student. Harriet and I have become very close over the years … She is quite a remarkable girl and has helped [her] younger sisters along the way.”

Congratulations to Akayo Harriet on her many accomplishments! May God bless her on the road ahead.