Shark Tank: The Gilded Age


Juniors in Ms. Hughes’s U.S. History class are currently studying the Gilded Age. They recently participated in “Gilded Age Shark Tank” based on the ABC hit program. Students were assigned to groups and given a Gilded Age invention which included Coca-Cola, the lightbulb and the phonograph. Students researched their invention while they prepared their presentations for the “sharks.” They had three minutes to try and convince the sharks, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, to invest in their product. The hardest part of the assignment was not using modern references. How do you describe a lightbulb? Students had to describe the actual bulb but then also describe how it was used and why it was better than candles or oil lamps. They realized how hard it was pitch a product and learned more about their individual inventions. Group projects like this allow students to use real-world application of what they learn in the classroom.


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“A noun is a person, place, or thing!”

The digital dice were rolling in Mrs. Greene’s class, as fifth grade students worked hard to get a noun Tic-Tac-Toe.  Plural nouns were the object of the game and for every roll, student’s got a chance to cross off a square on the board.  



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Incorporating play into learning is a wonderful way to promote creativity and imagination. Hands on works builds cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Tic-Tac-Toe...three in a row WINS!

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Cathy Pearson

Saint James School class of 1976.

Saint James School class of 1976.

Position: Dean of Admissions

I've Taught for: I have worked in the field of education for over 39 years. I was a math Teacher for 7 years, (3 at STJ), a Middle School Counselor for 20 years, a Middle School principal for 6 years, and currently serving at Dean of Admissions in my 6th year.

Hometown: Union Springs, AL but moved to Montgomery in High School

High school: STJ 1976-the third graduating class of the school! Go Trojans!

College/Degree: BS Degree in Education from the University of South Alabama in 1980 and a Masters of Science Degree in Counseling and Human Development from Troy State University in Montgomery in 1987

Favorite Book and Favorite Movie: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Favorite Food: Guacamole, Pizza and Hamburgers

Married to: Joel Pearson (STJ Alum '76). We were high school sweethearts.

Children: Nan (STJ '06-lives in Atlanta) and Hartley (STJ '08- lives in Colorado)

Church: First United Methodist Church

Fun Fact:  I'm currently planning my daughter's wedding which will be in Myrtle Beach this June. I also love Alabama Football. Roll Tide!

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Junior Ambassador for a Day!

Two prospective families had a special treat during their recent visit to Saint James. Seventh grader Reilly Taylor and fourth grader Easton Selbee assisted the admissions office by serving as “junior ambassadors” for a day. Reilly and Easton spent some time in the office learning a bit about what goes on behind the scenes in admissions. Then, they helped Ms. Kate Bartlett, Associate Dean of Admissions, give a tour of campus. It was so fun for both families to hear the unique perspective of our current Trojans and for our students to share their experiences with our guests. After a wonderful tour, our junior ambassadors enjoyed a lunch with our staff and STJ Student Ambassadors. The STJ Student Ambassadors are high school juniors and seniors who serve as leaders at Saint James School. These students were selected after a competitive application and interview process- we can’t wait for both Reilly and Easton to apply when they become upperclassmen!



Reilly Taylor, STJ 7th grader, with our Associate Dean of Admissions, Kate Bartlett

Reilly Taylor, STJ 7th grader, with our Associate Dean of Admissions, Kate Bartlett

Easton Selbee, STJ 4th grader, with our Associate Dean of Admissions, Kate Bartlett

Easton Selbee, STJ 4th grader, with our Associate Dean of Admissions, Kate Bartlett

An “INK-redible” day in the Science Lab!

A fishy smell filled the science lab as Ms. Taylor, elementary science lab teacher, prepared squid for dissection.  Fourth graders were eager to “dive in” and learn more about the squid’s anatomy as well as document their study in an app called Book Creator.    

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Students took pictures of each step and drew on paper with the squid’s ink.  Ben Hooks, STJ 4th grader, said, “It was really interesting to see what was inside the squid and feel how squishy it was.” The science lab gives students hands-on experiences that enhance their classroom learning.  



Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Kate Bartlett

Position: Associate Dean of Admissions

At STJ for: 2.5 years. Worked in higher education for 6 years previously


Hometown: I am an Army brat (born in Kansas and lived in Louisiana, Florida, Germany, Kentucky, and three cities in Georgia), but I claim Newnan, GA as my hometown

High school: Northgate High School

College/Degree: B.A. in Public Relations from Auburn University, Master of Liberal Arts in English from AUM

STJ Extracurricular: STJ Ambassadors sponsor and contributor to this blog

Favorite Book: Anything by Pat Conroy (but I studied literature so basically everything)

Favorite Movie: The Devil Wears Prada

Favorite Food: Thai food!  We traveled to Ko Samui, Thailand for our honeymoon.

Married to: Jack for 7 years. We met my junior year at Auburn. He is a Montgomery boy, so we moved here after we married in 2011. He is a pharmaceutical rep and loves to paddle board and crossfit.

Children: One daughter, Frances. She is 2.5 and will be at STJ for Pre-K in 2019. We are also expecting our second daughter February 2019.

Church: First United Methodist Church of Montgomery

Fun Fact: I was a flight attendant right after college. I can pour a diet coke at 40,000 feet exactly to the top without fizz going over the side. Very specialized skills!



Get the blood pumping!

Last week, fifth grade performed a lab where they witnessed the circulatory system in action. Students placed live goldfish in Petri dishes and looked at their tails under the microscope. They were able to see blood circulating through the fish’s tail in real time. After the lab, the goldfish were released to the pond in our outdoor laboratory space. All elementary students, Pre-K3 through 5th grade, visit the science lab weekly for hands-on application of what is being taught in the classroom. Disclaimer: no fish are harmed during this experiment.

5th graders use a microscope to view the circulatory system of a goldfish. Students are exposed to traditional laboratory tools and perform hands-on experiments weekly in the elementary science lab.    #WeAreSaintJamesSchool

5th graders use a microscope to view the circulatory system of a goldfish. Students are exposed to traditional laboratory tools and perform hands-on experiments weekly in the elementary science lab.


Frittatas, and Salsa, and Treats, Oh My!

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I love cooking club! It is fun to expand my palette
— Virginia Braswell, sophomore


STJ Cooking Club, lead by English and journalism teacher, Dr. Catherine Winn, meets during high school advisory period bi-weekly. Dr. Winn focuses on using real, fresh ingredients. Students create tasty meals, appetizers, and desserts.

I want to empower my students to feed themselves and others. Food is universal.
— Dr. Catherine Winn, Cooking Club advisor
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Quick Broccoli and Egg Frittata

  • cooking spray

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tbsp cottage cheese

  • 2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese 

  • 1/3 cup finely diced broccoli

  • 2 tbs cooked breakfast sausage

  • a pinch each of salt, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg 

Lightly spray the inside of a coffee mug with cooking spray and crack the eggs into the mug. Scramble. Add the other ingredients and stir until combined. Microwave on high for 30 seconds then stir. Microwave for 30 seconds more and stir again or until eggs are fully set. Enjoy! ( 200-300 calories depending on variation, with 19- 21 grams of protein per mug)

I joined cooking club because I thought it would be fun... and so when I go to college I won’t live off Ramen!
— Alexander McHorne, junior

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Laura Hassell

Position: Admissions Counselor

At STJ for: Almost 3 years

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

High school: Saint James School, class of 1998! Go Trojans!

College/Degree: University of Alabama/Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, Minor in Art History

Extracurricular: House flipping, gardening, painting

Favorite Movie: The Wizard of Oz

Favorite Food: Mexican, Tiramisu

Married to: Lee Hassell

Children: Michael is in the 4th grade and loves baseball and basketball. Hunter is in the 1st grade and loves soccer and art.

Fun Fact: My husband, Lee, and I both graduated in the same class at STJ. We started dating junior year of college and have been together ever since!


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Girls in Stride!


The girls are on the run! GOTR is a physical activity-based development program that inspires 3rd-5th grade girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. The program uses a fun and experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running with serving the community. The Saint James School GOTR team meets twice a week for 10 weeks. Our runners complete a Community Impact Project and run a Celebratory 5K at the end of the season.

I can’t say enough positive things about GOTR. I just finished coaching my 5th season and I am looking forward to the 6th! I love building relationships with the girls; more than anything, I love being able to see them realize what they are capable of - and do it with grace. As a coach, it is my role to lead and guide them, but they make a tremendous impact on me. I am so thankful to be able to be part of GOTR!
— Ann Aman, GOTR sponsor and STJ Alumni and Development Director
I absolutely loved Girls on the Run. Each week, we would get a lesson on how to deal with different issues. The coaches were so awesome and made everyone feel included. We got to meet other girls from different grades and meet new people. We ran each week and got better and better. I was proud to run the 5k- GOTR was one of my favorite things about Saint James.
— Meg Stough, GOTR participant and new STJ 5th grader


Faculty Spotlight: Mrs. Sabrina Hubbard

Teaches: First Grade

Taught for: I am in my 13th year

Hometown: Grove Hill, Alabama

High school: Grove Hill Academy

College/Degree: University of Montevallo/B.S. with a major in Early Childhood Education and Masters in Early Childhood Education

Favorite Book: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Favorite Movie: Breakfast Club and ALL Harry Potter movies

Favorite Food: Italian Food

Married to: Bryan  Hubbard, played on Troy’s last two national championship teams, met when he was in law school in Birmingham and I was teaching kindergarten, he proposed to me in front of my kindergarten students 💗

Children: Atchison Hubbard, Saint James alum,  sophomore at Birmingham Southern College.  Claudia Hubbard, Saint James alum, freshman at Auburn University in the honors program.

Church: Frazer United Methodist

Fun Fact: I danced at the Aloha Bowl when I was in college

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Giving Joy and Hope as “BMT Angels”

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For many years, Saint James students have helped make the Christmas party for the UAB Bone Marrow Transplant Unit patients and their families a huge success.

This year, the entire school will band together to provide Christmas presents to patients in the unit, whose families are often so physically and financially strained during their treatment that Christmas gifting becomes difficult.

It was an honor to have Kaitlyn Johnson and Sharon Jones, both RN’s with the unit, visit us and host assemblies for our elementary, middle, and high school students to discuss the program as well as how we can serve as “BMT Angels!"

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Sophie Shoults and Jesse Johnson, both 5th graders, are excited to buy for a little girl.  Sophie said “I want to get her a stuffed animal that sings ABC’s and 123’s.” Jesse said “I would love to get her a barbie with many outfit changes!”

Our Learning Specialist, Joann Reifenberg, and her husband, Ed, have ensured for years that Saint James students are involved with this project.  Ed, who was treated in the UAB unit, is in his 20th year of remission!

This project, one of our many community service projects our students participate in each year, is such a special way for our students to have the opportunity to give back to someone in need and learn the wonderful lesson of compassion.


Walk Like an Egyptian

Every year, STJ sixth graders celebrate the culmination of their Ancient Egypt unit by dressing up and participating in projects and activities. The students created a "Book of the Dead," sarcophagus, cartouche, and wrote their own Egyptian inspired poetry.

Each subject area studied various aspects of Egyptian culture and history. This multidisciplinary approach allowed each subject area teacher to focus on a specific theme and assign projects and classwork related to each subject.

Art, music, technology, and the four core subjects all worked together to provide a broader scope of learning for the students.

Each student created his or her own Egyptian ornamental collar, inspired by the ancient pharaohs and priests of the time. Students chose symbols, called hieroglyphics, to represent different objects, actions, sounds and ideas.

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For my collar, I chose the Almighty Seeing Eye, gems, and a pyramid for my collar.
— Donald Evans, 6th grade student


Faculty Spotlight: Mrs. Erin Edwards

Teaches: 2nd Grade

I’ve Taught for: 5 years at STJ

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

High school: Saint James. Go Trojans!

College/Degree: B.A. Hospitality Management from The University of Alabama. Masters in Childhood Education from AUM

Favorite Book: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Favorite Movie: High Society

Favorite Food: Lobster

Married to: Charlie Edwards. We were long time friends and we graduated from Saint James together.

Children: Sam - Junior at The University of Alabama studying finance, graduated STJ. Mason - Sophomore at Sewanee, graduated STJ. Lucy-  current Junior at Saint James.

Church: Saint Peter’s Catholic Church

Fun Fact:  My dad was in the military, so we moved a lot! I went to 4 different elementary schools. At the time, it was hard, but now I am glad I did!



Building Bridges in Kindergarten

Our K-5 classes recently read the Norwegian fairy tale, “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.”  They learned all about the three billy goats that tried to cross the troll’s bridge.  The story tells of overcoming obstacles and problem solving. Our kindergartners got creative with a S.T.E.M. challenge of building bridges with Legos in the science lab. All elementary students, grades K3-5, visit the science lab each week during enrichments. The lab is a perfect setting for hands-on application of what is taught in our classrooms at all elementary levels.  

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Faculty Spotlight: Señora Autumn Jackson

Teaches: Elementary and Middle School Spanish

I’ve Taught for: Going on my fourth year

Hometown: I was born in Santa Ana, California, and I was raised in North Alabama (Arab, AL.)

High school: Arab High School

College/Degree: The University of Alabama.  I have a Bachelor's Degree in Education K-12 & Spanish.  

Favorite Book: The Bible

Favorite Movie: I have many!  I love many types!

Favorite Food: Mexican

Married to: I am married to the Band Director here at STJ (Greg Jackson).  He is a wonderful, sweet, & hard-working man.

Children: We do not have children, but we do have two fur babies.  1 small dog (Morkie) & 1 bird (Double Yellow-Head Amazon Parrot)

Church: Frazer United Methodist Church. I volunteer in the Children's Ministry every 1st and 3rd Sunday.

Fun Fact: I did my teaching internship through the COST PROGRAM at The University of Alabama in Guadalajara, Mexico at a school called Instituto Thomas Jefferson. Outside of school, I'm working to complete my thesis for a Clinical Psychology Master's degree at AUM. I have already completed my coursework.   

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Abuzz about Bees

Mrs. Taylor’s Science elementary Lab was all abuzz, as fourth grade experienced a special presentation by STJ alum Joe Barnett, a local beekeeper. He spoke about pollination, bees, and honey production.

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Mr. Barnett even brought an empty, but complete, bee hive and explained the fundamentals of what goes on in the hive. Even Dr. McLemore stopped by and helped with the presentation!



Faculty Spotlight: Mrs. Megan Deal


Teaches: Kindergarten

I’ve Taught for: 5 years at STJ

Hometown: Pike Road, AL

High school: Saint James School. Go Trojans!

College/Degree: Auburn University, Bachelor of Science Dual Degree in Human Development Family Studies and Early Childhood Education

Favorite Book: The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst

Favorite Food: White cheddar popcorn and chocolate covered blueberries

Married to: Grayson Deal ( Montgomery native). He is a data analyst at Alfa 

Children: My son Gray, 2 years old

Church: Yes, we are involved and active at First Baptist Church Montgomery

Fun Fact: I love Pure Barre! I teach with my teaching assistant, Lucy Daniel, and she is fabulous.

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Today is the Day! Applications are Live Online!

Today is the day! Starting November 1, the 2019-2020 admissions season officially opens. Saint James School PreK3-12th grade applications are now available online.



First-round admission decisions for PreK3-Kindergarten is February 14, 2019.

First-round admission decisions for 1st-12th grade is February 21, 2019.

We encourage families to visit our campus and experience our amazing school! Please call us at (334) 273-3021 to schedule a private tour of campus or register for one of our many admissions events. We can’t wait to review your child’s application and meet our future Trojans!

It’s a great day at STJ!