Peer Leaders- Leading the Way

The Saint James School High School is proud to continue the tradition of the Peer Leader Program for all incoming STJ freshmen. Each new 9th grader is paired with a senior student who embodies compassion, school spirit, strong communication, and love for learning. These students are known as the Peer Leaders.

Peer Leaders oversee small-group advisory sessions during the first semester of the school year and help facilitate a smooth transition into high school.

Each summer, the selected seniors attend a retreat training to learn how to be Peer Leaders. Since the kick-off at the retreat, all of the Peer Leaders have been ready and willing to work hard and prepare for the 9th graders. June Garzon, high school counselor and Peer Leader advisor, is thrilled with this year's peer leader group and the work they have done to welcome our high school Trojans.



The peer leader retreat helped me to better understand what being a leader truly is. It taught me how to explore things beyond my comfort zone and allowed me experience new things in the process.
— India Bond, senior
2019-2020 Peer Leaders: Trinity Goff, Joe Higgins, India Bond, Gracie Sullivan, Nayoon Kang, Katie Leigh Smith, Andrew Sadie

2019-2020 Peer Leaders: Trinity Goff, Joe Higgins, India Bond, Gracie Sullivan, Nayoon Kang, Katie Leigh Smith, Andrew Sadie

The Peer Leader Retreat was held at Butter & Egg Adventures in Troy, AL on Aug. 4 and 5. The students participated in various team building activities and learned how to be effective leaders.


On Friday, Aug. 16, the Peer Leaders guided the 9th graders through various exercises and assisted and encouraged the 9th graders throughout the day. Students practiced communication, positive decision making, collaboration and working together, and had a blast getting to know each other!

The Saint James School Peer Leader program is designed to enhance the freshman experience within a framework of organized activities, experiences, and discussions.

STJ Class of 2023

STJ Class of 2023

The Peer Leader Retreat was so rewarding because I got to see the students in my advisory open up and try new things. The best part is they had fun while doing it!
— Gracie Sullivan, senior

The countdown is on!

We are only 10 days away from the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Our maintenance staff has been hard at work preparing campus for the first day of school. All summer, we’ve been painting, waxing floors, making repairs, cleaning carpets, and replacing lightbulbs so our buildings will be in tip top shape.


Of course, we can’t wait for the big reveal of the STJ Commons, our new dining facility. The crew is finishing the last-minute details this week. It’s a great day at STJ!



Happy National School Counseling Week!

Happy National School Counseling Week! Saint James School is privileged to have an incredible counseling staff across all levels, Pre-K3 through 12th grade. Our fantastic counselors are an integral part of our school culture and community.

Ms. Clare Simon has been a counselor for 35 years and at Saint James School for 25.  She has a masters in counseling and is a certified LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor.  
Ms. Cherie Meadows, middle school counselor, is current serving in her fourth year. She became a school counselor through training as a clergy person.  Ms. Meadows holds a masters degree is in Religious Education and is ordained minister.

Ms. June Garzon and Mrs. Jamie Payne make up our high school counseling team. Students have the privilege of getting to know his or her counselor all four years of high school. Ms. Garzon and Mrs. Payne learn the talents and individual strengths of their students and assist them with everything from building class schedules, coordinating college tours, and scholarship applications. Ms. Garzon has been high school counselor for four years and hold a masters in Educational Administration with a focus on Private School Education from Teachers College of Columbia University, New York, NY. Ms. Payne is in her second year as high school counselor at STJ and holds both MBA and M.Ed in School Counseling. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor.

Many of our administrators have also served in counseling roles at Saint James. Our current middle school principal, Ms. Laura Spivey, served as a counselor for fourteen years (eight in middle school and four in high school). She brings her years as counselor into her everyday role as principal. The unique experiences in the counseling office translate in many ways and provide Ms. Spivey with a special perspective as she serves the middle school. Mrs. Susan Atkins, Academic Dean, also served as counselor for the high school for many years. Likewise, our own Ms. Cathy Pearson, Dean of Admission, served as middle school counselor for 20 years and has a masters degree in counseling and human development.

Each of our counselors is dedicated to student success; strengthening our students’ physical, emotional, and mental health is paramount to Saint James School’s mission.

June Garzon and Jamie Payne, High School Counselors

June Garzon and Jamie Payne, High School Counselors

Clare Simon, Elementary School Counselor

Clare Simon, Elementary School Counselor

My absolute favorite part of my job is the students!  Having the privilege of watching them grow and develop is an honor and I love getting to know their families.  Morning carpool always starts my day off right.  Another aspect of my job that is a delight is seeing the students learn to problem-solve and create their own solutions to conflicts.  I love to see them take our guidance lessons and put them to work.
— Clare Simon, Elementary Counselor
Cherie Meadows, Middle School Counselor

Cherie Meadows, Middle School Counselor

My favorite thing about being a counselor at STJ is working with parents and students to help each student achieve the most optimal academic achievements, social integration, and emotional health.
— June Garzon, High School Counselor


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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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

National Mole Day

Happy Mole Day! National Mole Day commemorates Amadeo Avogadro's Number, 6.02 x 10^23, which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Each year, on October 23rd, schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry and S.T.E.M. fields at large.

Saint James sophomores and juniors celebrated Mole Day by creating their own mole themed projects.

I look forward to this date each year! It is rewarding to see my students use their artistic talents. I get to see a different side of them that I would not normally see in my class.
— Dr. Amanda Ousley, chemistry teacher
Each class had a party to celebrate. It was fun to get a chance be creative in a science class.
— Leland Talbert, chemistry student
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Student Government Association Gives Back

Hello, my name is Trinity Hunter and I have the honor of serving as the SGA President of Saint James in my final year of high school. 

Our Student Government Association been thriving. Since the end of last year, we have managed to double our members from thirteen to twenty-six. We have continued to be committed to serving the community and Saint James as best as we can. 

Our first initiative of the year was the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School change drive. Early in the school year, BTW experienced a major fire. While it is a blessing that no one was hurt, one of their buildings was still destroyed and with it. Student art work, art tools and materials, and technology devices were lost in the disaster. Members of the STJ SGA stood outside all over campus one Friday morning and collected change from parents, students, and teachers alike. Amazingly, we were able to gain $1500 to send to BTW!! 


I can honestly say that my time in the SGA has been some of my favorite memories. It has given me experience leading a group and public speaking ability from the school convocations. But most importantly, it has given me the ability to talk to people and maintain relationships with them along the way. I am forever grateful to Saint James to have gotten this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the school year holds!

Go Trojans!


After the change drive, it was time to get to work on our annual Community Day of Service. Every year, the high school is tasked with going out into the community and spending a day volunteering. This day could not happen without the SGA. For two months, we planned for Community Day: calling businesses, assigning students and teachers alike, and designing T-Shirts. On October 5, the high school branched out across the Montgomery area to make the community a better place for all that lived in it. 

Our next project is Fall Festival. It is so exciting to be able to participate in the uniquely Saint James tradition that is Fall Festival. It is a great night of fellowship between Saint James families and has become a stable in the lives of many students. Every year, SGA is in charge of the raffle. We are excited to give out great prizes this year to those whose names are drawn! 

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Blinded by the light!

What do you get when science meets arts? Beautiful sun prints! On a bright Alabama summer day, freshman physical science students witnessed endothermic reactions first-hand. With light-sensitive paper and everyday items from the classroom, Mr. David Beach’s class created their own art prints with nothing more than UV rays from the sun and a tray of water. The experiment was a two-for-one, as physical and chemical reactions both occurred.


Doing the experiment is more fun than just reading about the lesson. You learn a lot more.” Patrick Hobbs, freshman

Experiments like this bridge the gap between science and art. As a school that specializes in DBAE, discipline based arts education, Saint James provides hands-on experiments to each level, grades PreK3 through twelve.