Faith, Fun and Knowledge

Nov. 4-10, 2004
Faith, Fun and Knowledge
By St. James School Staff/ SUN contributing writers
St. James Middle School Offers Excellent Education and Camaraderie

JOHNSON CITY — A few weeks ago Dr. John Hogan, Dean Emeritus from the College of Finance and Economics at Georgia State University and distinguished alumni of the first graduating class of St. James Middle School (1941), organized a class reunion and made a special trip back to his alma mater, where Principal George Clancy was pleased to introduce him to the current eighth grade class. Dr. Hogan was the school’s first “Roads Scholar,” a newly-developed program that hopes to bring in family and friends of the school to share real world experiences with students who will one day be in a position to provide solutions to the world’s needs. Dr. Hogan made a “command performance” inside student classrooms, as he shared some of his greatest memories of St. James School, as he also reminded people of the importance of education.

Dr. Hogan hosted a wonderful luncheon for his Class of 1941 classmates at Binghamton’s historic Little Venice Restaurant. These old friends gathered to share stories of the old days and to reminisce about careers, accomplishments and family.

Welcome to St. James

For more than 65 years, St. James School on Main Street in Johnson City has been a home away from home for children who are interested in learning and in getting ahead. With traditional foundations in the Catholic faith, the teachers and priests at St. James ensure rigor, relevance, and relationships. It’s a school building that comes alive each and every morning with a morning prayer, pledge to the flag, led by a different student each day, followed by announcements by Sister Anne and stories and quotes from Mr. Clancy. Smiles and energy, quality instruction and high standards are the expectation for the day. Students at St. James have a sense of belonging and feeling of community because of a special spirit that awakens each and every day.

Welcoming students to school a few times each week is Father Tom Servatius, parochial vicar at St. James Church. Father Tom is a regular on the front steps of the school many mornings! Father Thomas Ryan is the pastor at St. James Church. He is a familiar face visiting the school almost every day. His prayerful support and his insights are significant. Father Ryan arrived at St. James in 1990 and just last week the school helped him to celebrate his 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Meet the Principal

The principal at St. James is George Clancy, who grew up in Cortland beginning his formal education at St. Mary’s School where colleague Sister Harriet Hamilton, OSF, now serves as principal. Clancy attended Temple University in Philadelphia on a football scholarship. Temple is also where he met his lovely wife Eva. The Clancys have returned to Central New York after 22 years in a college setting, most recently after 10 years in Nebraska where Clancy served as dean of students at a private college. He completed a second master’s degree in educational administration and leadership at the University of Nebraska. The Clancys have two children, Tara and Patrick.

Both Clancy and his wife were standout basketball players. During the summer, St. James also sponsors an annual HOOPS Basketball Camp for students of the school, parish and their friends. Traditionally about 25 players attend and the week-long session of learning and fun.

Academically Speaking

Like other schools in the diocese, St. James’ scores on NYS assessment tests were excellent. At St. James, learning strategies and multiple intelligences are key focus points in the educational partnership teachers form with their students. Choices and fun are both integral components of the academic journey.

Class participation and homework count at St. James. And while the school hasn’t developed an assessment score for all elements of the curriculum, including character development, the teachers and principal believe in the importance of respect, inspiration, goodness, friendship, reflection, intensity, caring, involvement, trust, persistence, dreams, memories, excitement, action, results, collaboration, and TEAM!

What’s New?

Laptops have arrived as have new lockers at St. James. While students at St. Mary’s Cortland celebrated their lockers, no students could have been more excited there about the installation of lockers than here at St. James. For 20 or more years student have wanted lockers. With the help of the PTO and friends of St. James, 136 lockers have been put in place for the students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Laptops will bring the students into the future. Mobile computing has the potential to take learning anywhere, anytime. With these computers, staff will see more project-based learning as well as increased student motivation and experimenting. In addition, computers have been proven to improve and increase higher rates of peer mentoring, getting everyone involved.

Based on extensive qualitative and quantitative research, laptop programs will transform the learning environment and change the way schools assess students. In addition, there will be a new emphasis on process and not simply assessment scores. Solving problems often takes various creative thinking patterns. Computers help to make that happen. Laptops also impact the teachers who use them. Laptop teachers tend to seek and offer advice to each other, across grade levels and content areas. Many doors are opened simply because teachers like to share and because they like to write.

People feel good about sending their children to SJMS. Academic quality, the comfortable environment, the religious focus, and personalized attention are significant factors to the “VALUE ADDED” programs that Father Charles Vavonese often reminds schools of.

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