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columns summer


a publication for students, alumni and frien ds

Saint James School


Best Buds Teaching for the Future Faculty Superlatives STJ is Tech-tastic!

from the Head of School Greetings from Saint James School – the school where twenty-first century learning is evident! We eagerly anticipate the 2012-2013 school year with the highest level of enthusiasm I have witnessed in all my years here at STJ. As I begin my thirtieth year, I am convinced Dr. G. Stanley Frazer, our founder, would be struck by the exemplary school we are today. I recently saw an anonymous quote which read, “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.” Take time to read about our news as we celebrate our excellence. Our long tradition of the senior/kindergarten buddy program has been emulated by many. What a special part of our school this has become, especially during Senior Walk! Read about our football news with our coaching legends working hard to take us to the next level. Our work in technology over the past four years is paying off as we unveil our 1:1 iPad and MacBook program. An enormous amount of superior work has been done by our faculty to embrace technology for all ages here at STJ. What a joy to see such engaged learners in the classroom as we prepare students for college and the world of high tech!

I invite you to join us on campus to see twenty-first century learning in our classrooms. The experts are saying we must tap into student creativity to prepare them for the future. We often have visitors from other schools as we continue to be the innovators, setting the standard for excellence. I congratulate our Board of Directors for approving a longrange plan last year allowing us to not only have a vision, but also to actively make these plans become a part of our daily lives here at STJ. We are proud to be the pacesetters in Central Alabama. We are Saint James School!

Melba Richardson, Head of School

An enormous amount of superior work has been done by our faculty to embrace technology for all ages here at STJ.

Art by: Gabbi Pohlman, rising 9th grader

You will also read about something very near and dear to me–the new pre-college electives available to our high school students. We do a splendid job of teaching AP courses and courses for college preparation. However, we decided to offer courses that would give our students another advantage as they enter college. We have partnered with The University of Alabama to offer Introduction to Business, Marketing, and Finance to give students an idea of what it is like to major in business. Auburn University is partnering with us to teach Robotics and Pre-Engineering as we prepare students for a variety of engineering majors. Troy University will guide us as we teach a Technology/Music Composition class. Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine will offer students an opportunity to see if this is an area they wish to pursue. The list goes on and on! We discovered we are the only high school in Alabama offering this range of pre-college electives. Our students are thrilled and I congratulate our faculty for their many hours of planning to make this a reality.

[the cover]


[Excitement builds as Class of 2012 seniors (l) Anne Banks Blackwell, Holly Carr, Carlyn Watson, Mary Griggs, and Hayden Barnes anticipate graduation during Senior Send-off]. Photo by Robertsons’ Photography.

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4 Around the Columns Oliver Heads High School NEW in 2012-2013 Dallas Cowboy Visits Nephew at STJ! Blowing Away the Competition! No Horsing Around Debater Named National Semi-Finalist Hitting A High Note Entire 7th Grade Qualifies for TIP Varghese is City's Outstanding Big Buddy Parents, Grands Go High-Tech Too! AP Scores Soar Wir Sind Saint James Schule! Legally Blonde, A Montgomery First Class of 2012 Another Doodle for Google State Finalist HEY! Pee Wee

9 [Best Buds] Who knew kindergartners and high school seniors could become such devoted friends? 11 [Teaching for the Future] New electives make STJ the only school in Alabama to give students a leg-up on college studies – before they ever even leave high school.

Need details about STJ reading lists, lunch menus, uniforms, or just general school information? Visit

13 [Faculty Superlatives] Two STJ faculty members receive high accolades from peers and outside reviewers. 14 [STJ is Tech-tastic!] Apples are everywhere, and not an orchard in sight! Head of School Melba Richardson answers questions about STJ’s exciting technology program.

16 [The Winners’ Circle] Celebrating a superlative year!

and click on the new Parent Information tab!

17 [Practice Makes Perfect] He’s tackled facilities, equipment, and playing styles: Varsity Coach Jimmy Perry outlines his plans and expectations for STJ football.

19 Trojan Tally 20 Alumni Notes Alumni News and Spotlights


[Giving for Continued Excellence]

2011-12 Annual Report

Saint James School Editor: Sandra Polizos Writers: Sandra Polizos, Hannah Glenn ‘11, Emily Prim ‘13 Photographers Sandra Polizos, Bob Corley, David Robertson Jr., Bryan Carter Head of School Melba Richardson

Business Manager Bill Furr

Public Relations Director Sandra Polizos

Admissions Director Aimee Steineker

Alumni Relations Director Gillette Slaton

Development Director Kim Hendrix

Academic Dean Susan Atkins

mission: Saint James is an independent, nonsectarian, college preparatory school with a student body broadly representative of college-bound students. We are committed to challenging and assisting students in realizing their individual potential and preparing them for lives of responsibility, service, and achievement.

Saint James Board of Directors Billy Livings, Chair

Monet Gaines

Michelle Parks

Taylor Blackwell

Jon Killough

Kelli Pohlman

Sonny Brasfield

George Kent

Chuck Richardson

Sam Colson

Jamie Loeb

Burt Smithart

James Dickens

Gip Meadows

Frank Woodson

Helena Duncan

Greg Miles

Laura Wright

Need a quick gift for a birthday party or bridal shower?

Visit STJ’s own Wooden Horse gift shop, located in the fifth grade pod in Leu Elementary. Where else can you buy a great gift, save yourself an extra shopping trip and help Saint James School – all at the same time!

Columns is published yearly by Saint James School, 6010 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36116 and is distributed free to alumni, and to parents of students, as well as to other friends of the school. Address changes may be sent to the Public Relations Director, 6010 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36116 or to Saint James admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the

How can you stay abreast of all the news at STJ? Visit our Facebook page! Just login to Facebook and search for our “page,” Saint James School. (You’ll know it’s us when you see our STJ logo!) Please “like” us and keep coming back for great news and pictures of campus life!

rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and financial aid programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.

[around the] D r. B r y a n O l i v e r is STJ’s new high school principal, assuming the role in July after serving as high school counselor for two years.

Oliver Heads High School

“With just a month on the job Dr. Oliver has already proven his exceptional leadership skills,” Head of School Melba Richardson says. “A leader among the high school faculty, he was also an extraordinary counselor. Dr. Oliver is dedicated to our students, and has provided valuable help and assistance to our parents as well. His experience at the college level and his work in the counseling office well-equip him to continue the strong tradition of leadership established for our college preparatory school.”

Bryan Oliver will direct STJ’s upper school activities in his new position as high school principal.

A native Montgomerian, Dr. Oliver received his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in August 2011. Prior to his STJ employment, Oliver served as the University of Alabama’s Assistant Director for Regional Recruitment, as well as the Assistant Director for Alumni and Volunteer Recruitment. Oliver’s professional experience also includes tenure as a career counselor, an undergraduate admissions counselor, and a course instructor, all at the University of Alabama. He is a member of the National Association for Col-

lege Admission Counseling, the Southern Association for College Admissions and Registrars, the Alabama Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, and a past Board Member for the Boys and Girls Clubs of West Alabama. Dr. Oliver received his undergraduate degree in Finance in 2002, and a Master of Arts Degree in Higher Education Administration in 2004. Both degrees were issued from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. “I am honored Saint James has chosen me to serve as high school principal for the upcoming year,” Dr. Oliver says. “Saint James is a wonderful school, with an outstanding faculty and student body. It’s great to know John Tatum has set the foundation for a bright future, and that I will be able to pick up where he left off.” “My goal is to make Saint James the best academic choice for high school students in Montgomery and the surrounding areas. We will continue to improve our curriculum by taking advantage of resources such as our new technology, and using our highly qualified faculty members to teach new college prep electives. It’s my expectation that, as we move forward, Saint James will continue to be a school that produces the best and brightest graduates in Montgomery.”

in 2012-13!

N E W Following the success of last year’s fullday K5 program, Saint James now offers the option of all day Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 classes. The new programs, taught by Suzy Browning (K3) and Becky Dickens (K4), provide students with more time for academic enrichments, review, and an extension of the morning academics. Traditional half-day preschool programs are still offered.

B l owing

AWAY the competition!

DALLAS COWBOY 9 VISITS NEPHEW AT STJ! Kindergarten student Chase Walker and his 2012 classmates got a big surprise when Chase’s uncle, Dallas Cowboy team member Frank Walker (#25), visited Mrs. Colleen Murphy’s class. The kindergarten students had written Mr. Walker letters, and as a thank you, he paid a special, in-person visit to the class!

The Marching Trojans were named Class Champions at the Bands of America Super Regional competition in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in November, winning Outstanding Visual, Outstanding Music and Outstanding General Effect. To win in Atlanta, the Marching Trojans bested two-time champion Oak Grove High School and the 4A Oklahoma State Champion, Piedmont High School. Saint James also finished ahead of 15 other Class 2, 3 and 4A bands from Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

STJ’s Marching Trojans band was named Bands of America Super Regional Class Champions in Atlanta.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 4

No Horsing Around Beginning in August, the “STJ Jumpers” trot into their first-ever season. The team, the only official high school equestrian team in the state, provides competitive jumping for riders in three middle school levels and four high school levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. With no local high school competition, the Jumpers will compete regionally in events hosted by the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, against barn teams from Birmingham and teams from Georgia and Florida. “We want to train these girls for competition on a collegiate level,” says sponsor Lane Sullivan, “and give them the background needed to excel in their riding.”

Debater Named National Semi-Finalist! Junior Carolyn Byrd was named a Semi-Finalist in the Story Telling competition at the National Forensics Tournament in Indianapolis in June. Byrd’s high honor places her nationally as one of the top 15 students in the country in this event. In all, seven STJ debaters competed at the tournament: (front, l) Debate Coach Ian Turnipseed, Abigail Greenberg, Carolyn Byrd, Jessica Bozeman, Alex Pattie, (back, l) Branden Greenberg, Pierce Godwin, and Hayden Cavanaugh.


H itti n g a hi g h

Choral students took a break from rehearsals for their Carnegie Hall performance by doing a lot of sight-seeing, including ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

Choir students headed to New York City in early 2012, to perform at Carnegie Hall, in an event hosted by American Idol veteran Clay Aiken. Invited to perform at the reknown facility by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), the STJ singers took the stage as part of a multigenerational performance conducted by well-known ASCAP composer and arranger Greg Gilpin.

“Some performers wait all their lives to perform on that stage,” said Choral Director Lis Donaldson. “For me to take 31 students between the ages of 14-18 and have that experience was breath-taking. We participated in the premiere of a piece of music that no one had ever publicly sung. And to top that off, some of the students had never performed with a live orchestra – and the musicians we worked with are some of the best players New York City has to offer.” When they weren’t at rehearsals, the STJ students took the opportunity to explore the Big Apple’s many one-of-a-kind attractions. The group attended two Broadway shows (The Lion King and Mary Poppins), skated at Rockefeller Center, shopped on 5th Ave., took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and paid homage to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center by visiting “Ground Zero.”

[around the]


Entire 7th Grade Qualifies for

Each STJ seventh grader in 2011-12 qualified to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). Duke’s TIP identifies gifted students and provides resources to nurture the development of these exceptionally bright youngsters. Nine STJ students qualified for state recognition, nine qualified to attend three-week summer studies at Appalachian State University, the University of Kansas, and Austin College; and three qualified for three weeks of summer studies at Davidson College, Trinity University, or New College of Florida.

Parents, Grands

Go High-Tech Too!

Varghese is City’s

“Outstanding Big Buddy”

When it comes to high-tech, 21st Century Technology Coordinator Jason Bostic not only “teaches the teachers” but is teaching STJ

Class of 2012 member Kevin Varghese won the citywide YMCA award for Most Outstanding Big Buddy for his work with his “little buddies,” students at area public schools with whom Varghese was paired as a mentor. The award is given to the “big buddy” who goes the extra mile for their young friends and to the individual who has gained the respect of their peers and adults. Sixty big buddies from local high schools mentored little buddies from the Montgomery Public School system in 2011-12. The award, presented in April, marked the culmination of the Interpersonal Relations/Youth Leadership (IPRYL) class, sponsored at a variety of area schools by the YMCA of Montgomery.

parents and grandparents as well. Bostic began

Presenters said Varghese was chosen because of his distinguished leadership and his service to peers and his little buddies in the IPRYL program. Varghese had two little buddies whom he mentored and assisted throughout the year as part of the class. The selection committee said they were very impressed with Kevin’s positive attitude, determination, and flexibility.

“Please offer more training as we progress with

a series of free technology classes for STJ adult family members in the spring of 2012. Holding the sessions in the school’s Faculty Technology Lab, the only dedicated teacher/training lab within a Montgomery-area school, Bostic uses iPads and MacBooks to help the adult relatives master the same tools as their younger family members. Parents and grandparents who’ve taken the classes have been thrilled with the free tech opportunity: these new learning tools!” wrote one parent. Bostic says he’s already made plans to do just that.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 6



In 2012, STJ students’ AP exam averages once again soared far above national, state and even global averages on the same tests. T he classes, designed as college-level coursework by the College Board, are fastpaced and intensive. Scores range from 1 - 5, with a 5 indicating “extremely well qualified to receive college credit” and a 1 representing “no recommendation to receive college credit.” Result s from the May exams show S TJ students’ overall mean score on all AP exams was 3.41, far above the Alabama overall mean score average of 2.45, and the national overall mean score average of 2.86. Equally as exciting, scores of 4 and 5 dominated three classes: AP English Literature (with a class average of 4.3), AP Advanced U.S. History (with a class average of 4.2), and AP Studio Art (with a class average of 4.1). These very high averages indicate the majority of students in those classes were judged “extremely well qualified to receive college credit” or “well qualified to receive college credit.”

STJ students have the exciting opportunity to learn about different cultures in 2012-13, just by talking with their classmates! Students from England, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Norway, In AP English Literature at Saint James, 100 per cent of students passed the rigorous AP exam, while, globally, only 57 per cent of students passed the exam. In AP Studio Art, half of the STJ students enrolled in the class passed with flying colors, earning the highest score possible, while, globally, only 14 per cent of students received the exam’s top score. And, in AP U.S. History, 14 out of 16 students (7/8 of the class) scored the top grades of a 5 or a 4, while nationally students, averaged a 2.5 score.

Above: STJ’s ‘11-12 Advanced Placement U.S. History class scored an average of 4.2 on the College Board’s AP exam, out of a possible 5. The national average is 2.5 for this exam. High-scoring class members are (front, l): Amelia Hanan, Reed O'Mara, Cassidy Alwan, Caroline Crisp, Beth Oakley, and Emily Prim; (back, l): Nate Keckley, Matthew Alter, Grayson Rutherford, (instructor Larry McLemore), Sydney Brasfield, Reed Chisenhall, Walker Woodson, Chase Ritter, Josef Jackson, Matt Young, and Elliott Burrow.

Oman, Kuwait, and Korea – twelve different countries in all – are enrolled in STJ’s elementary, middle, and high schools. A special International Day has now been expanded to include the entire school, spotlighting the different cultures represented by the foreignborn students, and providing valuable, new learning opportunities. ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher Natalie King is also now on staff, ready to provide extra help to foreign-born students having difficulty with their lessons due to language difficulties. Whatever the language, across the globe –

“We are Saint James School!”



M o n t g o m e r y

The Performing Arts Department added credence to its reputation for creativity and innovation in April when it presented Montgomery’s first-ever production of Legally Blonde the Musical.

“The music is some of the most challenging ever put to our students,” added Choral Director Lis Donaldson. “But, because it was such fun and the music really had meaning to them, our actors stepped up to the challenge.” A musical comedy, Legally Blonde the Musical was also a favorite with area audiences – packing the house during each performance. Saint James students (l) Reed Chisenhall and Wesley Carpenter performed in STJ’s production of Legally Blonde the Musical for its first-ever presentation on a Montgomery stage. Saint James is one of the first schools in the country to be licensed to produce the show that has been a major hit on Broadway.

Photo: Jennifer Ergenbright

“We were the first high school in the nation to be licensed to perform this high energy, runaway Broadway hit,” said Lonny Harrison, Director of Theater. “It was really quite a coup. The music and message that come through this fun little romp on the stage really excited our students.”

[around the] The Class of


A n ot h e r

Doodle 4 Google

State Finalist Reagan Briere was Alabama’s 2012 finalist in the Grade 6-7 division of the National Doodle 4 Google competition. Briere’s achievement marks the second time in as many years that an STJ student’s artwork has been chosen for the honor. (Emily Kent’s work was selected in 2010). One of 400 state finalists (representing Grades K-3, 4-5; 6-7; 8-9; and 10-12), Briere’s work was chosen from a total of 114,000 entries submitted from across the country.

The Class of 2012 consisted of 77 students, including a National Merit Finalist, two National Merit Commended Students, the YMCA’s Big Buddy of the Year, Alabama's Exchange Club Youth of the Year, the Outstanding District Female Choral Student, a regional Bryant-Jordan Outstanding Scholar Athlete, three All-State Band members, and the Montgomery Business Committee’s Artist of the Year, among other honors. The class received $2.7 million in merit-based scholarships!


Pee Wee!

Starting in September, STJ football won’t be confined to just middle and high school athletes, as the school initiates new Termite (3rd and 4th grade) and Pee Wee (5th and 6th grade) football squads, developing a younger program to compliment the 7th – 12th grade programs already in place. “At the end of May, we had 36 boys signed up for Pee Wee and 26 signed up for Termite squads,” Athletic Director Jerry Browning says. “In the past we may have had as few as 10 kids playing “Y” ball. Now we have 60 kids playing. We’re quadrupling the number of players who have football experience by seventh grade.” Only the second school in the area to begin such a program, (Catholic started a similar program last year), Browning says other Capital City Conference schools are also expressing an interest.

“We’re going to make it a positive experience, teaching young players the fundamentals of football,” Browning says. STJ parents coach both divisions, with Chris Johnson and Clarence Duncan coaching the Pee Wees, and Ted Bridges and Kevin Taylor coaching the young Termites.” Though some of the boys have already played football, Browning says, “what they really want is to be an STJ football player, to have those letters on their jersey. This new program gives them that opportunity.” Varsity Coach Jimmy Perry and his staff worked with the new coaches over the summer. Perry hopes the new program means that, in the future, little time will be lost explaining the basics to young players as they move on to the middle and high school teams. “What you run isn’t important, but how you run it and what you call it is,” Perry says. In addition to the boys, 30 girls will be cheering in new Pee-Wee and Termite Cheer Squads beginning this fall.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 8



By Hannah Glenn ’11

Providing the full spectrum of educational activities for students from kindergarten through senior year is a cornerstone of Saint James School. But the job doesn’t come without challenges.

Case in point: How do you keep students in vastly different age groups engaged with each other, strengthening the bonds within the STJ family? In 1997 then-Senior Class sponsor Susan Atkins faced just that challenge. She’d taught seniors for many years, observing the fun they had interacting with young students. Noting how the little ones also relished attention from the older students, Atkins devised a plan to pair the five-year-olds with senior students in individual “buddy” relationships. Atkins put her plan into action during the 1997-98 school year, pioneering the STJ Senior and Kindergarten Buddy initiative, the first such program in the city of Montgomery.

In the program’s first-ever event, STJ kindergartners “met” their senior buddies in Cinderella-like fashion, matching an empty shoe with a Senior Class member who was still wearing its mate. After discovering each other, the buddies played Twister, another ice-breaker. That first year, the two groups also got together for Halloween and Christmas Convocation. “It was evident from the beginning that the program had great potential to bring these two groups together in a very special way,” Atkins says, “creating lasting bonds and positive memories about being a part of the STJ family.” Now STJ’s Dean of Academics, Atkins has watched her idea grow. “Each senior sponsor puts their own special mark on the program by adding different events such as pumpkin painting in the fall and kite day in the spring,” Atkins says.

Atkins put her plan into action during the 1997-98 school year, pioneering the STJ Senior and Kindergarten Buddy initiative, the first such program in the city of Montgomery.

One major addition to the program – Senior Walk – was added in 2009. Seniors, in caps and gowns, meet their young kindergarten buddies for a formal parade around the quad in front of parents and the entire student body. The event marks “a passing of the torch” from the soon-to-be alumni to the soon-to-be newest STJ “class.” Already a school favorite, the event has created even stronger bonds between the buddy partners. For 2012 Class President Graham Norwood, the proud moment with his buddy during Senior Walk was definitely a standout event. Norwood, who didn’t attend STJ in K5, had had no experience with the senior/K5 buddy program. “Honestly, I was expecting the typical wild and crazy five-year-old boy, but that was far from the truth,” Norwood says. “My buddy, Hinds Duncan, proved to be mature for his age and a lot of fun to hang out with.” Norwood remembers seeing his buddy in the mornings, as Norwood walked from his car to class. “Hinds always seemed to be calling out of his Daddy’s truck, a welcoming ‘Good Morning!’” Norwood says, smiling. Looking back on the buddy experience Norwood, now an alum, says young people at STJ receive support “to facilitate every major transition students go through” while at the school. Class of 2012 senior Taylor Duncan remembers STJ kindergarten and the significance of having a senior buddy. She was excited about having her own K5 pal. “Having a kindergarten buddy reminds me of what I was like at Saint James in K5. It brings back memories and makes Saint James really feel like a family,” Duncan says. Erin Waggoner, Duncan’s K5 partner, wants to grow up to be like her older friend. “She’s sweet and I want to have long hair and freckles like her,” Waggoner says. Susan Atkins has watched kindergartners with senior buddies turn into seniors with kindergarten buddies. Not only does the program create a lasting bond and sense of community, it also makes the seniors realize the younger students watch them and consider them role models. “I have also seen it contribute to the confidence of seniors,” Atkins says. “They take responsibility for working with their K5 buddy and become more confident in their ability to fulfill their role in that relationship.” Kindergarten teacher Colleen Murphy, too, has seen the program grow from its inception and says she loves the impact seniors have on the K5 students. “[The kindergartners] have a friend for life that is going to be with them throughout their kindergarten experience,” Murphy says, “and the seniors love reliving their kindergarten years when they come [to K5] for a visit.”

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 1 0



t was a ‘shower thought.’ You know, one of those ideas that pops through your head as you’re mentally preparing for the day.”

That’s how Head of School Melba Richardson describes her idea to offer students elective coursework that introduces them to college studies before they ever even leave high school. On Richardson’s suggestion, the school’s curriculum team immediately began researching the issue, contacting several of the state’s universities. High school department heads were also polled about the kinds of exciting new courses that could be offered. “Our department heads played a critical role in helping us research and design these courses,” Richardson says. In addition, the University of Alabama, Auburn University and Troy University are assisting in the development of these innovative courses, from instructional design collaboration to classroom support.

As a result STJ students have access to 12 new courses for the 2012-13 year, including Robotics and Pre-Engineering; Survey of Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy and Related Professions; Music Theory (intended for students interested in a music industry major); Graphic Design; AP Studio 2-D Design; Visual Storytelling; The United States in Global Affairs; Networking (CompTia A+ Certification Prep); Environmental Science; Introduction to Health; Lifetime Health and Wellness; and Introduction to Business, Marketing and Finance. Saint James School is the only high school in Alabama offering the extensive “pre-college major” elective selection. Among the instructors teaching the new elective courses are Vicky Eichelberg, Christi Hurd, Susan Smith, Evelyn Shoults, Jim Gunter, Andrew Clinton, David Long, Jeremy Turner, Nigel Card, and Cathy Latham. According to teacher Vicky Eichelberg, the Robotics and Pre-Engineering class was developed after the success STJ’s first-ever Robotics Team experienced when they built their own robot for the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) competition in 2011.




A total of twelve new courses are offered. Here’s a sampling. Graphic Design

Students learn the professional tools of the trade — Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign — to understand concepts used by professional graphic designers and experience the creative challenges they face. Students create logos, posters, product packaging, and billboards, as well as complete business systems and web design.

Introduction to Business, Marketing and Finance

Teaching students basic economic concepts of supply and demand, the role of price in the market, and market structure, the course provides an introduction to the knowledge necessary to be a successful business entrepreneur. Specially selected simulations allow students to make and understand the importance of decisions related to operating a business. Visual Story-Telling

“Just being on the school Robotics Team last fall taught me that getting to work with other students and actually build a robot makes a big difference in how much you learn,” junior Duncan Blackwell says. ”I think the Pre-Engineering elective will give me a leg-up on other students entering college, because I’ll have more experience.” “This course will definitely give students an understanding of the engineering profession and what it takes to be prepared for the demands of the college engineering curriculum,” Eichelberg says. “When Mrs. Richardson first started telling me she wanted me to work on this last year, frankly, all I could see were the obstacles and how unprepared I was to tackle such a venture. But as I began researching it and seeing the opportunities that were available, I thought this would provide some real excitement and intense learning for the students.” Eichelberg says students will be exposed to various engineering fields with robotics as the major component of the course. In addition, students will complete

an engineering project encountering deadlines, limited resources, budgeting, sales presentations, professional notebooks, and design and construction tasks. Both Auburn University and the University of Alabama have offered their assistance with the course, according to Eichelberg. As the South’s hub for BEST, AU’s College of Sciences and Mathematics hosts teacher training in robotics. Additionally, Jessica Dewberry, an engineer and recruiter for the AU’s School of Engineering and UA’s Dr. Jeff Gray, a computer engineering departmental professor, have both extended their services in speaking with the class and working with students. Eichelberg says the nine high school students who’ve signed up for the new elective realize the value of the special opportunity that is unique to Saint James students.

Understanding the tools and methods to create compelling video productions that tell a story prepares students for innovative projects in college or later mediarelated professions. Using the Apple program iMovie, students learn basic video-editing concepts as well as advanced features of the application, including precise audio and video editing and green screen work.

“They can’t wait!” she says, with a grin. And, judging by Eichelberg's own excitement about the new course, neither can their teacher. C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 1 2

faculty superlatives! Evelyn Shoults Middle school art teacher and high school photography teacher Evelyn Shoults was awarded the 2012 Visual Arts Achievement Program Teacher Award by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in April. “My students might have been more excited than me,” Shoults says, smiling. The award was based on the success of the young teacher’s students, whose works placed at both the state and district levels in arts competition. Shoults, who is entering her third year at STJ, says she keeps students inspired and focused by using new technology, such as an iPad sketchbook instead of a traditional one. With a degree in graphic design and a minor in marketing, Shoults understands the importance of staying current. “Everything I’ve wanted to try in class, I’ve been able to do because of the funding and support at STJ,” she says. Shoults, herself, is a product of the instruction of STJ Fine Arts Department Head Jim Gunter, who taught her as a seventh grader. “He pushes you to be the best that you can be,” she says of her former teacher and current coworker, and she hopes to do the same. Shoults says her greatest pride is her students’ work. “They’re excelling, and they’re the reason I received the award.”

Art by: Kendall McCann, rising 8th grader

Dr. Ian Turnipseed Debate instructor Dr. Ian Turnipseed (also an ’00 alum and former STJ debate team member) was named Coach of the Year at the State Debate Tournament in Prattville in early May. A 15-year forensics veteran (ten as a competitor and five as a coach), he holds three state titles, one in Prose and two in Extemporaneous Speaking. In college Turnipseed competed at Clemson University and was named the 14th Best Speaker in the Nation in 2003. As a coach he has guided national champions at the college level, had seven national qualifiers in the past two years at STJ, and four state champions. “Winning this kind of award highlights the quality of the product at Saint James,” Turnipseed says. “Parents and students look at it as a good indicator that I can teach students a skill that will help them succeed.” Numbers prove Turnipseed’s point: Participation in STJ’s debate program has tripled between 2011-12 and 2012-13.


st Century

Tech – tastic

Qa &

A Technology Q&A with Head of School

Melba Richardson How was the decision made to invest in new classroom technology? Why were Apple computers selected over PCs? We began learning about the valuable use of technology within the classroom setting about five years ago, during conferences the principals and I attended. It became impossible to ignore the value to classroom learning afforded by these new tools. Why? Because it was obvious that technology creates engaged student learners. Ignoring the future of technology in the classroom would have closed doors for our children. Apple products were chosen because the company devotes significant resources to education, and creates premiere tech tools for students.

Why are the elementary students not included in the rental program? What digital tools will they use? Elementary students still need to work on basic motor skills and reading and math skills – using pencil and paper. Tech tools on roll-around carts, however, will be woven into each classroom curriculum for appropriate learning. Based on our research, technology use in these grades should continue to take place at school, under the guidance of teachers. Teachers will sign up for usage of the carts, which are plentiful, and rotate the tools as needed. A third grader, for example, may see tech tools used in reading, math, and all disciplines. The elementary science lab will also have carts.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 1 4

What happens if a rental unit becomes damaged? We purchased the “Apple Care” service so damaged units can be repaired. Mrs. Leigh Copeland, our IT Director, is also “Apple-trained” for repairs. Of course, damage from individual neglect will require the user to pay for the repair, as outlined in the Technology Use Policy in STJ’s Student/Parent Handbook.

o, CA

Indianapolis, IN


Louisville, KY


Why did you decide on MacBooks for HS and iPads for MS? Why rent instead of purchase? We based our decision about the distribution of MacBooks and iPads on our own research, on visits to school systems touted as having the finest technology achievement in the country, and on the needs of our own college preparatory curriculum. When all is said and done, our decision just made good academic sense. The leasing option was also a topic thoroughly discussed during our visit to Cupertino (Apple Headquarters), and our phone calls and visits to various model schools. Leasing the devices was the way to go. We want to constantly upgrade the tools, every three to four years. Purchasing would not have allowed us to do that.

Seattle, WA

Baltimore, MD


What exact devices are STJ students using? In 2011-2012 we introduced iPod Touch carts, iPad carts, and MacBook carts to students across the grade levels. At the beginning of this month STJ issued all middle school students an iPad and all high school students a MacBook. Students in these upper grades take the tools home to use for schoolwork. Elementary students continue to have access to iPod Touches, iPads, and MacBooks, depending on assignments for different classes. So, all students, PreK-3 through seniors, have appropriate access to tech tools for learning.

Apple Headquarters

Mooresville, NC

Cupertino, California

Atlanta, GA

Denver, CO Houston, TX O'Neal, NE

How will the plan for online books in the middle school work? Will the plan expand to include the other schools? With the exception of one book per grade in Grades 7-9, all books used by middle schoolers for 2012-13 are installed on the students’ iPads. MS Principal Cathy Pearson and her faculty have done an amazing job of researching online books. Some teachers are even creating their own books. We are truly excited about this idea, as it eliminates heavy book bags and also enhances the quality of the classroom experience. Since elementary students are not assigned their own digital tools, we won’t, of course, have online books in the elementary school. There are future possibilities in the high school, with some teachers looking into whether it would be an option for their classroom. AP courses do not offer this option now. We will keep exploring the possibilities.

Nashville, TN Huntsville, AL Birmingham, AL

Savannah, GA

Pensacola, FL

Planning for Success: Visits and phone calls to premiere technology sites across the U.S. informed administrative decisions about STJ's technology future.

Does STJ have wireless internet? How can you be sure that students will not visit inappropriate sites? The STJ campus went wireless during summer 2011. Students have access to our wireless network, and are expected to follow all instructions and rules concerning use, as listed in the Technology Policy published in the Parent/Student Handbook. Student tech tools can be monitored by our technology staff, as we have the software that allows us to see if students try to visit inappropriate sites. The punishment for this infraction is severe. As a school, we have an obligation to teach digital literacy, and responsibility is part of that.

the Winners’circle

E x C iti n g News A bout O ur E x ceptio n al P erforma n ce ! Compiled by Emily Prim ‘13


2012 Senior Class Scholarship Total: $2.8 million AP Scholars - 5 AP Scholars with Distinction - 4 AP Scholars with Honors - 15 AP Scholars National Merit - 1 National Merit Semi-Finalist - 2 Commended National Merit students In 2011-12, 33% of STJ students in Grades 10-12 took at least one AP exam and 80% of STJ students’ AP scores were graded a 3, 4 or 5. (A 4 or 5 was scored on 51% of the STJ tests. The Alabama average: 9% scored a 3, 4 or 5.) STJ students had an overall mean score of 3.41 on AP exams in 2011-12. (The Alabama overall mean score average: 2.45. The national overall mean score average: 2.86.) Alabama Statewide Mathematics Contest, District VI Level - First Place: Algebra II with Trig Team - Second Place: Advanced Team, Geometry Team - Individual winners: one First Place, one Second Place, two Third Place Alabama Regional Science Olympiad - Individual winners: four First Place and four Second Place National Latin Exam - Two Gold Medals, Summa Cum Laude 2011-12 YMCA Big Buddy of the Year Award 2011-12 YMCA Spirit Award 2011-12 Exchange Club's alabama Student of the Year 2011-12 Montgomery County Distinguished Young Women - Second Runner Up, Talent Winner

AT H L ET IC S 75% of students in grades 7-12 participated on interscholastic teams during 2011-12 Varsity Athletic Teams - Golf: State 4A Participants - Boys Tennis Team: State 4A Runner-Up and Area 4A sectionals champions - Girls Tennis Team: State 4A Third Place - Baseball Team: State Tournament Quarterfinalists - Wrestling: State Tournament Participants

-Girls Track: State Meet Participants -Boys Track: State Meet Participants -Girls Cross Country: State Meet Participants, Second Place Winner - Boys Cross Country: State Meet Participants - Girls Soccer: State Tournament Participants Individual State Achievement - Wrestling One Runner-Up: 120 lbs. - Girls Tennis Two Runners-Up: #2 Singles & #1 Doubles - Boys Tennis Six Runners-Up: #1 Singles, #3 Singles,#4 Singles, #5 Singles, #6 Singles, & #3 Doubles - Track Third Place: 1600 Meter Run & 3200 Meter Run Third Place: 100 Meter High Hurdles - Boys Basketball First Team, All-Area Team: One player selected Second Team, All-State Team: One player selected Capital City Conference Team Champions - Boys Middle School Basketball - Girls JV Basketball - Middle School Football - Varsity Baseball

V ISUA L A N D PE R FOR M I NG A RTS 100% of students in grades 9-12 participate in a visual or performing arts program during their high school career VISUAL ARTS Alabama Regional Scholastic Art Competition - Gold Keys: 4 Painting, 1 Drawing - Silver Keys: 3 Painting, 1 Drawing, 1 Printmaking, & 1 Photography Alabama State Council on the Arts Visual Art Achievement Program, State Level - Best of Category, Printmaking: High School Division - Best of District II: High School Division - Best of Drawing: Middle School Division - Best of Painting: Middle School Division - Best of District II: Middle School Division - Art Teacher of the Year 2011 Artistic Competition for Exceptional Students - Second Place Winner: High School Doodle for Google - State Finalist: Grades 6-7

Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts - 2011 Artist of the Year PERFORMING ARTS Marching Band - Bands of America Super-Regionals, Class Champions Band, Individuals - Alabama All-District Band: 2 students - Alabama All-State Band: 6 students - Rose Parade Honor Band: 4 students Chorus, Individuals - Alabama All-State Choir: 20 students - All-State Show Choir: 1 student - Female Outstanding District Choral Student Theater - State Trumbauer Festival, Third Place: 1 student DIGITAL MEDIA Computer Olympiad - Second Place: Website Design - Second Place: Math - Third Place: Alice 3D Animation SPEECH AND DEBATE National Forensics Tournament - Speech Semi-Finalist: Story Telling State Forensics Tournament - State Champion: Poetry - State Champion: Prose - Second Place: Dramatic Interpretation, Original Oratory & Congressional Debate - T hird Place: International Extemporaneous Speaking & Congressional Debate - Presiding Officer in Congress YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT Youth Legislature - Outstanding Statesman in Senate - Outstanding Lobbyist - Two Top 10 First Year members - Two selected for Conference on National Affairs

Due to space, only regional and/or state level events with Third Place honors or higher are listed.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 1 6

Practice Makes




ALL by Hannah Glenn ‘11

STJ’s first game of the 2012 football season may be right around the corner, but it’s an event Head Coach Jimmy Perry has been anticipating for seven months, since his first day on the job in January. The 2010 Alabama Football Association’s 5A Coach of the Year, Perry knows what a good football program looks like, what it takes to create one, and lead it as well. As head football coach at Saint Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Perry’s Saints were the 5A Region 1 Champions in both 2010 and 2011. As head football coach and athletic director at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery (19952000) Perry took the Generals to a runner-up finish in the 6A State Championship in 1999, following consecutive area championships in ’97 and ‘98. The 55-year-old coach has also worked in the SEC arena with Auburn University’s football program (2000-2008) under Head Coaches Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik.

A longtime member of the STJ family (his daughter, Jana Perry Gwin is an ’00 alum) Perry is quick to admit he’s instigated changes in the school’s 39-year-old varsity football program. The first visible difference Perry hopes fans will note is an increased physicality and “toughness attitude” in the team. He’s also changing the style of offense, establishing a more aggressive, downhill offense instead of side to side. Even STJ facilities and equipment bear the mark of Perry’s presence, as he’s been involved in upgrades for both. “This is what we have to do to be a first-class program,” Perry says. “We have great support from the administration and the school, and we will give [the players] everything they need to be successful. We won’t shortchange them on anything.” What physical improvements has Perry initiated? Upgrading the showers, installing new, more efficient laundry machines and air purifiers inside the field house, building a mobile platform from which to film practices, and implementing a practice timer. The practice timer insures coaches don’t linger on one drill too long, keeping practice efficient and fresh. And filming each day’s practice is important, Perry says, because “you can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” Perry’s main strategy for success is daily improvement, making practice critical. “Every day we [practice] we must leave here a little bit better,” the veteran coach says. “There are no days off. It will be a cumulative effect of daily improvements.” In mid-June Perry began a daily “NFL style” training camp, including breakfast for the players, film review, classroom work, and on-the-field applications for the entire team.

“He runs this program like we are a college team, and we’re already seeing the benefits,” says senior player Walker Woodson. “I can already tell that he [Perry] is a motivator,” adds STJ quarterback CJ Duncan. “We feel as if we can take on anyone.” Jimmy Perry’s plans for STJ football include a clear view of what his team must do to win football games: 1) win the turnover battle; 2) stop the opponents’ rush; 3) establish a running game; and 4) have a solid kicking game. By increasing his players’ physicality, aggressiveness, and overall technique, Perry hopes to equip the Saint James players to win. “I’m excited, thrilled and can’t wait to see how far we’ve come by the time we play our first game of the 2012 season,” says STJ consultant, veteran coach, and longtime friend Spence McCracken, commenting on Perry’s vision and style. With McCracken as Robert E. Lee Head Coach and Perry his assistant, the duo worked side by side for 11 years (1984 – 1995), winning three state football championships before Perry assumed the top Lee post himself.

“We know each other pretty well,” McCracken says with a characteristic grin. “We’ve come light years under Perry in the last several months,” he adds. “Everyday the kids are working to get better and that’s all we can ask.” In addition to the changes he’s already made, Perry continues to make adjustments to the program. In an effort to sharpen linebacker performance, Perry convinced former Georgia Bulldogs standout Larry Ware to work with Trojan players in the afternoons. Ware, a Perry/ McCracken protégé from Lee High School days, has also played professionally for the Miami Dolphins. As Saint James fans look with eagerness to see what Perry and his team of coaches will do for the football program, the coaches themselves are looking to the players. “I can’t wait to see how much progress we’ve made from the spring to the fall and how we continue to progress during the season,” Perry says. “Watching these young guys getting better is really exciting.”

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 1 8

Compiled by Emily Prim ‘13

State Play



STJ’s football, golf, boys and girls tennis, baseball, soccer, softball and girls basketball teams participated in post-season, state level competition during 2011-2012. Individual members of the boys and girls track, boys and girls cross country, and wrestling teams also participated in state tournament play.


CJ Duncan and Jake Jabour were honored as Private School Players of the Week by the Montgomery Quarterback Club.


Sport Shorts

Tennis: STJ’s girls and boys tennis teams advanced to the State Tournament in the spring, after both swept their area tournaments, winning all six lines of Singles and all three lines of Doubles. In the State playoffs, the boys team was the 2012 4A State Runner-up. Wrestling:

Sophomore Stephen Kwan was State Runner-up in the

120-pound category.

Track: In State play, Taylor Duncan won Third Place in the 1600m and 3200m runs. Ashley Williamson also placed Third at State in the 100m High Hurdles. At sectionals, the 4x800m girls relay team won First Place and the 4x800m boys relay team won Third Place. Preston Elwell received sectionals First Place in Javelin, creating a new school record. Also, Evan Border placed Second in Discus at sectionals, breaking his own school record. Baseball: STJ’s baseball team reached State Tournament Quarterfinals in 2012; they were also named Capital City Conference Champions and Area Champions. Cheerleading: At the University of Alabama’s Cheer Camp, varsity cheerleaders Ashley Williamson and Deanna Bruner were named to the 2012 All-American squad. Jr. Varsity members making All-American are Gabbi Pohlman, Emma Moody, Channing Alwan, and Sadie Argo. The Middle School All-Americans are Mae Morgan Blankenship and Taylor Eubanks. Soccer:

The girls team participated in spring State Tournament play. Kelly Joyner and Cassidy Alwan were named to the Jr. North/South All-Star team. Joyner was also selected, along with Mary Griggs, for the Montgomery Advertiser All Metro Girls First Team. For the boys, Forrest Taylor and Austin Meadows were selected for the Montgomery Advertiser All Metro Boys First Team.


In boys basketball, CJ Duncan was named Montgomery Advertiser Player of the Week and led the state in individual points earned with an average of 26 per game. He was also selected to the Second Team, All-State and the First Team, All-Area. The varsity girls team became Area Runners-Up. Kelly Joyner was named to the North/South All-Star team and was First Team, All-Metro. The boys MS and the JV girls basketball teams were the winners of their respective CCC End-of-Season Tournaments. Lacie Vette was selected for the girls All-Tournament Team, while Regan Riddle was named the girls tournament MVP.


STJ golfers won the tenth annual Greater Montgomery High School Golf Championship at Cottonwood Golf Club on April 5. The win was a first in school history. Students Walker Wise, Walker Carr, David Haven, Slade Methvin, and Payton Marsh comprised STJ’s winning team.





Ralph Foster is the Director of Public Service at Auburn University, where he has worked for more than 23 years. He is responsible for the university’s community engagement programs for students and faculty, and he also oversees program certification for the outreach and continuing education division. His responsibilities take him around the state and beyond developing civic partnerships and service projects. Most recently, Ralph helped establish a study abroad program in Belize; in July 2011, Ralph led a 30-person team of faculty, students and alumni in a tornado relief project in Tuscaloosa for Habitat for Humanity. Ralph and his wife of 21 years, Lesley, live in Montgomery. They enjoy hunting, fishing, and traveling together, and recently renovated an old home very near the former STJ campus.

Mark Collier is the regional manager of Shaw Industries in Dalton, GA. He and wife Sherry live in Atlanta.They have one daughter.

Stan May lives in Oakland, CA, where he works for American Airlines and is the Customer Service Manager at San Francisco International Airport.

1978 Lisa (Howard) Jenkins is a medical transcriptionist in Montgomery. She is married to Mark Jenkins who works in Risk Management for Synovus Bank in Columbus. They have two children. David Sweatt is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at UAB. In Jan. 2012 David learned he’d received the 2012 Ipsen Foundation Prize in Neuroscience for work in the area of Epigenetics and Brain Function. To see an episode of PBS’ NOVA, where the team’s work is featured go to http://www. or visit Dave’s website at sweatt_lab/.

1979 Tim Hall is a CPA, and owns his own business, Timothy A. Hall, LLC in Montgomery. He and wife Jane (Reynolds) have three children, who have all attended STJ. Ken Harsha has worked for Browder Veneer Works in Montgomery for 19 years. He has three children and nine grandchildren and loves working outdoors.

Robert Norman and wife Laura live in Prescott, AZ where he is VP and managing member of Sun Pine Homes. Laura (Letherwood) is the Communications Director for West Yavapai Guidance Clinic.


Celebrating their 30th high school reunion, classmates from the Class of ’81 gathered on Oct. 15 at The Tipping Point. Shown here: (l) Edwin Wilson,

Steve Land lives in Hoover, Paul Burkett, David Rudd, Bill Levy, Scott Collier. AL, and is in sales, working as the Territory Manager for EDA Pro Group in Snellville, GA. He 1987 and wife Julia, the Director of Communications for Kiersten (Wilbanks) Caballero is a teacher in Litigation Counsel of America, have one daughter. Houston and enjoys teaching and living in Cypress, TX with daughter Caroline Frances and husband Al, who is an oil pipeline designer. They have a 1985 goldendoodle named Ruby Louise. “We spend our Charles Parker is a partner in Bishop-Parker spare time visiting with family and friends, golfing, Furniture. He and wife Hayden have two children. and scuba diving as well as volunteering with Sheltering Arms, the Arthritis Association, and the Jr. Jeanine (Taylor) Faulkner is in Accounting League of Houston.” and is the HR Manager for ThermaMasters, LLC in Wetumpka, AL. She and husband Kevin live in Montgomery, and have two children, Taylor, 5, and a second child they recently adopted, Tyler. Jeanine and her husband are starting the fourth season of their inflatable business, Space Walk of Montgomery. Their website is

1986 Charles Edwards is the vice-president of Edwards Plumbing and Heating. He and the former Erin Clemens have three children, and are now STJ parents! Charlie says, “Starting my 20th year working in the family business and eagerly anticipating watching my wife Erin graduate from AUM this December with her Masters in Education.” Charles Sylvest is the Minister of Education and Children at First Baptist Church in Wetumpka. He is married to the former Laura Beth Ingram, an independent distributor for Premier Designs. Charles and Laura welcomed Whitman Burke to the Sylvest family in May 2011, joining big sister Ella Lucile and big brother Henry Ingram. “They are so happy to have a tie-breaker,” Charles says.

Rani Christie is SVP Sales and Distribution Director – Americas for Euler Hermes. He and wife Marla live in West Friendship, MD and have three children. Keri (Crocker) Lucas teaches German/English at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham where she lives with her husband, James, and their three children. Keri says, “I still have horses and ride when I get a chance. We have added a few chickens, goats, and dogs to our little farm. The young boys keep everyone busy: Jake plays football and hunts his hound in competitive hunts; Hunter and Bradley are starting Dixie League baseball. We live in a small community known as Brierfield, just south of Birmingham and Montevallo.” Bryan Kelly McGehee and wife Pam live in Madison, MS, where he is the Sales Manager for AT&T NBM Gulf States. Pam is a homemaker, and the couple has two children. They are expecting their third child in late summer.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 2 0

Class of... 1988


Ben Freeman and wife Michelle live in Dothan and have twin girls. He is a manager with Sabel Steel Service, and wife Michelle is a physician with the Dothan Pediatrics Clinic. Alicia (Brown) Kellum and husband Wain Kellum live in Atlanta. Wain is the CEO of Vecalocity, Inc. After a successful career in Technology with her last job as a Director at Hewlett Packard, Alicia is enjoying taking time off to stay home with her two boys, ages 4 1/2 and 3. This year, Alicia says that her 15-year-old step-daughter moved from Florida to live with the family, making her an instant full time Mom with three children (one of whom is learning to drive!). Alicia is active in the community, volunteering at Buckhead Church and also serving on the leadership team for her Mothers of Preschoolers group of 180 women. Robert Mangum and wife Gina live in Montgomery. He is a CRBN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) Officer with the U.S. Army, on a WMD response unit. “Sounds more glamorous than it really is,” says Robert. “I have been married for 17 years and have four children. I enjoy doing races of all kinds. My latest was Tough Mudder Tampa. Who would have known that I would end up loving to run? Blame that on the Army.”

1989 Chris Bena is a 737 pilot with Alaska Airlines, in Anchorage, AK. He and wife Amber have three children. John Fleming was promoted to Lt. Col. on Sept. 1, 2011 and took command of Marine Wing Support Squadron 71 in Yuma, AZ in June 2012. He and wife Amanda have two children entering grades eight and five.

1990 Mary-Lorraine (Ladner) Cox is the school psychologist for the Dorchester School, District Two in North Charleston, SC. Husband Michael David Cox is a software engineer, working for Blackbaud in Charleston. Mary-Lorraine and Michael have two children.

1993 Bryan Skelton is the EVP/ CFO for Educational Services of America, Inc. in Nashville, TN. He was recently honored by the Nashville Business Journal as CFO of the Year Award Winner. For more information go to http://

1992 Foster Dickson, a creative writing teacher at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery, was recently featured in a CNN segment about a student whom he had taught. The student credited Foster’s influence in helping her overcome obstacles [she’d faced as a foster child] to become successful. Foster also recently edited Children of the Changing South: Accounts of Growing Up in the South During and After Integration published by McFarland & Co. in Nov. 2011. The book includes essays written by Ravi Howard and Vallie Lynn Watson, both members of the Class of 1992. Vincent Ladner is in the U.S. Air Force and works as Superintendent of the 5th Medical Group at Minot AFB, ND. He was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant on 1 Nov. 2011. Vallie Lynn Watson is on the creative writing faculty of Southeast Missouri State University. Her first novel, A River So Long, was published in the spring of 2012. In addition to teaching, Lynn is earning her hot air ballooning license in her spare time.

Michael Johnston is the Chief Information Officer with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He and wife April, a clinical pharmacist, have two children. Dan Mangis completed a year-long diplomatic tour at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as a cultural affairs officer in the Public Affairs Section in Sept. 2011. He helps coordinate cultural and educational programs like the Fulbright exchanges and linkages between Iraqi and U.S. universities. Dan said the tour was very fulfilling but is glad to be back with his wife again. Dan’s next tour is in Madrid, where he’ll be the deputy spokesman for the Embassy.

1994 Meg (Sims) Hu and husband Chi Hu live in Charlotte, NC, where he is employed by Wells Fargo. They have two children. Jason Kingsley graduated from the University of North Texas with a BS in Emergency Management, and from Walden University with an MPA. After over a decade as a paramedic (Honolulu, HI and Arlington, TX) and an Emergency Manager (Washington, DC and Aurora, CO), Jason is the Chief Operations Officer of a community development nonprofit in Philadelphia, PA. Says Jason, “I have been married for nearly 8 years, and have traveled extensively since high school. I have managed to stay in touch with a few of my friends from Saint James, even after only one year there.”

1995 Jason Darnielle lives in Atlanta and is an attorney with Crim & Bassler, LLP. Toni (Wall) Grant and husband Terry live in Wetumpka, where she works for the Elmore County Board of Education. They have two children. Jessica Moses and husband Randal Ransom have two girls, and a little boy who was born on 11/18/11. “Sisters Cassidy and Addison are so proud of their brother,” says Jessica. They live in Fayetteville, GA, where Randal is a veterinarian.

Two ’92 alums hold joint booksigning. Vallie Lynn Watson ’92 and

Foster Dickson ’92 signed copies of their newly published books at a joint signing at Montgomery’s Capitol Book & News in May. Watson’s book is a novel, A River Too Long (Luminis Books, 2012) and Dickson’s Children of the Changing South (McFarland, 2011) is a nonfiction anthology for which he served as editor. The signing fell on the twentieth anniversary of Watson and Dickson’s graduation from STJ! Though the works are very different, both explore old Southern values and how those values influence the modern Southerner.

alumni Brent Quinney lives in Birmingham and is a vascular surgeon with Birmingham Vascular Associates, P.C. He and wife Sarah, a neonatal nurse practitioner, welcomed twin boys in March. They also have a three-year-old boy. Sarah (Thompson) Stebbins and husband Ryan Stebbins are living overseas, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where Ryan is a USAF officer in the Force Support Squadron. They have one son, William. “Life is an adventure,” Sarah says.

1996 Leigh Kennedy is an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army. He is with the 4th Infantry Division, stationed in Ft. Carson, CO, and is currently serving in Afghanistan on his second deployment. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 with the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry officer. He is also a graduate of Airborne and Ranger schools. Brian Thompson and wife Suzy live in Birmingham where he is the senior estimator with Hoar Construction. They have two children, a boy and a girl.

1997 Tina (Tatum) Frey was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Breast Cancer in May 2011. She says this discovery helped her to find the "funny" in breast cancer, which she shares in her online blog, www. Today, Tina is the Director of Radiology Services at the Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Weston, Wisconsin. Tina says she is "living in remission and enjoying every minute of it!" She is married to Nate Frey, an MRI Technologist and they have one son. Hollis (Crawford) Marshall is in the accounting department of Holtsford Gilliland Higgins Hitson & Howard, P.C. in Montgomery. She is married to Will Marshall, the VP of Field Operations for Marshall & Associates General Contractors. The Marshalls live in Auburn and have three children.

1998 Craig Bowman was promoted to Offensive Coordinator at Belhaven University in Jackson, MS on Jan. 1, 2012. Wife Claire is a first grade teacher. Their first son was born in July ‘10, and they welcomed boy #2 in Dec. 2011. Philip Cameron is the Media Director for Stella’s Voice in Montgomery, AL, and his wife Melissa, is Executive Assistant for the same company. Stella’s Voice speaks out for the orphans of Moldova. Philip says, “With each voice that adds with ours

we are able to offer a loving home to more of these innocent children, raising them in a Christian environment as our own.” Meredith (Darnielle) Camp and husband Bill Camp live in Atlanta. They have two boys, Marshall and Robert. Hayden Hicks is a Managed Repair Representative for Progressive Insurance in Clanton, AL. Married to the former Amanda Leigh Calfee, they have two children, a girl and a new baby boy. Josh Lynch is in his ninth year of teaching and his sixth year as the band director at Bumpus Middle School and Brock’s Gap Intermediate School in Hoover, AL. He also assists with the band program at Hoover High School. During his time at Bumpus, the bands have consistently received superior ratings at district, state, and regional contests. In 2010-11, Josh was the Bumpus Middle School and Hoover City Schools’ middle school nominee to the Jacksonville State University Teacher Hall of Fame. Josh and wife Melanie live in Helena, AL with their four-year-old son, Taylor, and their newborn daughter, Abby Grace.

Amanda (Cox) Ming lives in Hope Hull, AL and works for Government Corporate Partners, LLC. She also owns her own real estate company, Three Rivers Realty, in Montgomery. Amanda and husband Chase Ming have one young son and are expecting their second child, a girl, in September.

2000 Stuart Beale lives in Birmingham, and works for American Tire Distributors. He and wife Laura were married in December 2007.

During the spring, Montgomery area alums held a lateafternoon gathering at the Tipping Point at Hampstead.

Stephanie McElvy is a renal registered dietitian with Dialysis Clinic, Inc. in Nashville, TN. Marta (McLellan) Ross works for the U.S. Senate as a legislative assistant for foreign affairs to Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. Marta and husband Robert B. Ross, an attorney who works with the firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC, live in Mt. Rainier, MD. They have one child, a daughter. Will Steineker is a Project Manager for NCO Financial Systems in Montgomery.

1999 Julie Dawson lives in Daphne, AL and is the Regional Sales Manager for Hach Company in Loveland, CO. Bo Holt is an I.T. specialist with the State of Alabama ABC Board, living in Montgomery. Jenny (Darnielle) Mancuso married Patrick Mancuso in July 2011. They live in Atlanta where she is the HR Manager for McMaster Carr Supply Company.

Kimberly (Thomason) Bond lives in Atlanta where she is an Intellectual Property attorney with Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. She is married to Jason Bryan Bond, a network/database administrator with the Georgia Multiple Listing Service. Matt Cowart recently co-directed Kiki Baby at the New York Musical Theater Festival with long-time collaborator, Lonny Price. He produced and associate directed Company with the New York Philharmonic, which played in movie theaters across the country. Other directing credits include: Camp Wanatachi, a new electro-musical; Sondheim: the Birthday Concert, which aired on PBS Great Performances [Producer and Associate Director]; Broadway: Three Generations [Co-directed with Lonny Price]; Camelot with the New York Philharmonic [Associate Director]; Beautiful Girls [Associate Director]; the Broadway revival of 110 in the Shade [Assistant Director]; and the world premiere of We Three [Lincoln Center]. In the summer of 2009, he co-wrote and co-directed the original children’s musical, Dream Machines with Isaac Klein and James Stewart. Matt is a member of SDC, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 2 2

Class of... Billy Furr and wife Renee were married on July 16, 2011. He is a software engineer and recently began work at TripAdvisor, LLC, after finishing an M.S. in Computer Science at Northeastern University in May 2011. TripAdvisor is the largest travel website in the world, with 40 million unique monthly visitors. Billy and Renee live in Boston, MA, where she is a counselor. Richard Holston lives in Millbrook and works for the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board as an Enforcement Agent. He is married to the former Rena Lara, a registered nurse at Baptist Medical Center. Will McBryde lives in Montgomery and is a geologist with Geosyntec Consultants in Kennesaw, GA. Larry McLemore was recently named High School Counselor/ Dean of Student Projects at STJ. He has been teaching history for six years, five of which have been at Saint James School. Larry is married to the former Josie Mitchell, the Communications Director for the Montgomery YMCA. They are expecting their first child in January. Chad Slaton recently started a new career with McPherson Oil Companies in Mobile, AL, running their fuel fleet card program throughout the Gulf coast. Chad works with companies to help manage their fleet fuel expenses. He is engaged to Abby Smith from Mobile, and they will marry December 29, 2012.

Kate (McNamara) Smoker The Smokers live in Union Springs, AL, where Kate’s husband Justin is manager/owner of Piggly Wiggly and Kate is busy raising two boys at home. “Justin is also the Youth Minister at our church, First Baptist Church, in Union Springs, and I teach Sunday School to preschoolers there,” says Kate. “When not in Union Springs, we enjoy taking the boys to the beach for vacation.”

2001 Allison (Warren) Chernin is the Dean of Advisory and an English teacher at The O’Neal School, an independent school in Southern Pines, NC. Allison and husband Saul welcomed their daughter, Marianne Lillian Chernin, on Oct. 4, 2011 at 11:54 p.m. She was 8 lbs. and 20 in. long. Alyson (Rogers) Stanfa is a behavior data analyst with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Her husband, Nick, is the senior financial analyst for The Wendy’s Group, in Atlanta. Starr (Smith) Steinhilber is doing her internal medicine residency at UAB while husband, Ross, finishes medical school. They were married in 2010, on the island of Anguilla. Their wedding was featured in Destination Weddings magazine. Kyle Whittington is an investment advisor and certified financial planner. He and wife Ragan, a marriage and family therapist, live in Vestavia Hills in the Birmingham area.


Alan Craft is married to classmate Alma Lacy (Gibson) and they live in Atlanta. Alan is an accountant for Mauldin and Jenkins LLC CPAs. Alan and Alma Lacy recently welcomed a baby boy, Dixon. Alma Lacy (Gibson) Craft and husband Alan Craft are the parents of a new baby boy, Dixon! Alma Lacy manages showrooms and is the Southeast Show Rep for Lodis. Adam Cohen lives in Atlanta, and works as the Manager of Special Events at Camp Twin Lakes, a non-profit that provides summer camp and yearround therapeutic recreational opportunities for kids with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges. Adam also has a promotional events company on the side, Spiral Entertainment. Marshall Darnielle lives in Atlanta where he works as a Credit Analyst with coBank and recently received his MBA through the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He graduated in May, 2012. Hunter Echols is married to the former Melissa Boehm. They live in Birmingham. They welcomed their daughter Julia in May. Elizabeth (Thompson) Hawke is the Development Director of Seay, Seay, & Litchfield, P.C. in Montgomery. She and husband Harrison moved back to Montgomery after living in Mobile for three-and-a-half years. They are expecting their first child in October.

Justin Bogie works for the U.S. House of Representatives as a budget analyst for the House Budget Committee. He is engaged to Liz Laurie.

Former Hitchcock Winner Returns to Counsel Students on Making Good Decisions Former Hitchcock Award winner Will Spivey ‘11 returned to the STJ campus in March to speak with 5th-8th graders about making good decisions. Spivey, now an upcoming sophomore at Troy University, encouraged the young students to say no to bullying, profanity and alcohol. Spivey and the students discussed potential social scenarios which required good decision-making as well as the possible negative repercussions that could result from bad decisions.

alumni Chris Horsfall is a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, currently stationed just south of Seoul, Republic of Korea. He is moving back to the U.S. this summer and expects to be living in Georgia. Chris is happily married to wife Erin, a fellow Air Force Captain.

Cary Hampton Prewitt has been running a hospitality company in Austin, TX for two-and-a-half years. The company provides travel packages and tickets for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, revolving mostly around major sporting events.

Lauren (Stabler) McClinton Lauren and husband Mark McClinton live in Mobile where she is the South AL Program Manager for Appleton Learning and Mark is sales manager for Enterprise, LLC. They were married in July 2011 and have two dogs.

Shealy (Simons) Washington and her husband Thomas married in Dec. 2009, just before he left for training with the U.S. Army. He is now a First Lieutenant and, as of June 2011, they have been stationed at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany for a three-year tour. Shealy moved to Germany in Nov. 2011. They live in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, in the state of Bavaria. Shealy graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in May 2011 with a degree in Psychology/Forensic Psychology. She will pursue another degree in Social Work in Germany, hoping to continue her education in a Ph.D. program when the Washingtons return to the U.S.

Greg Shaw is currently finishing up the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning, GA. “After that I will move to Fort Bliss, TX, assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division." After graduating in the West Point Class of 2007, Greg was deployed to Iraq as a platoon leader. He has also completed a year-long tour in Afghanistan as an Executive Officer and Assistant Operations Officer. Nathan Yates is the Financial Director for Bell Media in Montgomery, AL. Nathan and wife Ashley, an attorney for Vinson & Elkins in Houston, live in Houston, TX.


2003 Brady (Holt) Harris is a registered nurse in Madison, MS. She is married to Dusty Harris, who works for the Republic National Distributing Company as the Mississippi Pernod Ricard portfolio manager. Mibbie Majors is the Media Planner for Carat in Atlanta, GA. Ashley Nemec graduated from the UAB School of Dentistry in May 2011. She is currently doing a oneyear general practice residency at the University of Michigan. Ashley plans to move back to Montgomery to practice dentistry. Meghan Townes is Collections Manager for The George Washington Foundation in Fredericksburg, VA, where she also lives. Ryan Walker is a district sales representative for Merchants Foodservice in Pensacola, FL.


Louis Finklestein is getting his Masters at SCAD in Service Design. He recently finished interning at Lorenc + Yoo Design in Roswell, GA, a company that has created spaces for some of the world’s most well-known brands, including Georgia-Pacific, Mayo Clini, UPS, Haworth, and Sony-Ericcson. Andrew Harris graduated from the University of South Ala. in 2010, and married Tiffany Lee in June ’10. That same month Andrew started graduate school, joining the Graduate Program in Chemistry at Vanderbilt, where he is currently working on his Ph.D. Andrew was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (during his first year as a graduate student) and is now pursuing research in Sweden. Andrew and Tiffany will travel to Göteborg, Sweden, in August through the Nordic Research Opportunity of the NSF GRFP Fellowship. There he will work with Dr. Henrik Grönbeck at Chalmers University for six months. Michael Mangus is a student in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently studying how synchronous media use affects group coordination and cooperation. He expects to complete his Ph.D. in 2015. Amy Ray is the owner and manager of Prissy Paws Pet Salon and Photography in Montgomery.

Parrish Alleman is a reporter for KAKE-TV in Wichita, KS. She moved to the midwest to take the job at KAKE in Dec. 2011. Parrish spent two years in South Texas at KRIS-TV. Drew Gunn is a marketing consultant with television station WSMV-TV, the NBC affiliate in Nashville, TN. Kaitlin Knapp founded Gift Cakes, Inc. after finishing at Auburn. “If you are looking for a way to send your child who is away at college a cake for his birthday, just order online at and we’ll handle the delivery,” says Kaitlin. The company delivers to Birmingham, Auburn, and Montgomery. Kaitlin lives in Birmingham.

Lisa Bright graduated from Auburn University in 2007 and received her J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2011.

Russell (Parker) Smilie is the front manager at the Holiday Inn Express in Tuscaloosa.

Sarah Hargrave graduated in May from UAB’s School of Medicine. She began her four-year medical residency in June, specializing in OBGYN at the University of Louisville Medical Center in Louisville, KY.


Rebecca Simon is the manager and buyer for Painted Pink on Mulberry St. in Montgomery. She recently became engaged to Dr. Wright Matthews, a local dentist. Elizabeth Anne Hughes Varga is living in Austin, TX and is married to Kyle Varga. She graduated from the University of Ala. with a M.S. in SpeechLanguage Pathology in Dec. 2011. Sean Zeeck is working as a Field Engineer in Iraq for Schlumberger, helping to stimulate oil wells.

2007 Audrianna Archibald was a 2011 Teach for America Corps member. She taught in Birmingham and plans to attend graduate school in Educational Leadership. Will Clein is a staff accountant with Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, LLC in Destin.

Landon Eley is in his second year at Cumberland School of Law and will graduate in 2013. He is a law clerk working with Beasley Allen.

C o l u m n s s u m m e r 2012 2 4


Class of... Kevin Hale graduated from Michigan State University in May with a BS in Human Biology. During the summer of ’11 Kevin shadowed Dr. Reza Seirafi, a gastroenterologist at Baptist East Hospital in Montgomery. Kevin says he plans to attend graduate school, pursuing a career in the medical field. Kelly Michelle Lewis graduated from the University of Alabama in 2011, with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Graphic Design. She will attend Regent’s College in London, England beginning this fall, to study for an MBA in Global Business/Marketing. She is presently working as a marketing consultant at Hue Studio Inc. and interning at Reid/O’Donahue Advertising, Inc. in Montgomery. Mary Kat McCurdy is an RN. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Dec. 2011 and works at UAB’s Women and Infants Center. Jessica Poinoosammy graduated from Troy University in May 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in Nursing.


Justin Collier is at Auburn working on a dual degree in Architecture and Interior Architecture. He was one of 12 students from a class of 60 to be selected for Auburn’s Interior Architecture program. Says Justin: “Last year I received an honorable mention in the Alabama Forestry Association’s annual design competition. My design for this competition, along with six others, was displayed in Wetumpka’s Civic Center.” In May Justin talked to STJ students in Mrs. Virginia Majors’ class about the application of geometry in design, in structure, and in solar applications.

Allison Lewis just completed her freshman year at Regent’s College in London, England. After a selection process that included an interview and the submission of composite photographs, Allison modeled for British designers Luxx of London, Vjera Vilcnik, and Henry Hunt in the college’s University Fashion Week, held to benefit charity. Allison also modeled Ralph Lauren fashions during the week-long event at which Queen Elizabeth and her granddaughter Kate (Middleton) had been invited to appear. Allison returns to London this fall to major in International Business/Marketing with a minor in French. Deaths


2008 Joe Davis graduated from the University of Chicago in April. He is enrolling in the Genetics Graduate Program at Stanford University for the fall of 2012. Joe will be working towards a Ph.D. in Genetics, and expects to conduct research on the development of a personalized medicine code for an individual's genome, based on their specific genetic history. Jonathan Graham was the president and founder of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at the University of West Florida and was initiated in 2011. He graduated in Fall 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Construction Engineering. He commissioned in the Air Force in May as a 2nd Lieutenant and will be moving to Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL to train as an Air Battle Manager. Evan Hargrave is a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Business Administration. He was inducted into Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society this past spring.

Kelsey Cardinal is a member of Silver Wings, a national, co-ed, professional organization dedicated to creating proactive, knowledgeable, and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense. During 2011 Kelsey served as the organization’s National Business Chairman (the only member of the national staff not from Texas A&M University) and also chaired the Silver Wings Executive Board along with the national president. In April, Kelsey and her staff presented an Auburn University bid to become home to the organization’s national headquarters. The bid won by a whopping 91 percent vote and, now Auburn University houses the national headquarters for Silver Wings. Kelsey serves as the national president and received the Ann T. Hawkins Award (given for outstanding contributions to the organization) at the national conference.

Clare Foster, a former Saint James School faculty member, passed away in Montgomery on Oct. 15, 2011, very close to her 90th birthday. Mrs. Foster organized STJ’s first science department at the former Frazer Campus on Country Club Drive in 1970, and designed the school’s first science lab, furnishing it with then state-of-the-art equipment and populating it with a collection of fossils, wildlife skins, flowers, and a full-size human skeleton. She taught general science, biology, and physics for Grades 8-12. Mrs. Foster helped establish the school’s yearbook, The Iliad, in 1971, serving as its faculty advisor until 1975. She also organized the first graduation convocation. In 1974 Mrs. Foster received the first STJ Faculty of the Year award. After her 1976 retirement, Mrs. Foster enjoyed keeping in contact with many of her former students, her “darlings” as she called them. Mrs. Foster was a graduate of Huntingdon College and Auburn University, and held a medical technology certification from Tulane University.

2011 Madison Besselman received the Council of Presidents’ Freshman Academic Achievement Award for 2011-12 at the University of Alabama. She also made the Dean’s List.

Editor’s Note: Class notes are submitted by alumni and are not verified by the editor. While we welcome class news, Columns is not responsible for information contained in class notes.

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SAVE DATE Homecoming is Friday, October 26, 2012! The Classes of 1992 & 2002 will kick off their reunions at the Alumni BBQ before the Homecoming Game.


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Columns 2012  
Columns 2012  

The annual magazine for Saint James School students, alumni, and friends