• Read Across America

    Gerard and Laura Benvenuto, Parents of Veronica Benvenuto '21

    Our daughter attended Catholic school since Kindergarten, and she thrived in that environment. When our former Catholic elementary school tragically closed in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, my husband and I agreed that we would continue with a Catholic education for our daughter’s final 8th grade year. Our requirements for the schools were: that they teach our faith; the quality of the faculty; academic excellence; and a strong sense of community. After research and visiting other private schools in the area, St. James the Apostle stood out at the top of every category. St James has attentive, supportive and qualified teachers. Despite its small size, the school offers 9th grade Algebra to accelerated 8th grade students. The school is expertly headed by Mrs. Crawford, a dynamic principal whose dedication and zeal was evident from her first welcome through to our final graduation ceremony and even beyond to carefully managing the New York State Regents examination for the Algebra students. The relentlessly supportive staff of Mrs. Mascia and Mrs. Moffat, made every day as seamless as it could possibly have been. Even the pastor of St. James, Monsignor Marchitelli, has shown an admirable involvement with the school and interest in its future. Our decision was one the best decisions we have ever made. The school promotes active learning and critical thinking. There is an online system in place for parents to access current and upcoming classwork. It was extremely easy to monitor my child’s progress without waiting for test results to come home. My daughter was enthusiastic to go to school every day and eager to come home to share what she had learned and to complete the assigned work. The whole year literally felt like she joined a family that had been waiting for her all along. We believe St. James the Apostle School instills discipline, hard work, respect and a love for knowledge. Our daughter was accepted as part of the freshman class at Dominican Academy, distinguished as the # 3 Catholic Girls High School in New York State for 2021 by Niche school rankings, thanks to having successfully completed an entire school year with faithful in person classes despite the pandemic. St. James is truly committed to excellence for its students. This is indeed a small school with big rewards!

    Patrick and Nicole Bell, Parents of Hazel and Braiden Bell

    Words can NOT EVER describe the gratitude in our hearts for finding this amazing school and team of faculty members. From the administration, school nurse, teachers, every aspect of this school has been a breathe of fresh air since September 8th!  Being an RN, working through this pandemic I see what my co-workers have been enduring with their kids being in and out of school, or not being able to attend at all.  Thanks to St. James’ tireless efforts to do everything in their power to stay open and keep our children safe, I have been able to come to work with a lot less stress. Just knowing both my children are happy, well cared for, and where they need to be, which is in school getting what they need to get the proper education has been a tremendous blessing for my family.  My kids come home each day with BIG smiles on their faces and are learning so much since day one.  Communication with all staff members has been family-like, and genuine to the point where we never feel like a bother. This community has shed much light at a dark time and we are so happy and grateful to be apart of it ALL! 

    Greg and Elaine Wilson, Parents of Logan '19 and Kai Wilson '22

    We have two boys, Logan and Kai, who have attended St. James the Apostle School. It has been our experience that St. James is an outstanding school. There are many reasons why the school is so excellent, but we will touch on only two.  Mrs. Crawford, the principal, and all of the teachers at St. James provide an unparalleled education to each student. The faculty care about and are interested in each student. Logan attended St. James from Pre-K through his 8th grade graduation last year. After graduation, Logan was accepted to Trinity-Pawling Prep school. In his freshman year, based solely on Trinity-Pawling's experience with prior St. James graduates, Logan was placed in all second year honors classes. Logan, because of the solid education he received at St. James, has maintained an average above 90 in each of those very challenging classes at T-P.  Our younger son, Kai, is currently in the 6th grade at St. James. Kai has tended to struggle academically and thinks of himself as the class clown. Yet even Kai, through the effort and caring of the teachers at St. James, has maintained an almost 90 average. Our sixth grade, “class clown,” is so motivated by his teachers to do well, that he insisted on bringing his ELA words with him to his hockey tournaments so that he could study. That is more of a miracle than you can imagine.  The second and more important reason St. James is such a good choice for every child is because the school completely embraces and puts into action the teachings of our Lord and the wisdom of the Catholic Church. The students at St. James, five days a week and six hours a day, experience and are taught about the caring, the love and the lessons of Jesus. There is nowhere else that a child can go these days that can or will provide that experience.  Ultimately, our children as they mature and grow, will need the church’s teachings to find happiness, fulfillment and gratitude, as well as empathy for others.  It is wonderful that the education from St. James has helped our two sons do well academically and athletically, but much more importantly, because of St. James they are both developing into good, caring and well rounded people.  So, If you have any children now in school or children who will be entering school in the future, we encourage you to call the school and speak to Mrs. Crawford to see if St. James is the right school for your children. If you don’t have school aged children, you might still stop by to see if your talents can be helpful in supporting the school in other ways.   We know St. James was the best thing we’ve ever done for our two sons. Perhaps, St. James will be the same for your children.

    Antonio and Michele Verga, Parents of Vincent '17 and Salvatore Verga '22

    As parents of Vincent Verga (class of 2017) and Salvatore Verga a sixth grader, we value our investment in St. James the Apostle School. Both my husband and I are products of Catholic School and we wanted our children to have the same opportunities we had growing up. With the world we live in today, we wanted to make sure that our children are well rounded and able to compete in a very changing society. St. James the Apostle has laid the foundation for them to grow. Our faith is so important as well as sense of community and academics. It is important for our family to know that the values we set at home are carried out daily in their class instruction. The teacher's partner with the parents so the students benefit. The day my son walked into PreK; I knew his future was to graduate from St. James the Apostle School. The school is our family and everyone cares for each other. My boys have made lifelong friends and cherished memories. They have been given a gift of a good education and God is guiding them as students. 

    Aimee Burkhardt, Parent of Madelyn Schumm

    St. James the Apostle School has been a part of my life since I was 10 years old – the same age my daughter, Madelyn, is now. My family and I moved to Carmel during the summer that I turned 10 and enrolled my sister and I in St. James. Almost immediately I felt at home there and that is a sentiment I carry to this day, over 30 years later. St. James has gifted me with so many wonderful experiences, both as a student and as a parent. Personally, I owe many things to this school. The friendships I made there, as a child, are still going strong today. The education I received at St. James led me to attend Catholic high school, Catholic college and even a Catholic graduate school. I cannot imagine having completed my education outside of a Catholic school environment. It is a blessing to watch my daughter live through the same milestones and build the same memories and friendships that I was able to – all in the very same classrooms. I am blessed to say that I found my family at St. James the Apostle School. I have found a circle of friends that my daughter and I consider family. Beyond that, I am a part of a strong and supportive community that I credit in helping shape my daughter into a smart, kind and considerate young woman. Thank you to everyone at St. James, past and present, for being a part of our lives. We look forward to many more years!

    John and Rudina Gojcaj, Parents of Gabriel '15, Lukas '19 and Monika Gojcaj '22

    We have two graduates of St. James the Apostle School, Gabriel '15 and Lukas '19 and our daughter, Monika, currently in the 6th grade.  Our oldest , Gabriel, went on to Kennedy Catholic HS and graduated in '19 and has now completed his freshman year at Manhattan College studying Computer Programming.  Lukas is currently a freshman at Kennedy Catholic HS.  Our children have been blessed with great teachers who still know their names and a Catholic education that has shaped them into the gentlemen they are today.  Monika absolutely loves her school and we can't be more happy with our choice for a Catholic education. The sacrifices we as parents make are well worth paying for a Catholic education. It's an investment that will reap rewards long after graduation. We cannot express enough how blessed we are with St. James the Apostle School. The staff and teachers are like second parents to our children and we are so thankful for them. 

    Michael and Eunice Lavelle, Parent of Emily '15, Erin Lavelle '21

    Our daughter Emily graduated from St. James and our other daughter Erin is currently attending, and we cannot be happier with the education they have received at this wonderful school. Emily did so well that she earned a full merit scholarship to Kennedy Catholic High School. She graduated from Kennedy last year and is now attending Manhattan College, receiving a presidential scholarship. I truly believe that her St. James education was the base for her high school and college accomplishments. The money we spent sending her to a Catholic school was an investment in her future, and it has paid off tremendously.  She was also a part of a loving environment which led her on the right moral path and helped her become the caring, upstanding young lady she is today. Erin is following in her sister’s footsteps, excelling in her studies and growing into a kind and caring person. A good education coupled with strong moral teachings puts students on the road to success.

    Raymond and Joanne Mascia, Parents of Raymond '98, Nicholas '02 and Gina '03

    We have always known we would send our children to Catholic school.  We wanted our children to grow up academically and spiritually in a faith-filled environment.  What we didn't know, at the time, was St. James the Apostle School would remain a part of our family.  We are proud to say the quality education our children received prepared them as they continued their education at a Catholic high school, Catholic colleges and a Catholic law school.  We are forever grateful our children today are successful, respectful and well-rounded adults.  Thank you St. James the Apostle School.

    Gina and Rich Viebrock, Parents of Nicole '03, Sarah '05, Richard '07, Rebecca '09

    We have four graduates from St. James the Apostle School, all of whom are now well educated, successful professionals. Among them are a reading specialist, an attorney, an environmentalist and a speech pathologist. Their education began at St James the Apostle School, and it was there that the foundation was laid for them to be able to move on to many wonderful achievements. At St. James the whole child is educated. They cultivate both mind and spirit, thus creating an inner desire for achievement, an understanding of self-worth, and a realization of a greater good. We have seen this mindset in action with all four of our children and it began at St. James. We are forever grateful to the education that was provided, the friendships that were formed and the knowledge that we are forever a part of St. James the Apostle School family.

    Christopher and Kate Simmons, Parent of Grady, Lilly Simmons

    The following was a Facebook post we came across by Mrs. Kate Simmons, mom of Grady Simmons and Lily Simmons.  We would like to share her beautiful words with you.  In reflection of wrapping up an exciting week for the kids celebrating Catholic Schools Week, I just want to thank my parents for choosing a Catholic education for me. I now know firsthand, the sacrifices you made to make the investment in our future.  This year Grady and Lilly attend St. James the Apostle ... each and every day they attend a special, loving and caring school environment where I know they are in a community where they are accepted, respected and never lost in the crowd.  St. James has given our kids a school experience they look forward to going to; where it is an extension of a family atmosphere and where the students and staff are kind, accountable and held to the highest moral standards.  My favorite quote from Grady this school year which was his reaction to my daily peppering of questions about his day and fun at recess:   “Mom, at St. James you are never left out or feel excluded, everybody is your friend” (this includes girls because last year they were a different species to him).  This quote solidified what I already knew was the main reason we chose this option.  Each month it’s a sacrifice but each and every day I know it is one that is worth its weight in gold.  They both could not be happier, we all could not be happier with our choice.  I know I cherish all my lifelong friendships and bonds with my catholic schoolmates from St. Mary’s, St. Patrick’s and JFK. I can say the structure, morality, and accountability in a Catholic School environment (family) shaped who I am today.It was a gift, thank you, Mom and Dad!  And thank you St. James the Apostle School, the only Catholic school in all of Putnam County right here in our town!

    If you would like to share your personal experience with St. James the Apostle School, please include your first and last name.

    Please email testimonial to joanne.mascia@stjamescarmel.org