St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School
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|St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)|
Living Our Mission
|Type||Independent preparatory school|
|Head of school||Kristen Adams|
|Grades||JK - 12|
|Enrollment||1,123 (450 in Upper School)|
|Color(s)||Red, White, Green,
|Athletics||Boys: Interstate Athletic Conference
Girls: Independent School League
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is an independent Episcopal coed private college preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia. The school was created from the 1991 merger of St. Agnes School (a girls school founded in 1924) with St. Stephen's School (a boys school founded in 1944). The school consists of three campuses within a 1.5-mile radius. The Lower School, grades JK-5, is located on Fontaine Street; the Middle School, grades 6-8, is located on Braddock Road; and the Upper School, grades 9-12, is located on St. Stephen's Road.
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School serves students from across Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Currently enrolled students hail from the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, the City of Fairfax and Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and the District of Columbia. The old St. Stephen's was one of the founding schools of the Interstate Athletic Conference, a league composed of private schools that once dominated the region's high school sports scene. With strong emphases on academics, arts, athletics, and community service, SSSAS regularly sends graduates to the Ivy League and other elite private colleges and universities. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School also boasts a strong alumni network for graduates.
Facts and Statistics
Advanced Courses Offered
Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Comparative Government, Economics (Micro and Macro), English, European History, French Language, Latin, Music Theory, Physics, Psychology, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, Statistics, Studio 2-D Art, Studio 3-D Art, US Government and Politics, and US History 
There are 1144 students total enrolled at SSSAS. The Lower School, representing Junior Kindergarten through Fifth grade, has 399 students with the following breakdown: 10 in Junior Kindergarten, 52 in Kindergarten, 57 in First grade, 66 in Second grade, 70 in Third grade, 73 in Fourth grade, and 71 in Fifth grade. The Middle School, representing grades 6 through 8, has 295 students total with the following breakdown: 103 in Sixth grade, 89 in Seventh grade, and 103 in Eighth grade. The Upper School, representing grades 9 through 12, has 450 students total with the following breakdown: 110 in Ninth grade, 108 in Tenth grade, 120 in Eleventh grade, and 112 in Twelfth grade.
The school is governed by a Head of School, Kirsten Prettyman Adams, an Assistant Head of School, Bob Weiman, and a Board of Governors.
The Board of Governors consists of 27 members. Twenty-three members are elected, two serve ex officio and do not have voting rights, and two are non-voting members of the Association of Parents and Teachers and the Alumni Association. The Board is primarily responsible for the school's finances, and determines the school's long-term policies.
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School is known for its student-established honor system, which is modeled after the honor system at the University of Virginia. Its foundation, the Honor Code, states, As a member of the St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School community, I pledge that I will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do. The student-run Honor Council is responsible for the administration of the Honor Code in the Upper School. Every year in the fall, at the beginning of the school-year, students pledge their commitment to the Honor System by signing copies of the Honor Code.
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School competes in the Interstate Athletic Conference (boys) and Independent School League (girls). The girls' lacrosse team is a perennial power, currently ranked in the top five in the nation, having finished the 2008 season undefeated. In 1997 the girl's lacrosse team was ranked #1 in the nation. The 2010 girls varsity lacrosse won the ISL league title and the VISAA State Championships. The in 2009, the girl’s lacrosse team won their third consecutive VISAA title as number one.
The success of the girl’s lacrosse team lies behind Kathy Jenkins, the team’s coach. In 2008 Jenkins had been coaching the team for 32 years, and had even started the whole program along with Alix Fellows. Jenkins, who also works as a fifth grade PE teacher and coaches the seventh and eighth grade teams, works to teach girls how to play at a very young age, and as one athlete puts it, "Coach Jenkins basically breeds lacrosse players". Many of the varsity team has been at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes since the lower school, and so are raised by Jenkins to succeed in the sport. Jenkins teaches the girls initially to master a wooden lacrosse stick instead of a metal one, which she claims is easier to throw and catch with. Jenkins asserts that in order to be a top team, intensity and dedication are integral, but wishes that the girls on her team would feel less pressure.
The school's wrestling program also has a rich history, regularly turning out state and IAC champions; three wrestlers to date have won the Lehigh National Prep Tournament, two of them twice. The 2010 varsity softball team won the ISL AA Tournament Championship and also finished the season tied for first place in the league. The 2010 boys varsity lacrosse team won the VISAA State Championship. The girls varsity tennis won the ISL Championship in 2010. The girls varsity field hockey also won the ISL and State Championships in 2010. Many St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School's athletes go on to play at the collegiate level each year. Recent SSSAS alumni compete for Wake Forest University, Yale University, Dartmouth College, The College of William and Mary, Denison University, Princeton University, Duke University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, Kenyon College, Georgetown University, Columbia University, Norfolk State University, Davidson College, University of Virginia, Colgate University, Amherst College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Williams College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Vanderbilt University, and University of Maryland, College Park, Oberlin College among other schools.
The sports offered include: baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.
The award winning school theatre program, known as the Stage One Players, has won several regional awards for their performances including the Cappies. The 2009 fall production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was nominated for four Cappie Awards (Critics and Artist Program) including lighting, make-up, and supporting actor, putting each in the top five out of 54 productions. The instrumental and choral programs also have particularly strong reputations. In 2010, students won seats in regional musical groups including the All-District Chorus and All-District Band, as well as participating in solo and ensemble juried events. In 2010, the Upper School String Orchestra received a rating of "Superior" as a level five orchestra at the District X Festival. Also in 2010, the Wind Ensemble received a rating of "Excellent" for the fifth straight year as a level four wind ensemble. In addition, more than 25 students have been inducted into the Tri-M, the high school music honors society.
In 2003, the school completed construction of a Chapel and Performing Arts Center (CPAC). The auditorium seats 500 and has complete blackout capability to darken the space during daylight hours. The stage is full-sized and is equipped with complete theater rigging, an S model Steinway baby grand piano, and complete sound and lighting systems. There is a green room equipped with audio of live on-stage acts and male and female dressing rooms with special lighting and paging systems. The CPAC also includes music classrooms, a recording studio, and a music library.
Saint Stephen lived in the time immediately following the death of Jesus. According to the Book of Acts, Stephen was one of seven men appointed from Jerusalem to serve as deacons. Deacons were asked to take care of the poor and widowed while the disciples preached and taught abroad. Stephen spoke about the love of Jesus and God's salvation plan through him. Stephen took the message of Jesus to the local synagogue as well. It was on one such occasion that some of the Jewish leaders in the synagogue turned him over to the ruling religious power group known as the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin charged Stephen with blasphemy for speaking against "God and Moses". The Sanhedrin sentenced Stephen to death by stoning. Stoning was a Jewish form of punishment often reserved for religious crimes. Upon his death, Stephen was venerated as the first Christian martyr. St. Stephen is also the namesake of the all-boys school, which later would merge with St. Agnes to become St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School.
Saint Agnes was martyred at a very young age for the crimes of blasphemy and sacrilege. She was arranged by her parents to marry a Roman man, but she refused, saying that the only lover she would ever have would be God. Agnes was sentenced to death for her refusal to marry the Roman official. According to tradition, Agnes was sent to a brothel before her execution as Roman law forbade the killing of virgins. Agnes remained true to Christ and herself upon her death. St. Agnes is considered a double martyr, dying for both her religion and her virginity.
Students For Sustainability
St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School has a drive for sustainability. The school hosted the second, third, and fourth annual “Students For Sustainability” conference in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. The third sustainability conference earned local recognition, where a few attendees were interviewed on by Fox 5 reporters. Students For Sustainability is a conference in which approximately 100 students from the Washington D.C. metro area come together to learn about the issues and discuss plans for achieving better sustainability in schools.
The cause for the school’s aim towards more sustainable options is to demonstrate to the students the importance of positive environmental changes. The school believes that in order to prepare their students for the world as it is in 2011, they must educate them on what the issues are and the role that human’s have played in its cause. The school seeks to see this through by creating a sustainability committee, a group of students, faculty, staff, and administrators from all three campuses who get together to achieve the school’s goals of sustainability. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes also has sustainability initiatives within each campus. At the lower school, there is Kinder Garden, a project in which the kindergarteners plant and maintain their own garden. Another is the Fifth Grade Sustainability Committee, a group of fifth grade students who oversee all smaller student-led projects. The middle school has Students Engaging in Environmental Dedication or SEED, where the students promote awareness of how an individual can make “green” choices and positively effect the environment. This group encourages students and faculty to engage in sustainable acts, and sets an example through their SEED garden. At the upper school, there is the Perkins Courtyard. The Perkins Courtyard is home to harvested vegetables and native plants maintained by the upper school students. The vegetables are served in the dining halls of all three campuses.
- Fred Barnes (St. Stephen's Class of 1960), political commentator and Fox News personality
- Thomas Boswell (St. Stephen's Class of 1965), Washington Post senior sports columnist
- Tipper Gore (St. Agnes Class of 1966), née Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson
- Margaret Stender (St. Agnes Class of 1974), founding President and CEO of the WNBA's Chicago Sky
- Christopher Meloni (St. Stephen's Class of 1979), actor who portrayed Chris Keller on the HBO prison drama Oz and Elliot Stabler on the NBC police drama Law & Order: SVU
- Amy Argetsinger (St. Agnes class of 1986), journalist, staff writer for the Style section of The Washington Post
- Jennifer Griffin (St. Agnes class of 1987), national security correspondent for Fox News
- Dave Flemming (St. Stephen's class of 1994), radio broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants; youngest radio broadcaster in MLB
- Eileen Sullivan, (Class of 1995), journalist for the Associated Press, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner for Investigative Reporting
- Terrence Wilkins, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver
- James Richardson (Class of 2001), drummer and guitarist for MGMT
- Michael Schwimer (Class of 2004), baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies
- Treat Huey (Class of 2004), professional tennis player
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