For nearly 70 years, St. John's has been dedicated to providing excellent academics to serve our students so that they are fully prepared for life. In addition to our rigorous curriculum, the beloved traditions that are sacred to the St. John's experience are the highlights that students look forward to every year, and what alumni cherish from their time at the School.
Grandparents and Grandest Friends Day
From Brazil to Georgia to Pennsylvania to here in the heart of Lake Highlands, we were thrilled to welcome grandparents and grandest friends back to campus for one of our most cherished annual traditions of the year! The record-breaking attendance fueled the buzz and excitement throughout the day. To start, guests were treated to a schoolwide production, which included performances by the Red Hot Peppers Jump Rope team, Lower School Choir, Shrek Jr. ensemble, and the PK, TK, and Kindergarten karate team. Teachers were elated by the smiles and cheer that emanated through the hallways while guests and students enjoyed solving real-world math problems, designing art projects, and experiencing technical innovations in the classrooms. The unbridled enthusiasm was unmistakable! St. John's thanks our parents and extended families for sharing this time with us, and we are grateful to all of our volunteers for their support of the event. Please enjoy the following video to remember this most special day!
Big and little buddies are a long-standing tradition at St. John's. Prekindergarten through third graders are little buddies and fourth through eighth graders are big buddies. Several times throughout the school year, students will spend time together to work on paired and group activities so that they can learn from each other. Buddy Days provide an opportunity for our older students to mentor and lead younger students, while younger Lions relish the chance to learn from those students they will follow during their time at St. John's.
At St. John's, the educational experience continues after the school day and in myriad places outside of our beautiful campus. Students of all grade levels participate in day and/or overnight field trips throughout the School year. Trips include excursions to the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas Museum of Art, John Bunker Sands Nature Preserve, Dallas Children's Theater, Allaso Ranch, Fort Worth Stockyards, Washington, D.C., to name a few!
Alumni Art Exhibition
In 2011, art teachers Denise Brown and Martin Delabano began a series of art exhibitions, displayed in Judd Lobby, featuring the work of recent St. John's graduates. The exhibitions provide alumni a wonderful opportunity to showcase their artwork, and our faculty members enjoy catching up with former students, parents and friends at the receptions. The most recent exhibition in 2019 featured the works of Ollantay Avila '16, Sunny Courtwright '16, Greer Leonard '16, and Olivia Martin '16.
From traditional ghosts and witches to sports heroes to completely original, student-inspired creations, each year on Halloween, Primary and Lower School students participate in a parade for parents and Middle School students! It has been a decades old tradition beloved by all.
Flowering of the Cross
When we return from Easter Break, we have a tradition special tradition, flowering of the cross. Each student has a moment in chapel to approach the cross, say a prayer, and place a flower. The flowered cross is a visible sign of Christ’s resurrection. Since we are not together as a community on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the flowering-of-the-cross reminds us of the transition from the stark, bare cross of Good Friday to the beautiful, flowered cross of Easter Sunday and the ongoing celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.
Each year on their birthday, all students, faculty, and staff receive a birthday blessing in Chapel. After the blessing from the priest or chaplain, all students say together, “We wish you a joyous birthday, with happiness and cheer, and God’s good care around you, all throughout the happy year! Amen.”
Fourth Grade Moving Up
The Fourth Grade Moving Up ceremony was once known as the Bridge Crossing ceremony, and it is symbolic of moving up from Lower School into Middle School. With this ceremony, students move from wearing their School sweaters to their new blazers and gain more responsibility as become leaders for younger students on campus.
From Middle School's Lessons and Carols to the Primary and Lower School Advent Concert, Christmastime traditions are heart-warming highlights of the school year. In kindergarten, students learn about holiday traditions around the world; second graders are visited by Santa's elves to make special presentations; and Primary and Lower School students participate in a Living Nativity Service during which they perform specific roles and act out parts of the Christmas story. The culmination of the holidays shines brightly at St. John's.
Eighth Grade Clapout
On the last day of their eighth grade year, students are honored by the student body, faculty, and staff as they are serenaded with boisterous cheers and clapping while they head out of the academic buildings to a special reception held in their honor. During their last day, they enjoy a fun-filled luncheon and sign each other's blue shirts, a keepsake for each one to remember their friends and the bond they will have as St. John's alumni.
St. John's Commencement tradition began when the School's first Director Grace Cook presented a diploma to the first eighth-grade graduate in the 1990s. Today, Commencement is a celebration of the hard work and dedication of our students to complete their St. John's experience so that they are prepared for high school. Commencement takes place at the end of May, and we were proud to be the first School to ever hold its Commencement at the beautiful Dallas Arboretum.
It's GAME ON during the annual Games Day when students, faculty, and staff come together as part of the Blue Team or Gold Team and participate in a a fun-filled series of games. From the youngest students in preschool to the eighth graders in their final months of the year, everyone participates in this lively competition to see who will have bragging rights for the rest of the year!
Alpha and Omega
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last. In the book of Revelation, Jesus calls himself "the Alpha and the Omega." For Christians, this means Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of our faith. As Son of God, he existed before the world began and will endure long past its end. St. John's presents graduating students with an Alpha and Omega medal as a symbol of the education we have given you. The School surrounds students with love in a Christian environment, and we hope they will cherish this foundation. The medal speaks of our hope for students' futures - as they have begun their education, so they may continue to explore, learn, and discover to their lives' ends and pass on the lessons learned to others who also will come to know Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega. Additionally, St. John's honors faculty who have served the School for 10 years with a silver medal and for 25 years with a gold medal.
The Penguin Award recognizes students who have shown they are willing to plunge into a new project, assignment, or area of study. Through their actions, they have been an inspiration to others, and they demonstrate qualities we value in our graduates, such as tenacity, resiliency, optimism and genuine curiosity.
The eighth-grade faculty annually select members of the graduating class who demonstrate the character and qualities of a St. John’s graduate that we hope to instill in our students. The Humanitarian Award recognizes a student for outstanding conduct and exceptional courtesy and kindness to teachers and fellow students; for taking pride in and being responsible for their work; and for encouraging a climate of care and concern at St. John’s.