Nurturing a Legacy, Building a Future

Nurturing a Legacy, Building a Future

Nurturing a Legacy, Building a Future

Saints Together: Our Campaign for Community


Standing at the next inflection point in St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes history, the public phase of Saints Together: Our Campaign for Community was launched this fall. With a $45m goal—the most ambitious in school history—Saints Together will allow us to reimagine the Upper School with new signature spaces that match the quality and caliber of a Saints experience, bolster The Saints Fund with sustainable growth, and invest in our endowment to support the Gift of a Saints Education for generations to come. As we build upon our strong past and invest in our bright future, Saints Together is suffused with the school’s founding principles and informed by our Episcopal identity to bring our community together. I spoke with Campaign Co-Chairs Kirk Blalock (parent of Maddie ’19 and Makin ’23) and Lizzie Siegel (parent of Jack ’18, Bo ’21, and Lucy ’21) about the significance of the Saints Together campaign.

“While our children were students at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, some aspects of their lives seemed to constantly change while others reassuringly stayed the same. For us, the school was a constant presence that fostered their foundational values and academic interests and gave structure to our daily lives,” Kirk Blalock said.

“It was, and still is, an academically rigorous school and a community where you know you are welcome and where you belong,” Lizzie Siegel added. “Now, as parents of recent graduates, we reflect on the school’s values of goodness as well as knowledge from which our children benefitted. We strive to bring those guiding principles forward through our service as co-chairs of Saints Together: Our Campaign for Community.

Each campaign in SSSAS history addressed a need that was prominent at the time and decidedly beneficial to the future of the school. In 2003, the New Century Fund campaign focused on our Episcopal identity and built the Chapel and Performing Arts Center, which was the last major renovation at the Upper School. By 2013 Light the Way raised $28 million to support faculty salaries and professional development. “We are all benefactors of the vision and gifts of the Saints before us. Now is our opportunity to positively influence those who follow us,” Kirk said.

Saints Together was born from our Strategic Plan, created in 2016, which calls on us to enhance our buildings and grounds to ensure that our facilities create the optimum environment for teaching, learning, designing, innovating, and collaborating. Lizzie fondly reflected, “Our reimagined Upper School, one of the campaign pillars, is not only about the experience within the new facility as students—we want our children as well as alumni to be immensely proud of their school and to pull up pictures of their campus to show people after they graduate. We want our alumni to know that when they graduate from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes that the door will always be open for them and the school will always welcome them home. This community stays with you for a lifetime.” 

Of our three campuses, the Upper School was identified as needing the most renovations to impact student outcomes as it is the culmination of a Saints education. “In the last five to eight years, most of our peer schools have had a capital improvement project to address their unique facility needs and be responsive to emerging innovation in education,” Kirk said. “This is an important opportunity for SSSAS to provide a facility that nurtures the innovation already occurring in our classrooms.” 

Open spaces with lots of natural light in educational settings result in a deeper connection to class content and enjoyment of learning—like the new Upper Commons named in honor of The Reverend Tony Lewis, Jr. ’65 and The Very Reverend Emmett Hoy, Jr. and the Rita Meyers Saints Stairs. In a day and age where society heavily relies on its phones and social media, having a space that brings people together for authentic conversation is partly what’s so inspiring about this space. 

Additionally, the new Upper School renovations will purposely situate the Peterson Family Art Center next to the science classrooms. Research shows that the connection of art and science help us interpret, study, and explore the world around us. Not only are the classrooms being designed for inquiry and innovation, but they will also provide students with what may be a first experience to approach new multidisciplinary concepts and develop the skills to understand and effectively use new information. Students will realize their own discoveries in these new classrooms and the community will be invited to participate!

Creating conditions for our students to thrive has always been a Saints priority. “Dedicating resources to the SSSAS annual fund, The Saints Fund, and Gift of a Saints Education are imperative to the success of the campaign,” Kirk said. “The Saints Fund allows the school to be responsive to emerging ideas while empowering our students, driving innovation, and strengthening our faculty. It ensures that the school’s annual operating budget is not compromised and its day-to-day programs can continue to flourish. The Gift of a Saints Education helps students attend SSSAS who otherwise would not have the opportunity to receive a Saints education.” Our Saints become best prepared for lifelong success when surrounded by an expanding range of perspectives, experiences, and talents that reflect the dynamics of life beyond SSSAS. 

For Our Community, By Our Community

In September 2023 we celebrated the launch of our community phase, which is a significant milestone in a campaign’s timeline because it represents a position of fundraising strength. “We are sincerely grateful to the early supporters and Board of Governors for their confidence and leadership philanthropy that has helped us reach $30 million of our $45 million goal so far,” Lizzie said. “We are also extremely grateful to the dynamic campaign volunteer leaders who have been energetic and dedicated ambassadors of Saints Together.

Significant progress is also being made on the Upper School Project construction timeline. Excavation and demolition were completed on time last summer, which made way for the foundation to start being poured in early October and keeps us on track for a fall 2024 opening. 

“With a solid fundraising bedrock established, now is the time for our entire Saints community to think about how they might be involved with the campaign,” Kirk said. “If there’s one message about giving that we hope to impart to the Saints community it’s that every gift is important to help us reach our goal. Multi-year gifts are hugely important. Pledging a gift over the course of the next three to five years counts towards Saints Together and helps make a gift at a comfortable pace. Our actions now will communicate to future Saints that philanthropy and giving can be very purposeful and meaningful. There is a place for everyone to be involved with helping us reach our $45 million goal.” 

Saints Together reinforces our identity as a welcoming community with our people at the center of all that we do,” Lizzie said. “SSSAS is a place where a person’s character is respected above all else.”  The story we are writing with Saints Together is one of shining a light on our community and of helping our students become who they are meant to be so they can share their gifts with the world.

Construction Timeline

JUNE 2023
Ground Breaking

Demolition and excavation complete

Crane erected

Concrete poured, bricks and beams installed

Last beam signed and installed

For more information on
Saints Together: Our Campaign for Community,
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