Character and Chapel
St. Thomas School’s focus on character permeates school life – all day, every day. We nurture students’ character and spiritual intelligence in accordance to our core virtues: gratitude, responsibility, respect, courage, integrity, tolerance, compassion, perseverance, and generosity.
Although non-sectarian - meaning we do not adhere to a particular religious belief or tradition –
St. Thomas School is steadfastly committed to the development of the whole child:
cognitive, physical, social-emotional, and spiritual.
St. Thomas School was founded by St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Although the School is now fully independent with no parochial affiliation, we maintain the historical tradition of Chapel as one of our hallmarks.
We gather each morning for a community meeting in Chapel, where time is set aside for listening and doing the important “inner work” or reflection that allows us to bring deeper meaning to our lives. The primary focus of Chapel is on developing character, leadership and presentation skills, shared core values/virtues, and an understanding of world religions all within a school-wide community that emphasizes a sense of belonging and inclusion and celebrates diversity.
While each Chapel gathering is different, the program continues to include some aspects of the original Episcopal liturgy. For example, the Lord’s Prayer is often recited, and students sing the Venite. These serve as “anchor points” or points of predictability and an invitation into mindfulness. More than anything, they reflect our shared history with St. Thomas Church.
As we learn together and teach one another as a diverse and inclusive community, St. Thomas School:
- Strives for justice and peace among all peoples, and respects the dignity of every human being
- Works to be a comprehensive, inclusive community with respect for all beliefs
- Values reason as a way to true understanding
- Embraces honor, tolerance, and intellectual curiosity
- Provides a safe and open community in which students can wrestle with the big questions that life presents
- Recognizes that developing empathy is essential in order to have a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment
Chapel serves several purposes:
The St. Thomas School service-learning program puts our core values into action. Through the program we challenge students to contemplate how they can impact their world in a positive, meaningful way—at any age and at any time. These elements of character become particularly relevant in a 21st century context. We are committed to developing responsible citizens of a global society who strive to make a difference throughout their lives.
Service learning is more than volunteerism. Students work closely with their teachers at St. Thomas School to develop service learning activities that integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience. Service learning at STS allows students to:
- Apply academic, social, and personal skills to improve the community.
- Make decisions that have real, not hypothetical, results.
- Grow as individuals, gain respect for peers, and increase civic participation.
- Gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community, and society.
- Develop as leaders who take initiative, solve problems, work as a team, and demonstrate their abilities while helping others.
Please read our Foundations of Service Learning for more information on this subject.
Character Education & Chapel Blog Posts
- Why Tomorrow's Leaders Need Character Education
- Spirituality in Schools: The Link Between Spirituality, Health, and Academic Success
- Teaching Mindfulness in a Digitally Connected Culture
- STS Framework for World Religions
- 3 Ways Parents Can Build Character by Head of School Kirk Wheeler, published on ParentMap
- The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving by Lisa Miller