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More than 250 attend Saint James alumni weekend

Activities included dedication of the Barbara J. Fulton Academic Building

Activities included dedication of the Barbara J. Fulton Academic Building

April 28, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

ST. JAMES -- "Did you see people stop when the organ started to play by itself?"

John Oliver Rich, 92, who is called "Jack," smiled while talking about one of the newest additions to the chapel at Saint James School.

The organist got up, he said, to lead the choir, but the music kept on playing. Rich, who graduated from Saint James School in 1933, said the organ is a living memorial to his sister, Hester Rich.

The dedication of the Rich Family Memorial Organ was part of the school's alumni weekend celebration, which concluded Sunday.

"It exemplifies the life of one of the kindest, gentlest people who ever lived," Rich said. "It's the most alive memorial you can give. It's used every day."

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More than 250 people visited the campus during alumni weekend at the boarding school. Events that began Friday included a golf outing, athletic matches, campus tours, and dedications of buildings and items for the school's chapel.

"It was a wonderful weekend," said the Rev. D. Stuart Dunnan, headmaster of Saint James School. "We had a lot to celebrate."

Most of the Episcopalian school's 235 students live on campus.

The annual alumni weekend also included the dedication of the Barbara J. Fulton Academic Building on Saturday. The 8,477-square-foot building doubled the size of the school's major academic building, Dunnan said.

The Fulton family owns AC&T, which owns and operates convenience stores in the Tri-State area.

The building, which was completed in August, includes spacious classrooms and science labs, along with a tutoring area.

Fulton was a trustee of Saint James School from 1994 until she died from breast cancer nearly two years ago, according to her husband, Adna Fulton. The couple's three sons are graduates of Saint James School.

"She had a great love for the school," Adna said of his wife. "Father Dunnan said he would like to honor her, and reluctantly she agreed to it, but she passed away before the building was started."

Saint James School's alumni weekend also celebrated the dedication of 12 cushions used for kneeling in the school's chapel.

Ann Davis, a member of the school's Board of Trustees, coordinated the project, which took more than six years to complete. About 142,000 stitches went into the sanctuary kneelers.

Davis, whose three children are Saint James graduates, said the embroidery tells the story of the liturgical calendar year and the school calendar because "it's both a school and a parish."

Dunnan said alumni enjoy returning to the school for the weekend celebration.

"You really grow up here," he said. "You come here as a child and you leave as a man (or) a woman."

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