Thursday, June 23, 2011

Saint John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy

We loved it. We really, really loved it.

Classical education, beautiful Cathedral above, kind principal Father Irenei.

I had a good lengthy interview with the staff. Kassi came with me. Everything I learned about the school was satisfactory. If money were no object, we would be there this fall. It is everything I have ever imagined for my children, with the added and hefty enhancement of being Orthodox. At St. John's, everything is about living an Orthodox life. They children start and end their days with prayer. Sometimes upstairs in here:

Holy Virgin Cathedral, Joy of All Who Sorrow

Kassi and I spent some time in the Church before our interview. We visited all the icons we could in the time allotted, but this is an expansive place. Guess who was there? Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, Karl's new patron. This was before the meeting and I suddenly felt anything was possible.

We went on a tour of the school. It is small and comfortable, full of the smell of incense and icons in prominent places. They even have a stage with lighting for drama. The Kindergarten room, which they call the 'duck pond', is very pleasant. I could see Anatoly thriving there. I met a man who would be Tristan's teacher. He was young and bright eyed, present. I know Tristan would get on with him.

We spoke about my kids in particular. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a positive opinion of them from the staff member who knows them from our parish. St. John's is a classical education establishment. If tuition were not in question, even if we applied we would not be guaranteed enrollment until our children showed competence to handle the level of learning. And then yet. the staff would visit our home to be sure we had a connected, Orthodox life. They want to be sure we can support the students- our children- with their studies. The level of involvement is high. I love their view of children and of family.

I wished the entire time that it was not so good. We just cannot afford it. Right now not at all, with Karl's situation. But even after Karl recovers and is back at work, the combined tuition (without any reduction) is around $18,000 a year. This is pretty low for a private school, and if I could I would pay them more still, but that has no bearing on our personal situation.

I daydream that I could work there somehow and use partial scholarship. But I have Romneya, who is not school aged, and so unless I found a preschool I could afford I would not be able to work. Well, to be fair I could work Fridays when Karl has days off, and the weekends too I suppose. I know I would commit to a year of this, plus scholarship, and reassess every year as we became more capable. You just have to see it, and meet Father Irenei, to believe it.

If they would let me, I would clean the school full time to pay for the kids' tuition. (or any other task, however small of difficult) But I recognize that this is unlikely. They need tuition to pay for the function of the school. It is a beautiful school.


  1. It sounds like a dream! Maybe things will work out.

  2. beautiful. well, one step at a time.

  3. I am so glad you liked it and had a good time. It is so interesting to see your journey through Orthodoxy being a few steps a head of me.


  4. Praying for some open doors for you! What a fabulous opportunity to send your kids to an Orthodox school. And I love Holy Virgin Cathedral! Did you get to see the relics of St. John of San Francisco while you were there? I went to Great Vespers once in that church and seriously, I had a Russian Emmisaries in Hagia Sophia experience there- "we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. All we knew was that God is there..."


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