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CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION

Holy Spirit Episcopal School, as a mission of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, holds as its foundation the belief and tradition of the Anglican Church. And in keeping with that heritage, we embrace students of all religions, recognizing and respecting their faiths, traditions and cultures.
 
Faculty and staff seek to nurture the individual child in an environment of security and love. This Christian environment prepares the child to see the world as a place of beauty that calls for his/her care and demands his/her best efforts.
 
The school views faith as the well from which all morality and good character flow. The faculty and staff encourage students to develop their faith, for it is a tool unsurpassable and indomitable as students grow and encounter life's challenges and difficulties.

SPIRITUAL LIFE

Students of Holy Spirit Episcopal School attend chapel services Tuesday and Thursday mornings . Attendance and participation at chapel are required of all students and faculty. The service consists of songs, hymns, Bible readings and prayers. The traditions of the Episcopal Church are followed (rite, liturgy, and ritual). Generally, students sit for instruction or to listen to scripture, stand to praise God through songs or hymns, and kneel to pray.

In Christian education class, the subjects vary greatly from year to year, but they often touch on the history of the Christian Church, the contents of the Old and New Testaments, the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the Liturgy of the Church. Students in lower and middle school attend Christian education classes weekly.

Although an Episcopal school, HSES respects other faiths and makes no efforts to proselytize.

Holy Spirit Episcopal School, as a mission of the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, holds as its foundation the belief and tradition of the Anglican Church. And in keeping with that heritage, we embrace students of all religions, recognizing and respecting their faiths, traditions and cultures.

Faculty and staff seek to nurture the individual child in an environment of security and love. This Christian environment prepares the child to see the world as a place of beauty that calls for his/her care and demands his/her best efforts.

The school views faith as the well from which all morality and good character flow. The faculty and staff encourage students to develop their faith, for it is a tool unsurpassable and indomitable as students grow and encounter life's challenges and difficulties.

For more information on the giving of the Holy Communion, contact Chaplain Suzy Spencer.

HOLY SPIRIT EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church emphasizes ministry, appreciates and uses the ministry talents of its people and celebrates our parish's commitment to stewardship. The Church of the Holy Spirit offers a variety of ministry and educational programs for and in its community, serving people of all ethnics and social backgrounds. An integrated team of clergy and laity sustains all of our ministry efforts. 

HSEC, inspired by God and energized by its leaders, provides:

  • A welcome home for people of all ethnic and social backgrounds.
  • A dynamic environment to learn the gospel of Jesus.
  • Unmatched pastoral care program, administered by lay leaders.
  • Youth programs, including our school, that attract youth in the Christian community by offering spiritual formation, fellowship and opportunities in ministry.
  • An inter-generational community outreach program to include mentoring and tutoring.
  • Episcopal liturgy and worship, in traditional and contemporary formats, that offers glory to God and a spiritual anchor for worshippers.

Mission Statement

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church is an open, accepting community which welcomes the stranger in fellowship and worship with the love of Christ and joyfully takes Christ's love into the world in which we live.

BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK

Every Friday HSES students pack meals for Houston area students in need of food over the weekend.  Chapel buddies partner together with Blessings in a Backpack to serve our community on a weekly basis.

Blessings in a Backpack is a national organization that provides weekend meals to children who, otherwise, might go without. For only $80 a year, you can help feed one!

Bayou City Blessings, launched by the Holy Spirit Episcopal community in 2012, provides weekend food to children in the greater Houston area who are at risk of going without. 

Bayou City Blessings currently provides more than 1,400 prekindergarten to fifth-grade children attending Blackshear and Spring Shadows Elementary schools with weekend food bags for the 38 weeks of school in order to help bridge the gap between Friday lunch and Monday breakfast. 

  • Blackshear Elementary, in the heart of Houston’s 3rd ward, is located in a “food desert,” defined by the USDA as having little to no access to fresh food or grocery stores. 
  • Spring Shadows’ neighborhood is considered a “food insecure” area making it difficult for families to access the resources necessary to provide consistent food options for their children, especially when away from school.

Bayou City Blessings is a local program of the national charitable organization. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

SHEPHERDS OF SERVICE

The desire to serve the needs of others is a character trait we hope to instill within the hearts of our students during this time of youthful enthusiasm and idealism. Students have opportunities throughout the year to participate in community service as individuals, as a class, as members of organizations (Student Council and National Junior Honor Society), as middle school, and as an entire school.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE

On Maundy Thursday, our early childhood through middle school students participate in a day of service to benefit area service organizations. Each year, service activities vary based upon the planning of our faculty and students. In past years, middle school partnered with primary and kindergarten students to help guide them in making newspaper bundles used by Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) to line the bottom of animal cages. Middle school students also made catnip toys for the organization’s cats. CAP is a private, non-profit organization that provides shelter, adoption, foster care, rescue and other valuable services to animals in need in the Houston area. CAP also provides humane education and community outreach programs to encourage love and respect for all animals.

Lower school and middle school students worked on several other projects, such as, assembling hygiene bags with shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and brush, lotion, razor, etc., as well as lunch bags, for distribution to those in need at Lord of the Streets or Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM). The work and mission of Lord of the Streets Episcopal Church and Community of the Streets Outreach is to minister to the spiritual, emotional, physical and social needs of individuals living in Houston who are homeless, in crisis or in transition. The purpose of Memorial Assistance Ministries is to help families and individuals who find themselves in temporary crisis and in need of assistance to maintain self-sufficiency and avoid homelessness.

Other projects included packaging rice and beans for distribution by Fairhaven Food Pantry, and making finger-knitted scarves and crib tags for babies born prematurely at Texas Children’s Hospital.

When natural disasters happen throughout the world, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, our students organize collections of money and items such as food and water for distribution to the relief organizations who serve the needs of the people affected by the disasters.

Two middle school organizations provide service to our Holy Spirit Episcopal ommunity throughout the year: National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and Student Council. A sampling of this year's projects include the following. NJHS members recycle paper goods each Friday for the church and school. Student Council and NJHS partner to host a fall neighborhood food drive that benefits Fair Haven Food Pantry in November, and a Decembers Christmas party for the first graders at Spring Shadows Elementary School.  Valentine candy sales and a Car Wash in April are also scheduled with proceeds to be given to Texas Children's Hospital Pediatric Cancer Program and CAP (Citizens for Animal Protection).

All Middle School students are encouraged to provide at least 15 hours of community service throughout the year. All students who provide at least this number of service hours are recognized during an assembly or the Middle School Awards and Graduation Service at the end of the year. The awards are listed below.

Recognition for community service is given during a middle school assembly in late May to students who provide 15 to 49 hours of service. Two levels of community service provided at school and in the community-at-large receive Certificates of Merit.

Red ⇒ 15-29 hours

Blue ⇒ 30-49 hours

In addition, recognition for higher levels of community service is given to students at the end of the year during the Middle School Awards and Graduation Program. These include the awards listed below.

The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. The President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard — measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime. Recipients of the award receive:

  • An official President’s Volunteer Service Award lapel pin,
  • A personalized certificate of achievement,
  • A congratulatory letter from the President of the United States, and
  • A letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

For this award, community service hours are collected from May of the previous school year through April of the current school year. The levels of awards for children 14 years of age or younger are:

Bronze Award ⇒ 50-74 hours

Silver Award ⇒ 75-99 hours

Gold Award ⇒ 100 or more hours

The Jeral (Jerry) Thomas Eckles Community Service Award recognizes and honors an exceptional individual who is a servant leader that makes volunteerism and community service a way of life. The award winner is someone who makes selfless and extraordinary contributions for the betterment of the local community and beyond. Specifically, the winner is an individual who gives extraordinary community service and who:

  • Gives freely and unselfishly of their time to community service;
  • Inspires others to serve and acts as a role model;
  • Has a positive impact upon the direction and success of community projects, programs or individuals; and
  • Improves the lives of others.

Any student who has attended HSES for the entire school year is eligible to apply for this award. Applications are distributed during the month of April and completed applications are given to the Dean of Student Life no later than May 1. A faculty selection committee meets during the first week of May to select the recipient. The recipient receives a certificate of merit and has her/his name inscribed on the Jeral (Jerry) Thomas Eckles Community Service Award plaque.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program recognizes middle school youth for volunteer work in their communities. To be eligible, a student must:

  • Be in grades 5-8 as of October of the current school year,
  • A legal resident of one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia,
  • Engage in a volunteer activity that occurs at least in part after September of the previous school year, and
  • Complete an application form following all directions carefully and submit it by October 31 of the current school year to the Middle School Dean of Student Life.

During the first week of November, a diverse selection committee comprised of people from within and without the Holy Spirit community selects the HSES recipient. The committee judges applications with the following criteria:

  • Initiative—How much personal initiative was involved in the activity? Did the applicant initiate the activity on his/her own, or demonstrate exceptional leadership or motivation in an already organized activity?
  • Effort—How much time and effort did the activity require? Did the applicant have to overcome significant obstacles?
  • Impact—How much of a difference did the service activity make? Were a significant number of people affected, or were the lives of certain individuals impacted in a major way?
  • Personal Growth—Did the applicant develop new insights or skills from the experience? Does the application reflect a sound understanding of the importance of serving others?

The HSES recipient receives a Certificate of Achievement from the organization and advances to state-level judging. One middle school student in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia is named State Honoree in February of the current school year and receives $1,000, a beautiful silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent or guardian, during the first week in May. The Washington trip includes gala award ceremonies, sight-seeing tours, Congressional visits on Capitol Hill and many other exciting events. Runner-up honorees at the state level receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.

While in Washington, ten middle school students are named America’s top youth volunteers of the year by a distinguished national selection committee. Each National Honoree receives an additional $5,000, a gold medallion and a beautiful crystal trophy for his or her school. National Honorees also receive $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.

In addition to the awards, honorees and their projects receive extensive publicity in newspapers, magazines, on television and on the Internet. Some have appeared on such high-profile programs as Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and in Time and People magazines. Honorees also are frequently honored with letters of commendation from mayors, governors and members of Congress.

In the spring of 2006, our HSES local recipient, Anna DeSanctis, was selected as a State Honoree as well as one of the 10 National Honorees! Anna set out to raise $2,000 to sponsor and build a library at the orphanage in Hefei, China where she spent the first part of her life before being adopted by her mother, Ellen DeSanctis. Within 18 months, Anna raised more than $22,000, which she sent to two Chinese social welfare organizations to build and stock libraries at four orphanages. There was even enough left over to construct water wells in two remote villages. Never underestimate the impact an inspired middle school student can make in the lives of others!

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