Discover the history and traditions that make St. Stephen's unique

History and Traditions

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School resides in the heart of Coconut Grove, a historical section of the city of Miami, which lies five miles south of Downtown.  The three and one-half acre campus is picturesque, studded with oak trees and resting on a ridge that slopes gently east towards the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay.

In September 1958, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School held its first classes. Father Copeland, who was the Rector at the time, enthusiastically endorsed the idea of a school that parent parishioners started about a year earlier.  The Parish owns and operates the school as a major outreach program of the church. The purpose of the school is to offer quality education in a Christian atmosphere to children in the community.  

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School has retained its most hallowed traditions, including:

Since the beginning of the school, around the Feast of All Saints on November 1, the senior kindergarteners have learned about the Saints and their lives.  After learning about the real person, the students dress up at their chosen Saint.  Festivities culminate as students share their beautiful costumes during a special chapel service.  Grade 5 students partner with the Kindergarteners and the older students read about each Saint as the little Saints march in.  View pictures of this fun tradition in our All Saints Image Gallery.


On graduation day, families gather in the church to observe the procession of graduates. Top awards are announced, and a special commencement speaker offers encouragement and advice to the class as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives. At the end of the program, everyone gathers in the school’s signature Oak Grove for the dancing of the Maypole.

The Maypole has become a favorite part of the graduation festivities. A tall pole with long pastel-colored ribbons suspended from the top, festooned with flowers to match the flowers worn by the graduates, is erected under the oaks. Encircled by faculty, friends, and family, the graduates perform intricate dances around the pole, weaving the ribbons in and out to create striking patterns, accompanied by inspirational music selected to commemorate the special occasion.

As our Grade 5 students near graduation, they attend a Baccalaureate Mass at the church.  This special Mass honors not only the graduating class but also St. Stephen’s alumni graduating from high school and college.

Each morning our entire community of students, teachers, and parents join together at Flag Salute. Students with birthdays or special announcements are recognized, followed by morning announcements.  We end each Flag Salute reciting the Student Covenant and pledging to the Cross, the American Flag, and the environment. Each Tuesday we celebrate Martes en Español, when our announcements and Student Covenant are said in Spanish.

Each Christmas season, St. Stephen’s students perform in the Annual Christmas Pageant. Students in Grade 5 reenact the birth of Christ, portraying Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, the three kings and more. Younger students support the service through songs. Families join in a special candlelight rendition of Silent Night.

First celebrated at St. Stephen’s in 1982, this special day in October is set aside for the blessing of the animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, a thirteenth-century Italian monk noted for his kindness to animals. Children bearing a wide array of pets gather in the grassy central yard of the school where the clergy offer blessings over the animals. It is a student favorite!

Students in Grade 5 are given special leadership opportunities as they assist in the worship service. Duties range from lighting candles to leading chorus and reading scriptures.

Another leadership opportunity for our eldest students is the Safety Patrol. Grade 5 assists in arrival duty as they escort our preschool students safety to their classroom. They are charged raising and lowering the American flag each day, ringing the school bell to signify the beginning of a new school day and leading pledges at Flag Salute.

In order to remain close to their alma mater, many alumni often return to visit or send their children to their former school. Several graduates were married in St. Stephen’s church. St. Stephen’s is fortunate to have many alumni who deepening the tradition and legacy of the school with their continual support. Marika Lynch, a St. Stephen’s alumna from the 1980’s, graduate of Georgetown University and editor for The Miami Herald attributes St. Stephen’s uniqueness to two elements: the superb academic preparation students receive, and the camaraderie that infuses the campus, leading to lifelong friendships.

Upcoming Events

March 19 - 23, 2018

Make a Change for Haiti

March 23, 2018

Early Release
11:30 am - 12:00 pm

March 24 - April 8, 2018

Spring Break

April 12, 2018

New Family Orientation
8:00 am - 10:30 am