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 school is the primary outreach program of the church. Our mission is to educate and inspire children to lead by example and become forces for good in the world.

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

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 Oak Grove for the dancing of the Maypole.

The Maypole is a time-honored and favorite tradition of the graduation festivities. 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 are honored in a Baccalaureate Mass at the church. This special service celebrates not only the Grade 5 graduating class, but also St. Stephen’s alumni graduating from high school and college.

A tradition since the first days at St. Stephen's, 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. We also have Mindful Mondays, Wellness Wednesdays and Green Fridays with themed presentations.

Since the beginning of the school, around the Feast of All Saints on November 1, the Senior Kindergartners have learned about the Saints of God. Students dress as their chosen Saint and march into church for a special service. Grade 5 students, who serve as reading buddies to the kindergartners, read about each Saint for the congregation. View pictures of this fun tradition in our All Saints Image Gallery.


Each Christmas season, St. Stephen’s students perform in the Christmas Pageant. Students in Grade 5 reenact the birth of Christ, portraying Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, the three kings and more. Younger students enhance the service as choristers. The service ends as families join in a special candlelight rendition of O Holy Night, led by our alumni in attendance.

First celebrated at St. Stephen’s in 1982, this special day in October is set aside 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 main courtyard 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 include lighting candles, leading chorus, serving the eucharist celebrant, and reading scriptures.

Grade 5 students assist with arrival duty each morning. Our student leaders escort youngest students safely to their classrooms, as well as assist in preschool rooms. Additionally, they are charged with 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 St. Stephen's. Several graduates were also married in St. Stephen’s church. St. Stephen’s is fortunate to have many alumni who deepen the tradition and legacy of the school with their continual support. Marika Lynch, a St. Stephen’s alumna from the 1980s, graduate of Georgetown University and communications consultant, 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

November 6, 2020

Faculty Professional Day - NO SCHOOL

November 25 - 29, 2020

Thanksgiving Break - NO SCHOOL

December 7, 2020

Faculty Professional Day - NO SCHOOL