Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.

- Princess Diana

There is keen awareness here of how important it is for our students to grow socially and emotionally, in addition to academically. Having the ability to know and manage one’s own emotions, as well as understand the emotions of others, is vital to each student’s growth and success. By supporting them in these areas, and developing a campus culture of kindness, students are taught the importance of empathy and encouraged to become leaders of strong character.

There are a wide variety of Saint Stephen’s traditions that reinforce this culture. Perhaps the most visible and beloved is our “Falcon Friends” program, which regularly pairs our older students with their younger counterparts for activities that promote kindness and service to others. The connections formed are lasting, and it’s not unusual on any day of the school year to see our teenage Falcons checking in with their little friends between classes.

In a more structured approach to social and emotional wellness, Saint Stephen’s participates in The Social Institute, an online platform that helps teachers, students, and families navigate through overall well-being. Instruction in school is paired with family follow-up discussions and guidance, allowing them to continue learning more about wellness at home. A multitude of lessons on responsible social media usage and other topics impacting student wellness are implemented in grades four through 12.

Many people also comment on how the SSES campus itself is a factor in creating this culture of kindness and wellness. Although Saint Stephen’s is located just blocks from Bradenton’s downtown area, when you walk the 35-acre campus, nature is all around. Green spaces, mature trees, inviting waterfront areas, and buildings that fit comfortably into the environment create a serene landscape – even on a campus bustling with the typical, joyful sounds of youth.

And despite its physical size, Saint Stephen’s gives top priority to the safety of everyone in its community. During the school day, there are only two entry points to the fully gated campus, and security is provided by a team of experienced, former law enforcement professionals.