April 6, 2018

BWS Celebrates 10th Anniversary in New Home

December 15, 2017 was a special day in the life of The Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys (BWS). After a wonderful Lessons and Carols service at its Holy Communion campus, the school transported the boys and their families to the Town Hall Education and Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), where the students were thrilled to visit the new home for their school for the very first time. Located at 1801 Mississippi Avenue SE, THEARC provides access to high quality educational, cultural, recreational and service programs that contribute to the revitalization of SE Washington. THEARC is home to many well-respected nonprofits, including Washington School for Girls, Levine Music, the Boys and Girls Club, the Washington Ballet, and Children’s National Medical Center. THEARC has constructed this new state-of-the-art building that includes 31,000 sf for BWS that is alive with vibrant color, natural light, green spaces and inspiring, yet functional, design elements to support the learning process.  

The Bishop Walker School, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, is a tuition-free Episcopal school for children from traditionally undeserved communities in DC’s Wards 7 and 8, as well as Prince George’s County. Now with over 80 boys enrolled from K to 6th grade, the school’s goal is to change the arc of the boys’ futures through education in a Christian community of learners.

Careful planning, support and counsel from many individual and churches over more than ten years made this ministry possible, and St. Columba’s parishioners have been active in BWS in many ways over that span. Through the "Reading is Fundamental" (RIF) literacy program, St. C’s parishioners plan theme-based visits to the school several times each year, reading and doing an activity with the boys before each boy chooses a book of his own to take home. Seeing the boys’ excitement upon arrival, fielding their questions, and watching them start reading and talking about their new books while having snacks has been an enriching experience. In addition, several parishioners currently serve on the BWS Board, including Peter Lee (Chair), Jane Dana (Finance Chair) and Julia Berry (Education Committee), and countless other parishioners provide financial support.  

We are also eager to introduce others to this special place. Please contact us at bws@columba.org if you are interested in joining a special tour of the school for St. Columba’s on Fri., Apr. 13 at 11:30 am. If that date and time does not work for you, BWS welcomes scheduling tours at more convenient times. Volunteering options may also be discussed on the tour for those who may be interested.

Contact: Jane Dana and Betty Arbuckle
Co-Chairs, Bishop Walker School Ministry Group