Maggie McFillen of Berryville, VA, was very familiar with Saint James when she arrived her third form year, having had two older sisters (Megan ’11 and Grace ’15) attend as well.
“My first memory of being on campus is watching Megan’s JV field hockey game,” she said. “Our whole family went [to the game] and they lost horribly but I had so much fun playing.”
Maggie attended Powhatan School in Boyce, VA for grades K-8, and you might think Saint James was the next natural step, but she wanted to look at other schools.
“I always loved Saint James, but I had been in my sister’s shadow enough, so I wanted my own school,” she said. “But my parents said ‘no, you’re going to Saint James’ and now I couldn’t be more grateful. You can always make this place your own.”
Maggie feels privileged to have attended Saint James, and she is grateful to her grandfather for giving her the opportunity to attend private school.
“I’m honored because I got to go here because of my grandpa. This isn’t an experience I would have had otherwise. So, everything meant more to me and made me appreciate it more,” she said.
Maggie was on the varsity field hockey and tennis teams, served as prefect in Holloway, and was the Senior Sacristan in chapel, an opportunity she is grateful to have had.
“My family has always been stringent about attending church, but I never had been that involved and seen the behind-the-scenes work,” she said. “It was a unique experience, and I absolutely loved it.”
Maggie also has the distinction of being Father Dunnan’s first female advisee, after she asked to join his group her fourth form year.
“I’ll honestly miss Father Dunnan. He’s only been my adviser for two years, but I’ve grown up knowing him since I was 6 or 7, so I’ll miss his constant support,” she said.
In the fall, Maggie will attend Georgia Tech to major in civil engineering, and she is looking forward to the challenge. She’ll still have a connection to Saint James, as her youngest sister, Molly, just finished her third form year.
At Commencement, Maggie received three prizes: The Centennial Prize, awarded to a member of the Sixth Form who has made an outstanding contribution to the immediate general welfare of the School; the Trustees' Prize for Scholarship, given in recognition of the highest achievement in the Upper School maintained over a two-year period; and the Chaplain's Prize, awarded to the student who best exemplifies the primal purpose of Saint James School in training Christian gentlemen and ladies, as shown by quiet devotion to church life, courteous consideration of other people, and a high sense of personal integrity.
Maggie’s advice for future students is to be open to the experience.
“My first year I wasted a lot of time being negative and not wanting to be here and wanting to be at home with my friends going to public school,” she said. “But looking back on it now I wish I used that time to make new friends and be involved with everything Saint James has to offer."