ALL IN a year
What a year it’s been, it was different from the start.
But all the Knights stepped up and each one played a part.
Masks, tents and distance made it safe to be at school.
Spreading joy each day became our golden rule.
We gathered in new buildings, to grow, build strength and test.
The Chapel, Commons and Field House—a center we call, Quest!
We enjoyed football Friday nights and the winter dance recital.
A Veterans Day Parade and the thirty third cross-country title.
Middle Schoolers took the stage, the band still got to play.
Lower School rode the Polar Express and Juniors had their Ring Day.
Then Launch blew us all away and athletes started signing.
By Spring the Knight community had found its silver lining.
A year that seemed impossible, countless obstacles to weather.
We learned that we could face them all, as long as we’re together.
This school year was a curveball from which we learned and grew.
We still have awesome memories, made possible by you.
Many thanks to everyone.
This year will conclude,
With pride, perseverance, and our deepest gratitude.
Many thanks to Episcopal faculty and staff, parents, board members and leadership, current parents, parents of alumni, grandparents and friends. Your support of The eFund played a crucial role in our ability to provide an exceptional academic experience while keeping students safe and in-person during COVD-19. Thanks to our generous donors, we reached The eFund goal of $650,000 and can continue to support the people and programs that create such a unique learning environment at Episcopal. In the fall, we asked members of our community to be ALL IN and we were blown away by your dedication, enthusiasm and generosity. Your gift to The eFund significantly influences the excellence of the school and we are so grateful to you.
Members of the Class of 2021 graduated in Episcopal’s Memorial Stadium after a successful school year of in-person classes. Students, families, faculty and staff were delighted with the return of baccalaureate and commencement, and these traditions are sure to be remembered for years to come.
The community welcomed alumna Kaylee Hartung ’03 as the 2021 commencement keynote speaker. After graduating from Episcopal, Hartung earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and politics from Washington and Lee University. She began her career as a journalist at ESPN where she reported on the College Football Playoffs and the College World Series. After two years of covering news for CNN, Hartung recently joined ABC News where she reports for “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America.”
Sixth Grade Space Museum
From the ancient past to the future of space exploration, Episcopal sixth graders showcased what they’ve recently learned. The scene in the QUEST Center’s Great Hall was reminiscent of a traditional science fair as students displayed models of the solar system, balloon rockets and Mars Rovers built with Legos. There were also videos created using the center’s green screen and podcasts recorded by students. Middle Schooler Lily Bruser even found an artistic way to simulate what people see during a solar eclipse.
As Lower School students toured the display, they enjoyed the opportunity to speak with the older students, and the experience was especially meaningful for second graders who just completed their own space exploration project-based unit.
Exploring the Past
Not far from the asteroids and dwarf planets, another group of sixth graders displayed monuments they constructed after a study of ancient Greece and Rome. History teacher Virginia Day ’08 says the goal of the project-based lesson was to develop research and presentation skills. The art project using recycled materials was an added component to make the lesson fun. Students discovered creative ways to construct the structures with one group even using spray-painted pencil shavings as grass for the Aqueduct of Segovia display.
The Middle School space museum/monument display was a great way to wrap up a school year of exploration and discovery. Way to go, sixth grade!
There is a genuine thing that happens between a child and what they're learning. Lower School Music Teacher Tricia Delony
A typical music class with Lower School music teacher Tricia Delony is anything but typical. On any given day, students may spend a portion of the time lying on the floor listening to melodies and rhythms or they may rattle instruments and dance to their own beats. The fluidity and creativity of learning inspire Delony, and it is obvious that she loves teaching and the process of helping children become enlightened. The “aha” or light bulb moment that a child experiences when they suddenly understand a new concept has made 39 years in the classroom a rewarding experience. Now, after nearly four decades, she will retire once the last bell rings this year.
"Good music is good music regardless of the genre."
While music teachers are often typecast as someone who strictly enjoys the classics, this is not the case with Delony. For her, music is a way to explore and experience the world and its variety. Throughout her career, she has sought to impart that sense of wonder to her students. She has fond memories of playing a range of selections for middle school students at her previous school, calling the lesson “drop the needle.” Each class period, Delony would select two widely varying works and play them for the teens. To her delight, the students enjoyed the experience and began looking forward to what she would play next. It was a way for them to learn to interpret music, and it helped them realize the connections that exist between current hits and timeless classics.
Delony is an innovator in the classroom, and she says she enjoys finding new ways to engage students. As a public school music teacher, her classroom was once visited by jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis who declared that the students in Delony’s room were the brain trust of future thinking. At Episcopal, Delony introduced countless students to folk dance, and she worked with a group of fifth graders to establish the traditional Episcopal fifth grade STOMP. She even found a way to continue STOMP during last year’s distance learning. “I can pivot on a dime if I need to,” she says. “My favorite lessons are when we go on a tangent based on questions of the kids.”
"I like to reinvent myself."
Teaching music is certainly an ideal fit for Delony, but as someone who loves to reinvent herself, it wasn’t her first classroom assignment. Growing up, she struggled to read due to a learning disability, and she remembers the difficulties and frustration she felt. The experience inspired her to become a special education teacher to help others in a similar situation. Delony loved the job and loved the children, and she continued the work for 16 years. In that time, she was assigned to multiple schools each year allowing her the opportunity to work with a range of students and faculty.
“I love collaborating,” says Delony, who says her favorite aspect of music is ensemble work. After years as a special education teacher, she discovered a new avenue for that as a music educator. She loves fine-tuning the efforts of students, and her talents have been on display in a variety of Episcopal performing arts productions. She worked with students in “Little Mermaid Junior” and “Jungle Book Junior.” She also used her knack for collaboration to support an anatomy lesson in the QUEST Center.
Retirement for Delony is sure to be full of activity as she says she likes to have projects. She enjoys sewing and making things. In fact, she says she’d love to work in the theater shop with Technical and Lighting Director Louis Gagliano. When she’s not tinkering, Delony hopes to spend extra time with her artistic family, likely catching games at national baseball parks which has become a summer hobby for Delony and her husband, Willis. The two have been married 43 years. They met at LSU while she earned a teaching degree and he studied to become the professional piano player that he is today. The two have raised a musician, a painter and a dancer. They also have four grandchildren.
After decades of helping students discover, Delony looks forward to the discoveries that await her in this new adventure. We thank her for sharing the wonder of music with Episcopal students, and we look forward to seeing what comes next. Join us in wishing her well.
The QUEST Center in Foster Hall transformed into a Louisiana swamp complete with a critter camp and a fishing camp for the Louisiana Creature Feature Showcase of first and third grade work. First graders learned about habitats and the animals that call them home, and third graders learned all about arthropods. The two topics came together in an exciting final display that highlighted weeks of discovery.
Upon entering the QUEST Center, visitors were greeted by students dressed in an array of costumes. There was everything from first grade butterflies and black bears to a third grade saddleback caterpillar and a velvet ant. In front of each creature was a button that visitors pressed to activate the presentation. Once the buttons were pressed, the students shared fun facts about the creatures of their choice. It was obvious just how much the students enjoyed the experience.
“My favorite part was making our sculptures,” says third grader Arlie Bond who was a black widow spider for the occasion. “It was challenging but fun at the same time.”
Classmate Samantha Johnston, who was a daddy long legs, says her favorite part was “making costumes and working on the script.” She also enjoyed “adding details to make it interesting and exciting” like the jumping element she shared.
Across the path, Milo Gutfreund who was a golden silk orb-weaver says he enjoyed making his costume. He chose his creature based on inspiration from a family camping trip to north Louisiana where he observed webs in the sunlight.
It Takes Teamwork to Build a Swamp
Students were not alone in their excitement. Teachers and QUEST Center Coordinator Dr. Elizabeth Lewis were thrilled with the project. The adults point out the tremendous collaboration needed to bring the project to life. The third and first grade teams worked together to create a cohesive presentation. Lower School art teacher Caroline Hagan provided QUEST Center art lessons to help with creating the creature sculptures using recycled materials. Faculty and staff contributed recyclable materials to be transformed into creatures and decorations like cypress knees. Students and families made costumes at home. It was an impressive display of teamwork and community in support of a memorable lesson for students.
The Louisiana Creature Feature project was project-based learning at its best. Over the course of the project, students dissected owl pellets, examined the difference between crawfish and grasshoppers, took a field trip to the Bluebonnet Swamp and toured the Atchafalaya Basin. The final showcase was a fitting celebration for a lesson brimming with exciting learning opportunities.
Please join us in congratulating members of the Class of 2021 as they announce their college enrollment decisions.
Young people have something to say. And it is our job to help them express themselves clearly.
Episcopal students benefit from robust writing mentoring, and in that spirit, the Writing Center continued its work this year to support Middle and Upper School writers and nurture their development. The writing process reminds students that learning is iterative and never finished. There are endless opportunities to adapt and shape a piece of writing, which is a helpful reminder that progress, not perfection, is an ambitious, lifelong goal.
The Writing Center’s relocation to Aldrich Library allowed us to discover new ways to engage Writing Fellows with students. With a centralized location in a spacious facility, our Writing Fellows were better equipped to support entire classes and collaborate with our librarian, Tiffany Whitehead. While we still accommodated plenty of one-on-one appointments, our Fellows interacted with a number of classes who visited the library to research, write and revise.
Fellows supported the 6th grade primitive tools research project, hosted 7th Grade slam poetry workshops and judged the final competition, fielded MLA citation questions from 7th graders on their research and annotated bibliography assignment, and hosted conferences for 9th grade World History and English research papers, 9th grade English literary analyses and 6th grade argumentative social studies essays. Fellows are generous with their time and are coached to use strategic questioning that helps the writer identify ways to strengthen their work. This style of writing mentoring teaches students the types of questions to ask themselves when they are working on a piece of writing in the future.
To share our successes this year and to learn about other writing centers around the country, senior Fellow, Alex Nelson, and I presented at the Secondary Schools Writing Center Association Conference in March. Our presentation, “Writing Center Integration: Partnerships to Combat Isolation and Insulation,” focused on the work we’ve done this year to collaborate with teachers and lend support where needed. The process of applying to the conference with Alex and creating our presentation materials together once we were accepted was a rewarding experience! As the newly elected Southeast Representative of the SSWCA board, I look forward to collaborating with writing center leaders across the country and bringing the best ideas back to our WC here at Episcopal.
Finally, I’d like to thank the following senior Writing Fellows for their service during their time at Episcopal! Each one has contributed to helping students find their clearest, most powerful voice. Thank you for your enthusiastic service!
Katie Sutcliffe joined Episcopal in 2011 and is currently the Director of the Writing Center and Thesis Program, as well as the co-creator of LAUNCH, Episcopal’s annual TEDx-style student-planned and executed showcase of ideas and projects. Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in English (Writing) from DePauw University, an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member. Katie currently serves as the Southeast Representative for the Secondary Schools Writing Center Association Board. She has taught English and writing courses for middle and high school students, gifted students and even continuing-education adults. She’s passionate about research and writing that have practical implications for understanding and addressing real world challenges.
At Episcopal, community is often referred to and celebrated. It is something cherished by students, families and alumni. But how exactly do you define community? This week’s Arts Signing Day is a great place to start.
Ten members of the Class of 2021 announced their decisions to continue an arts education in college. Among the group of talented teens are students with dreams of becoming a fashion designer, a theme park designer, a theater director and a visual artist. Some students will minor in theater as they pursue a major in another subject area. All of them are making the arts a priority and seeking a way to continue being a part of an arts community like the one they love at Episcopal.
Keeping Community Connections
“Continuing an arts education means that I will continue to put my creative energy towards something productive and beautiful, that being a play or a musical,” says Martha Rhodes, who plans to minor in theater at Rhodes College. “The arts community at Episcopal is supportive, uplifting, and comforting and I hope to find and contribute to the same thing at Rhodes.”
“Theater is a special community here at Episcopal,” says Madi Bell, who will minor in theater at Tulane University. “I hope to continue spreading what I found here.”
Addi LeBouef, who will be a member of the University of Alabama at Birmingham wind ensemble agrees that community is key. “The people you meet in band are the best because they get it and why you love it.”
Celebrating the First Steps in a New Journey
As classmates and faculty gathered in a circle in the VPAC lobby, there was a sense of the love and community shared among these seniors. With cameras snapping and college colors flying, there was excitement similar to the feel of an art opening or a closing night theater performance. In a way, this was the curtain call on their high school art experiences. It was also the beginning of an exciting new journey.
Chris Yura, who will attend Savannah College of Art and Design to study theme park design says art has always been a part of his life. “I have been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil,” he says. “My love of art started with drawing dinosaurs and it just continued on from there.” At a table decorated in red and gray, Emily Lynch celebrated her acceptance into Muhlenberg College where she will study theater. “I can’t imagine not doing it every day,” she says when thinking about how important theater is for her. She looks forward to attending Muhlenberg with hopes of becoming a theater director. Not far from Emily, Katie Knight celebrated her next steps as a visual artist with teacher Veronica Hallock. Katie will attend Sewanee University this fall and says she is glad to be able to do what she loves in college. Ellie Veillon will continue pursuing what she loves at LSU in the fall. She has loved art since kindergarten and says her interest in fashion design has grown over the past few years. Ellie will major in fashion and art design.
The Benefits of Hard Work
Getting accepted to college and earning the opportunity to continue doing what you love does not happen by accident. Visual and Performing Arts Department Director Paige Gagliano says signing day marks the culmination of many hours of determination and hard work put in by the students. She points out the opportunities for growth gained through arts experiences such as improved confidence, empathy and the ability to work with others. All of this is something Evan Meek has experienced firsthand. “I have so much pride for this program,” he says. “I’ve grown as a person.” Evan will minor in theater at Rhodes College. Charlie Roth, who will minor in theater at Princeton University also recognizes the benefits gained from performing. He says the experience has impacted how he interacts with others and evolved how he sees the world.
Abhay Basireddy, who will minor in theater at MIT recently played the part of Ken in “Rumors.” When discussing his part in the play, Abhay said he found the Episcopal theater community to be accepting, authentic and inclusive. “The best part of this experience has been gaining a family and meeting people I never thought would have been interested in theater,” he said.
Creating Art in Uncertain Times
Finding a way to produce art with health protocols in place has been daunting; however, the arts faculty were undeterred. This fall, students performed a play written by Gagliano titled “We’re in this Together.” It provided an opportunity to celebrate community at a time when those opportunities had been lost. As progress has been made and restrictions have been eased, additional opportunities were available this spring. “Rumors” provided audiences a laugh, and a recital offered a stage to showcase newfound talents. The arts are poised for an exciting return to pre-pandemic life, and these ten students are proof that Episcopal student artists will be ready.
Head of School Dr. Carrie Steakley recognized the challenges and congratulated the seniors and arts faculty on a job well done. “I am so honored to be among you,” she told students. “I’ve been blown away by your performances. You have raised the bar in odd circumstances.” Dr. Steakley and Upper School Division Head Tom Forti recognized Gagliano for her tireless efforts on behalf of the school’s art students regardless of the challenges that arise. Forti told those in attendance that the arts are a “critical piece of working with the whole child,” and that the students’ efforts have been first class in every way.
Continuing the Episcopal Mission
Episcopal’s mission is to serve the whole child, and art is a key component of what makes that possible. Students learn more about themselves and the importance of being a part of something bigger than themselves. They learn the importance of community.
Congratulations to the following students who will continue studying the arts in college!
I always told myself that regardless of what school I go to, I will make sure that I get a scholarship for it, instead of walking on. I had many other options for schools, but this school was the better one that fit my self-requirements." Jewel Jones, Class of 2021
Jewel Jones began playing basketball in the fourth grade and has loved the game ever since. Now, she will continue competing with the LSU of Alexandria Generals next year. “I know that LSUA is the right school for me because of the benefits it gives me and a scholarship to play basketball,” says Jewel. Jewel was a member of the Knights basketball team that made back-to-back semifinal appearances in the state playoffs. She’ll keep that competitive edge going into next year with the Generals, who made it to the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament championship game this season.
Now that Jewel’s dream has been realized, she offers the following advice to students with a similar goal. “The advice I would give to other students would be to simply go for your dreams,” she says. “Set your standards high and go after them. Don’t look back and keep on striving. Even when it gets hard, push harder because at the end of the day, it will be all worth it in the end.”
Episcopal head basketball coach Taylor Wharton is excited to see Jewel enter the next chapter of her academic and athletic career. “Jewel is hard working, humble, and committed to excellence in the classroom and on the court,” says Coach Wharton. “We are proud of how well Jewel has represented our girls basketball program and athletic department at Episcopal. She will have a great future ahead at LSUA and beyond. Congratulations to Jewel and her family on this achievement!”
At LSUA, Jewel plans to study criminal justice to eventually become a lawyer.
Please join us in congratulating Jewel on this exciting new chapter!
Read more about other Episcopal athletes moving on to compete at the next level by clicking the names below:
You have to have patience in order to succeed in life. Everything may not come when you want it but if you keep your faith and trust God's timing you will come out victorious in the end when you least expect it." Ryan Armwood, Class of 2021
Knights football standout Ryan Armwood will continue playing next year for the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions. Ryan made the announcement last week. “Southeastern was the right school for me because it’s a steadily growing program and I really admire the type of atmosphere the school gives off,” he says. “The city of Hammond reminds me of my hometown in Zachary, so I feel as if it’s a home away from home.”
Ryan began playing football at the age of 10. He says he was initially nervous about the sport, but at the age of 12, he discovered that his talent could get him to the next level. Head football coach Travis Bourgeois saw that in Ryan from the very beginning. “From the day Ryan walked on to campus his sophomore year, he has had immediate impact to our football team,” says Coach Bourgeois. “He brings the positive attitude, work ethic, and leadership that leads to success. The 2 time District 8-AA running back and offensive MVP, will bring tremendous versatility to the Southeastern football team. He will be a fine representative of an Episcopal student athlete on the Hammond campus.”
Ryan plans to study kinesiology and minor in pre-dentistry once he arrives in Hammond. As a member of the Episcopal football team, track team and a youth fraternity, he is accustomed to managing a lot, and he looks forward to taking this next step. “This means a lot to me, I’ve been working towards this goal since I’ve started playing the game of football,” he says. “I am very blessed to be in this position to display my talents at the next level. This is something that every high school football player dreams of.”
Join us in congratulating Ryan as he continues his dream.
Read more about other Episcopal athletes moving on to compete at the next level by clicking the names below: