We are excited to celebrate members of the Class of 2020 as they make their college enrollment decisions. Congratulations!
Almost completely destroyed during World War II, Minsk was rebuilt and is the most populous city in which landlocked European country?
A port city along the Indian Ocean on the Horn of Africa, Mogadishu is the most populous city in what country?
Located near extinct volcanic cones and home to Waitemata Harbour, Auckland is the most populous city of what island country?
If you knew that Belarus, Somalia and New Zealand were the correct answers to the questions above, you might just be Middle School Geography Bee material. This week, eighth graders Ahebwa Muhumuza, Nick Musso, Ryan Richard, Baylen Sim and Hayden Singh competed in Episcopal’s 2020 National Geographic Geography Bee on the VPAC stage in front of the entire Middle School. After five rounds of competition and a tiebreaker, Ahebwa Muhumuza was declared the Episcopal Geography Bee Champion.
The geography knowledge exhibited by this group of Middle School students was remarkable. “Perhaps the best aspect of the Geography Bee was that all contestants went through the first three rounds without missing a question,” says Division Head Mark Engstrom. “We also had a tie after five rounds that led to a tiebreaker.” Despite the difficulty of the questions, the answers seemed to come easy for the students. “The speed with which they could rattle off answers like Myanmar and Yemen was extremely impressive,” says geography teacher Kristina St. George. “While we study these areas in class, the students' intrinsic motivation to learn about our world goes well beyond what we do in a classroom setting.”
The competitors’ teachers weren’t the only ones impressed by the performance. As the bee progressed, the tension in the VPAC among the student spectators was palpable. Murmurs could be heard among the crowd as each student somehow correctly answered questions about remote islands or ancient civilizations. There was a sense that the students truly appreciated the knowledge on display. Once Muhumuza was crowned the winner, the tension broke and everyone enthusiastically congratulated him and the others. In speaking with the competitors, they seem humble and unphased by their geography recall. They say their knowledge is simply a compilation of information they’ve picked up throughout their studies.
Now that the school geography bee is complete, Muhumuza will take an online exam in an attempt to qualify for the state geography bee in March. The winner of the state geography bee then moves on to the nationals in Washington, D.C. this spring for an opportunity to win cash prizes and college scholarships. Good luck, Ahebwa. We’ll be cheering you on!
“This group is the rowdiest of fans and I am appreciative for the effort they put in.” Episcopal Athletic Director Randy Richard
If senior Jack Campbell walks away from an Episcopal sporting event unable to speak because he’s lost his voice, it’s been a good game for him. Campbell, who plays baseball for the Knights, is also the co-president of the Episcopal Fan Club. He and his counterpart, Griff Strain, want to see Episcopal represented at sporting events with the loudest, most passionate group of student fans possible. The two know they have done their job when they hear from the athletes that the student section was audible from the playing field. Campbell takes particular pride in knowing that during a recent rivalry game, the Episcopal student section was larger and louder than the fans on the other side of the field.
Campbell and Strain love sports and the sense of community that athletics generates. “We care about the school a lot,” says Strain, who plays football and baseball for the Knights. He says Fan Club members want to show support for Episcopal. They accomplish this in numerous ways. “It is crucial to have the student fan support for the Episcopal Athletic program,” says Athletic Director Randy Richard. “The Fan Club presidents coordinate our student population; from meeting locations and game day themes to athletic recognition during the school day.” Campbell and Strain are joined in their Fan Club efforts by fellow spirited students Joyner Brown, Sarah Collier, Ella Kimbrough and Will McCarthy.
Being a Fan Club member affords students the opportunity to get to know their classmates and make new connections. Strain says that sense of connection carries over to the school day as a Fan Club member compliments an athlete on a great game. “There’s a smile on their face when you talk to them,” he says. Campbell says attending athletic events has provided him an opportunity to see his classmates in action and to get to know them beyond sitting next to them in math class. The two avid sports fans say the Fan Club experience has also provided them the opportunity to learn more about different sports. For example, Campbell says he has learned more about volleyball and cross country just by being there to support his classmates.
As athletes themselves, Campbell and Strain recognize the importance of support. They say athletes are motivated by having a cheering section. “It means a lot to know that people care,” says Strain. Fan Club members self-organize in an effort to have someone at the majority of Episcopal sporting events so that all athletes can feel that support. This dedication is especially impressive when students attend those early Saturday morning games in the cold or the cross country championships in the rain.
With Fan Club members cheering them on, the Upper and Middle School Knights have done very well this school year with district and state championships. There is more action ahead. Mark these upcoming winter sports events on your calendar. You’re sure to see a Fan Club member there. Feel free to join in their cheers. Go Knights!
Upper School Events:
Monday, February 3rd
5 pm Freshman boys basketball hosts Woodlawn
6 pm Varsity girls basketball team hosts Mentorship Academy
6 pm Varsity girls soccer versus Central at Central
Wednesday, February 5th
5 pm Freshman boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
6 pm Junior varsity boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
7 pm Varsity boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
Thursday, February 6th – Saturday, February 8th
Varsity girls basketball district tournament at Episcopal
Saturday, February 8th
Indoor Track and Field Meet at LSU
Wrestling JV City
Middle School Events:
Monday, February 3rd
5 pm Boys sixth grade basketball versus UHigh
6 pm Boys seventh grade basketball versus UHigh
7 pm Boys eighth grade basketball versus UHigh
Tuesday, February 4th
5:30 pm Boys sixth grade basketball versus Hosanna Christian
6:30 pm Boys eighth grade basketball versus Glen Oaks
Wednesday, February 5th
6:30 pm Boys seventh grade basketball versus Parkview Baptist
State championships. Class quotes. That snapshot of you and your best friend that takes you back to a time you’ll never forget. A school yearbook is a timeless link to those special and fleeting moments. A yearbook is something most of us keep forever. Thumbing through them is like opening a time capsule. But, have you ever stopped to think about how the yearbook is created?
In a second floor classroom in Perkins Hall, a group of nine students pours their hearts and souls into creating a 300-page account of the 2019-2020 Episcopal experience. (Only nine students!) Yearbook advisor Dianne Madden’s room has everything you’d expect from a creative space – low lighting, ideas and photos pinned to the walls, art and design books, and students huddled in front of computers expertly manipulating Photoshop. The vibe in the space is surprisingly relaxed given the work being done inside. There is a sense of focus and enthusiasm. The room is abuzz with creativity.
This year’s editors, Grace Cullens and Emily Culler, are at ease discussing the creative process.The two are confident and have clearly found their Episcopal niche. “I love designing,” says Cullens. “I love Photoshop and taking photos.” “I like to get involved with school,” says Culler. “I have a passion for photography.”
Like an athletic team, yearbook staffers huddle every Monday morning to plan for the upcoming week. The group goes over events and photo assignments to ensure that each Episcopal memory is captured. In addition, each student has a story to tell, whether it’s a spread featuring the soccer team or an update on Middle School robotics. The group divides the assignments based on interest and then they go to work. While the yearbook spreads are presented from nine different perspectives, the students work together to meld their stories into an overall theme. In the end, the memento is cohesive and celebrates the Episcopal spirit at that moment in time.
Yearbook staffers eat, sleep and breathe the yearbook. They meet three times a week, during lunch and even on the weekends if necessary. In June, the students are on campus daily to complete this massive undertaking. Cullens remembers her mom calling to ask when she was coming home. Next year’s editor, Zoe Marceaux, remembers another specific moment. “On June 17th at 1 in the morning, Mason called and said it’s finished,” she recalls of the exact time that last year’s book was ready for print. Mason LaFerney ’19, who won the top individual award in the graphics/artwork category for the 2018/2019 yearbook design at the JEA/Tom Bell Silver Scribe Yearbook Contest, left his mark on this team. They are still inspired by the creativity he shared and they remain in touch with him even as he studies at Boston College.
Madden, the yearbook advisor, is like the proud mother of this yearbook family. As students generate ideas, she seeks to guide them through the process. She is there to ensure that the ideas and themes are relevant to the overall Episcopal community now and even 10 years from now. Madden sees the yearbook experience as one that affords students a range of life lessons. For example, as students work on senior spreads they must communicate with "clients" regarding the information. Students must also work as a team and they must "forage" for information such as quotes, facts and photos. There is an emphasis on practicing ethical journalism standards. All of these are real world skills that will be an asset to students long after graduation.
For those who love creating and sharing, the rewards of yearbook life are plentiful. There are the friendships that are created as a result of spending countless hours together. There are even impromptu dance parties to break up the stress of the long hours. “I love orientation day when people laugh and enjoy what we’ve created,” says Cullens. Culler says she enjoys knowing that today’s students may one day show their own children what the staff designed. For Madden, there is a great reward in seeing a student grow. She also enjoys introducing them to new concepts that can positively impact their design. “I want them to have an informed way of creating through exposure to art history and culture.”
If the editors could share one thing with their classmates, it would be – please stop saying it’s easy. In fact, creating this archive of Episcopal life is a tremendous task requiring commitment and discipline. “I would want people to know how much they’re really doing for the school,” says Madden. “I would want them to know what a service the students are providing.” Madden also encourages students to respond to yearbook staffers if they receive a request for information so that staff can meet the publisher's deadlines. The yearbook staff appreciate feedback from their classmates. Cullens and Culler encourage students to talk to them about their ideas and to let them know if they want to be included.
The next time you reach for your yearbook or think back to the good ole’ days, remember that there is a team of dedicated, passionate students who are working overtime to tell the tale of the Episcopal experience.
Thank you to the 2019/2020 yearbook staff:
Grace Cullens - editor
Emily Culler - editor
Zoe Marceaux - 2020/2021 editor
Callie Hardy (first semester)
Tanya Mencer (first semester)
KC Shimada - photographer
Savannah York - volunteer contributor
On Saturday, January 25th Episcopal placed 1st in Division 2 at the Catholic High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. The tournament was attended by approximately 550 students from 32 schools. Episcopal brought 60 students in grades 5th – 12th that competed in subjects from Pre-Algebra to Calculus BC.
1st Comprehensive Math 0.5 – Luke Stelly, Nate McLean, Autumn Baldridge
1st Comprehensive Math 1 – Hayden Singh, Hayden Willett, Ahebwa Muhumuza, Ayush Patel
2nd Comprehensive Math 1 – Caroline Chick, Lauren McGrath, Shreya Kamath, Joie Lee
2nd Comprehensive Math 1.5 – Joey Roth, Ivy Jiang, Autumn Reynolds, Rebekah Reid
1st Calculus A – Allison Binning, Grace Scott, Sevie Breaux
1st Calculus B – Justin Dynes, Katie Knight, Arya Patel, Ryan Field
2nd Potpourri – Nick Johannessen, Andrea Norwood, Alex Nelson, Elaine Gboloo
2nd Middle School Interschool
1st Lower Interschool
1st Upper Interschool
Joan Moroney began teaching in 2007. She has taught Honors Geometry, Algebra II, and Honors Algebra II at Episcopal and is a co-sponsor of the Mu Alpha Theta math competition team. Before coming to Episcopal in 2014, Joan taught high school credit math courses to gifted students at Glasgow Middle School in Baton Rouge. She has a Bachelor of Science in secondary mathematics education from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in education from Louisiana State University in gifted education.
“Mamma Mia!” There’s a lot in store in the Episcopal arts department this spring!
In February, 19 Episcopal students will travel to New York City for a whirlwind, three-day tour. Arts Department Director Paige Gagliano says this experience is a great opportunity for students who are interested in theater to learn more about the opportunities available to them. In just three days’ time, students will see three Broadway shows, participate in three Broadway theater workshops, visit two colleges and take in the sights and sounds of the city. They will do all this and still return home in time for Fat Tuesday festivities. In addition, 12 band students will travel to London for spring break where they will take in a concert and have the opportunity to perform. Even students in the visual arts program will have the opportunity for learning beyond the classroom once final details of their excursions are complete. Art-themed field trips are a great way for students to experience new places and explore their interests more in depth.
There is excitement around this spring’s musical theater production with a triple cast taking the stage in the musical “Mamma Mia!” Currently, 75 Middle and Upper School students are on the roster and Gagliano says by curtain time there could be as many as 80 students involved. “The talent has exploded,” says Gagliano of this up and coming group of student actors. She says “Mamma Mia!” provides a great opportunity for students to showcase a range of talents including acting, dancing and singing. Gagliano says “Mamma Mia!” was the perfect choice for this spring because of the student interest and enthusiasm. The cast is in their second week of music rehearsals as they prepare for a late March opening date.
Gagliano and the arts team are excited to have so many students involved in the arts. “It’s our job to give everyone an opportunity to find their passion,” she says. Gagliano says it’s rewarding to see students explore their artistic talents and find that it is something they enjoy. One such student is senior Rowan Reilly who has discovered an appreciation for performing after taking a theater production class and being cast in “Evangeline.” “I wouldn’t have guessed it going into high school, but turns out I like it,” he says. Reilly also appreciates the practical skills he has gained from his theater experience. As an example, he says he recently received positive feedback from his thesis counterparts for his confidence and annunciation. Hearing Reilly discuss his theater experience and the practical applications he’s discovered was music to Gagliano’s ears. It is this type of feedback that keeps her and her colleagues going. “A teacher allows the actor to discover,” she says. “A teacher encourages a focus on the process and not the end product. We want students to have a higher level of thinking and analysis and to ask why.”
Episcopal art teachers are also fostering the talent of visual artists. Junior Katie Knight will have her artwork entitled “Emily” on display in the LSU Statewide Juried High School exhibition. The show runs between February 7th and March 7th at the Foster Gallery on the LSU campus. This is the second year in a row that Knight has been featured in this exhibition. According to the LSU School of Art website, “the goal of the exhibition is to inspire young artists by providing a platform for their work to be displayed in a professional, artistic venue and thus giving them a taste of a professional artist experience.”
The arts are a key component of an Episcopal education. Whether a student aspires to be on Broadway or dreams of expressing their feelings through dance or drawing, there is an opportunity for everyone. Don’t miss your opportunity to support these talented students at an event this semester. In addition, look for Episcopal student artists at LAUNCH this spring. The artists will lead their classmates in creating a Chihuly sculpture for display in the VPAC. They will also have their own works on display.
Upcoming Spring Arts Events:
Spring musical: “Mamma Mia!”
Sunday, March 29 – Sunday, April 5th (Excludes Wednesday, April 1st and Saturday, April 4th)
Thursday, April 23rd at 7:50 am
Theatre Seminar performance
Wednesday, April 29th at 5:30 pm
Sunday, April 26th
Spring band concert
Thursday, April 30th at 7 pm
End of theYear Arts Banquet
Saturday, May 2nd at 5 pm
On a gray January day, brightly colored flags cheerily blow in the wind near the Bonnet Carrè Spillway. These markers are soon replaced with 250 persimmon trees planted by Episcopal Lower and Upper School students. Considering that the planting takes place near the spillway and off the beaten path, the environment is bustling. Overhead, airplanes deliver travelers to and from New Orleans. On the highway, truckers blow their horns and wave to the young planters. Rusty, with the Army Corps of Engineers, points out a bald eagle perched on a powerline. Despite the winter cold, the sights and sounds of life are all around. The enthusiasm of the Episcopal students, who are all bundled up in hats and boots, only adds to the occasion.
Before planting begins, Dr. Pam Blanchard with the LSU Coastal Roots program offers instructions. She shows students how to efficiently plant each tree by doing the “dibble wiggle.” The wiggle involves firmly placing the dibble in the ground and shifting it back and forth to create a hole. Once the trees are placed inside, the dibble is used again to fill the hole and a ribbon is tied to the tree as a marker. The dibble wiggle generates lively discussion among the students as they demonstrate the move. It’s not long before the trees are all planted, and the students are ready for more.
Every winter, Episcopal students participate in this planting field trip as part of the school’s partnership with the Coastal Roots program. This week, AP Environmental Science students were joined by fifth graders who were excited to be involved. Both groups have been studying ecosystems, biomes and the importance of wetlands. The students were divided into groups, with the older students guiding the younger students through the planting process. The Upper School students were remarkable in their interactions with the fifth graders. In return for their patience and expertise, they were rewarded with the admiration of their younger counterparts.
According to the Coastal Roots website, the program encourages students “to learn about and become environmental stewards of their natural resources by establishing native plant nurseries at their schools.” These trees are then planted in a coastal habitat restoration project. Fifty schools from across the state participate in the program. Dr. Pam says over the past 20 years, approximately 175,000 trees have been planted by 25,000 students. LSU provides partner schools with the seeds and even the soil to begin the growing process. In a few weeks, the AP students will start the cycle again when they work with third graders to sow the next crop of trees to be planted in 2021.
The army corps’ Rusty says the project is especially meaningful because years from now as students travel through the area, they will remember that they contributed and helped restore the wetlands. The program makes them an active participant in coastal restoration. In an interesting note, he says the trees are planted near the spillway to absorb the tremendous amount of fertilizer that travels downstream. The goal is to reduce the amount of fertilizer that reaches Lake Pontchartrain and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.
After the planting is complete and the little trees are ready to become a part of their new environment, students take a break. Even with all of the new sights and sounds, many of them report that their favorite part of the experience was getting to work with students from the other division. The Upper School students shared stories of working with the younger students and the younger students simply thought their group leader was the best. The project certainly had an academic component, but it also highlighted the benefit of a school that serves students of all ages. Students learn from each other and mentor each other in a way that makes a lasting impression.
The Coastal Roots experience is a way for students to leave a lasting, positive impression on their environment. Long after they graduate, the trees planted this week will serve as a reminder of their shared day in the wetlands.
The Middle School navy boys and gold girls soccer teams are champs! Both squads won their divisions in last weekend’s Baton Rouge Soccer Association tournament.
“There is an incredible amount of talent in Middle School,” says girls soccer coach James Moroney. This talent is enhanced by the positive, enthusiastic attitudes of the players. Moroney says the girls simply love to play and always play hard. For example, he says when the goalkeeper couldn’t play due to injury, another player who had never played the position gladly stepped up and did the job. He says when needed, the leading scorers willingly played defense. “Whatever is needed for the team, they were happy to do that,” he says. Fellow coach Rhys Lopiparo says she was happy for the opportunity to work with the girls. “They always went above and beyond my expectations, and I could not have asked for a better first season of my coaching career,” she says. “I am incredibly proud of the hard work the girls put in over the past few months, and I can’t wait to see how their knowledge of the game continues to grow.”
The gold team ended the season with a perfect record of 8 and 0, allowing only one goal all season in the final contest. The navy team advanced to a semi-final match, playing what Moroney considered their best outing of the season. Moroney says the girls were supportive of each other all season, helping each other develop their skills and grow in the game.
When he’s not coaching soccer, Moroney, who was a high school soccer player, can be found teaching eighth grade math. He sees coaching as a way to connect with students outside of the classroom. “It’s rewarding to see them be successful,” he says. “It’s a fulfillment of the time and hard work the girls and coaches put into the season.”
On the boys side, there was also tremendous success. The navy team won the Division I trophy. Coach and Episcopal dad Paolo Messina says this championship is especially meaningful because the boys were competing in the highest and toughest division of the tournament. The tournament includes teams from throughout the Baton Rouge region and competitions are set without regard to school size. Messina says the Episcopal squads included players who have never played soccer or haven’t played in years as well as highly competitive players who are training for the next level. He says the players really played hard with several leaders developing. “Not having the entire team for any game allowed kids to get playing time and improve their skills,” says Messina. “They meshed and played well together.” Fellow coach and recent Episcopal grad Eliott Reimann ’19 agrees. “I am extremely proud of how the team grew as the season progressed,” he says. “Not in a single game this season was our full roster present, but they never made excuses and stuck to the game plan. They played with heart, and tenacity, I couldn’t have asked for anything else.”
The navy team finished the season with five wins, two losses and one tie. The team fought through several close contests to finish the tournament with a perfect 3 and 0 record. Winning the championship was the highlight of the season. “It’s a pretty big deal,” says Messina. “This is a citywide tournament. I don’t think Episcopal has ever won the tournament.”
Messina, who is a full-time attorney, began coaching eight years ago as a way to spend time with his own children. As a high school soccer player, he always loved the game and he found he also loved coaching. He says when the opportunity arose to coach this year’s boys squad, he was excited for the chance to get involved. “It was a pleasure to watch them win it all,” says Messina.
It wasn’t only soccer fans who were excited about Middle School soccer this season. Soccer fever swept through Middle School with the trophies shared with classmates at Morning Meeting. “While what we care the most about is teamwork, effort, and character, it’s also true that those things in combination also commonly lend themselves to success,” says Division Head Mark Engstrom. “I’m so proud of our soccer teams for their recent victories. Their effort and attention to detail has led them to where they are now, and we couldn’t be happier for them and the example they are setting for those who will come after them.”
The final buzzer sounds, and the girls basketball team has done it again! The Knights are all smiles and the crowd roars their appreciation for a great team effort. This season, the Episcopal girls basketball team has earned wins against 5A schools Walker High and St. Joseph’s Academy. They’ve bested St. Michael and St. Scholastica. They have come together as a team and it’s exciting to watch.
Like most teams, this group of girls runs drills together, lifts weights together and spends hours practicing on the court. But it’s the behind the scenes focus on service that tells a bigger story. These athletes volunteered at a church youth camp and helped visitors to the Shepherd’s Market Food Pantry gather the supplies they needed for their homes. For Christmas, the team wrapped gifts they donated to the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program. They have even attended Episcopal Lower School girls basketball games where they cheered on the mini Knights with enthusiasm and spirit. Why would a group of high school students dedicate so many hours to service?
“God gave us the talent of athleticism,” says senior forward Sydney Summerville. “God allows us to play on the court as a team. Service is our way to thank Him for that.”
This is a powerful reminder of why service is as much a part of life at Episcopal as academics, arts and athletics. Service examples can be found throughout every division. For example, a fifth grade lesson on the cultures of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas led to the creation of the global marketplace. Students sold handmade items to generate funds, which were donated to Heifer International to purchase livestock for residents in poverty-stricken nations. Middle School project-based lessons have benefitted Friends of the Animals, Catholic Charities and Support Our War Heroes. Ninth graders began this school year with a service learning retreat in August. Students volunteered at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Melrose Elementary, the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, Front Yard Bikes and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired.
While service learning is required in Upper School, many students participate in the projects simply because they want to help. Coach Taylor Mims says the girls basketball team made a commitment to service this season. “We want to think outside of us,” she says. “We are fortunate to be here and this is our norm, but we must think about what we can do for others.”
This commitment to service runs throughout Upper School. To empower students and encourage participation, there is a student service learning team. This group of students meets monthly to discuss potential projects and how to make them enjoyable for the Upper School community. “As co-president of the center for service learning, I’ve tried to advertise service as a fun activity, not as a graduation requirement,” says senior Ryan Whaley. “By pushing groups of friends to complete service together and by working with administrators to find fun new service projects, I think that our team has done a great job branding service as a ‘fun activity.’”
Collectively, the Episcopal community can do tremendous good. In November, members of the community donated more than 3,000 pounds of food to the Shepherd’s Market Food Pantry. More than 3,000 pounds! Each year, members of the Episcopal community participate in a school supply drive benefiting our partner school Melrose Elementary. When Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and surrounding areas, members of the community donated supplies to help residents recover.
Next week, there are numerous opportunities for Episcopal students and staff to serve, including the 2020 MLK Fest presented by the Walls Project, City Year’s Day of Service and the Front Yard Bikes effort to refurbish their outdoor spaces. Beginning February 1st, Episcopal volunteers will once again work alongside a new homeowner to build a home through Habitat for Humanity. Summerville, who is great at the three point line, says the basketball team has plans to work a Habitat shift together. Episcopal students and staff have participated in the student Habitat build for nearly 20 years.
It is often said that those who serve others reap more benefits than the people they are serving. In an educational setting, service learning helps students connect what they learn in the classroom to real world issues. It helps spark innovation and imagination as they explore and work toward meaningful solutions. It also fosters empathy for others that will hopefully generate understanding, a willingness to help and a desire to make the world a better place.
Thank you to everyone who makes service a priority, especially our student volunteers.
January marks the beginning of the college selection journey for Episcopal juniors. The journey they begin this month will culminate next school year with a chapel announcement and a plan for the next phase of their lives.
“This is the time to be getting on college campuses,” says College Counseling Director Justin Fenske. Fenske says students should be exploring and researching the types of universities available. In fact, he says the upcoming Mardi Gras break provides an ideal time for Louisiana students to tour out-of-state colleges since most will be in session. Fenske advises that a campus tour is much more than attending a college game day experience. Students should register for an official information session or tour even if they are fairly certain a particular school is the one for them. “We want students to be intentional in their decision making and they need the information to do that,” says Fenske.
For those students who have not considered what university they will attend, the College Counseling team offers the following advice on where to begin. “We recommend that students tour LSU, ULL, Tulane and Loyola,” says Fenske. He says these institutions offer completely different experiences and each campus has a unique feel. After these initial tours, students can then begin to explore other state and national options with a better understanding of their preferences.
In addition to exploring and researching schools, Fenske says members of the Class of 2021 should be checking the following items off their lists this semester.
1. Get ACT/SAT ready.
Fenske says by the end of their junior year students should have an ACT or SAT score that they feel reflects their abilities and college goals. He recommends taking the exams two to three times during junior year with the understanding that students will likely take it once more their senior year. Fenske recommends that students plan ahead for which day they’ll take the test before family schedules get booked and the spring rush sets in.
Episcopal offers a range of test prep opportunities. The next SAT Bootcamp is set for Saturday, February 15th. During these sessions, students review writing tips, take timed practice tests and work on SAT lessons. To read more about Episcopal test prep, click here. To read more about testing success, click here.
2. Secure a recommendation commitment.
Later this spring is also the time for juniors to secure teacher recommendations. Students will need to determine which teacher(s) to ask, complete the teacher recommendation worksheet(s) and make the request(s). Each student will need to secure two teacher commitments. While teachers will not write the letters until next school year, Fenske says planning ahead results in a more meaningful message. A solid teacher recommendation letter is an important component of a student’s admission application. Click here to read five tips the College Counseling team provides for creating an application that will get noticed.
3. Establish a presence on the SCOIR platform.
It can be challenging to remember all of the academic and extracurricular accomplishments that occur over the course of four years. To help with this, Episcopal uses the SCOIR application which allows students to track their activities. Fenske recommends that students visit the site now to log in, register their information and become familiar with the app. This will certainly prove valuable when students begin the admission essay writing process later this summer.
4. Get to know your College Counselor.
The College Counseling team consists of Fenske, Shandi Fazely and Dr. Alan Newton. Fenske says now is the time for students and College Counselors to get to know each other. He encourages students to schedule meetings with their counselor now and take full advantage of the resources offered. “The better we know the students, the better advice we can give them,” says Fenske.
On January 15th, the College Counseling team hosted the annual Junior College Night for parents of juniors. The team also met with the junior class to discuss the journey ahead. While Fenske advised students that the success of their search is up to them, he reinforced that the counseling team and the Episcopal faculty are here to help every step of the way.
While it may only be January of 2020, May of 2021 will arrive quickly. Thanks to the support and guidance of the Episcopal community, this year’s juniors will be ready to make the college choice that best helps them reach their potential as leaders of tomorrow.
College Lecture Series
The College Counseling team offers a lecture series to help parents and students navigate the admission process. Common topics include expectations for senior year, financial aid opportunities and trends in higher education. Mark your calendar for the next discussion.
Pursuing the Arts
Wednesday, February 5th
6:30 – 7:30 pm
There will be a panel discussion on art schools and the unique admission journeys they present. Nine members of the Class of 2019 chose to pursue an arts education. Read more about them here.
Upcoming College Admission Events:
SAT Bootcamp Evidence Based Reading and Writing
Saturday, February 15th
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Upper School Student Center
Highlands Ability Battery Introduction Session
Tuesday, February 18th
Upper School Conference Room
Register to attend here.
SAT Bootcamp Math
Saturday, March 7th
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Upper School Student Center
Saturday, March 14th
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunday, March 22nd
Events for sophomores and juniors take place across campus