Homecoming Week 2020 was a fun and festive occasion. Enjoy these photos from around campus!
Episcopal Knights versus Dunham
Friday, October 30th
Catch the game live on Cox Channel 37 or via Twitter @EHSBRAthletics.
Sometimes if what you’re looking for doesn’t exist, you simply create it yourself. That’s exactly what 2018 graduate Caroline Crawford did after discovering that LSU did not have a student organization dedicated to women in business.
This spring, Caroline was fortunate to have a job at a small investment firm where she had the opportunity to be mentored by the firm’s owner. While her college professors were teaching her the principles of business, the mentorship of a female business owner taught her something you can’t learn from a book. Caroline says she learned what it is like to be a woman in the workplace and some of the challenges that women often face. She appreciates that her mentor was open and honest about what to expect and some of the situations that Caroline may encounter. “It was impactful for me,” she says. In her own life, Caroline had not experienced what her mentor described until she worked in a Congressional office answering phones. She recalls that after giving a male caller the answer to his question, he inquired as to whether there was a man he could speak to. “In that moment it was real for me,” says Caroline.
Empowered with the guidance of her mentor, Caroline was eager to learn more. She began to look for a student organization that would provide that opportunity and was surprised to find that nothing existed. “I was honestly shocked,” she says. She remembers thinking, “there’s no way that’s right.” Caroline began speaking with her classmates about her experiences and found that others were interested in the same mentorship opportunities. There was clearly a need, but Caroline never imagined that she would be the one to provide it. However, once the LSU campus closed for the spring semester, Caroline found herself in need of a project, and so she set to work.
Caroline began researching women in business organizations at other universities and made connections at Boston College, the University of Pennsylvania and Ole Miss. What she discovered was a network of female students like herself who were all too willing to share ideas and give advice on establishing a Women in Business chapter at LSU. Caroline found that her LSU advisor was also extremely supportive of the effort. While he was willing to help her get the group off the ground, he also understood the importance of female leadership and recommended Caroline seek guidance from the Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
Establishing a campus-wide organization during a pandemic was not difficult for Caroline. With her passion for the group’s purpose, she was quickly able to make her dream a reality. “It’s important for women to see other women succeed,” she says. “It helps to have an influence in your life you can relate to.” Caroline’s classmates agreed, and the first meeting of the Women in Business at LSU organization was conducted virtually with 26 students in attendance. Caroline celebrates the fact that a wide range of students expressed interest or participated and that even several freshmen shared their experiences from the very beginning. Going forward, Women in Business at LSU has much to celebrate as more female business professionals are scheduled to share their experiences and the group prepares for a joint event with the school’s College of Business.
That Caroline is already blazing trails is no surprise to those who knew her at Episcopal. “Caroline was a great student in the classroom,” says economics teacher Vincent Hoang. “I love the organization she started at LSU and I feel it is long overdue.” It was in Hoang’s class that Caroline discovered her passion. Always interested in math, she initially planned to pursue an engineering degree until she enrolled in economics. “It’s like I knew after our first class,” she says. “Economics describes a lot of how the world works.”
At Episcopal, Caroline says she gained the most preparation for college success through the Honors Thesis program, during which she prepared a 30-page paper and presented her ideas to an audience of her peers. “I loved Honors Thesis,” says Caroline. “I learned how to research and how to communicate it to others.” Caroline’s thesis participation made a lasting impression on co-directors Scott Engholm and Katie Sutcliffe. “I remember her enthusiasm and generosity most in Thesis,” says Engholm. “And it all came from her genuine ambition and excitement for seeing ambition in others. She encouraged the best in her Thesis class, gifting original art that still hangs on my walls and coming early to support her peers for LAUNCH when she didn’t have to.” Sutcliffe is proud of what Caroline has already accomplished in such a short time. “The best way I can characterize Caroline as a student and leader is as a total boss,” she says. “I’m not surprised at all that she is starting an organization. Even as a student she owned her own path and her ideas and gave her peers permission to be unapologetically themselves.”
To learn more about Women in Business at LSU, visit their Instagram page - @womeninbusinesslsu.
What happens when former physical education teachers get together for a luncheon? Laughter, tears and the reliving of good times.
When former athletic director Myra Mansur and retired PE teachers Chinkie Cointment and Renee Price ’76 share the same table, it is a memorable occasion. Years ago, the three shared a tiny office at Episcopal where the beginnings of girls’ sports took shape. The three are pioneers in women’s athletics and girl power is strong with them.
This trio has coached and taught everything from archery and fencing to softball and volleyball. There is great pride in the storytelling as they recall the days when the school’s concrete tennis courts were where the quad is now. They laugh and groan as they remember the “onesie” PE uniforms students had to wear. There is appreciation in their voices still today as they remember the day the switch was flipped for the first time on the new Phillips gymnasium air conditioning unit thanks to the support of LaRon Phillips.
These veterans were on the court and the field at a time when girls sports were thought of a little differently than they are now. That never stopped them. At the time, Mansur was the only female athletic administrator over a football program in the state. Cointment was a passionate advocate for physical education and worked hard to make sure that others understood the difference between PE and athletics. When she first joined Episcopal, she had not taught before, but she says Father Hancock must have had faith in her abilities because she was assigned to teach eighth grade religion. She later went on to teach drama, study skills and history before finding her home in the PE department. Price was actually a student of Mansur and Cointment and a star volleyball player for the Knights. When the school needed help with the volleyball team, Price was there. When they needed a substitute, she was the one whose phone rang. Eventually, she signed on full time and worked 30 years before retiring in 2017.
Before the days of electronic planners and email reminders, these women were expert multi-taskers. “Coaching and raising kids,” is how Price describes her days at Episcopal. While coaching, Mansur raised three children and earned a master’s degree. The three were determined to achieve their goals and resolved to make sure the women who followed them had even greater opportunities than they did.
As the ladies shared stories of their days at Episcopal, there were moments of sincere emotion as they realized the significance the school and its students have had on them. They remembered days when a faculty member passed away and students gathered to sign a banner in their honor. They remembered Father Hancock’s amenability to physical education and how they said he let them coach and teach, supporting them along the way. They remember the emotions they felt when they walked away from the school they loved for the last time as a coach.
Of course, there are also the moments that can only be remembered and retold with laughter and raised voices. (As longtime PE teachers, they say their voices are raised because of years of teaching large numbers of children in an incredibly loud gym.) There were adventures in bus driving as they transported students to games and tournaments. Cointment, who is petite, couldn’t quite reach the bus pedals and often had to use a block to stretch. There was the time that Mansur and Price had parked the bus and were walking toward the gym only to look back and discover that the bus was rolling away! With quick reaction, Mansur chased the bus down and jumped on board just in time to hit the brake before a collision with a tree. There were memories of a champagne cork flying through the air at the 1988 graduation and an effort by the graduates to start the wave in the audience. “Oh, what a class!” they all say.
The legacy of Mansur, Cointment and Price lives on today as a young girl makes her first serve on the volleyball court or a senior softball player realizes her dream of playing in college. Their influence is felt by the coaching staff who are following in their footsteps. “They gave me my career,” says softball coach and PE teacher Heidi Hebert. “Their leadership and guidance was just tremendous. It was like having three extra moms. I could have never dreamed that working with them would have changed my life so much.”
We thank Myra, Chinkie and Renee for making a difference at Episcopal and paving the way for the next generation. We invite you to share a message of thanks or a great memory with them in the comments section below.
There is no doubt that motherhood is extremely challenging and exceptionally rewarding. As a mom, you want the best for your children, and you’ll go to tremendous lengths to make that happen. An example of that is Episcopal graduate Sharrolyn Jackson Miles ’95. Until very recently, she worked full time as an attorney and advocated for others, while homeschooling her five children.
The 2020 pandemic has forced many parents into video conferences with toddlers in tow or business meetings during naptime. Even the most skilled multi-taskers have found the arrangements challenging. For Sharrolyn, this balance is a way of life. As an Episcopal graduate, she expects a lot from a school. “Y’all gave me high standards,” she says of her own Episcopal experience. “I love Episcopal.” After many heartfelt prayers and an examination of her family’s needs, the decision to homeschool was easy. Sharrolyn lives in La Place and for many years drove her five children into New Orleans daily for school at five different locations. Given the commute time and her desire for an inspiring education, educating her children herself just made sense.
In addition to her passion for motherhood, Sharrolyn is a successful, well-respected attorney and advocate. After Episcopal, she graduated from Tulane University with a degree in architecture. However, Sharrolyn always had an interest in criminal justice, and she was quite familiar with life as a lawyer, growing up with a father in the field. She enrolled in law school at Southern University, where she not only excelled academically but also served as the Executive Editor of the Law Review. For many, this would be a lot to juggle, but during law school, Sharrolyn also married and had two children. Even with the tremendous demands, she graduated near the top of her class. With a degree in hand, Sharrolyn went straight to work as an attorney, and as word spread of her work ethic and compassion for others, she was never at a loss for new opportunities.
Sharrolyn’s resume includes stints as a juvenile prosecutor, corporate defense attorney, code enforcement hearing officer and private practice lawyer. She sees these roles as opportunities to serve others, and it is her combination of unique experiences that allows her to do so in a meaningful way. “I choose to approach people with human dignity and respect,” says Sharrolyn. “I carry that mindset of peace wherever I go.”
In sixth grade, Sharrolyn transferred to Episcopal after being bullied at her previous school because of her passion for books and learning. Once at Episcopal, she experienced a transition to being a minority student among classmates she did not know. However, Sharrolyn excelled, developing confidence along the way. She points to the writing skills she developed, the basketball rebounding abilities she didn’t know she had and the opportunity to interact with people of a variety of backgrounds.
Sharrolyn proudly relates the story of earning the highest mark in Mr. Vance’s eighth grade English class, even after he assured students that the heavens would have to open for it to occur. Her submission on the death penalty changed his mind, and Sharrolyn walked away with the top score. With a chuckle, she remembers being one of the most unathletic students on campus and failing at every attempt to get the basketball in the hoop in PE. With a little help from a school staff member, Sharrolyn learned to shoot and made a “granny” shot right in the basket. That shot was the spark that eventually inspired Sharrolyn to join the team. “I thought I was so good at basketball,” she laughs. She remembers being mentored and the feeling that coaches and faculty supported her. By her senior year, this previously unathletic student earned the Best Defensive Player and Best Rebounder awards, proving that hard work, enthusiasm and a belief in yourself go a long way.
There was another life-changing Episcopal experience for Sharrolyn. She was among a delegation of high school students chosen to travel to Japan. She says the experience introduced her to a different culture in which violence and race were not as prominent as what she knew in America. Ultimately, the combination of her experiences taught Sharrolyn to respect and value diversity and the unique perspectives others can offer. It is something that informs her still today as people who are not even her clients tell her, “you’ll get help” or “you’re going to listen.”
Sharrolyn is now ready for what lies ahead as she launches a bid to be a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. She is passionate about mother’s rights, women’s rights and the inclusion of diverse people and viewpoints. She hopes to use the lessons she has learned to help others lead better lives with greater opportunities, and she is committed to doing all she can to make that happen.
At Episcopal, teachers strive to prepare students for lives of meaning and purpose, with rigorous academic experiences and the opportunity to explore the world. The hope is to spark a passion for improving the world for the next generation. As a mother, educator, attorney and advocate, Sharrolyn is finding a way to do that and more.
The Episcopal community remembers the life and legacy of founder Mr. G. Allen Penniman, Jr. on what would have been his birthday.
"A day never goes by without my thinking of Episcopal School." Mr. G. Allen Penniman, Jr.
Episcopal founder Mr. G. Allen Penniman, Jr. would say that his most notable civic contribution came in his support of Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. When he said the school was ever in his thoughts, there was real truth to that statement. Now, more than 50 years later, the school that began as a dream with an initial graduating class of 12 has grown into an institution known for its academic rigor and commitment to a whole child learning experience. More than 5,000 students have graduated from the school that Mr. Penniman envisioned, and Episcopal exists today because of his determination and generosity.
The Passing of a True Knight
“Episcopal lost a giant today,” Father Skully recently wrote to the Episcopal community. “Mr. Penniman was as involved in the life and growth of Episcopal as anyone has ever been. I believe it is safe to say that no one has done more to ensure the success of Episcopal over its first 50+ years than Mr. Penniman. Whether we knew him or not, we are all beneficiaries of the love and work he put into our school.”
Mr. Penniman was a visionary, who along with a small group of others, had a dream of creating an independent Episcopal school in Baton Rouge. Mr. Penniman’s daughter and Episcopal fifth grade teacher Margaret Boudreaux ’76 remembers those early days when her father and his colleagues met in her family’s living room to discuss the possibility of this new endeavor. “It was a renaissance of smart minds,” she says of the gathering. Margaret says that while Episcopal is easy to promote today, men like her father were selling something that did not even exist at the time. There was no campus and there were no buildings, teachers or textbooks. However, there was a strong desire for a school that would prepare students for purposeful and meaningful lives.
“How do you start a school?”
Mr. Penniman’s granddaughter and Episcopal development staff member Kate McDuff ’08 is in awe when she reflects upon the accomplishments of her grandfather. Kate grew up in a time when Episcopal was already flourishing and cannot imagine the conviction and passion necessary to bring such a school to life. “Imagine how much faith parents and kids had to have to do this,” she says. Mr. Penniman simply had a way of instilling that faith and confidence in others and in causes for which he was passionate. He was a believer in the potential of new ideas and courageous enough to make them happen.
“He was generous beyond measure,” says Margaret. While Mr. Penniman was a tremendous fundraiser, publicly supporting Episcopal in countless ways, Margaret says there were just as many quiet ways in which he supported the school and the Greater Baton Rouge community. Laurie Penniman McDuff, Mr. Penniman’s daughter, points to numerous examples of her father’s generosity. As a school nurse, Laurie encountered families with limited resources and funds. She says without hesitation, her father offered his assistance. Funds for a dentist appointment, food, a refrigerator and even the Denham Springs library after the 2016 flood are just a few examples of his kindness toward others. Laurie says there was never a question as to how her father would answer when called upon to help. “He didn’t think about it,” she says. “It just came right out of his mouth.”
Mr. Penniman was also incredibly generous with his time. Margaret points out that while he worked tirelessly to create the school he envisioned, he also had five young children, an ill wife and several businesses to oversee. “He made time for this vision and he never stopped,” she says. He also made time for the small, impactful details. He penned handwritten notes to Episcopal educators congratulating them on their accomplishments. He dedicated hours researching how to help teachers and as a result created a fund at Episcopal to support them in their effort to become National Board Certified. Every detail meant something, and every effort was worth the time.
“People mattered to him,” says Kate, who says while Mr. Penniman accomplished so much and inspired so many, he was also simply a terrific grandfather. Mr. Penniman was a family man, eager to celebrate every good report card and every graduation. “He was always available,” says Laurie. “Always willing to listen and help.” A man with such a large, busy life enjoyed the simple pleasures of time with loved ones. Each Thanksgiving the Penniman family gathered at the family farm, where Mr. Penniman would drive a tractor and the family would sit together around a bonfire. He always had time to comfort a crying baby. He enjoyed a good prank and a big laugh. He would say his family was his greatest accomplishment and he reveled in their successes.
Mr. Penniman’s love for others extended beyond the family tree. Kate says no matter how busy a room or how many people were waiting to speak with him, “when he spoke to you, he made you feel like you were the most important person in the room.” Mr. Penniman mentored others, offering wisdom and guidance when called upon, and with his innate business acumen he was called upon often. “When things were in a pickle, he was the first one to call,” Margaret says, noting his vast experience in owning and operating successful businesses, such as the Pak-a-Sak convenience stores and the Penniman Company.
Mr. Penniman did all of this with style and grace. “He was one of the most elegant men in Baton Rouge,” says Laurie. No matter the occasion, Mr. Penniman donned a starched shirt and pressed pants. “He always looked impeccable with the perfect suit for every occasion,” she says.
A Legacy Lives On
Mr. Penniman left a legacy in our community that will not be forgotten. After giving so much of himself to establish Episcopal over five decades, and being amongst the first members to join the Good Shepherds of Episcopal Legacy Society, Mr. Penniman could have stepped back and taken a less active role in school life. However, his devotion and dedication to Episcopal students and teachers was unyielding. One finds evidence of this support across the Episcopal campus. However, the plaques and dedications tell only a portion of the story. Mr. Penniman will be remembered and revered for the way he made people feel. He was a determined, charismatic leader who inspired others to leave their own legacy. His forward-thinking approach to leadership and mentorship changed the lives of thousands in the Greater Baton Rouge region, and the Episcopal community is forever grateful for his kindness and compassion.
The Episcopal community offers condolences and prayers to the Penniman family. We are deeply grateful to them for having shared their patriarch with the school for so long. Not a day will go by that his legacy is not remembered at the school for which he worked so faithfully to support.
Player of the Week
Knights running back Ryan Armwood was selected as the WAFB Sportsline Player of the Week AND the WBRZ Sports Fans Choice! Click the videos below to view Ryan in action.
2020 All-Academic Athletes
Congratulations to Abhay Basireddy and Charlie Roth for being named to the All-Academic Cross Country team and Kate Oehrle for being named to the All-Academic Swimming team! To earn All-Academic recognition, a student must maintain a 4.0 GPA in addition to competing in a sport.
Making Them Laugh Internationally
College Board Recognition
Congratulations to seniors Elaine Gboloo and Bethany Reid! The students earned recognition in the College Board National Recognition Program. The recognition program honors students who achieve the minimum requested on the PSAT/NMSQT, earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and identify as African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Indigenous or a rural community student. The recognition helps strengthen the students’ college applications and scholarship submissions. Gboloo and Reid are also both National Merit Semifinalists. Congratulations!
Congratulations AP Scholars
Members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 had great success on AP course exams, with seven National AP Scholars, 40 AP Scholars with Distinction, 15 AP Scholars with Honor and 13 AP Scholars. Congratulations to the following.
National AP Scholar:
Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. (7 students)
AP Scholar with Distinction:
Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. (40 Students)
Congratulations to Episcopal’s Upper School Student Leaders
Class of 2021: Oliver Jack, President; Julia Frazer, Vice President; Annslee Bourgeois, Marketing Rep; Katie Knight, Designer. Class of 2022: Barrow Alexander, President; Alex Engstrom, Vice President; Lucy Pellegrin, Marketing Rep; Ruby Friloux, Designer. Class of 2023: Katie Sue Capron, President; Akshay Basireddy, Vice President; Libbie Kelly, Marketing Rep; Amelia Pleasant, Designer. Class of 2024: Glynes Hill, President; John Luke Boagni, Vice President; Maggie King, Marketing Rep; Nicholas Smallwood, Designer.
Congratulations to the 2020/2021 Honor Council
Class of 2021: Elaine Gboloo, Charlie Roth, Jack Safer and Grace Scott. Class of 2022: Cate Brien, Carson Duval and Chidi Mbagwu. Class of 2023: Caroline Chick and Carter McLean. Class of 2024: Laura Jane Kirkpatrick.
Announcing the Middle School Student Leaders
The following students will represent the Middle School this year on the Student Council. Congratulations!
Make it a great day!
Anyone who has participated in a Lower School Morning Meeting has certainly heard this greeting shared between students. Prior to the pandemic, Morning Meeting was a daily gathering in the Greer Center featuring student performances, scripture readings and voices raised in song. When the world of education changed last school year, religion teachers Jenny Koenig and Laura Portwood knew they had to preserve this treasured tradition. “It was the number one tradition mentioned by every faculty member,” says Koenig. “This is how we start our day here,” says Portwood. With classes being offered online, the two teachers set to work offering Morning Meeting online as well. The project required a tremendous effort and a lot of trouble shooting.
Now, with students on campus, Morning Meeting is streamed live from Koenig’s classroom each day. Koenig, Portwood and librarian Catherine Word operate webcams, computers and lights in the space. A different class joins them in person for each production and there are special guest attendees. Recently, students welcomed new Head of School Dr. Carrie Steakley, who was more than happy to spend time with the young Knights.
Morning Meeting is a component of the Responsive Classroom method that has been used in Lower School for more than a decade. The classroom management philosophy empowers students by helping them fully understand the expectations and behaviors required of them. According to the Responsive Classroom website, “Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically.” At Episcopal, Morning Meeting is also a setting in which students gain a solid spiritual foundation with students reciting the Episcopal Honor Code, praying and singing together.
“I saw you on TV.” “How did you fit in the TV?” The new Morning Meeting format has certainly made an impression on the littlest Knights. Koenig and Portwood say when they interact with PreK-4 students they are often asked about the production. Portwood smiles when recalling the students asking how she got so tiny. She says these impromptu discussions often lead to talk of cameras and the workings of film creation. Koenig says when she sees students on the playground or on campus, they are excited to greet her and feel like they know her now.
Beginning each day together creates a sense of community among students. It also provides a dependable way to move into a new day of learning. “It provides a calm routine that we can count on,” says Koenig. “It’s comforting to them.” In addition, Morning Meeting is an opportunity for students to develop presentation and leadership skills. Each day, a different group of fifth graders is selected to lead the gathering. “It’s a big deal to get up in front of everybody,” says Portwood. The teachers do not take this lightly, and it’s just one more reason they are committed to continuing Morning Meeting.
Koenig and Portwood laugh about the adventures they’ve had while working on the virtual version of Morning Meeting. There have been occasions where the technology froze and instances where Portwood had to ad-lib her message. While transitioning to an online format has not been without challenges, it has certainly been worth the effort. “It helps us to always remember our sense of belonging,” says Koenig. That sense of belonging is felt whether students are sitting side by side or tuning in from their classroom.
Morning Meeting continues thanks to the resilience and determination of teachers like Portwood, Koenig and Word. In a year like 2020, it is good to know that meaningful traditions live on. Thank you to everyone who contributes to this effort.
Do you love Morning Meeting? Tell us why in the comments section below.
Did you know that ice cream can teach you a lot about thermodynamics?
Episcopal eighth graders participated in a tasty science lesson recently in the Chemistry Kitchen in the new QUEST Center in Foster Hall. Students used chocolate milk, ice and salt to make their own ice cream inside of a plastic bag. Science teacher Shymala Alapati uses the lesson to demonstrate the thermal energy transfer and how the drop in temperature of the milk mixture ultimately creates a solid form. “Students truly enjoyed the experience of working in the lab in the Quest Center,” she says. “It is always remarkable when we can have a super-fun lab and learn the maximum from the lab. It’s a double bonus day!”
That double bonus day occurred in the fully stocked Chemistry Kitchen. Since students have started using the new space there has been tremendous activity, ranging from second graders learning about the circulatory system to French students making crepes. Alapati says access to the kitchen made things much easier for her class. “Students were able to socially distance and still be together,” she says. “The amazing amount of space with all of the facilities – such as the refrigerators, the sinks and a place to keep everything in all one location assisted greatly.” She says in the past the ice cream lab has required her to coordinate supplies from multiple areas, making it much more difficult. “With all of the facilities easily accessible, it made it much easier to focus on what we were to learn from this lab.”
Learning at Episcopal is fun and tasty. (For future reference – the next time you’re caught with that extra bowl of ice cream, just say you’re learning more about the principles of thermodynamics!)
"We are created to be models of God’s love and grace. We are created to serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion. We are created to “strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.”
Friday, October 16, 2020
An Update from the Episcopal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force
Dear Episcopal Community,
In June of 2020, an appeal was made to Episcopal School of Baton Rouge by our alumni, parents, faculty, and staff to look inwardly and honestly about the history and future diversity, equity and inclusion within our community.
The administration, alongside our Board, heard the concerns and decided that a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force consisting of the Episcopal school community along with a Board committee was needed to address them. Board Chair Chris Kiesel outlines the intent. “The Board has formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in order to ensure that Episcopal’s policies and procedures in this area are fully aligned with the school’s Mission & Ministry Statement (to develop the whole child – spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically and artistically) and the Episcopal Church’s Baptismal Covenant (to ‘strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being’). We have a responsibility to our students, faculty and administrators who learn, teach and lead at Episcopal, to support their participation in a vibrant, compassionate and safe community that supports one another’s differences, embraces each other’s commonalities, and strengthens every community member’s ability to learn from each other, even when we are challenged to grow and think differently. Valuing inclusion and fostering a sense of belonging enhances our students’ experiences and better prepares them to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities beyond Episcopal. The DEI Committee’s established goals will guide our work in this regard.”
To effectively steer our efforts, Episcopal welcomes New Roads native Dr. Katrice Albert to help lead this work with our community of teachers, students, parents and alumni. Dr. Albert brings a wealth of experience in this area, combined with knowledge of our local community. She previously served as the Vice Provost for Equity, Diversity and Community Outreach at LSU. She has also worked with Episcopal in the past as a guest speaker with the Cornerstones program that preceded the Center for Service Learning. In addition, she has served in executive capacities with national organizations such as the NCAA and the University of Minnesota System. Dr. Albert is the founder and managing member of Third Eye Consulting Group.
Dr. Albert graduated magna cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor of science in psychology. She earned her master of science in counseling psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. She completed her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Auburn University and completed her clinical internship in psychology at Boston Medical School’s Center for Multicultural Training. We look forward to partnering with Dr. Albert.
The efforts of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force will fall under the umbrella of the Episcopal Quest for Peace Program. In 2018, Episcopal introduced the program with the goal of helping students of all ages make connections between academics, everyday life and their moral obligation to make the world a better place. This year the theme of our work will be "Enriching Lives, Widening Circles."
As we move forward with Dr. Albert, we will continue to identify meaningful learning opportunities for our teachers and students. This year, as we have done in the past, we will send an Episcopal contingent to the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference.
Episcopal School of Baton Rouge is committed to this work. We are a Christian community whose mission integrates spiritual formation into all aspects of the educational experience in a graceful and inclusive way. Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as diverse institutions of educational and human development for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Episcopal schools are populated by a rich variety of human beings, from increasingly diverse religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Even the most diverse of Episcopal schools are created to be communities that honor, celebrate and worship God as the center of life.
We thank the Task Force members for their commitment to this work and to ensuring that Episcopal is a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. We are also grateful to families who have inquired about supporting Episcopal’s DEI initiatives. Those interested can choose to direct their eFund gift by selecting “Spirituality and Service Learning” and then stating the desire to designate a gift to “DEI” in the comments section.
The Episcopal community can expect future updates from Dr. Albert and the Task Force as we move forward with this effort.
Competition after incredible success at the local competition. On Saturday, he will pitch his plan for FACEtutor to a worldwide audience, with viewers having the opportunity to vote for their top choice.
According to the official Instagram page, FACEtutor is an “on-demand video tutoring service, that allows students to get help for qualified tutors whenever they need it.” Thomas says the mobile application is similar to Uber in that a student can access a tutor whenever they need assistance and tutors can log on whenever they are available to help. The inspiration for FACEtutor arose from Thomas’ own experience as an Episcopal tutor.
At Episcopal, Thomas provides support for his classmates in math, science, social studies, English and Spanish. He is passionate about helping others, and tutoring offers him a rewarding way to do that. His face lights up as he describes the excitement he sees in others when they first understand a new concept or finally find the answer to a hard to solve problem. He hopes FACEtutor will make it possible for more of those “a-ha” moments with a broader range of students. Counselor Robin Talamo says Thomas’ willingness to help others has made him a “go to” student for campus tutoring. “He really puts himself out there with students, giving of his free time, and truly becoming invested in their success,” she says. “He has a level of professionalism that is far beyond that of his age. Yet, as amazing as he is with his gifts, he is also equally humble about his accomplishments.”
Thomas has already accomplished a lot in a very short period of time with FACEtutor, earning the top prize from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge this spring. Participating in the program allowed Thomas the opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship and the skills needed to make FACEtutor a reality. The experience was inspiring. “I loved the YEA,” says Thomas. “It helped me learn all aspects of business. It was specialized to what I need and very useful.” As Thomas learned more about entrepreneurship, he explored existing online tutoring options and found that FACEtutor’s objective of providing easy, 24/7 access in a video chat format is unique. Through YEABR, Thomas continued to fine-tune his concept, learning more about business plan development, logo design and how to create a solid pitch. As the winner of the local competition, he received $5,000 to support his endeavor and the chance to compete on a national stage.
The events of 2020 have certainly underscored the importance of the accessible tutoring that FACEtutor seeks to provide. Thomas points to the number of schools in which students are not on campus and are only learning online. He says there is a “need for more personalized help” when in-person learning is not taking place. What was initially created to support students with real-time learning needs has now become a timely idea that meets the needs of students experiencing learning in new and unusual circumstances.
On Saturday, October 17th, Thomas will pitch FACEtutor to a worldwide audience as he competes against 36 middle and high school students from 20 states across the country. He will be part of Panel 2, whose members will present their business models between 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm. Viewers must register in advance here to participate in the text-to-vote People’s Choice Award selection. The competition will be streamed live on YEA’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
Earning the title of next top young entrepreneur would be a tremendous boost for FACEtutor and Thomas. “It would mean more money to help me start the business,” he says. It would also provide Thomas the national recognition he needs to fully develop and launch the app. While Thomas is not yet sure of his ultimate career goals, he does hope that FACEtutor CEO is in his future. This weekend will be a huge step toward making that happen.
To read about previous Episcopal students who participated in YEABR, click here.
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