They just make learning fun for the kids. - Lauren Williams, Episcopal parent
An Episcopal lesson is so much more than reading and memorizing facts. Students have the opportunity for hands-on learning that connects a range of subjects. Read more below about recent examples of the Episcopal experience.
Fourth Graders Explore National Parks
Fourth grade students studied landforms for several weeks. The project-based learning unit included a visit to Jones Creek and even making edible landforms. To learn more about common landforms in a grander setting, students researched and learned more about the National Parks.
Students recently had the opportunity to share what they learned with their families, expertly covering everything from weather to wildlife commonly found in the park of their choice. Presentations included posters, photos and handmade clay sculptures. The presentations made an impression on the audience.
“They learned a lot,” said parent Stacy Landry, who says she was impressed with the students’ presentation skills. “It was clear they know the information.” Fellow Episcopal parent Prashanth Kankar says the experience has brought an awareness of these wonders to his daughter, Diya. He says the lesson was a good opportunity for them to learn together.
That’s Some Second Grade
The damp weather outside did not dampen the spirits of the Episcopal second graders as they celebrated the end of their recent study of the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Students, dressed in cowboy boots and hats, participated in an old-fashioned county fair inside the gym. As country music played, students enthusiastically lassoed horses, tossed bean bags at tin cans, played horseshoes, ran sack races and competed in a basketball shoot-out.
The county fair activities were organized and led by the physical education team as a supplement to the classroom reading that was done. The event was a great way to bring Charlotte and her adventures to life in a memorable way.
The Doctor is In
Second graders have had a busy fall! In addition to the Charlotte’s Web project they also learned more about their own bodies. The annual second grade project-based unit on the human body had a fun, new twist this year. Students put their knowledge of the body’s systems to the test as they hosted a "medical clinic" for families in the Greer Center.
The tens digit of a two-digit number exceeds its units digit by 4. The number exceeds twice the number obtained by reversing the digits of the original number by 10. What is the original number?
Math. Just the word alone can either cause your heart to flutter with excitement or drop with disdain. For members of Episcopal’s Middle School Math team and Upper School’s Mu Alpha Theta, hearts are certainly aflutter with excitement when they see an equation. In speaking with Upper School math teacher Joan Moroney it is obvious that she is also a fan of formulas. Recently, Moroney and her colleagues, along with the Mu Alpha Theta team organized the third annual Episcopal math tournament. Here’s a look at the numbers behind accomplishing such a task:
Another of the organizers’ goals was to include Middle School mathletes. Moroney says this early exposure to the excitement of a math tournament gets Middle School students more interested in math and in becoming a part of their school’s high school math community. “Freshmen can be scared to join Mu Alpha Theta, but having Middle School experience creates a seamless transition,” Moroney says.
Members of Mu Alpha Theta were a critical component of the tournament’s success. Students oversaw the event the day of competition by doing everything from proctoring tests and setting up for participants, to running the sound system and grading exams. Mu Alpha Theta President Judie Williams says the entire experience was eye-opening. “Organizing the Mu Alpha Theta tournament showed me how much goes into these tournaments, because I have been to countless tournaments without realizing all the work that goes into them so it has definitely given me more of an appreciation for the club.”
Why are students volunteering to take math tests on a weekend? Moroney says the events are an exciting social affair for most competitors. She says students enjoy the occasions because they are traditionally low stress opportunities to be with friends and they truly enjoy doing math and solving a problem to get an answer. “When they do well, there’s a sense of accomplishment,” she says.
Already this year, the Episcopal competitors have certainly accomplished a lot. The Middle and Upper School teams placed second overall in Division 2 at the St. Paul math tournament and second overall in the Ben Franklin tournament. While the Upper School team did not compete in their own tournament, the Middle School team placed third overall on the Interschool Test.
Students, like Williams and others, truly enjoy the team math experience. “Mu Alpha Theta was the first academic extracurricular that I participated in, and I remember thinking that it was going to be a very competitive club and only the best of the best could join,” she says. “However, I quickly realized that I was completely wrong because the club allows for students to improve their math skills in a more laid back environment that is really fun.”
A math tournament certainly is not your typical math class test. Moroney says there are 15 fast-paced, two-minute rounds of ciphering in which students solve a problem each round. As an added bonus, if they complete the problems in one minute they earn double the points. During the interschool testing round, the entire school divides a test among the students and they have 45 minutes to solve approximately 25 problems. Moroney says this is where things really get exciting. There is a chaotic energy as students rush to divide up problems and work together for answers. Students self-organize with one team member recording answers while others feverishly work problems. There are no calculators and only scratch paper is available.
Moroney says the typical math club participant is a well-rounded student who wants to cultivate their math skills and have a good time. She says the Mu Alpha Theta roster includes football players, cheerleaders, artists and more. It is a great example of students with diverse talents finding the right place to explore them further.
Need another reason to consider being a mathlete? Consider this. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in math occupations is projected to grow 28% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average, and will result in approximately 50,400 new jobs. The BLS also says math occupations are typically higher paying. Participating in math tournaments could help a student discover a natural interest or talent in the subject and while not every mathlete aspires to be a mathematician, developing this skill set will serve them well regardless of their long-term plans.
Making a difference with math!
As a result of the Episcopal tournament success, Mu Alpha Theta will be making a $500 donation to the Baton Rouge Food Bank with the money raised.
Want to test your own math skills? Submit your answer to the problem at the beginning of this article in the comment section below.
Working and Saving. Dorm room cooking. Dorm/Apartment Safety.
These are just a few of the life skills Episcopal faculty are passing on to this year’s graduating seniors as part of the College Block experience.
College Block is a weekly time slot set aside for Upper School students to prepare for college admission. Students in ninth through eleventh grades focus on test prep and college readiness skills. Using materials provided by MasteryPrep, Upper School faculty members teach lessons in ACT prep, while Episcopal counselors lead sessions on college admission and readiness. Students also have the opportunity to take timed practice tests, watch test prep videos, and participate in test prep boot camps. Dr. Alan Newton, College Block Coordinator, is thrilled to have the entire Upper School faculty involved in this program. "When our students see that their teachers are willing to put forth extra time and effort to teach lessons and lead sessions, this reinforces Episcopal's commitment to successful college admissions," he says.
College Block test prep is comprehensive and students are seeing great results. To read more about Episcopal’s successful college test prep click here.
Building upon this success, College Counseling Director Justin Fenske and his team had a different vision for the senior year of College Block. With college early decisions announced in the late fall, many seniors are nearing the end of their admissions journey. Now that students have narrowed their college choices, the process transforms to one of preparation for life. With this in mind, the senior College Block idea was born.
The college counseling team solicited their colleagues for suggestions on skills that would help students easily make the transition to life on their own. Fenske says faculty members enthusiastically responded with a range of ideas and suggestions. “The faculty viewed this as an opportunity to ensure that our students were fully prepared for life after graduation. We hope students gain life skills and take something from their teachers that wasn’t from class,” says Fenske.
One recommendation came from Thesis Director Katie Sutcliffe who suggested a presentation on dorm room cooking. In her presentation, Sutcliffe offered tips on affordable, healthy and easy cooking options. Sutcliffe not only guided students through the process of preparing no-bake energy bites, but she also provided them with supply lists and shopping tips. In another recent presentation, Upper School art teacher Kate Trepagnier offered students stress relief tips from an artistic standpoint. Trepagnier walked students through stretches and exercises to help them relax after a long day of studying. In addition, she demonstrated how creating art, and even doodling, can aid relaxation.
Senior College Block topics vary widely. Over the course of the year, faculty members will offer advice on everything from how to jump start a car to how to determine whether studying abroad is a valuable option. The presentations are interactive and engaging, with topics that resonate with a range of audiences.
It is widely known that Episcopal’s approach to college preparation is working, with students gaining admission to highly-selective institutions, scoring in the top ranks on admissions tests and earning National Merit recognition. This new approach to the College Block experience is a complementary, meaningful commitment to educating the whole child.
What do you want to be when you grow up? PreK-4 students recently explored this question with a career dress up day. Career choices ranged from a dentist to a construction worker and police officer. Regardless of the path students follow, teachers encouraged them to pursue their dreams. We can’t wait to see where life takes them!
"To teach is to learn twice." Joseph Joubert, writer
For many years now, the Episcopal Writing Center has provided peer tutoring services with the goal of helping students improve their writing skills. The model has proven to be quite popular among students. Just last year, Writing Center Fellows provided 296 tutoring sessions. Below is a look at the sessions by the numbers:
While 64% of students were seeking assistance with English, 33% needed help with social studies writing and 3% were there for another subject.
With the success of the Writing Center in mind, Episcopal faculty introduced math tutoring this school year. “We recognized the value of the Writing Center and felt like the same potential existed for math,” says Math Department Chair Stephen Anderson. Anderson, a 2002 Episcopal graduate, certainly appreciates the value of peer tutoring. During his time on campus as a student, he could often be found helping his classmates with math problems. “I gained a deeper understanding of the content. Being able to do it is one thing, being able to explain it to someone else requires a deeper understanding,” he says. Anderson says in a subject such as math, reviewing the concepts and practicing their application is particularly helpful. This makes the peer tutoring experience just as valuable for the tutor as the tutee. In addition, he says as tutors work with classmates they are also gaining confidence and boosting their overall communication skills. “I often remind my students of the tragedy that would have occurred if geniuses such as Einstein couldn’t communicate their discoveries,” says Anderson, stressing the importance of those skills.
The math department faculty members worked with Writing Center Director Dr. Alan Newton to make the math tutoring dream a reality. Math tutoring now takes place Monday through Thursday in the school’s Writing Center in Perkins Hall Room 211. Dr. Newton says there are 27 math tutors currently scheduled to provide extra assistance to students beginning at 7:30 am and ending at 3:30 pm each day. He says the need for such tutoring has already been demonstrated with the first math tutoring session taking place within two or three days of the announced start date.
Part of the success of the Writing Center, and now math tutoring, is careful selection of the student tutors. Dr. Newton says when considering a peer tutor, faculty are looking for a student with a welcoming demeanor in addition to the required skill set. Anderson says an approachable tutor is important for the math tutoring experience. “Peer tutors are an affirmation more than instruction for our students,” he says.
In a school known for challenging students with rigorous curriculum, it may be tempting to hire an outside tutor to provide additional help to a student. However, Dr. Newton says with peer tutors available to help fill that gap, hiring a tutor may not be necessary. As an added benefit, many students are more comfortable working with a classmate who is learning the same material in the same environment.
Anderson and Dr. Newton have made it easy to schedule time with a peer tutor. Anderson says because of the nature of math, walk-in appointments are available for those students who realize while doing their homework that they need help. Students can also make appointments with a peer tutor by simply registering via a scheduling system.
To schedule a math tutoring appointment, click here: https://ehsmathtutoring.appointy.com/.
To schedule a Writing Center appointment, click here: https://episcopalbrwc.appointy.com/.
There is a sense of pride and respect felt when saying the Pledge of Allegiance surrounded by military veterans. Lower School students experienced this on Monday as they participated in a special program honoring those who served. The tone of the program was set when members of the Upper School Select Choir sang the Star Spangled banner. After saying the pledge and the Episcopal Honor Code, Head of School Hugh McIntosh spoke to students about what a veteran looks like. For many of the students, a veteran looks like their grandfather, father or family member. In Episcopal’s case, a veteran also looks like McIntosh, who was an officer in the United States Navy and served in Vietnam.
Middle and Upper School students were also reminded of what it means to be a veteran. Students in Clara Howell’s European History: Europe at War class have spent a semester learning about World War I. After studying the Great War and its impact on the world, the students felt compelled to observe the 100th anniversary of the conflict’s end. Students banded together to handcraft 500 poppy pins to distribute to their fellow classmates and Episcopal faculty and staff as a reminder of the lives lost. “Learning about the poppies and the affect they have around the world is something that truly humbled me, it made me realize how deadly this war was, and the ultimate sacrifice that many people gave to better our world,” says Thomas Besselman. Fellow classmate Mary Francis Sadler agrees. “Making these poppies with my classmates has taught me that a small, simple flower can mean so much to so many people.”
The students presented information on World War I and read the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae during Upper School Chapel. “Sharing the remembrance of World War One with multiple levels of school brings us together to appreciate not only American veterans but veterans from all over the world,” says Anna Scot Hixon. After sharing the message, students distributed the poppies as a visual reminder for their classmates.
Episcopal alumni also marked Veterans Day. Alumnus Daniel Rieger, ’15 attended a truly historic Armistice Day ceremony in Paris. Rieger is a West Point cadet who is currently attending L’École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French national military academy, as part of his training. Episcopal French teacher Julien Prevost says Rieger became passionate about the French language and culture when he participated in the Episcopal French exchange program his sophomore year. Now as a cadet, Rieger has the opportunity to continue exploring French culture. During the Armistice Day ceremony, he was even featured on French television discussing the experience. Click here to watch Rieger.
Members of the military dedicate themselves to a life of service to country and to others. We are proud of the Episcopal families, alumni and staff who have taken up that oath. We thank you for your service.
Happy Veterans Day.
Thank you for your service.
For the 23rd straight year, the Episcopal boys brought home the state 2A cross country title. The team finished the year with seven runners in the top 25, including four in the top 10. Congratulations to the 2018 individual state champion, junior James Christian!
The girls came up a big with a 2A state cross country title of their own. The squad also took home the individual state champion and the individual state champion runner-up titles as seniors Adele Broussard and Mary Kathryn Underwood came in first and second.
The Episcopal swim team certainly made a splash at the state meet this week. The boys and girls teams finished third overall. Congratulations on the impressive showing.
Nick Johannessen, Owen Johnson, Ben Levine, Ben Naquin, Boys 200 yard medley relay team - second place
Ben Levine, Boys 50 yard free - second place
Ben Naquin - Boys 100 yard back - third place and an Episcopal school record
Abigail Gibson, Girls 500 yard free - third place
Lilli Pellegrin, Girls 100 yard breast, third place
Sara Be, Alexa Ryon Bennett, Abigail Gibson, Emily White, Girls 200 yard free relay - second place
Sara Be, Alexa Ryon Bennett, Abigail Gibson, Emily White, Girls 400 yard free relay - third place
Nick Johannessen, Evan Jurkovic, Mason LaFerney, Ben Naquin, Boys 400 yard free relay - third place
The Episcopal volleyball team also extended their season. The squad made it to the second round of the playoffs to cap off a strong season on the court.
Congratulations to the athletes who fought hard all season. We look forward to exciting winter and spring sports ahead. Go Knights!
This week, the football Knights travel to Crowley to take on Notre Dame. The Knights earned their spot in week 11 after defeating Holy Savior Menard at home last Friday night. Senior Austin Jemison gained 190 yards on the ground, including 53-yard and 30-yard scoring runs.
course selection and college applications. More than one fourth of our 3rd through 12th graders are featured in one of two annual theater performances each year. The list goes on.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle
Other parents want more qualitative measures of success. While these can be a bit harder to quantify, the school’s commitment to instilling strong moral values in each student is probably top of the list. This is accomplished by staying true to Episcopal’s mission and ministry of preparing students for lives of purpose. This starts in Lower School with daily morning meetings celebrating faith and community and deepens in Middle and Upper School as students learn to make connections between academics, spiritual life and service, and the world around them.
Parents rely on this type of information to establish Episcopal’s credibility and value. And while achievement-based statistics are certainly important, we believe experiences play an equal, if not greater, role in measuring “the best.” Deeper than knowing Episcopal will provide their child a firm and lasting academic foundation, parents want to know we will tend to their child’s heart and mind. They want their child to be known, to be challenged, to be celebrated and to be encouraged.
How then should you, as a parent, measure the success and impact of our mission and ministry? By experience, of course! Experience Episcopal’s joy; come delight in our campus and get a general sense of the happiness your child will feel at Episcopal. Read through our blog and see the school come to life through photos and stories of the creative ways we learn and grow. It is our stories that bring our statistics to life and illustrate what makes us the best.
“If something happens to me, what are my regrets?” This is the question Episcopal graduate Mikey Diodene found himself contemplating in 2012. Mikey’s dad, Dr. Mike Diodene, Jr., passed away that year. In addition to being Mikey’s hero, Dr. Diodene was a military hero having served in the army for 40 years. Mikey had fond memories of growing up in a military family and attending drill weekends. He had even discussed his desire to serve his country with his dad long before 2012, but the time just didn’t seem right.
Fresh out of high school in 1999, Mikey was determined to play football for LSU. At Episcopal he had been a successful athlete, competing in football and track and field. When it came time to compete for a spot with LSU, he drew on the lessons learned in the Knights’ locker room – work harder, study longer and bring value to your team. The effort paid off. “I walked on at LSU. I made the team. I did it,” Mikey says. The perseverance required to walk on to that team and play football for Nick Saban has served him well as life has unfolded.
After graduating from LSU in 2003, Mikey began a successful career in medical sales. Working alongside local orthopedic surgeons to ensure the latest medical technology was being effectively used to save and improve lives, Mikey came into his own. At this point in his life he dropped the “y” from his name, becoming Mike Diodene, the executive.
In 2012, a series of events began to unfold that would test Mike’s resilience in ways he had not imagined. With the loss of his father, he began reflecting on his own legacy. “I took a step back and looked at things,” Mike says. He realized that he was fortunate to have earned a great education at both Episcopal and LSU. His blessings also included a strong marriage to wife Regina, kids and a flourishing career. However, growing up with Dr. Diodene as his father and role model, Mike learned early on the importance of serving and assisting others. This desire to serve remained and he still yearned to follow in his dad’s footsteps. So, at 34 years old this husband, dad and business professional applied for a direct commission with the United States Army Reserve. Initially, the military pointed to his age as a potential concern, but Mike respectfully requested further consideration. Again, his persistence paid off and a panel of officers approved his candidacy. Mike Diodene became a citizen soldier.
Just as Mike’s military career was taking off, his career was also blossoming and he was asked to oversee sales for Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Mike successfully juggled the requirements of being a soldier and an executive until he was called to active duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. When he returned, his job had changed and the two parted ways. For six months, Mike was out of work, enduring the ups and downs of a job search and never giving up. During that time, his wife was pregnant with their third child and the family, who lives in Woodland Ridge subdivision, was hit with the unthinkable challenge.
Mike says being unemployed during the flood of 2016 was actually a blessing in disguise, allowing him to repair his badly damaged home. With a gutted home, a new baby and deployment orders to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield, blessings were certainly needed. Unexpectedly, Mike received a personal visit from his Division Commanding General (3rd Medical Command), Major General William Lee. After seeing the destruction of Mike’s home and the challenges Mike was facing on the personal front, MG Lee provided an unexpected bit of relief. Mike’s deployment orders were canceled, allowing him to continue his family’s recovery process while commanding the rear detachment and remotely managing logistics for the forward deployed portion of his unit. Another blessing came in the form of a job opportunity. Despite the fact that his business suits had flooded, Mike interviewed for a position in casual clothes and got a job with Vascular Access Center. In 2018, he is still with the company and is now the Regional Director of Physician Liaisons in the Department of Business Development and Marketing. The company is supportive of his military service, which means everything to a man who is committed to serving his country.
“When God closes one door, he opens a window.” Mike says looking back on his experiences, he realizes he was more than prepared for the challenges he faced, even if he wasn’t aware of it at the time. Two-a-day football practices taught him to fight through adversity. Episcopal Cross Country’s Coach Dupe taught him to find the positives when faced with challenges. The military taught him to hunt the good stuff. His father taught him to serve others. Putting all of this together, First Lieutenant Mike Diodene is fully equipped to face life with the resilience, determination and fortitude to succeed.
Not only is 1LT. Diodene succeeding, he is also inspiring others. Fellow Episcopal classmate Matt Ward, Commander Select in the United States Navy, personally understands the demands of being a citizen soldier and the depth of character required to handle it well. “I’m also a reservist and understand what a difficult balance it is. You only have two hands, but have to juggle family, a civilian job, and a long list of military duties that you only get two days a month to complete when the active duty side gets all thirty! I could not imagine how difficult it was for Mikey to leave his career to join the Army Reserves, serve actively while simultaneously dealing with the loss of his house during the flood, all while supporting his family as a great father and husband,” says CDR (sel) Ward. “He clearly puts the needs of others first in a self-sacrificing manner.”
Enduring these challenges has only strengthened 1LT. Diodene. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, he received orders to deploy and support the recovery. Given his healthcare management experience, 1LT. Diodene’s tasks are often medically focused. In Puerto Rico, he was one of two soldiers tasked with ensuring the safety of the island’s food supplies, inspecting everything from MRE’s to fresh produce. As a soldier, he helped bring 16 Department of Defense facilities back online, reopened six hospitals and assisted in restructuring the operation of an Army ground ambulance company. After hours, as a man who had experienced firsthand the destruction of a natural disaster, he helped locals with recovery efforts. 1LT. Diodene befriended a local family who owned a Puerto Rican neighborhood grocery store and pub that reminded him of the New Orleans eateries he knew as a child growing up in the Crescent City before relocating to Baton Rouge. 1LT. Diodene and another soldier helped the family get their generator running, patched the family’s roof and helped clean up the property. “There were a ton of similarities in the clean-up process over there, when compared to your own clean up at home after a hurricane,” he says when reflecting on how his own flood recovery prepared him to serve and assist others.
and 1LT. Diodene have been married for 12 years and together they have three children: Isabella (age 10), Victoria (age 6) and Nelson (age 2).
In speaking with First Lieutenant Diodene, you get the feeling of calm confidence. He seems to relish learning new things, from the intricacies of medical equipment to the inner workings of a FEMA disaster response. In less than 20 years since graduating from Episcopal, 1LT. Diodene has accomplished so much. He walked on to a highly competitive LSU football squad. He established a successful sales career. He is raising a beautiful family. He is honoring his father with a life of service to his country and to others.
He is resilient. He is prepared. He is a man with no regrets.
We salute you First Lieutenant Diodene. Thank you for your service.
Congratulations to the Middle School math team for their recent success at the Episcopal math tournament. The team placed third overall on the Interschool Test. See all of the results below.
Luke Stelly - Honorable Mention
Akshay Basireddy - 3rd place
Joie Lee - 1st place
Thomas O'Connor - Honorable Mention
Autumn Reynolds - Honorable Mention
James Be - Honorable Mention
Scott McAdams - Honorable Mention
Middle School Team - Fourth place: Kailyn Borskey, Lauren McGrath, Thomas O'Connor and Mia Pulliam
Second place: Joie Lee, Autumn Reynolds, Luke Stelly and Noah Vincent
Comp math 1- Honorable Mention: Akshay Basireddy, James Be, Sacha Dernoncourt and Scott McAdams