Enter Upper School art teacher Kate Trepagnier’s studio classroom and there is much to take in. Paint supplies with varying degrees of splatter cover much of the space as a testament to the creative work that goes on inside. As you might expect there are images from the likes of Degas, Modigliani and Dürer adorning the walls. But unexpectedly there are little skeletons, plastic flowers and even a rusted bicycle hanging from the ceiling. Books with titles such as How Artists See Play, How Artists See Animals and How Artists See the Elements are stacked on work tables beneath student assignments. The space is comfortable, cozy and in a state of organized disarray. Kate is no stranger to disarray, having faced the flood of 2016 that ravaged her home, but not her spirit. While the experience was a challenge, she values the new perspectives she gained as a result of overcoming such adversity.
Trepagnier appreciates and celebrates the unique perspectives from which we all see the world. Ms. Kate, as her students affectionately call her, is a small, red-haired, bespectacled woman who imagines herself as a guide for young artists. The items on display in her classroom are not there by accident or convenience. Each piece is there to inspire students and to help them see the everyday objects from a different angle or viewpoint. Kate feels her purpose as an educator is helping students view the world differently by accessing their imagination and discovering who they truly are. Thanks to her innate ability to read people she connects with students in a way that makes this possible with a genuine ease.
Most teachers will tell you that the profession requires psychology as much as classroom management and field expertise. Kate’s intuition has long been her guide. Sometimes she can discern a students’ feelings by reading their brush strokes and other times it’s the look in their eyes or simply the words that they share. However she takes in the information, there is acceptance and encouragement. She knows what students need, whether it’s a quiet corner to think, a gentle nudge to revamp a draft or a witty retort regarding a late assignment.
The art of living your life has a lot to do with getting over loss. The less the past haunts you, the better.
She would lie in her yard watching the beauty of the landscape while her sister described her as “pale as death”. Eventually Kate healed physically and years later, someone gifted her with a set of paints. The explosion and joy of color and painting returned to Kate quickly as she once again wielded a brush. “No one will ever take this away from me again,” she says. And they haven’t. Kate commuted across New Orleans as a young girl in order to attend the art school that would best cultivate her gift. At university, she encountered professors who attempted to “crack” their students with tough assignments and even tougher mannerisms. While others buckled under the pressure, Kate was steadfast, earning top marks for the art in which she was confident.
Kate is not bitter. In fact, she says bitterness is not an option and would stand in the way of her creativity. She says most of her time is spent imagining her next creation. “There’s a painting yet to be made that has never been made before,” she says. This passion for art and the wisdom that comes from overcoming adversity are what Kate has passed on to Episcopal students for years and they are grateful for it.
“Ms. Kate showed me that art is about expressing yourself, not comparing yourself to other people,” says senior Alex Harrison. “She’s a great teacher who cares about all of her students.”
“I took a break from art for a while, but my freshman year I took a class with Ms. Kate and she helped me love it again,” says sophomore Katie Knight. “She guides people so they can express themselves in their art and pushes us to explore our abilities so we can find something we love to do. She was absolutely amazing to have as my teacher, and her guidance will stick with me for a long time.”
Kate imparts her artistic insight to Upper School students as they draw with colored pencils or paint with twigs and ink. In a world where image and perception seem so important with social media and constant connection, Kate knows exactly who she is and remains true to that identity. Through art instruction she attempts to help students access their creative side in hopes that they will also learn more about themselves. She empowers students. “I preach to kids to make mistakes,” she says. “There is no right answer.”
Kate Trepagnier is equal parts fierce and gentle. As she instructs students on how to make monotype prints of their original drawings, she is reverent with their works. She guides them on how to tear a page from a book at just the right angle to avoid destroying their composition or how to tape a piece to a mat with just the right amount of adhesive to avoid disaster when the mat is removed. Her descriptions are vivid, reflecting a creative, playful mind. “Pinch it like a crawfish,” she advises one student as he lifts a wet print paper. “Now hold it up and let it cry,” she says as the painting releases the excess water into a catch basin. Even her description of the donuts she’s brought to share – “sugar on cold fat” – elicits imagery and emotion.
Kate sees the world in color. Hues found in the hardwood forests near her home inspire her to create vibrant, captivating, unconventional landscapes. “My art is a way that I get to play with color,” she says. When Kate is painting, she is swept up in the energy and imagery of the colors. She says painting is a way to share energies, to access ancient ancestors and to celebrate the humanity of life on planet earth. As she guides students through a journey of discovery, she hopes to help them find themselves. “If they can access their humanity, they are kind and that’s what we need to give to others,” she says.
Over the course of her career, Kate has given much to the world through her use of color and energy. The labors of her love have been showcased in museums and galleries, including Albemarle headquarters in Houston, Chevron headquarters in Covington and Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. Through determination, talent and passion she has made a life doing what she loves while guiding others to do the same.
Similar to how she faced the flood without fear, Kate now accepts and embraces the unknown of retirement. This passionate painter will continue to pursue that painting that has never been made before as she shows us how she sees the world. The rest is yet to be determined. “I’ve always had a clear goal and I don’t now. It’s unfolding,” she says.
Congratulations to the following Episcopal students on their recent accomplishments! Look for updates on additional student news in future editions of Knightly News.
On Saturday, January 12th Episcopal placed 1st in Division 2 at the Catholic High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. The tournament was attended by approximately 700 students from 32 schools. Episcopal brought 54 Middle and Upper School students to compete in subjects from Pre-Algebra to Calculus BC. Click here to read the individual results.
Lower School Battle of the Books
Congratulations to the Lower School Battle of the Books winners! Students were quizzed on Wish by Barbara O’Connor, FRAMED! by James Ponti and I Survived the Attack of the Grizzles, 1967 by Lauren Tarshis. Every student participating received a Raising Cane’s gift certificate. As a special treat, members of the six winning teams had the opportunity to travel to Raising Cane’s for a celebratory lunch together.
This year’s winners are:
Sam Huff, Aiden Grassman, Oscar Worrell
Regan Danos, Morgan Murphy, Eloise Tharp
Anne Bradley Ewing, Emma Waguespack, Marshall Elliott
Brennen Botos, Jacob Hutchison-Johnson
Diya Kankar, Sophia Fivgas, Andi Randall
Conrad Pulliam, Nate McLean, Colton Richard, William Vincent
Robards has been competing in national competitions for ten years. Her horse Cirona and trainer Janet Talmadge joined her at the recent clinic.
Congratulations to the following Episcopal faculty members.
Episcopal’s theater duo Louis and Paige Gagliano recently earned recognition in the 2018 BroadwayWorld New Orleans Awards. Paige earned Best Direction of a Play (local) for her role as the director of Theatre Baton Rouge’s Gideon’s Knot. Louis earned Best Lighting Design for his role as lighting director for Theatre Baton Rouge’s Cabaret.
Do you have an outstanding student success story?
Share it with us by emailing it to email@example.com.
Congratulations to our first group of seniors to announce their college plans.
Want to learn more about the College Counseling process at Episcopal?
Read more from College Counseling Director Justin Fenske here.
Click here to learn more about where Episcopal students are studying.
Earlier this school year, the Lower School division celebrated a community read of Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. The Greer Center was filled with special guests, including Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul and members of the Pollard family for which the Lower School library is named. The occasion also featured a student wish tree, a delicious reception for third grade families and friends, and a discussion with students at other schools about the book’s message. The entire project was made possible through the support of Parents’ Guild. Contributions to the Parents’ Guild wish list allowed Lower School faculty to purchase books for the entire Episcopal third grade as well as the third graders at St. James, St. Luke’s and Trinity. “Such support by Parents’ Guild speaks to the breadth of the types of things they are funding as they recognized the value in such a basic request,” says Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson. “With the seed they planted by purchasing these books we were able to grow the project into an amazing city-wide effort that helped us establish a connection with third graders in the entire Episcopal school system.”
Parents’ Guild is a volunteer-driven organization with the goal of connecting parents to school news, events and each other. The organization’s motto, Rooted in Community, reflects a community united in support of the school, its students and the faculty and staff. This year’s co-presidents Kennan Bruser and Betsy Edwards say Parents’ Guild offers a range of opportunities for parents to be involved as much or as little as they want. Opportunities include everything from volunteering as a Room Mom and Grade Rep to being an event assistant.
Joining Parents’ Guild is easy. “If you have a child here, you are a member of Parents’ Guild,” says Edwards. Parents’ Guild represents educational and academic interests in all divisions. “While we have three divisions, our school is one community,” says Bruser.
To celebrate Episcopal’s spirit of community, Parents' Guild volunteers are planning a special event on Saturday, February 9th. A Knight Under the Stars will celebrate the 50th Episcopal graduating class and a successful capital campaign. The progressive party will take place throughout campus and will feature live music, an interactive STEM event and a glimpse into the future of Foster Hall. The business casual affair is for adults age 21 and older. In addition, current Episcopal families will have the opportunity to win one year of FREE tuition. Learn more about Knight Under the Stars from event chairwoman Jenny Civello.
In addition, mark your calendar for the annual Karnival Knight event, which is scheduled for March 22nd. This annual Parents’ Guild tradition features outdoor, carnival-style activities that are popular with students and families.
Whether it is organizing Knight Under the Stars, Teacher Terrific Tuesday, the used uniform sale or even pizza day, Bruser and Edwards say parent volunteers are ultimately involved to help students. “It’s important for them to see that parents support their school,” says Edwards. “We’re doing this for them,” says Bruser.
Research shows that such support and involvement is important to a school’s overall success. According to the National Education Association (NEA), parent, family, and community involvement in education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement. NEA also cites research conducted by Anne Henderson and K.L. Mapp for their book, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. The researchers found that community support of the educational process is considered one of the characteristics common to high-performing schools. Episcopal has a history of high performance and a commitment to excellence. Parents’ Guild and the families that support them are a key contributor to that success.
Do you want to get more involved at Episcopal?
Bruser and Edwards say they are always seeking additional volunteers. To learn more about Parents’ Guild and the opportunities available, go to https://www.episcopalbr.org/parents-guild.html. You can also contact the presidents at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, January 12th Episcopal placed first in Division two at the Catholic High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. The tournament was attended by approximately 700 students from 32 schools. Episcopal brought 54 Middle and Upper School students to compete in subjects from Pre-Algebra to Calculus BC. Congratulations!
5th – Luke Stelly
4th – Akshay Basireddy
5th – Hayden Singh
Honorable Mention – Sacha Dernoncourt, Autumn Reynolds
2nd – Scott McAdams
2nd – Joy Lee
4th – Eugene Jiang
1st – Abhay Basireddy
5th – Arya Patel
Honorable Mention – KC Shimada
Honorable Mention – Mason LaFerney
1st – Arohi Gopal
2nd – Alex Nelson
3rd – Elaine Gboloo
5th – Adam Reid
6th – Andrea Norwood
1st Potpourri – Alex Nelson, Andrea Norwood, Elaine Gboloo, Arohi Gopal
1st Comprehensive Math 1.5 – Landry Litel, Nils Dernoncourt, Julia Frazer
2nd Comprehensive Math 2 – Savannah York, Laura Gboloo, Allison Binning, Arya Patel
1st Pre-Calculus Math Bowl – Abhay Basireddy, Gregory Field, KC Shimada, James Christian
2nd Middle School Interschool
It is difficult to put a price on the Episcopal PreK-3 and PreK-4 experience. You have likely seen stories of our youngest Knights learning in the garden, exploring career options or visiting with community helpers. The Episcopal PreK program truly is a comprehensive, beneficial mix of learning, while celebrating the joy of being a three or four year old through purposeful play.
Episcopal PreK follows a curriculum with established learning goals and milestones, and even project-based learning units. For example, as PreK-3 students watched the Academic Commons take shape last year, teachers implemented a project-based unit on buildings and construction. Students explored the concepts of their own homes, learning new vocabulary words along the way. In addition, PreK-4 teachers use the Wilson Language Program’s Fundations curriculum to teach students developmentally appropriate phonics and writing skills. Such learning is commonplace in PreK-3 and PreK-4. “Episcopal PreK students are provided the full advantages of being an Episcopal student,” says Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson. “Beginning in PreK-3, students participate in daily world language and physical education lessons, as well as weekly lessons on music, library, art and religion.”
Episcopal PreK is a learning environment that prepares students for the school journey ahead of them. This journey is led by a team of teachers with a combined 49 years of early childhood education experience. Along with this experience, members of the PreK team also have degrees in early childhood education. Kristen Cascio, Katie Davis, Julie Mendes, Karen Murchison, Laura Smith and Lindsay Smith have chosen to teach young children as their life’s work and it shows.
Henderson says another benefit of the Episcopal experience is that students and families become a part of the Episcopal community through 12th grade and beyond. “As parents feel the anxiety of dropping off their child for the first time at real school, they can be confident in these teachers,” she says. “There is comfort for parents in knowing that the PreK team will stay in touch with their child as they grow and progress.”
While curriculum and preparation are critical for early childhood learning, Henderson says it is also important for a three or four year old to simply be three or four. She says teachers focus on intentional play that keeps a lesson relevant and interesting for young children. For example, creative play centers are changed out with the seasons, beginning with a flower shop in September and transitioning to a costume shop in October. As students transition to life at real school, Henderson says teachers focus on treating others with kindness and respect. “These teachers are masterful at navigating the social and emotional learning of such young students,” says Henderson. “They emphasize simply being kind to each other every day.” In addition, she says just like the older members of the Lower School community, PreK students also learn the Episcopal Honor Code and what it means.
According to care.com, daycare options in Baton Rouge range from $125 a week to $164 a week. In addition, the site lists $14 per hour and up as the average cost for a babysitter in the Baton Rouge region. An Episcopal PreK classroom experience is $187 a week, $54 a day or just $9 an hour. At $9 an hour, the program truly transforms students over the course of a school year. The students’ vocabulary, problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills and even their social and emotional capabilities flourish. During any given week, Episcopal students can be found in the PreK garden exploring, planting and learning as they care for vegetation. On any given day, they learn from guest speakers and experts who complement the existing lessons offered by highly-qualified teachers.
According to market research, financial factors are important for Episcopal families when choosing a school, with families listing value for the cost as their top consideration. In addition, the majority of families said that when initially considering a school for their first or only child, they explored at least three schools. Once a family initially selected Episcopal for their child’s education, more than 95% of them planned for their child to remain at Episcopal through graduation. Among families with a currently enrolled student, more than 86% have not changed their mind regarding the length of time their student will remain at Episcopal. As families get to know Episcopal and the quality of the education provided, the decision becomes easier with each additional school-aged child. More than 47% of families considered only one school for their second child and more than 77% considered only one school for their third child. Data like this means that families want to remain at Episcopal once they have entered the classroom, met our faculty and staff and experienced the value of a multi-faceted Episcopal education.
Episcopal PreK students truly are members of the Episcopal community and they are aware of their connections within Lower School. They have the opportunity to learn from campus experts, including the coaches and staff. They share a building and a playground with the Kindergarten students. As a PreK-4 student, they attend Morning Meeting in the Greer Center. Henderson says all of this makes transitioning to higher grades easier for students because the relationships are already forged and they know what school looks like. It also makes life easier for parents because they only have to make that big school decision once. “This is a great first experience with school and it carries through and helps them to be successful,” says Henderson.
Just as the numbers are impressive, so too, are comments from families and students over the years.
“I cannot tell you how amazing this school is. Everything about it from the teachers to the academic program and even the school lunches are simply spectacular,” says parent Michelle Smith. “I truly had no idea education like this even existed.”
“The teachers in this community deserve the world, for they are not only instructors but also mentors and even friends. There is no other administration in the state that I trust would invest as much time into my journey as the administration at Episcopal.” Shannon Ahmad ’18
Seven members of the Class of 2018 serve as a great example of the complete Episcopal transformation. Louise Andreeff, John Daniel Davis, Caden Dickinson, Graham Frazier, Kelli Hu, Ethan Lawson and Russ St. Romain were all members of the first Episcopal PreK-4 class in 2005. The students grew up together, beginning with the early learning experiences of PreK-4 to the character development and academic rigor of Middle and Upper School. As they progressed through their educational journey, the students had ample opportunities to explore their interests including everything from athletics, thesis and the arts to service projects, student government and peer tutoring. Episcopal truly became their second home. Today, these students are studying at universities such as Georgetown University, University of Chicago, University of Mississippi, Rhodes College and Louisiana State University.
And it all began in Episcopal PreK.
Helping teens navigate the digital world is a challenge all families face. Episcopal’s Jodi Manton provides valuable tips to help families manage. Make plans to attend Episcopal’s screening of Screenagers on Thursday, January 24th from 8 – 9:30 am or 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Snapchat. Instagram. iMessage. YouTube. Fortnite. These media and gaming platforms are all part of daily life for many teenagers, readily accessible at any time, day or night, from smartphones, laptops, and other devices. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey indicated that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone. 45% reported they are online “almost constantly,” and another 44% said they are online “several times a day.” Teens reported using Snapchat (35%), YouTube (32%), and Instagram (15%) most often, and 97% of teenage boys reported playing video games (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). How has technology and media use become so pervasive for teens?
One reason may be the aspects of social media platforms and games designed to “hook” teens. For example, Snapchat has a feature called “Snapstreaks,” which requires Snapchat friends to exchange photos daily for three days to start a “streak.” They must then continue to exchange a picture daily, or the streak will expire. Maintaining Snapstreaks has become important to many teens and even has some sharing their passwords with friends or parents to maintain their streaks for them if they won’t have access to the site or their device for some reason.
Fortnite is a gaming phenomenon that has gone viral. While there is some debate about how violence in video games may impact teens, there is no question that these games are designed to keep players coming back. The graphics and fast pace of the game draw players in. Fortnite also capitalizes on elements of luck that keep teens playing. As their skill in the game improves, teens may get drawn in by the “near miss” phenomenon - “Instead of feeling as if they’ve lost, players may feel as if they’ve nearly won,” and they keep playing with the belief they will win the next game (Damour, 2018). This is similar to the experience of gambling, which was recently added to the DSM-5 as a potential type of addiction.
As technology and social media have become more ubiquitous in the lives of teens, it has become an ever-increasing topic in my conversations with students and their parents. How can parents help their digital natives navigate the potential pitfalls and capitalize on the benefits of a connected life?
For more information about this important topic, attend Episcopal’s screening of the documentary, Screenagers, on Thursday, January 24th at 8:00 to 9:30 AM and 6:30 to 8:30 PM. RSVP to your division counselor:
Anderson, M. & Jiang, J. (2018). Teens, Social Media, & Technology 2018. Pew Research Center Internet & Technology. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/.
Damour, L. (2018). Parenting the Fortnite Addict. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/well/family/parenting-the-fortnite-addict.html.
Rennert, L., Denis, C., Peer, K., Lynch, K.G., Gelernter, J., & Kranzler, H.R. (2014). DSM-5 Gambling Disorder: Prevalence and Characteristics in a Substance Use Disorder Sample. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 22 (1), 50-56. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4019046/.
Jodi Manton has served as the Upper School Counselor since 2015 where she provides academic and social/emotional services to Upper School students and their families. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and Certified School Counselor. She has a master's degree in education with a concentration in mental health counseling and a Certificate of Education Specialist with a concentration in school counseling from Louisiana State University.
Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Newton Distinguished Faculty Award recipients!
Each year, Episcopal awards the Newton Distinguished Faculty Awards to three faculty members in recognition of their positive impact on students. This year’s recipients were recognized at a reception in which the award founders, Patty and Carl Newton and their daughter Nicole ’13, were present. Head of School Hugh McIntosh, members of the school’s Administrative Council and past award recipients were also in attendance.
Patty and Carl Newton established the Newton Distinguished Faculty Awards six years ago because of their belief that excellent teachers make a difference in the lives of students. Each year, three Newton Distinguished Faculty recipients are selected and awarded a stipend for professional development opportunities of their choice.
Read more about this year’s recipients below.
Past Recipients Include:
Newly-Introduced Harvard Business School Curriculum Adds Spark to Episcopal History and Government Classes
If you could to take one of Harvard’s most popular Freshman-level courses at the high school level in the teaching style used at their world-renowned business school, would you? Would you be intimidated? Would you worry whether or not you’re smart enough to keep up with the pace of such a course? Or, would you dive right in? That’s precisely what many 10th and 11th grade U.S. History and U.S. Government students at Episcopal are doing this year. Mr. Vincent Hoang and I had the pleasure of attending a Harvard Business School (HBS) professional development workshop earlier this semester to learn about the materials for the course, titled “History of American Democracy.” We have been impressed with our students’ response to the course so far.
What makes the course unique, in addition to its affiliation with one of the most famous universities in the world, is the method it deploys to engage students. For over 100 years the Harvard Business School has employed the “case method” to teach its MBA students how to think through complex issues and problems. There are no textbooks. There are no lectures. Students learn by reading, thinking, and doing instead.
Before each class meeting, Harvard Business School students read through a complex 20-30 page case study on a topic like “Baria Planning Solutions, Inc.: Fixing the Sales Process” or “Bain Capital and Dollarama” before arriving in class. At the end of the case study, students are left with a cliffhanger. They know the information that confronted a corporate board or CEO in the past, but they do not know what decision(s) they made. The hook is for students to hash out what they would have done in the situation. In class, there is no lecture. There are no powerpoints or presentations. Instead, students are met by a professor and a series of blank chalkboards. The information comes from them. The teacher initially asks broad questions in a Socratic style and begins to jot down pertinent information from student responses on each board. The class meeting operates as a place to hash out the main ideas and specific details of the case study everyone read. As the discussion goes along, the questions get more specific. A large percentage of the grade each semester is based not on tests, but on meaningful class participation. While someone could sit, say nothing, and gain knowledge in these case study seminars, they would not be allowed to pass the course.
In 2013, Professor David Moss decided to try this method as an introductory-level U.S. History/Government course with Harvard undergrads. Students found the course readings and the high-level intellectual discussions they spurred quite engaging. Before long, high school teachers asked for permission to use the cases in their schools in 2014-15. Moss and the Harvard Business school began a pilot program that year with a handful of teachers. Since that time, the program has spread across the country. At the moment, 240 high school social studies teachers in 25 states and the District of Columbia are offering the course. Because of that three-day seminar experience, Mr. Hoang and I are the first two social studies teachers in the state of Louisiana to establish a partnership with the Harvard Business School that grants us full permission to use and teach the same materials used in the school’s “History of American Democracy” course. After only one semester, Episcopal’s students have shown that they are up to the task.
In my AP U.S. History course, students read and annotated “James Madison, the “Federal Negative,” and the Making of the U.S. Constitution (1787)” last semester. After spending two days discussing the Constitution and the ideas of the Founding Fathers such as the desirable size and scope of the federal government and the crises that necessitated a new Constitution after the American Revolution, students showed a meaningful, lasting grasp of the era’s issues. While many 10th and 11th grade students might be anxious about reading a complex document written at a level for a Harvard freshman, Episcopal AP students performed well. Not only did they hit the same points that Harvard students in Moss’s course typically hit, the connections from the class discussions carried over to their performance on tests and quizzes.
Because of this early success, we assigned case studies to students to discuss as soon as the second semester got underway. Rather than the typical Christmas break work I would normally assign to AP students, students were asked to read and annotate a case study on Reconstruction and the Compromise of 1877 which they discussed this week. Honors students began the second semester by reading about Lincoln’s difficult decision of whether or not to resupply Fort Sumter, which ultimately led to the Civil War. Finally, our U.S. government students will discuss the role of political parties to begin the semester by reading and debating about the strengths and weaknesses of California’s decision to move toward a secret ballot as opposed to public voting in the 1890s.
Dr. Billy Pritchard
Dr. Billy Pritchard is a native of Winn Parish, Louisiana. He and his wife, Lisa, came to Episcopal in 2015 after spending the previous decade in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Pritchard is a 1999 graduate of the Louisiana School of Math, Science, and the Arts. In addition, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Centenary College of Louisiana, a master’s degree from Ole Miss and doctorate from SUNY-Buffalo. Dr. Pritchard teaches U.S. History, Honors AP U.S. History, American Presidency and the Civil Rights Movement.
For the first time in a number of years, the annual Youth Legislature Conference moved to the Louisiana Legislature’s new capitol building for the Friday session. Students had a chance to debate bills from the desks of State Representatives and State Senators, giving them a first-hand experience with democracy in action. Episcopal students had several opportunities to participate in the process. Below are a few highlights.
Junior Jack Campbell chaired a House committee on the first night of the conference, helping to manage debate on bills covering a variety of topics. Sophomores Matthew Bickham and Gregory Field vigorously defended their bill before the State Supreme Court when it was challenged for violating the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
On the final day’s plenary session, which combined both the Senate and House chambers, Episcopal students energetically debated a number of bills. Hudson Graham, Sean Brooks, Jack Campbell, Adam Azmeh, Robert Xing, Gregory Field and Matthew Bickham all spoke before the joint session that included several hundred students from throughout Louisiana.
Each student was required to submit an original bill and presented these in committee on Thursday. The delegation included ninth graders Catherine Barney and Ellie Williams, sophomores Natalie Macaluso, Abhay Basireddy, Robert Xing, Gregory Field, Adam Azmeh, Tucker Harrell, Matthew Bickham, juniors Ryan Whaley, Hudson Graham, Joseph Patterson, Jack Campbell, and Sean Brooks, and seniors Alyssa Macaluso and Austin Broussard.
This was the third year Episcopal sent a group to the Youth Legislature conference, and participation has grown from an initial group of five in 2016 to sixteen this year. In February, Episcopal will send a delegation to the state Model United Nations Conference, which is organized by the same YMCA branch that organized the Youth Legislature conference. One of this year’s Youth Leg participants, twelfth grader Alyssa Macaluso will be serving as President of the General Assembly at the Model United Nations conference in February.