“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” —John James Audubon
Every April we pause to reflect upon our environment as part of the annual Earth Day commemoration. There are Earth Day celebrations and renewed efforts to recycle, reuse and restore in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. Here at Episcopal there are daily opportunities for students to learn more about the environment and their role in protecting our natural resources.
“Students love learning about the earth and how they can take care of it,” says fifth grade science teacher Eric DiMari. DiMari’s students recently embarked on a lesson on biomes that will require them to research and eventually educate fellow classmates on the biome of their choice. Earlier this year, DiMari’s students also studied Louisiana’s wetlands, the causes of wetland destruction and potential ways to save them.
In addition, third graders recently participated in a Mini Ecosystem Fair as part of their study of the Louisiana ecosystem. Experts from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Coastal Conservation Authority and LSU, along with Episcopal alumnus Rory McCracken '17 and Instigator Betsy Minton shared their environmental knowledge. The guest speakers brought soil and fur samples, fishing rods, photos and even live crawfish to provide students the opportunity to personally interact with nature.
“Why can’t we just send them water?” asked a sixth grade science student after learning about the water crisis in South Sudan.
Sixth graders are also learning about planet earth. Students in Stacy Hill’s science class recently completed an extensive study of earth’s most precious natural resource – water. Students learned about everything from condensation to conservation. They even had an opportunity to make their own water filters out of everyday objects. Hill says the lesson created an awareness among the students about the importance of access to clean water and a desire to help those who do not have that access.
“The coastal roots program is a great way to educate students of all ages regarding their own personal role in regards to the environment.” Betsy Minton, Instigator.
Each year, students in Lower and Upper School participate in the coastal roots program. Third graders plant the seeds of bald cypress and tupelo trees in cells on Episcopal’s campus. The seeds are then monitored and cared for by the Upper School environmental science students as they sprout and grow into seedlings. Once the seedlings are mature enough, students plant them in the Bonnet Carre Spillway to replenish vegetation in the region. This year was the first time the Lower School students had the opportunity to join their Upper School counterparts on the planting field trip. The fifth graders were excited to participate, and many even remembered planting the seeds as a third grader.
Why is it important for students to learn about their environment?
“The future generations are the future caretakers of the earth. The more educated they are about the planet, the more effective they will be,” answered DiMari.
Hill and Minton agree.
“Educating young people about the earth and environment gives students the opportunity to apply content knowledge to the world around them. It shows them how their class is relevant to the real world and hopefully guides them towards being environmentally aware citizens,” said Hill.
“Our Louisiana ecosystem is so fragile that it’s up to their generation to fix it. Hopefully learning more about the environment early on will inspire them to create innovations for change later on,” says Minton.
True to the Episcopal mission, the diocese has launched a Stewardship of Creation effort. Bishop Thompson has formed an environmental commission in an effort to bring awareness of the increasing challenges facing our natural environment and therefore the people of Southeast Louisiana. In a letter to the community, Joey Clavijo, Chair for The Bishop’s Environmental Commission, says the commission will lead discussions to draw upon individual gifts to bring about concrete actions to restore and sustain the environment. The group is asking members of the Episcopal community who are interested in participating to complete a survey expressing their interest. Click here to access the survey.
Every year, Earth Day is observed on April 22nd. At Episcopal, students are learning about their environment each day of the school year. We hope such focus and care inspires the next generation to preserve God’s creation.
Want to get more involved? Check out these helpful resources:
Calculate your household water usage - https://www.watercalculator.org/
The Red Stick Green Guide - https://www.brla.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2561
Baton Rouge Recycling Center - https://www.brla.gov/890/Recycling-Office
2018 Mayor’s Earth Day Challenge - https://www.brla.gov/1537/7590/Mayors-Water-Challenge
A giant bear greeted the PreK-4 students as they returned from the Mardi Gras holiday. Expressions of shock and excitement filled the air as they explored their new dramatic play area, a tent, strung with lights and a warning, “Please do not feed the bears.” For the next three weeks, students would embark on their “Gone Camping” project where students explored the great outdoors through dramatic play, guest speakers, food and fun.
Throughout the project, guest experts visited the class. Bob Pace taught students about campfire safety and demonstrated how to start a campfire using various methods. Nurse Stacy Dampf, mother to David Dampf ('31), gave the students instruction in basic First Aid and the students made a personal First Aid necklace.
In addition, the class constructed working flashlight headlamps using LED lights, attended a Teddy Bear Picnic, went “backpacking” on the Coach Duplechain trail and cooked up some tasty S'mores. The Class of 2031 is ready to take on the wild!
Julie Mendes, a 2001 graduate of Episcopal, returned to teach Pre-K4 at her alma mater in 2012. She received both her undergraduate degree and MEd in elementary education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. After teaching second grade in a Dual Language program in Texas public schools for three years, Julie moved abroad to teach first grade at a bilingual school in Gracias, Lempira Honduras. Julie enjoys teaching alongside some of her former teachers and seeing what life is like on the other side of the desk.
We are excited to celebrate members of the Episcopal Class of 2018 as they make their college enrollment decisions.
Major: Engineering or Pre-Med
Fun Fact: Scott, an ESTAAR student, hopes to continue his research endeavors on the college level. He chose Rhodes because of the small school atmosphere.
While driving down a busy Baton Rouge street, one tends to have a lot of time to think and reflect on things in life. One particular day, my thoughts wandered back to my days in school, especially elementary, middle, and high school, specifically on my education as a writer. In elementary, I hardly recall any composition that was uniquely my own except for a little bit of poetry as well as some fact–finding writing for social studies project reports. In middle school I had two great English teachers who required us to think creatively and effectively communicate our ideas in a way that I was not familiar. I remember writing lots of formulaic papers for literature classes in high school. However, it wasn’t until college that I was given instruction that helped me begin to better develop as a writer. Looking back, it seems as though my own writing education was overlooked. Fear not! Young writers are blossoming right here at Episcopal!
About fourteen and a half years ago, I began my career teaching little ones. Since day one, I was expected to teach writing in a workshop format that allowed students to choose their writing subject and thus increase their interest and motivation. Since then, not a year has gone by that I haven’t aimed to teach students to grow their writing skills, improving their skills as effective written communicators.
I watch my students daily and see how they enjoy making cards, notes, and signs for anyone that will take them. Children are naturally drawn to writing. They see the joy it brings to themselves as well as others. They quickly learn that they have choice in what they write and this becomes self-motivating.
Writing serves an important purpose in our lives: communication. We communicate through texting and emails on a daily basis to family, friends, coworkers, and more. We jot little reminders for ourselves so we won’t forget special tasks (you should see the sticky notes on my desk!). We make lists for shopping and cards for loved ones. For some, writing is more than simply a task…it’s pure enjoyment.
In the Episcopal Lower School, we teach students how to write for a variety of purposes: to recount, to entertain, to inform, and to persuade. Our ultimate goal is to create confident, independent writers. To reach this goal, we utilize a variety of teaching approaches grounded in national norms and expectations appropriate for each grade level. We teach writing through the prism of these three purposes so that students can grasp the components which make each unique and effective. To aid students in learning to love writing, students are able to choose their topic of writing. For example, in the expository writing unit, students might be asked to write a “teaching book”. Students are able to pick whatever they want to write about as long as they are teaching someone else in a factual way within the parameters of expository writing. The topic option allows the students to write about something that truly interests them, thus motivating them to want to write and do their best. They begin to see that writing can be fun! Their personality begins to present itself through their style, and their voice is projected in their writing.
written ideas in risk-taking fashion. Much like with science and math, it’s very helpful for students to have the freedom to practice writing, making mistakes along the way, and yet learning from those mistakes over time. Keep in mind that having conversations with your children on a daily basis makes a huge impact on the quality of their writing. More sophisticated minds help to create more sophisticated compositions.
In this day and age, children have more access than ever before to electronic communication. It’s our job as teachers to prepare students to learn who they are as writers and utilize those strengths so that students can be successful presently and in the future. Know that your children are being encouraged, challenged, and celebrated in their writing growth and will continue to do so for many years to come! We are proud of all of our little writers and look forward to seeing how much they truly grow!
Cory Lemoine is a first grade teacher with 14 years of experience in the classroom. As a graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Cory taught second and third grades for ten years in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. His journey continued to the Zachary Community School System for three years in first grade before joining the faculty at Episcopal. He is a dedicated member of the Capital Area Reading Council and Louisiana Reading Association. In his free time, he likes to travel, garden, read, craft, and enjoy time with family and friends.
We are excited to celebrate members of the Episcopal Class of 2018 as they make their college enrollment decisions!
We must be MINDful that only 78 days remain to meet the $1 Million Challenge -- $212,500 or $2,689.87/day will complete the challenge effort. The Challenge, issued by an anonymous and generous alumni family, matches dollar-for-dollar each pledge or gift to the Academic Commons project by June 30, 2018 up to $1 million.
The school recently received two $50,000 pledges, to be paid over five years, each naming a part of the Academic Commons. One of the gifts comes from an alum who lives outside Louisiana and is honoring his mother with the gift by naming a mathematics classroom. The other from a family that is very involved in the school’s past and present.
Mellie Bailey ’96, capital campaign director, urges those who live close by to join us for one of four Casual Conversations about the Campaign and the capital projects. Click HERE to see details on upcoming sessions and to RSVP.
If you live farther afield, click HERE for more information or contact Mellie Bailey or Andy Spencer(me), director of advancement. You, your class, your family, your parents could make the pledge or gift that puts the School “over the top” in this special effort.
Bailey adds, “The MIND portion of the Spirit • Mind • Body Capital Campaign is going quite well. Many have responded to the generous challenge to help fund the Academic Commons, a bright and modern building for collaborative, experiential, and innovative approaches to math, science, engineering, robotics, and entrepreneurship.”
Check out the latest photography of the Academic Commons, which is set to be “open for business” next school year. Be on the lookout for a formal announcement of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, set for the morning of August 10. Everyone who has selected an Element Square (pledge/gift of $5,000) on the Periodic Table Plaza, which count toward the Challenge, is particularly looking forward to seeing their piece of this historic project. About 50% of the periodic table elements are left to be chosen . . . what a great graduation gift or recognition for a special teacher or staff member as the school year draws to an end.
Spirit and Body:
The Lewis Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd’s renovations have served the school community very well in its first full year of use since the $1.6 million project was completed. You can review information here on the SPIRIT portion of the Campaign. Likewise, click BODY for Field House renderings, floor plans, features, naming opportunities, and rationale.
One of the really great things about this combination of facilities projects is that it allows many families to find a special piece to support. Think about what matters to you about your family’s Episcopal experience . . . chances are an important piece of that experience is encompassed in Spirit, Mind, or Body.
Andy joined Episcopal as the Director of Advancement after having spent 17 years as the Chief Advancement Officer at the Lovett School in Northwest Atlanta. Under Andy’s direction, Lovett ran a $2.2 MM Annual Fund and completed a $94 MM capital campaign with an anticipated goal of $90 MM. Andy’s work in Advancement included oversight of Alumni Programs, Communications, Community Relations, and Development. New Parent Philanthropy, Stewardship, Legacy Giving, Board Development, Staff Development, Non-Alumni/Parent Constituent Relations, and the Annual Fund are programs and areas which were emphasized and matured significantly during Andy’s Lovett tenure. Prior to his time at Lovett, Andy spent 11 years as Director of Development at Virginia Episcopal School (VES), in Lynchburg, VA. He has also taught and coached during his career. Andy is a VES alumnus and graduate of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. His wife, Mary, is the Episcopal Dean of Students. They have two children, both graduates of Lovett and UNC - Chapel Hill, and two dogs. Andy enjoys history, sports, classic cinema, gardening, backyard birding, fishing, canoeing and hiking, and the outdoors in general.
Dear Episcopal Grandparents and Special Friends,
It was truly an honor to have you brave the rainy weather and join us for Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day on March 29, 2018. Lower School students and teachers worked hard to make the day memorable. The students enjoyed introducing you to their teachers, showing off their work, and taking you on a tour of their spaces at school. We were so excited to be able to share with you our Spirit, Mind, and Body Campaign and the plans for our new Academic Commons Building and Field House.
Our favorite quote of the day was from a grandfather who said,
“Episcopal is the best. Number one at everything. I love this place!”
We are grateful to everyone who attended and played a role in making the day so memorable. We invite you to stay connected year round and here are a few simple ways:
For more information, please contact Bridget Henderson at 225-755-2740 or Katie Thompson at 225-755-2741. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Episcopal alumnus Dion Warr '90 reflects on how his grandmother's influence instilled a lifelong love of learning and how he hopes to share that love with others through his Spirit Mind Body Capital Campaign participation.
I remember making the trip back and forth from Plaquemine to Episcopal each day. As I logged the miles between home and education I was filled with excitement, hope and promise. At Episcopal I made lifelong friends; I participated in everything from service projects to track. I remember the feeling in Foster as exams approached, the camaraderie in Webster Refectory and mentorship of teachers and coaches. Episcopal left a lasting imprint upon my life. So much so that my wife and I have entrusted our own children to the school. The education and character development I received at Episcopal set my future path for success. This path originated back home before I ever crossed the river for school and before I ever became a Knight.
On my fourth Christmas, I received a Raggedy Ann and Andy chalkboard from Santa, which almost exclusively stayed at her house, where she lived with my great-grandmother. On one side was a green surface with the eponymous characters, a stamped set of the upper-case alphabet and numerals; on the other was a plain blackboard surface. When I spent time with her after school and during summers while my mother was at work, we would fill the chalkboard with words, sentences, and arithmetic for hours as she would ask questions, prompt me for answers, and prod me for explanations. When I could not answer or explain, she would send me off to find the information necessary from the dictionary, the encyclopedia, or from the old textbooks that my mother and uncle had discarded which somehow had found their way into her inventory. Then I would report back what I had found out, frequently having to discuss how I had come to find the information necessary to complete the task, solve the problem, or become sure of my answer.
I never recalled any hint of discouragement with her as to my young attempts to understand and/or explain the world, ignorant or misinformed as they might had been at times. When I had set down a wrong-headed path, she would inquire about facts and point out flaws in reasoning or mistakes in computation, or facts, or verb tense, or ask me to reconsider what I had recited. While she did possess the free time to engage me in such exercises, she seemed never to tire in the process, all the while laying a foundation for love of knowledge and of learning in her youngest grandson.
Though she expressed disappointment that I would not be spending as much time with her when I was accepted into Episcopal prior to my sixth grade year and would necessarily be traveling back and forth across the river for almost an hour and a half each day, she could not have been more pleased that I would be attending a school which would further serve to challenge me academically. She celebrated my accomplishments but always reminded me to keep working and to not “rest on my laurels”.
She was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was in high school. After a certain amount of time and fight had passed, she would stay with us from time to time while she continued to make the circuits between doctors’ offices, rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Even through rehabilitation, complications and her increasing frailty she continued to inquire about my studies and press me about college. During one of my last visits with her at the hospital, I was able to let her know that I had received my early acceptance letter into college; she looked up, nodded and squeezed my hand. She passed during winter exams just a few days later.
If you’d like to make a gift in honor of someone who has inspired you or if you’d like more information on the Spirit Mind Body Capital Campaign, please contact Mellie Bailey at 755-2687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dion Warr, CPL
After graduating from Episcopal, Dion studied Biological Chemistry at Tulane University. After graduation, he worked in industrial construction, right-of-way acquisition and project management prior to returning to work with his mother and stepfather as an independent petroleum landman. He is married to the former Jennifer Seaton Wendt with two children (the younger of whom graduated from Episcopal in 2017) and resides in Baton Rouge. He is active in his local and national professional landman associations, serving on the Board of Directors of each as well as chairing educational and technology committees and events, with a concentration on integrating each in the mentoring of current and future landmen.
Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Newton Distinguished Faculty Award recipients Cory Lemoine, Joan Moroney, and Julie Weaver.
Episcopal is extremely honored to have each of you as talented and thriving members of Episcopal’s faculty. You are true gifts to our students, our community and we are pleased that you have been chosen for this recognition.
About The Newton Upper School Distinguished Faculty Award
Patty and Carl Newton established the Newton Distinguished Faculty Award five years ago because they believe that faculty can make a tremendous difference in the lives of Episcopal students. Each year, three Newton Distinguished Faculty Scholarships are awarded for professional development opportunities of the recipients’ choice.
Past award recipients include: