We are excited to celebrate members of the Episcopal Class of 2017 as they make their college enrollment decisions!
John Harris will attend the
Louisiana State University Honors College
Ellie O’Brien will attend
Texas Christian University.
Olivia Parker will attend the
University of Southern Mississippi.
Anna Catherine Ward will attend the
University of Mississippi.
Mary Beth Williams will attend the
University of South Florida Honors College.
“How Connected is Too Connected? Finding Balance in the Digital Age”
As I scrolled through research for this post on my iPad, my husband asked what I was reading about. “I’m researching for a blog post about the impact being connected has on our daily lives.” A knowing grin crept onto his face, and I didn’t need to ask why. I stood for a moment to satisfy the alert from my Apple Watch, cleared the notifications from my iPhone, turned on my Bluetooth headphones to stream the Beethoven station on Pandora (one of my favorite work stations), and opened my MacBook to begin writing this post.
I entered this endeavor knowing that my digital devices and media consumption have become an integral part of my daily life as they have for so many Americans. The Nielsen Company’s audience report for the first quarter of 2016 revealed that adults in the U.S. spend an average of 10 hours per day consuming media (2016). Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey (2016) found that 77% of Americans have ready access to a smartphone and 40% of consumers reported checking their phones within 5 minutes of waking. Another interesting finding is that many individuals reported using their phones in many settings and while engaging in other activities, including shopping (93%), at work (93%), and spending leisurely time (90%).
I can’t say that I am surprised by these statistics, as they ring true for me personally. I typically check my email from my smartphone as I’m making my morning coffee and then again multiple times throughout the day. When I’m waiting in the doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store, I often find myself scrolling through my Instagram or Facebook feeds, liking and commenting on posts made by my “friends.” And anyone that knows me knows that I am an avid consumer of podcasts and almost always listen to them as I’m cleaning the house, exercising, or driving the car.
And yet, despite these benefits, I do wonder about the potential negative impact of technology in our daily lives. If we are spending 10 hours a day consuming media, what impact is that having on our relationships? If I am focused on taking the perfect photo to document a moment on social media, am I truly in that moment?
In Alone Together, MIT social psychologist Sherry Turkle (2011) laments the effects of online presence on our identity development. Where once she was hopeful that social media would provide ample opportunity to explore and “try on” different identities, the reality is that we are becoming more and more confined by the identities we create on Twitter and Facebook, putting a great deal of time and effort into cultivating the perfect online persona for our followers. Turkle also describes the infringement of technology on our relationships, such as the limits of expression and empathy through electronic communication and our device's ability to contaminate our time with others by drawing our attention away from the individual immediately in our presence.
NYU Stern School of Business psychologist Adam Alter (2017) describes the addictive nature of digital devices and social media in his book Irresistible, citing statistics that 60% of adults keep their cellphones next to them when they sleep and half of those check their emails during the night. He cautions that our relationship with our devices is to the detriment of our personal relationships, our attention spans, and our ability to retain information.
Despite these potentially negative outcomes, the reality is that digital devices and social media will likely remain a part of our daily lives and can actually enhance our lives in many ways. So how do we mitigate the bad while keeping the good?
Balance. Striving to be mindful of our media consumption and digital use and its role in our lives.
Some strategies for this include:
These are just a few ways that you can maintain more control over your digital use and avoid allowing it to control you. You could also see improvement in your personal relationships and mental well-being. I encourage you to try one or all of these as an experiment this week to see if there is any positive outcome in your life.
Alter, Adam. (2017). Irresistible: The rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked. New York, NY: Penguin Press.
Deloitte. (2016). 2016 global mobile consumer survey: U.S. edition. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/global-mobile-consumer-survey-us-edition.html
The Nielsen Company. (2016). The Nielsen total audience report: Q1 2016. Retrieved from http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2016-reports/total-audience-report-q1-2016.pdf
Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Jodi is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and is currently serving as the Upper School Counselor at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. She has a Master’s of Education with a concentration in Mental Health and a Certificate of Education Specialist with a concentration in School Counseling from Louisiana State University. Prior to working as a school counselor, she worked in various clinical settings, including a community-based family clinic, a university mental health clinic, and a substance abuse detox facility. Jodi’s areas of focus and experience include school counseling, adolescent and family counseling, individual and group counseling, identity development, girls’ and women’s wellness, military personnel and veterans, academic and career counseling, and substance abuse treatment.
The digital revolution is here. Its effect on generation ‘Z’ is yet to be completely understood. Join Episcopal senior Carson Suarage '17 as she explores the benefits, opportunities, and threats that social media and other virtual communities have on the modern identity.
Parade_Line-up1 or 2-Veni, Vidi, Vici! Episcopal Junior Classical Convention attendees line-up for the annual procession. Student delegates for this year’s annual LJCL Convention were: Judie Williams, Phoebe Connors, Megan MacMilan, Brenley Rinaudo, Emily Frazer, Kenny Schafer, Wilson Russ, John Pojman, Eason Guirard, and Mackenzie Bell.
Ten Upper School Episcopal students recently attended the annual Louisiana Junior Classical League Convention in Baton Rouge, La. on March 10-12.
The Certamen team (think Jeopardy! for the Classics set) of Megan MacMilan, John Pojman, Eason Guirard and Phoebe Connors, placed fifth at the State level. Individual students also captured awards including Megan MacMilan, fifth place in the Latin Derivatives academic test; and John Pojman, third place in Latin vocabulary. At the LJCL Convention, students participated in academic, creative and graphic arts contests as well as an afternoon of Olympika athletic games, a Roman toga-themed banquet, dance and karaoke.
The theme for the 2017 was LJCL Convention is “Omnis Ars Imitatio Natura Est.” (All art is but an imitation of nature – Seneca the Younger). The Episcopal delegation was accompanied by Upper School Latin and Spanish teacher Micheal Posey.
Certamen: The Certamen team of Eason Guirard, captain, John Pojman, Megan MacMilan and Phoebe Connors, took home fifth place honors. Certamen is a game of fast recall of facts about classical civilizations and its peoples, languages, and cultures.
We are excited to celebrate members of the Episcopal Class of 2017 as they make their college enrollment decisions!
Benjamin Baldwin will enroll at
Stetson University this fall.
Rosemary Boutwell will enroll at
Texas Christian University Honors College this fall.
Rebecca Hutchinson will enroll at
Mississippi College this fall.
Nina Jalenak will enroll at
Louisiana State University this fall.
Reach for the stars! Anything you dream is possible! These are great messages for our kids, but often we forget to equip students with the tools that they need to carry out their dreams. Setting goals is also a powerful skill that we can teach our children.
Often goal setting is done with older students, but even our youngest students have the capacity to self-reflect and work towards their individual objectives. Pre-K4 students write their goals as a family. The August Family Project asks both the student and parents to set three goals for the school year. These are collected and buried in a “Hopes and Dreams Time Capsule” in their garden. The class will open their time capsule at their art show in the spring to reflect on how much progress was made towards their goals.
Teaching students to set goals and reflect on and revisit their goals builds a foundation of problem-solving and confidence in our lower schoolers.
As students mature developmentally, their goal setting may look a little different. First grade explores what makes each classmate important and then sets “hope goals” for the year, which are then written down and displayed on a self- portrait in the front of the classroom.
Fourth grade students take things a step further. Once they set their goals, they reflect on the steps they need to take in order to achieve their Hopes and Dreams. Students with shared goals work in groups to come up with four strategies that will help them to be successful in achieving their goals. Each learner writes a paragraph, individually explaining their Hopes and Dreams for the year. These are displayed in the room so that students can revisit them throughout the school year.
Fifth grade takes a more abstract approach to displaying their Hopes and Dreams. As an extension of their first novel, Roald Dahl’s “The BFG,” students make Hopes and Dreams bottles which resemble the jars of dreams that the Big Friendly Giant collected in the book. They used recycled water bottles and filled them with colorful tissue paper, pom poms and tinsel. Students wrote their dreams for the year on slips of paper and inserted them into the bottles. The goals were shared with their classmates and displayed as a visual reminder of what students are working towards in fifth grade.
As we start the fourth quarter and the end of the school year quickly approaches, students will be revisiting the goals that they set for themselves in August. What progress has been made towards achieving their goals? What further steps need to be taken in order to reach their milestones? Some students may be ready to generate a new dream, while others may need to revise or contemplate new ways to achieve their goals by the year’s end.
Teaching students to set goals and reflect on and revisit their goals builds a foundation of problem-solving and confidence in our lower schoolers. Each new quarter brings a renewed determination to reach their goals. Students are reminded that, even in the face of struggle, they can achieve their goals with hard work and smart strategies. As the saying goes, “When the world says ‘Give Up,” hope whispers “Try it one more time.”
Julie Pace A 2001 graduate of Episcopal High School, Julie returned to her alma mater in 2012. She received both her undergraduate degree and MEd in Elementary Education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. After teaching 2nd grade in a Dual Language program in Texas public schools for three years, Julie moved abroad to teach 1st grade at a bilingual school in Gracias, Lempira Honduras. After her adventure was over, Julie accepted a position to teach Pre-K4 at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, teaching alongside some of her former teachers. She has enjoyed seeing what life is like on the other side of the desk
"Since the first LAUNCH day my freshman year, I've seen other groups meet this goal, but I've never seen any other LAUNCH event be more successful in integrating our ideas into the student body and our larger community." - Bailey Leopard (honors seminar student and senior)
With over 60 students involved, LAUNCH Day was an absolute success.
"LAUNCH is an Episcopal Upper School showcase started by a small group of students in 2014. It has grown over time to include the contributions of nearly a hundred students as presenters, performers, planners, or crew members. It is a student-planned and student-executed celebration of ideas and achievement at Episcopal. These 2017 honors thesis presentations included thought provoking ideas and displays that Episcopal High School has never experienced to date."
The LAUNCH 2017 lineup included Episcopal seniors such as Katherine Ann Andreff’s self-produced play, Butternut High, which sought to display the diversity and many opportunities Episcopal has to offer. Daniel Johnson, Caden Dickson and Alicia Stamey presented their business proposal to create school tours for private school for those new to the Baton Rouge area. Families, friends, and honored guests experienced fine art paintings, sketches and sculptures from Episcopal’s finest visual art students.
LAUNCH Day allowed for students and presenters to completely invest themselves on topics and ideas in which they were 100% passionate. Educating their peers on topics such as the media, politics, fashion, the environment, and our very own health enabled students to gain inspiration for their future endeavors, opening doors to dealing with stress or media awareness or self-identification. From teaching to inspiration, LAUNCH Day participants gained insight, and maybe even some hope, for the greatness Episcopal maintains and adds to each and every year.
With knowledge, community and awareness come success. Success can be defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and that’s exactly what LAUNCH Day was. LAUNCH day accomplished something greater than what could be put into words or confined to just this one day experience at Episcopal. Taking on bigger causes and greater cases, LAUNCH Day accomplished the task of informing, impacting and influencing the future of its community.
I personally want to commend such a grand effort from my peers and acknowledge their prolonged strength in such an exhausting but worthwhile process.
From the well-spoken words of Episcopal’s renowned cross country and track coach, “Go, knights, good people, have fun!”
"It was really exciting seeing something that Emma Scott, Audrey and I had been working on for so long to finally come to life!" - Nina Jalenak (senior)
Jamiee is an Episcopal senior and has attended Episcopal for the past five years. She is an active member of the Episcopal track team, softball team, and clubs. Jamiee is a member of the National Honors Society as well as Spanish National Honors Society. In the next chapter of her life, she plans on attending an out of state university to major in civil engineering or architecture.
2017 Episcopal Ring Ceremony speech by Dr. Billy Pritchard
Upper School history faculty.
So, I wanted to start by saying that I am honored you chose me. Frankly, I was taken aback by the awesome responsibility of this endeavor. According to the email I received from Mrs. Rabalais right at the beginning of Mardi Gras break, the Class of 2018 had selected me to speak at their Junior Ring Day ceremony. I should say something meaningful in an allotted 5-7 minutes. In front of many of my colleagues, board members, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all of the school’s upperclassmen.
I will do the best I can, but I am from Louisiana. I do not know if I am culturally capable of keeping any comments under the 7-minute mark.
I wondered where I should start. I am a historian by trade, though. So, I am sure that my current and former students will not be surprised that I started… by looking to the past. The idea of a class ring and this rite of passage wherein one class effectively passes the torch to the school’s rising seniors had to start somewhere, right? “Where did this invented tradition begin in the first place?” I asked myself. Like a good scholar, I turned to peer-reviewed sources in Aldrich Library’s databases. Nothing! After that proved fruitless, I took a lesson from the Class of 2018: I went to Google. It turns out that the idea of a class ring has a long history in America. After a significant amount of “Googling” (roughly 35 minutes), multiple sources claim that the Class of 1835 at the U.S. Military Academy (better known to most as West Point) was the first to begin the practice. The ceremony, in some form, happens at private (and some public) schools all over the country during the Spring semester. Even though our ceremony today is uniquely Episcopal, these sorts of rituals all serve the same two purposes throughout the U.S.
First, individuals receive a wearable token to remind them that they are currently and always will be part of a larger community. Individuality and community seem antithetical to each other. To be an individual is to be original and distinctive; community indicates a collective existence. I would argue that not only can they exist symbiotically, but they do so every day here at Episcopal.
It took me a while to learn this lesson as a new teacher in your community last year. During the Fall semester of 2015, if someone had told me that the sophomores I was currently teaching would ask me to impart some small words of wisdom on their special ring day, I would have thought they were joking. I have taught roughly 75% of you, but I know a lot about you individually and collectively. That first semester was tough. My small family and I moved across the U.S. from Buffalo to return to my beloved home state, albeit in an unfamiliar city. I did not know where to find a decent hamburger. Heck, to this day, I still go to national chains with words like “super” or “sports” on the sign for my haircuts. In Buffalo, I had a guy named Frank. My phone contacts still list him as “Frank: THE Barber.” But, I digress.
Most frustratingly, nearly all of the students in my regular U.S. History class and many in my AP course just did not seem to be digging what I was teaching. For the whole semester, I tried everything to get you guys engaged and on the same page. I tried boring old school lectures. I tried group projects. I tried class discussions. I tried having some of you research and present information yourselves. Regardless of what I did, I could never get 100% of you on the same page at the same time. Even though nearly all of you were passing and learning something, it felt like my classes were failing.
Then, one day it clicked. I realized what I was doing wrong. I was asking all of you to march in lockstep. That, I have learned, is not the strength of this community, and certainly not the strength of the Class of 2018.
Collectively, I gradually learned, Episcopal thrives because it welcomes honest, genuine individuality. Therefore, your best work came when I let you BE YOU. When I began to give more assignments and activities that allowed you to express your individuality, your opinions, and your divergent interests, classes became a lot more fun. At some point in the 3rd quarter, Terrance Augustus spent a solid week and a half playing Devil’s advocate in every single class debate. I relented and let Kristen LaMotte write her entire final paper in my class on the historical importance of the O.J. Simpson trial. She proved to me and her classmates that she knows more than any living American about the case. I let Noah Dupree incorporate rap into roughly half of his assignments that second semester. I gave Grant Grantham a significant extension on his final paper because I realized that it mattered to him to write a 19-page thoughtful analysis of how 9-11 made his generation more likely to question the American government that, honestly, is better than most of the papers I wrote as an undergrad. In my AP class, I let Charles Barksdale sit in the windowsill and Wendy Wang sit behind my desk to take notes while I lectured. I also witnessed Henry Stater and Bailey McLaughlin use two student desks and classical music to perform an elegant dance interpretation of the landmark 1824 Gibbons v. Ogden Supreme Court decision. In addition to taking notes, Sydney Veazie jotted down my snarky off-handed comments and felt comfortable enough to tell me that some of the brightly-colored shirts I wore hurt her eyes. I still wear those shirts, but only on what I’ve dubbed “Sydney Veazie hates my loud shirts” Tuesdays.
It’s a lesson I learned last year that I hope your class hold onto in the years ahead. Be yourself, but always respect and bask in each other’s differences. Strong communities like this rely on passionate individuals who share a common belief in the overwhelming benefits of diversity.
Secondly, these sorts of ceremonies are in many ways your class’s first “good bye.” It is probably going to start to hit many of you very soon. Maybe even right now. The clock on your time here at Episcopal has nearly drawn to the final hour. You have a little over a year to ensure this place continues to have a strong local and regional reputation as a school that produces smart, thoughtful, empathetic, engaged citizens of the world. More than that, though, you have the opportunity to establish your legacy in the year to come.
How will you measure that legacy?
I have every confidence that your class will do amazing things academically, athletically, and as blossoming community leaders. Enjoy your senior year. As most of this year’s seniors will likely tell you, it goes by quickly. Next year, do not find yourself sitting here in this ceremony as soon-to-depart seniors having left something on the table. I speak for myself and my colleagues when I say, it will be our honor to witness the legacy you forge over the next 14 months, Episcopal Class of 2018. Now get back to it!
Dr. Billy Pritchard
Raised in a family full of storytellers, Billy Pritchard is a native of Winn Parish, Louisiania. He and his wife, Lisa, came to Episcopal last year after spending the previous decade in Buffalo, NY. He holds degrees from Louisiana School of Math, Science, and the Arts ('99), Centenary College of Louisiana (BA '03), Ole Miss (MA '05), and SUNY-Buffalo (PhD '16). He teaches U.S. History, AP U.S. History, American Presidency, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Monotasking is apparently the new multitasking. Experts claim that you should give your 100% to one task at a time to ensure peak productivity. That is great advice... unless you're a parent who has to accomplish at least 32 hours of work in 24 hours. Email during soccer practice? Check. Memorize prayers and songs on the way to school? Best time to do it. Treat yourself with an hour of Netflix after the kids are off to bed? Nope, that's when a parent gets laundry done.
These precious years with children go by fast but we should never lose sight of the big picture. While we are living our lives, we always have to remember how we can give back. There are many causes far and wide which we are passionate about but it's important to continue to support causes that are much closer to home. One such cause is The eFund at Episcopal. You can donate directly online here with a simple one-page and done process. The eFund goes directly to the schools’ continuous commitment to the arts, academics, spirituality, technology and athletics.
30 seconds to start supporting Episcopal on Amazon:
First grade students have been studying fairy tales in their Enchanted Engineering project-based learning unit. Story elements, such as characters, setting, and events, were studied during the unit so that students could have a better understanding of how stories are composed. Students were then tasked with identifying the elements of a self-selected fairy tale. Upon completing their fairy tale project planning folder, students had the task of retelling their stories. They created puppets for the characters in their fairy tales, and then they used the puppets to retell the beginning, middle, and end of their stories. Students worked hard to remember the events in order, change their voices to sound like the characters, and have a great time performing. They did an amazing job!
Kindergarten just finished a wonderful project focused on American Symbols. Students began the project by learning about our school, city and state. BREC’s Baton Rouge Mobile Zoo came and provided hands-on experiences with several Louisiana native species. The students interacted with turtles, owls, snakes and even an alligator!
As the project progressed, we learned about each of the four focus symbols through books, art, and music. We explored with Google maps. Guest experts visited to share their knowledge. Mr. McCrary helped us take virtual field trips to national landmarks and our nation’s capital using Google Expedition goggles. Our science instigator, Mrs. Minton, demonstrated what happens to the sound of a bell when it is cracked – just like the Liberty Bell. We had a visit from a Mississippi Kite raptor, a “cousin” of the bald eagle, and learned so many things about birds of prey. Ms. Tori Taylor helped us learn the words and melody of our national anthem.
During our Grand Finale, kindergartners dressed as various American Symbols and shared their knowledge with their families. To demonstrate their expertise, the children also wrote teaching books about their chosen symbol. The Statue of Liberty, bald eagle, Liberty Bell and American Flag have never looked so good!
The World Around You
Any interest in booking a vacation? Ready to escape to a faraway location? The second graders have you covered! Second graders welcomed families and friends to the Episcopal Travel Agency and International Zoo as the culminating project to “The World Around You” project based learning unit. With partners, students chose the country of their choice from a specific continent and then the fun began! Students had to research their chosen country, organize their findings, collaboratively decide how to organize their information as well as share it, and create an enticing display to draw potential travelers their way! Students presented information about their countries to prospective travelers practicing eye contact, articulation and voice projection, as well as confidently conveying their knowledge about their country. Visitors were greeted by “The March of the Penguins” lining their walk to the travel agency, as well as being able to browse the “zoos” filled with animals from each continent. After a morning of fun and excitement, our only question for you is, are you ready to book a trip with us today?!