Episcopal sixth graders blasted into summer with a year-end project that was out of this world. Students studied the phases and surface characteristics of the moon. After learning more about our cosmic neighbor, they then learned what it takes to get there.
Science teacher Stacy Hill tapped into the latest technology to bring the Apollo missions to the students’ own living rooms. “Students used the Smithsonian Moonshot app to collect information about missions and to view the Saturn V in Augmented Reality,” says Hill. “They also used Augmented Reality to try to land a Lunar Lander on the moon to help them understand the need for the various parts of the lander.” Hill says students used items available right at home to build their creations. The resulting builds were an exciting addition to Distance Learning.
Episcopal Middle School students are not strangers to exciting, hands-on science experiences. Check out previous blog posts highlighting the engaging lessons provided by Middle School faculty. To learn more about the Episcopal Middle School experience, visit the division’s webpage here.
With a 50+ year history, many have long-standing connections to Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. However, not many can trace that connection back to their own living room where the conversations between the founders began. Lower School English teacher Margaret Boudreaux’s father, Mr. G. Allen Penniman Jr., was one of the original supporters of establishing a new, independent school for the Baton Rouge community. Now all these years later, Margaret is set to retire from the place she has called home for so long.
Margaret, who graduated in 1976, began attending Episcopal the first year it was established. Before she ever put on an Episcopal uniform or stepped foot on campus, Margaret was a part of the community. Her father modeled for her what it meant to live with passion and vision as she watched Mr. Penniman and his partners make plans for the school. She says even when her father traveled, Episcopal was on his mind. “He would seek out the private schools and tour them,” she says. “He was always thinking about School and how to make it better. This passion of his was an enormous part of my upbringing, and it influenced me throughout my life,” says Margaret.
Margaret’s own passion for Episcopal grew once she became a student. She remembers her first impression of the Woodland Ridge school. “The campus was so beautiful,” she says. She also remembers the close-knit, family feeling that Episcopal offered and the positive influence of her teachers. “I revered my teachers who loved me but made me toe the line,” she says.
After Episcopal, Margaret studied liberal arts at Rhodes College. She married Emmett, and they had two children. When it was time for Elliott and Anne to attend school, there was no question as to where they would go. Elliott graduated from Episcopal in 2010 and Anne in 2014. Seeing her children attend the school that had played such an important role in her own life provided Margaret another connection to the Episcopal community, this time as a parent and volunteer. Margaret became a certified teacher and joined the faculty in 2006.
In a 2017 article highlighting Episcopal alumni, Margaret spoke of the importance of her work as an educator. “I believe we teach the future leaders of our community,” said Margaret. “I wake up every day happy to teach bright 10 and 11 year olds.” Margaret does this with dedication and passion. “I feel each child has a special lock and I needed to find the right key to open them to embrace learning,” she says.
As Margaret looks toward her next chapter, she will treasure her Episcopal experience. “I’ve had the greatest opportunity to work with an outstanding faculty and I’ve loved seeing my school grow to be a flagship of innovative education while always maintaining the integrity of the individual,” says Margaret. “I love that faith is embedded in our lives.”
Margaret’s own story and the story of Episcopal are forever entwined. She watched her father follow through with his vision for the school, and she and her children benefited from his dedication to a dream. She has even had the unique opportunity to return and ensure that the next generation receives that same educational experience.
Margaret’s legacy as an Episcopal teacher and volunteer will live on. Thank you for your service and passion, Margaret. We will miss you!
The Episcopal Writing Center is a special place where Fellows form lifelong bonds. In keeping with tradition, this year’s underclassmen wrote Senior Tributes highlighting the graduating fellows and the impact they’ve had on the program. Congratulations, senior fellows!
While the only trace of her existence within the Writing Center during my brief time as a fellow was a husky-adorned mug that I often borrowed to drink my daily hot chocolate, her spirit and work tutoring students for the years preceding my entrance in the Center lives on. Joining the Writing Center as a sophomore, Maia felt that her work as a fellow would help her development as a writer as well as benefit others. Upon her inaugural meeting with a wide-eyed freshman (a hazing ritual for all new Fellows), Maia realized something: if she could reflect on every meeting for a few minutes, she could improve her skills as a tutor with every new The Book Thief research paper brought under her eyes. As her younger brother, I always revelled in her ability to take my “perfect” papers and make suggestions that probably earned me more points than I deserved. As a Writing Fellow, I try to model my words of advice and encouragement after the same ones she gave me—although I can never seem to exactly replicate her “Maia-ness” perfectly. When I applied and was eventually accepted as a Fellow, Maia gave me some of the best advice that I never knew I needed: “Respect your clients and always find something kind to say about their work— while nit-picking a kid’s work will help their rubric, your purpose is to make them love writing, not memorize grammar rules. Leave that to their teachers.”
- By Skyler Adams
Louisiana State University Ogden Honors College
Halle always wanted to help out in the Episcopal community. Due to her impeccable English skills and caring demeanor, she loved assisting others with their writing in classes. She loved to hear students talk about books they read, which led to her own love of reading. All of this prompted her to apply for the Writing Fellows program. She always felt happy after a writing session knowing she had helped someone else become a better writer. She made students feel welcome in the Writing Center and gave them a sense of comfort during sessions. Encouraging conversation between her and the student created a more friendly and fun environment. She especially enjoyed working with students’ literary analysis and formally structured essays.
The Writing Center has given her more responsibility that she has applied to other aspects of her life, such as being captain of the volleyball team. She has learned to sacrifice her time in order to help others achieve their goals as writers. She has fond memories of coming into the Writing Center and being able to get her work done in a comfortable and peaceful environment, especially during her junior year. Halle encourages people to be willing to help others, especially those who are considering becoming a Writing Fellow. Halle, we appreciate everything you have brought to the Writing Center: love and diligence to all of your sessions.
- By Molly Frances King
Major: Public Policy
With a warm personality and a friendly face from which to get help, Macie Sentino entered the Writing Center with a positive attitude and willingness to help students address problems efficiently and effectively. Of the types of writing she’s tutored, the freshman personal narrative is her favorite because working with narratives is a way to “[hear] different people’s stories and to help them tell those stories.” Macie loved getting to know the students she was helping and reminisce on past assignments that she had completed in her high school career. Since becoming a Writing Fellow, Macie feels that she has grown as a writer through her experiences with tutoring. She explains how “being able to look at so many different pieces of student writing that aren’t [my] own allows [me] to take a step back and examine what makes up a good piece of writing.” Macie’s favorite times in the Writing Center were spent bonding with her peers and enjoying the weather outside while completing her work. Macie always demonstrates kindness and empathy to her peers. Her advice to new tutors is, “Get to know your fellow writing fellows, especially those scheduled in your same block. You never know when you might need someone to take an appointment for you last minute, just get a little help during an appointment, or just someone to talk to when you finish your homework. Writing fellow friends rock!” The Writing Center will miss her down-to-earth nature and bright ideas. Macie, we know you are moving on to big and amazing things!
- By Sara Morgan
Lower School ended the school year with all of the fun and fanfare you would expect. From a virtual Field Day to visits with national authors, students and faculty continued joyful learning. See you next year!
Field Day Family Fun
Episcopal Lower School families were spotted enjoying water balloon fights, sack races and more as part of the recent Lower School Virtual Field Day. Due to Distance Learning requirements, this annual tradition involved families and took place right at home. It was a joyful way to celebrate the end of the school year.
Author Chats and Vocabulary Parades
What’s better than enjoying a good book? Getting a message directly from the author who wrote the story! Episcopal third graders recently had the opportunity to see a special message created just for them from two national authors. This year’s Lower School community read book was “Bob” by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead. Before the transition to Distance Learning, students received their books and began reading about the adventures of Bob and Livy. To celebrate the completion of this year’s read, Lower School faculty invited Wendy Mass to record a special video message just for Episcopal students. Mass highlighted the connection the students have to her and others who have read “Bob” as well as the journey she and Stead went on when writing the book.
Always up for a parade, the third grade team also organized a virtual vocabulary parade inspired by the book “Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster” by Debra Frasier. Earlier in the school year, students shared the traditional vocabulary parade in the Greer Center which was filled with proud families and friends. At the end of the year, the students put together a virtual rendition to highlight how even in a time of Distance Learning the parade must go on! Students were given two days to come up with a way to represent a word in Distance Learning to celebrate the end of the school year. Author Debra Frasier, who Episcopal faculty have cultivated a relationship with over the years, also recorded a special message for third graders. In the message, Frasier shares that she has used the recent months to develop new drawing skills. She also reminded students that while they may be separated physically, they can always carry thoughts of their classmates in their hearts.
Project-Based Learning Continues
Ask an Episcopal kindergartener about the Statue of Liberty or the Liberty Bell and they are sure to tell you all about these notable American symbols. Students finished the school year with the annual American symbols project-based unit. The future first graders finished mini projects in which they completed math problems and writing prompts. They also had the opportunity to create their own version of the well-known icons.
What a Way to End the Year!
Each Lower School grade participated in a parade to wrap up the school year. Students and parents stayed in their cars and wished teachers well as families dropped off school items and collected goodies. Lower School teachers also created a special video to help students celebrate the end of a great year. Make it a great summer!
“So much was taken from us but crisis seems to bring out the best in people.” Sara Be, 2019/2020 Student Body President
Much has been said about the challenges faced by the Class of 2020. While they have certainly experienced high school through a unique set of circumstances, now it is time to celebrate all that this class has accomplished in spite of that adversity.
Number of different colleges to which the Class of 2020 were accepted: 118
Total number of college acceptances: 310
Scholarship dollars earned: $10,075,588 over the next four years
TOPS dollars awarded over the next four years: $1.45 million
Students matriculating at a school outside of a Louisiana state school receiving full tuition scholarship/financial aid: 7
It’s difficult to tell the story of the Class of 2020 without reflecting upon the flood of 2016 or the current global pandemic. These events were challenging, especially for students hoping for a typical teenage high school experience. However, between freshman and senior year, these students made the most of their time on campus and they will leave the school more resilient, stronger and better prepared to live lives of meaning and purpose. As student leaders, including Be, Valedictorian Celia Kiesel, Salutatorian Adam Reid and senior class president Christine Myer, shared speeches at the recent Knights Drive-In, it also became apparent that this class will leave high school more grateful, compassionate and kind.
“We’re not missing out because we have it right here,” Myer reminded her classmates as she stood on a small stage under a banner congratulating the class. Both Myer and Be expressed gratitude for the meaningful moments and relationships that they said will truly define their high school experiences. With that appreciation comes a sense of making a difference in the world as they begin their next chapter.
“We are making history,” said Be. “We have this historic opportunity to be an example.”
Student Success in Latin
The National Mythology Exam provides an outlet for those students who enjoy the history and mythology tied to the Latin language. For the 2020 National Mythological Exam, students in grades 8-12 tackled questions on Perseus and mythological monsters from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Olympian gods, and a deep dive into Book III of Vergi’s Aeneid. The National Latin exam is administered to over 10,000 students worldwide. Congratulations to the following Episcopal students!
Bronze medal winners include:
Sarah Griffith (2022)
Justin Dynes (2022)
Arya Patel (2022)
Robert Xing (2021)
Congratulations to the following students who earned medals on the 2020 National Latin Vocabulary Exam (NLVE). The NLVE is designed to test a student's knowledge of Latin vocabulary and is based on Latin vocabulary relevant to a particular student's level of Latin.
Abhay Baisreddy (2021)
Arya Patel (2022)
Justin Dynes (2022)
Jack Williams (2022)
Madi Bell (2021)
Episcopal Students Among Winners of CAMWS Latin Translation Contest
Each year, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) runs a national Latin Translation Contest for high school students. Students must translate a yet-unseen prose or poetry passage.
Book prizes are awarded for students placing in the top 5% of translation entries in this national contest. Out of 347 entries received this year, Abhay Basireddy (2022) received a book award.
Sarah Griffith (2021) received a letter of commendation in this competition. Her meritorious entry was in the top 15% of examinations received at the Intermediate Level.
In addition, six students were officially designated as National Junior Classical League (NJCL) Latin Honor Society members.
New inductees to the National Junior Classical League Honor Society are:
Justin Dynes (2022)
Sarah Griffith (2022)
Ella Harper (2022)
Arya Patel (2022)
Julian Romano (2022)
Jack Williams (2022)
This year’s Latin classes have been extremely successful competing on the national stage on such assessments as the National Classical Etymology Exam (10 awards), National Latin Exam (12 awards), National Latin Vocabulary Exam (5 awards), National Mythology Exam (4 awards), and the CAMWS Translation Contest (2 awards).
French Exam Recognition
Congratulations to the following students for their success on Le Grand Concours, the French National Exam:
Marigny Albert (2023), Level 1
Sarah Laiche (2023), Level 2
Emma Collier (2022), Level 3
Charlie Roth (2021), Level 4
Thomas Audet (2021), Level 3
Tanvi Dhaka (2023), Level 3
Ahebwa Muhumuza, (2024), Level 3
Lower School Citizenship Awards
Each year Lower School celebrates two fourth and two fifth students who model what it means to be a good citizen with the Citizenship Awards. These students display a willingness to become involved for the betterment of others and the community, honesty, integrity, responsibility, concern for the welfare of others and for the community in which they work and play and scholarship. Congratulations to this year’s winners!
Student Artists’ Work on Display
Grab a copy of the latest 225 Magazine or log on to the Baton Rouge Art Gallery’s website to catch a glimpse of Episcopal junior Katie Knight’s artwork titled “Shadows.” Earlier this year, Katie’s art was also a part of the LSU Statewide Juried High School exhibition.
The recognition keeps coming in for members of the Knights’ soccer teams. Congratulations to the following athletes!
Girls All-Metro Team
Outstanding Player - Faith Johnston MVP
Boys All District
Tochi Mbagwu – Episcopal – Senior
Jett Turnley Episcopal – Senior
Josh Wilson Episopal - Junior
Garrett Reimann – Episcopal – Sophomore
Chidi Mbagwu – Episcopal – Sophomore
Ethan Webb – Episcopal – Junior
Cade Capron – Episcopal – Junior
Joe Acierno – Episcopal – Senior
Akshay Basireddy – Episcopal - Junior
Tanner Morales – Episcopal – Senior
District Team Awards
Overall MVP: Tochi Mbagwu (Episcopal)
Defensive MVP: Jett Turnley (Episcopal)
Coach: Kiran Booluck (Episcopal)
Keeper: Josh Wilson (Episcopal)
All Metro Team
Congratulations to basketball players Izzy Besselman and Ricky Volland for earning spots on the All Metro Boys and Girls Basketball teams!
College Bound Athletes
Congratulations to the following athletes who will continue competing at the collegiate level!
DJ Morgan – Xavier N.O. Basketball
Peyton Sybrandt – Auburn Baseball
Griff Strain - Highpoint Baseball
Sydney Summerville – Belhaven College Softball
Anders Melton – University of the South Soccer
Tanner Bodron – Millsaps College Soccer
Kendrick Washington – Millsaps College Football
Christian Clayson – UL Monroe Baseball
Joseph Patterson - University of Tennessee Martin Track
John Ropollo – UL Monroe Baseball
Savannah York – Texas A&M Powerlifting
Jackson Morris – LSU Powerlifting
Kolin Bilbrew - Southern University Football
Joseph Patterson - University of Tennessee Martin Track
Distinguished Teacher Honoree
Congratulations to Episcopal’s Kristen Kirschner! Kristen is one of five high school teachers in the country to be named a 2020 Northwestern University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher. She was nominated by Gabrielle Bienasz ’16 who says “Kirschner helped shape her as a writer.” Each year the distinguished educators are chosen through a committee process that includes student essays and portfolios submitted by nominated teachers.
Please join us in congratulating members of the Class of 2020 as they announce their college enrollment decisions.
“Be joyful because you have hope!” Romans 12:12
In the most recent Lower School Morning Meeting, religion teachers Jenny Koenig and Laura Portwood reminded students and families of this powerful verse and its ability to change our perspective. As we see images of professional artists singing from balconies, doctors playing piano in empty hospital atriums or even children creating positive messages with sidewalk chalk, we see this verse in action. Through art and creativity people are finding ways to stay connected and uplift one another in meaningful ways.
“We need to create- humans need to be creative, it’s a part of who we are on a cellular basis,” says Episcopal Visual and Performing Arts Director Paige Gagliano. “We tell our stories through song, paint, music and other characters. Personally, I feel I am closest to God when I am creating.”
Episcopal’s teacher/artists have helped students continue creating, finding innovative ways to do so during a time of Distance Learning. “Since the start of Distance Learning, my top priority has been to create a way for the show to go on in some capacity,” says Band Director Doug Gay. “The students (6th-12th grade) and I have been working on creating a ‘Virtual Spring Concert Series’ to present to the Episcopal community.” Students submitted videos of themselves playing the same song remotely and Gay spent countless hours compiling them into one united performance. The completed video series highlights the talent and dedication of Episcopal musicians. “This process has been very special to me, watching them continue to learn and grow, and laughing at the many funny comments they make in their video submissions,” says Gay. “I am incredibly proud of them.”
Members of the Episcopal choir also had the opportunity to perform. Students sang their hearts out in a virtual performance that was presented during a watch party attended by enthusiastic family members and friends. “This was a rewarding yet challenging endeavor that leaves me feeling fulfilled at the close of a bizarre school year,” says Choir Director Mary Kannenberg. “I am so thrilled that we were able to give the students an experience that seemed impossible and I’m so grateful to all the people that helped us get there.”
Like teachers in a range of subjects, the art teachers are all grateful for the opportunity to continue working with students. While it may seem difficult to teach art during separation, the educators found a way. "At first, I was skeptical about the online acting class for middle schoolers,” says theater teacher Joe Reynolds. “But, of course, they surprised me with imaginative lip-syncs, creative original monologues, comic newscasts, and truthful journal entries of their 'Life on Mars -- alone for 180 days!’”
In Lower School, students are also continuing to create. “Pre-K through fourth grade students have been given opportunities to reinforce music skills through games and interactive music sites and have listened and responded to many great works,” says music teacher Tricia Deloney. In addition, Deloney worked with fifth graders to create the much-anticipated STOMP performance using Seesaw. The final project will be up for viewing after the last Morning Meeting on May 20th.
Missing school, teachers and friends can be stressful, and that is where the art of dance can be helpful. “The one thing that I have done that I feel is important was to remind students to move, stretch and breathe,” says dance teacher Christine Chrest. Chrest says students have appreciated the reminder to work out the stress in this creative way and many of them said it was just what they needed.
Gagliano says there have actually been benefits for some students as a result of this new style of learning. “I found meeting my middle school students in smaller synchronous classes where we would rehearse monologues and discuss character development was really great BECAUSE I saw them come out of their shells and they were willing to take much larger chances in front of a group of four during a synchronous class,” she says. “They became open and vulnerable in ways that are difficult for any teen.”
Visual art teacher Karen Koprowski-Stout points out the benefits of tapping into the inner artist. “The visual arts develop one’s ability to problem solve, fail and succeed, fine motor skills, brain development and new connections as well as accessing the elusive FLOW STATE,” she says. Those problem-solving skills have proven quite valuable in Media Arts classes, especially among the yearbook staff. Teacher and yearbook advisor Dianne Madden says, “working off-campus on the yearbook, away from our files and computers took a lot of problem-solving from everyone. Through trial and error and a one on one with Adobe Creative Cloud, student leaders collaborated to create a system.”
Through collaboration and dedication, joyful learning has certainly not “gone dark” as they say in the theater world. It continues among Episcopal students in all divisions and all subjects. The efforts of those in Episcopal’s art department are just one of the many examples of faculty, staff, students and parents doing their part to inspire positivity and hope until we all meet again in person.
The Episcopal Writing Center is a special place where Fellows form lifelong bonds. In keeping with tradition, this year’s underclassmen wrote Senior Tributes highlighting the graduating fellows and the impact they’ve had on the program. Look for additional Writing Center Fellow tributes in the next few weeks. Congratulations, senior fellows!
University of Alabama
Though Sarah Collier is a bright, bubbly upperclassman, one of her priorities as a Writing Fellow was to make sure the student client was comfortable. She always remembered to sympathize with the student, as some students approached the appointments in fear. She viewed herself not as an intimidating upperclassman, ready to tear apart a student’s writing, but as someone learning to better her writing, too. Acting as a true tutor in her sessions, she aspired to aid and guide students to their own success. She helped enlighten each student about their strengths and weaknesses, so they could not only improve their pieces at the time but also improve as writers. This way, each student of Sarah’s walked away with tips and strategies that they could use in the future.
Being a fellow in the Writing Center positively changed Sarah’s perception of writing. With assignments, writers are restricted in the ways that they are able to demonstrate their thoughts. She bettered her own writing through tutoring, in which she viewed the ways that other students uniquely approached assignments. She learned how to write using her own style, which was influenced by those around her. Her favorite type of writing to tutor was creative writing, as she could see what her peers were passionate about; creative writing is not only original but is a perfect exhibition of joyful expression. Sarah, we appreciate all you have done for the growth of the Writing Center and fellow students!
- By Grace Moraes
Fordham University Honors Program
Major: Journalism/ minor: Spanish
Going to the Writing Center as a freshman is a daunting task for most, but through positive role models and friendly tutors, the Writing Center offers a safe space to all. Hayley Gregoire offered ample friendliness and comfort to all who entered. Hayley loves to involve and aid everyone, whether it be an anxious freshman or an inexperienced sophomore Writing Fellow. She worked hard to give Episcopal’s Writing Center its “cozy and homey” feel. She made new fellows like me comfortable with upperclassmen in this space, which is a rare thing to find on any high school campus. Hayley excelled at helping students who were less confident in their writing abilities. She tackled all papers with a realistic view, teaching that at the basis of every effective DBQ or literary analysis is an organized argument that needed to be outlined into a logical structure. As a tutor and peer, she reached into the students to draw out the points and arguments they wanted to make and taught them how to get their ideas out on paper. Hayley trusted her instincts and, in turn, both became a better writer and cultivated better writers and students.
One of the biggest compliments I have ever received from a teacher was when Ms. Howell compared me to Hayley. I was unsure if I wanted to do Thesis, so Ms. Howell told me to talk to Hayley about it because we were similar students. Before talking to her, I was worried -- she was a senior, and I was a sophomore -- but she was so nice and friendly, just like she is to every student she tutors.
- By Catherine Barney
University of Alabama Honors College
Major: Chemical Engineering and Music Double Major
My first impression of Laura turned out to be accurate: she is a hardworking student who often takes the initiative to help others. Her amiable and outgoing disposition makes it easy to communicate with her, and these qualities make her an outstanding Writing Fellow. Laura has always enjoyed writing and helping others. She particularly enjoys tutoring creative writing as she loves to see how students make use of their creativity and form their ideas into words. Though her tutees may come to a writing session uncertain about their writing, Laura’s approachable demeanor and encouraging tone allow them to leave the Writing Center feeling more confident as writers. In addition to being understanding and compassionate, Laura believes that it is necessary for Writing Fellows to help students feel more self-assured about their writing capabilities.
Although some tutees visit the Writing Center only because they are required to, Laura views all sessions as opportunities to improve on her teaching methods and strives to give the tutees “new perspectives on what writing is and how it should be approached.” Laura, we recognize the efforts you have put in to boost the confidence of many tutees who visit the Writing Center. Your belief that “it is one thing to be able to write yourself, but something more to be qualified to help others write” is demonstrated in your willingness to aid students and change how they perceive writing. Your jovial character and aim to help students discover their writing potentials have made the Writing Center much more enjoyable for both tutees and Writing Fellows.
- By Joy Lee
Please join us in congratulating members of the Class of 2020 as they announce their college enrollment decisions.