Food, family and storytelling are the same whether those gathered share a bloodline or a lifelong bond created through a shared love of a school. When family and friends gather, there is traditionally a sense of gratitude as everyone relives the moments that connect them. That was certainly the case when Episcopal families from the west side of the Mississippi River hosted a small luncheon to welcome new Head of School Dr. Carrie Steakley. Dr. Steakley was enveloped in the enthusiasm and passion attendees had for the school she now leads. Once the introductions were made, the story sharing quickly began.
“Episcopal has been a part of my life since I was nine years old,” says graduate/former employee and hostess Renee Price ’76. Just as families set the scene for a Thanksgiving feast, Price inspired a trip down memory lane by displaying yearbooks, Knights, teachers’ notes, class rings and more throughout her home in Port Allen. Glancing at the mementos took the attendees back to a time when their children crossed the river twice daily in order to access the rigorous education their families desired.
The first group of west side families became Knights as soon as the school opened in downtown Baton Rouge many years ago. At that time, there was no bridge and students had to travel across the river on the ferry. Price’s mom, Mrs. Gayle Schwing, spent countless hours chaperoning the bus that transported that first generation of students. Now, the ladies all laugh as they recall those days. The trip required students to exit the bus to ride the ferry across. There are tales of shoes dropped in the water and all the excitement you would expect from young people on a boat together. Eventually, the bridge was built, and students began making the trip the entire way on the bus. While the thought of this daily commute may seem intimidating with today’s traffic, the families say the situation wasn’t nearly as difficult then and really only took about 25 minutes. Looking back now, they are grateful to have had access to an Episcopal education. “It was absolutely worth it,” says Mrs. Schwing.
That sense of gratitude continues as a new generation of Episcopal west side graduates takes on the world. Price proudly tells the stories of her daughters’ success in the heavy equipment and oil and gas industries while standing under a photo of the two graduates at a beach. Micheal Nicolosi, whose daughter Allison recently graduated from Episcopal in 2016, is equally grateful for the education she received. He says the experience was a boost for Allison because she learned how to study, and as a college student Allison found herself well prepared for her coursework. “Episcopal was a God’s send for us,” says Micheal. “We were fortunate to be able to send her there.”
The west side families were originally connected through carpool, athletic practices and educational experiences. Now, they vacation together, share meals, share heartaches and celebrate triumphs. They tell stories of the career success of their children and the first steps of their grandchildren, and everyone present is supportive. The families are grateful for this bond that connects them after all this time, and they are excited about the future of Episcopal. No doubt, years from now current Episcopal students and families will gather with the same grateful hearts as they share memories of their own Episcopal experiences.
What are you grateful for when it comes to an Episcopal education? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
There was a sea of red, white and blue for the Lower School Veterans Day parade. Students waved flags and cheered on Episcopal family members, friends and faculty who have served our country. The vehicles were decorated with banners, flags and signs to inspire the crowd. 2020 has been the year of parades, but this show of support and enthusiasm was particularly special. The parade concluded with Episcopal’s School Resource Officer and Air Force Veteran Corporal Kristopher Daniels making a pass through the circle with lights and sirens flaring.
A Prayer for Heroic Service
O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all of the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-From The Book of Common Prayer, p. 839
Check out the links below to read recent alumni spotlights highlighting a few of our veterans.
As the world mourns the loss of Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek, several Episcopal students are participating in competitions similar to the famous television game show. Members of the Episcopal Quiz Bowl team are incredibly bright and passionate about learning and that passion has paid off with impressive results this season. The team has already earned third and second place finishes at the Tal Atkins Memorial Tournament hosted by Caddo Magnet in Shreveport and the Louisiana Quiz Bowl Association Fall Tournament. With tournaments taking place online this year, these prodigies have the opportunity to compete in many more.
Preparing for a Quiz Bowl competition is similar to other team experiences. Just as athletes strengthen their muscles by lifting weights, quiz bowlers flex their brain power by running mock drills. Nine members of the team recently stayed after school on a Friday to answer questions on everything from evolutionary biology to French philosophers. Team leader Alex Nelson explains what makes the effort so rewarding. “Even before I knew Quiz Bowl existed, I always enjoyed learning (mostly useless) trivia that I could apply when solving crossword puzzles or that I would learn in class. I find it fun to learn trivia beyond what we’re taught in the classroom – although some of my past classes have certainly helped me answer questions – or beyond what is conventionally useful. (It might help that I have the tendency to get lost in endless rabbit holes on Wikipedia and to just keep reading about tangentially related topics.) To put it more succinctly, I find it very fun to learn something new – or, more often than not, many new things – with every practice.”
Even with the students’ natural inquisitiveness, it’s important to have a strategy. Quiz Bowl coach Dr. Billy Pritchard says each student is assigned a major area of specialization, such as literature, social studies/history or STEM and a minor specialization such as current events, philosophy, music, art or mythology. “A given student is responsible for mastering their major and minor fields,” he says. “Once they have, they can pick up an additional field.” Nelson says literature is her strong suit, although she is also learning more about visual art, music and philosophy. “Like many of the other members of Quiz Bowl, I am also able to answer a decent number of social studies and history questions and, at times, some science and math questions,” she says.
In addition to satisfying a quest for knowledge, Quiz Bowl has other benefits. Team member Justin Dynes explains more. “I think the number one thing that draws me into Quiz Bowl is definitely the sense of community that has grown over the past year. I have become close friends with many other people in Quiz Bowl through our practices and our meets. We even have some inside jokes that have grown over the years.” Dynes, who tries not to focus on just one topic area, says lately he has had success with science and math questions by using what he picked up in AP Chemistry and AP Calculus.
Quiz Bowl team members are a well-rounded group, with athletes, artists and National Merit Semifinalists among their numbers. Dynes and Nelson say Quiz Bowl has something for everyone. “I have talked to many people who think that it might be too difficult or that it focuses on obscure trivia knowledge,” says Dynes. “However, what people don’t realize is that most of my, as well as other people’s, knowledge in Quiz Bowl comes from the classes I have taken in high school. For example, United States History comes up a lot in questions, and I know a lot of people who know that information very well.” Nelson agrees. “I think that anyone has the potential to do well in Quiz Bowl,” she says. “That is, there is such a great variety of questions – from mythology and philosophy to sports and pop culture and more – that there is arguably a question type for everyone.”
Nelson, Dynes and Dr. Pritchard hope to build upon recent Quiz Bowl success. Students interested in participating or learning more about Quiz Bowl can contact any of them for more information.
Want to try your hand at the Quiz Bowl experience? Try answering the sample questions below from the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC.
On the left side of this painting, a castle built by the Knights Templar sits on a hill above a structure that may represent Agali, a monastery once led by Saint Ildefonso. This painting exaggerates the height of a cathedral spire. In its foreground, rolling green hills border a river that is spanned by the Alcántara bridge. A stormy sky appears above the title Spanish city in—for 10 points—what painting by El Greco?
A version of this amino acid attached to an adenosine molecule serves as a common methyl donor cofactor. Chloroplasts, mitochondria, and bacteria use a formyl derivative of this compound. Cysteine and this compound are the only amino acids to contain sulfur. This amino acid is encoded by AUG, the start codon. For 10 points—name this amino acid used by ribosomes to begin protein translation.
1. View of Toledo (or Vista de Toledo)
2. Methionine (accept Met or M)
Congratulations to the following students for their outstanding performances on national language exams!
National Spanish Exam Results 2020
National Latin Exam Results 2020
Class of 2024
Joey Roth, National Latin Exam Silver
Ayush Patel, National Latin Exam Gold
Baylen Sim, National Latin Exam Silver
Class of 2023
Scott McAdams, National Latin Exam Gold
Noah Russell, National Latin Exam Silver
James Be, National Latin Exam Honorable Mention
Class of 2022
Sarah Griffith, National Latin Exam Gold; National Latin Translation Contest Certificate of
Commendation; National Mythology Exam Bronze
Justin Dynes, National Latin Exam Gold; National Latin Vocabulary Exam Silver; National
Mythology Exam Bronze
Arya Patel, National Latin Exam Silver; National Latin Vocabulary Exam Gold; National Mythology
Julian Romano, National Latin Exam Honorable Mention
Jack Williams, National Latin Vocabulary Exam Bronze
Class of 2021
Abhay Basireddy, National Latin Exam Gold; National Latin Vocabulary Exam Gold;
National Latin Translation Contest Book Award Winner
Robert Xing, National Latin Exam Gold; National Latin Vocabulary Exam Bronze;
National Mythology Exam Bronze
Madison Bell, National Latin Exam, Honorable Mention
At Episcopal, we often talk about the benefits of hands-on learning and how these experiences spark a students’ interest and encourage deep learning. A recent visit to the QUEST Center in Foster Hall showcased a wide array of these creative opportunities which are being offered by Episcopal faculty. While many of the lessons have been taught before, this new space is providing the opportunity to expand or even create new and exciting ways to learn. Students and teachers are enjoying every minute of it!
PreK Garden Fixer Upper
Recently, fifth graders got their hands dirty by weeding, painting and sprucing up the PreK-4 garden. QUEST Center coordinator Dr. Elizabeth Lewis and the fifth grade teachers worked with the older students to re-imagine the space. Students drew up proposals and the class worked together to implement their ideas. The result was a space to inspire any 4-year-old, complete with a bird sanctuary, construction zone, prehistoric place, milkweed monitoring, mudpie kitchen and herb and vegetable patches.
After several weeks of hard work and planning, the fifth graders were excited to reveal what they had accomplished, and the PreK students were eager to explore. “Do y’all like it?” asked the fifth graders. “We love it!” shouted the younger Knights jumping up and down. The brightly colored learning environment is just outside the PreK-4 classroom, and it is sure to be the site of countless discoveries this year.
Middle School Monster Mash
In English class, students often read text and write a response. In Martha Guarisco’s sixth grade class, there is so much more to explore. In celebration of fall festivities and an upcoming lesson on Greek mythology, Guarisco introduced a mythical monsters lesson. The lesson began with students using Google Expedition to view ancient creatures including a centaur, Pegasus, Medusa, a phoenix and nymphs. Using inspiration from what they saw, students then had to imagine their own creature and the traits that it might possess. To make the lesson a truly hands-on experience, Guarisco challenged students to mash their creatures with those imagined by their classmates.
This merging of mashed monsters took place in the QUEST Center. Using pool noodles, feathers, duct tape and more, students made creatures such as the “lioermis” created by Hollis, Lilianna and Zoey or the phoenix created by Patrick, Cohen, Pierce and Jace. While using the tools in the Middle School Design Studio was fun, the students were also retaining what they learned. Members of the “lioermis” group were able to describe an ancient phoenix and its rebirth from the ashes. The phoenix group designed a creature, similar to many mythical monsters, that could shape shift from human to bird.
As the sixth graders work on their creatures, they can’t help but see the activity taking place elsewhere in the facility. Guarisco recently overheard students expressing interest in the eighth graders’ Rube Goldberg project. “This is building excitement because it’s a shared space,” she says of the creative work taking place all around.
The Science of a Rube Goldberg Machine
There’s no better way to learn about simple machines than to build one. Episcopal eighth graders are creating Rube Goldberg Machines as part of a lesson on the engineering design method. Science teacher Shyamala Alapati challenged pairs of students to create a machine using four simple machines and 10 events. Students began the process by brainstorming and drawing out ideas on paper. After that, they had a class period to explore materials ranging from blocks and pipes to cardboard and popsicle sticks. In no time, students were using pulleys, levers, wedges and inclined planes to accomplish simple feats. Through the trial and error that is common in science, students are revising their plans as they go along. Once complete, the machines will be combined into one large Rube Goldberg Machine that will be revealed at the QUEST Center open house on Sunday, November 15th at 3:30 pm.
It is exciting when lessons read in a book come to life. Whether it’s the latest technology, recycled materials or simply the space to support a big imagination, the QUEST Center is allowing teachers to do what they do best – inspire the next generation of thinkers and leaders.
Open House - Sunday, November 15th at 3:30 pm
Episcopal families are invited to the QUEST Center Open House on Sunday, November 15 at 3:30 PM. Please click here to RSVP by November 11th and choose an available time slot to tour the new space. QUEST Center Coordinator Dr. Elizabeth Lewis and our faculty have planned an afternoon filled with interactive experiments and a showcase of the wonderful projects for students and families to enjoy.
Did you know that you can learn about the human body in music class? At Episcopal, you can. Second graders recently teamed up with music teacher Tricia Delony to create the sounds of the digestive system. The result is what Delony describes as “good, clean, gross sounding fun.”
Before the students ever recorded a note, they learned more about Foley artists who use everyday objects and things they find to make sounds. Zippers, pinwheels, tape, bags, maracas and even a rubber duck were used as “instruments” to create audio for the mouth, stomach and intestines. As students explored the sounds generated by the objects, there were discussions on non-music related topics. Similar to a science teacher, Delony reminded students of the rule of inertia and how “instruments can’t make sounds by themselves.”
In no time, the music room was filled with the sounds of students squeezing discarded cough drop bags and knocking on wooden blocks. Delony displayed a photo overhead of an internal view of the intestines to provide inspiration, and the students created what Delony called the “pokey sounds of the intestines.” After the initial squeezing, shaking and exploring, students recorded their favorite sound for a compilation track. The recordings, when combined with the recordings of the other second grade classes, created the soundtrack of the human digestive system according to Episcopal second graders.
Episcopal Lower School students participate in music class once a week. The young students are immersed in the Kodaly and Orff method, using solfege and a wide selection of instruments and recorders. As students progress through Middle and Upper School, they build upon what they learned in Lower School and participate in band, choir and musical theater. Delony provides students the foundations of music to prepare them for the learning ahead. Choir director Carrie Poynot appreciates that the curriculum grows with the students as they advance. “It is also wonderful to get to know the students year after year,” she says. “I get the opportunity to watch them grow in their musical independence. I am lucky to take part in shaping their experience as they participate in our choral and musical theater productions.”
The National Association for Music Education points out numerous benefits for students who receive music instruction. On the association’s website, the organization lists positive behavior influences as well as improvements in a child’s spatial intelligence, ability for self-knowledge and expression, and an overall boost in processing language and reasoning abilities. NAfME representatives also share that “students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT.”
For now, the second graders simply enjoyed discovering imaginative ways to make new sounds inspired by a lesson in human anatomy. As they shrieked “ewww” and “gross,” it was clear that the lesson is sure to be a chart topper!
Second graders will show off everything they’ve learned about the digestive system with an interactive walk-through exhibit next week in the QUEST Center in Foster Hall.
Enjoy a preview of the digestive system soundtrack below.
Episcopal fourth grader Annie Engholm is an inspiration for us all. Like many this spring, Annie was bored staying at home with her family. However, unlike many of us, she didn’t spend that extra time snacking or binge watching her favorite TV show. Instead, Annie set to work fighting the virus the best way she knew how.
Annie loves making jewelry. As she created new pieces this spring, she also thought about how much she missed seeing her friends. That’s when inspiration struck. Annie made up her mind to sell her creations and donate the proceeds to a local hospital. With help from her dad, she established a non-profit Etsy shop titled Annie’s Ever After Shop. A quick study, Annie learned how to take photos of her creations, post the images, write the captions and package everything for shipping. In no time at all, her brightly colored, Louisiana-inspired Click Clack Clams, hair clips, rings and bracelets began shipping to her patrons. This young Knight raised $500, and she donated all of it to the Baton Rouge General Foundation to help them help others!
A visit with Annie and her friends Kamrin and Koyomi on the Episcopal deck proves that Annie is full of life and enthusiasm. As the students munch on their lunches, they are excited to learn more about Annie’s quarantine adventures, including the time she was featured on TV because of her generosity. Kamrin grabs a banana and pretends it’s a microphone as he asks Annie questions about the items she sold. Annie is excited to share with her friends that her first item was purchased by a grown-up. “The first day I got so many orders,” she says proudly. In the type of conversation that happens often with young classmates, the students share stories of their own television appearances and Annie talks about the time she and her dad saved a stranded bird that was entangled in a streamer. For these best friends, it seems to be a normal occurrence for someone their age to raise hundreds of dollars to help fight a pandemic.
“This is all Annie,” says Annie’s mom Ginny, with a laugh. “She is a force. If she wants to do something, she does it.” Annie’s Ever After Shop is not Annie’s first effort to make a difference in the world. Ginny says prior to this, Annie and her friends organized an art sale to generate funds to support a shelter for teens. While Annie says it’s hard to decide who to help, she is already making plans to do more. She hopes to soon begin creating a new round of shop items, including a headband design. Once she’s ready, she’ll re-open Annie’s Ever After in an effort to continue raising money in support of health care workers. With optimism, she says that once the quarantine is over, she will begin donating her proceeds to efforts that help children without homes.
Annie’s incredible compassion for others resonates with everyone who hears her story. The physicians and staff at Baton Rouge General were impressed with her efforts and nominated her for a National Philanthropy Day award given by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Baton Rouge Chapter. Ginny says Annie is actually the youngest recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy honor. Annie will be recognized along with other Baton Rouge philanthropists at a special luncheon at the City Club of Baton Rouge next week.
In the meantime, as she shares lunch with her friends under the large oak tree at Episcopal, Annie talks about how to get rid of bees and how to make a keychain. Someday she hopes to be “some kind of scientist,” and she really enjoys creating art. She’s also in the process of designing a board game to play with her cousin. Annie is full of energy and ideas and not afraid to try them. Her mom describes her as “super kind, super creative and fearless.” These traits will serve her well as she grows up and takes on the world. This future leader will certainly go far, and we are proud that she is a Knight.
Check out Annie's Etsy Shop promotional video here.
Share a message with Annie in the comments section below and let her know the Knights are proud of her!
43 - 0. That was the final score Friday night as the Knights defeated Dunham in the 2020 Homecoming game. The exciting contest capped off a week of fun activities and traditions.
Congratulations to this year's Homecoming Queen - Julia Frazer and Homecoming King - Allen Stewart!
Congratulations to the entire Homecoming court!