A delegation of twenty-five Episcopal students were an energetic force at the Youth Legislature conference that took place from Thursday through Saturday, December 5 - December 7. Juniors Abhay Basireddy and Robert Xing passed a clean energy bill that won recognition as an Outstanding Bill by the State Conference. Xing and Basireddy’s bill, titled "Clean Energy for Louisiana Through Nuclear Power" was one of only a handful to be passed by both legislative chambers at the conference, where roughly four hundred students from throughout the state took part. Senior Joe Patterson and Junior Tucker Harrell saw their bill out of committee and passed by the House of Representatives. Ninth graders Sarah Theriot and Shreya Kamath shepherded their bill out of committee, and Episcopal students worked together as a coordinated “tag team” to support the bill and bring it to within five votes of passage in the House of Representatives.
Every student had a chance to write and debate bills in committee on Thursday night, when roughly 40 Senate bills and 140 House bills were debated by smaller committees of around 20 student legislators each. On Friday, the conference moved from the Holiday Inn to the new State Capitol building, where students discussed and amended bills from the desks of State Representatives and State Senators, giving them a first-hand experience with democracy in action.
On the final day’s plenary session, which combined both the Senate and House chambers, Episcopal students energetically debated several bills, posing constitutional challenges, and enlivening the debate. Hudson Graham, Nick Delahaye, Sean Brooks, Charlie Roth, Adam Azmeh, Robert Xing, Gregory Field, Shreya Kamath, and Matthew Bickham all participated actively in the joint session. Ninth graders Tanvi Dhaka and Mia Pulliam also vigorously defended the constitutionality of their bill when it was challenged in the State Supreme Court, as did junior Adam Azmeh and senior Sean Brooks.
Participation in Youth Legislature at Episcopal has grown from an initial group of just five students in 2016 to twenty-five this year, our largest delegation ever! In February, Episcopal will send a delegation to attend the state Model United Nations Conference, where students will debate global issues.
This year’s delegation included ninth graders Akshay Basireddy, Tanvi Dhaka, Jacob Jones, Shreya Kamath, Carter McLean, Mia Pulliam, and Sarah Theriot; tenth graders Emily Berg and Ellie Williams; eleventh graders Saad Ali, Adam Azmeh, Abhay Basireddy, Matthew Bickham, Nick Delahaye, Gregory Field, Julia Frazer, Fox Garon, Tucker Harrell, Charlie Roth, and Robert Xing; twelfth graders Sean Brooks, Hudson Graham, Hayley Gregoire, Joseph Patterson, and Ryan Whaley.
Edwin Way is an Upper School social studies teacher. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics with high honors from Swarthmore College as well as a Master of Arts in political science and East Asian studies. He grew up overseas living in Egypt, Burkina Faso and Denmark, and worked and taught for a number of years in China. Edwin has taught at both the secondary and university level, and led several groups of college students on study abroad experiences in eastern China.
Bonjour Episcopal Family! Having taught here for more than twenty-five years now, I mean that sincerely: the faculty, staff, students and parents of Episcopal feel like a real second family to me. Episcopal has changed so much during my tenure here, and so has teaching for that matter. High-tech twenty-five years ago meant an overhead projector, and maybe a television in the classroom. Today, everyone has a personal device or two, and classrooms are connected to the internet. Even teaching methods have changed. When I first started learning French back in the eighties, we had to memorize scripted dialogues, vocabulary lists and verb conjugations. If you were good at memorizing and nerdy about grammar (like me), then learning a language could be easy. But, learning about a language via its individual parts and rules is not the most effective or long-lasting way to go about it. Honestly, how much French/Spanish/Latin/German do you remember from high school? Exactly. So, over the years I’ve begun to integrate other methods and strategies into my teaching.
Last year I started teaching my sixth graders in an entirely different way, using the Comprehensible Input (CI) approach and scrapping everything else I had ever done with this level. To put it briefly, CI is not a grammar or textbook-driven curriculum. It is not long lists of vocabulary words, nor the teacher talking at the students; it is not learning about a language; it is not immersion either. CI is speaking in a way such that every student can understand what the teacher is saying at all times. It incorporates relevance by exploring topics to which students have a connection and that relate to real life; it is student driven and student centered because students give input and direction to the flow of conversation.
So, since we’re talking about middle schoolers, our topics of conversation can be quite varied and, more often than not, weird. No matter. Together, we talk, create, read, draw, sing and write -all in French, and all in a low-stress environment.
Changing my way of teaching this class has challenged me greatly but has also wrought great rewards. The students’ understanding and ability to effectively communicate in French grew quickly throughout the school year, and we had a blast together. They are my seventh graders this year, and our journey continues. My hope for them is that this skill they now possess -speaking and understanding a foreign language- serves them well for the rest of their lives.
Beth Lemoine was recently named a Newton Distinguished Faculty honoree. You can read more about that here.
To read more about global education at Episcopal and to see photos from last year's trip to Quebec, click here.
Beth Lemoine has a master's degree in teaching French from Louisiana State University. She joined Episcopal’s faculty in 1994, and has taught every level of French from second grade to seniors. She has studied in France and led numerous student trips to France and Quebec, including Episcopal’s first ever French exchange. She believes that the study of foreign languages empowers individuals by building confidence, creating empathy and instilling a better-informed worldview. Madame Lemoine sponsors the Middle School French Club and co-sponsors the Middle School Cheerleaders.
We are excited to celebrate members of the Class of 2020 as they make their college enrollment decisions. Congratulations!
Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Newton Distinguished Faculty Award recipients!
Episcopal School of Baton Rouge is extremely honored to recognize three talented and thriving faculty members. They are true gifts to our students, to our community and we are pleased that they have been chosen for this recognition. This year's honorees celebrated with Patty and Carl Newton, Head of School Hugh McIntosh and members of the Administrative Council this week.
About The Newton Upper School Distinguished Faculty Award
Patty and Carl Newton established the Newton Distinguished Faculty Award seven years ago because they believe that excellent teachers make a tremendous difference in the lives of students. The Newtons are very grateful for the positive impact that the teachers at Episcopal had on their two children. Each year, three Newton Distinguished Faculty recipients are selected and awarded a stipend in support of their continued professional development.
Read more about this year's award recipients below:
Past Recipients Include:
Congratulations to the 2019 Penniman Scholars. This year’s honorees are:
Episcopal is honored to award the Penniman Scholarship on an annual basis to a sixth grader, seventh grader and eighth grader. The scholarship was established in Mary Virginia Penniman’s memory and is an on-going reminder of the devotion of one of the school’s founders for his commitment to Episcopal and its students. The Episcopal community is grateful to have the continued leadership of a founding member for over 50 years.
I love learning. In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons I couldn’t do anything but teach if I wanted to because there’s so many opportunities to continue to learn and grow each year, right alongside my students. I enjoy any chance I have for professional or personal development to help make my classroom the best learning environment for my students. That’s why, when I was able to attend the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Creative Constructor Lab in October of this year with my colleagues Betsy Minton, Stacy Hill, and Rosalyn Won, I jumped at the chance.
A Conference Recap
The ISTE Creative Constructor Lab, held in New Orleans this year, is “an interactive learning experience that uncovers how to create vibrant, media-rich learning environments to help grow the next generation of creators,” according to their “about” page. Really, though, it was an opportunity for educators to play with media and design in order to better help our students learn to create. Some of the sessions we experienced included spontaneous construction with index cards, being let loose in the French Market after a crash-course on photography and videography with the charge to “create a piece that displays how New Orleans looks, moves, sounds, smells, and tastes,” making masks with lights and circuits, learning how to podcast, constructing stop-motion animations, experiencing virtual reality flying and augmented reality games, and working together to design solutions to a problem.
The most important thing I took away from the conference was the idea that integrating more design thinking into my classes will better serve my students, for multiple reasons. Besides the fact that it can be a fun way to learn and can help students explore their interests, design thinking has been shown to provide a host of benefits for students. From allowing more opportunities for them to develop empathy when viewing problems they need to solve from different perspectives, to challenging them to hack existing models and systems, to permitting them the opportunity to solve problems in creative and innovative ways. Design thinking also allows students to think more divergently, create connections between subjects (and also with the “real world”), and take creative risks. The method of several prototypes, revisions, and reflections expands their knowledge because they sometimes have to explore a topic more in depth to be able to create what they want, contributing to their practical, life and career skills. While it doesn’t always work for every project in every subject, it can certainly be incorporated from time to time.
Connections to Design Studio
Episcopal is already familiar with these benefits, which is why we have the Design Studio (initially created in conjunction with our NuVuX program) and the courses connected with it. Often, design thinking is more closely associated with STEM courses, simply by virtue of those fields attempting to create problem-solving designs. For example, our first round of design studio courses involved designing assistive devices for children with developmental disorders, outfitting sports equipment to prevent injury, identifying ways to assist people still recovering from the 2016 flood, and developing a better method for safely harvesting community fruit in Baton Rouge as part of the City Citrus program. All of these are very practical and often very closely tied with engineering. However, design thinking can also lend itself to humanities courses and is already an important part of the arts. For example, last year, English teachers Kealy Duke and Karin DeGravelles taught courses on Neuroplasticity and Communication and Writing to Influence, respectively. I’m currently teaching one on Multisensory Storytelling in which students are thinking about the role stories play in our everyday lives and how we can enhance stories to allow audiences to experience them more fully. Between teaching this course and my time at the conference, I’ve become convinced in our need to incorporate design thinking into more aspects of my classes. Enter the Maker Kitchen.
I wanted to share one particularly helpful session with my colleagues that speaker and educator Kenneth Shelton led at the conference titled “Maker Kitchen.” The activity is designed much like the television show “Chopped,” where contestants are required to cook specific types of meals under a time limit. They may use a fully stocked pantry to supplement their dishes, but they must use all the ingredients provided in their baskets whether they include kale or pickled pigs feet.
For our activity, Upper School faculty were divided into two sets each of groups A, B, and C. The goal was for each group to “use the supplies provided to create a project that provides the viewer with a sense of the subject matter and which will give a sense of the story of the purpose of the project.” However, in order to demonstrate the types of limits that some schools experience (and also to foster creativity out of necessity) the following rules applied within the thirty-minute time limit:
Pritchard provided a professional development activity for her Upper School colleagues based on her conference experience. The photos depict what each group created within their given parameters.
At the end of our adventure, we had quite an array of projects – from an interpretive art piece that brought a monster to life to an airplane that took off from a paper bag runway to a windmill to a commentary on the pollution of our waterways. There was a lot of creative problem-solving, collaboration, cross-curricular work, re-purposing of items beyond what they were originally intended for, and chances for people to display skills they may not normally get the opportunity to.
There was also a lot of laughter. And some competitiveness. One A group considered taking everything from the pantry to prevent the others from having access to the items, though they decided to be good sports in the end. One C group initially attempted completing their project without any items from the pantry, but decided to relent and chose their five items wisely. Both B groups were very strategic in their pantry choices, with one group spending quite some time in terse negotiation.
Overall, the feedback I received from my colleagues was that they’d like to brainstorm ways to incorporate more design thinking into their own classrooms if they don’t already do so. I also believe that they now see it as a much more accessible tool on a daily basis rather than having to take a trip to the actual Design Studio and knowing how to use the 3-D printer or the laser cutter. Scissors and some felt or cardboard work just as well. But the most important takeaway? Learning can always be playful.
Lisa Pritchard has been a member of the English Department at Episcopal since 2015 and attempts to foster the same love of reading and writing in her students that she gained from her own teachers. Previously, she lived and worked at her alma mater, the Buffalo Seminary, as English Department Chair and a residential house director where she had the opportunity to play house mom to interesting students from around the world. She earned her Master of Arts degree in English at the University of Buffalo and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French at Centenary College of Louisiana.
Don't Miss Episcopal's Jazz Nutcracker
The Episcopal dancers will present the "Jazz Nutcracker" on Tuesday, December 10th at 7 pm in the VPAC. The performance will feature 40 students in grades eighth through twelfth. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online here.
Congratulations to the Following Episcopal Artists!
After two rounds of auditions with musicians from the region and the state, senior Laura Kurtz earned a spot in the All-State Band! Laura earned second chair symphonic band on French horn. The All-State Band recently performed at the Louisiana Music Educators Association Conference. In addition to playing French horn, Laura also plays trumpet and piano.
Senior Alex Wilson and freshman Claire Kiesel auditioned and were chosen to participate in the 2020 Louisiana Music Educators Association District IV Honor Choir! Wilson and Kiesel auditioned with hundreds of high school students across East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, Ascension and St. James Parishes. The singers were ranked individually and the top ten in each voice part qualified to participate in the Honor Choir. The choir will perform at First Baptist Church in downtown Baton Rouge in January.
Congratulations to junior Kathryn Knight and freshman Quirino Montaggioni! Both students recently had artwork recognized at the Kiwanis Pancake Festival.
With such a talented student body, it is no surprise that you can find many Episcopal students performing in productions throughout the community. Here are just a few of the upcoming opportunities to support our Knights beyond the Episcopal campus.
The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou
Several Episcopal students are in the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s production of "The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou" with performances on Saturday, December 14th and Sunday, December 15th.
Arlie Bond - Page
Jeanne Bosworth - Lamb
Julia Craven - Lamb
Brooksie Flettrich - Lamb
Ivy Jiang - Snow
Katherine Johnson - Lamb
Alexandria Messer - Cherub
Caidyn Moses - Mouse
Niecy Spinosa - Lamb
Trinittee Thyssen - Cook
Oscar Worrell - Child
Airi Ishibashi and Luna Alvarez also performed as snowflakes in the recent Great Russian Nutcracker ballet at LSU.
Guys and Dolls
Mark your calendar now for Theatre Baton Rouge’s production of "Guys and Dolls" which runs January 30th through February 2nd. The show features Episcopal students Cate Brien, Marshall Elliot and Samantha Schilling.
Diplomat for a Day
Congratulations to junior Alex Nelson! Alex was one of four Louisiana students selected to be a French Diplomat for the Day through the French Consulate in New Orleans. Alex and her fellow student diplomats had the opportunity to shadow the Consul General of France Vincent Sciama. You can learn more about the day by clicking here.
Tops in Math
Congratulations to fifth grader Nate McLean! Nate won first place in the Louisiana Elementary Math Olympiad at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School. Congratulations also to Meg Kantrow who placed in the top 25 and Episcopal participants, Tripp Veillon and Diya Kankar. Way to go Lower School Knights!
Red Stick Bowl Selection
Senior center Griff Strain has been selected to play in the Red Stick Bowl. The game features top senior players from East Baton Rouge and the surrounding parishes. The action gets underway Saturday, December 21st at 2 pm at Zachary High School.
Congratulations to Leland, Lucy and Molly Cramer! The Cramers will compete in the 2019 Amateur Athletic Union Cross Country National Championship in Knoxville, TN on December 7th! Lucy (5th) and Molly (4th) will run the 3K and Leland (1st) will compete in the 2K. The Cramers qualified for the national competition after competing in the Southern District Championships in Hammond. Molly had the fastest time among nine and 10 year olds, Lucy was second and Leland was second among 7 and 8 year olds.
Episcopal Yearbook Editor Earns Recognition
Congratulations to Mason LaFerney ’19! Mason won the top individual award in the Graphics/Artwork category for the 2018-2019 Episcopal "Accolade" yearbook design. Honorees were announced at the Fall 2019 JEA/Tom Bell Silver Scribe Yearbook Contest held at the Loyola University New Orleans School of Communication and Design. The contest was sponsored by the Press Club of New Orleans, the Journalism Education Association and Loyola University New Orleans. Mason is currently studying at Boston College.
From Knights to Tigers
Episcopal graduates are making an impact in college sports. As members of the LSU cross country team, Adele Broussard ’19 and Alicia Stamey ’17 were both named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association 2019 All-Louisiana Cross Country women’s team. Adele was also named the Freshman of the Year after scoring in five of the seven meets she entered. Stamey scored in all six of the races she ran, including a second place finish at the Nicholls Invitational and a sixth place finish at the LSU Invitational.
All-America Team Honors
Welcome back! Members of the Class of 1994 and the Class of 2009 recently held reunions.
Mark your calendar for the next opportunity to reminisce at the upcoming Alumni Christmas party.
December 27 at 6 pm: Beau Soleil
Lights, Camera, Action!
Episcopal’s campus serves as the backdrop for a Bounce TV original Christmas movie. Crews were on campus recently filming “Greyson Family Christmas.” The film premieres Sunday, December 8th at 9 pm. Click here for additional air times.
Do you have an outstanding student success story?
Share it with us by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
College announcement season is upon us! Congratulations to our first senior announcing his decision. Look for more announcements over the coming months.
5 and 0! That’s how the boys basketball team has started this year’s run. Head Coach Chris Beckman says he’s very pleased with the Knights’ performance in the early contests. This year’s squad has a big goal – get to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row. If they accomplish this feat the group of five close-knit seniors will be the first to go to the semis every year of Upper School. Those seniors include Thomas Besselman, Kaplan McMains, DJ Morgan, Jack Ter Haar and Ricky Volland. Coach Beckman says the group has a special chemistry this year after having played together for so many years. In fact, Volland, McMains and Ter Haar have played together since Middle School. Also having a tremendous impact on the team this year is sophomore starter Stewart Bonnecaze. The Knights have already proven their skills with victories against 4A schools Nelville and Broadmoor. Coach Beckman says playing the larger teams only helps the Knights improve as they prepare for upcoming district play.
Mark your calendar for these key contests:
January 23 at 5:30 pm: Jehovah-Jireh at Istrouma High School
January 31 at 5:00 pm: Dunham at The Dunham School
Christian, culture, classroom, court and community. These 5C’s represent the team’s mindset. Coach Taylor Mims says the girls squad also has big goals for themselves. One goal has already been checked off the list – beat 5A Walker High School. After years of coming up close, but not earning the victory the Knights were able to best the Wildcats. With a record of 5 and 1 the girls team has also won against other large schools, including St. Michael and St. Scholastica.
Another goal for the girls this year is to host the district tournament. Coach Mims says the team with the best power ranking earns the right to host the eight-team tournament where the district champs are ultimately crowned. Coach Mims says home court advantage is important. “The players are more comfortable at home,” she says. “They’re in a routine, in their own locker room and shooting on their own goals.” Episcopal earned hosting duties last year, but came up short on the title. This year’s team hopes to win the title and make it to the final four.
The girls team is led by seniors Sydney Summerville, Kennedy Clark, Angel Batarseh and Dariah Deskins. Sophomore starter Izzy Besselman is also a big factor having put up 28 points against St. Michael and 22 against Walker. Coach Mims says the future is bright for girls basketball with a talented freshman class and impressive Middle School players.
When they’re not on the court, you can find the girls team making a difference in the community. Coach Mims says the team has a goal of performing community service as a team. Already this year they have participated in Operation Christmas and volunteered at the Shepherd’s Market. They hope to spend time with children at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital later this month.
Mark your calendar for these key games:
January 7 at 6:00 pm: St. Joseph’s Academy in the main gym
January 11 at 6:00 pm: Northlake Christian in the main gym
The girls soccer team is young and passionate. The group looks to be competitive as they head into district play which gets underway in January. Look for junior captain Grace Moraes to defend the goal well. In addition, junior Katherine Scarton, freshmen Caroline Chick and Katie Capron, and eighth grader Annaleigh Bruser will have an impact on the backline. Also watch out for Faith Johnston up top. The team hopes to build upon their wins at the Pineville Rebel Cup to catapult them to a successful season.
Mark your calendar for these key games:
January 14 at 6:00 pm: Pointe Coupee Catholic at home
January 18 at 1:00 pm: Runnels at home
The Episcopal boys soccer squad is currently ranked number one in the coaches poll! The team is off to an impressive 5-0-1 start, including a victory over top-ranked Newman. The team is looking to win the district title for a third year in a row and earn a playoff berth. The program is led by 10 seniors including Tochi Mbagwu, Jett Turnley, Anders Melton, Jared Levantino, Trevor Heath, Tanner Bodron, Tanner Morales, Casey Rigby, Grant Coffman and Joe Acierno. You can cheer on these seniors at Senior Knight on Wednesday, January 8th when the boys take on UHigh at home.
Mark your calendar for these key contests:
January 15 at 6:00 pm: Dunham at The Dunham School
January 18 at 11 am: Brighton at home
January 24 at 6:00 pm: Central in Central
January 29 at 6:00 pm: Runnels at Runnels
Track and Field
The Episcopal track team is lacing up their spikes for another season. Look for state championship runner James Christian to go the distance and have a significant impact for the Knights. Coach Claney Duplechin says there are numerous additional athletes to watch this season.
Oliver Jack – discus and shot put
Peyton Pontif – javelin
Ethan Hook – hurdles
Clayton Braud – high jump, long jump and hurdles
Dylan Mehrota – high jump and long jump
Ryan Armwood- sprint
Dryden Duggins- hurdles
Ian Begnaud - pole vault
Coach Bill Jones says the girls squad is also comprised of an exciting group of athletes.
Francie Oliver – long jump ,triple jump and high jump
Paris Auzenne – sprints
Tanya Mencer – hurdles, 400
Bethany Reid – hurdles, 400
Mia Pulliam – distance
Scarlett Spender – distance
Ivy Jiang – distance
Izzy Besselman – high jump, long jump and triple jump
Coach Dupe, Coach Jones and the rest of the coaching staff, including Kate Cramer, Charlie O’Brien and Ricky Sheldon will have the Knights ready for competition. “Competition is going to be tougher this year,” says Coach Dupe. “Expectations are high.” Coach Dupe says the boys team is facing tougher competitors this year such as Kentwood and Lafayette Christian, but the Knights will be ready.
Key dates for the Knights:
January 25th – LSU High School Qualifier
February 8th – LSU High School Last Chance Qualifier
February 22nd – State Championship Meet
The Episcopal wrestling squad is a cohesive team of self-motivated athletes. The group is led by seniors Jackson Morris, Wyatt Laiche and Max Reihs. Head coach Charlie O’Brien ’13 has also enlisted the help of last year’s captain and current LSU freshman Taner Morgan ’19. O’Brien says Taner knows the current players and offers good insight on the mat. O’Brien also counts on the advice of former Episcopal wrestling coach Phil Bode who started the program eight years ago. Coach Bode often comes by to give a quick lesson or cheer the team on at a tournament. Coach O’Brien says the team is working to finish matches strong this year. Already, Matthew Mohammadi has celebrated a match victory and Morris and Laiche won matches at the Griffin open.
Mark your calendar for these key events:
January 19: LA Classic Wrestling at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center
January 31 and February 1: Metro Tournament at Catholic High School
February 14 and 15: State Championship meet in Bossier City
Field House Update
Check out the video below for a look inside the new Episcopal Field House.