Between chemistry classes, a campus job, football and four hours of research a week, Episcopal graduate Scott Wicker, Jr. ’18 has a full schedule. Wicker is in his sophomore year at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN where he is majoring in chemistry with a minor in math. He plans to pursue advanced degrees on his path to becoming a chemical engineer.
At Episcopal, Wicker was known for his ESTAAR research entitled Non-Traditional Heating Methods for Petrochemical Manufacturing. However, Episcopal Dean of Academics Dr. Sara Fenske says Wicker’s interest in research began well in advance of his ESTAAR journey. “Before ever taking any of my classes, Scott would drop by my classroom to ask questions,” says Dr. Fenske. “I soon learned that these ‘out of the blue’ questions came from his deep curiosity about the world around him. This curiosity led Scott to pursue ambitious research projects both in my class, where he studied the effects of antioxidants on quantum dots, to his ESTAAR project focused on the synthesis of iron oxide nanoparticles.” Dr. Fenske says that Wicker was never afraid to push himself to do more. “Fortunately, he also has the talent and creativity to succeed in these ambitions,” she says. After spending countless hours in the lab, Wicker was one of only 230 high school students to qualify to present at the 56th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
Admission into the ACCESS program is based on a student’s essay, an online application and letters of recommendation from professors regarding their work. As a result of his ESTAAR experience, Wicker had an opportunity to work closely with Dr. Fenske and LSU’s Dr. James Dorman. Both were able to write letters supporting his research and application. “When Scott told me that he was applying to the MIT ACCESS Program and asked if I would write a letter of recommendation for him, I was thrilled to do so,” says Dr. Fenske. “This program targets talented young researchers and helps to prepare them for graduate programs in chemistry, chemical engineering, and material science. Like attending the National Junior Science and Humanities program, I knew that this opportunity would open doors for him and help him see the different paths available to him. Programs like these are meant for rising stars like Scott, and I am sure that his future in research will be bright.”
At Rhodes, Wicker continues his commitment to research. Over the summer, when he wasn’t working on his ACCESS program application, he was in the lab. In fact, he spent eight hours a day assisting inorganic chemistry professor Dr. William Eckenhoff. According to the research group’s website, Dr. Eckenhoff’s lab currently has three research projects underway including Proton Reduction Catalysts for Artificial Photosynthesis, Solvatochromic Molybdenum Complexes and Zinc Complexes to Mimic the Enzyme in Binding Anti-Microbial Compounds. You can read more about the projects here. As part of the research team, Wicker runs experiments and gathers data. He also works closely with Dr. Eckenhoff to analyze the information and the results. Wicker hopes to publish an article from his summer research by the end of this year.
Even with everything else on his schedule, Wicker finds time for football. He spends 20 hours a week practicing and working out with the Linx as a defensive lineman. He says playing for a Division III team means that football is not his entire life, which is something for which he is grateful. As a result, he is able to manage college life, athletics and academics successfully.
Wicker is no stranger to juggling multiple interests. While at Episcopal, he was involved in athletics, research and numerous academic endeavors. One hallmark of an Episcopal education is the opportunity students are provided to explore their own interests and learn at their own pace. Whether students are passionate about research and the arts or athletics and spirituality, there are a range of experiences from which students can choose. While Wicker says it’s not always easy juggling a packed schedule, it is certainly worth it. Like he did during his time at Episcopal, he is making the most of his college experience and enjoying it along the way.
Good luck in your journey, Scott! Episcopal is cheering you on in the classroom, the lab and on the field.
The pressures to fit in and look a certain way can be difficult for pre-teens and teens. Magazines and movies tell us that beauty should be a certain height, with a certain hair color and body shape. Fortunately, this preconceived definition is slowly evolving. Episcopal graduate Brooks Nader ’15 recently made quite a splash on the national modeling scene by winning the Sports Illustrated 2019 model search and the first 2020 Rookie of the Year Award. She is happy to see the industry adjusting to better represent today’s women.
As an Episcopal student, Brooks never considered modeling as a career option. She says she is actually shorter than most models and has what some consider odd measurements for the profession. However, her thoughts about modeling changed one summer in Manhattan. After working hard at Episcopal to get into Tulane, Brooks decided to pursue a summer internship in New York. While in Manhattan, a modeling agent approached Brooks and asked her one simple question – Have you ever considered modeling? Because she wasn’t the formulaic model size, the answer was no. However, the seed had been planted.
After she returned home that fall, the question and the possibility preoccupied her. With much thought and reflection, Brooks decided there was only one way to find out if she could actually make a living as a model – she would go “all in” and relocate to New York. Going “all in” is something that Brooks has long been known for so it was not a stretch for this Baton Rouge girl to simply pack up and move to the country’s largest city. Pursuing such a dream certainly required courage and confidence. Brooks also credits the strong support of her family in helping make her dream a reality. “They were behind me 100%,” she says about the support and belief exhibited by those closest to her.
In just four short years since graduating from Episcopal, Brooks has already experienced so much. National brands such as Cover Girl have enlisted her to represent their products and this summer she appeared in the 2019 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue alongside the likes of Tyra Banks and Christie Brinkley. She’s learned a lot along the way. Brooks says corporations are now looking for models who carry themselves well and represent their brand in a positive light. “We’re more than a pretty face,” she says. Wisely, Brooks has aligned herself with positive mentors who can guide her through the industry and help foster her career success. She says the Sports Illustrated experience was like being a part of a modeling sisterhood as she worked with her fellow models in a positive and encouraging environment. The opportunity has also opened new career possibilities for her that she is eager to explore. Already she has had a part in a movie starring Sylvester Stallone and while acting may currently be out of her comfort zone, it could be an option in her future.
As her star continues to rise, Brooks also hopes to serve as a mentor and example for young women. She wants pre-teens and teens who can be under so much pressure to have the right hair or the perfect braces to know that those types of concerns are not ultimately what matters. She says at such a young age they should not have a care in the world. As organizations such as Sports Illustrated and other top brands continue to redefine the traditional model by casting all types of people, the hope is that young girls can appreciate and celebrate their own beauty. Brooks says the fact that people who look, act and believe differently are being chosen for such high profile shoots, makes modeling a more rewarding career.
As Brooks thinks about the Episcopal Upper School students who are currently occupying the very desks she sat in not that long ago, she hopes tomorrow’s graduates will have the courage and confidence to chase their dreams no matter what or where that may be. In the meantime, Brooks will continue to go “all in” as she pursues her own dreams.
The annual Mums of Alums spring luncheon was recently held at the home of Anne McCanless. The event was a great way to celebrate spring and the Episcopal family.
"If you tap into what made you happy as a kid, it probably will make you happy now." Clare Crespo '86
As a young child, Episcopal graduate Clare Crespo loved playing with food, creating worlds and making shoebox dioramas. She also enjoyed cooking Louisiana cuisine with her dad and grandmother. As an adult, Crespo is still doing all of these things with enthusiasm and joy and she has even made a successful career out of her passion.
According to Clare’s website, she is a fantasist. She says that means that people hire her to put fantasy into their spaces, with her art adding an element of warmth, magic and heart. “I want my stuff to make people smile,” she says from her studio in California.
One look at Clare’s bright, creative work and you can’t help but smile. Clare’s creations include everything from crocheted oysters and poboys to dioramas that tell the story of fine jewelry and even a necklace-wearing, stuffed coyote. Clare’s first cookbook, The Secret Life of Food, launched her into the public eye. The book features creations such as an aquarium made of Jell-O and flip flops crafted from potatoes and string beans. The food is presented in artistic, imaginative settings and not a traditional kitchen. “I’m not a chef,” says Clare. “I just used food as my art supply. I’m an artist always.” The Secret Life of Food was a hit. National television talk show hosts took notice of Clare’s unique approach to food preparation and she began making appearances across the country. “These experiences opened up a lot of wild jobs for me,” she says, reflecting on opportunities to work with national brands, such as Duncan Hines and Breyers.
After this initial success, Clare was ready to tackle something a little smaller – the cupcake. Before cupcakes were cool, Clare was making these treats in a way that fooled the taste buds. She made cupcakes that looked like hamburgers, sushi and even cottages in a fairy garden. Her second cookbook, Hey, There Cupcake! was a successful second act to the first. Next up, a children’s television show.
Clare had dreamed of creating her own children’s program since finishing graduate school at the California Institute of the Arts. After several networks tried to change her original idea, she took the project on herself. The YummyFun Kooking Show ultimately came together in a grassroots effort in which her husband built the set, her friend served as the stylist and her neighbors all chipped in. “It was so fun, so sweet and so many kids loved it,” says Clare. “It was a pure project from my heart.” Episodes of the show are available here, on YouTube and at museum gift shops across the country. Even with such tremendous success, a family of her own and a supportive network in California, Clare’s compass still points home.
Clare grew up in Baton Rouge. She remembers baking Christmas cookies with family and she remains passionate about Louisiana food and culture. She still returns home as often as possible. This love for Louisiana and attachment to home can be seen and tasted in many of Clare’s pieces. “It’s hard to leave Louisiana,” she says. “It’s so specific, so comfortable and unlike anywhere else. Often my creations tap back to roots.” Her yearly calendar, Hurray Today, always features a nod to Mardi Gras and dates such as the New Orleans Jazz Fest are prominently featured. Her cookbooks also include family recipes, such as her grandmother’s Milky Way cake or red velvet cake.
“If you believe in it and you breathe into that dream, it can come true,” says Clare.
Clare enjoys connecting with others and encouraging them to follow their dreams, no matter how unconventional they may seem. She remembers telling her story to a Girl Scout troop years ago. “That can be a job?” she remembers the wide-eyed crowd asking. Whether it’s a troop or a museum workshop, Clare’s message is always the same. “Listen to your voice because that’s what’s going to guide you,” she says. Clare says while her own journey has been fun and immensely satisfying, there have also been challenges. “It’s hard because there’s no path, no mentors,” she says. “You’re just forging ahead blindly.” This commitment to a dream and the confidence required to make that dream a reality just come natural to Clare and she hopes the next generation of artists can do the same.
It’s good to know that artists like Clare Crespo are sharing their creativity and magic with others. Congratulations on your success, Clare. Episcopal is proud to have played a role.
Whether you met on campus, were high school sweethearts or reunited later in life, Episcopal loves to celebrate the love in our community. Each year, faculty and staff send special Valentine’s Day cards to the Episcopal cupid couples. There are 69 couples ranging from matches made among members of the class of 1971 to recent sweethearts from the class of 2011. It seems that sometimes the Episcopal experience forges a bond that lasts a lifetime. One such example of lasting love is that of Mollie and John Hill.
October 18, 1980
Episcopal classmates and longtime friends Mollie Poche and John Hill went on their first official date in the Episcopal “cafetorium” in the fall of 1980. The mood was set with an 80’s laser light show. No doubt, hits such as Michael Jackson’s Rock with You and Blondie’s Call Me reverberated through the night. It is an evening Mollie and John remember fondly to this day.
Mollie and John met in the fifth grade right here at Episcopal. While it wasn’t love at first sight, there was a friendship and connection that drew them together, and kept them close. Mollie remembers the feeling of family that permeated across the Episcopal campus at the time. She says members of the class of 1984 were always very close and remain in weekly contact even today. As Mollie and John grew up together in this tight-knit community, their friendship remained steady. They worked on school assignments and class projects and Middle School came and went. In high school, the two spent time together with their large group of friends on the tennis courts at the center of an Episcopal campus that had not yet expanded to the size it is today. And during that time, their friendship grew until that fall evening when everything changed.
After that first dance, Mollie and John’s friendship turned into something more and the two would go on to attend every Episcopal dance together for the remainder of high school. A typical teenage date for Mollie and John back then included a hamburger at George’s under the overpass. Even though it’s dimly lit, you just might be able to find a Mollie/John dollar adorning the ceiling even today. After a quick bite at this Baton Rouge institution, the two would enjoy a movie. Movie night proved to be a good choice with 80’s classics such as Gremlins, Ghostbusters and Sixteen Candles hitting the big screen their senior year. After each outing, with a price tag of only $10 for the burger and the movie, the two sweethearts had to be home for an 11 pm curfew.
As the 1984 Episcopal Accolade chronicles, Mollie and John dated throughout high school. The young couple shared all of the adventures of these important years, including working on the yearbook staff together and Mollie being named the 1983 Episcopal Homecoming Queen. Once the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation was over, the Hill’s romance continued as the two began studying at LSU. They pledged a sorority and a fraternity. They dealt with the demands of college, with Mollie earning a degree in interior design and architecture and John earning an MBA. And still the two remained together.
March 14, 1992
Mollie Poche and John Hill entered a new decade by saying “I do.” The two were only in their mid-twenties and had already been dating for twelve years when they married. As newlyweds they relocated to Houston and their careers flourished. Mollie worked for a large architecture company and later opened her own firm where she designed medical office interiors and spaces for Fortune 500 companies. John joined a Texas-based real estate company as a lease negotiator. Even with demanding, successful careers their relationship remained solid. “We had a lot of fun together working and traveling,” says Mollie. The Hills would often take beach trips or travel to London for fun. Eventually after 14 years of marriage, it was time for their relationship to move into a new chapter. They started a family of their own and returned to Baton Rouge.
Mollie and John have two daughters – Glynes and Meredith. In keeping with family tradition, both are Episcopal Knights. Glynes and Meredith are joined on campus by a host of cousins as Mollie and John’s siblings also chose Episcopal for their children. Mollie and her sister Glynes now own and manage multiple children’s clothing companies and John works as one of only two professionals in his line of work in the country. Glynes, Mollie’s sister, was in the second grade when she first met John. “I don’t even remember life without them together. John is like a brother to me,” she says. Glynes says Mollie and John are great together and that “individually they are both fabulous people.”
After all these years, Mollie and John are still together and they have made a life that they love.
2019 and Beyond
How have Mollie and John made their love last after all these years? “Be kind. Work together. Support one another,” says Mollie. This year, the Hills will celebrate 27 years of marriage. While some may be surprised to see high school sweethearts still together, Mollie says it was always natural to be with John. “I just always knew he was the one for me,” she says. “When you fall in love in ninth grade it’s different. He was a best friend. He’s a good guy. He is always there.”
In the case of Mollie and John Hill, the romance didn’t end with commencement and there is no “one that got away.” There is simply two people who knew long ago that they had found the one.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Episcopal, Mollie and John! And Happy Valentine’s Day to all of the Episcopal cupid couples!
The Episcopal cupid couples will grow by one more on Friday. Mollie’s niece, Hanley Poche ’11 will marry fellow Knight Carson Bourgeois ’08. Hanley is the daughter of Mollie’s brother Jim Poche, who is a class of 1983 graduate. Congratulations!
Happy Valentine's Day to the Episcopal cupid couples!
"You just gotta' go for it."
In August of 2002, the star of the American Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins was Class of 1997 Episcopal graduate and current Assistant Athletic Director Jimmy Williams. During the matchup, which took place 7,002 miles from Baton Rouge, Williams batted away a pass, forced an incompletion and even sacked Redskins quarterback Danny Wuerffel. Williams had a great game at cornerback that day, but there was much more to the magic than simply pressuring the offense.
“If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out.” Chuck Noll, Head Coach Pittsburgh Steelers (1969-91)
While Williams was only a freshman, he was wise enough to recognize that he wanted more out of life than what he saw others settling for. With both parents working long hours he also knew he needed to fill that space between the last bell of class and the time they arrived home. So Williams went for it and explored all the options available to him at Episcopal. Not only did he play football, baseball, basketball and track, but he was also in select choir, theater, ROTC and even Japanese Club. It was his unlikely interest in and skill with the Japanese language that would make him the star of the game just a few years after graduating from Episcopal. Williams was among a group of Baton Rouge students selected to participate in a six week Japanese exchange program during the summer of 1996. While there, the students stayed with several host families and were immersed in the culture. They even attended school with Japanese students. “I got to see a whole different side of the world,” says Williams, and this was only the beginning.
When Williams returned to Episcopal for his senior season, he was heavily recruited by the likes of Steve Spurrier, Urban Meyer, LSU and even the Toronto Blue Jays. But it was Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee that caught Williams’ attention. “I like Nashville and they stressed academics,” he says. With a full scholarship to one of the top academic institutions in the SEC, Williams earned his degree in human and organizational development with a minor in health and human services. He continued to excel on the football field as a Commodore, being named to the Freshman All-SEC team for his contributions as a running back and later earning All-SEC team honors for his role as a cornerback. In fact, he was so successful that he could have declared for the NFL draft early, but Williams elected to finish his degree.
“Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” Vince Lombardi - Head Coach Green Bay Packers
In 2001, Williams was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. After a brief pre-season stint with the Bills, he got a call from his old Vanderbilt roommate, who was playing with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers were interested in Williams and wanted him to come to California. In his signature style of going for it, Williams embraced the opportunity and signed on with the team’s practice squad. He remembers arriving at Soldier Field for the matchup against the Bears thinking he wasn’t going to play. Unexpectedly, the coach brought Williams in and said he would, in fact, see playing time and they were actually signing him to the active squad that very morning. After the ink dried on the contract, Williams made his way to the team locker room. Inside he found a jersey with his name emblazoned upon it and it was the best feeling ever.
As a member of the 49ers, Williams made the trip to Osaka, Japan for that American Bowl in 2002. The NFL learned of Williams’ previous high school exchange trip to the city and arranged for all of Williams’ host family members to attend the game. He says they made signs and cheered. He was the star of the game. Williams was named a captain for the team that day and even called the coin toss in Japanese before kickoff. “It was all because of a class at Episcopal,” he says looking back on the experience.
Williams would go on to play for the Seattle Seahawks, the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans. He remembers the Seahawks experience fondly. “Nobody cared who scored as long as we scored,” he says of the camaraderie and team cohesion that existed. Williams signed with the team not long after Hurricane Katrina ravaged his home state and he says his teammates immediately began offering help and support. That teamwork and spirit of brotherhood eventually earned the squad a trip to Super Bowl XL in 2005.
“The most valuable player is the one that makes the most players valuable.”
Playing sports has always been about more than wins and losses for Williams. He simply always wanted to be a part of the team. “Once you realize how to be a good teammate playing time takes care of itself,” he says. Looking back on high school, he remembers the bus rides to and from competitions and the shared team meals. He remembers the feeling of family and the importance of the coach within that structure. “Coaches are family,” he says.
Now in 2019, Williams is happy to be a part of the Episcopal family and for the opportunity to support and guide students at his alma mater. He wants students to go for it the way he did when it comes to trying new things. “Get outside of your comfort zone more. True character gets revealed when you’re in an uncomfortable situation,” he says. That is certainly reflective of how Williams has lived his life. When he became an Episcopal ninth grader he was the only African American student in his class. While the situation could have been uncomfortable, he went for it with courage and determination and says it actually helped him learn more about himself.
Williams’ son Ace is now at his dad’s alma mater. Unlike Williams, Ace became an Episcopal Knight at three years old. Williams hopes his son takes full advantage of the variety of opportunities available to him. As for himself, Williams is taking advantage of the opportunity to focus on his wife, Chandra. With a nomadic football life, the two never had the opportunity to travel for leisure, there was no official honeymoon and there were no free summers. He says his goal now is to support Chandra in the same manner she supported him through the ups and downs of a NFL career. He says he’ll also have his hands full keeping up with young Ace.
Leave Coach Jimmy Williams a comment below.
“If something happens to me, what are my regrets?” This is the question Episcopal graduate Mikey Diodene found himself contemplating in 2012. Mikey’s dad, Dr. Mike Diodene, Jr., passed away that year. In addition to being Mikey’s hero, Dr. Diodene was a military hero having served in the army for 40 years. Mikey had fond memories of growing up in a military family and attending drill weekends. He had even discussed his desire to serve his country with his dad long before 2012, but the time just didn’t seem right.
Fresh out of high school in 1999, Mikey was determined to play football for LSU. At Episcopal he had been a successful athlete, competing in football and track and field. When it came time to compete for a spot with LSU, he drew on the lessons learned in the Knights’ locker room – work harder, study longer and bring value to your team. The effort paid off. “I walked on at LSU. I made the team. I did it,” Mikey says. The perseverance required to walk on to that team and play football for Nick Saban has served him well as life has unfolded.
After graduating from LSU in 2003, Mikey began a successful career in medical sales. Working alongside local orthopedic surgeons to ensure the latest medical technology was being effectively used to save and improve lives, Mikey came into his own. At this point in his life he dropped the “y” from his name, becoming Mike Diodene, the executive.
In 2012, a series of events began to unfold that would test Mike’s resilience in ways he had not imagined. With the loss of his father, he began reflecting on his own legacy. “I took a step back and looked at things,” Mike says. He realized that he was fortunate to have earned a great education at both Episcopal and LSU. His blessings also included a strong marriage to wife Regina, kids and a flourishing career. However, growing up with Dr. Diodene as his father and role model, Mike learned early on the importance of serving and assisting others. This desire to serve remained and he still yearned to follow in his dad’s footsteps. So, at 34 years old this husband, dad and business professional applied for a direct commission with the United States Army Reserve. Initially, the military pointed to his age as a potential concern, but Mike respectfully requested further consideration. Again, his persistence paid off and a panel of officers approved his candidacy. Mike Diodene became a citizen soldier.
Just as Mike’s military career was taking off, his career was also blossoming and he was asked to oversee sales for Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Mike successfully juggled the requirements of being a soldier and an executive until he was called to active duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. When he returned, his job had changed and the two parted ways. For six months, Mike was out of work, enduring the ups and downs of a job search and never giving up. During that time, his wife was pregnant with their third child and the family, who lives in Woodland Ridge subdivision, was hit with the unthinkable challenge.
Mike says being unemployed during the flood of 2016 was actually a blessing in disguise, allowing him to repair his badly damaged home. With a gutted home, a new baby and deployment orders to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield, blessings were certainly needed. Unexpectedly, Mike received a personal visit from his Division Commanding General (3rd Medical Command), Major General William Lee. After seeing the destruction of Mike’s home and the challenges Mike was facing on the personal front, MG Lee provided an unexpected bit of relief. Mike’s deployment orders were canceled, allowing him to continue his family’s recovery process while commanding the rear detachment and remotely managing logistics for the forward deployed portion of his unit. Another blessing came in the form of a job opportunity. Despite the fact that his business suits had flooded, Mike interviewed for a position in casual clothes and got a job with Vascular Access Center. In 2018, he is still with the company and is now the Regional Director of Physician Liaisons in the Department of Business Development and Marketing. The company is supportive of his military service, which means everything to a man who is committed to serving his country.
“When God closes one door, he opens a window.” Mike says looking back on his experiences, he realizes he was more than prepared for the challenges he faced, even if he wasn’t aware of it at the time. Two-a-day football practices taught him to fight through adversity. Episcopal Cross Country’s Coach Dupe taught him to find the positives when faced with challenges. The military taught him to hunt the good stuff. His father taught him to serve others. Putting all of this together, First Lieutenant Mike Diodene is fully equipped to face life with the resilience, determination and fortitude to succeed.
Not only is 1LT. Diodene succeeding, he is also inspiring others. Fellow Episcopal classmate Matt Ward, Commander Select in the United States Navy, personally understands the demands of being a citizen soldier and the depth of character required to handle it well. “I’m also a reservist and understand what a difficult balance it is. You only have two hands, but have to juggle family, a civilian job, and a long list of military duties that you only get two days a month to complete when the active duty side gets all thirty! I could not imagine how difficult it was for Mikey to leave his career to join the Army Reserves, serve actively while simultaneously dealing with the loss of his house during the flood, all while supporting his family as a great father and husband,” says CDR (sel) Ward. “He clearly puts the needs of others first in a self-sacrificing manner.”
Enduring these challenges has only strengthened 1LT. Diodene. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, he received orders to deploy and support the recovery. Given his healthcare management experience, 1LT. Diodene’s tasks are often medically focused. In Puerto Rico, he was one of two soldiers tasked with ensuring the safety of the island’s food supplies, inspecting everything from MRE’s to fresh produce. As a soldier, he helped bring 16 Department of Defense facilities back online, reopened six hospitals and assisted in restructuring the operation of an Army ground ambulance company. After hours, as a man who had experienced firsthand the destruction of a natural disaster, he helped locals with recovery efforts. 1LT. Diodene befriended a local family who owned a Puerto Rican neighborhood grocery store and pub that reminded him of the New Orleans eateries he knew as a child growing up in the Crescent City before relocating to Baton Rouge. 1LT. Diodene and another soldier helped the family get their generator running, patched the family’s roof and helped clean up the property. “There were a ton of similarities in the clean-up process over there, when compared to your own clean up at home after a hurricane,” he says when reflecting on how his own flood recovery prepared him to serve and assist others.
and 1LT. Diodene have been married for 12 years and together they have three children: Isabella (age 10), Victoria (age 6) and Nelson (age 2).
In speaking with First Lieutenant Diodene, you get the feeling of calm confidence. He seems to relish learning new things, from the intricacies of medical equipment to the inner workings of a FEMA disaster response. In less than 20 years since graduating from Episcopal, 1LT. Diodene has accomplished so much. He walked on to a highly competitive LSU football squad. He established a successful sales career. He is raising a beautiful family. He is honoring his father with a life of service to his country and to others.
He is resilient. He is prepared. He is a man with no regrets.
We salute you First Lieutenant Diodene. Thank you for your service.
Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.
For decades, Episcopal coaches have been providing that little nudge, direction and support to student athletes. Volumes of research prove that being a part of a team has lifelong, positive impacts on athletes. The benefits students reap from interacting with a great coach are equally as impressive. Here are just a few personal examples from Episcopal alumni.
Episcopal coaches and teachers are invested in student success. Walk the halls of Lower School and you will find that the same coach who runs out of the tunnel on football Friday nights directs a row of kindergarten students quietly toward the gym or the coach who led her team to the state volleyball playoffs is the same coach running drills with first graders in Phillips Gym.
“We like to believe that Episcopal has a physical education experience that serves each student’s physical development. Our coaches are professionals that have devoted their lives to teaching students how to develop and care for their body. They just so happen to also be members of our varsity coaching staff. Every day in almost every grade level, our coaches are teaching our students how to move, have proper form, and develop aspects of health to better each student’s life. It’s in our best interest, as these are the same students that will fill out our athletic teams and put in the extra effort that is crucial in remaining a competitive program in Baton Rouge,” says Episcopal Athletic Director Randy Richard.
Members of the Episcopal coaching staff are highly-qualified professionals, who also know what it is like to be an athlete. “From master’s degrees to special certifications and collegiate and professional athletes, our staff are indeed experts in their field. They have the experiences to know what it takes to be successful and the understanding of what truly matters in life. Beyond each of our coaches’ awards and accolades, they are good people that truly care for each and every student. Our students know this, respect this, and buy in to what we do and how we teach it. This common bond of trust and respect is what often gives our teams the edge over other programs,” says Richard.
The impact of a coach on the lives of players goes well beyond wins and losses. Oftentimes, coaches are who alumni remember as going the extra mile, pushing them beyond their perceived limits and molding them into who they are today.
Don't Miss Friday Knight Live and Homecoming 2018!
We invite you to come back to Episcopal for Homecoming on Friday, September 28th. Homecoming is a great opportunity to reconnect with Episcopal coaches and teachers as the community comes together for this special occasion.
New this year!
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Game time - 7:00 pm
Free football game tickets for those who attend the tailgate. Campus tours available for those interested.
Jambalaya dinner will be served near the field thru the first half.
Friday Night Live
Parking lot near the home team bleachers
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Current families and alumni are all invited to participate in the festivities, which will include a DJ, balloon artists and a video game truck. Food and drinks will be served in the tent. Please stay for the football game at 7:00 pm. The tent will stay open thru halftime.
Friday Knight Live is a combined event sponsored by Squires & Alumni Affairs.
“Even when folks are hitting you over the head, you can’t stop marching. Even when they’re turning the hoses on you, you can’t stop.” Barack Obama, 44th US President
The 2016/2017 Accolade features a smiling Kris Jackson with this quote from former President Obama beneath him. This is the quote chosen by Kris for his senior quote. As you’ll hear in the video below featuring Kris’ mother Sandra Jackson, Kris faced a tremendous challenge at a very young age and kept moving forward to become the successful adult he is today.
Watch the video below to learn more about his story and the compassion of the Episcopal community.
Kris Jackson is a great example of a student who made the most of his Episcopal experience – an experience that in many ways changed the trajectory of his life. In fact, he says because Episcopal pushed him out of his comfort zone and encouraged him to explore new opportunities he learned more about himself and grew as a person. Kris is a reserved young man who never imagined participating in activities such as drama, cross country or computer science. With the support of his family and the Episcopal coaches and teachers, he did all of this and more.
Kris was never a runner, yet he became a state champion cross country athlete. This was partly because of the Jackson’s family philosophy that you do not quit, even when you want to. Ultimately, Kris’ cross country coaches and teammates became an extension of his family. Even today he still drops in for a run with the Knights whenever he is back in Baton Rouge.
Kris also found family at Episcopal within the U-Knighted Club. As a part of this group, which is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, Kris found his voice. He and his fellow club members organized presentations for the entire Upper School and encouraged their classmates to explore the perspectives of others.
It was in an independent study on computer science his senior year that Kris found his path. Needing an additional elective Kris sought the advice of the Dean of Students. The Dean suggested he enroll in an independent study on a topic he had never explored before. Kris chose computer science and the experience sparked a love for computers and tech that still shapes his goals today.
Kris’ Episcopal accomplishments tell a true success story - 2014-2016 LHSAA Cross Country Composite All-State, 2014 LHSAA 2A Cross Country State Champion, 2015 LHSAA 2A 3200 Meter Runner-Up, 2017 LHSAA 2A 3200 Meter Runner-Up, 2016 Episcopal's Cross Country team captain, 2017 Episcopal's Track and Field team captain, 2015 and 2016 Episcopal's Coaches Cross Country Award, 2017 Episcopal Track and Field Coaches Award, 2014 Episcopal's Most Valuable Runner Award.
Kris was also quite accomplished in the classroom, earning a four-year academic scholarship from Rhodes College in Memphis. Now at Rhodes, Kris continues what he started in the Episcopal Upper School. After that defining independent study, he is pursuing a major in computer science. He is an active member of the Men of Distinction Club, which is much like the Episcopal U-Knighted Club. He is also in his second year as a distance runner on the Lynx track and field team.
Exploring the opportunities available to him, being open to new possibilities and pushing himself out of his comfort zone with the support of family and the Episcopal community have helped Kris Jackson grow into an outstanding example of an Episcopal Knight. To hear more from Kris in his own words, click here to read In the Face of Adversity, a blog post he penned his senior year.
Good luck this year at Rhodes, Kris. The Episcopal community is always with you!
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Episcopal congratulates 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee April Brown ʼ95! April was named to the Hall of Fame at the annual sports banquet at the end of the school year. Hall of Fame honorees are selected each year based on their outstanding contributions to Episcopal during their time as a student or later on as a graduate.
April truly left her mark on Episcopal athletics, participating in basketball, volleyball, and track and field. She was the recipient of the Annslee Laura Phillips Female Athlete of the Year award and named the Advocate Athlete of the Year. In addition to lettering in multiple sports, April was a well-rounded student participating in activities including choir, French Club and Science Club. After graduation, she attended Division I DePaul University where she was a member of the women’s basketball team.
Nominations for the Episcopal Athletic Hall of Fame are accepted each spring. Previous honorees include Van Hiles ʼ93, Meghan O’Leary ʼ03 and Jimmy Williams ʼ97.