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.
team. While at Episcopal, she was a member of the Spanish Honor Society, as well as a member of the Speech and Debate Team and the Student Council. She was a Writing Center tutor, an honors thesis student and active in numerous community service efforts.
We are #episcopalproud.
The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir
Episcopal graduate Emory Ellis is making a difference in the world through her research of forests across the globe. After graduating in 2016, Emory began studying at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. This summer she is spending her time in the Harvard Forest through Harvard University as a part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates. Emory, who is the daughter of Episcopal graduate Randi Simoneaux Ellis ʼ90, says the experience truly is an honor:
Episcopal alumnus Dion Warr '90 reflects on how his grandmother's influence instilled a lifelong love of learning and how he hopes to share that love with others through his Spirit Mind Body Capital Campaign participation.
I remember making the trip back and forth from Plaquemine to Episcopal each day. As I logged the miles between home and education I was filled with excitement, hope and promise. At Episcopal I made lifelong friends; I participated in everything from service projects to track. I remember the feeling in Foster as exams approached, the camaraderie in Webster Refectory and mentorship of teachers and coaches. Episcopal left a lasting imprint upon my life. So much so that my wife and I have entrusted our own children to the school. The education and character development I received at Episcopal set my future path for success. This path originated back home before I ever crossed the river for school and before I ever became a Knight.
On my fourth Christmas, I received a Raggedy Ann and Andy chalkboard from Santa, which almost exclusively stayed at her house, where she lived with my great-grandmother. On one side was a green surface with the eponymous characters, a stamped set of the upper-case alphabet and numerals; on the other was a plain blackboard surface. When I spent time with her after school and during summers while my mother was at work, we would fill the chalkboard with words, sentences, and arithmetic for hours as she would ask questions, prompt me for answers, and prod me for explanations. When I could not answer or explain, she would send me off to find the information necessary from the dictionary, the encyclopedia, or from the old textbooks that my mother and uncle had discarded which somehow had found their way into her inventory. Then I would report back what I had found out, frequently having to discuss how I had come to find the information necessary to complete the task, solve the problem, or become sure of my answer.
I never recalled any hint of discouragement with her as to my young attempts to understand and/or explain the world, ignorant or misinformed as they might had been at times. When I had set down a wrong-headed path, she would inquire about facts and point out flaws in reasoning or mistakes in computation, or facts, or verb tense, or ask me to reconsider what I had recited. While she did possess the free time to engage me in such exercises, she seemed never to tire in the process, all the while laying a foundation for love of knowledge and of learning in her youngest grandson.
Though she expressed disappointment that I would not be spending as much time with her when I was accepted into Episcopal prior to my sixth grade year and would necessarily be traveling back and forth across the river for almost an hour and a half each day, she could not have been more pleased that I would be attending a school which would further serve to challenge me academically. She celebrated my accomplishments but always reminded me to keep working and to not “rest on my laurels”.
She was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was in high school. After a certain amount of time and fight had passed, she would stay with us from time to time while she continued to make the circuits between doctors’ offices, rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Even through rehabilitation, complications and her increasing frailty she continued to inquire about my studies and press me about college. During one of my last visits with her at the hospital, I was able to let her know that I had received my early acceptance letter into college; she looked up, nodded and squeezed my hand. She passed during winter exams just a few days later.
If you’d like to make a gift in honor of someone who has inspired you or if you’d like more information on the Spirit Mind Body Capital Campaign, please contact Mellie Bailey at 755-2687 or email@example.com.
Dion Warr, CPL
After graduating from Episcopal, Dion studied Biological Chemistry at Tulane University. After graduation, he worked in industrial construction, right-of-way acquisition and project management prior to returning to work with his mother and stepfather as an independent petroleum landman. He is married to the former Jennifer Seaton Wendt with two children (the younger of whom graduated from Episcopal in 2017) and resides in Baton Rouge. He is active in his local and national professional landman associations, serving on the Board of Directors of each as well as chairing educational and technology committees and events, with a concentration on integrating each in the mentoring of current and future landmen.
The story of Evangeline depicts a strong woman who trusts her own heart and remains committed to a dream, refusing to settle for less despite the challenges and obstacles this presents. Such a compelling character leaves a lasting impression on the audience as they experience first-hand her lifetime of waiting and hoping. But what is it like to be Evangeline?
first performance fueled her love of theater and she knew she had discovered her niche.
Upon graduation Ashley thanked her family for providing her with the Episcopal experience and headed off to Belmont University with a sense of promise and purpose. At Belmont East in New York, Ashley attended classes in the Empire State Building and interned at MTV Studios in Times Square. She dedicated herself to her studies and spent long hours at the studio gaining real-world experience. With such passion and commitment, she graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration focusing on music and production. Ashley’s hard work also earned her a job with MTV right out of college as the Studio Coordinator for shows such as Total Request Live, MTV News and the annual New Year’s Eve Special. She says she truly loved the work and the opportunity to meet celebrities such as Madonna, Stevie Wonder and Green Day. Her 100 percent commitment to the dream had truly paid off.
follow her heart, something quite unexpected occurred. The state of Louisiana got into the film industry. This meant Ashley, with her years of experience in the entertainment business, could come home to be with her love, while remaining true to her dream.
Ashley remembers back to her early relationship with Travis, who just happens to be a Cajun, and who had never seen the story of Evangeline. She brought Travis to the show’s ten year anniversary run at Playmakers. Travis, like most others who see it, was moved by the story of love and loss and waiting. In fact, he was so moved by the production that while walking out of the theater, the two decided right then and there that if they ever had a daughter her name would be Evangeline.
Evangeline Ann Fabre was born in May of 2013. Following her heart back to Baton Rouge was truly worth it for Ashley, having married Travis in August of 2009. Soon, their second daughter Adelaide Mary was born in April of 2015. Ashley worked in the Baton Rouge film industry for ten years, including 25 productions for networks like Syfy and Lifetime. She enjoyed the work, but eventually the 16 hour days proved to be too much for this wife and mom.
To focus more on her family, Ashley broke into the world of development at the Manship Theater. Later, in November of 2017 she was named the Director of Development for the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, whose mission is to foster the creative capacity and vibrancy of the capital region through advocacy, resources, and education. For Ashley, sharing her love of art has helped her come full circle, back to where it all began. Her new role has given her the opportunity to reconnect with the very people she first met on the Episcopal stage as a third grade lip sync performer years ago.
As the 20th anniversary of Evangeline draws near, Ashley feels a connection with the lead as strong as ever. Like Evangeline she never settled for less, she made her own decisions regarding her life and she trusted her heart to lead the way. Ashley looks back on her time at Episcopal and says the experience and the people here have made her who she is today.
She remembers former theater director Danny Tiberghein’s poster that said “Why be Normal?” and reflects daily on his influence. Each day she hopes to make him proud. She credits current theater director Paige Gagliano with instilling in her a sense of purpose as she helped bring meaning to the scripts they performed. She remembers Bible study with Mrs. Johanna Leonard and the sense of community and faith that Episcopal created for her.
When asked what advice this original Evangeline has for today’s Evangeline, Ashley offers this:
“Enjoy the ride. It’s so special to be on that stage and to be a part of that community.” Ashley also hopes the current Evangeline will take the experience with her wherever she goes, similar to how Ashley has done since first portraying the role.
Ashley Day Fabre has crafted a life that she loves, while remaining true to herself. She lives by the motto “Everything happens for a reason”. Looking back it’s easy to see that everything that happened led her to her biggest, most rewarding roles – wife, mom and passionate arts promoter.
Congratulations Ashley. Evangeline would be proud!
The 20th anniversary run of “Evangeline” begins this weekend. Click here to purchase your tickets today!
For people of a certain generation, January 28, 1986 is a defining moment. After months of eagerly anticipating the launch that would bring a teacher into space, everything changed in a split second. For people who were school-aged at the time, it was the first major news milestone they experienced. They can usually recall with clarity where they were, what they were doing and who they were with when the day unfolded. They remember the images of columns of white smoke cascading down after the shuttle broke apart and the collective feeling of grief for the seven crew members on board who were not coming home. The memories are lasting for so many, including 1997 Episcopal graduate Barclay Mullins. Mullins remembers being at Trinity Episcopal watching the tragedy unfold with classmates, like thousands of others across the nation.
As the film was being cast, Mullins says the group received an unexpected phone call. Coach Les Miles had heard about the project and wanted to be involved. The project’s organizers, who were ecstatic to have interest from such a recognizable figure, cast Coach Miles as a bad guy. In the film he portrays the role of NASA engineer Nelson, who was determined to see the launch go on despite concerns about freezing temperatures and their potential impact on the orbiter’s o-rings.
Sharing a scene with Coach Miles only added to Mullins’ excitement. He is also thrilled to once again be working with filmmaker Nathan VonMinden whose 2011 film “Uganda Man” was made for less than $5,000, but earned more than $200,000. “Angry Men” was shot in San Antonio, Texas because of VonMinden’s connection to the city. Crews were given access to film inside city hall and the local army base, and even San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg made a guest appearance. “A lot of people in this film have a lot of experience,” says Mullins. “I’m very curious to see where this goes.”
moments that taught him an important lesson: “Live life by the Golden Rule and treat everyone the way you want to be treated.” He says he learned similar lessons while at Episcopal. “It did create structure, discipline and responsibility. You had to work for everything you got,” he says. Looking back he feels blessed to have been a member of the school community since the seventh grade. Last year, Mullins attended his 20 year class reunion. He enjoyed reconnecting with fellow classmates and says it was fun to share stories, memories and photos.
Congratulations on embracing life’s adventures. We can’t wait to see the movie!
We all have those moments – when what we need to happen happens; when we can feel an invisible guide moving us along a path; when unimaginable things simply line up in just the right order at just the right time.
Such a chill-bump-eliciting experience is just what 2013 Episcopal graduate Sharani White has been living since graduation. White’s journey began her junior year at Episcopal. She says she met with her college counselor, who suggested she take the Intro to Engineering class. After all, she was good in math and science. So with that White signed up and discovered that engineering was, in fact, her niche. Her passion led her to Georgia Institute of Technology, an institution known for engineering, technology and research.
Sharani left for Atlanta full of excitement and confidence. She felt ready for college and ready for the world. You may expect that Sharani immediately excelled. That’s not exactly what happened.
She failed two classes.
At this point Sharani’s story changes. She fell back on the faith that had gotten her into Tech originally. She began praying, asking God to send someone to help her. This someone arrived in the form of a Tech classmate. He had a 4.0. He enjoyed helping others with their studies. He was also her boyfriend. Sharani says after David realized that she was in trouble academically the two became determined to turn the tide, both for her academic success and so that they could remain together. Sharani remembers thinking “this is clearly the person God sent to help me.”
Sharani learned to prioritize her courses and studies. She learned to read ahead and prepare. She offers this advice to Episcopal students – don’t go to class to learn, but to get answers to questions you already have because you have read and looked at the material beforehand. Ultimately, Sharani boosted her GPA. Her peer group expanded because she was no longer struggling. Her outlook improved and now she shares her story in an effort to help others. “It’s ok to ask for help,” she says. “It’s ok to not know everything. You should ask for help and do it early."
She accepted a position at McCarthy Building Companies as a Project Engineer for the southeast region. (The other two companies assured her that there would be a position for her with them if she ever changed her mind.) Her plan now is to work full-time for a year and return to Georgia Tech in 2019 to begin that graduate program, in which she has already been accepted.
Are you an Episcopal alumni? We’d love to hear your story. Contact us here.
Remember back to your first semester exams in college. You may still have been reeling from transitioning to adult life, much less acing that Physics 101 class. You likely spent long hours in the library, the coffee shop or your dorm room pouring over notes and textbooks. In addition to pouring over notes, you likely poured many cups of coffee to accompany the highlighters, calculators and laptops that were strewn about. Today’s college freshmen are discovering that the hustle and bustle of wrapping up those first few months away can certainly be overwhelming and stressful. But soon they’ll peer into their mailbox and find a familiar Knights emblem on a box personally addressed to them.
Similar to an old friend or a well-loved, tattered and worn stuffed animal, a care package from home has the power to calm and comfort. The Episcopal care package tradition stretches back at least twelve years with sixth graders handcrafting items for the previous year’s graduating class.
This year, the Class of 2017 is receiving boxes stuffed with mint wreaths, sock snowmen, homemade cookies, notes from Lower School, snowflake paintings and even a prayer for exam times. There was excitement and joy as the Class of 2024 created these tokens of love this week. Students laughed as they stuffed rice into socks for the snowmen and they squealed as they squeezed the slime into a stress ball for pre-exam tensions. They were also confident that their gifts would be well received and even hopeful that items such as the peppermints inside would help the alumni to study and focus.
These care packages take considerable time and effort to plan, prepare, create and mail, and that time is certainly worth it to remind the recent graduates that they are still a part of the Knights family. Hopefully, each box generates a smile as the college freshmen feel the love and support of the Episcopal school community surrounding them. Whether the packages are received in chilly Cedar Rapids, Iowa; sunny San Luis Obispo, California or even in a purple and gold dorm room closer to home, the message is the same. We wish you well. You make us proud.
We are truly a community uKnighted!
The Episcopal community offers a sincere thank you and much gratitude for the beautiful altar given to the Chapel by alumni Rachel ‘89 and David ‘89 Dansky. Mr. Dansky personally handcrafted the piece from unused sections of the Chapel’s existing altar rails, and the result is remarkable.
The altar will be officially blessed and dedicated by the Rt. Rev’d Morris King Thompson, Jr. We know that our students and community will enjoy this tremendous blessing as it is used during Eucharistic services.
Front row: Margaret Penniman Boudreaux – 1976, Mellie Preis Bailey – 1996, Taylor Mims Walker – 2009, Virginia Day – 2008, Kate McDuff – 2008, Carter Smith – 2005. Back row: Julie Pace Mendes – 2001, Julie Weaver – 1983, Amy Weidig Arceneaux – 1987, Emily Monroe Godfrey – 1998, Stephen Anderson – 2002. Not pictured: Jimmy Williams – 1997.
For 12 Episcopal alumni this statement rings very true. This group graduated from Episcopal School of Baton Rouge and later returned as faculty and staff members. Now everyday they get to share their love of the school and its community with future generations. What a legacy!
"It’s kind of surreal sometimes,” says 2001 graduate Julie Pace Mendes who now teaches PreK-4. Mendes says the school is strangely very much the same, yet so different from her time on campus. However, she says while there may be new buildings and more technology, the feelings are still the same. “There is no place like Episcopal.”
Capital Campaign Director and 1996 graduate Mellie Preis Bailey, says the Episcopal student experience was in a word, “transformational”. “I met my husband, my best friends and my whole network at Episcopal.” She says Episcopal is where she learned “how to build relationships, how to meet people and treat people”.
All of the alumni agree that an Episcopal education is so much more than just classroom education. They all point to the sense of community they recognized as a child and feel now as an adult.
Class of 1976 graduate Margaret Penniman Boudreaux says that feeling has existed from the very beginning. Boudreaux, who now teaches fifth grade English remembers fondly the small, close-knit family environment. As a member of the faculty, she wants to impart that on today’s students.
“I believe we teach the future leaders of our community,” says Boudreaux. “I wake up every day happy to teach bright 10 and 11 year olds.”
With this sense of connection and community comes a sense of responsibility.
“I’m very thankful for the education and to be here to give back to a school that’s given me so much,” says 2009 graduate and physical education teacher, Taylor Mims Walker.
“It’s exciting to be helping form the school to go forward for the next generation. I want to leave it better than I found it,” says Stephen Anderson, Class of 2002 graduate, Swim Teach Coach and Math Department Chair.
Julie Weaver ’83 graduate and Middle School Social Studies teacher says while this is now her children’s school, her sense of attachment remains. “I have as much at stake in it as they do.”
For some alumni the connection runs deeper than a shared school experience.
“It’s such a blessing to be here every day. Everyone is nice and supportive. It’s like family,” says Amy Weidig Arceneaux ’87 graduate and third grade teacher.
Like several other alumni on staff, Arceneaux and fellow Lower School teacher Emily Monroe Godfrey ‘98 are truly a part of the Episcopal legacy. Their mothers taught at Episcopal, they teach at the school and their children also attend Episcopal. (Arceneaux’s father also tutors Episcopal students.) The same is true for 2005 graduate and Director of Choral Activities, Carter Smith whose mother, Lucy Smith, is the Middle School Division Leader. Kate McDuff, a 2008 graduate and the current Development Operations Assistant, is one of six in her family to graduate from Episcopal, which was founded by her grandfather. One of those six is Boudreaux, whose two children also graduated from Episcopal. Weaver also shares the Episcopal connection with her twins who graduated in 2016 and her son who is a current junior.
The Episcopal connection creates a sense of honor and pride among these alumni. They feel blessed to return to Woodland Ridge to share their legacy.
“It’s kind of like coming home for me. It’s a place I love, where I grew up,” says Godfrey, who also says working among the students makes her feel young. Bailey and McDuff agree. “It’s a good feeling. There’s a joy of being back home,” says Bailey. “I feel at peace here,” says McDuff.
For some alumni it is realizing a dream to return home. “I knew if I wanted to be a teacher and be at the best school in Baton Rouge, then I wanted to be here,” says Anderson.
2008 graduate Virginia Day says after spending many summers on campus helping her mom and other educators, she also knew she wanted to be a teacher. “I thought there was a possibility I could end up back here,” she says. And end up back here she did. When she arrived on campus as the new sixth grade social studies teacher, Day was given the keys to the very same classroom where she took sixth grade social studies as a student. While she says it was a little strange at first, she loves the opportunity to share her experience with today’s students. “I’m the person I am today because of this place.”
Being a part of the Episcopal community gives these adults a unique perspective and outlook when working with students.
Mendes says she enjoys telling her Pre-K students that this was her school too. Several others say they can empathize with students as far as workload and expectations. “I’ve been in (their) shoes, walked the sidewalks and locker rooms and worn the uniforms,” says Walker. “I’ve sat where they sat. I know what the junior year gauntlet is like and how I managed it,” says Anderson.
Smith says being an alumni helps you understand the social issues students face. “Even though it’s different from 12 years ago, it gives you credibility,” he says.
For Godfrey and Arceneaux, having been students at the school pushes them to do their best. “I appreciate what a fantastic place it is. It pushes us as educators because you appreciate it and want to provide an equally fantastic experience for the kids,” says Godfrey. “You want it to be the best because you had the best,” says Arceneaux.
For Weaver, the experience helps her relate to the students and the traditions of the school. “There is definitely an Episcopal culture. It’s really helpful when teachers understand that culture,” says Weaver.
The alumni all understand and appreciate the level of education they received and its impact on their life.
Boudreaux sums that that feeling up well. “Episcopal prepared me.”
These alumni could be doing anything, anywhere because of the preparation they received. In fact, Assistant Athletic Director and physical education teacher Jimmy Williams, a 1997 graduate, was a member of the 2005 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl team. When asked what they’d be doing if not working at Episcopal, everything from member of an opera company or physical therapist to PR/advertising executive or full time painter was mentioned. However, because of their connection and love of the school, the majority of them simply couldn’t imagine life without Episcopal. There is joy and excitement that comes from giving back to the school community and making a difference in the lives of students, the way others did for them. What an incredible testament to the lasting impact Episcopal has on students over the course of a lifetime.
The story of these alumni truly is the ultimate homecoming.