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!
Leave us a comment below, and tell us what Episcopal has meant to you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!