Several Lower School writers were recently recognized by the Capital Area Reading Council for their work. In addition, three students were selected as state winners. Congratulations to the following students!
Episcopal Lower School teacher Cory Lemoine is active in local literacy efforts and a strong proponent of encouraging students to write. “Writing serves an important purpose in our lives: communication,” Lemoine wrote in an Episcopal blog post. “It’s our job as teachers to prepare students to learn who they are as writers and utilize those strengths so that students can be successful presently and in the future. Know that your children are being encouraged, challenged, and celebrated in their writing growth and will continue to do so for many years to come! We are proud of all of our little writers and look forward to seeing how much they truly grow!” The smiling faces of the recent Young Author winners is confirmation of that preparation and the encouragement students receive. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!
To read more from Cory, click on his blog post Growing Great Writers.
There is nothing quite like the joy and enthusiasm of our younger Knights learning. With their outside voices, they proudly proclaim their answers or eagerly demonstrate their newfound knowledge. Their tiny fingers turn pages and build models. As they transition to Middle School, they make thoughtful observations and conduct innovative experiments. They confidently tackle new technology and use it to improve and explore their world.
The new Episcopal Quest Center will celebrate and reinforce the joy of learning in Lower and Middle School. The center, which will be located within a renovated Foster Hall, will provide room to explore with project and experiential-based spaces equipped with microscopes, digital data collection tools and areas for science experiments, aquaponics and gardening. Quest, or Question • Uncover • Explore • Synthesize • Test, will feature adaptable, flexible spaces designed specifically with Lower and Middle School students in mind.
Making New Discoveries in Lower School
Just imagine the hands-on experiences kindergarten students will have as they learn about the five senses within their own Chemistry Kitchen. This fully-functioning kitchen will provide opportunities for students to explore cooking, baking and other food safe sciences. Spaces such as an Investigation Station, Early Childhood Design Studio and Upper Elementary Design Studio will provide a stimulating environment in which our youngest Knights can participate in activities such as science learning and project-based lessons. Lower School students are certainly not strangers to technology and spaces such as the Virtual Learning Lab will help them continue to explore robotics and coding. The Quest Center is sure to be filled with the excitement of students as they make new discoveries and celebrate success.
Exploring a Larger World in Middle School
As Middle School students learn more about their world, they will be able to simulate a faraway land, explore landforms and travel across the globe without ever leaving the Quest Center. Students will also learn the intricacies of coding and robotics within the Digital Media Lab, a space that is sure to be frequented by members of groups such as the Girls Who Code Club. In the Middle School Design Studio, students will enjoy space for learning about everything from earthquakes to water systems. All of the spaces are designed to be age-appropriate, with room to grow, to meet the needs of the next generation. With the creativity and expertise of Episcopal teachers, it will be exciting to see the lessons and activities that are created within such an inspiring space.
Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders
Today’s schools are charged with preparing students for a rapidly evolving future. Advancements in technology will usher in career options that are not currently available and future generations must be ready to successfully take on these new roles. According to a report by the National Association of Independent Schools, schools must prepare students for the following essential capacities for the 21st century:
The Episcopal Quest Center is just one of numerous developments underway on campus to ensure that the school continues to meet the needs of our students. Upper School students are now learning math, science, engineering and technology in the new Academic Commons. The athletic field house is being built to provide our athletes and students a modern facility dedicated to health and wellness. We invite you to help bring innovative learning spaces to Lower and Middle School through the Quest Center, a major gift initiative of Episcopal School of Baton Rouge.
To learn more about the Quest Center and how you can be a part of this important project contact Katie Thompson, Director of Annual Giving and Stewardship, at 755-2741 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“I have a bed. It’s not a big girl bed yet, but we are making it into a big girl bed soon. There’s a lot of things in the kitchen you know? I like to help momma in the kitchen.”
PreK-3 students are immersed in their annual lesson on homes. For 12 weeks, the youngest Knights have studied all aspects of homes, including what can be found inside a home, how they are constructed and different types of homes. With the construction underway on Episcopal’s campus the last two years, this project has expanded to include lengthy discussions on the actual construction process. Last year’s PreK-3 students frequently visited the Academic Commons build site and this year’s students are just as enthusiastic about the new athletic field house.
Teachers Kristen Cascio and Karen Murchison use creative concepts to make the lesson meaningful for three year olds. Students bring in photos of their own bedrooms and discuss how their rooms are similar and different from their classmates. During any given week, these little Knights can also be found taking a campus tour where they make observations about the buildings and structures. “This helps them notice the big world outside themselves,” says Cascio.
In true PreK-3 fashion, the building unit includes plenty of hands-on activities. Students got their hands dirty recently as they worked with Academic Technology Coordinator Betsy Minton to mix their own cement foundation using flour, water, salt, sand and aquarium rocks. As they learn more about the steps for building a structure, students use Legos, Lincoln Logs and other building materials to recreate structures. They also tap into their creativity by drawing, painting and making journal sketches of houses.
The three year olds enjoy the experience and they are achieving several developmental milestones along the way. As they compare windows and doors, they are learning to notice similarities and differences and make connections. With each stroke of the paintbrush, they are exercising spatial awareness. As they test the stability of their cement, they are making observations and even drawing journal sketches of the experience. At three years old, students are eager to learn and excited to share. Much of the learning they do is absorbed through purposeful play, such as that in the building unit.
Just as a home begins with a strong foundation, an education is also established with a strong foundation of mastering the basics and developing an enthusiasm for knowledge. The annual PreK-3 building lesson is a great example of encouraging this early love of learning. The new Episcopal Quest Center for Lower and Middle School is sure to provide even more new and exciting opportunities for students to learn. The space will be located within a renovated Foster Hall and will be designed specifically with the needs of Lower and Middle School students in mind. Students will have access to project and experiential-based spaces equipped with microscopes, digital data collection tools and areas for science experiments, aquaponics and gardening. The Chemistry Kitchen, Investigation Station and Early Childhood Design Studio are sure to inspire young learners as they expand their world.
Looking for books to read with your little builder? Below is a list of the books used in the PreK-3 building lesson. If you have a favorite building-related book, leave a suggestion below in the comment section.
Essay Contest Finalist
New Permanent Art Exhibit Members
Congratulations to the newest members of the Episcopal permanent art exhibit.
Mady Eichelberger, 5th grade “Owl In Flight” Lino print on paper
Eva Worrell, 8th grade “Still-Life Puzzle” Charcoal in paper
Erin Petty, 12th grade “Limited Colors” Acrylic on canvas
Each year, the Episcopal art teachers select artwork from a rising fifth grader, a rising eighth grader and a graduating senior to add to the school’s permanent student art exhibit. The exhibit is a celebration of the individual student contributions to Episcopal and the school’s commitment to arts education.
Episcopal Artists on Display at Baton Rouge Gallery
Five Episcopal AP art students are sharing their work with the Baton Rouge community. Caitlin Davis, Sophia Graves, Claire Hook, Katie Knight and Ian Sabolik were selected to participate in "The Real-Life Experience" Juried High School Exhibition. In addition, Katie Knight was selected to apply for the Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship. The scholarship awards high school students an opportunity for private mentorship from a local artist. Katie’s work entitled “Allyson” also earned honorable mention. According to the Gallery website, the exhibition features over 50 works of original art produced by students from East Baton Rouge public and private high schools. More than 240 works were submitted for inclusion in the exhibition. The exhibition is on display from now until April 25th.
LAUNCH at Ebb and Flow Festival
Seniors Lauren Smith and Ethan Wax are bringing their thesis LAUNCH presentations to the Ebb and Flow Festival this weekend. Join them downtown on Sunday from 2:30 pm to 3 pm at the IDEA Stage. The Ebb & Flow Festival is an annual event featuring visual art, film, music and local cultural offerings. To read more about the festival, click here. To learn more about LAUNCH, click here.
Poster Contest Winner
Three Episcopal students were chosen as the winners of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese 2019 Poster Contest for their original digital poster entries in the 9-12 Category.
Congratulations to the following students:
First place: Ruby Friloux ’22
Second place: Mollie Hyde ’21
Third place: Ashton Wood ’20
The contest is sponsored by the National Hispanic Honor Society Chapter “El Buen Pastor” at Episcopal. The goal is to verbalize the appreciation for other languages and cultures, to promote creative thinking and to encourage cross-curriculum collaboration. Madeleine Cope ’19 and Alex Nelson ’21 organized the contest with assistance from the Comp Design class. The winners will represent Louisiana at the National Poster Competition, with the final judging taking place in May.
National Honor Society
Congratulations to this year's inductees!
The National Honor Society is a nationwide organization which recognizes those high school students who excel in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. Juniors and seniors who have maintained at 3.67 GPA in the core classes (foreign language, science, social studies, mathematics and English) and who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character to a faculty council are selected for membership.
Books for Babies
Thanks to the efforts of the Episcopal Lower School community, 101 new moms will have books to read to their newborns. Students and families donated more than 1,200 books for the annual Books for Babies book drive. Organizer and first grade teacher Cory Lemoine says 400 more books were collected this year compared to last year. Lemoine and his students presented the books to Baton Rouge General representatives this week. Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s effort!
Coastal Roots Planting Day
Third graders recently teamed up with seniors to begin next year’s Coastal Roots planting project. Students filled the planting cells with soil and cypress or persimmon tree seeds. Next spring, the Upper School Environmental Science class will plant the little trees in Fontainebleau State Park.
Little Knights in the Great Outdoors
Our littlest Knights took advantage of the beautiful spring weather. PreK-3 students looked for lucky clovers in honor of St. Patrick's Day. PreK-4 students went on a nature hike.
Second Grade Travel Agency
Did you know…
Let's Go Fly a Kite
On a perfect spring day, Paw Patrol, My Little Pony and Spider Man could be seen flying over the Episcopal campus. Seniors and kindergarten students scurried about flying a variety of kites for their last official event together as buddies. The day was a great way to wrap up a year of special events.
The annual third grade talent show brought the audience to their feet with tears in their eyes. Despite the small stature of these young performers, they filled the stage and the packed VPAC with their presence. There were solo singing and dancing acts. There were group performances and six adorable hosts keeping everything flowing smoothly. Congratulations on a great show!
Close your eyes and imagine the way the sunlight streams through the stained glass windows of the Lewis Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Imagine the rich wood tones of the interior and the hush of expectation that fills the space as your footsteps echo across the floor. Now imagine you are 40 inches tall and five years old.
“There is no greater joy than seeing the younger students in chapel,” says Lower School Religion Teacher Laura Portwood. Recently, Portwood and Episcopal Chaplain Father Skully Knight have implemented a new way for little Knights to become more familiar with the chapel and what occurs inside. The two have been hosting Fridays with Father throughout the month of February for kindergarten students.
Portwood says as the students approach the empty chapel she reminds them that visiting chapel is like visiting a friend’s house. Once the heavy doors part and the small students enter the space, there is a powerful sense of awe and wonder among them. “Even kids get a sense that this place is special,” says Father Skully. He says they may not quite understand why, but they realize immediately that the chapel is different from any other building on campus. Portwood says even the most common experiences, like sitting in a pew are exciting for these students who experience every day as a new adventure. Such enthusiasm and zest for exploration is truly inspiring for the adults. “I love their sense of awe because I still get it myself,” says Father Skully smiling, as he reflects on the sights and sounds of some of his favorite churches, including All Saints Chapel at Sewanee.
On a recent Friday, Mrs. Henderson’s kindergarten class had the opportunity to learn more about the chapel and the objects within. Students listened attentively as Father Skully described the vestments he was wearing, what takes place in the sacristy and even how and why the candles are lit. Students were inquisitive, as only five year olds can be. While the tour was directed at the kindergartners, even the adults in the room learned new terms and traditions. “I really appreciate it when people have questions about church,” says Father Skully.
The goal of Fridays with Father is to help students become more comfortable with the chapel and the chaplain. Portwood says they want students to know from a young age that everyone is welcome and the chapel is their space. Such openness is a hallmark of an Episcopal school and the Episcopal Church. Episcopal schools are intentionally diverse communities. At Episcopal, students and faculty join together at different times, in various locations, and in many ways to encourage all students to dig deep into their individual faith and develop a sense of their own spirituality, all while helping them to develop a love for both God and their neighbor. Lower School students explore faith in daily Morning Meetings and attend chapel every Friday. Middle and Upper School students attend chapel twice a week. In addition, the older students have the opportunity to lead many of the chapel services as members of the Student Vestry. This commitment to spiritual growth can also be seen as students participate in service learning projects throughout the year or as they simply learn to love their neighbor in Frazer Hall.
The Fridays with Father experience has already created a noticeable change among kindergartners. Now as they see Father Skully on campus they enthusiastically wave to him. They are familiar with him and happy to see him. “I want everyone to feel that the chapel is theirs, a place where they belong,” says Father Skully.
Hopefully the students will also retain that sense of awe as they see a sun ray shimmer through a rose window or as they share the space with their classmates, family and friends for years to come.
Episcopal Entrepreneurs Earn Seed Funding
Congratulations to Abhay Basireddy, Akshay Basireddy and Charlie Roth! The three young entrepreneurs recently pitched their ideas to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge (YEABR) investor panel. Each student received funding for their business proposals, which included Instabrush, Native Bash and Reaction Relief.
U.S. Presidential Scholars
Congratulations to seniors Maggie Ewing and Douglas Robins for being selected as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program began in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. The program’s mission is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
AirPods Math Team Takes Second Place
Congratulations to the Upper School AirPods math team for earning second place at the recent Tri-Math Tournament hosted by the LSU Math Circle. The team, consisting of Robert Alleva, Abhay Basireddy, Nick Johannessen, Evan Jurkovic and KC Shimada were one of 106 teams from 36 schools in 12 states to compete.
Little Knights/Superior Success
Congratulations to the following Episcopal students who earned a superior rating at the recent Louisiana Federation of Music Club’s Piano Solo Festival.
District Literary Rally
Episcopal will be well represented at this weekend’s District Literary Rally at Southeastern. Good luck to the following competitors:
James Be and Akshay Basireddy – Physical Science
Joie Lee and Autumn Reynolds – Algebra I
Scott McAdams – Geometry
Suzie Heneghan and Thomas O’Connor – World Geography
Abi Pennington and Sarah Laiche – French I
Alex Hollier and Meredith Thompson – French II
Carter McLean and Nicole Guy – Spanish II
Girls at the Museum
Making a Difference One Swing at a Time
Sixth grader Sophia Macias continues to use her love of golf to make a difference in her community through her very own nonprofit – No Worries Just Birdies. Recently her fundraising efforts have paid off in an impressive way as two new AC units were delivered to cool down the Live Oak Middle School gym. Up next? Her team is hosting a men’s retro basketball tournament on February 22nd and 24th. Check out the No Worries Just Birdies Facebook page to learn more about the tournament.
WBRZ Fans Choice Luncheon
Episcopal senior football player Austin Jemison and Head Coach Travis Bourgeois recently attended the WBRZ Fans Choice Luncheon along with other 2018 Fans Choice Awards football honorees.
Division II State Champions! The Episcopal boys indoor track team finished in first place at the recent state meet. In addition, the girls team improved upon last year’s ninth place finish by earning the sixth place spot this year! See the Episcopal highlights below.
4 X 200 boys relay - third place - Andrew Gould, Trevor Babcock, Kirk Singletary and Todd McInnis
4 X 800 boys relay - first place - Austin Broussard, Greyson Yorek, Logan LeBlanc, Trevor Babcock
4 X 400 boys relay - first place - Todd McInnis, Austin Broussard, Andrew Gould, Trevor Babcock
4 X 800 girls relay - third place - Madeline Dansky, Mary Katherine Underwood, Jenny Stauss, Adele Broussard
Trevor Babcock – individual state champion in the 800; Todd McInnis finished third
Adele Broussard – individual state champion in the 1,600, fifth in the 800 meter
David Whitehurst – individual state runner-up in the 1,600; Austin Broussard finished fourth
James Christian – individual state runner-up in the 3,200; David Whitehurst finished sixth
Clayton Braud – individual state runner-up in the high jump; Greyson Yorek finished fourth
Andrew Gould - sixth place in the 60 meter dash
Oliver Jack - fourth place in shot put
Greyson Yorek - eighth place in pole vault
Clayton Braud - fifth place in triple jump
Francie Oliver – third place in the high jump
Mary Katherine Underwood - sixth place in long jump, sixth place in the 800 meter
Hall of Fame
Look for future updates on student success in upcoming editions of Knightly News.
Many people around the world, particularly in Asia, are ringing in the the start of the Year of the Pig. The Lunar New Year started on February 5 this year and is one of my favorite holidays. During the new year, families get together, big feasts are prepared, kids get red envelopes filled with money, lion and dragon dances bring people good luck, and firecrackers ward off evil spirits. I enjoy celebrating this holiday with my family and friends, but also with students.
The second graders are currently “traveling” around the world and learning about the seven continents in Social Studies. During their “stop” in Asia, I was honored to come in as a guest expert and share some of the beliefs and traditions of celebrating the Lunar New Year. These students then became the experts and shared information about the Lunar New Year, and also put on a wonderful dragon dance performance, complete with music and singing at a recent Morning Meeting.
While I love teaching fourth grade science, I also try to find ways to connect with our students beyond the curriculum. Whether it’s a conversation about basketball, doing a special handshake, or wearing a Halloween costume, building relationships with my students helps create a positive learning environment. Sharing about the Lunar New Year is one way I can educate children about the world they live in, but they can also learn more about me and see me as more than just a teacher.
In December, the fourth graders participated in a “Who am I?” identity activity in which they shared traits about themselves and also learned more about each other, including myself. We wrote down descriptions about ourselves that people can’t see when they look at us, such as “I am a brother.” or “I love to cook.” In a related activity, we went over 20 character traits to see how we were similar to or different from our classmates. For example, some of us have siblings and play a musical instrument. We discussed that if we learn more about the people around us, we find out that we have many things in common. Similarly, when students learned about the Lunar New Year, they made connections to the popping of fireworks on New Year’s Eve and how Mardi Gras is on a different date each year like the Lunar New Year.
The identity activity and dragon dance performance are just two examples of how lower school students learn more about each other and the world around them. Our lower school theme this year is “Love Your Neighbor”. I believe when we get to know one another, we are better able to love each other and our neighbors. As we love each other we build a caring community where we can be ourselves and respect everyone around us.
I share about myself so my students not only see me as a teacher, but as a human being too. In addition to being a teacher, I am also a mother, sister, wife, traveler, foodie, and someone who loves celebrating the Lunar New Year. So in this new Year of the Pig, I encourage all of us to get to know our neighbors better and to love our neighbors. In the words of Mister Rogers:
“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please, won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?”
I want to wish all of my neighbors a happy, healthy, and prosperous Year of the Pig.
Rosalyn is in her eighteenth year of teaching. Prior to coming to Episcopal six years ago, she taught at independent schools in New York City and Los Angeles. She is in her fourth year of teaching fourth grade science and taught second grade for two years. Rosalyn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Whitman College and her Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at New York University. She loves teaching science and finding ways to integrate technology and other subjects into the curriculum.
When third grade teacher Amy Arceneaux assigned her students the task of writing a nonfiction book, Lowell Lambert knew just what to write about. Lowell has one love – Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. After discussing his topic of choice with Mrs. Arceneaux, he began writing his book based on everything he already knew as a huge fan of the restaurant. The only research Lowell actually had to do was to learn more about the company’s origins. The finished assignment is a ten page, illustrated book highlighting the food served, the company’s history, and founder and fellow Episcopal Knight Todd Graves ’90. Of course, the book also includes a mention of the restaurant’s namesake Raising Cane, the dog. “Most restaurants don’t have a mascot,” writes Lowell.
Lowell recently had an exciting opportunity to celebrate the completion of his book and the research he conducted into Graves’ entrepreneurial journey. Graves invited the young writer and his family to tour the Raising Cane’s Baton Rouge headquarters. “Raising Cane’s is my favorite restaurant ever,” says Lowell. “My favorite part of our visit was getting a gigantic basket of goodies from the team at Raising Cane’s. I also enjoyed reading my book to Mr. Graves.”
Arceneaux says writing is an important component of the third grade curriculum. In fact, this is actually the second book the students have been assigned to create and they have now moved on to their third. “My students love to write and we write everyday,” says Arceneaux. “Already this year, they have written many stories and they are always excited to choose their best ones to publish.”
The recent opportunity to bring the topic of a story to life certainly added to this year’s excitement. Episcopal teachers are always in search of such creative and meaningful ways to inspire students to practice writing. In the summer of 2017, Arceneaux was selected to attend the Teacher’s College of Columbia University Writing Workshop. “Spending time at Teacher’s College in New York motivated me to continue making writing a focus of our day,” she says. “Students are excited when I send them off to write in their Writer’s Notebooks and I am pleased to see their skills develop over the course of the school year.”
Writing is a key component of an Episcopal education. Students in PreK-4 practice their writing skills as they learn to properly use a pencil and write simple words. Before Lower School students begin a project-based learning unit, they are tasked with writing about what they know and what they hope to learn regarding their new topic. In Middle School, the focus on writing continues as the outstanding Middle School English student in each grade is honored as a recipient of the annual Penniman Awards. Upper School students write reflections regarding service projects and students with a passion for writing serve as Writing Center Fellows. Such a consistent focus on writing will serve Episcopal students well as they move on to a university setting and ultimately begin their careers.
Learn more about how Lower School grows great writers in this blog post by first grade teacher Corey Lemoine.
For additional examples of writing opportunities in Lower School, check out the following blog posts.
Dinosaurs, Writing and an Award-Winning Author - Just Another Day at Episcopal
Fun with Words: Literacy Skills and the 3rd Grade Vocabulary Parade
To read more about the Writing Center click here.