Congratulations to the following Episcopal students on their recent accomplishments! Look for updates on additional student news in future editions of Knightly News.
On Saturday, January 12th Episcopal placed 1st in Division 2 at the Catholic High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. The tournament was attended by approximately 700 students from 32 schools. Episcopal brought 54 Middle and Upper School students to compete in subjects from Pre-Algebra to Calculus BC. Click here to read the individual results.
Lower School Battle of the Books
Congratulations to the Lower School Battle of the Books winners! Students were quizzed on Wish by Barbara O’Connor, FRAMED! by James Ponti and I Survived the Attack of the Grizzles, 1967 by Lauren Tarshis. Every student participating received a Raising Cane’s gift certificate. As a special treat, members of the six winning teams had the opportunity to travel to Raising Cane’s for a celebratory lunch together.
This year’s winners are:
Sam Huff, Aiden Grassman, Oscar Worrell
Regan Danos, Morgan Murphy, Eloise Tharp
Anne Bradley Ewing, Emma Waguespack, Marshall Elliott
Brennen Botos, Jacob Hutchison-Johnson
Diya Kankar, Sophia Fivgas, Andi Randall
Conrad Pulliam, Nate McLean, Colton Richard, William Vincent
Robards has been competing in national competitions for ten years. Her horse Cirona and trainer Janet Talmadge joined her at the recent clinic.
Congratulations to the following Episcopal faculty members.
Episcopal’s theater duo Louis and Paige Gagliano recently earned recognition in the 2018 BroadwayWorld New Orleans Awards. Paige earned Best Direction of a Play (local) for her role as the director of Theatre Baton Rouge’s Gideon’s Knot. Louis earned Best Lighting Design for his role as lighting director for Theatre Baton Rouge’s Cabaret.
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On Saturday, January 12th Episcopal placed first in Division two at the Catholic High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. The tournament was attended by approximately 700 students from 32 schools. Episcopal brought 54 Middle and Upper School students to compete in subjects from Pre-Algebra to Calculus BC. Congratulations!
5th – Luke Stelly
4th – Akshay Basireddy
5th – Hayden Singh
Honorable Mention – Sacha Dernoncourt, Autumn Reynolds
2nd – Scott McAdams
2nd – Joy Lee
4th – Eugene Jiang
1st – Abhay Basireddy
5th – Arya Patel
Honorable Mention – KC Shimada
Honorable Mention – Mason LaFerney
1st – Arohi Gopal
2nd – Alex Nelson
3rd – Elaine Gboloo
5th – Adam Reid
6th – Andrea Norwood
1st Potpourri – Alex Nelson, Andrea Norwood, Elaine Gboloo, Arohi Gopal
1st Comprehensive Math 1.5 – Landry Litel, Nils Dernoncourt, Julia Frazer
2nd Comprehensive Math 2 – Savannah York, Laura Gboloo, Allison Binning, Arya Patel
1st Pre-Calculus Math Bowl – Abhay Basireddy, Gregory Field, KC Shimada, James Christian
2nd Middle School Interschool
There was shaking and tilting in Ms. Stacy Hill’s science class. After learning about earthquakes, students tested their ability to construct a building sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Using tape, craft sticks, paper and cardboard, students had to erect a structure 30 cm tall with three floors of 10 cm each. The students were actually quite successful in their designs with some of them withstanding a 36 or even 42 degree tilt before falling.
“Can we try again just for fun?” Even after the students performed the initial tilt table and shake tests, they were inspired to continue making revisions. Students said they enjoyed the experience because of the opportunity to create their own design. What a great example of how learning is fun at Episcopal!
These are just a few of the random acts of kindness displayed recently by Episcopal Middle School students. While such acts may seem small to some, they truly are worthy of recognition. Think about how you felt the last time someone did something unexpectedly kind for you. Maybe someone opened the door for you when you were struggling with an armload of holiday packages. Or, perhaps a fellow motorist let you over in Baton Rouge traffic. Such a small act can go a long way. In fact, according to research conducted by Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, that small act of kindness may also inspire you to reciprocate with your own act of kindness. In an article for Scientific American, Professor Zaki says “that kindness itself is contagious.” If kindness is contagious, what better place for it to be fostered than among the next generation of leaders?
Kindness is actively encouraged and fostered in Episcopal Middle School. This focus is year round and not just during the season of giving or a designated week. As students deal with the changes that occur within themselves, their peers and their world, a simple act of kindness can boost a mood, make a day and improve a life. Given this, the division’s Peer Leaders created the Middle School kindness boxes. These three little shoe boxes were glued, labeled and crafted by the students, similar to the boxes used by Lower School students to collect Valentine’s Day cards. Each box was placed in the grade-level social studies classroom, along with slips of paper that students and teachers can use to recognize someone for a good deed.
Counselor Alicia Kelly says the goal is to encourage kindness and recognize it in action. She says developmentally, Middle School students are traditionally focused on themselves, making kindness and concern for others a challenge. However, projects such as the kindness boxes help students think beyond themselves. Kelly also hopes the boxes make it “cool” to be kind, as students earn positive recognition from adults and their peers.
Each month, kind students are publicly recognized during the Middle School morning meeting. Peer Leaders read aloud the most compelling acts of kindness performed. To make a strong impression among the teens, students also receive a candy bag filled with sweet treats in honor of their sweet intentions.
“One of the most important ways we can prepare our students for success and the ‘purposeful lives’ that our mission and ministry statement references is to help them develop empathy, the ability to view life situations from others' perspectives,” says Middle School Division Head Lucy Smith. “Noticing and reinforcing their acts of kindness not only helps to promote empathy in individual students, but also helps all of us as we strive to be a safer, more respectful, and kinder community.”
Smith, along with the Middle School teachers, have actively embraced the theme of kindness this school year. After summer training sessions on student social/emotional learning, Middle School teachers were inspired to make kindness a top priority among sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. The Middle School Honor Code was amended to include a reference to kindness to emphasize its importance. That focus on kindness has now swept through Middle School. For example, you can find kindness reminders on display in the sixth grade science class and kindness themes are found in the books chosen by English teachers. Hopefully, this strong commitment to caring and compassion will have a lasting impact on students as they grow to lead lives of purpose and meaning.
This holiday season and year round, how do you and yours share acts of kindness? Share them in our comments section below. You could inspire others to do the same!
The tens digit of a two-digit number exceeds its units digit by 4. The number exceeds twice the number obtained by reversing the digits of the original number by 10. What is the original number?
Math. Just the word alone can either cause your heart to flutter with excitement or drop with disdain. For members of Episcopal’s Middle School Math team and Upper School’s Mu Alpha Theta, hearts are certainly aflutter with excitement when they see an equation. In speaking with Upper School math teacher Joan Moroney it is obvious that she is also a fan of formulas. Recently, Moroney and her colleagues, along with the Mu Alpha Theta team organized the third annual Episcopal math tournament. Here’s a look at the numbers behind accomplishing such a task:
Another of the organizers’ goals was to include Middle School mathletes. Moroney says this early exposure to the excitement of a math tournament gets Middle School students more interested in math and in becoming a part of their school’s high school math community. “Freshmen can be scared to join Mu Alpha Theta, but having Middle School experience creates a seamless transition,” Moroney says.
Members of Mu Alpha Theta were a critical component of the tournament’s success. Students oversaw the event the day of competition by doing everything from proctoring tests and setting up for participants, to running the sound system and grading exams. Mu Alpha Theta President Judie Williams says the entire experience was eye-opening. “Organizing the Mu Alpha Theta tournament showed me how much goes into these tournaments, because I have been to countless tournaments without realizing all the work that goes into them so it has definitely given me more of an appreciation for the club.”
Why are students volunteering to take math tests on a weekend? Moroney says the events are an exciting social affair for most competitors. She says students enjoy the occasions because they are traditionally low stress opportunities to be with friends and they truly enjoy doing math and solving a problem to get an answer. “When they do well, there’s a sense of accomplishment,” she says.
Already this year, the Episcopal competitors have certainly accomplished a lot. The Middle and Upper School teams placed second overall in Division 2 at the St. Paul math tournament and second overall in the Ben Franklin tournament. While the Upper School team did not compete in their own tournament, the Middle School team placed third overall on the Interschool Test.
Students, like Williams and others, truly enjoy the team math experience. “Mu Alpha Theta was the first academic extracurricular that I participated in, and I remember thinking that it was going to be a very competitive club and only the best of the best could join,” she says. “However, I quickly realized that I was completely wrong because the club allows for students to improve their math skills in a more laid back environment that is really fun.”
A math tournament certainly is not your typical math class test. Moroney says there are 15 fast-paced, two-minute rounds of ciphering in which students solve a problem each round. As an added bonus, if they complete the problems in one minute they earn double the points. During the interschool testing round, the entire school divides a test among the students and they have 45 minutes to solve approximately 25 problems. Moroney says this is where things really get exciting. There is a chaotic energy as students rush to divide up problems and work together for answers. Students self-organize with one team member recording answers while others feverishly work problems. There are no calculators and only scratch paper is available.
Moroney says the typical math club participant is a well-rounded student who wants to cultivate their math skills and have a good time. She says the Mu Alpha Theta roster includes football players, cheerleaders, artists and more. It is a great example of students with diverse talents finding the right place to explore them further.
Need another reason to consider being a mathlete? Consider this. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in math occupations is projected to grow 28% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average, and will result in approximately 50,400 new jobs. The BLS also says math occupations are typically higher paying. Participating in math tournaments could help a student discover a natural interest or talent in the subject and while not every mathlete aspires to be a mathematician, developing this skill set will serve them well regardless of their long-term plans.
Making a difference with math!
As a result of the Episcopal tournament success, Mu Alpha Theta will be making a $500 donation to the Baton Rouge Food Bank with the money raised.
Want to test your own math skills? Submit your answer to the problem at the beginning of this article in the comment section below.
Congratulations to the Middle School math team for their recent success at the Episcopal math tournament. The team placed third overall on the Interschool Test. See all of the results below.
Luke Stelly - Honorable Mention
Akshay Basireddy - 3rd place
Joie Lee - 1st place
Thomas O'Connor - Honorable Mention
Autumn Reynolds - Honorable Mention
James Be - Honorable Mention
Scott McAdams - Honorable Mention
Middle School Team - Fourth place: Kailyn Borskey, Lauren McGrath, Thomas O'Connor and Mia Pulliam
Second place: Joie Lee, Autumn Reynolds, Luke Stelly and Noah Vincent
Comp math 1- Honorable Mention: Akshay Basireddy, James Be, Sacha Dernoncourt and Scott McAdams
Something special is being cultivated in Middle School. Recently, sixth graders in Stacy Hill’s science class worked with special guests from the LSU Ag Center Master Gardeners program to propagate succulents. As you might expect in a science class, students learned about soil ratios and growth requirements, such as light and water needs. As the plants grow, students will now make observations and track their progress. While this may seem like a typical science lesson, this is just the beginning.
Students and their little succulents have actually embarked on a service learning journey to promote literacy and reading. Middle School English teacher and project organizer Martha Guarisco says students researched illiteracy and book deserts last year, which inspired them to take action. That action is now underway as the little succulents begin to grow and flourish under the students’ watchful eyes. This service learning journey will eventually encompass science, English, social studies and math before it is complete.
Students began this journey in science class to give their little buds time to grow. Later this school year, students will host a plant sale with funds generated benefiting area organizations such as Lines 4 Lines and others who promote reading among area youth. Guarisco says Episcopal students and teachers will use funds generated from the sale to purchase books especially for each group. She says this will allow project participants to purchase books that personally resonate with recipients, which is a critical component of sparking a child’s interest in reading. “Seeing yourself in a book connects you with that book,” says Guarisco, who says this fosters a love of reading that is beneficial for developing brains and bodies.
As the succulents expand their footprint, the service learning project will also expand its reach, including math, social studies and English. While Hill leads students in scientific observations, math teacher Nancy Callaway is leading discussions on the cost of growing succulents, pricing estimates and the number of books that can be purchased with the funds generated. In Virginia Day’s social studies classes, students have studied food deserts, similar to how they studied book deserts in English class. As the plant sale approaches, students will also design logos and promotional materials.
Middle School Division Head Lucy Smith says such teamwork and collaboration among faculty and staff makes an Episcopal lesson even more meaningful. “It always is exciting for me to see the grade-level teams of middle school teachers collaborating to plan a cross-curricular project that engages our students in real-world problem solving. Making connections across the academic disciplines is engaging and motivating for students. They feel terrific when they know that their hard work and learning makes a difference for others,” she says. “I look forward to seeing the students' enthusiasm grow as the project work proceeds!”
The succulent project has numerous components, but the lesson is quite simple. “I want students to appreciate their own literacy as a lifelong skill,” says Guarisco. She also wants students to understand the huge advantage that literacy provides and the complexity of illiteracy. Students will continue to explore these concepts as the little succulents grow. Look for more on the project this spring as the plant sale approaches.
Middle School Success
Middle School students are achieving tremendous success already this school year. Here’s a look at recent accomplishments.
Math Counts Club
Members of the Math Counts Club are competing in Upper School math tournaments whenever they have the opportunity. In September, the combined Middle and Upper School team earned the second place spot in Comprehensive Math 1 at the St. Paul’s tournament. Recently, a team of Middle School students placed second in Algebra I Math Bowl at the Ben Franklin tournament.
Mu Alpha Theta Coach Joan Moroney says participating in high school tournaments has numerous benefits for Middle School students. “The experience of going to the Upper School competitions allows them to challenge themselves in the particular math content area but also allows them to see what will be available to them once they reach Upper School. At all of these tournaments the Middle School students are building relationships with Upper School students as they work together on team competitions and hopefully viewing the Upper School students as mentors,” she says.
Congratulations on outstanding results at the Ben Franklin tournament!
Algebra I: Sacha Dernoncourt – fourth place
Geometry: Carter McLean – third place
Algebra I Math Bowl: Noah Vincent, Joie Lee, Michael Wang and Hayden Singh – second place
Episcopal team: second place against 14 schools from across Louisiana.
Spirit Ribbon Fundraiser
Middle School showed their support for local breast cancer patients through a spirit ribbon fundraiser. The division’s cheerleaders organized the effort, which generated $300 for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. The squad also spent time during flex creating care packages for local patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Middle School students collected approximately 400 books for Baton Rouge area elementary students in just one week's time! The drive was successfully organized by members of the Student Council.
Middle School students donned orange in support of Unity Day this week. Middle School Peer Leaders successfully organized the day as a reminder to students to stand together against bullying. In keeping with the Middle School Honor Code’s focus on kindness, the day was a reminder to be accepting and inclusive of others. Students from throughout the division wore orange shirts, bows, ribbons and socks to show their support. This is a great example of the social/emotional learning opportunities available at Episcopal.
Division 3 City Swim Champions!
The Middle School swimmers won the Division 3 City Championship meet last Saturday. “The Middle School Swim Team has been successful all year, but this meet is the culmination of an entire season of hard work,” says Coach Stephen Anderson. “Nearly every swimmer played another sport or is in the play, meaning these kids were balancing other activities while performing at a high level at practice.”
Anderson says the teams performed consistently well in all races, with many individuals finishing in the top three, including a number of sixth and seventh graders. He says the boys’ team had only four boys, including fifth grader Charlie Williams, which is the minimum number required to make a relay.
Individual highlights from the recent victory include:
The Middle School Girls’ Cross Country team is ranked 51st in the nation! “This is a special group of Middle School girls,” says Head Coach Claney Duplechin. “They are very talented indeed. Their times are awesome. We have won all of our meets by over 100 points which is GREAT!!!!” Both the boys and girls have had tremendous success this year with both teams winning the Catholic High invitational.
The sixth grade Blue and Gold teams are in the flag football playoffs beginning this weekend. The seventh and eighth grade team finished the year strong with a big come-from-behind victory last weekend.
Student Artists on Display
Several Episcopal Middle School artists will have their artwork displayed at the Annual Downtown Kiwanis Art Show this weekend.
We often struggle to find the right balance of protection and independence when it comes to our teenagers. The nineties saw the rise of the “helicopter parent,” hovering over their child. This has evolved to the “lawn mower parent,” swooping in and “mowing over” any adversity or struggle their child may face. While this is well-intentioned, loving and motivated parents can inadvertently stunt the growth of adolescent independence by stepping in and “helping” each time their teen is in need. Parents often struggle with how much support is too much. Should I bring my tween their missing homework? Should I let my teen attend that late night party? Striking the right balance of protection and independence requires thoughtful consideration and knowledge of your individual child. How do parents navigate the tween and teens years? How much independence is the “right” amount? Here are some suggestions for knowing when to step in and when to let go.
As part of healthy development, adolescents become more peer-focused beginning around middle school. This also means that they rely less on adult guidance. Rather than parent facilitated “play dates,” adolescents make their own plans - movie nights, mall outings, sleepovers, concerts, dances, parties. These are all common activities for teens. Some ways you can foster social independence while also considering your child’s safety include:
As children approach middle school, teachers often encourage parents to step back and allow the student to take charge of her school work more independently. Parents should carefully consider how to empower their children to allow them to feel successful in school. Some ways you can foster independence academically include:
While many adolescents have a full schedule with school and extracurricular activities, it’s important for them to gain an awareness of their ability to contribute to their family and community. Being responsible to another adult, through a task such as mowing lawns, babysitting, or a summer job, empowers teens to feel competent. Some ways you can foster independence with work skills are:
Watching your child develop into a competent and confident adolescent is a rewarding experience. Episcopal’s mission includes preparing our students for “purposeful lives”. By motivating and encouraging responsible independence, parents and educators can partner together to help all of our students meet their full potential.
National Physicians Center for Families: Building Independence in Adolescents
Psychology Today: Teaching your Adolescent Independence
USA Today: Meet the ‘lawnmower parent,’ the new helicopter parents of 2018
Self-Sufficient Kids: 7 Ways Parents can Encourage Teens to be Self-Sufficient
Mark your calendar for the next Lunch and Learn with the Episcopal counselors.
Thursday, October 25th
11 am - 1 pm
The discussion will be based on the book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World by Michele Borba. You do not need to have read the book to attend. Please RSVP to your division counselor.
Alicia has served as a School Counselor at Episcopal since 2001. As the Middle School Counselor, she has a passion for helping pre-adolescents reach their potential, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Alicia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s in Health Sciences- Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.
On Saturday, September 15th, 39 Middle and Upper School students competed in the St. Paul’s math tournament in Covington. Episcopal placed 2nd overall in Division 2! Congratulations!
Pre-Algebra Honorable Mention – Autumn Reynolds, Joey Roth, and Suzie Heneghan
Algebra I 3rd – Carter McLean
Algebra II 1st – Abhay Basireddy
Honorable Mention – Justin Dynes, Arya Patel, and Ryan Whaley
Advanced Math 2nd – Clay Burton
Honorable Mention – Robert Alleva
Trigonometry 2nd – Arohi Gopal
Honorable Mention – Elaine Gboloo, Takumi Takei, Alex Nelson