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.
“A man of strong character with great passion for good teaching and deep learning.”
These are just a few ways in which Mark Engstrom has been described by his colleagues. After a nationwide search, Mark was selected to be the new Episcopal Middle School Division Head. Lucy Smith, the longtime Middle School Head will pass the baton to Mark when she steps away from the Middle School Head position after more than 25 years of outstanding leadership and service to Episcopal students. Mark will build on the Middle School foundation with the support and confidence of the Episcopal community. Parents of fifth, sixth and seventh graders are invited to join in Monday, February 18th between 1:30 and 3:00 PM in the Alumni House Parlor for the opportunity to meet Mark and his wife, Nicole.
Mark will join the Episcopal community over the summer of 2019 after most recently leading both the Middle and Upper School divisions at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. Similar to Episcopal, Allen Academy serves students from PreK-3 through twelfth grade. As the oldest accredited, non-sectarian preparatory school in the state of Texas, Allen Academy also seeks to offer students a whole child experience with an abundance of academic, athletic, artist and cultural opportunities. “We are fortunate to have attracted Mark and his family to Episcopal. His energy, goodwill and depth of experience combine with his appreciation of middle schoolers to foreshadow a smooth transition and long term success,” says Head of School Hugh McIntosh. In addition to more than two decades of experience as an educator, Mark also has experience teaching internationally. He earned a Fulbright Fellowship which allowed him to teach in South Korea for a year. He has also taught in Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil.
The role of Episcopal Middle School Division Head allows Mark to return home. He is a Louisiana native. Mark was born in New Orleans and is a graduate of Ben Franklin High School. After graduating from Ben Franklin, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and master’s degrees from the University of New Orleans and Framingham State College in Massachusetts. He has extensive experience in blended learning and has led multiple professional development opportunities regarding blended learning. He has also published articles on personalizing student education. After reading a sample of these articles, it is clear that Mark has an enthusiasm for authentic, personalized learning and a collaborative spirit which makes these opportunities possible in his classroom and the classrooms of fellow teachers.
The process of selecting the appropriate Middle School leader for Episcopal was thorough and thoughtful. A committee, which included Middle School faculty, reviewed resumes and interviewed numerous candidates. Eighth grade science teacher Shyamala Alapati and seventh grade history teacher Julie Weaver served on the search committee and the two look forward to welcoming Mark to campus. “Mark is a dedicated educator who has the best interest of the students at heart,” say Alapati and Weaver. The two point to his years of experience in the classroom and in school leadership as a valuable asset for the Middle School community. “His focus on deep learning and individual growth of the student will contribute to a smooth transition for students between middle and upper school.”
Mark will join Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson and Upper School Division Head Tom Forti next school year. Both current Episcopal leaders anticipate that Mark will have a seamless transition to his new role.
“The transition from middle to upper school is a pivotal point in the life of a student and I am confident that Mark will provide the necessary guidance, support, and leadership to both his students and his faculty,” says Forti. “He understands the importance of academic rigor while providing for the social/emotional needs of adolescents. An experienced educator with an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, Mark will doubtless be a wonderful addition to the Episcopal community.”
“Mark’s enthusiasm about middle school and about the opportunity at Episcopal was evident from the start,” says Henderson. “Because he has administrative experience in a Pre K-3 through 12th grade school, Mark already knows the importance of cross-divisional collaboration and smooth transitions. We will work closely with Mark and the Middle School team to assure that our students are poised for success.”
Mark and his wife Nicole will relocate to Baton Rouge this summer. They have two children – Emma, a current seventh grader and Alex, a current freshman. Please join us in welcoming the Engstroms to the Episcopal family.
Stay tuned, too, for news about honoring and celebrating Lucy Smith’s storied career at Episcopal!
Now is your chance to get face to face with Middle School art. The Middle School art show Face Time is on display in the VPAC lobby through February 18th. The show features a wide variety of subjects and media, including self-portraits created as students explored more about their own interests and identity.
Middle School art teacher and Arts Department Chair Russell Roper says students learned a lot about themselves leading up to the current showcase. In one assignment, Roper requires students to fill a gallon-size bag with mementos that represent the most important aspects of their lives. Roper says these “portraits in a Ziploc” are then used to inspire students to create art based on their contents. The Face Time show features decorated boxes safeguarding these keepsakes. In another assignment, students are asked to reflect on the products and services they use in their daily lives. Afterwards, they create digital art pieces using the logos of these companies.
Visual art has long been embraced by the Episcopal community. The VPAC space, with its paint-splattered classrooms and lobby adaptable for student displays, is a testament to a commitment to art education. Students have the opportunity to take art classes in every division with topics ranging from drawing and painting to photography and digital art. As an artist, Roper is pleased that students have the opportunity to try it all. He hopes such early and consistent exposure to art will encourage a lifelong appreciation for art among his students.
We invite you to explore the Middle School art show. You will certainly see some familiar faces on display. In addition to the self-portraits, the exhibition also features relief sculptures inspired by nature, handmade clay masks and furniture models based on animal studies.
Can’t make it to the VPAC? The Episcopal Middle School art show will be on display at the Jones Creek library during the month of March in celebration of National Youth Art Month.
Below is a sample of the work now on display. Stop by the VPAC lobby to enjoy the full show.
Episcopal’s annual Battle of the Books competition has expanded. This year the winning Middle School team had the opportunity to compete against students from Central Middle School and Denham Springs Junior High School in a regional event. After three exciting rounds of competition, the Knights won! Congratulations to Team Weaver, comprised of Carter McLean, Suzie Heneghan, Akshay Basireddy, Katherine Fivgas, Michael Wang, Shreya Kamath, Claire Kiesel, Tori Pierce, Sarah Theriot and Amelia Pleasant. To learn more about Battle of the Books and this new regional twist, read the article below from Library Director Tiffany Whitehead.
I’ve been hosting a Battle of the Books competition with my Middle School students for the past five years. The first two years at Central Middle (where their amazing current librarian continues the tradition) and for the past three years at Episcopal. This year, the competition finally expanded and we hosted three school-level competitions at area schools, with the winner from each moving on to a regional competition.
In October, I announced this year’s competition and invited students to form their teams, comprised of ten students and one teacher sponsor. This year, six teams participated. Also this year, two other area librarians were hosting at their schools and collaborated with me every step of the way. For our book list, we pulled heavily from our Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice Award List to select the ten titles that were used in the battle. We try to round out the list with a variety in genre, character, and themes. Each team received a set of ten books and students had eight to ten weeks to read as much as they could. Students take responsibility for dividing up the reading as they see fit, and dig into the books.
In December, we held our school-level competition. The competition consisted of five rounds: three rounds of multiple choice questions using Kahoot, a written response round, and some type of puzzle/challenge round (that varies from year to year). Each of the three Kahoot rounds has a total of 20 questions — two from each book. Each team has one iPad that they use to answer the questions, earning points based on speed and accuracy. After four rounds of competition, the top three teams compete in a final Kahoot round in front of the entire Middle School division. Having the last round in front of their peers is a blast — it gets the teams hyped up and it helps students who did not participate learn more about Battle of the Books so they may want to join a team next year.
Our winning team was a team of eighth grade students, many of them have been together as a team since they were sixth graders, which made it extra special! That team went on to participate in the first ever regional competition.
Red Stick READgional Competition
My dream of having a regional Battle of the Books competition finally became a reality this year! Sara Gomez, librarian at Central Middle, and Laura Foy, librarian at Denham Springs Junior High, also held their school-level competitions and we all brought our winning teams to compete.
We were able to host the READgional at the Main Public Library in the teen gaming room. Before kicking off the competition, students participated in a variety of icebreaker activities designed to help them get to know each other. For this READgional competition, we had three rounds: two Kahoots and a game. We chose the Saran Wrap Game to add excitement to the competition. Students were lined up alternating by school and were asked trivia questions. While a student answered questions, the student next to them in line worked to unwrap the ball of wrap (while wearing oven mits) until the student answering questions got one correct — then the ball and mits were passed on. Tickets worth 100 points each were hidden within the Saran Wrap, so there was certainly incentive to unwrap the ball as quickly as possible.
The competition was very close overall. At the end of the event, the Episcopal team pulled off the win!
Battle of the Books is honestly one of my favorite events every year — it’s a great way to celebrate our readers and get more students hyped up about books!
Episcopal Library Director Tiffany Whitehead partnered with the librarians at Denham Springs Junior High and Central Middle School to organize the first READgional Battle of the Books. Here the group celebrates success. Laura Foy, DSJHS; Sara Gomez, CMS; Whitehead; Jessica Houvinen, CMS and Jason Fountain, Central Community School System Superintendent.
Looking for great books for your Middle School student? Below is the list of books read by this year’s Battle of the Books teams.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz
Fuzzy by Paul Dellinger and Tom Angleberger
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Restart by Gordon Korman
The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba
Visit Tiffany Whitehead’s Mighty Little Librarian online blog by clicking here.
What are you reading? Leave Tiffany a comment below regarding your favorite book of the moment.
Tiffany has been an educator for eleven years and serves as the Director of Library at Episcopal. A lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Southeastern Louisiana University and her Masters in Educational Technology Leadership from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She has served as the President for ISTE’s Librarians Network and was recognized as one of ISTE’s 2014 Emerging Leaders. Tiffany is National Board Certified in Library Media and was named one of the 2014 Library Journal Movers & Shakers. She was the 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award and is currently the President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians. Tiffany speaks regularly at state, national, and international conferences on school library and technology topics.
On Saturday, January 26th Episcopal placed 2nd in Division 1 at the Baton Rouge High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. There were 142 students from six high schools and three middle schools in Division 1. Episcopal brought 37 middle and upper school students to compete in subjects from Algebra 1 to Calculus BC.
1st – Joie Lee
Honorable Mention – Sacha Dernoncourt
Honorable Mention – Carter McLean
1st – Joy Lee
1st – Abhay Basireddy
3rd – Arya Patel
1st Algebra 1 Team – Autumn Reynolds, Ivy Jiang, Hayden Singh, Joie Lee
2nd Comprehensive Math 1 – Carter McLean, Suzie Heneghan, Akshay Basireddy
1st Comprehensive Math 1.5 – Nils Dernoncourt, Eugene Jiang, Joy Lee
1st Calculus A Team – Clay Burton and Lara Rende
1st Pre-Calculus Math Bowl – Abhay Basireddy, Justin Dynes, KC Shimada, James Christian
3rd Upper Interschool
Knights on 3! Knights on 3! 1-2-3! KNIGHTS!
This cheer, commonly used by Upper School athletes, has been used by a large group of enthusiastic, spirited and extremely talented Middle School soccer players this year. The Episcopal Middle School girls and boys Navy teams are both in the Baton Rouge Soccer Club’s Middle School Division I finals! Don’t miss your opportunity to cheer the teams on this weekend.
Girls Navy team - Sunday, January 27th at 5 pm on Burbank soccer field 22
Boys Navy team – Sunday, January 27th at 1 pm on Burbank soccer field 20
The Episcopal girls are undefeated so far this year. In fact, Coach James Moroney says the team’s defense is so strong that they have only allowed one goal over the course of the seven games played. He says he has been impressed with the hard work and maturity exhibited by the players. “They deserve a lot of credit for their success,” he says. “There’s not a lot of quit in them. They have put in a lot of effort to get wins.”
Coach Moroney says when the call came out for Middle School soccer players, 46 girls expressed interest. With such passion and strong talent, Episcopal was able to field two teams. The Navy and Gold teams are comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth graders competing together in a fun atmosphere. While Moroney has coached the Navy team in addition to his role as a math teacher, the Gold team has been led by Taylor Rosson. Moroney says his goal for athletes on both teams is that they improve their game, grow in their understanding of the sport, learn teamwork and enjoy the experience. The Navy team’s winning season has been an added bonus.
The Episcopal boys squad has enjoyed similar success. The Navy team is slated to play in the tournament final with a record of 3 and 3. Coach Jeff McLean says the sixth, seventh and eighth graders have unbelievable talent in soccer, as well as other sports, including football and cross country. While McLean has led the Navy team, Ben Westra has served as coach of the Gold team. Coach McLean, who also teaches Upper School science, says he thinks the experience has helped students develop a sense of school spirit and camaraderie as they come together and wear an Episcopal jersey for the first time as a team.
Both Moroney and McLean look forward to seeing how the Middle School athletes grow and develop as Upper School athletes. “I expect the high school teams to be really competitive in the district with the girls who are coming up,” says Moroney of his Navy squad. “Some of the stuff we do prepares them for the routine of high school practice,” says McLean of the transition athletes make between Middle and Upper School. The talent on the teams has certainly not gone unnoticed by the Upper School athletic staff.
“We’re thrilled to see our boys and girls Navy teams competing for the DI championship in the BRSC Middle School Soccer League,” says Athletic Director Randy Richard. “We have some extremely talented soccer players in our middle school, something that our varsity coaching staff has been aware of through teaching and coaching these students in PE. It excites all of us to see and hear the excitement of each of these players as they compete to win against other schools in the city.”
Both Middle School teams have enjoyed tremendous support this season, with four coaches and an entire division behind them. Richard says the support from coaches McLean and Moroney has been exceptional. “These two gentlemen stepped in this year as middle school soccer coaches and have poured their heart and soul into their teams,” he says. “Having Episcopal Faculty and Staff coaching Episcopal students makes a huge difference on these teams.”
Both coaches, who are in their first year on staff at Episcopal, say the experience has been a rewarding way to get more involved at Episcopal. “I like interacting with the kids outside of school. You see a different side of students. They are respectful, good athletes,” says Coach McLean. Coach Moroney says as a high school soccer player himself he enjoys being involved with the team now. “I like working with the students and helping them have fun with it,” he says. This weekend’s run at dual championships should certainly be fun.
Good luck Middle School soccer players!
Do you love Middle School sports? Click here to check out the division’s athletics calendar.
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!