The fall edition of Troubadour was an enormous success! The sheer amount of work and passion that went into the magazine is impressive in and of itself. In this edition, we received many personal pieces that were able to evoke strong emotion in almost every reader. I truly believe that we, as a community, have achieved a new level of comfort with one another through this edition of the magazine, as it both enabled us to share our stories with one another as well as asked us to be understanding and accepting of those with different life experiences than ourselves. I have greatly appreciated working with such a phenomenal team and reading poems and stories from our own student body. We are looking forward to a winter edition of Troubadour in February, and I’m confident that it will even better than our fall edition!
Morgan Bernard, Troubadour Editor
Having Julien, a student from France stay with me really challenged my definition of the word “normal.” After a few days of showing him my routine and how we live here in Baton Rouge, it became clear that our routines did not have as many overlaps as I expected. Perhaps the most significant was the fact that it is very common for teenagers to drive to school here in the United States, while driving is prohibited until the age of 18 in France. Our first drive to school together, Julien held on tightly to the handle of the passenger door as I backed out of my driveway. I looked over at him and asked him if he was feeling okay, and he explained to me that this was the first time he had ridden in a car not driven by an adult. I couldn’t help but laugh when he told me that. It was so odd for me to hear that he could not even take driver’s education until he turned 16, and here I am, responsible for the safety of myself, those around me, and knowing and obeying all traffic laws. It was crazy for me to think that something that is so routine to me was something so foreign and outrageous to his definition of normal.
As the days went by and Julien and I become closer, I grew more and more fascinated by the lack of overlap between our “normals” in little things. On a rainy day when I suggested we beat the rain by grabbing an umbrella at a Walgreens, Julien was surprised to see that American drug stores offered products beyond the pharmacy. Driving to Walmart for a late night run for some toilet paper, the same thing happened. As we pulled up to the glaring neon glow of the sign, Julien was surprised to see that the same store that housed carrots and canned goods also contained an optical shop, an electronics department and a tire center. It was odd for me to realize that a normal grocery store for me was planetary compared to the local grocery stores and bakeries that he frequented back home. To Julien, my American “normal” was, quite literally, larger than his surroundings in France--from the big box stores to my mom’s mid-size SUV. Even going to Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee, something that is a quintessential American experience for many, was something new to Julien and his friends. An ordinary experience for me was actually exciting and novel for our new friends.
viewpoint can be learned hands on with an exchange program like this one. By forming a friendship with someone who is not the same as you are, you are gaining a better understanding of their world view. You realize that the life that you lead is so different than the lives that other people live around the world, and being a part of an exchange is a way that we can celebrate our differences. I know that when I board that plane to France for the roles to flip, the world presented to me will be one that is still “normal”, just not my “normal”. Reframing normal to understand that there is more than one valid experience is a lesson that makes this program so special.
The Writing Center is a smaller community within Episcopal School of Baton Rouge with the goal of building the necessary skills and confidence that writing requires. As a community, we hope to foster a culture of writing and consequently nurture the students as a whole by teaching them creative ways to express themselves through writing. One unique way the Writing Center does this is by periodically hosting Waffle Workshops. As expected from their catchy title, Waffle Workshops combine the thrill of workshopping unique writing styles and techniques with enjoying delicious cinnamon roll waffles. Our favorite part about the Writing Center’s Waffle Workshops is that there are no thematic limits. In the past, we’ve held journalism workshops, humor writing workshops, and storytelling workshops. The goal of these specialized workshops is to better expose students to the Writing Center and the variety of services we offer as well as to give students a safe and nurturing place to express their creativity and discover new passions.
However, the importance of these Waffle Workshops extends beyond that of the lesson being taught or of the enticing waffles: we create and depend upon a community in these events. The workshops create a bond of trust between the students and writing fellows, which is very productive in later sessions when students visit with fellows for one-on-one help. During these workshops, we also depend on the other fellows in the Writing Center and the director, Dr. Newton, to help promote the event and make and distribute waffles. Events like the Waffle Workshops help bring our Writing Center community together while also connecting us to the rest of the student body.
Waffle Workshops are not only challenging and rewarding for fellows, they are also creative outlets. As we brainstormed one night about ideas for the workshop, the topic of argumentative writing jumped out to us, so we set a date, researched the topic, and prepared a Prezi presentation and an outline of talking points. We had fun with the whole process. Though giving a presentation to a roomful of students that you may or may not know can be intimidating, the experience pushes fellows to connect with more of the student body and fulfill our mission of creating better writers.
A senior boy calmly walked over, inquiring about my paper. Anxiety flooded through every inch of my body, enveloping every vein, artery, and capillary that it could find. Writing has always been a vulnerable process for me. Even as a young, inexperienced writer my fantasies of castles and princesses were ensured with privacy by my hot pink Princess Arial diary that had a fragile lock on the outside. Now there was no lock, nothing keeping this stranger from grasping at my tangible vulnerability. I reluctantly told him I was struggling with the coherency of the paper and my use of transitions from paragraph to paragraph. He contemplated my comments for a moment then asked if I could read the paper out loud. I quickly obliged out of nervousness. I never shared it with anyone besides a teacher, and here I was reading it in front of a person who was six years older than me. I began to read my paper and stumbled over every grammar mistake with great embarrassment. My heart was pounding a mile per second, as I was pleading to any higher power to end this agony. I saw the last paragraph in sight and quickly felt a wave of relief rush through my body. I quickly spat out each word and sentence so the seemingly never-ending embarrassment could finally end.
After enduring a painful five minutes, I was finally done sharing my writing with a stranger. I immediately felt relieved that the process was over. However, my anxiety quickly resumed as I came to the realization that now it was time to receive the harsh feedback this senior was sure to give. His mouth opened, my chest tightened, and words that just sounded like frivolous noises at the time came out of the abyss any human would call a mouth. Vibrations lingered in my ears as it took me longer than usual to decipher the meaning of them. I realized what he said and was astonished. He commended my skills in writing and enjoyed the creativity I displayed through the protagonist, specifically describing it as an unconventional hero’s tale. My anxiety transformed into a kind of serenity that flushed through my entire body. I had never experienced pride and confidence in my writing before. This senior thought my story explored originality and creativity that he had yet to see, and I should, too. I thanked him for his praise and inquired about the weaknesses in my paper. He pointed out exactly where he thought I needed to be stronger. Together, we worked on those weak spots and made the story stronger and more tangible to my audience.
The Episcopal writing center offers a variety of unique aspects that commonly go overlooked within our community. For me it is a safe haven. A place where I can escape from the grueling 8 hour school day. I can comfortably lay back on the navy couch and enjoy a nice warm cup of tea while chatting amongst other writing fellows that also seek the writing center’s refuge. For others, the writing center offers a chance for peers to help peers be better writers, to trade tips and tricks and help our writing community grow stronger. I comically look back now at my first writing center experience and marvel at my skittishness in the place that I now find so calming. I guess I thought that all of the people who are a part of the writing center were these big shot writers who were adept in the faculty of writing. But now I look at myself as a person who is a part of the writing center and know that I am far from obtaining expertise in this dexterous skill. I learn things from my clients just like they learn things from me. Writing fellows are here to help make your writing experience better and encourage writing as more of a hobby than a task. I hope more students will choose to seek out the writing center, whether it is to receive help on a paper or to lay back on that couch that gets exceedingly more comfy while enjoying tea or coffee. It has transformed me from that shy, skittish girl mentioned earlier to an outgoing, friendlier person. I hope other people find as much admiration for that place as I do.
Speech from Episcopal Senior, Olivia Parker '17.
Bonjour! Je m’appelle Olivia Parker et je suis la presidente du Club de Français. Je suis une élève en Français V et je suis membre de la Société Honoraire de Français. Je suis allée à une école internationale depuis que j’ai cinq ans.
I went back and forth with Monsieur Prévost about whether I should deliver this speech in English or in French. He wanted me to speak to you in French, but I want you to actually understand what I have to say.
Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his native language, that goes to his heart.” Something I pride myself on is the fact that I am trilingual. I’m fluent in French, Spanish, and obviously English. This is because I attended a full-immersion school from kindergarten to seventh grade. There, I learned everything in another language. I learned to do Algebra in French and write a Lab Report in Spanish. My multilingual background has opened more doors for me than I can count. As a child, I was exposed to dozens of cultures other than my own, and it made me a more globally aware, open-minded, and adaptable person.
In today’s world, we are growing more and more connected as citizens of the Earth. It’s no secret that the demand for bilingualism is on the rise and that being bilingual can be a significant career advantage, but did you know that bilingualism has been shown to slow the detrimental effects of Alzheimer’s disease? Bilinguals have also been proven to have better problem-solving skills than monolinguals, but learning and mastering another language isn’t just about being smarter or getting a better job. It’s about being able to understand the world and its people better. Multilingualism connects the human family, and in today’s world, we need it more than ever. Lack of understanding between racial, ethnic and cultural groups is largely due to communication and language problems.
As inductees of the National French Honor Society, you’re already on track to a more complete and globalized education. My message and encouragement to you is to continue to learn a language, whether it be French or not, for the rest of your life. Don’t stop just because you’ve got all of your foreign language credits. Have you ever heard someone say that they regret learning a language? Do your best to study abroad, learn a new language, experience another culture, bring the world together, and bridge the gap between societies. As the Italian director Federico Fellini said, “A different language is a different vision of life.”
"Since the first LAUNCH day my freshman year, I've seen other groups meet this goal, but I've never seen any other LAUNCH event be more successful in integrating our ideas into the student body and our larger community." - Bailey Leopard (honors seminar student and senior)
With over 60 students involved, LAUNCH Day was an absolute success.
"LAUNCH is an Episcopal Upper School showcase started by a small group of students in 2014. It has grown over time to include the contributions of nearly a hundred students as presenters, performers, planners, or crew members. It is a student-planned and student-executed celebration of ideas and achievement at Episcopal. These 2017 honors thesis presentations included thought provoking ideas and displays that Episcopal High School has never experienced to date."
The LAUNCH 2017 lineup included Episcopal seniors such as Katherine Ann Andreff’s self-produced play, Butternut High, which sought to display the diversity and many opportunities Episcopal has to offer. Daniel Johnson, Caden Dickson and Alicia Stamey presented their business proposal to create school tours for private school for those new to the Baton Rouge area. Families, friends, and honored guests experienced fine art paintings, sketches and sculptures from Episcopal’s finest visual art students.
LAUNCH Day allowed for students and presenters to completely invest themselves on topics and ideas in which they were 100% passionate. Educating their peers on topics such as the media, politics, fashion, the environment, and our very own health enabled students to gain inspiration for their future endeavors, opening doors to dealing with stress or media awareness or self-identification. From teaching to inspiration, LAUNCH Day participants gained insight, and maybe even some hope, for the greatness Episcopal maintains and adds to each and every year.
With knowledge, community and awareness come success. Success can be defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and that’s exactly what LAUNCH Day was. LAUNCH day accomplished something greater than what could be put into words or confined to just this one day experience at Episcopal. Taking on bigger causes and greater cases, LAUNCH Day accomplished the task of informing, impacting and influencing the future of its community.
I personally want to commend such a grand effort from my peers and acknowledge their prolonged strength in such an exhausting but worthwhile process.
From the well-spoken words of Episcopal’s renowned cross country and track coach, “Go, knights, good people, have fun!”
"It was really exciting seeing something that Emma Scott, Audrey and I had been working on for so long to finally come to life!" - Nina Jalenak (senior)
Jamiee is an Episcopal senior and has attended Episcopal for the past five years. She is an active member of the Episcopal track team, softball team, and clubs. Jamiee is a member of the National Honors Society as well as Spanish National Honors Society. In the next chapter of her life, she plans on attending an out of state university to major in civil engineering or architecture.
I have strong memories of what went down during the flood of 2016, who here doesn’t? Riding my bike down to tiger bend to get a look at the water that was up to people roofs. It didn’t feel real, the water was dark and murky, filled with floating pieces of wood. It was like a movie, I marveled at it, at the same time hoping that those houses with water touching the roofs didn’t still have people in them.
There was a day I got a text in the group chat with my 3 closest friends in it. About an hour before we had all been talking about how scary this must be for people being directly affected by it, while we all stayed dry in our unflooded homes so sure we would be just fine. One of us had gone out to eat, anxious, but not scared of the water, I mean it had to stop rising soon, right?
But then the text came in, “The waters coming in so fast” it read. Text after text she sent looking for some consolation that I could only attempt to give her. Within the hour that she was gone the waters had started to close in, and had just begun to make their way into her back porch. In the next 60 minutes she would have to pack her things, bring as much upstairs as possible, grab her dogs and drive her car to higher ground. She got 5 feet, and within an hour had lost years of memories made in the house she grew up in.
Later that night I went to get a snack in the kitchen, admittedly exhausted but with too much on my mind to even sit still. I had been watching videos to clear my head, still staring at my phone as I grabbed a granola bar from the cabinet. I heard a car pass by and looked up for a split second, but just long enough to see the waves generated from the passing truck. I ran to the window, pressing my face to the glass, hoping to god it was just a dream.
Now panicking and breathing short and shallow breaths I headed to the end of the street, to see my neighbors in their yard at 2 am watching the water slowly creep into the street I had been so sure would stay dry. I frantically texted the only people I knew to, feeling sick to my stomach as I imagined what would be made of my house in the next 12 hours. I never did flood, at its highest point the water was about 3 feet away from my house, but never a drop indoors.
I was safe, and dry, but while I was crying over the fear of losing everything I had ever known, I got calls. Calls from the two friends in that group chat who had both lost the first floors of their houses, assuring me I would be ok, and calmly instructing me on what to pack and how to get ready in case I needed to get out of there fast.
The following weeks seemed like a blur, peoples entire lives were stacked up in front of their houses waiting for the garbage trucks, while the air itself seemed to be drenched in the thick muddy stench the water had brought with it. The town I had grown up in was reduced to trash, the memories that had once soaked the walls of people’s homes were now replaced with the cloudy water that didn’t seem to care who you were or what it took. Everything was leveled, and we were all on the same playing field.
Not even a day after the water had subsided did the texts start coming in. people who were otherwise never willing speak, suddenly started helping each other out, coming over without having to be asked, to do work in unbearable heat in houses without air-conditioning. Sports teams were sharing names and addresses of people who had been badly affected, asking anyone who could to help people they weren’t even related to, or friends with.
People who hadn’t spoken in years were talking like long lost friends, laughing together and offering any kind of help they could. My father, who was working in the emergency call center during the aftermath, would come home to tell me stories of people with boats begging officers to let them help in the more dangerous areas, and I’m sure we can all remember the video of the young man risking his life to not only save a strangers, but also dive under the water into her sinking car to rescue her drowning dog.
I realized in that time, that if anything good had to have happened as a result of the flood, it was the community that it brought forward. The sheer selflessness and need to help anyone hurting, no matter who they were or what they looked like, a stark contrast to what our city was like before the flood. In the weeks leading up to it we had become so polarized that the tension in the air could be cut with a knife. After the killings of Alton Sterling and the several police officers the streets had begun to feel unsafe, and news stations even began to advise against going out at night. Not because of one group of people, but because it seemed like everyone was just waiting for a chance to lunge at each other’s throats.
Violence began to break out, and at that time we paid more attention to the things that made us different, treating variances in physical appearance like flaws instead of examples of what makes this country great. It had become so easy to give into fear and hate, but in the moment when we all were afraid of the same thing, we came back together to be the community that we see today. Generous people who in a time of need forgot what they were so afraid of before, because in comparison to the rising waters everything else had become superficial.
We didn’t care what we said or what we did before, the only thing that we knew was that others needed help; and in a time of such great need, we opened up our arms ready to accept others into our homes and share whatever we had. My question now is, why does that change.
When we’re going throughout our daily lives and are no longer in danger of a natural disaster washing us all away, why do we lose that sense of community. When things are dangerous and scary we come together, but when the common enemy subsides and we’re all back in our warm beds why do we find it so easy to sink back into the division we had before. Does it take a natural disaster that puts all of our lives at risk to make us realize that everything we hold against each other really doesn’t matter?
I hope not. And I hope that through education and times of reflection like black history month we can learn to come together like we did at that time.
“It is when we act freely for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.”
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
These moments where I felt like a completely and entirely different person were moments that I felt mental distress. Mental distress is between “Wellness" and "Mental Illness" on the continuum of mental distress. I’ve observed that this occurs with plenty of people in our society and, even more importantly, our school, Episcopal. Why? With investigation, I've found an answer: the enablement of technology.
American culture has always supported hard work ethic with ideals such as the American dream. Our culture has also generalized feelings of dissatisfaction or unhappiness with sayings such as, “Welcome to the real world.” Then, technology has broadened our abilities of completing work anywhere with wifi. With the combination of our cultural pushes and the enablement of technology, we complete a lot of work within the given day and it is perceived as “ok” when we start to suffer because of it.
Work is a factor of our everyday lives that we need in order to be mentally healthy, but somewhere along the way, we lost the balance between work and all the other aspects of our life. When people take breaks during their day and do something they enjoy they can majorly influence their mental health for the better.
When we start taking breaks we start feeling better and our brains begin to make connections to learn those feelings. When these connections build, it becomes easier and easier to remember those feelings. Basically, as we learn how to live well, we become used to having wellness.
Wellness is said to increase test scores and work productivity. Not only do we need to feel better, but feeling better gives us better futures full of ability and productivity. Instilling time in our everyday lives to focus on our mental health is basically building better experiences for our futures.
A lot of the time, breaks can be seen as a disadvantage. In reality, they give you the advantage. So, we created wellness week. Wellness Week is a time for the students to take these breaks with purposeful activities planned out for them. These activities were planned out in the hopes that although the students have plenty of work to be doing, they get the chance to have some fun along the way. By practicing wellness skills, we can incorporate them into our everyday lives adding to our sense of well being, our productivity, and the betterment of all our relationships. We hope students discover some skills that help them create better lives.
Memories of My Father:
“Integrity is doing what’s right, even when nobody is watching”
“Integrity is doing what’s right, even when nobody is watching”. That was Dad’s favorite quote. He constantly preached this to both my brother and me. I never really understood it, nor did I care about it until that Sunday. Now I understand. Although Dad is not here to tell me right from wrong, his morals and values are motivation for my success in all aspects of life. His work ethic is the reason for my work ethic. I remember seeing him wake up early on weekend mornings to either finish some work or take a quick jog before anyone was awake, so he would not take time away from the family. I think about this when I wake up before dawn to run a few miles or go to school early for extra help.
Kristopher Jackson was born on July 3, 1998 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kris moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2006. He is currently a senior at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge and has participated on the school’s track and cross country team since he was in the 6th grade. Along with being an active distance runner, Kris has been working hard, since 2014, as President of Club U-Knighted. For the past two years, Kris has participated in multiple leadership programs, such as Carleton Liberal Arts Experience, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and the American Legion: Louisiana Boys State.
Visiting The Campus
As we meandered through the campuses with our guides, my mother and I tried to truly experience the college life. We explored the towns, tried the food, and generally wanted to get a good feeling of the area that I would commit to for the next four years. Take your time getting to know the campus and surrounding area. Go to a museum. Audit a class. Attend a summer program. The right college is the one that feels like home.
Reading The Material
There is a plethora of valuable information to be found on each college website. I felt like each click was a form of “speed dating” my college options. I learned the general sizes of the schools, estimated tuition cost, whether I would be in a dorm or off-campus, and whether or not I could have a car with just a few clicks. The websites and pamphlets helped me to consider college perks and drawbacks that I never imagined.
Making a Chart
As we traveled across the country, I made a point to write notes about what I liked and disliked about each college that I visited. These notes were vital when making my final decision. They gave me a snapshot into my true first impressions of each college. You will be amazed how details about that delightful restaurant in Seattle or the striking Atlanta skyline can blur as you blaze through tour after tour.
I was lucky enough to meet several students and alumni at each college that I visited. This helped me to understand the “vibe” of each school. When exploring college options, I wanted to get a taste of each one. Every school has its own flavor, and it is important to choose one that suits you, whether it is the zest of a bustling city or a home-style countryside retreat.
The largest part of college selection is internal. While taking in the campus and reading the material helps to cushion the weight of the decision, choosing a college is a leap of faith. As a student, you are the only one who can determine if you will thrive in any particular environment. As you explore your college options, dream big, reflect, and remember to be honest with yourself as you enter a wonderful and exciting chapter of your life.
College Bound 2017
From The Library
Head Of School Messages
Project Based Education
Spirituality And Service
The Teachers' Lounge
Visual And Performing Art