Since I came to Episcopal in middle school, I have had more and more writing assignments year after year. And for the most part, I — surely like many other students — did not really see how what I wrote for a grade could extend beyond use in a classroom setting. As much as I enjoy writing and delight in the process of creating something new, it just wasn’t as rewarding for my writing to be read only by a limited audience: one or two of my teachers or my parents at the most. But what if there was a way to put that student writing out there? What if the writing that students might think to be no more than school work could go beyond the walls of the classroom?
At first, I was surprised that no one had taken up the reins after the two seniors in charge of it prior to me graduated. Students wouldn’t even need to work to get published; they just needed to submit original pictures or written work (and of course be accepting of minimal editing). I quickly realized that I had underestimated the effort that had gone into previous issues once I was suddenly in the position of chief editor of the magazine.
There was (and still is) no guidebook for how one keeps a publication afloat — or, in this case, how one brings a publication back to life. No one warned me of how difficult it was to wrench written submissions from the student body, nor of the steepness of the learning curve for the Adobe suite.
In my effort to reignite interest in the publication, I garnered the help of a few friends to remake this magazine. One friend promoted the magazine’s publication, another designed the graphics, and I solicited and screened submissions, and communicated with student contributors. Although this tremendous effort has currently one hard-copy issue, I am still hopeful that my contribution to its creation is enough to spark something new.
We hope you enjoy the current edition and invite students and faculty to submit their work for the 2021 issue! We accept fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, photography, and artwork. Send your work to email@example.com!
Check out the latest issue by clicking here.
Alex is currently a senior at Episcopal. She has been a Writing Fellow and Math Tutor since she was a sophomore and recently helped design a website for the Writing Center. Alex is currently in the Thesis Program. Alex enjoys writing and its promotion and is currently editor-in-chief of the fledgling student publication at Episcopal, Troubadour. She is also the Quiz Bowl club president and a member of the Episcopal powerlifting team.
The Episcopal Wearable Arts course is proof that art is meant for more than decorating walls or hanging in museums. Upper School students recently participated in a fashion photoshoot highlighting their wearable creations, which included everything from hats and earrings to boots and blue jeans.
The project was an opportunity for students to learn more about their family heritage as students were encouraged to create wearable art based on their origins. With family trees reaching back to France, Vietnam, Denmark, Germany, Scotland, South Korea and more, there was plenty of inspiration to be discovered.
The photoshoot was an opportunity to celebrate the students’ accomplishments. “With Music and Theater, students have a performance where all of their peers and parents acknowledge the hard work they’ve done,” says art teacher Veronica Hallock. “This was the first really big assignment the students completed. I wanted to create a finish line, where they could be excited for each other and celebrate what they created.”
Budding artists at Episcopal are fortunate to have a range of arts courses to explore. “With the arts being cut more and more, many schools don’t have the means to offer more specialized classes,” says Hallock. “I was fortunate enough to have a fiber arts class in my high school which was the inspiration for me wanting to start this class!”
From future artists to scientists and explorers, Episcopal offers academics to inspire and challenge tomorrow’s leaders. The new Wearable Arts course is sure to be a favorite for years to come. We know you'll enjoy these final creations. Leave these students a comment below congratulating them.
As I and many other high schoolers can attest, the past couple of months of quarantine, social distancing, and lack of interaction with our peers have not been the most exciting of times. I can still remember our last day of school. I finished my day with track practice, and even though we had been informed of the potential of school closing, the idea seemed unrealistic, and I certainly didn’t anticipate my junior year to end so abruptly. The quick and unexpected end to our physical school year left many without a sense of closure. We all felt for the graduating seniors and their loss, and for many of us as we begin transitioning into the next year, it almost feels as if last school year didn’t exactly end.
Being the outgoing teenage boy I am, the end of school meant the end of sports, the end of so many daily interactions, and the end of many countless little things I never knew I took for granted. I think I can speak for many when I say the first couple of days of online school genuinely didn’t seem too bad. We slept in, got our work done, and had a little extra free time. However, it wasn’t long before we all felt an unusual sense of loneliness. As cliche and normalized as so many little things throughout the school day are, we never realize how much we enjoy or even need them. Whether it’s racing to the front of the line to be the first one to get lunch, Coach Anderson cracking a joke before giving us a math lesson, or Coach Dupe getting us prepared for a big track meet for the weekend, it is the small acts and interactions that make Episcopal like a second home to me and so many other students. It’s not just where we go to learn, carry textbooks, and take notes, it is so much more than that. I and so many others have made many meaningful relationships at Episcopal throughout our time at the school, and this extended time away from school has, without a doubt, made us all cherish and value them so much more.
As we to return to school, despite how the environment may change due to the uncertainty of situations going on within the state and the world around us, we aren’t just preparing our minds to get lectured on the Pythagorean theorem or on learning the importance of mitochondria in living organisms. We’re getting ready to return to an environment we call home. A place where we interact with some of our closest friends and one with a wonderful group of teachers and faculty, who I know want nothing more than to see myself and other members of my class graduate and get ready to take the next step in our lives. I have never once admitted during the summer that I was ready to go back to school, no matter how many times an adult asked me. In the end, it’s because I never truly appreciated “school” for all it really is to me. However, this year as I finish cramming summer reading, pack my bag with pencils that will magically disappear within the first three weeks, and give a large sigh as my mom begs me to take my final first day of school picture, I can truthfully say I’m ready to go back to school. I’m ready to return home.
Oliver Jack is entering his Senior year, has attended Episcopal since Pre-K, and competes on the football, track, and powerlifting teams at school. He hopes to study engineering in college.
Adam Reid shared his project with his peers on LAUNCH Day, which took place on March 6, 2020. Adam, a member of ESTAAR, conducted research in an LSU lab. He designed and built a device that could identify fluids by measuring their electrical capacitance, and he hoped the device might make work in the oil and gas industry safer and help to keep the environment clean. Adam’s research responds directly to a need we have right here in our home state.
Living in Louisiana most of my life, I can’t help but have noticed some of the things that make this state so special. Everyone knows about how good our music is. Our food speaks for itself, too. Some people come here to enjoy the Cajun culture they can’t get elsewhere. Some come for the ultra-intense sporting events. Some just want to relax, enjoy, and explore the bayous. There are not many other places that have this in common with us. But Louisiana is unique for more than just being a cool place to live. Our economy is one of the most important in the nation and the world outside, and we have none other than crude oil to thank.
As is, there is a widespread motivation to improve the crude oil extraction process. Most of that motivation comes from the daily desires of ordinary people and consumers. It’s impossible to understate the near impossibility of living a life that isn’t impacted by crude oil in some way. Most people are aware of crude oil’s implication on transportation. Our daily commute, our grocery runs, our delivery services, etc., are all contingent on crude oil in some way or another. And so is the road surface. And tires. Electronics. Detergents. Food preservatives. Polyester clothing. Cosmetic products. Toothpaste. Shoes. And plastics, to name a few. Keep a list of all the normal things we do and use each day, and it’s easy to see just how much crude oil impacts our lives.
We have to get crude oil from the ground somewhere. But at what cost? As is, the way that we get most of it is simple enough. We dig deep holes where we think the oil is, wait for something to force itself to the top, and verify whether or not it’s a useful site. Workers can stand by and monitor what is being extracted as it comes out.
Here’s the problem: the mixture that comes from the ground usually isn’t a pure sample of crude oil, and the process of it coming out of the ground isn’t a gentle one. The mixture that arises is usually a mixture of things including water and other gases. However, there is little way for workers to know exactly what is in the mixture coming up from deep below the ground until it reaches the surface. If the mixture ends up containing too much water or, worse, too much gas, potentially disastrous consequences await. In many cases, the risks of working in an oil field are great. Any accident, though small initially, can escalate into something that is detrimental to our environment and is deadly for the people involved. No matter how we choose to get our energy and produce our goods, finding a way to preserve our own lives and the world that we live in needs to take priority.
And so, my research was born. I set out to demonstrate a way that crude oil extraction could be made to be safer for workers, to pose less of an environmental threat, and to explore ideas related to science and engineering that might inspire others to think and to cherish the amazing opportunities in the world around. Although the results of my research were mixed at best, I still managed to make a cheap, simple, and reproducible device, which was a proof of concept that can be used in future research.
Adam is a current senior. He is the Honor Council President, a National Merit Finalist, and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is a long-time member of the select Wind Ensemble group and is the current Treasurer of the Mu Alpha Theta club. When he is not inundated with school, he enjoys biking, inline skating, and catching up with friends.
Sara Be shared her project with her peers on LAUNCH Day, which took place on March 6, 2020. Sara, a Thesis student, traveled to El Salvador during the summer of 2019 to film a documentary that accompanied her research about immigration, media, truth and storytelling. Her thesis challenges us all to look beyond the one-dimensionality of media and search for the stories that will bring depth to any issue. After reading her article below, you can view her full documentary here.
At home, my father, an immigrant from Indonesia, and my mother, an immigrant from El Salvador, held extremely different ideas on the topic immigration from each other--both of their independent immigration stories forming their personal opinions. Through my observations of my parents’ quarrels over politics, I discovered a disparity between the reality of the immigrant perspective and what I was seeing on the TV screen. Although we, United States citizens, are constantly exposed to the viewpoints of politicians and commentators, rarely are we given information from the perspective of immigrants themselves. I never saw a diversity of stories within mass media, just generalizations of countries or even larger areas to make a prepared point. We are deluded because we are often exposed to a false one-dimensionality of the immigrant’s story.
Fortunately, the strong media influences on public perception and policy can be used in a positive manner that detects biases and fallacies, seeking to enlighten media consumers instead of convincing them to support an political agenda. Storytelling of all types and mediums can have a tremendous effect on shaping people’s characters and opinions, just like the immigration stories of my parents affected my outlook on my country and the world of humans existing beyond its borders. Every human has their own personal truth, bringing a set of experiences as unique as their fingerprint to the table and adding a new side to the story; and although we can’t possibly comprehend every angle and approach to a concept, we can at least acknowledge that they exist and strive to take them into account as we make decisions and react to the world around us.
Stories have profound effects in politics. A critical strategy relating to this relationship between policy and stories is the use of policy narratives, using narratives to influence public opinion on policy matters. Although letting personal perspectives affect policy formation is what I am arguing for, when policy narratives are shared to mass media, they are often manipulated to only be expressed in a certain light. Twisted policy narratives are a worrisome concept because citizens may not be receiving the entirety of a policy or political decision, but a version that has been altered to show only the bits and pieces the media editor wants the consumer to see, a version that portrays a sole aspect or side to the story.
However, stories can be used in a way that positively influences thought over political policy. Politicians can use storytelling as a powerful tool to relay authentic stories that help listeners envision their aspirations and establish credibility. A truly authentic story will complicate the issue, because reality is always complicated. But understanding these complications aid citizens to gain an understanding of issues and possible solutions beyond surface level opinion.
How can a single story have so much influence, even enough to alter political policies? Stories transport one’s consciousness, a power they possess that cannot be replicated. When contemplating this notion, many may think of stories as transporting people to the unreal or inauthentic, because they physically are not being transported. However, this could not be more untrue. The transportation of the mind to another realm is just as valid, if not more valid, than the transportation of the body. Humans live the vast majority of their lives in their minds, and through absorbing stories they can broaden their understanding of the world around them without having to physically travel.
The invaluable result of purposeful stories is empathy, the stimulant that makes people care enough to build connections, delving deeper than soundbites and headlines, even when the issue doesn’t directly affect them.
Any given issue has infinite dimensions and viewpoints that reach far deeper than impersonal statistics. Although we can never as individuals begin to capture the entirety of a construct in our naturally biased minds, through intertwining our personal stories and the authentic stories of others in conversation and collaboration, we are awakened to the novel possibilities that exist when we obtain the collective consciousness that individual narratives shared and mixed with each other result in beautifully evolved, hybrid ideas. This way of thought could alter how we approach immigration policy, aiding decision makers to visualize essential components of the issue and construct insightful solutions. To put this proposed solution into action, I focused on the country of El Salvador and filmed a documentary capturing genuine perspectives of the natives, asking them questions related to their representation in US mass media.
Sara Be is a current senior. She is Student Body President, a National Merit Finalist, and a member of the National Honor Society. She has also served this year as Thespian Club President and Swim Team Captain. For the past few years Sara has participated in the school musical and tutored in the Episcopal Writing Center. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. Sara will be attending Duke University in the fall.
“If you don’t understand the past, you’re not going to get the future.” Isabella Ruiz grew up frequently hearing this advice from her grandmother Nilda Maria Aguirre. Now as a sophomore Isabella is a history enthusiast. For the second year in a row, she qualified for the National History Day state competition. This year’s project holds a special meaning for her as she worked with classmates Zykia Howard and Barrow Alexander to document her grandmother’s immigration to the United States from Cuba.
“My grandmother is one of the most inspiring women I know,” says Isabella. Isabella had never watched a documentary before her Upper School history teacher Vincent Hoang encouraged her to transform a classroom assignment into a documentary inspired by her grandmother’s journey. Being open to new projects and full of excitement, Isabella dove right into the effort and thus, “The Expense of Freedom” documentary was born. Early on her classmates volunteered to help and the three students traveled to Hammond to interview Nilda. The trio poured over documents, photographs and treasures that Nilda had kept since arriving in America in 1961. They also sat down to film her as she shared what it was like to leave her homeland at the age of five with one suitcase and her favorite doll.
Isabella and her team ended up with 45 minutes of raw footage. There was the story of young Nilda defending her doll from airport security and the tale of Nilda’s father nearly being pulled from the airplane. Nilda described what it felt like to be in a new country without her extended family and the people she knew. There is also a deep sense of gratitude for the freedom that Nilda and her parents gained. Nilda has always told Isabella that the family didn’t come to America for wealth, but for a better life and the opportunity to embrace the American dream. Part of that dream included education. Nilda is a passionate advocate for education. Isabella says her grandmother often reminds her that education is something that no one can take from you and that while materials may disappear your education sticks with you.
“The Expense of Freedom” documentary is something that will stick with Isabella and her partners Zykia and Barrow for some time. Isabella says it was nice to share the experience with her classmates as the two knew little of the Cuban immigrant experience prior to this. “The experience gave great insight into the struggles of the Cuban people in that era,” says Zykia. “Working on the project gave me a greater appreciation of the things immigrants have to endure to gain the opportunities provided in the United States. By researching information, I’ve learned many new things.”
Projects such as “The Expense of Freedom” documentary are a great example of the hands-on learning and in-depth exploration that occurs at Episcopal. “I am so proud of the excellent work our students did during this project,” says history teacher Hoang. “As one of their many advisors, National History Day embodies the learning process and what we strive to accomplish here at Episcopal. From brainstorming to producing a viable product, the students are able to learn and grow from the entire process. This year was an exceptional year as students produced a wide variety of works - from documentaries to in-depth papers; the breaking boundaries theme provided a vehicle for them to push their creativity to the fullest.”
For Isabella and her family, “The Expense of Freedom” documentary is much more than an assignment. The experience has provided them a meaningful way to preserve the powerful story of a young girl and her family embarking on a journey to freedom. To watch “The Expense of Freedom” click here.
Congratulations to all of the Episcopal Upper School students who recently participated in the History Day event at the West Baton Rouge Museum.
Senior Research Paper
1st place - Muskaan Mahes
2nd place - Tanya Mencer
3rd place - Emily Lynch
4th place - Zoe Marceaux
Senior Individual Documentary
1st place - Fox Garon
Senior Group Documentary
1st place - Isabella Ruiz, Zykia Howard, and Barrow Alexander
1st place - Carter McLean
2nd place - Muskaan Mahes
Semifinalists - Fox Garon, Emily Lynch, Zoe Marceaux
Additional participants: Ruby Friloux and Ellie Williams
Students and faculty will return from Mardi Gras break this year to a week of LAUNCH 2020 festivities. Although the majority of the presentations will take place on Friday, March 6th, the official day of LAUNCH, several presentations and activities will lead up to the big day. Planning and preparation have been underway for months, as students have taken projects and work that they are passionate about and adapted their in-depth knowledge into an engaging presentation. This is what LAUNCH is all about -- coming together as a community to celebrate some of the most exciting moments of learning. Our students act on their own passion and curiosity to create something authentic, then boldly stand before an audience to share what they’ve discovered.
What you’ll see during LAUNCH week are distilled versions of much larger projects. ESTAAR students, for instance, spend over 100 hours in a laboratory working to test their hypotheses and collaborate with research assistants and professors. Some Thesis students have 50 pages of content written to support their argument. And, of course, the "Mamma Mia" session is just a joyful teaser of what’s to come in a few weeks. But each presentation and project has been carefully crafted for a very specific audience: their peers. For these presenters to take their ideas and new understanding, crafting it into a presentation to share with an auditorium full of their friends and classmates requires a great deal of vulnerability and bravery. When you watch these presentations, it will be apparent that these students care deeply about what they have learned, so much so that they care about sharing that learning with others. By sharing so openly about these ideas, our students are creating an opportunity for dialogue and engagement with their classmates that would be difficult to bring about in a typical classroom setting.
Check out the schedule for LAUNCH week and get excited to learn at LAUNCH -- there will be many opportunities to look at topics from new perspectives and celebrate the success of our incredible Episcopal students.
LAUNCH 2020 Merchandise is available for purchase in the library. Shirts are $20 and fanny packs are $8 -- buy both for $25.
Tiffany has been an educator for twelve 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 a past president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians. In 2019, she received the ISTE Librarians’ Network Award for her work in Aldrich Library at Episcopal. Tiffany speaks regularly at state, national, and international conferences on school library and technology topics.
Through a collaboration with her peers, Lower School teachers, and Arts teachers, Episcopal Dance Master Seminar and Senior Thesis student Christine Myer recently got to serve as a dance teacher to 45 first graders. Christine shares that experience as well as a few of the discoveries she’s made as a dancer and researcher that has inspired her to become a vocal proponent of encouraging dance in young children.
I approach around forty-five eager first graders as they wait for my instruction. I begin to lead an age-appropriate warm-up, which precedes teaching choreography to a minute-long song--just enough to get their blood pumping. One kid had just told the room that she hates dancing, another told me he was okay with it, some kids loved it, but most of them did not appear to be beyond thrilled. While these first graders were in the middle of their “healthy selves” unit, I wanted to show them how dance is a perfect example of a healthy habit. The movements within their dance were not overly simplified, but they were not impossible either; they would require practice and motivation, but the goal, in the long run, was to create a sense of pride and confidence among the kids. At such a young age, they are not as prone to the comparison they will soon face in the world, but it is crucial that we establish this self-confidence and healthy esteem in these kids before they try to seek satisfaction from other sources.
Imagine yourself as a teenager, or even tougher-- a tweenager (in-between kid and teenager). You are awkwardly growing into who you are, forming your belief system and developing character traits. You most likely came face to face with true pressure, conflict, and unsureness for the first time during these years. Imagine life back then, but add social media and the internet to the mix. How would you have handled Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and YouTube when you were younger? Wouldn’t it make adolescence even more complicated than it was?
We frequently hear that kids and teenagers are a vulnerable group, but why? Well, their brain development is complex. They face two major developmental tasks over the course of adolescence: forming their identity and making decisions. But both of these tasks, though, rely on brain structures that are not fully developed until after their teenage years, as described by Eugenia Ives. This means that children and teens must navigate their identity and decisions without the development and knowledge that an adult possesses. Instead, kids’ brains are forced to make quick, fight or flight decisions that are not always logical or well-thought-out, especially when it relates to an emotional issue. Therefore, teenagers have a lower capacity of self-regulation, which gives way to peer pressure and risky behaviors among the age group. Adding the fast-paced, spontaneous world of social media to this situation only complicates the teenage brain because it provides teens with an accessible place for their risky behavior. The brain produces dopamine, a feel-good chemical, during technological stimulation, so interactions on social media provoke excitement and instant gratification among users. This is what makes social media addictive. Because it feels so rewarding, it easily influences the vulnerable teenager and is capable of separating them from one another.
With this information, it is crucial that teens are aware of what holds them back, and they should know how to cope with their developing brain. The complexity of a teen’s brain development, especially with the influence of social media, can produce harmful effects including poor body image, low confidence, and overall weak self-esteem. The modern teenager needs a way to stimulate their brain in a healthy manner, in a way that combats the impact that social media has on it. Physical activity successfully does this, and dance, to be specific, has the power to boost self-esteem and help us navigate our life and identity.
When the body exercises, the brain feels stress and releases the same chemicals that are released during interactions on social media. Endorphins are our bodies’ natural pain killers, so they serve as a potent mental health and esteem booster and give exercise its addictive effect.
Here are some more reasons on how dance provides teenagers with more of the simplicity and clarity that they need:
So whenever you think back to when you were a teenager, think of how you coped with stress and compare it to today’s world. Encourage the younger generation to gain satisfaction from more reliable and healthy sources. Social media and the internet help us in our daily lives, but too much dependence on it alters our vision of reality and leads to unnecessary stress, whereas we can find a strong sense of reward and boost of esteem by merely dancing. Like one of the first graders told me after dancing, dance “makes [you] have a big, big, big, big, big smile on [your] face!”
Christine Myer is a senior who has attended Episcopal since Pre-K. She is senior class president and a member of student vestry. As an active student of campus, she is in dance ensemble and is involved in musical theater. Christine is also a writing fellow, student ambassador, and member of National Honors Society. She loves the community and opportunities Episcopal offers through programs like Thesis and the arts.
When new students arrive on campus on orientation day, for tours or for a shadow day, I love to be the student ambassador with a friendly face that is there for them to answer all of their questions and to try and show them the special aspects of the Episcopal community.
It all started with my eighth-grade self, an outsider to Episcopal, who was terrified to show up to orientation day. I had no idea where anything was, who anyone was, and what exactly I had to do. However, when I arrived at school, two student ambassadors greeted me, answered all of my questions, and took me through my first orientation day with ease. They made me feel at home.
I thought to myself as I was going home, “I would love to help new students and families the way they helped me today.” So, when I got the email from Mrs. Manton asking students if they wanted to be a student ambassador, I immediately filled out the application. I saw this as an opportunity to show new and prospective students around our beautiful campus. Taking them through the VPAC hall with the student-made murals, giving them a taste of what the classrooms and teachers have to offer by introducing them to our wonderful teachers, and showing them the athletic facilities that a majority of our students participate in all the while answering questions about student life, workload, my favorite lunch (cheese ravioli), and anything else they think to ask. That is my favorite part of being a student ambassador.
For me, the job of student ambassador is a way for new and prospective students and parents to hear the voice of the students. It is important enough to me that during my free study on Tuesday mornings last year, whenever there was a tour, I would volunteer to be one of the students to lead it instead of getting ahead on school work or taking a much needed nap. I was upbeat and happy to be there at 8:00 in the morning to meet new families and prospective students, which I will say is rare for any teenager, but it happened.
Every student ambassador walks a different path at Episcopal, but we all make up the community here. We represent all of the opportunities students are given here and are able to talk about them because we participate in them. We provide a different voice, the voice of the student, the kids who live the Episcopal life every day, which is why I love being a student ambassador.
Sydney Summerville is a member of the senior class of 2020. She is a student ambassador, a writing fellow, participates in the select choir, and has played basketball and softball all four years of high school. She plans to play softball and major in nursing in college.
Student Ambassadors play a key role in welcoming new students to the Episcopal community. To learn more about the Episcopal admission process, click here or click on a button below.
The day I got an email from Yale accepting me to their summer pre-college program (YYGS), I felt all sorts of emotions. I was surprised, excited, and anxious all at the same time. I could not believe that I would be spending two weeks of my summer with top students from all over the world at one of my dream schools. In the last two weeks of summer, there I was driving down York Street in New Haven, Connecticut, ready to settle into my new home for the next two weeks: Davenport College, one of the fourteen residential colleges at Yale University. I stepped into the beautifully manicured courtyard of the college and immediately received friendly hellos and warm welcomes. Once the program got started, I attended several lectures, seminars, and simulations. Each day, I got to experience something new and exciting related to biology. I heard a lecture from one of the most famous climate change researchers in the world. I got to see the labs where graduate students were researching new types of cancer treatment. And I even tried writing computer code. In one exercise, my new friends and I exchanged ideas on how to stop an influenza outbreak. In another exercise, my group members and I bounced ideas off one another for our Capstone presentation, a camp-long research presentation; ours was entitled “Save the Bees.” These are only a few of the incredible things I got to experience while attending YYGS.
But these experiences were only the beginning of all that I received from the program. By the time it was over, I had made friends from all over the world. Some of my closest friends were from Kenya, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and South Korea. I still keep in touch with all of them and hope to continue our friendships well into the future. With people coming from so many different places, I was naturally worried about culture clashes. However, I was pleasantly surprised once the program began. I was amazed at how so many diverse people with such different values had gathered together because of their shared passion for biology and medicine. In this group, I did not feel like an American studying the basics of biology; I felt like a part of a global community. We were all curious students who wanted to make a difference in the world. Everyone brought the benefit of their different experiences. While we did celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of the students in the program, we also chose to focus on our similarities. We focused on how we all loved biology and medicine. We focused on cooperating with one another to solve problems, learning new concepts, and thinking about how we could make an impact in our communities.
When I first accepted the invitation to join the summer program, I was initially doing it for the academic opportunity. I did not think I could do any better than to study at Yale. While these opportunities were great, they were superficial features of the program. There was a deeper purpose for the program. I discovered that this opportunity was not about what school I spent two weeks at. The YYGS program is about the people in it, and our collaboration, cooperation, and passion. YYGS was one of the most incredible opportunities that I have been able to experience. The activities I participated in and the people I met were like no other. There truly is nothing that compares, and I am glad to say that I am a YYGS alumna.
Katherine Scarton is a junior in her fifth year at Episcopal. In addition to her involvement in the Thesis program, she is both a math and writing tutor and an active member of Mu Alpha Theta, Science Olympiad, and the Center for Service Learning. She also plays varsity soccer and serves as secretary of the Spanish National Honors Society. Katherine enjoys being such an active member of the Episcopal community and wants to continue exploring the opportunities that Episcopal has to offer.