Charles deGravelles, or Chaplain Charlie, as he is affectionately known in the Episcopal community, has returned to Woodland Ridge with a mission – to help students of all ages make connections between academics, everyday life and their ability to make a positive difference in the world. He will accomplish this mission by bringing the Quest for Peace class that he once taught in Upper School to every student in every division in interactive and engaging ways.
Watch the video below to hear Chaplain Charlie discuss his vision for the new Quest for Peace Program.
The Quest for Peace Program has tremendous implications for the entire Episcopal community. “Today we sharpen the profile of our school as a leader in education,” said Head of School Hugh McIntosh as he introduced the program. One component of the program, The Quest for Peace Speaker Series, will introduce students to expert speakers with powerful stories and experiences to share regarding the 2018-19 series theme of displacement. For example, local photographer, conservationist and Episcopal alumnus Frank McMains ’92 recently spoke with Upper School Ethics students about environmental concerns facing our region. In the future, Chaplain Charlie hopes to invite local author John Barry who told the story of the Mississippi River flood of 1927 in his book, Rising Tide. Chaplain Charlie will also work with Episcopal faculty and staff to provide resources to enhance classroom lessons. This spring, he plans to bring language students to a citizenship ceremony in downtown Baton Rouge with the hopes of encouraging students to welcome these new U.S. citizens in their native language.
The Quest for Peace Program is made possible because of the love and passion between two brothers. Chaplain Charlie told Upper School students that although he and his twin brother, Judge John deGravelles, fought like the Bible’s Cain and Abel, the two now have a shared passion for social justice. “It is most fitting that two brothers came together to promote peace,” he said.
Judge deGravelles, and his wife Jan, established, in perpetuity, The Charles N. deGravelles Quest for Peace Endowment Fund in honor of Chaplain Charlie because of their belief in his ministries. “In sermons, in the classroom, and through his own social justice ministries, ‘Chaplain Charlie’ modeled for students the core Christian values of integrity, respect, compassion, forgiveness and peace. Particularly in his Upper School course titled The Quest for Peace, Charlie led students out of the classroom into a wide variety of community settings to explore the complex and interconnected causes and possible solutions for social ills such as addiction, mental illness, educational and economic disparities, family violence and crime. He was convinced that the intelligence, enthusiasm, optimism, and faith of his students could be harnessed to make a real difference in addressing these age-old issues in our community and in the world. In the process, Charlie encouraged students to find and develop their own inner resources to become themselves men and women of peace,” said the deGravelles. The School is very grateful to Jan and Johnny for their generous gift and the opportunity and resources it provides to honor Charlie, and strengthen our offerings.
The Quest for Peace Program is one of hope, love and promise. With a Lower School committed to loving their neighbor, a Middle School working toward everyday kindness and an Upper School that is focused on service, The Quest for Peace Program is the perfect addition to Episcopal.
Welcome back, Chaplain Charlie! As you said in Chapel this week, we truly are off on an adventure. We can’t wait for the journey, and to see where it takes us!