Congratulations to the Middle School MATHCOUNTS team! The seventh and eighth graders won first place in the MATHCOUNTS Chapter Competition at LSU. With 13 schools and 115 students competing, Episcopal’s Autumn Reynolds placed seventh individually. The team, which is coached by Middle School math teacher James Moroney, now qualifies for the state competition. This is Episcopal’s first time returning to the state competition in many years, making the achievement even more special. MATHCOUNTS is a national organization which seeks to make learning math fun and to encourage a love of math among Middle School students. The state competition is set for March 6th in Pineville.
Congratulations to the Episcopal MATHCOUNTS team:
Autumn Reynolds (8th)
Joie Lee (7th)
Hayden Singh (8th)
Joey Roth (8th)
Ivy Jiang (8th)
Luke Stelly (7th)
Hayden Willett (8th)
Noah Vincent (8th)
Ahebwa Muhumuza (8th)
Ayush Patel (8th)
On Saturday, February 1st Episcopal placed 2nd in Division 1 at the Baton Rouge High Mu Alpha Theta math tournament. The tournament was attended by 222 students from 16 schools. Episcopal brought 39 students in grades 5th – 12th that competed in subjects from Algebra 1 to Calculus BC.
1st Luke Stelly
2nd Joie Lee
Honorable Mention – Ahebwa Muhumuza
2nd Joey Roth
Honorable Mention – Akshay Basireddy and Autumn Reynolds
2nd Joy Lee
2nd James Christian
Honorable Mention – Arya Patel
1st Algebra 1 – Luke Stelly, Nate McLean, Autumn Baldridge Anshu Padigala
2nd Comprehensive Math 1 – Hayden Singh, Hayden Willett, Joie Lee, Rebekah Reid
3rd Comprehensive Math 1.5 – Scott McAdams, Akshay Basireddy, Shreya Kamath
2nd Comprehensive Math 2 – Tanvi Dhaka, Aadit Narayanan, Joy Lee, Eugene Jiang
1st Calculus A – Savannah York, Shuhei Niwano, Evan Jurkovic
2nd Calculus B – James Christian, Arya Patel, Elaine Gboloo
1st Lower Interschool
3rd Upper Interschool
Joan Moroney began teaching in 2007. She has taught Honors Geometry, Algebra II, and Honors Algebra II at Episcopal and is a co-sponsor of the Mu Alpha Theta math competition team. Before coming to Episcopal in 2014, Joan taught high school credit math courses to gifted students at Glasgow Middle School in Baton Rouge. She has a Bachelor of Science in secondary mathematics education from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in education from Louisiana State University in gifted education.
“The individual who knows his own aptitudes, and their relative strengths, chooses more intelligently among the world's host of opportunities.” Johnson O’Connor
Today’s students are faced with a myriad of career opportunities, making the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” even more challenging. In addition, today’s technology allows students to envision careers that may not even exist at the moment. For example, artificial intelligence specialist, social media manager and drone pilot are just a few examples of career options that were unheard of decades ago. As students navigate the possibilities, they need all the tools available to determine their career goals.
One of the most well-known aptitude tests, the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), was created based on the work of researcher Johnson O’Connor. O’Connor found that we are all born with natural abilities that make certain activities easier than others. Think about abilities such as spatial relations visualization, concept organization or verbal memory and how they impact your daily activities. When you learn more about your natural strengths in the assessment areas, you can better understand why you are attracted to certain career fields or volunteer activities.
Episcopal’s College Counseling team has been offering students the Highlands Ability Battery for five years now. The team views the assessment as a way to start a conversation with students who are beginning to consider their future more seriously. “The Highlands Ability Battery provides a deeper understanding of who you are,” says College Counseling Director Justin Fenske. “The results should feel right.” Fenske and College Counselor Shandi Fazely both took the HAB. The two say the results helped them understand how they frame their current roles and how they interact with others. They are pleased to help Episcopal students discover the same.
It’s important to know that the HAB is not a determiner of career options, but rather a tool to learn more about innate abilities. In a research report conducted by Dori Stiles, Ph.D. on behalf of the Highlands Company, the author states that “the more closely aligned a person’s job responsibilities are with his/her natural style, the less time and effort he or she expends. In this way, identifying a natural personal style becomes a self-management tool.” Fazely says the assessment helps students understand more about how they work with others and how they get energy from personal interactions. Combined with other data points, this information can help guide the student’s career exploration process.
Unlike college entrance exams, the Highlands Ability Battery is not academic, and no preparation is needed. Episcopal students are invited to take the HAB once between their sophomore and senior years. The test consists of 19 timed assessments which can be taken online over the course of several weeks. Once the assessments are complete, students debrief with a College Counselor to interpret the results. Fenske and Fazely say those results are often confirming, exciting and validating.
The Highlands Ability Battery will be available online beginning February 18th with the College Counseling debrief sessions scheduled for March 16th. There is a cost of $115 to take the assessment. Students interested in participating should contact their counselor for more information or read more here. To register for the assessment, click here.
Congratulations to this year’s Battle of the Books winners!
Middle School - Sixth grade wins!
Lower School - And the top seven teams are!
The Battle of the Books competition is an exciting way to encourage a love of reading among students. After reading the assigned books, students compete in teams to determine the Lower and Middle School division champions. Middle School students participate in a multiple-choice, short answer and puzzle round, while Lower School students compete in a multiple-choice round in the Greer Center.
Battle of the Books has become an annual event at Episcopal. This year, 23 fourth and fifth grade teams participated in the Lower School competition. Lower School librarian Catherine Word says even the younger students are aware of the event and express interest in reading the books. “Kids this age are excited about reading,” she says. “They love reading.” To ensure that the competition has something for everyone, Word chooses books from three different genres that represent different characters and reading levels. She says English teachers Liz Crawford and Margaret Boudreaux keep students motivated throughout the competition by providing time for students to read and encouraging student participation.
The Middle School Battle of the Books competition day is a lively occasion with fist pumping and chest bumping. This year, five teams competed with the sixth grade team coming out on top. Library Director Tiffany Whitehead used the competition to encourage reading and to promote library services. The winning team now has two weeks to prepare for the READgional Battle of the Books event where they will face off against Central Middle School, Denham Springs Junior High School and Runnels.
Looking for a good book recommendation for your little reader? Check out the Battle of the Books reading lists below.
Have you read a great book recently? Share the title in the comments section below.
“Bob” by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
“The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White
“Wedgie & Gizmo” by Suzanne Selfors
“Aru Shah and the End of Time” by Roshani Chokshi
“Beyond the Bright Sea” by Lauren Wolk
“Brave” by Svetlana Chmakova
“Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” by Rita Williams-Garcia
“Greetings from Witness Protection” by Jake Burt
“In the Shadow of the Sun” by Anne Sibley O’Brien
“Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus” by Dusti Bowling
“Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe” by Jo Watson Hackl
“Suspect Red” by L.M. Elliott
“The Red Bandana” (Young Readers Edition) by Tom Rinaldi
Under the Friday night lights of Memorial Stadium as the Knights prepare for battle, a special member of the Episcopal community links arms with the captains and approaches midfield. It’s the Homecoming game, with all the fanfare such an occasion warrants, and Tasha Lemon has been selected by the athletes to serve as their honorary team captain.
Tasha has been a part of the Episcopal community for 10 years. Initially hired part time, she never imagined that someday she would be taking the field or watching little Knights grow up right before her eyes. However, her tremendous work ethic immediately impressed Episcopal administrators, and in no time she was hired permanently. Now, after a decade of service she’s found more than she ever imagined.
A New Beginning
It takes someone with faith, strength and resilience to be open to possibilities, to find the hidden guideposts along the way and to brave a different path. Tasha grew up in a small town in Cajun country. She is daddy’s girl and did whatever she could to spend time with her father. “He was my first true love,” she says. She learned to cook by watching him. “Every time he was in the kitchen, I was there.” She remembers learning the art of making the perfect fried chicken from him at nine years old. To this day she says there are dishes that can’t be replicated by anyone but her beloved dad. As she discusses those moments, it is clear how much they still mean to her and how much they have molded her into the woman she is today. Her father instilled her with an unwavering work ethic and the determination to do the right thing. This gave her the courage and vision to strike out on her own and create the life she desired.
After 13 years in Baton Rouge, Tasha has created an extended family. When she first arrived at Episcopal, people like Chef Pat and Mrs. Mary took her under their wing. “I’ve learned a lot of things here from them,” she says. “They made me who I am today.” Tasha’s extended family also includes the students she serves every day. “I’m here for the kids,” she says with a grin. As she serves the 900+ students each day, she gets to know them. Even though the cafeteria can be a bustling place, she always seems to have time to share a warm hello and that infectious smile.
The Real Deal
“When I think of Tasha all I can think of is her love,” says Chef Pat. “She loves her family, she loves working and most of all she loves the children at Episcopal. She is the real deal. A big smile to match her big heart. And hands down the hardest working person on campus.”
Long before the first student arrives on campus, Tasha is here. Arriving at 6 am she begins preparing the cafeteria for the day. After serving students in the cafeteria, she finishes her day overseeing the Episcopal athletics concession stand as the Knights take on their latest opponent. Tasha has managed the concession stand for five years now, and while the hours may be tiring for some, she enjoys every bit of it. “When you love your job, it comes natural,” she says. And it does come naturally for Tasha. She knows the players, their families and many of the Knights fans. In fact, she has made such an impact on the community that the concession stand is being named in her honor. The Chauvin family chose to honor her in this way because of her connection to their son David. With all of the students and visitors who visit the stand, Tasha always knows just what little David wants and has it ready for him when he stops by. Caring for others is simply what Tasha does and her new beginning has allowed her to express that in meaningful ways.
With strength comes gratitude and the ability to recognize those blessings in unexpected places. “I thank God to be here,” says Tasha. “I’m grateful every morning for a new 24.” When she first joined the Episcopal family all those years ago, she never imagined that one day she would be a blessing to so many. She couldn’t imagine that she would one day be on the field with athletes or that the concession stand would bear her name. She remembers athletic director Randy Richard telling her that the work she does here never goes unnoticed. That sentiment means a lot. “It’s a warm feeling of joy,” she says. “I truly say I’m blessed.”
People like Tasha make the Episcopal community special. She has the heart of a champion and the strength of a Knight. Thank you for sharing your joy with us.
Do you have a special message for Tasha? Leave it in the comments section below.
We are excited to celebrate members of the Class of 2020 as they make their college enrollment decisions. Congratulations!
We are excited to celebrate members of the Class of 2020 as they make their college enrollment decisions. Congratulations!
Almost completely destroyed during World War II, Minsk was rebuilt and is the most populous city in which landlocked European country?
A port city along the Indian Ocean on the Horn of Africa, Mogadishu is the most populous city in what country?
Located near extinct volcanic cones and home to Waitemata Harbour, Auckland is the most populous city of what island country?
If you knew that Belarus, Somalia and New Zealand were the correct answers to the questions above, you might just be Middle School Geography Bee material. This week, eighth graders Ahebwa Muhumuza, Nick Musso, Ryan Richard, Baylen Sim and Hayden Singh competed in Episcopal’s 2020 National Geographic Geography Bee on the VPAC stage in front of the entire Middle School. After five rounds of competition and a tiebreaker, Ahebwa Muhumuza was declared the Episcopal Geography Bee Champion.
The geography knowledge exhibited by this group of Middle School students was remarkable. “Perhaps the best aspect of the Geography Bee was that all contestants went through the first three rounds without missing a question,” says Division Head Mark Engstrom. “We also had a tie after five rounds that led to a tiebreaker.” Despite the difficulty of the questions, the answers seemed to come easy for the students. “The speed with which they could rattle off answers like Myanmar and Yemen was extremely impressive,” says geography teacher Kristina St. George. “While we study these areas in class, the students' intrinsic motivation to learn about our world goes well beyond what we do in a classroom setting.”
The competitors’ teachers weren’t the only ones impressed by the performance. As the bee progressed, the tension in the VPAC among the student spectators was palpable. Murmurs could be heard among the crowd as each student somehow correctly answered questions about remote islands or ancient civilizations. There was a sense that the students truly appreciated the knowledge on display. Once Muhumuza was crowned the winner, the tension broke and everyone enthusiastically congratulated him and the others. In speaking with the competitors, they seem humble and unphased by their geography recall. They say their knowledge is simply a compilation of information they’ve picked up throughout their studies.
Now that the school geography bee is complete, Muhumuza will take an online exam in an attempt to qualify for the state geography bee in March. The winner of the state geography bee then moves on to the nationals in Washington, D.C. this spring for an opportunity to win cash prizes and college scholarships. Good luck, Ahebwa. We’ll be cheering you on!
“This group is the rowdiest of fans and I am appreciative for the effort they put in.” Episcopal Athletic Director Randy Richard
If senior Jack Campbell walks away from an Episcopal sporting event unable to speak because he’s lost his voice, it’s been a good game for him. Campbell, who plays baseball for the Knights, is also the co-president of the Episcopal Fan Club. He and his counterpart, Griff Strain, want to see Episcopal represented at sporting events with the loudest, most passionate group of student fans possible. The two know they have done their job when they hear from the athletes that the student section was audible from the playing field. Campbell takes particular pride in knowing that during a recent rivalry game, the Episcopal student section was larger and louder than the fans on the other side of the field.
Campbell and Strain love sports and the sense of community that athletics generates. “We care about the school a lot,” says Strain, who plays football and baseball for the Knights. He says Fan Club members want to show support for Episcopal. They accomplish this in numerous ways. “It is crucial to have the student fan support for the Episcopal Athletic program,” says Athletic Director Randy Richard. “The Fan Club presidents coordinate our student population; from meeting locations and game day themes to athletic recognition during the school day.” Campbell and Strain are joined in their Fan Club efforts by fellow spirited students Joyner Brown, Sarah Collier, Ella Kimbrough and Will McCarthy.
Being a Fan Club member affords students the opportunity to get to know their classmates and make new connections. Strain says that sense of connection carries over to the school day as a Fan Club member compliments an athlete on a great game. “There’s a smile on their face when you talk to them,” he says. Campbell says attending athletic events has provided him an opportunity to see his classmates in action and to get to know them beyond sitting next to them in math class. The two avid sports fans say the Fan Club experience has also provided them the opportunity to learn more about different sports. For example, Campbell says he has learned more about volleyball and cross country just by being there to support his classmates.
As athletes themselves, Campbell and Strain recognize the importance of support. They say athletes are motivated by having a cheering section. “It means a lot to know that people care,” says Strain. Fan Club members self-organize in an effort to have someone at the majority of Episcopal sporting events so that all athletes can feel that support. This dedication is especially impressive when students attend those early Saturday morning games in the cold or the cross country championships in the rain.
With Fan Club members cheering them on, the Upper and Middle School Knights have done very well this school year with district and state championships. There is more action ahead. Mark these upcoming winter sports events on your calendar. You’re sure to see a Fan Club member there. Feel free to join in their cheers. Go Knights!
Upper School Events:
Monday, February 3rd
5 pm Freshman boys basketball hosts Woodlawn
6 pm Varsity girls basketball team hosts Mentorship Academy
6 pm Varsity girls soccer versus Central at Central
Wednesday, February 5th
5 pm Freshman boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
6 pm Junior varsity boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
7 pm Varsity boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
Thursday, February 6th – Saturday, February 8th
Varsity girls basketball district tournament at Episcopal
Saturday, February 8th
Indoor Track and Field Meet at LSU
Wrestling JV City
Middle School Events:
Monday, February 3rd
5 pm Boys sixth grade basketball versus UHigh
6 pm Boys seventh grade basketball versus UHigh
7 pm Boys eighth grade basketball versus UHigh
Tuesday, February 4th
5:30 pm Boys sixth grade basketball versus Hosanna Christian
6:30 pm Boys eighth grade basketball versus Glen Oaks
Wednesday, February 5th
6:30 pm Boys seventh grade basketball versus Parkview Baptist
State championships. Class quotes. That snapshot of you and your best friend that takes you back to a time you’ll never forget. A school yearbook is a timeless link to those special and fleeting moments. A yearbook is something most of us keep forever. Thumbing through them is like opening a time capsule. But, have you ever stopped to think about how the yearbook is created?
In a second floor classroom in Perkins Hall, a group of nine students pours their hearts and souls into creating a 300-page account of the 2019-2020 Episcopal experience. (Only nine students!) Yearbook advisor Dianne Madden’s room has everything you’d expect from a creative space – low lighting, ideas and photos pinned to the walls, art and design books, and students huddled in front of computers expertly manipulating Photoshop. The vibe in the space is surprisingly relaxed given the work being done inside. There is a sense of focus and enthusiasm. The room is abuzz with creativity.
This year’s editors, Grace Cullens and Emily Culler, are at ease discussing the creative process.The two are confident and have clearly found their Episcopal niche. “I love designing,” says Cullens. “I love Photoshop and taking photos.” “I like to get involved with school,” says Culler. “I have a passion for photography.”
Like an athletic team, yearbook staffers huddle every Monday morning to plan for the upcoming week. The group goes over events and photo assignments to ensure that each Episcopal memory is captured. In addition, each student has a story to tell, whether it’s a spread featuring the soccer team or an update on Middle School robotics. The group divides the assignments based on interest and then they go to work. While the yearbook spreads are presented from nine different perspectives, the students work together to meld their stories into an overall theme. In the end, the memento is cohesive and celebrates the Episcopal spirit at that moment in time.
Yearbook staffers eat, sleep and breathe the yearbook. They meet three times a week, during lunch and even on the weekends if necessary. In June, the students are on campus daily to complete this massive undertaking. Cullens remembers her mom calling to ask when she was coming home. Next year’s editor, Zoe Marceaux, remembers another specific moment. “On June 17th at 1 in the morning, Mason called and said it’s finished,” she recalls of the exact time that last year’s book was ready for print. Mason LaFerney ’19, who won the top individual award in the graphics/artwork category for the 2018/2019 yearbook design at the JEA/Tom Bell Silver Scribe Yearbook Contest, left his mark on this team. They are still inspired by the creativity he shared and they remain in touch with him even as he studies at Boston College.
Madden, the yearbook advisor, is like the proud mother of this yearbook family. As students generate ideas, she seeks to guide them through the process. She is there to ensure that the ideas and themes are relevant to the overall Episcopal community now and even 10 years from now. Madden sees the yearbook experience as one that affords students a range of life lessons. For example, as students work on senior spreads they must communicate with "clients" regarding the information. Students must also work as a team and they must "forage" for information such as quotes, facts and photos. There is an emphasis on practicing ethical journalism standards. All of these are real world skills that will be an asset to students long after graduation.
For those who love creating and sharing, the rewards of yearbook life are plentiful. There are the friendships that are created as a result of spending countless hours together. There are even impromptu dance parties to break up the stress of the long hours. “I love orientation day when people laugh and enjoy what we’ve created,” says Cullens. Culler says she enjoys knowing that today’s students may one day show their own children what the staff designed. For Madden, there is a great reward in seeing a student grow. She also enjoys introducing them to new concepts that can positively impact their design. “I want them to have an informed way of creating through exposure to art history and culture.”
If the editors could share one thing with their classmates, it would be – please stop saying it’s easy. In fact, creating this archive of Episcopal life is a tremendous task requiring commitment and discipline. “I would want people to know how much they’re really doing for the school,” says Madden. “I would want them to know what a service the students are providing.” Madden also encourages students to respond to yearbook staffers if they receive a request for information so that staff can meet the publisher's deadlines. The yearbook staff appreciate feedback from their classmates. Cullens and Culler encourage students to talk to them about their ideas and to let them know if they want to be included.
The next time you reach for your yearbook or think back to the good ole’ days, remember that there is a team of dedicated, passionate students who are working overtime to tell the tale of the Episcopal experience.
Thank you to the 2019/2020 yearbook staff:
Grace Cullens - editor
Emily Culler - editor
Zoe Marceaux - 2020/2021 editor
Callie Hardy (first semester)
Tanya Mencer (first semester)
KC Shimada - photographer
Savannah York - volunteer contributor