Dear Episcopal School of Baton Rouge Community Members,
Many individual life lessons could be extracted and commented upon in a year-end letter such as this one. For me, there is one unifying thread, however, that ran through the unique blend of challenges and opportunities of the 2016-2017 school year: This year revealed our community’s massive, positive strength, and our unwavering dedication to putting students first.
Heroes and heroines emerged in the face of the flood. Students led the way, discovering their collective strength and goodwill toward others. Donors responded before the rain stopped with Bounce Back funding necessary for the early supply of needed things from football helmets to volleyballs to mowers. Faculty and staff members re-discovered the strengths of their colleagues as more and more co-operation was called for to get the school open and to share classroom spaces. The Knights’ coaches and PE instructors rallied again and again to put together practices and games. The parents were more attentive than ever in handling all the schedule changes and in looking out for the well-being of students. No Board of Trustees at this school has worked harder than our Board did during this school year to manage campus repair with financial prudence. I feel privileged to have seen it all happen and come together. What unity, focus, strength and dedication from all corners of the community!
The flood, however, fairly quickly lost dominance of the scene to student accomplishment. Throughout the year, the strength and goodness of the student body provided evidence that it would take more than the August flood to weaken the ethos of this school.
The year-end academic and athletic accolades were confirming like no other year for me. Perhaps the best comprehensive example lies in our Class of 2017’s college admission success, reflecting a new degree of hard work of so many bright and motivated students. In reviewing this year’s college admissions results, you will marvel at the list of selective and highly selective colleges that have
re-discovered Episcopal through the achievements of this great graduating class. The 2016-2017 school year was not, after all, the year of the flood; it was the year that student achievement abounded in new degrees and with greater breadth.
With the Main Gym's return to use in February, flooded buildings including the Phillips Gym, the Lower School building, Penniman Hall, and all flooded courts and fields were fully repaired. All the flooded facilities are in markedly better shape than they were in before the flood. The flood is no longer the story.
On Tuesday, May 30, construction will begin on the Academic Commons - the school’s first new academic building in quite some time. Plans are also underway to invest in expanding athletic facilities as promptly as prudence and funding allow. We are excited to share detailed information with you after Memorial Day regarding these new building initiatives.
From my vantage point, Episcopal has entered a new era of unity and strength around its Mission & Ministry. This community showed itself, in 2016-2017, to be populated with an abundance of natural leadership and strength in students, faculty, coaches, parents, administration, and Board. It was a year for the “strong silent types” to carry the day and not be deterred by distractions and those who lost their way.
Episcopal is not the “school that flooded.” Episcopal is stronger for facing these challenges - from nature and from within - and putting first our sacred duty to nurture and educate our students.
Thank you. It is my privilege to be among those with such positive, reaffirming strength and the willingness to work hard on behalf of this worthy institution.
May we each use these precious days of summer wisely and return in early August to answer the call: Let’s Go!
Hugh M. McIntosh
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8