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Country Day Connection | Spring 2014

From the Head of School

ACDS Character Corner

From the Board President

ACDS Student Spotlight

Important Dates


Gym Renovations

ACDS Alumni Spotlight

ACDS Drama Team

From the Head of School: We’ve all heard of paying it forward, the act of passing on kindness or generosity. At Alexandria Country Day, the school remains true to its mission to “ignite intellectual curiosity and encourage a passion for learning.” One way that we do that is to “learn it forward.” Sharing what we are learning with one another is an essential part of learning it forward. Recently, we have held a series of Singapore Math coffees for our parents so that we may share with them this researchdriven and innovative way to teach math. Our students are not only embracing the Singapore method, but are helping one another as they learn. Our teachers continue to benefit from valuable professional development opportunities both on and off campus. We also want our children to discover their gifts and talents in order to make a positive impact on our world. Sometimes it’s a risk to put our thinking out there, express our ideas, and prove their worth, but it is something that we must all model for our children if we hope to inspire them to take their learning to the next level.

The 2014-2015 school year brings with it the accreditation self-study that we will participate in for our school’s accreditation from the Independent School Association of the Southwest. This is a wonderful opportunity for reflection which will result in improvements on all levels of our school. I am excited about the work that is ahead as we strive for this prestigious independent school recognition through accreditation. I am so proud to be a part of a school that values excellence in education, a spectrum of the arts, philanthropy, physical development, and the benefit of strong character. Professional golfer Phil Mickelson said recently that “excellent education is the greatest gift you can give someone.” Thank you for taking this journey with us as we share – collaborate – solve – and “learn it forward!”

Nancy Rials,

Head of School

ACDS Tiger Entertainment receives national recognition Congratulations to ACDS Tiger Entertainment and LBM Productions for winning the Excellence in Music Award at the 2014 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, Georgia! Thirteen ACDS students and one alumnus participated in the event. The festival is sponsored by iTheatrics and Music Theatre International and it is the largest musical theater festival for students with 4,500 attendees. ACDS Alum Chandler Higgins and current ACDS student, Claire Marie Miller were named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars and six others received “Golden Tickets” to audition for MTI’s DVD production this summer in New York City. At the festival, the students presented a 15-minute selection from the “Into the Woods, Jr.” musical and participated in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals. On March 21st and 22nd the group performed “Into the Woods Jr.” for the Alexandria community at the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. |

Mark your Calendar!

From the Board President: With our gym renovation well under way, it seemed as though this project was never going to get off the ground. We first met with the architect 5 years ago, and finally, the walls were gutted a few weeks ago. Upon seeing that, it occurred to me not to give up on your goals, even though it may seem as though they will never materialize. I’m happy to say that upon returning in August for the next school year, our faculty and students will have a first-class gym that you, as stakeholders, will be proud of. Improvements include bright colors, efficient lighting and HVAC, renovated locker rooms and bathrooms, renovated canteen, more floor space from retractable bleachers, better audio setup, and a poured synthetic multipurpose floor to accommodate all of our activities. The sometimes lengthy process to get to the end of a goal can cause us to give up or lose focus. That process can help shape us into better planners for the next goal. As trustees, we are required to shape the vision of the school. The next

phase that we have deemed ‘Phase 2’ would include a wing of classroom spaces that will extend off of the back of the gym to replace the portable buildings. Stay tuned for more on that later. First, let me thank you for your commitment


ESPN Awards


Academic Awards


8th Grade Washington, D.C. Trip




Field Day


Last Day of School


Last Day of School for Teachers

to the improvements on our campus. Without the financial contributions beyond tuition, none of this would be possible. Our Annual Fund goal was met this year, and the only way we can realize our strategic goals for ACDS is for stakeholders to understand the importance in giving so that we can continue setting our school apart as the best.

Spencer Martin ,


Board President


Mrs. Cespiva’s Class goes into business to help a fellow student Have you ever heard of looming? Mrs. Cespiva’s Second grade class certainly has. When the class learned that one of their fellow ACDS student’s family had lost their home to a fire, the second graders went to work. The whole class made and sold various rainbow looms including bracelets, necklaces, pencil grips, jumpropes and rings. The items ranged from 50 cents to two dollars. After two weeks, the group raised $60! The money was presented to the family by the class. Way to go Mrs. Cespiva’s class. You show us that we are all family at ACDS!

G ENEROSITY ACDS pumps it up for a cause during Jump Rope for Heart event The annual Jump Rope for Heart event, which supports the American Heart Association, was held on February 13th. Last year ACDS raised $8,200, which took the number 10 spot in schools raising money for the entire state of Louisiana. A great accomplishment for a school of our size! This year ACDS decided to raise the bar and make the goal $8,500, and the outcome was phenomenal, to say the least. In less than 2 weeks, the 1st thru 8th graders of ACDS raised $13,500 for the American Heart Association! 75% of students participated raising an average of $50.00 per student. There were 25 students who rose over $200.00 and one student who went even further! Lily Claire Hutson, a 3rd grader, went above and beyond for a reason that was more personal to her. Her sister, a 5th grader at ACDS, had heart problems as a baby. Lily Claire secretively raised over $800.00 in her sister’s name in a 2 week period. What a great example of generosity & compassion!

“ I want to invest in the future growth of ACDS.” Name I would like to remain anonymous on the donor list Email I am an alumni and would like to join the Alumni email list

Visionary ($10,000 and up) Benefactor ($5000 - $9999) Sustainer ($2500 - $4999) Friend ($1000 - $2499) Patron ($600 - $999) Mentor ($250 - $599) Supporter (up to $249)

Amount: Please mail this form with payment to ACDS, 5603 Bayou Rapides Road, Alexandria, LA 71303 OR YOU CAN DONATE ONLINE AT WWW.ACDSONLINE.ORG |

ACDS friends and family gathered together for an evening of music, food, and art during our annual Art Auction. ARTRAGEOUS featured student art from all grades including multiple group projects. The catch of the night was the painted piano worked on by all grades. Also up for live auction were a framed saxophone, a heart-shaped mirror, and many other student collaborative pieces. Music was provided by Graves Theus and his band, Low Key. ACDS parent and River Oaks resident artist, Lynn Sanders, had her art on display and for sale. She also donated a large painting to the live auction as well as 15% of her proceeds from the night to ACDS. Thank you Lynn and thank all of you for supporting this event! The annual art auction serves as our main fundraiser where proceeds go toward the annual fund drive. Thank you sponsors: UDB Financial, Weiss and Goldring, The Martin Foundation, Southern Chevrolet Cadillac, Dr. James Parrish, Gilchrist Construction, CDG Contractors/Engineers, Greg and Hope O’Quin, Midstate Orthopedics, Cenla Urology, The Renois Family, Red River Bank, Mid-South Construction Supply, LLC and BRC. You made our event great! |

ACDS Student Spotlight Caroline Beard Our very own Caroline Beard was recognized by Louisiana Public Broadcasting as a 2014 Louisiana Young Hero. The award honors outstanding students who have achieved inside and outside the classroom or who have

Gracie Reichman In November, Gracie Reichman was named Miss Lafayette’s Outstanding Teen! Centering her campaign on anti-bullying she has coined the term, “Think Twice, Be Nice.” But she’s not leaving it in the competition; she’s now bringing her campaign to ACDS. Most recently, she and a group of friends decided to make a positive impact on our campus climate by distributing over 300 sticky notes with positive compliments on lockers around school. She is now going on to participate in the Miss Louisiana Outstanding Teen competition against 36 other teens

overcome adversity. For the past 19 years, Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge have selected a small group of outstanding students from across the state to receive this award. Caroline is an accomplished dancer, artist, fundraiser and an all-around leader. In her early years, Caroline battled cancer at St. Jude, an organization that she has supported ever since. In 2005, she designed a Christmas ornament that was selected by Oprah Winfrey as one of 100 gifts for that year. Congratulations Caroline!

ages 13 to 17. The winner of that competition will go on to compete for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Gracie’s competitions include: talent, fitness, interviews, on stage questions, and evening gown presentation. So far, she is the youngest contestant. Good Luck Gracie!

Congratulations to our ACDS Students of the Year! Congratulations to Michael Redmond and Alyssa Urbi for being nominated to participate in Louisiana Students of the Year Awards Program. The Students of the Year Awards Program is designed to recognize outstanding elementary, middle/junior high, and high school students

who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement, leadership ability, and citizenship. It is sponsored by the Louisiana State Superintendent through the State Department of Education and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Both students won at the school level and participated at the district level. Alyssa has advanced into the regional level in Baton Rouge. Way to go Michael and Alyssa!

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage


Permit No. 695 Alexandria, LA

5603 Bayou Rapides Road Alexandria, LA 71303 Contact ACDS: Phone: 318-448-1475

ACDS Alumni Spotlight Whitney Williams ACDS graduate Whitney Williams is making a difference all the way in Alaska. Leader, athlete, volunteer, are just a few words to describe her. She has wasted little time making an impact in her community by devoting her time to junior tennis and volunteering with the Special Olympics. And if that wasn’t enough, she is also preparing to represent Alaska at the national MISS TEEN USA® Pageant which will be held this summer in the Bahamas. She has already decided that if chosen MISS TEEN USA®, she will use the national platform to educate younger girls on how to live a healthy life, be confident in who they are, and discuss challenges so that they are empowered to live a successful life. As a nationally ranked tennis player since the age of 9, she is on the Board of Directors for the Alaska Tennis Association and has been active in growing tennis in the state. As a senior in high school she was voted Most Valuable Player of her team for four years and team captain for three. Most recently, she has been awarded a full athletic scholarship to Abilene Christian University to play tennis and will begin in the Fall of 2014.

©Georgina Vaughan Photography

Congratulations Whitney! You are truly making a difference and ACDS will always be rooting for you! |

Thanks To Our Generous Underwriters for your support!

ACDS Spring Newsletter 2014  
ACDS Spring Newsletter 2014