Grace - St. Luke’s Episcopal school spring 2013
plus: NEW STRATEGIC PLAN UNVEILED FAREWELL TO PAT GRAY & KIM BELL PROFILE: grace after hourS’ ROBERT WARD
special feature: motivated to give: why families support the annual fund
ALUMNI UPDATES & BABY SAINTS CLASS OF 13: OFF TO HIGH SCHOOL
DRAWING A FINE LINE
GSL ‘02 ALUMNA LOUISE SMYTHE PIXAR STORYBOARD ARTIST
from the head of school: In education circles these days, you often hear talk of 21st century skills, meaning things like critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving. While these skills are certainly relevant for today’s world, I would argue that they have been a part of quality education since the time of Socrates. While his style may have been distinctive, Socrates’ goal was to develop in his students the capacity for independent, critical thought. Independent education in America has vigorously sought to promote this kind of thinking in its students since early colonial days. Episcopal schools, including Grace-St. Luke’s, are proud standard bearers of this tradition today. In fact, these ideas are embedded in our mission statement: We want to graduate creative problem solvers, confident lifelong learners, and responsible citizens. So what does that look like in the classroom? Here at GSL, we work to foster deep learning for our students by providing rich and varied experiences for them. We require our students to engage with the broader community, whether as a fourth grade host at the Citizenship Breakfast or as an eighth grade intern. Students are required to perform community service as well, and all of these real world experiences help them connect theory to practice. Circulating through the recent eighth grade internship fair and talking with our students was energizing. When our eighth graders were asked, “What is the most important thing you learned during this experience?” I heard responses such as these: • I learned the importance of listening carefully… • You have to be flexible to achieve your goals… • It’s important to concentrate and work hard… Clearly our students are doing some deep thinking about themselves and how education and work connect. Students use technology, from iPads to SMARTBoards, to investigate a wide range of topics. As early as third grade, our students begin to learn how to research a topic, organize information, and synthesize it into a coherent presentation. As they move through the Lower School grades into Middle School, they deepen their knowledge of the research process, learning how to take notes, develop an outline,
write a rough draft, and polish it into the final copy. I’ve had more than one returning freshman tell me, “Mr. Kvande, when I got to high school, I was the one who knew what the teachers meant when they said, “It’s time to write a research paper!” This past fall, I had an informal conversation with a GSL alumna and her proud parents after the first few months of college. They were describing their daughter’s accommodations at the Honors College of the SEC school she attended. Students in the Honors College have numerous perks, including washing machines that text message your cell phone, private indoor bike storage, and most amazing to me of all, single rooms! When I expressed my disbelief and shock at the luxurious accommodations afforded a freshman student, they laughed and replied, “Well, it’s your fault; GSL prepared her so well!” In this issue of The Anchor magazine, you will again read a cover story about outcomes, featuring one of our bright graduates who has gone on to work at one of the most prestigious employers in her field. Our graduates go on to great accomplishments across the country and abroad, but they look back to their years at GSL as the ones that gave them the foundation for all that was to come. I believe this is true for each one of our alumni; something special happens here on the corner of Peabody and Belvedere, and they know that the learning and experiences they have here prepare them for future success in the world. So enjoy another magnificent issue of The Anchor, and know that while 21st century skills may be the new word in education, here at GSL, we have upheld that tradition for a long time. Sincerely,
Thor A. Kvande Head of School
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New Strategic Plan Unveiled Louise Smythe’s Dream Job Comes to Life at Pixar Campus News Briefs Fourth Grade Teacher Pat Gray Retires Donors Share Why They Give to GSL Alumni Updates & Baby Saints Profile: After Care’s Robert Ward Farewell to Kim Bell Eighth Grade Legacies In Memoriam: Carl Langschmidt & Sue Roberson New Saints on Staff News from the P.A. Saints Superlatives Class of ‘13 Heads to High School
About the Cover: Louise Smythe, GSL Class of ’02, graces the cover of this issue of The Anchor, continuing our alumni cover theme this school year (’04 alum William McGehee was our cover feature in the fall). Louise recently began working full-time as a story artist at Pixar Animation Studios in California, the culmination of years of work and study developing her considerable artistic talents. We are delighted to see her skills recognized at this prestigious studio, where she will get to work with the best in her field. And we are pretty proud to be part of the educational foundation that gave her the strength, confidence, and courage to follow her dream. We think that both Louise’s and William’s accomplishments are a great testament to what you can do when you get your start at GSL. Cover photo courtesy of Disney•Pixar.
Editor: Marci Woodmansee Contributors: Denise DuBois Taylor and Kimberly White Magazine layout by Disciple Design (www.discipledesign.com) The Anchor is a publication of GraceSt. Luke’s Episcopal School. Articles are published at the discretion of the school. To contribute Alumni News, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Grace-St. Luke’s’ mission is to prepare boys and girls to become creative problem solvers, confident lifelong learners, and responsible citizens in their communities and the world. 901.278.0200 www.gslschool.org
Left: Growing GSL, the completed 2013 plan, can be found on our website under “About GSL/Strategic Plan.” Right: Board Vice President Eric Barnes helped facilitate discussion as the committee worked to outline objectives for the plan.
la n s tr a te g ic p SL G ro w in g G
New Strategic Plan Finalized for GSL
Broad objectives outlined to keep school sustainable in future
It started simply enough with a set of surveys. But by the end of an almost eight-month process, five constituencies would be consulted, hundreds of responses would be gathered, dozens of personal and group interviews would be conducted, and countless hours would be spent in the creation of a new strategic plan to outline the future for GSL. The school’s last strategic plan, created in 2005, had served the school extremely well, ultimately resulting in the completion of our new Anchor Center building in 2010. However, it was time to create an updated plan reflecting new goals and priorities that would help keep GSL viable and sustainable in an unpredictable economy and incredibly competitive independent school market. Consequently, the Board of Trustees created a strategic planning committee last summer led by Board Vice President Eric Barnes to create a new plan for the future. The school hired strategic planning consultant Laura Walker to help oversee the process, which began with a comprehensive series of surveys that reached out to multiple constituencies, including parents, faculty, staff, alumni, parents of alumni and members of the church, as well as Board members. The tremendous level of participation was a rich source of feedback. Additionally, Walker visited the campus for several days in the fall, conducting a range of interviews with parents, trustees, faculty, students, administration, the rector of Grace-St. Luke’s Church, and past parents. Both the quantitative data and the anecdotal information were brought together in a day-long strategic planning retreat in October. At that retreat a broad cross section of GSL assembled
to develop the next strategic plan. Faculty, parents, trustees, administration, alumni and past parents all worked together to identify the broad themes coming from the information gathered in the surveys and interviews. Throughout the discussion, there was remarkable consensus about the areas on which GSL should focus in the coming years. Six major themes emerged, and they form the main goals of the new strategic plan. First and foremost, there was widespread agreement that GSL has a unique culture that we wish to promote and articulate, as it is and will be the foundation of all we do. Additionally, strategic goals were set around promoting excellence in teaching and learning, optimizing enrollment, growing diversity, maintaining our facilities, and continuing to provide for the school’s financial stability. Six committees, consisting of parents, board members, faculty, and staff, formed around each of these broad goals, and spent several months articulating and refining the objectives supporting each goal. These were periodically brought to the Board for revision and feedback, finally culminating in unanimous approval in February. “In many ways, the approval of the strategic plan is only the beginning of the process,” Barnes explains. “Faculty and staff, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, will move forward from here to define and pursue the tactics necessary to implement this plan. This was a comprehensive process, involving a wide range of people connected to Grace-St. Luke’s. We are incredibly grateful for everyone’s investment and participation in this process that will help GSL continue to grow, both now and in the future.”
Drawing a Fine Line Dream job comes to life at Pixar for ’02 alumna Louise Smythe
By D e n i s e D u B o i s T a y l o r , Director of Development
Her quick wit, enthusiasm, and excitement are contagious. Simply put, a conversation with GSL ’02 alumna Louise Smythe makes you feel good. Yet, when this buoyant, cheerful personality describes herself as an awkward middle school student at GSL, trying hard to fit in, it belies the confident young woman she has become. “No matter how great your school is, and I can’t tell you how much I love GSL, those middle school years are just hard!” Smythe says. “I was this weird artist girl, who liked gargoyles and dinosaurs and non-girly things. I was also self-conscious and wanted to be cool. I wanted to fit in.” Fortunately, Smythe didn’t let the middle school trials that every adolescent faces stop her from eventually pursuing the things she loved most. “I tried sports and cheerleading and all the things I thought I was supposed to do,” she recalls. “Then I had a conversation with Mrs. Glueck (Diane Glueck, GSL’s middle school art teacher of 32 years). I can’t remember her exact words, but basically she said, ‘Louise, stop it. Stop trying to be something you’re not. Be yourself. You are an artist. Be an artist.’ Those words have stuck with me.” And those words helped set Louise on a path that would allow her to figure out where her considerable talents could best be put to use. “I loved art, and I embraced theater, too,” she explains. “Ms. Reddick (Leslie Reddick, GSL’s 18-year performing arts instructor) really pushed me to be my best. In addition to theater at GSL, I got involved at Playhouse on the Square, and I continued to study both art and theater when I was in high school and college. Theater was like a kind of therapy. I learned to be myself.” After graduating from GSL, Louise completed high school at Hutchison in 2006, and went on to earn her BFA at Washington University in St. Louis. Shortly thereafter, she began doing freelance illustration and character design for small studios while also enrolling in extra classes
at California Institute of the Arts. It was at CalArts that she eventually beat out thousands of other applicants nationally, and some 200 fellow students, to snag a prestigious story internship at Pixar Animation Studios in California. “All the students had to display their portfolios, then leave while representatives from various, major studios reviewed their work,” Smythe says. “From there, you were contacted for an interview. I was lucky enough to get an internship with Pixar, and that led to a full-time position.” Even before the opportunity arose at Pixar, Louise was gaining extensive experience and building an impressive portfolio – all of it in keeping with her lifelong interests. “I always wanted to be an artist in some way or another, and I always had a desire to work with others, whether in books or movies,” Smythe explains. “At one point, I wanted to be like (special effects artist) Carlo Rambaldi and work with Steven Spielberg on creature designs. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, and I actually ended up achieving that goal last year right before the Pixar job happened! I illustrated a book called Uno & Lulu, written by Norman Newell. Then I did some character design work for Warner Brothers TV animation, and along came Pixar about a month later.” Smythe has always worked hard, remained focused, and stayed true to her love of art, even as her career path took a few slight twists and turns, winding its way down the road from children’s book illustrations to animation. “It was during my sophomore year in college that I started to change my mind about my career path,” she says. “I watched the ‘Behind the Scenes’ feature on the DVDs for Aladdin and The Incredibles, and I got hooked! Watching Mark Andrews and Brad Bird talk about the story process really inspired me, specifically. They explain it so well, and
Opposite Page: Left: Smythe at work at The Illustration Academy, a summer program she attended in Kansas City in 2010. Center: One of Smythe’s illustrations from the children’s book Uno & Lulu by author Norman Newell. Right: “This is just a personal sketch I did in my spare time while playing Dungeons & Dragons with some co-workers,” Smythe says. “That’s a fun game to stimulate creative minds!” Left: Destined to work at Pixar: A young Louise with beloved Woody, the hero of Pixar’s 1995 release, Toy Story. Right: Louise Smythe poses with co-worker Mark Andrews and the Best Animated Film Oscar he won for directing Pixar’s 2012 release, Brave.
Mark’s storyboards are just incredible. I had never really thought about the fact that animated movies are made by people, and those people are artists. Then it dawned on me that this could be an actual job. DVD special features led me to my job, in a way. “I also watched a bunch of YouTube videos of Glen Keane’s pencil animation from classic Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorites. Just seeing how alive the characters can become through a few pencil strokes was so cool. I’d also say what attracted me to animation was how many interesting people you get to collaborate with. When you’re a freelancer like I was for a few months, it can get lonely and isolating, but working in an animation studio allows you to be among other gifted artists and you learn a lot from each other.” Now, as a full-time storyboard artist at Pixar, Smythe is surrounded by some of the best and most highly-acclaimed animators and artists in the world. “People like Mark Andrews and Brad Bird are great directors to learn from,” she says. “It’s a huge honor to be Mark’s coworker now. And intimidating. I’ve looked up to him this whole time as a sort of hero, and now we work at the same office? Somebody pinch me! He recently directed Brave, which won an Academy Award, and I was able to get a picture with him and his Oscar.”
My theater training helps me to appreciate where the actors are coming from. It’s been almost like a classroom setting, as I’ve learned to depict characters and scenes while learning how to pitch an idea.” Smythe has also learned a lot by watching older movies and black-andwhite cartoons and studying other animators and illustrators. “I love Chuck Jones, and I really like the movie ET,” she says. “That’s one of my favorite movies ever made. I was definitely influenced by Steven Spielberg, so I wanted to know about who influenced him. You need to discover your influences’ influences.” For Smythe, living in the same area where so many great filmmakers established their careers has made her job even more appealing. “I like how there’s a strong arts community here, especially for animation and its history,” she explains. “Also, being from the South, when you meet another Southerner out here, you bond over it right away; it helps make friends faster! Or maybe it’s just that Southern charm. Also, the weather is perfect. It’s very mild, with lots of cool breezes, and near the ocean; these are all things I enjoy although I do miss those Tennessee thunderstorms!”
Smythe’s years of study and dedication to strengthening her artistic talent ultimately led to this dream job, but unexpectedly, her career has also provided an outlet for the theater skills she honed back in middle school at GSL.
This Southerner-turned-Californian doesn’t have too much time to miss Tennessee thunderstorms anymore. It is not unusual for Pixar animators to work for four to five years completing a single film project, so it could be some time before her name rolls in movie credits, but it will be worth the wait.
“When we make a pitch, we not only present the storyboards, we act them out,” Smythe says. “We perform the characters’ parts. We even make our own sound effects. Animation is just one way of telling a story, and we sell it that way.
In the meantime, Smythe’s advice for GSL students is simple: “Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Trust your gut. If you’d like to learn about something, even if it’s not for a career, go for it!”
“I love storyboarding!” she adds. “I like doing the quick sketches. I like to draw out a theme. It’s very organic. During my internship here, when I was doing 60-200 drawings a week, it was like a continuing of my education. They assigned me to work with older, experienced artists and animators who took the time to explain what we needed to do. I’ve had great mentors who have taught me to see things as a cinematographer would. Story artists basically draw the movie before anything gets animated, which includes character acting, camera moves, and more.
After all, Smythe has done just that. She discovered her love for the arts at GSL, followed her teachers’ advice, and learned to believe in herself. Playing to her strengths paved the way to California, and maybe someday in the not-so-distant future, in addition to her creative artwork, she’ll also be practicing creative writing…on a Pixar-team Oscar speech!
You can view Louise Smythe’s work on her two blogs: http://louise-smythe.blogspot.com or Storyboard Portfolio from CalArts: http://louise-story-portfolio.blogspot.com.
Campus News Preschool News Little Lukers Launch Making the first change to GSL’s grade level configuration in more than 20 years, the school announced in December the creation of Little Lukers, a new program for two-year-olds and young threes at Miss Lee’s Preschool, beginning this August. As Head of School Thor Kvande says, “We are no longer simply a PK-8 school! The decision to develop this program evolved in planning sessions this fall and was based in large part on demand from the community. We knew we could offer an outstanding, age-appropriate, play-based program right here
at GSL, and with continuing requests from both current and prospective families, we decided it was time to launch this initiative. Miss Lee’s has been NAEYC-accredited for many years, giving us a strong background to develop a program reflective of best educational practices for young children.” Children must be two by June 1 to be eligible for this program and can enroll for full-day or half-day with the options of 2 days, 3 days, or 5 days per week. Interested families should email Shelly McGuire at email@example.com for more information.
lower school News Fourth Graders Host 6th Annual Citizenship Breakfast As part of their character education coursework at GSL, fourth graders put on the school’s sixth annual Citizenship Breakfast this spring. Guests included coaches, business leaders, a pilot, a veterinarian, a firefighter, a former Headmaster, mentors, clergy members, and more. County Mayor Mark Luttrell served as special guest speaker and delivered the keynote address. Students introduced their guests and shared essays they wrote, explaining why each guest was invited.
County Mayor Mark Luttrell, keynote speaker at GSL’s Citizenship Breakfast, took questions from the audience, including fourth grader Grace Beaumont.
“Our good citizens had a wonderful time visiting with their fourth grade hosts and hearing what they have learned about good character,” said Head of Lower School Andy Surber. “While academics are a top priority at GSL, we believe it is equally important for our students to develop character and become good citizens, as well. So it is always a real treat for us to host this event, which allows our students to recognize the good leaders who are enriching their understanding of the importance of leadership, citizenship, and social responsibility.”
Katie Kitchin, Executive Director of the Community Alliance for the Homeless, was the guest of fourth grader Miller Pisahl at GSL’s Citizenship Breakfast,
GSL Church Rector Father Richard Lawson delivered the invocation and is pictured with GSL church clergy and staff members Father Joseph Wallace-Williams, Harriet Roberts, and Christi Authement who attended as guests of fourth graders Max White, Griffin Hood, and Cooper Hough.
Second Grade Parade of Presidents Second graders, including Gracie Huggins here as Ronald Reagan, did a great job presenting interesting facts about the American presidents for the whole school at Celebration.
C-O-N-G-R-A-T-S Congratulations to all of the third and fourth graders who participated in this year’s Lower School Spelling Bee, and to finishers Christopher Bird (3rd), Hallie Anderson (1st) and Frances Cates (2nd), pictured here with Head of Lower School Andy Surber.
middle school News 8th Graders Complete Internship Program Alchemy. Downtown Aviation. The Memphis Grizzlies. Archer Malmo. Martin Music. Muddy’s Bakery. Central Animal Hospital. These local businesses and many more, including a New York marketing firm and high-end automotive retailer in California, were the venues hosting GSL eighth graders in three-day internships this spring as part of the school’s annual Independent Internship Project. Roane Waring got to meet professional point guard Mike Conley and learn more about the world of pro basketball during his internship with the Memphis Grizzlies.
GSL alumna and Central Animal Hospital founder Dr. Jennifer Karnes has hosted interns every year since the program’s inception; this year she mentored Emma Heiter.
Skippy Roberts learned all there is to know about some very sweet rides in California at McLaren San Francisco, an automotive retailer of high-performance vehicles.
Eighth graders were responsible for initiating contacts with these businesses and securing an internship on their own. The three-day internships were conducted in lieu of winter trimester exams, and the students produced both written reports as well as visual displays of their experiences for a school-wide presentation fair at the conclusion of the project. The internships give eighth graders a glimpse of the real business world and the opportunity to envision career possibilities that might be available to them in high school, college, and beyond. “We implemented this six years ago to create a meaningful leadership experience for our graduating class,” says Mike Boyer, Head of Middle School. “This project is a unique growth opportunity for our eighth graders because it is so uncommon for students this age to have the chance to intern at a business. We continue to receive very positive feedback from the businesses who have been kind enough to host our students, and we are delighted that it has been such a success.”
middle school News Middle School Speaker Series The first annual Middle School Speaker Series brought a wide variety of great speakers to campus to talk to middle school students, including the following:
A Dinner You Can’t Refuse Eighth graders did a fantastic job serving up lots of delicious food (and earning money for their year-end class trip) at the annual Italian Dinner.
Top, Left: Jimmy Ogle, Memphis historian and tour guide. Top, Right: Susan Stephenson, CEO and co-founder of Independent Bank. Bottom, Left: Taylor Berger, founder and owner of YoLo. Bottom, Right: Congressman Steve Cohen, U.S. Rep, Tennessee’s Ninth District
Spelling It Out Congratulations to all of the fifth through eighth grade students who competed in this year’s Middle School Spelling Bee, and to first place winner, sixth grader Anna Mercedes Lachica.
Wearing It With Style Sixth graders were excited to get their “Class of 2015” sweatshirts at the annual hoodie party, a GSL tradition for sixth grade.
on stage at gsl Middle School Performing Arts
Lower School Class Productions
Senior Kindergarten’s Christmas play is a holiday favorite at GSL. This fall’s middle school production was Grandmother Tales, featuring a number of very memorable characters! Thespian acting and tech awards went to: Sydney Prather, Connor Anderson, Joanna McCall, and Anna Mercedes Lachica.
The annual first grade Cantamos Americanos production was muy buena!
Second graders showed their abundant talent in Go Fish.
The Middle School spring musical production of Into the Woods Jr. included many funny numbers, including this one, “Agony,” performed with flair by brother princes Jay Lattimore and Charles Heiter.
Third graders performed beautifully in Christmas Around the World and then enjoyed their traditional international feast.
Grace After Hours: Home Team Huddle Party An intense hula hoop competition, face painting and more helped students get into the Super Bowl spirit for Grace After Hours’ annual Home Team Huddle Party to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Sixth graders Ayana Walls, Caroline Wood and Anna Mercedes Lachica (left); hula hoopers compete (center).
Fourth graders always put together some incredible costumes for Temples & Tombs.
Ready for Our Close-Up Left: Miss Lee’s Preschool and the old Saints Gym took star turns
recently as venues for local video shoots. In February, Beale Street Studios and Walker & Associates taped a public service announcement about the TNSTARS college savings plans in the Saints Gym. Right: The next month, Miss Lee’s was the venue for a FedEx video being shot by video production company Running Pony and local marketing firm inferno. Maybe this is a new sideline for GSL...
The early years: Mrs. Gray in 1979.
Mrs. Pat Gray
Gray and some of her current fourth graders in the warm and welcom space she has kept sinc ing classroom e joining GSL.
Long-Time Fourth Grade Teacher Pat Gray Retires after 36 years
By M a r c i W o o d ma n s e e , ‘83, Director of Communications
“I’m starting my 36th year here, which means I’ve worked here more than half my life; not many people can say they’ve been in one place that long!” Pat Gray marvels when asked about her long career at GSL. Appointed in the middle of the school year in 1977, this enthusiastic teacher stepped into fourth grade and never left, which was a great boon for GSL. After more than three decades at the school, Gray leaves big shoes to fill when she retires from teaching at the end of this year.
Gray’s daughter Jennifer was actually in fourth grade the year she joined GSL to teach that grade, which can be a tricky thing. “I remember telling Jennifer that someone was going to say, ‘The only reason you’re getting good grades is because your mom is the teacher’,” Gray says. “And someone did! But it all worked out okay in the end. And by the time my son Christopher was in fourth two years later, there were three sections, so it was a much bigger class, and they were used to having me here.”
Gray grew up in Dallas, graduating from college at SMU with a bachelor’s degree in art education. Her parents moved to Memphis during her college years for her father’s job in the cotton industry, and she followed them here after her graduation, soon meeting her husband and securing her first job teaching art at Colonial Middle School. “After getting married, I taught for another year, but soon I was expecting our first child,” she says. “And back then, if there was even a hint that you were expecting, you left! Now teachers work until they are about to go into labor; that is one thing that has changed a lot in this industry!”
In addition to her many teaching responsibilities, Gray also served as co-chair for the last two SAIS/SACS accreditation processes at GSL. And as the school’s SAIS coordinator, she has recorded her colleagues’ professional development hours for the past 10 years. She has worked with six headmasters at GSL and recalls significant changes in her 36 years here.
Gray didn’t teach for the next 10 years. But she and her husband George were living on Harbert in Midtown, so when it was time to put their own children in school, GSL was the natural choice. And after some time, she started subbing at the school. “I remember that when the King Tut exhibit was on tour, the closest city to Memphis that showed the exhibit was New Orleans,” she says. “A bunch of teachers went, and GSL was desperate for subs, so that’s how it started. I decided to get certified in elementary education about this time, and then GSL’s headmaster Canon Gesner asked me to come teach in the middle of the year when they had an opening. So I did, and I stayed. A few years later I got my master’s and certification as a reading specialist.”
“When I started teaching, all the desks were the old-fashioned kind with the attached seats, in rows of course, and classes were much larger; I probably had 20 or so students,” she says. “Teaching was also very textbook-oriented. Now we teach with so many more manipulatives and interactive hands-on tools. There were no computers; we had to go to the public library to look things up. Talk about primitive! But GSL was a great place to be.” After teaching for so many years, Gray has touched the lives of hundreds and hundreds of students and just as many families. In a very current testament to her long-time positive influence on students at GSL, an Alumni Facebook page posting showing a picture of her and two fellow teachers remains our most popular post ever, with some 733 views and numerous comments (see opposite page). Gray is also one of only a few teachers here who is now teaching the
children of students she had when she first started here. “It’s been real special to teach kids of former students; that’s when you see a tradition continue all the way through GSL. When you start seeing kids of kids, you know that we are here to stay. I’ve probably had at least a dozen, and it’s so nice when I get to reconnect with these alumni who are now current parents, who are still just as nice and excited and full of life as they were when they were students here.” It is also not unusual for Gray to run into students she has taught throughout Memphis and even out of town. “GSL kids are everywhere!” she says. “I’ve met former students at Target, at stores we’ve visited while redoing our kitchen, and much more. I still remember a child who was only here one year before his family moved to Rhode Island. A few years after they left, we were visiting my daughter Jennifer who was at Brown in Rhode Island, and as we were walking back to our car after dinner there I heard this, ‘MRS. GRAY!’ And there was that child I had had; his family just happened to be at that same restaurant on the same night. That’s the kind of thing that gives you goose bumps. But with GSL connections, you just never know!” In addition to leaving GSL with many happy memories, she also has a nice collection of good stories, some about former students who now work at GSL, like science and math instructor Jackson Boyd. “In my room we have the Jackson Boyd Memorial Chair,” she laughs. “When he was in my fourth grade class way back when, there was one day when he fell over another student who had bent down to tie his shoe, and he busted his mouth open on one of our old, sturdy, wooden chairs. There was blood everywhere; it was quite a day! The funny thing is that I still have that chair, and sometime last year I was talking with my current students about Mr. Boyd, and I shared that story with them and said, ‘This is the very chair!’ And then one of my students grabbed a piece of paper and wrote ‘Jackson Boyd Memorial Chair’ and taped it on. So yes, it has been fun to see students I taught like Jackson and John Adrian (GSL’s Director of Finance) come back here to work. When students come back, even though I remember that they were students, I don’t see them that way anymore. Teaching and working with people who are younger has been great.” When asked what comes next and what she will miss, this hardworking, fun-loving teacher says she will miss the kids the most, and of course, the faculty. “I think it’s a real special faculty here,” she says. “After this I think I’ll do some volunteering; as most people know, I am a dog person, so there’s always the Humane Society. I told my husband one of the first things I’d like to do is visit Falling Water, a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Pennsylvania. I served years ago as a docent at the Pink Palace, and our former headmaster Tom Beazley has encouraged me to come tutor at Promise. But I want to wait a little bit. I think about Betty Wilson, who recently retired from GSL, because she has enjoyed every minute of her free time. I’m looking forward to it.” After 36 years at GSL, Gray’s retirement time is well-deserved, and she will be greatly missed by all. Thank you, Mrs. Gray, from all of us, for your years of service and for the difference you made at GSL!
In Their Own Words It has been a privilege to have Pat Gray as a colleague. She is always ready to share her experience and love of teaching with teachers new to the school. She always has an interesting story and/ or experience to share. Most of her students can recall at least one story about her dog, Delta, not to mention all of the houses she and her husband, George, have redone. There is never a dull moment in the Gray household with her two new dogs . . . more stories for the students to fondly recall. A trip to Space Camp is not complete without Mrs. Gray, who has been going for more than 20 years. The halls at Grace-St. Luke’s will not be the same next year without Mrs. Gray’s Flying Pigs. We will miss her next year and wish her well in her well-deserved retirement. –Jane Williams and Christy Alberson
This past August, GSL began a “Throwback Thursday” feature on the school and alumni Facebook pages to showcase old GSL yearbook and scrapbook photos. Our second-ever posting on August 9 happened to be a great photo of three beloved GSL teachers—Martha Akin, Pat Gray, and Bond Nunn. Mrs. Gray is the only one of the three still teaching at GSL, and the post became the most-popular ever post on the Alumni page. It also garnered many sweet comments from former students, as well as her son Christopher, which are posted below. Christopher Gray, ‘85: Hey, that’s my mother! I was in second grade when a friend said my mother was teaching one of the fourth grade classes. I was floored; my mom teaching a class just down the hall?! Pat Gray, my mother, is truly dedicated to her profession and hundreds of fourth graders over the years. She is an asset to GSL and a positive educational force for some lucky kids in Memphis. I’m proud of her! Jan Fong Kirschke, ‘90: This brings back such sweet memories from 4th grade with Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Akin! My brother and I both had Mrs. Gray for our homeroom teacher. She was one of our favorites and best for that matter. Glad to see she is still making a difference at GSL. Colin Berry, ‘94: So nice to see these faces again!! Lauren Rauscher, ‘86: I love this photo! Some of my very favorite teachers who inspired me to be an educator! I am so grateful for the influence and foundation I got at GSL! Kacey Hickey Davies, ‘85: Wonderful photo! I had the honor of having two of the three – the fourth grade teaching duo of Pat Gray and Martha Akin. What a great place to learn and grow.
Why We Give to the Annual Fund GSL families talk about the importance of giving By D e n i s e D u B o i s T a y l o r , Director of Development It seems that so many things are costing more and more these days, and tuition is no exception. It costs a lot of money to run a school, and tuition covers only about 85-90% of GSL’s operational budget. So how does a school make ends meet? With tax-deductible contributions from current parents, grandparents, alumni, church members and friends. The Annual Fund (aka Annual Giving Campaign) supplements tuition and is essential to the operation of our school. Likewise, the Annual Fund would not exist without your critical (and tax-deductible) contributions. Just some of the items made possible by Annual Giving donations in recent years include: • Renovation of the Lower School Science Lab • Purchase of iPads and Smartboards • Lighting at Snowden Field • Renovation of the Field House and caboose at Snowden Field • New surface on the Lower School Playground • Upgrade of the Miss Lee’s Playground • Advanced degrees and educational seminars for faculty • And much, much more Your donations not only enhance and strengthen the overall experiences of your children, they directly impact the instructional experiences of our teachers, too: “You cannot imagine how happy I am with my classroom iPads! They have completely revolutionized my teaching! I can’t think of a better way to diversify learning. I have found apps that support every subject I teach. Just recently I gave an assignment to read an article or watch a video on the Science 360 app (produced by the National Science Foundation). My students could hardly wait to tell me what they had learned, then they used their iPads to pursue other interests. Thank you for my iPads. They have enhanced my teaching across the board.” Joyce Bruno, Third Grade
More than 80% of our families understand the need and value of the Annual Fund and make contributions (from $25 to $10,000) every year. Annual Giving generates an average of $200,000 every year to support GSL’s overall operational budget. Have you given? Mail your pledge today in the enclosed envelope, or donate online via the red “Give to GSL” button on our home page, or contact Denise DuBois Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org, 278-0200).
Do no r G i v i n g L e v els : GSL Saint – Up to $99 Luke’s Legion – $100 or more Saint’s Chain – $250 or more ’47 Society – $500 or more Order of the Anchor – $750 or more Headmaster’s Guild – $1,000 or more Trustee’s Circle – $2,500 or more Bishop’s Alliance – $5,000 or more
Any gift of $500 or more is considered a “Lead Gift” and entitles donors to an invitation to the annual Lead Donor Cocktail Party
DOING OUR PART: WHY WE GIVE Mary & Jock Wright Chairs: 2012-2013 Annual Giving Campaign With their children Anna (GSL ’12, St. Agnes ’16); Sam (7th grade); and James (5th grade) “Jock and I are honored to chair the Annual Giving Campaign this year. GSL is truly home for us in Memphis. Our children have been at GSL for the past seven years, and it has given them a foundation to build on as they move on to other phases in their lives. The teachers, academics, athletics, and most importantly, the community are so unique. We really feel that our children’s experience at GSL will guide them through life, and it is something we will all look back on with fondness and love.”
Reem & Nawar Mansour With their children Sophie (4th grade); Isabelle (2nd grade); Nicole (GSL ’10, St. Mary’s ’14); and Alex (GSL ’12, MUS ’16) “We LOVE GSL, because it’s a heartwarming and compassionate environment, while it drives academic excellence. The faculty strive to teach our children courage, integrity, compassion, perseverance, generosity, and selflessness while they are at GSL. The outstanding teachers are the heart of GSL and our most valuable asset, and they deserve the best compensation we are able to give them. They are the ones, with the help of great GSL families, who produce and develop our boys and girls to have well-rounded and strong characters. Also, encouraged by the spirit and environment of GSL, our kids are very involved in our church. They are active in doing different community projects for the homeless and the National Kidney Foundation.”
Courtney & Scott Woodmansee (‘76) With their children Ella (2nd grade) and Lily (starting PK in August) “Our family has a history dating back almost 40 years with GSL. A good number of my family have either attended GSL or are currently enrolled. My sister, Lisa Lassandrello, worked at GSL for close to 20 years. The school holds a special place in our hearts, and we feel honored to be able to give to a school that has meant so much to our family through the years. Courtney and I hope our daughters leave GSL with the same feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that so many in my family have felt.”
Michelle & Donald McClure (’02) “I graduated from GSL (’02) and attended MUS (’06) and Washington University in St. Louis (’10). After college, I worked at Morgan Keegan/Raymond James in Memphis for about two years. Last summer, I married Michelle Bernard, and we recently moved to Denver to pursue a unique and exiting career opportunity. Despite the fact that I graduated from GSL more than 10 years ago and am immersed in a life beyond Memphis, I will always feel connected to GSL. I credit the wonderful foundation developed at GSL – academically, athletically, and socially – for the opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to have in my life beyond GSL. I give because I want to express my gratitude, and I want to help ensure that future generations benefit from the same gifts that GSL gave me.”
(continued on page 14)
Grandparents Make the Difference! Where would GSL be without the enthusiastic support of its many grandparents? They are frequent and highly visible participants at sporting events, Chapel, Celebrations, Grandparents’ Day, and other GSL events. They also have seen the long-term benefits of a GSL education and show their support financially as well. In fact, grandparents contribute about 30% of our Annual Fund each year.
Grandparent Challenge Update: This fall, two sets of grandparents established a $20,000 Grandparent Challenge. Within just a few months, grandparents from all over the country responded, generating an additional $26,000!
Meet Our Grandparent Challengers: Dr. Rex & Johnnie Amonette Children: Amy Amonette Huber, ‘81; Jill Amonette Kadrie, ‘84 Grandchildren: Abby Huber (GSL ’10, St. Mary’s ‘14); Margo Huber (8th grade); J.D. Huber (5th grade) “We have a long, wonderful history with Grace-St. Luke’s. Our two daughters, one a physician and one an attorney, are graduates. One granddaughter has graduated, and two other grandchildren are presently students. There is a special, indefinable something about GSL that we all cherish. While we know well that the academic education is excellent, we also know that GSL provides an education that prepares students for life’s challenges. Students leave as true individuals prepared to change the world in large and small ways. We will always want to support this outstanding school that has meant so much to our family and to everyone who has been fortunate enough to have the GSL experience.”
Drs. James & Ann Jarratt Grandchildren: Kendall Jones (GSL ’04, St. Agnes ‘08, University of Arkansas, ‘13); Hannah Jones (GSL ’09, St. Agnes ‘13); Pierce Jones (GSL ’11, MUS ‘15); Webb Emerson (GSL ’08, CBHS ‘12, Mississippi State University ‘16); Tess Emerson (7th grade) “Through the years since our first grandchild enrolled at GSL, we’ve observed how thinking skills have been fostered. Equally significant in our eyes is how moral and social skills are emphasized and personal responsibility is expected. GSL prepares its students to be lifelong learners and productive citizens. I can’t imagine a more worthy cause to support. Having five precious grandchildren attend GSL sealed the deal for us.”
Alumni are listed by the last year they completed at GSL.
‘77 Many thanks to Memphis City Beautiful Commissioner and GSL alumna Ginger Rucks Acuff, who visited GSL’s afterschool care program with City Beautiful team members this year to talk to students about recycling and other green initiatives.
It is the custom for Memphis “expats” in NYC to gather at Manhattan’s Amity Hall (or the larger bar next door) to watch Grizzlies games together. Pictured at this Grizzlies/Spurs game in December are (l to r) Bill Callahan, Product Manager with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Chris Wallace, General Manager of the Grizzlies; and David Pontius, Vice President at MTS Health Investors, a private equity firm.
Ardent Studio’s Jonathan Pekar, videographer for GSL’s 30 second and 3-minute commercial last year, was featured in the Commercial Appeal in February. He is currently the director of film at Ardent, and recently brought home a MidSouth Emmy Award for a commercial he wrote and produced for the Memphis Music Foundation.
‘90 Jason Potter (Director of Promotions and Event Presentation for the Memphis Grizzlies) was featured in an article in the Memphis Daily News in February. Jason has been in Memphis since graduating from Indiana University in 2000.
‘97 Rob Mayer and Seth Regenold are serving along with John Adrian (’98) on the Associate Board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South.
‘98 Clothing designer Annie Gerber Griffin was featured in the March 2013 Southern Tastemakers section of Southern Living.
‘01 Patrick L. Howie is working for the Boys Scouts of America as the Baden Powell District Executive for the Northern Jacksonville Council (Florida). In December, he attended a national conference in Texas and was recognized as one of the top new DEs in the country, receiving a National Quality District award in recognition of excellence in fall recruitment (470 new boys) and fall programming.
‘02 Duncan Adrian received his Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Memphis and is a Staff Engineer with Geotechnology, Inc. Elize Mercer graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 and is employed as a Search Team Leader with Rimm-Kaufman Group in Charlottesville, Virginia. Sarah Mercer graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 and is employed as a structural/civil engineer with the Pickering Firm here in Memphis.
Andy Rock, owner of Memphis-based Any Lab Test Now, married Shannon Arbour in August in Las Vegas
‘03 Robby Skinner has been accepted into UT School of Medicine. Ferrell Varner, Jr. will graduate from the Saba University School of Medicine in the Caribbean in August.
Save the Date! GSL Alumni Reunion: May 10, 2014 To volunteer and/or serve as a class rep and help spread the word about this event, email Alumni Board President Billy Schaffer (’84) at email@example.com. More information to come on the GSL Alumni Association Facebook page. Stay in touch (so we can make sure you are invited to this event) by emailing your current contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘05 Rachael Mercer is in her senior year at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN where she is a member of the women’s Division 3 swim team.
‘07 Michael Jalfon, an MUS senior, was recognized by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program as a 12-13 Scholar because of his strong GPA and performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. (continued on page 16)
‘08 Will McGee performed in an all-freshman band in Belmont’s
New Baby Saints!
Country Music Showcase in February.
‘09 Congratulations to GSL alumnae and St. Agnes seniors Lauren Bell and Elizabeth Shearon who helped lead their volleyball team to St. Agnes Academy’s first-ever state title!
Parker-Leigh Juby Evans (‘94) and husband David welcomed daughter Skye Adler Evans on August 31, 2012.
Taliaferro Oates (’96) and wife Kate welcomed Susan Henley Oates (Henley) on March 5, 2013.
John Pontius (’96) and wife Lynde welcomed John Hofmann Pontius III on February 9, 2013.
Charlie Gerber (’97) and his wife welcomed Charles Cole Gerber lll (Cole) on October 16, 2012.
Seven GSL alumnae were inducted into the National Honor Society at St. Mary’s in February: Molly Hanna, Mallory Prater, Abby Huber, Mary Allison Pritchard, Bailey Archey; (Nicole Mansour and Kelsie Jones not pictured).
‘11 Claire Sentilles and Anna Johnson were on the Hutchison Sting varsity cross country team, which won the West TN Girls Cross Country League Championship at Shelby Farms in the fall. Claire placed fourth.
‘12 Rainey Charbonnet won first place on the lower level vocabulary test at the 2012 Latin Fall Festivus event at MUS.
CBHS named Liam Gildea one of its Class of 2016 De La Salle Scholars in November. These students are recognized as among the most gifted and dedicated students who are enrolled in honors or AP courses and encouraged to realize outstanding academic growth during their time at CBHS.
Michael McLaren (‘97) and wife Courtney welcomed Michael Christopher McLaren, Jr. (Mack) on January 24, 2013.
Commercial Appeal’s Best of the Preps 2012: Cross Country Girls, Private Schools: Molly Hanna (’10), St. Mary’s junior and Claire Sentilles (’11), Hutchison sophomore Cross Country Boys, Private Schools: MUS sophomores Baker Ball (’11) and Max Simpson (’11).
Annie Gerber Griffin (’98) and her husband welcomed John Paxton Griffin (Jack) on September 16, 2012.
Will Maddox (’00) and wife Mary welcomed daughter Notley LeMay Maddox on September 28, 2012.
’03 Grads Reunite to Support Campaign: Dartmouth graduate Marshall Bartlett (second from right) ran in a special election for the Mississippi House of Representatives, District 11, with the help of former classmate and Tulane graduate William Payne (center), his campaign manager and web designer. Showing their support at a recent political event in Como, MS were former GSL classmates (left to right) McCauley Williams, a UVA graduate, law student and intern with Paul Tudor Jones; Nick Palazola, a former Montessori teacher and current U of M student; and Justin Brooks, who is working for The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Memphis.
Robert pensable The indis at GSL. b jo on the
First graders were divided into three grou rehearsed for ps and several weeks with Mr. Robe dressed in ‘70 rt. They s, ‘80s, or ‘90 s costumes fo Celebration pe r the rformance in front of the wh big ole school.
Grace After Hours Profile:
Mr. Kvande visits with ninth grade alumni
Cole O’Keeffe (’12) and Will Harwell (’12).
Hutchison Honors: At Hutchison’s Fall 2012 Sports Banquet, Claire Sentilles (‘11) was named MVP for varsity cross country, Anna Harwood (‘10) was named most improved player in JV volleyball, and Rainey Charbonnet (‘12) received the leadership award for freshman volleyball. Fun in D.C.: GSL Church’s organist Wesley Emerson visited D.C. in the fall and attended a small dinner party held in his honor by several GSL alumni. Front row:
Marynelle Wilson (’94), Wesley Emerson,
Elizabeth Tual (’00), host Kacey Hickey Davies (’85); back row: Anne Cook Burruss, John Burruss (’95) holding baby Jack Burruss, and Lulu Wilson (’99).
During the afternoons at GSL, he is best-known as Mr. Robert, long-time after-care instructor with the ready smile, easy laugh, and unflappable demeanor. But to hundreds of GSL and neighborhood children who have also been lucky enough to enroll in his summer camp dance classes, he is also an expert choreographer with some of the hottest dance moves around. In fact, dance is his first love, and when he is not working at GSL, Ward stays even busier running his professional dance company M-Town Image, which boasts more than 50 members and tours nationally, performing at such prestigious locales as New York’s Apollo Theatre and at several D.C. events during the recent presidential inauguration. At press time his company is rehearsing for an upcoming hip hop dance competition in Memphis, and planning for a tour in Rome that is scheduled in May. A native Memphian, Ward attended Douglass Elementary School and began training in dance at an early age. He continued to pursue these interests at Craigmont High School, where he also participated in choir and the marching band, graduating in 1998. He began working at GSL in 1999, and soon after launched his first week-long hip hop summer camp. The hip hop camp became one of GSL’s most popular offerings, and this summer he will offer three sessions. He is also in demand every year as a dance judge at the school’s Father-Daughter Dance. Finally, it has become a tradition for Ward to train the first graders for a dance performance at Celebration. This year’s “Dance Tribute to the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s” was perhaps his most ambitious work to date, garnering rave reviews from an enthusiastic student and parent audience. (View it on Vimeo:
“I guess I’m just a jack of all trades and kind of a Pied Piper of children around here,” Ward says with a smile. “I have always loved dance, but I was fortunate to get into leadership roles early on that allowed me the opportunity to help mentor younger dancers and form a company to pursue this interest. It really all started in my grandmother’s backyard, but now my company primarily trains at Davis Community Center and First Congregational Church. We travel as much as we can, and it’s a lot of work but I love it. I feel like I’m still 18; I’m living a fun life!” spring
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GSL Bids Farewell to Third Grade Teacher Kim Bell By M a r c i W o o d ma n s e e , ‘83, Director of Communications Third grade teacher Kim Bell got her start in the GSL community on the church side of campus, working for three years in the infant and toddler rooms at the church’s Parents’ Day Out program. But shortly after her oldest child, Bobby, started pre-kindergarten at GSL in 1995, and after subbing for the school for about a year in 1997, she eventually made the jump over to the school side of things where she has been ever since.
With her youngest child, Lauren, about to graduate from high school and join older siblings Katie and Bobby at the University of Alabama, it is time for Bell and her husband Bob, who is finally retiring, to make their permanent home in Guntersville, Alabama, where they have kept a house on the lake for the past five years. While she is looking forward to the change, there are many things about GSL that will be hard to leave.
Bell started out in 1998 at Miss Lee’s Preschool, working for four years with Miss Meg and for one year with former teacher Kim Roberts in what was then the Spunky Monkey room. “I always thought I wanted to do kindergarten forever,” Bell says with a smile. “But then, there was an opening in third grade!”
“All three of our children went here, and I always knew I would love to teach here,” she says. “It’s such a wonderful place, and very special. I always liked the whole approach to learning in a fun way, through play. Moving to third grade was fun just because of the fact that the children know how to read, and we can just do so many things. That’s been a big part of it. I love to teach reading and math. We do lots of extra things that enhance reading, like making the quilt that goes with our reading of Little House in the Big Woods, and cracking hard-boiled eggs on our head when we read Ramona Quimby, Age 8. We really bring the books to life and I love that part. I’m definitely going to miss that.”
Bell was certified to teach infant through 4th grade with an undergraduate degree in early childhood education (magna cum laude) from the U of M, and third grade became her new home. Bell already knew fellow third grade teachers Joyce Bruno, who had taught Bell’s children, and Evelyn Stevens. “I felt honored to even be part of this team, and so although at first I wasn’t sure about moving to third grade, I ended up loving it and have been here ever since!” Bell eventually added a master’s degree in elementary education (summa cum laude) from Union University to her resume. And now 15 years after joining GSL, she finds herself at a turning point.
When Bell leaves GSL this summer, she too will be greatly missed, and not only by countless former third grade students, but also by the legions of families who know her as “the LEGO lady” from her wildly popular summer camp series.
Left: Three amigos: Kim Bell, Joyce Bruno, and Carrie Galphin. Bottom, Left: Expert reader Bell in her Cat in the Hat regalia at GSL’s Family Story Night. Bottom, Right: Bell spent many hours this year with GSL’s former math teacher Mr. Phil at the scorekeepers’ table, keeping the stats for 101 home games!
“Ah, LEGO camp!” Bell laughs. “That was something I started after my first year in third grade. I remember our then head of Lower School Katherine Barr said, ‘Are you sure people will want to do this?’ But my son Bobby had a great love of LEGO building and I just thought, what if I put them out and let kids play? And she called me about two weeks after we announced it and told me it was completely full, so I knew we were on to something. We’ve sold it out every year since. One of the attractions is always the vintage sets of Bobby’s that I bring in—the oldies but goodies—not the same things that are on the shelves at Target. That’s what some of these campers come back to play with year after year.” This summer will Bell will conduct her last two LEGO camps for GSL. She will also wrap up her duties as TAIS liaison for the school, and as expert guest reader (complete with Cat in the Hat costume) during Family Story Night. She will also be missed at the scorekeepers’ table next basketball season, where she has worked the past two years keeping the stats alongside former GSL teacher Clay Phillips on the clock. “We figured out we did 101 games together this year!” Bell has made many great memories at GSL and says that things she will miss the most include special traditional third grade events such as the annual Stations of the Cross presentation and Christmas Around the World program. “And limericks! Third
grade is the year of limericks,” she adds. “Of course I have also truly enjoyed working with Joyce all these years; she’s really been a mentor to me. Then Carrie Galphin brought a breath of fresh air to third grade. And [former teacher] Evelyn Stevens—we all wanted to be like her; she had the patience of Job!” While the move is a big change, Bell is excited about the future. “This was definitely something we agonized over, and I’m really going to miss GSL,” she says. “Whenever we say the school prayer in chapel about teaching and learning, I always think about these things. But this is a new chapter in our married life and in my professional life, and I hope that it’s a good thing.” The faculty’s year-end party has been hosted by Bell at her home for nearly a decade now. Since her house is sold, this year’s festivities will be on campus, and undoubtedly somewhat bittersweet. But it’s a safe bet that Bell will be feeling lots of love from a community of teachers and staff members who will miss her tremendously. We wish her all the best. Visit this link to learn more about the origin and purpose of Bell’s LEGO camps. http://www.legobuildersoftomorrow.com/ be_winner2.html.
Legacy Students at GSL: Continuing the Saints Tradition Congratulations to our four graduating eighth grade legacies, featured below with their alumni parents. We will miss you next year!
Battle Boyd | GSL 2011-13 Favorite GSL Class: American History Favorite Extracurriculars: Basketball & football What you most look forward to each week: Seeing my friends at school Best GSL memory to date: The student-faculty basketball game, even though we got creamed. What you will miss most: Home basketball games, my friends, and the sense of community at GSL. Dad: Hal Boyd | GSL 1976-79 Favorite Teacher: Nick Scully Favorite Extracurriculars: Golf and practicing football on the Overton Park field by the lake GSL Memories: 1. Standing at the Middle School door where my son, Battle, now enters school, I remember Jennifer Dodge took a backswing with my seven iron and opened up my skull. Blood ran down my only Izod shirt. 2. Catching the 50 Central bus from school back home with Phil Canale. I got off at Goodwyn. 3. I thought Mrs. Witherspoon, who taught Algebra was hot. She was pregnant.
Caroline Jones | GSL 2003-13 Favorite GSL Class: Spanish Favorite Extracurriculars: Soccer and track What you most look forward to each week: Friday morning cookies Best GSL memory to date: The 7th grade trip to Chicago What you will miss most: All of my amazing friends and teachers Dad: Ken Jones | GSL 1973-79 Favorite Teacher: Mrs. Knight (all of the teachers were great!) Favorite Extracurriculars: Soccer and basketball (played through Idlewild Pres., our family’s church) Best GSL Memory: Recess on the old playground (kickball and swinging) and playing prison warball in PE.
Margo Huber | GSL 2003-13 Favorite GSL Class: English Favorite Extracurriculars: Basketball & volleyball What you most look forward to each week: Seeing my friends Best GSL memory to date: Pranking Mr. Boyd’s math class. What you will miss most: The fabulous teachers Mom: Amy Amonette Huber | GSL 1973-81 Favorite Teacher: Sarah Black for English Favorite Extracurricular: Playing basketball for Coach Scully. During my 9th grade year, our record was 21-1. Favorite Memory: Class trips! We went to Blanchard springs, the Ozarks, Disney World and Chicago.
Callan Truitt | GSL 2003-13 Favorite GSL Class: Math Favorite Extracurriculars: Volleyball, cheer, track What you most look forward to each week: Math class with Carter What you will miss most: My friends Dad: Kelly Truitt | GSL 1973-79 Favorite Teachers: Mr. Gamble, Uncle Nick Scully for History and Senora Griffin. Favorite Class: Mr. Gamble for all his science classes; he was demanding but made it fun. Favorite Extracurriculars: Soccer, cross-country and being the 7th grader manager of the varsity basketball team, which included a road trip to Florida! Favorite Memory: On our 8th grade trip to St. Louis. The boys were getting a bit rowdy, so the teacher/chaperones (Scully, Lass, Clouse, Gamble, etc.) challenged us to a wrestling match “outside” to show who was in charge. The match ended when an unnamed student threw a cheap shot/body block into an unnamed teacher’s knee. Watching the teacher’s momentary agony and distressed looks on the faces of the other chaperones—priceless!
In Memoriam Carl H. Langschmidt, Jr.
Sue Evans Roberson
Former GSL Board Member, Basketball Coach, and Long-Time Benefactor
GSL Bible & Art Teacher, 1968-1977
Known affectionately by his friends and colleagues at GSL as “the Great Lang,” Carl Langschmidt died at age 81 on November 18, 2012 after a brief illness. As stated in his Commercial Appeal obituary, Langschmidt was born September 17, 1931, the only son of Evelyn Hall and Carl H. Langschmidt, Sr., who competed for Germany in the 1928 Olympics. He graduated from Central High School in 1949 and was an All-Memphis and All-State basketball player, helping lead Central High School to an undefeated record in the 1948-49 city league. Lang attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee where he played varsity basketball. He then studied law, and after finishing law school and serving briefly in the Army, he returned to Memphis in 1957 and practiced law until his retirement in 2002. A devout Episcopalian and keenly intelligent man, his passion throughout life was basketball. He coached the GSL Church League’s sixth-grade basketball team for 10 years in the ‘80s, coaching his teams to many victories and teaching his players the lessons of basketball and life. Coach Lang gave of his time and treasure to GSL School as well as GSL Church. In 1991, he established an honorarium creating an award in honor of his beloved late wife, Paula Rainey Langschmidt, to be given at the end of every school year to a seventh grade student who demonstrated all-around excellence in scholarship, sports, school activities, sportsmanship, conduct and character. His kind gift has benefited GSL students for more than 20 years now, and we are truly grateful for his love and support.
New Saints on Staff
Known to the younger kids at GSL simply as “Miss Sue,” Sue Roberson died at age 75 on March 8 at King’s Daughters and Sons Home in Bartlett, Tennessee. She was born July 27, 1937, in Vicksburg, Mississippi and is survived by her four children and eight grandchildren. As stated in her Commercial Appeal obituary, she graduated in 1970 from the University of Memphis with a BFA. She taught art and Bible at GSL for nearly 10 years before going on to teach in the US Virgin Islands and then at Ripley High School in Lauderdale County. She was a member of Covington Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church since 1996 and served the church in many ways and in a variety of leadership positions. In 1970-71, GSL’s sixth grade class dedicated The Banner Yearbook to Sue Roberson; their dedication as published in the yearbook read as follows: Mrs. Sue Roberson is the most understanding art and
Bible teacher Grace-St. Luke’s has ever had. She has been with us three years. She has taught art and Bible to grades one through six. Also she has put in many long hours working on the scenery and lighting for Parent’s Night. She has handled many outside activities such as the Art Show at Brooks Art Gallery, the Girl Scouts, and others. She has found time to care for each of her students as individuals. Mrs. Roberson is a wonderful teacher and we are lucky to have her.
GSL was delighted to welcome two new staff members to campus after the start of the school year. We are glad to have them at GSL!
Degree: Pursuing a B.S. in Organizational
Degrees: Bachelor’s in Electronics and
Leadership at Bethel University
Communication Engineering in India;
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Master’s in Engineering Technology
Family: Husband Damon; kids Jonathan
at U of M Hometown: Hyderabad, Andhra
(22), Maria (21), and Mia (8) Before GSL? I was the Development Coordinator/Contribution
Systems Coordinator for Methodist Healthcare Foundation for 13 years
Family: Parents and two older brothers
First job: Babysitter
Before GSL? I came to the U.S. to pursue my masters at the
Career highlight to date: Finally making time for college and
University of Memphis; after graduation, I started working as a web
maintaining a B average
developer at Adams Keegan.
Hobbies: Riding my bike down by the river
First job: Customer Service Representative at a call center
Last book read: The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Worst job: Sales Assistant at Onida
Favorite film or music: My favorite music is by Kem, Willie Clayton &
Career highlight to date: Being at GSL and putting my knowledge
towards better use.
Favorite vacation spot: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hobbies: Cricket, racquetball, running, outdoor adventures
Something people wouldn’t know about you: Driving on the
Last book read: The 3 Mistakes of My Life by Chetan Bhagat
expressway makes me very nervous.
Favorite film or music: 3 Idiots (a 2009 Indian movie)
What you like most about GSL: Everyone is so pleasant
Favorite vacation spot: Tirupathi, India
What you like most about GSL: People, the culture, and the work. spring
By A m y H u b e r , ‘81, 2012-13 P.A. President
By the time you read this, we will be preparing for the last month of the school year. The year seems to have flown by, as the years always do, and I hope that every parent has either participated in or volunteered for one of our many P.A. events. This is a very special community that becomes even more valuable when you become fully involved. As I write this, we are preparing for one of our biggest annual events: the Anchor Auction. I will go ahead and thank repeat Auction Chairs Shantih Smythe and Anna Holtzclaw and their wonderful team of volunteers who worked so hard to make it a successful evening for GSL. And while I am thanking people, let me also say thank you to everyone who supported our fall fundraiser by purchasing original artwork created by our students. Thank you for joining us at Laurelwood for this year’s Book Fair. Thank you for donating your own books to the Book Swap. Thank you for coming to the Italian Dinner and supporting the eighth graders’ biggest event of the year. Thank you for buying SpiritWear for your kids, your spouse, and/or your grandparents, and thank you even more for wearing it with pride and showing the world how much you love GSL! Thank you for putting together an outlandish costume and dancing with your daughter at the FatherDaughter Dance. Thank you for bowling with your son at the MotherSon event. Thank you for serving a delicious meal to GSL’s hardworking faculty and staff at the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Thank you so much, everyone, for all that you do to contribute to our community. You may be wondering at this point, what DO we do with the money we raise from all of these P.A. events every year? I am happy to tell you that the proceeds raised help us grant teacher “wish list” requests for items that in turn enhance their classrooms and the overall educational experience for all of our children. So in a very real way, by supporting the P.A.’s events, you are ultimately paying it forward to your children, in addition to making this community an even more fun and enriching place to spend time with your family. I love the family of families here at GSL. Enjoy your last month of the school year. We will miss our friends whose children are graduating, and we wish you all the best in your high school journey. We look forward to seeing everyone else back next fall. GO SAINTS!!!
First Photo: Eighth grade dads Kelly Truitt, Jason Hood, and John Huber get it done in the kitchen at the Italian Dinner. Second: Dynamic duo was the theme, and Dennis Elrod and daughter Elizabeth put an Alice in Wonderland spin on it for this year’s Father-Daughter Dance. Third: Fourth graders Stephen Cates, Cooper Hough, Keenan Surber, Reese McMullen, and Anish Peddi show the incredible strength of their bowling arms at their first mother-son event. Fourth: With new books in hand, Paxton Smythe and Addison Wilson are all smiles at this year’s Book Fair. Fifth: Junior kindergartner Samuel Gilreath found some great children’s classics at this year’s annual Book Swap.
Saints S uperlatives Student and faculty accomplishments outside the classroom.
Special Student Achievements Eighth grader Battle Boyd was selected by International Paper as one of its three middle school Keepers of the Dream award recipients. He was nominated by Volunteer MidSouth and was recognized in October at the National Civil Rights Museum’s annual ceremony. Third grader Mallory Miller won second place for her age group, which included a nice $75 prize, at the MidSouth Art Fair this fall. A number of students from GSL participated in NutRemix this year, a holiday dance production put on every December by New Ballet Ensemble, a company that was founded by GSL alumna Katie Smythe Thinnes (‘77). GSL dancers pictured here are: (Front Row) Meriwether McLean; (Second Row) Ava Vining, Caroline Seamons, Winnie Wilson, Merrill Ford, Eve West, Mia Jones; (Third Row): fans Sara Fraser and Evans Lawson plus dancers Adaline Lawson and Isabelle Sharp. Dancers not pictured here who also appeared in the show include Katie Himes, Meg Selvidge, Sara Kate Burnett, Georgia Brown, and Molly McGehee. At the end of the 2012 long course swim season, fifth grader Claire Epperson was ranked ninth in the nation among 10 & under girls in the 400 meter freestyle. Her time was 5:04.73. The GSL Library received a very nice donation from two GSL students this year: fourth grader Emily Roper donated 88 hardcover and softcover books, and seventh grader Grace Lee donated 83 hardcover and softcover books. According to librarian Jan Willis, both students take such good care of their personal books, the copies they donated were in perfect, pristine condition.
Eighth graders Bailey Pletz and Carter Stovall made the All Tournament Shelby 7/8 Basketball team in February. Eighth grader Riggs Markham qualified to compete in the state’s National Geographic Spelling Bee in Nashville in April.
Faculty in Action Christi Andre, SK assistant teacher in the Marvelous Meerkats room, received her Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Elementary Education from CBU in December. Katie Longoria, JK assistant teacher in the Playful Pups room, received her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Memphis in December. SK teacher Amie Plumley and her co-author Andria Lisle reveal the wonderful world of machine sewing in their second book, Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing, to be published in May. Head of Preschool Jennifer Vest was accepted into Vanderbilt University’s Ed.D. program (Doctor of Education) in Educational Leadership and Policy, with a K-12 concentration. She begins this 36-month program with a weekend-based curriculum this summer. The Peabody College at Vanderbilt has been ranked the #1 graduate school of education by U.S. News and World Report for the past five years, and Vest was one of only 10 participants chosen for the prestigious program. John Adrian is a mentor with the Grizzlies Foundation Team Up program and was recently featured in a Team Up commercial. (http://
A number of GSL faculty members shared their expertise during conference presentations at the TAIS 2012 Biennial Conference. Presenters included the following: Thor Kvande and Kimberly White (on the 8th Grade Internship Project); Kimberly White four more times – wow! (on digital lesson plans, digital documents, the paperless classroom, and paperless presentations); Amie Plumley, Libby Shannon, and Katie Donald (classroom sewing); and Jennifer Vest (art studio experiences for preschoolers).
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GSL’s Class of 2013 Congratulations to our graduating eighth graders as they prepare to set sail for high school in August. We are proud of you, and we will miss you very much! Tomas Alsenas – CBHS
Elizabeth Elrod – St. Agnes
Margo Huber – Lausanne
Conner Rasberry – CBHS
Battle Boyd – Briarcrest
Audrey Garrett – White Station
Caroline Jones – Hutchison
Skippy Roberts – CBHS
Zach Boyer – CBHS
Hannah Goodfellow – St. Agnes
Camille King – St. Agnes
Francie Sentilles – Hutchison
Emma Brandon – Hutchison
Sophie Goodfellow – St. Agnes
Riggs Markham – CBHS
Carter Stovall – Hutchison
Andres Campos – CBHS
Laura Beth Grissom – St. Benedict
John McBride – MUS
Callan Truitt – Hutchison
Allen Couch – CBHS
Skyler Hannifin – CBHS
Molly McGehee – Lausanne
Hannah Walker – St. Agnes
Tyler Donnelly – White Station
Emma Heiter – St. Agnes
Bailey Pletz – CBHS
Roane Waring – CBHS
Georgia Edwards – White Station
Meredith Hood – St. Mary’s
Sydney Prather – White Station
Grant Wheeler – CBHS
Published on Apr 21, 2013
Published on Apr 21, 2013
GSL School's biannual magazine; this issue features a great story on '02 alumna Louise Smythe who now works at PIxar, farewell tributes to K...