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Our Mission: Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School prepares boys and girls to become creative problem solvers, confident lifelong learners, and responsible citizens in their communities and the world. In striving to live our mission day by day, we are committed to these guiding principles: • To diligently cultivate a sense of belonging in our school community where each student and family feels welcomed, included, and connected. • To discover and foster each child’s unique strengths and passions and to find ways to connect these to classroom learning. • To intentionally develop in each child skills and attitudes that offer a foundation for a lifetime of success. • To provide through our curriculum many opportunities for all students to plan and participate in meaningful service and contribution to the various communities in which they live.


Little Lukers (age 2) - Junior Kindergarten


Senior Kindergarten - 4th Grade

MIDDLE SCHOOL 5th - 8th Grade

IN THIS ISSUE 2 A Letter from the Head of School

9 Exploring Our Episcopal Identity

3 A Letter from the Board President

19 2018-19 Annual Fund Progress Report

4 Division Head Tom Sauter Returns to International Travel 20 Legacy 8th Graders 5 GSL Announces New Head of Lower School 6 Self-Control Leads to Academic Success

21 GSL’s Class of 2019 22 Alumni News 24 Libby Shannon Retires

8 2018-2019 School Year Fun Facts

ABOUT THE COVER Father Ollie Rencher and student acolytes Benjamin Brewer, Emmy Roberts, Trinity Carroll, Andrew Strickland, Martha Mitchell, Katie Young, and Reed Hoffman enjoy time together following a chapel service.

EDITOR Brenda Berry COPY EDITORS Megan Ford Kate Shelton Denise Taylor Kimberly White CONTRIBUTORS Sherry Emerson Shelly McGuire Kate Shelton Denise Taylor PHOTOGRAPHY Brenda Berry Justin Fox Burks Jeff White

The Anchor is a publication of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School. Articles are published at the discretion of the school. Comments and questions should be directed to Brenda Berry, Editor & Director of Communications, at


BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2018-2019 Doug Duncan, President Liz Keough, Vice-President Scott Crosby, Secretary Melanie Schrank, Assistant Secretary Anneliese Watts, Treasurer Ryan Gibbs, Assistant Treasurer

Emily Callahan Hugh Fraser Margaret McLean Paul Morris

Ruth Patton Lauri Prather Sharon Shipley Victoria Van Cleef

Casey West Ken Woodmansee

Thor Kvande, Head of School The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector Kurt Patton, Senior Warden Kathleen Behnke, Parents’ Association President

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Dear Friends of GSL, Years ago, my wife Dawn and I bought our first house in Delaware. Over time, I became close with our next-door neighbor who, it turns out, was the first Episcopalian I had ever met. He knew we were new to the area, so he shared some information with me about the local churches and his membership in the local Episcopal congregation. Coming from a Lutheran background, I was curious and set out to learn more about the Episcopal faith. While I found the Episcopal liturgy different, it definitely resonated with me. A few years later, we moved to Maryland, where I took my first position in an Episcopal school. That experience served to deepen my appreciation for the Episcopal tradition, the liturgy, and the marvelous resource of The Book of Common Prayer. In fact, I keep The Book of Common Prayer on my desk to this day, as it has become an anchor for me. Here at Grace-St. Luke’s, we stand proudly in the best tradition of Episcopal schools. We are a community that values reason, logic, and faith and are well-equipped to challenge students academically and nurture them spiritually. At GSL, we want our students to know three things through their chapel experience:

• God loves you. • There is a way to think about right and wrong based on this knowledge. • Because of the first two points, we need to think about how we live in community with each other. We are called each day to treat each person with empathy, dignity, and respect.

This inclusive framework helps us provide a warm and welcoming community, something we are known for at GSL. Our community is grounded in the Episcopal tradition and belief that each person has immense worth. In this edition of The Anchor, we explore the richness of this tradition and how it is lived out—not only in our regular chapel services— but in how we strive daily to live our lives. Your participation in this tradition is encouraged at GSL. I invite you to join us for our weekly All-School Chapel on Thursdays. I look forward to seeing you then.

Thor Kvande Head of School


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School




Dear Friends, This spring marks the end of my tenure as the Board of Trustees President. As I reflect on this time, I find that my memories are rooted in our Episcopal identity. Now, if you ask an Episcopalian to describe what that means, you will get a wide variety of answers. But to me, I can tell you what embodies our Episcopal identity at Grace-St. Luke’s: It is our inclusion. Inclusion, I have come to realize, is at the core of Grace-St. Luke’s. In my eyes, it is a recognition that we are all God’s children, that we are all here, products and children of things beyond our control, and that we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. How does this translate in a preschool to eighth grade school? It starts with the Formative Five. It includes respecting each classmate—regardless of gender, race, household income, or family structure. We are a community that understands how our cumulative backgrounds make us special. At GSL, we are special—not only because we are inclusive—but because our differences are acknowledged, respected, discussed, and embraced. The Episcopal ethos is woven throughout our school in every facet of our daily lives. In preschool, our youngest students learn about empathy, sharing, and doing things for others. They are able to observe this joy firsthand as they watch feathered friends enjoying their handmade bird feeders in the outdoor classroom. In lower school, students learn how to collaborate with other students in an academic setting to achieve common goals. As the leaders of lower school, fourth graders serve as acolytes and as the safety patrol team during drop off each morning. These students put a bow on their lower school experience by inviting local leaders to join them at the Fourth Grade Citizenship Breakfast. And in middle school, conversations are encouraged by and among students with different opinions on a range of topics, from religion to politics. These discussions take place with an eye toward understanding others’ opinions, not simply defending one’s own opinion. At Grace-St. Luke’s, our goal is to celebrate all children and their families. We work hard every day to respect each other and celebrate the unique things that make our community diverse, dynamic, and inclusive. As I pass my position on to incoming President Liz Keough, it is with gratitude that I sign off with a special thank you to all of the Board, faculty, administration, and parents for their support. It has been a privilege to serve as Board President.

Warm regards,

Doug Duncan President, Board of Trustees

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DIVISION HEAD TOM SAUTER RETURNS TO INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL After five years as the Head of Lower School, Tom Sauter announced his plans to return to international work and travel along with his wife and their daughter, son-in-law, and young grandson. Tom became a grandparent for the first time last year, making this an easy decision, especially considering how much he cherishes his family. But saying goodbye, he said, is never easy. “One of the most difficult aspects of my career has been saying goodbye so often,” Sauter said. “We move to a new place, establish community, build friendships, and then once everything gets comfortable, we say good-bye. There are lyrics from the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell that go like this: ‘Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ “Please know this: I don’t have to wait until it’s gone to know what I’ve got at GSL. This is a special place with good people, very good people. Come summer, when I drive off into the sunset, I will leave with many fond and enduring memories from my time at GSL.” Mr. Sauter joined GSL in 2014 as the Head of Lower School and has consistently been a warm, welcoming presence in our community. Known for his genuine, caring nature, Mr. Sauter has been a strong advocate for lower school students and teachers alike. His contributions to lower school have been instrumental in continuing the division’s great reputation. “GSL is indebted to Tom for his leadership here at GSL,” said Head of School Thor Kvande. “He is such a positive person and brings a true sense of joy to school each day. He is accessible and approachable, and I know the lower school faculty will miss his sympathetic ear and thoughtful advice. Teachers genuinely want to work hard for him because he puts the students first.” Lower School Dean of Students Megan Ford has worked closely with Sauter on a daily basis for five years and, in that time, has truly grown to appreciate him both personally and professionally. “Tom Sauter is one of the most principled educators I have known (pun intended and appropriate to Tom),” Ford said. “He is respectful of many viewpoints and makes each decision in the context of what is best for the child. Tom is a thinker who likes to discuss. During our Monday and Friday lunches together, he has taught me that ‘talking is working.’ I am absolutely certain that I have laughed every day that I have spent with him. Tom will be greatly missed, but what a blessing that he shared his light with GSL. I know he will continue to shine brightly wherever he lands.” Indeed, he will. We love you watts, Tom.


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

Head of Middle School Ellen Hendry and Head of Preschool Cynthia Burnett shared their thoughts about Tom. Tom is truly one of the most persistently positive people I know. You can’t help but feel good around him because at his core he approaches everything from a place of kindness and love. I’ll miss his silly puns, his ever-present grin, and especially his upbeat spirit. - Ellen Hendry, Head of Middle School Tom has been an excellent colleague to work and collaborate with. I will truly miss his warm demeanor and wacky sense of humor. Wherever he goes he will add his special ray of sunshine! Most of all, I will miss the fun times at social events where he can be counted on to eat his fair share of sugar bacon! Goodbye, my friend, you will indeed be missed. - Cynthia Burnett, Head of Preschool

We love you watts, Tom!

GSL ANNOUNCES NEW HEAD OF LOWER SCHOOL MARTI MCCLOUD SET TO JOIN GSL THIS SUMMER After a thorough nationwide search, Marti McCloud has been named GSL’s next Head of Lower School. The process of identifying a new Head of Lower School began last fall. The various constituent groups expressed their desire for someone who is a strong leader, a clear communicator, a proponent of collaboration and—first and foremost—an advocate for all children. “I believe Mrs. McCloud possesses those qualities and so many more,” said Head of School Thor Kvande. “I am confident that her combined background as a teacher and professional development specialist will enable her to lead the lower school with empathy and forward-thinking strategies.” McCloud is eager to begin her role at GSL, saying that she felt right at home from the minute she stepped on campus. “The faculty, leadership and children at Grace-St. Luke’s made such an impression on me,” McCloud said. “As I walked through the halls, met at length with each person, and was interviewed by the children, I felt a deep sense of the special GSL community— that sense of belonging that enabled me to feel that this incredible place of learning could be my forever home. I am filled with gratitude and am completely elated over this invaluable opportunity. I am looking forward to working and growing together as a learning community; August can’t get here fast enough!” Mrs. McCloud will begin her new role at GSL in June. She will work alongside current Head of Lower School Tom Sauter over the summer to ensure a seamless transition.

Marti McCloud and husband Doug are excited to join the GSL community!

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SELF-CONTROL LEADS TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS by Kate Shelton With a calm body, the mind can focus and process what is being presented in the classroom environment. In the world of academics, research is often used to inform how to best prepare children for success at a very early age. Imagine, then, how pleased GSL administrators felt when learning about the research that supports the importance of teaching self-control. After all, this is one of the Formative Five success skills taught at GSL. As Head of Preschool Cynthia Burnett looked deeper into this research, she learned that self-control has a profound impact on student success. In fact, according to Angela Duckworth, author and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, higher self-control—unlike a child’s IQ—results in “fewer school absences, less procrastination, more time spent studying, and less time spent watching television.”1 Equipped with this knowledge, Burnett brought in Discover Me2, a program focused on teaching students how to practice self-control so they may be successful academically and in life. “It was important to bring this to our early childhood program to give students the skills they need to self-regulate,” said Burnett. “But I also wanted to give teachers more tools to help with challenging behaviors that come up in their classrooms.” Leading the preschool’s Discover Me program is Katherine Mendez, a specialist in language literacy and executive function. She meets Students begin and end each session with a bi-monthly with teachers and breathing exercise. students to help facilitate breath and body awareness, two of the fundamental skills on which the program runs. “In general, we work on developing the skills and vocabulary to help children regulate their own emotions, behavior, and minds as these abilities form the foundation that all education has to build upon,” explains Mendez. “In the early years, mindfulness helps with the big emotions children feel, and as children age, it helps with their academic success.” Using the skills they are learning in this program, students are able to stay on task, set goals, and have positive connections with others. And after just one year, the results are encouraging.

Students practice focus; for example, focus on your knee! Self-Control May Lie at the Heart of Student Success. (2017). Retrieved from 2 The Discover Me program was created by Jamie Goldring, an educator for over 30 years, who decided teachers and parents needed help teaching children self-control and mindfulness. 1


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“We’ve seen great improvement over this year with our students and mindfulness,” said JK Happy Hippos Assistant Teacher Jamie Bell. “The students prompt each other with deep breaths if they are upset and really want to use kind words to one another. Giving students the tools to practice self-control helps them know that their emotions matter and it’s ok to be sad or mad, but that they need to take deep breaths and talk to someone about how they are feeling.” Burnett said the goal over the next few years is to continue the Discover Me vocabulary and self-control exercises in all preschool classrooms, and to create designated, purposeful spaces dedicated to mindfulness and self-control.

In one of Katherine’s sessions with the students, she focuses them initially with deep breaths and yoga poses to get them in tune with their bodies. She asks them how they feel after breathing deeply, and all agree that they feel relaxed. She then reviews the parts of the brain they have been discussing: the pre-frontal cortex, or their “thinking brain,” and the amygdala, their “feelings brain.” Katherine pulls out a glitter jar, similar to a snow globe, to show the students what happens to their brain when feelings take over. She shakes the jar and the water and glitter inside turn into a tornado. Students immediately respond, saying things like, “that’s how I feel when I’m mad, when I’m angry, when I’m sad.” They tell her that if they take deep breaths, they will be in better control of their emotions. Again, they practice deep breathing until the glitter settles.

46% The information on self-control presented to the students varies at each session, whether it is through breathing and yoga, memory games aimed at practicing focus, or discussions on how to use self-control and kindness in the classroom and on the playground.

Discover Me vocabulary your GSL preschooler might be using at home Check Your Body is one of the phrases heard throughout the classroom that gives students the awareness and responsibility of managing their bodies. Rather than monitoring and managing their bodies for them, teachers can prompt students to check themselves to make sure they are following the expectations for that activity. Peace Pose is a popular directive for students during the day, especially during carpet time and classroom discussions. Students sit down in the “criss-cross, applesauce” pose and place their hands in their laps. It also serves to remind the students to use kind words and actions, while being aware of their body placement in relation to others.

Students are engaged in the process of learning about self-control thanks to the interactive, age-appropriate approach used in the Discover Me program.

Person Space Pattern This is another cue teachers are using to prompt children to be aware of—and responsible for—managing their bodies. It refers to the way children arrange themselves while they are sitting together or lining up. Flower-Candle Breath This teaches children to breathe through their noses, like they would if smelling a flower, and then to exhale slowly, as if blowing out a birthday candle. Velvet & Sandpaper Words Velvet words are kind and make others feel happy, whereas sandpaper words are mean and make others feel mad or sad. Self-talk This refers to internal conversations that students have with themselves when they need a boost. Examples shared with students include, “Self, I am smart. Self, I am kind.”

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47% female (240)

53% male (274)







Disciples of Christ





Greek Orthodox

Eastern Orthodox













Arabic Spanish



European American African American




Asian American Latino


Vietnamese Hebrew Telugu

Multiracial Middle Eastern Native American


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School


Student Acolytes Marley White, Trinity Carroll, Andrew Strickland and Katie Young pose with Father Ollie Rencher, Rector at Grace-St. Luke’s Church, and Head of School Thor Kvande.

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Feature Story

Letter From The Editor: Dear Friends, For nearly three years, I have sought to define what being an Episcopal school truly means. At first I wasn’t sure why defining something in GSL’s DNA appeared so difficult. But the more I explored, the more I realized that while it isn’t necessarily complex, it is broad enough to capture explanations that vary from one person to the next. After sitting down with The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector of Grace-St. Luke’s Church, and Head of School Thor Kvande, I feel much more equipped to help explain this seemingly straightforward question: What does it mean to be an Episcopal school? The answer isn’t as simple as a single definition, and that, I have learned to embrace, is part of the appeal offered by the Episcopal faith. I hope you enjoy this feature, which has been an insightful, revelatory journey. Warmly, Brenda Berry Editor The Anchor

EXPLAINING THE EPISCOPAL IN GRACE-ST. LUKE’S SCHOOL Grace-St. Luke’s is an Episcopal school that is embraced and attended by families that represent many different faith traditions, approaches to spirituality, and beliefs. To better understand how Grace-St. Luke’s successfully provides a school community where such a diverse group exists together harmoniously, The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, suggests that we begin with the last two questions of the Baptismal Covenant in The Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

“Understanding these two important questions helps reveal our core DNA as an Episcopal school,” said Rencher. “We respect all approaches to spirituality, or the choice to not pursue it. And while we are a community rooted in that respect, we are unapologetically Christian.” The Book of Common Prayer


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF OUR EPISCOPAL IDENTITY With dignity, respect, love and service at the heart of those Baptismal Covenant questions, Grace-St. Luke’s has infinite possibilities to serve our students and community. But it is through three distinctive features of the Episcopal tradition that we approach the education of our students and the nurturing of all GSL constituents.

Our unity is based on our community and traditions (not doctrine or dogma). As an Episcopal school, we embrace values that unite people, rather than values that divide. Many of our traditions are rooted in the Episcopal church. The church provides a tradition that has sought its unity in liturgy (worship) more than in theology with one unifying factor: The Book of Common Prayer. As an outreach of the church, Grace-St. Luke’s School relies on those traditions for worship in the form of weekly chapel. While we are bound together in worship, our Episcopal faith allows for a wide latitude in belief. GSL prides itself on having a community where each individual is known, valued, and cherished as a child of God. We do not subscribe to a single list of rules that define who we must be as a community. Rather, we embrace our own rites and traditions that embody the common values of our school community, recognizing that what we strive to teach, emphasize, and cultivate must always grow out of present needs and look forward to the demands of the future.

We value reason. As an Episcopal school, we value reason as a way to true understanding. Human reason provides each of us with a tool to tackle even the most difficult issues. In the Episcopal faith, there is no human authority telling someone how to think, so the responsibility to reason one’s way to understanding becomes an individual undertaking, which also reinforces the importance of respecting individual beliefs. An Episcopal education begins from the premise that we are a community of explorers who need to continuously learn and grow. All students, faculty, and staff at GSL are encouraged to pursue questions wherever they lead, to use their natural aptitudes, and to value the learning and thought that has been inherited from the past. They are also encouraged to explore important questions of belief and identity and to engage with those who believe as they do, as well as those who see things quite differently. Student Acolytes Noland Brown and Marley White prepare for an All-School Chapel service.

We care about society in our communities and the world. As an intentionally inclusive school, we respect the dignity of each individual and believe that each person contributes to the strength of our community. The Episcopal tradition recognizes and celebrates the unique, inherent worth of every person. In our Episcopal school setting, everyone is welcomed and respected. We are a place for all, offering peace for all. In this spirit, we welcome families of all faiths and of no faith at all. We seek out diverse students, families, faculty, and staff and strive to instill in all community members a deep respect for differences in things like age, gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Students of Grace-St. Luke’s are expected to regard fellow students and community members with dignity, respect, and love. We help students recognize that they have an important role in caring for society. We strive to help students understand that they do not exist apart from society, but that they are called to respond to the needs of others. As part of their journey at GSL, students gain a broader understanding of issues that exist in society and are encouraged to consider what their individual responses can be to help make a difference in their communities and the world. “Part of being a responsible citizen is seeking justice for all,” Rencher said. “A significant area of the Episcopal church is outreach and working towards equity. I believe that because the dignity of every human being is intrinsically Episcopal, we as a school community do what we can to form young people to help make sure everyone’s dignity is being raised up. This is an important and unique trait of ours as an Episcopal school, and one that we proudly claim.”

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FEATURE continued THE EXPRESSION OF OUR EPISCOPAL IDENTITY While our Episcopal identity is woven into the fabric of our school’s DNA, it is intentionally expressed throughout school life in various ways. The following outline some of the more prominent expressions of our Episcopal identity in action:

Chapel Our Episcopal identity is undoubtedly seen most strongly in our worship practices in chapel. All students attend chapel at least once a week in a division-specific chapel service: Preschool and Middle School attend chapel on Tuesday mornings and Lower School attends chapel on Wednesday mornings. Students in grades 1-8 attend an All-School Chapel every Thursday morning. Chapel is based on The Book of Common Prayer and includes scripture, music, and prayer. It is intended to serve children of all faith traditions and of no faith at all. Students are not asked to abandon their own personal beliefs; instead, they are encouraged to use this time as an opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs. Providing children with this meditative time away from the fast-pace of today’s world allows them to think, pray, relax, and reflect.

Students sing together during All-School Chapel services.

Head of School Thor Kvande shared that at Grace-St. Luke’s we want students to know three things through their chapel experiences: • God loves you. • There is a way to think about right and wrong based on this knowledge. • Because of the first two points, we need to think about how we live in community with each other. We are called each day to treat each person with empathy, dignity, and respect. In addition to weekly chapel services, we practice other traditions of the church such as the observance of Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the Lenten season, and a Service of Advent Lessons and Carols before Christmas. In Lower School and Middle School, students serve as acolytes during chapel (fourth and seventh grade, respectively). Read more about student acolytes on page 16.

Religion and Ethics Studies At GSL, the majority of the grades do not have traditional religion classes. From Little Lukers through fifth grade, students experience the study of religion and values through chapel. Sixth grade students take a Bible class, in which they learn about the powerful stories in the Bible that have impacted millions of people over thousands of years and, for some, serve as truth. Seventh graders take a world religions class, in which they explore the different faiths and beliefs around the world, from Christianity and Judaism to Islam and Buddhism. In eighth grade, students take an ethics class, which focuses on ethical decision-making and how to live a good and pure life centered around integrity, love, and respect. “Our families represent various faiths,” Kvande said. “This year, 29 percent of our families are Episcopalian. Eighteen percent did not reply to this question on the enrollment form. The remaining families identify with one of eleven other religious preferences as seen on page 8. “That diverse breakout shows that our families are actively connected to many different faiths, while some do not identify with any faith at all. Our Episcopal school culture is warm and inclusive. GSL’s educational philosophy is fundamentally Christian, but that doesn’t mean everyone believes the same thing.” Kvande explained that at GSL, we teach students about both the scientific process of evolution and the importance of faith. He went on to say that he strongly believes that an Episcopal education is one of the best offerings going because it is not about believing blindly; rather, it is a faith-informed education that challenges people to use their minds to understand the world.


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“I believe God made the world and He sent His Son to Earth,” Kvande said. “Because of that, we should think about how we live our life in the world around us.”

Service Learning Service learning is a tangible expression of GSL’s Episcopal identity. Whereas many schools today participate in community service projects in the form of charitable acts, at Grace-St. Luke’s, service learning is a meaningful program that is integrated into the school experience from age two through eighth grade. In addition to service projects, teachers help students identify how the act of service follows a cycle from hand, to head, to heart. The physical work gets done, students think about the impact of their work, and finally, students can identify and articulate how their work touches the hearts of others. “Through our service learning program, we encourage students Martha Mitchell, Katie Young and Reed Hoffman serve as student to be responsible citizens in their communities and the world, and acolytes during a Lower School Chapel service. to live in a way that demonstrates faith in action,” Kvande said. “Starting with Little Lukers, we teach them how to respond to issues such as hunger and poverty that will help make the world a better place.”

Mission Statement Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School prepares boys and girls to become creative problem solvers, confident lifelong learners, and responsible citizens in their communities and the world.

Give a HIGH FIVE to the


1 Empathy 2 Self-Control 3 Integrity 4 Embracing Diversity 5 Grit

Formative Five Since implemented in 2017, the Formative Five success skills have helped guide students through their age-appropriate social-emotional growth. The five traits—empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit—are reinforced on a rotating basis in the classroom and during division-specific chapels by division heads and the clergy. “The division heads talk about each success skill, telling stories, giving examples, and relating it to a lesson learned from the Bible,” said Kvande. “We are trying to help students grow in social-emotional— as well as in spiritual—areas, just as we strive to have them grow academically and intellectually. The Formative Five represent another way to teach students how to be better people and responsible citizens.” By educating the whole child—the mind, body, and spirit—we are equipping and empowering children to be the best versions of themselves for the benefit of their own selves and the world.

Dignity • Respect • Love • Service “When reflecting on what it means to be an Episcopal school, I find myself thinking about how each chapel service ends,” Rencher said. “We often close the service by saying ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.’ As students, faculty, and staff leave chapel, they begin to serve. From there, what’s taking place in the classrooms led by teachers and administrators is rooted in love and service.” This takes us back to the Baptismal Covenant: Basically, with dignity and respect, we are called to love and serve. Is it possible that those four words can summarize what it means to be an Episcopal school? Maybe so. Because as an Episcopal school, how we teach and how we learn on a daily basis is accomplished perfectly through dignity, respect, love and service. Grace-St. Luke’s is a proud member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES). Portions of this feature were retrieved from articles on the NAES website,

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Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

SCHOOL PRAYER O God, let your heavenly blessings be upon Grace-St. Luke’s School, that whatsoever things are true and pure, lovely and of good report, may here flourish and abound. Inspire with love and goodness both those who teach and those who learn. Open our hearts and minds to all truth, and give us grace to serve you faithfully. We ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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FEATURE continued

THE ACOLYTES Serving as student acolytes (altar servers) is a long-held tradition at Grace-St. Luke’s. During the Lower School Chapel, fourth grade students serve as acolytes. During the Middle School and All-School Chapels, seventh grade students serve as acolytes. All assist the clergy and musicians with leadership during worship. “For both sets of students, this is an important leadership role,” said Head of Middle School Ellen Hendry. “Serving as acolytes is a very visible way for them to serve our community.” In Lower School, fourth grade parents receive a letter in August and again in December explaining that the students will serve as acolytes and also have the option to be readers during chapel if they are comfortable. Four students serve at each chapel: One carries a cross, two carry torches, and one serves as a reader. This is significant for fourth graders, as they are the oldest students in Lower School. Fourth grade teacher Jane Williams provides training, since it is the first time students have an opportunity to serve as acolytes. She teaches them how to get vested, allows the readers time to practice reading and learn how to work the microphone, and helps students get acclimated to all of the roles in general. “Serving as acolytes really teaches our students about discipline,” Williams said. “Students need to arrive at 7:30 a.m. when they are acolytes. They also have to practice self-control since they are seated for all to see. It takes great discipline to practice each of the jobs because their roles could change each week. Through this process, they gain a great deal of self-confidence and are very proud of their accomplishments.” In Middle School, seventh grade parents receive a letter informing them about this special role open to seventh grade students. Five students serve as either a reader or torch/banner bearer. Students serve for a week at a time on a rotating basis. Having this role served by seventh grade students is intentional, providing these rising school leaders with an opportunity to lead the school before their eighth grade year. To prepare students for their roles, Father Ollie Rencher and Mrs. Hendry provide all students with a training session at the start of each school year.

Father Ollie Rencher poses with a group of seventh and fourth grade acolytes. Back row from left to right: Marley White, Noland Brown, Benjamin Brewer, Father Ollie Rencher, Emmy Roberts, Trinity Carroll Front row from left to right: Andrew Strickland, Martha Mitchell, Katie Young, Reed Hoffman


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

EPISCOPAL: OF BISHOPS Episcopal means “of bishops.” Why is that important? Because it helps define a core belief held by the Episcopal church. To better understand this, let’s travel back to the early 1600s, when English Christians began to establish colonies in North America. As the English settled, they brought with them the Church of England, which blended elements of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, while retaining an episcopal form of church government (a church governed by bishops).1 The Episcopal church formed when it separated from the Church of England following the American Revolution. It maintained elements of the Church of England, but did not require its clergy to swear allegiance to the British monarch, as is required in the Church of England. The Episcopal church claims apostolic succession, which is the belief that bishops are the successors to the apostles and that episcopal authority is derived from the apostles by an unbroken succession in ministry.2 So, the next time someone asks what the word Episcopal means, you can answer confidently that it literally means “of bishops.”

Did You Know? • The Book of Common Prayer is the corporate and individual prayer book of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. There are different versions going back to 1549. The version used at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is the 1979 edition; this edition is used in a majority of Episcopal worshipping communities throughout the world. • Via Media is a Latin phrase translated as “middle way” and is often used to explain that the beliefs and practices of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church are a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.2 1 2

Bond, E. L. Church of England in Virginia. (2014, October 3). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from Armentrout, D., & Boak Slocum, R. (2000). An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church (p. 25, 541). New York: Church Publishing, Inc.

GSL CHURCH-SCHOOL RELATIONSHIP Grace-St. Luke’s School is both related to—and separate from—the church. The following list outlines how this unique partnership flourishes and operates.

The Reverend Meredith Jane Day shares a sermon with students during a Lower School Chapel service.

• Although the school was started as an outreach of the church in 1947, the school has a separate governance and does not receive monetary contributions from the church. • The school operates under its own Board of Trustees; two members of the Board are the church Rector and Senior Warden. Additionally, per the bylaws, 50 percent of the Board members must be Grace-St. Luke’s Church parishioners of good standing. • The Head of School attends every church vestry meeting. • The school and church share many spaces via a written agreement. • The Head of School and Rector meet weekly, contributing to the ongoing positive partnership between the school and church. • The church and school continue to talk about our Episcopal identity. With each new rector and head, the conversation is revisited in an effort to reinvigorate the expression of our faith and beliefs. • The school and church collaborate on athletics: The church oversees sports for students in JK through fourth grade; the school oversees sports in fifth through eighth grade. • The success of the church leads to the success of the school, and a healthy school is reflective of a healthy church. Spring 2019

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FEATURE continued


Grace Church began as a mission of Calvary Church. St. Luke’s Church began as a mission of Calvary Church. St. Luke’s Church began construction of what is today’s Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Grace Church sold its building and property—excluding memorials and the organ—to Mt. Nebo Baptist Church. The churches merged, and the first service of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was held on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1940. The start of the school: Mrs. Griffin (Lorena Webber) Walker opened a program at Grace-St. Luke’s Church under the direction of the Reverend Dr. Charles Stuart Hale.*

Fun Fact: If you’ve been on campus at GSL, it’s likely that you’re aware of McClure Hall. But where does this name come from? Turns out the room is named for the Rev. Edward McClure, rector of Grace Church in the 1860s.**

* Although GSL marks its founding in 1947, the beginnings of the institution actually go back to the year 1919. In that year, the Reverend Bartow B. Ramage, Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, started a small parochial school in the little red clapboard Parish House then existing where Trezevant Hall is today. Rev. Ramage was in charge of religious education, and his wife was a teacher in the school. They began with an enrollment of approximately 15 children. In 1923, their daughter Ethel Ramage joined the teaching staff. Rev. Ramage’s health began to fail, and shortly thereafter the family moved to Gulfport, Mississippi. Miss Ramage closed the school in 1924. **Viser, B. (1990). Grace-St. Luke’s, The First Fifty Years (p. 3). Memphis: Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

THE REVEREND OLLIE V. RENCHER The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher was named Rector of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in May 2018; his first day was July 25, 2018. When first visiting the school, Father Ollie was impressed with the compassionate community. “Regardless of the space I was in, the high regard to the welfare of the students was evident and palpable,” he said. “I felt it even in administrative spaces. Everyone talked of the children, making it known that they are the priority. Since then, I have enjoyed observing what the children are learning and witnessing how they are being formed in this inclusive, nurturing environment.” Father Ollie always wanted a career that focused on hope and healing. When he felt called to the seminary, he knew he found his home. The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher “Hope and healing: That is solely what Jesus is about,” he said. “All seven sacraments have in them hope and healing. I am blessed to have a career that fulfills me personally and spiritually every day.” A native of Mississippi, Father Ollie proposed to wife Ellie on the chancel steps of Grace-St. Luke’s, where they were married in 2010. He is a graduate of Millsaps College and is a Master of Divinity alumnus of The General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church. In less than a year at GSL, he has earned the respect and affection of parishioners and the broader community.


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

2018-2019 ANNUAL FUND PROGRESS REPORT Two Months Remain in Current Campaign We want to continue to thank the Chauhan family for their virtually omnipotent voluntarism and campus presence. After co-chairing last year’s Anchor Auction, Mandy is co-chairing this year’s Teacher Appreciation events for the Parents’ Association and can be seen all over campus every week managing even the smallest details of her various projects. She and her husband Chirag both work and have two very active sons to keep up with. In spite of their full schedules, Mandy and Chirag agreed to chair this year’s Annual Fund, and we are eternally grateful! It’s been a steadily successful year, and we credit their hard work and dedication for our solid progress – just a few more thousand to go!

Goal: $275,000 Dollars to Date: $270,000 (unrestricted) Dollars Needed: $5,000 Donation Deadline: July 2019 Annual Fund Chairs Mandy & Chirag Chauhan pictured with Blake (1st grade) & Cole (3rd grade)

A Few Basic Reminders: WHY GIVE to the ANNUAL FUND •

GSL is a not-for-profit business. By design, high-quality schools are labor-intensive and people-oriented. Where a for-profit company might consolidate employee duties and resources to save money, combining classrooms and reducing staff would not benefit our students.

The Annual Fund helps minimize tuition increases by off-setting additional costs per student - roughly $2,500 each.

The majority of your donations help to recruit and retain highly-qualified faculty, pay for advanced education and training, and purchase classroom technologies.

Your donations also help pay for annual campus improvements.

The Annual Fund directly benefits families in need of financial assistance. This enables more people (19% of the GSL population) to enjoy the benefits of the GSL experience.

Every dollar counts. Donations of any size are valued. For $500 a year, you will qualify as a Lead Donor, earning an invitation to the annual (and very popular) Lead Donor Cocktail Party!

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LEGACY 8TH GRADERS The GSL Class of 2019 has three eighth grade legacies. As they prepare for high school, we asked them to share their favorite things about GSL. The same was asked of their alumni family members. Many thanks to these families for continuing this Saints tradition!

GUS SCHAFFLER ‘19 Favorite Class: History Favorite Teacher: Ms. Thompson Favorite Extracurricular: Basketball Favorite GSL Memory: 7th grade trip to Chicago What You Will Miss the Most: All the great teachers

BRIAN SCHAFFLER ‘84 Favorite Class: History with Coach Scully Favorite Teacher: Coach Scully, Coach Lass and Mr. Ellis Favorite Extracurricular: Football Favorite GSL Memory: 8th grade class trip to Ocoee What You Miss the Most: All my great GSL friends (even though I still see lots of them!)

ELLA WOODMANSEE ‘19 Favorite Class: Science Favorite Teacher: Mrs. Binder Favorite Extracurricular: Soccer Favorite GSL Memory: 7th grade class trip to Chicago What You Will Miss the Most: Friends and the community

SCOTT WOODMANSEE Attended GSL through 9th grade, 1976 Favorite Class: History Favorite Teacher: Mr. Scully Favorite Extracurricular: Playing various sports Favorite GSL Memory: Playing on the very first GSL football team What You Miss the Most: I miss the family atmosphere at GSL. There was a closeness between students and faculty that I still see today with my daughters Ella and Lily.

ANGELA JACOBS ‘19 Favorite Class: Mrs. Buckner’s English Favorite Teacher: Ms. Forsyth Favorite Extracurricular: Soccer, cheer, and volunteering at Miss Lee’s summer camp Favorite GSL Memory: Six Flags and Navy Pier on the 7th grade Chicago class trip What You Will Miss the Most: My friends Angela in SK at GSL, 2011

ELEANOR WHITE JACOBS ‘93 Favorite Class: Art Favorite Teacher: Mrs. Moore Favorite Extracurricular: I loved our field trips, especially when we picked cotton in Arkansas. Favorite GSL Memory: Winning the prize for making the most colorful hat on Fancy Hat Day. What You Miss the Most: The loud and wild pep rallies that outshined even my high school pep rallies. Eleanor in SK at GSL, 1984


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

GSL’S CLASS OF 2019 Congratulations to the Class of 2019! We wish you the best of luck as you begin your high school journey in August. You will be greatly missed!

Cutter Gallagher Britton Hare Braden Haynes Garner New Gus Schaffler Graham Springer Bruce Taylor Alex Wood

Sofia Gutierrez Caleb Isom Phoebe Plumley Finley Barger Tya Bostick Aubrey Messer Ava Sichting

Nancy Cliff Nick Dyer Sophia Espy Abby Hough Kai Thompson Jesse Vining Lilli Wood

Andrew Jones Max Mascolino Eliot Morris Spencer Norris Bauer Patton Charlie West

Kelcie Harris

Aislinn Choo Grace Ciaramitaro

Avery Arkle Emery Brown Emma Couch Angela Jacobs Isabelle Mansour Berklee Scifres Ella Woodmansee

Kylie Jackson

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Elizabeth Whitlock Haynes married Geoffrey Haynes on April 22, 2017. Father John Merchant, GSL headmaster from 1991-1998, made a special guest appearance to perform the ceremony.


Callie Wallace recently moved to Dallas to work for UBS Private Wealth Management. Before joining UBS, she practiced public relations at Burson-Marsteller in Memphis and handled the global firm’s largest corporate and government accounts. Callie is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in integrated marketing and communication, with minors in business administration and Spanish, and specialization in public relations.



Donald McClure and wife Michelle welcomed their first child, Blakesley Virginia, on September 17, 2018.


William McGehee married Lilly Schiffer in a civil ceremony in September. Their official church wedding will be in June in Munich, Germany. The couple resides in Munich where William is a data scientist with Amazon Web Services, and Lilly markets films and TV shows.



In October, Henry McGehee married Mahima Dhesi of Lucknow, India. The couple met as students at The Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), where they majored in sound design. They continue to live in Savannah, Ga.

Webb Emerson and Kelsey Jones were married in Jackson, Miss. on October 13, 2018. They live in Memphis where Webb is an Assistant Project Manager for Montgomery Martin Contractors and Kelsey is a Labor & Delivery Nurse for Methodist Healthcare.


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School

Connor Anderson is a freshman software engineering major at Mississippi State University. As a member of the Famous Maroon Marching Band and the Women’s Basketball Pep Band, he enjoyed a trip to Tampa to participate in the Outback Bowl festivities over New Year’s. Connor was elected to membership in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and serves as his residence hall’s Senator on the Residence Hall Council. He has been selected to be a Resident Assistant for next year and looks forward to helping other freshmen adjust to college life. Emma White played the female lead role of Mary Hatch in the stage version of It’s a Wonderful Life at Randolph-Macon College.


May Todd was selected as the Ringling School College of Art & Design Alumni of the Year for the Film Department. When May is not on set or on location for a TV or film project, she can be found working as the Festival Coordinator at Indie Memphis.


Ethan Adcox is finishing up his freshman year in the Honors Engineering program at the University of Alabama. He graduated from Christian Brothers High School is 2018.

Jeremy Bowers received a scholarship from New Ballet Ensemble School of Dance for a trip to New York City to tour colleges. He visited Marymount, Purchase, SUNY, TISCH, NYU, Julliard, The Graham School, and The Alvin Ailey School of Dance. He has performed with New Ballet dancing in the NutReMix show the last two years and Springloaded in April 2019. David Imig was named a 2018 National Merit Semifinalist. He is currently a senior at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Claire Kvande is graduating from Lausanne Collegiate School in May. She played varsity volleyball all four years, was named a National Merit Semifinalist, and was inducted into National Honor Societies in French, Science, Social Studies, and English.

‘15 continued


Bralyn Horton is graduating from Memphis East High School as the Salutatorian for the Class of 2019 with a 4.3 GPA. While at Memphis East, he was involved in many things, including cross country, basketball, ultimate frisbee, National Honor Society President, student government vice president, Beta Club, a member of The National Society of High School Scholars, and much more. Bralyn was selected by the College of Education and River City Partnership as a Teacher Scholar for the 2019-2020 school year.


Griffin Hood (far right) was recently elected as Lodge Chief for the Chickasaw Council (BSA) Order of the Arrow lodge. Griffin earned the rank of Eagle in April 2018. He is also serving as an attorney on MUS’ mock trial team and participated in the Youth in Government delegation in April.

Cross-country runners Nino Barnes and Sloan McHugh received scholarships to continue running in college. Nino will be attending LeesMcRae College and Sloan will be attending High Point University. GSL alumnus Jackson Boyd ‘97 and GSL Technology Director & Cross-country Coach Jeff White attended the signing event at CBHS.

Thomas Kvande was a member of the Crosstown High School’s bowling team, played the part of Joe Romano in Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, and was the stage manager for the Spring 2019 performance.

Will Prascher ‘01 and Ann Burruss Prascher ‘98 enjoyed a visit with Ben Wiley ’97, co-owner of Archipelago in Washington, D.C.

Will Woodmansee ‘16, Grant Young ‘15, and Sonny Charbonnet ‘15 were inducted into the Cum Laude Society at MUS in February. Cum Laude Society membership is the highest academic honor students in a secondary school can receive.

MUS students Duncan McLean ‘16, Stephen Cates ‘17, and Will Fraser ‘18, pictured here at MIFA, were featured in the editor’s note in a recent issue of MUS Today for their community volunteer work through the school’s Civic Service Organization.

WE WANT TO CELEBRATE YOU! Please share your latest news - accomplishments, marriages, new jobs, births of children, and more! Email your information and photos to Advancement Associate Kate Shelton at or email

In the Fall 2019 issue of The Anchor, Ethan Adcox and Connor Anderson were mistakenly omitted from the Class of 2014 college list. Ethan is attending the University of Alabama, and Connor is attending Mississippi State University. We sincerely apologize for these omissions. Spring 2019

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LIBBY SHANNON RETIRES A variety of people at GSL were asked to describe Libby Shannon. Here are some of the many responses:

Welcoming • Friendly • Energetic • Fun • Loving • Festive Personable • Innovative • Kind • Patient • Funny • Positive • Lifelong Learner

After 34 years as an SK teacher, Libby Shannon has decided to retire from GSL. As the lead teacher of the SK Crazy Critters, Libby has had a remarkable impact on hundreds of students over the years. While sorry to see her go, colleagues agree that she has left her mark at GSL and will always be remembered for being the most innovative, energetic, optimistic person in the room. “Libby’s creativity, charisma, and ability to connect with all students helped shape SK at GSL into the world-class program it is today,” said Head of School Thor Kvande. “We have been fortunate to have Libby as part of the GSL faculty for 34 years.”

Libby Shannon (back row, far right) in 1st grade at Grace-St. Luke’s School in 1960.

Colleagues and friends share their excitement for Libby as she begins this new chapter in life. They also recognize what a profound impact she has had on the people and academic program at GSL. “Libby has been my co-worker and one of my dearest friends for 20 years,” said SK Crazy Critters Assistant Teacher Cindy Sorrells. “She has been a mentor to me here at GSL and in ways that extend beyond the work life. She is a wonderful example of how we all should strive to be. “ One might assume that a teacher with more than 30 years experience has a tried and true process that is used each year. But not Libby. In fact, one of the many things that people celebrate is her unmatched ability to approach each school year with an eye towards what is needed to help each individual student thrive. “Libby is all about trying new things,” said SK Rockin’ Robins Teacher Jeremie Upshaw. “She always has a plan B because she knows that plan A may not always work. She is extremely flexible, an awesome team player, and an outstanding advocate for her students.” SK Peppy Pandas Teacher Kirsten Horton agrees. “I am forever impressed with Libby’s desire to adapt and grow as a person,” Horton said. “In the time that we’ve worked together, she has never shied away from learning anything new. She truly embodies what it means to be a lifelong learner!” Libby joined GSL in 1985, but her affiliation with the school dates back to the 1960s when she attended Grace-St. Luke’s in elementary school. In addition to being an alumna, Libby is an alumni parent and a current GSL grandparent. “Libby has two grandchildren currently enrolled at GSL, so we are blessed to know she will remain an active member of our GSL family for many years to come,” Kvande said.


Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School


This photo, taken in 1986, features the first SK teaching team that Libby worked with at GSL. Standing from left to right: Mrs. Ann Glenn, Mrs. Pat Dickson, Mrs. Bobbie Moore, Mrs. Libby Shannon Sitting from left to right: Mrs. Clyda Benson, Mrs. Marcella Houseal

This photo, taken in 2019, features the last SK teaching team that Libby worked with at GSL. Standing from left to right: Mrs. Cindy Sorrells, Mrs. Sharon Truitt, Mrs. Kirsten Horton, Mrs. Libby Shannon Sitting from left to right: Ms. Jeremie Upshaw, Ms. Mallory Key

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