EHS Pillars - Spring 2018


PILLARS - The Episcopal High School Magazine

Interim Term • Creative Knights • College Counseling

Episcopal High School was founded in 1983 as a four‐year coeducational day school within the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.


Independent Schools Association of the Southwest


National Association of Independent Schools

National Association of Episcopal Schools

Council for the Advancement and Support of Education

Educational Records Bureau

College Board

National Association for College Admission Counseling

Texas Association for College Admission Counseling

Southwest Preparatory Conference


Episcopal High School is an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas established for the purpose of providing a superior

education in preparation for college and a significant life thereafter. Through a rich offering of academic, spiritual, artistic, and

athletic programs, the School provides an opportunity for each student to reach his or her maximum spiritual, intellectual,

social, and ethical potential. Operating as a Christian community within the beliefs and traditions of the Episcopal Church, EHS

in its teaching philosophy emphasizes understanding and responding to the individual needs and capabilities of each student.

In an effort to reflect the community we serve, EHS strives to maintain a student body that is diverse in its social, economic,

ethnic, and academic backgrounds.


Episcopal High School admits students of all races, colors, and national/ethnic origins to all the rights, privileges, programs, and

activities accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or

national/ethnic origin in the administration of its educational and admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic

and other school‐administered programs.


Please share your news with the EHS Alumni Association. Send information to:

Margaret Young


Kendall McCord '03


Episcopal High School

P. O. Box 271299

Houston, TX 77277‐1299




This publication is printed on FSC certified paper with soy‐based inks.


The Episcopal High School Magazine, Spring 2018


From the Head of School 04

#KnightsStandOut 06

Bright Knights 10

Heart and Hustle 16

Interim Term 20

Creative Knights 32

College Counseling 36

Pop Quiz 40

Class Notes 44

The Last Word 50


Performing Arts Chair Garmon Ashby leads the chorale

at evening Mass in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word

in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ashleigh Teel.


Commencement 05‐20‐18

Alumni Leadership Day 10‐23‐18

Auction Gala 02‐22‐19

Each year at Alumni Leadership Day, the medical panel is a

favorite among students. Photo by Ashleigh Teel.




Dear EHS Family,

"Talent and intelligence are universal, opportunities and resources are not," proclaimed

Devon Cash '14 at this year's Auction. While some might quarrel with the assertion that

talent and intelligence are universal, we at EHS believe in every student's innate talent

and intelligence; we pride ourselves in guiding each of our students to find their particular

inner genius. And we do it very well.

At times, our role in the life of a student is to nurture and develop capacities that are

clearly identifiable in them before they ever set foot on campus—see current senior

TayJon Martin's profile on page 13 for one such story or the profile of Ben Estus '09 on

page 32 for another. More common, however, is the student who arrives on campus with

only a vague sense of identity and direction. What we do, across all Four Pillars, is inspire

our students to explore themselves and their world, to find, with our instruction and

support, their unique inner genius. Senior Mary Helen Kennedy recounts this incredible

process on page 10 and Marlo Cobb Saucedo '87 details her journey on page 33.

Of course, none of this would be possible for our students without our talented and

inspiring faculty and staff. Several are profiled within, but let me draw your attention to the

feature on Episcopal's food service staff, a team that embodies the important role that our

non‐teaching staff members play in the lives of the school, students and teachers alike.

It is amazing to think of the impact our food service staff has had on generations of EHS

students—faith, love, and our mission enlivened through food. Jordan Lang '18 captures

it when she states that every day, "they greet me with smiles on their faces, which puts

a smile on mine." What a wonderful thing that Denman Kane '18 can recall the love he

witnessed as a child while on campus to visit his older brothers, and that Sonny Reil '03

still makes a point of stopping by to say hello and thank you when he returns to EHS.

If you haven't visited campus recently, be sure to do so when you are next in the

neighborhood. There are beautiful new buildings and facilities, but rest assured that the

love, learning, and mentoring are just as you remember—as we help our students find

their inner genius so that they will be equipped to live a life in service to others.

Have a wonderful summer, and Go Knights!

Ned Smith

Head of School


Head of School Ned Smith addresses the Auction guests and thanks them

for dreaming big in support of EHS. Photo by Chris Bailey Photography.



Artists Bring

Home Accolades

Our student‐artists are standing

out in local and statewide arenas.

Results from the highly competitive

South by Southwest Film Festival

(SXSW) and the Texas Art Education

Association's Visual Arts Scholastic

Event (VASE) showcase the talent,

effort, and potential unleased at EHS.

Weston Bering was nominated to

the SXSW Texas High School Shorts

Moviemaking Program. Bering is one of

only 20 students from Texas to receive

this honor. He recently learned that his

music video "Loveless" won Best U.S.

Music Video at the prestigious Lovett

High School Film Festival in Atlanta,

Georgia, and was screened in front of

650 people.

EHS students Teagan Ashworth,

Madeleine Berckley, Miranda

Greenwalt, Helen Hecht, Mary Helen

Kennedy, Nora Lawless, Parker

Nickerson, Dailey Nottingham,

Natalie Peterson, Ryan Rassoli, River

Reinertsen‐Forehand, and Sam

Wilson received honors at the regional

level of the VASE competition for their

media and studio arts submissions.

VASE artists that advance to State

include Teagan Ashworth, Madeleine

Berckley, Nora Lawless, and Ryan


Guest Speakers

Enlighten Students

In addition to the guest homilists who

speak in Chapel, the School often

welcomes outside experts to address

issues relevant to the curriculum or

current events.

In February, the Underwood Library

hosted Baylor College of Medicine

pediatric genetics counselor Haley

Streff for a day‐long series of seminars

on the latest advances in genetics

testing. Streff engaged the students by

sharing photos of popular celebrities

who have inherited health conditions,

such as "Game of Thrones" actor Peter

Dinklage (dwarfism), Selena Gomez

(lupus), and Angelina Jolie (BRCA

gene). "Genetic information can be

empowering," Streff asserts, and she

enjoys counseling and advocating

for her young patients. Streff and the

students discussed the pros and cons

of genetic testing and the implications

for employment and families.

In March, the Choices program invited

Houstonian Maureen Wittels to be this

year's Distinguished Speaker. Wittels

explained that her son, Harris, a rising

star in comedy writing, had been a

popular and brilliant student, but after

he suffered a back injury in his 20s, he

developed an addiction that led to his

death in 2015 at age 30. "Addiction

does not discriminate," she says. "It

affects all demographics."

Eight Students

Named National

Merit Finalists

By taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/

National Merit Scholarship Qualifying

Test and meeting the required Selection

Index of 212 or above, eight EHS

students have shown outstanding

academic potential and have been

entered into the 2019 National

Merit Scholarship Program. From

approximately 1.6 million entrants,

these students are among the 50,000

highest‐scoring participants who will be

recognized in the fall.

From the 50,000 high scorers

nationwide, about 16,000 will be named

National Merit Program Semifinalists,

representing the top scorers in each

state. The other 34,000 students

will be commended for their PSAT/

NMSQT performance. Semifinalists

will be the only students to continue in

the competition for about 7,500 Merit

Scholarship awards to be offered in

September 2019.

Congratulations to our EHS finalists:

Daniel Cai, Brett Hauser, Carter

Kardesch, Claire Kardesch, Anna

McLauchlin, Ellie Ragiel, James

Henry Ray, and Gabrielle Small.

After her son's death, Wittels embarked

on a mission to prevent other families

from similar tragedy. She travels

throughout the country educating

audiences about opioid addiction and

effective recovery programs. Wittels

believes that a key to prevention is

to encourage self‐care and stress

management in families, schools, and




NHS Welcomes

58 Students

From the Athletics Director:

Knights Unleash Success Early in 2018

More than 50 students were inducted

to the National Honor Society at the

April ceremony. The nationwide society

recognizes students who stand out

in areas of scholarship, leadership,

service, and character. In addition to a

minimum grade‐point average, students

are required to complete a monthly

requirement of service hours.

Congratulations to our newest NHS

members: Mea Ayers, Elizabeth

Barringer, Emeline Birdwell, Lauren

Bordelon, Clayton Butler, Sophia

Casetta, Ashley Chandler, Lilly Cone,

Katherine Davidson, Tyler Donovan,

Abigail Flame, Anna Giesler, Ellie

Gilchrist, Carolyn Hammond,

Alexander Haney, Sophia Haugh,

Brett Hauser, Alexandra Herrera,

Harrison Holmes, Harris Inoff, Alyssa

Kapusta, Carter Kardesch, Claire

Kardesch, Jackson Kelso, Rachel

Koch, Sadie Jensen, Anabelle

Maples, Molly McGreevy, Anna

McLauchlin, Macy Miller, Finty

Milton, Mekaela Murphy, Gaby Murra,

Julia Nasser, Delaney Newsome,

Mark Nylund, Elyse Pedrick, Vincent

Perryman, Lauren Porter, Eleanor

Ragiel, James Henry Ray, Claire

Schwarze, Amiri Scrutchin, Isabella

Shin, Sofia Siegel, Story Sinex,

Gabrielle Small, Camille Spence,

Lillyana Stefanakis, Jamie Tatum,

Kathryn Taylor, Sophie Thomas,

Cameron Anne Trainer, Isabelle

Vobbe, Emily West, and Hannah


The new year launched successfully for the Athletics Pillar as the Knights enjoyed

outstanding results at February's winter SPC tournament. The boys soccer team

led the charge as they defeated Cistercian (1‐0), St. Mark's (4‐0), and Casady

(2‐0) to capture their third consecutive SPC championship. The Knights finished

the season with a 13‐0‐1 record and ranked #33 in national top‐50 polls. The

boys basketball team competed in their fourth consecutive SPC championship

game and lost a hotly contested match to Houston Christian. The wrestling team

parlayed an incredible performance in the early rounds of the SPC championships

to earn second place in the conference. Both girls soccer and girls basketball each

earned two impressive wins in the tournament to place fifth overall. Girls and boys

swimming competed very well in the championship meet as the girls finished sixth

and the boys eighth.

The spring season is now upon us, and the Knights have enjoyed a strong run in

non‐SPC play. The softball team is having a season for the ages as the Knights

sport a 22‐1 record (at press time) and a #14 national ranking! The team is poised to

hold on to the SPC championship trophy for another year. The baseball team also

looks to match last season's championship success, and the early results are very

promising. The Knights are ranked #1 in the state private school baseball polls and

earned a big 6‐3 win over nationally‐ranked and defending UIL 6A champ Cy‐Ranch

in early March.

Several students will continue sports at the collegiate level, and on May 1, our

seniors will announce college commits. Spring SPC kicks off May 3; all results will

be posted on the EHS website. Go Knights!

—Jason Grove, Athletics Director

The boys soccer team set a school

record with their third consecutive

championship at the winter

SPC tournament.



"Lead the Way"

Capital Campaign

Seeks Support

for Next Phase

The skyline at the EHS campus reveals

signs of progress as the walls come up

for the 25,700‐square‐foot Underwood

Student Center. Key features of this

building will include: a large dining hall

and server with double the seating

capacity of our former space, two

state‐of‐the art innovation classrooms,

a performance stage, a coffee bar, and

an art gallery. The construction project,

which is funded through generous

donations to the school, is on budget

and will open in Fall 2018.

This building is the second building of

an $80 million multi‐phased campus

master plan which includes the

Hildebrand Athletic Center, the new

Underwood Student Center, a new

Visual and Performing Arts Building,

a new Benitez Chapel, and field


Just over 50 percent of our ambitious

goal has been raised to date;

fundraising is ongoing for this important

effort. For more information, contact

Peggy Haney, Director of Advancement,

at 713‐512‐3436 or via email at


Awards Celebrate

Creative Minds

Episcopal High School marked a stellar

year in the Scholastic Art and Writing

Awards, with 32 students recognized

by the program locally, and one writer

and 11 artists earning Gold Key awards,

which advanced their work to the

national competition. National winners

will be recognized at Carnegie Hall in

New York City on June 8.

Congratulations to our Gold Key

winners: Rohan Asthana, Kelsey

Barker, Weston Bering, Rosalind

Coats, Uday Dhillon, Mollie Hanna,

Nicole Hopwood, Elliott Jones, Mary

Helen Kennedy, Cade Williams, and

Annmarie Youtt in the arts categories,

and Ellie Gilchrist in the Poetry


Congratulations to the Silver Key

recipients: Merrie Afseth, Rosalind

Coats, Anna Layton Debes, Parker

Forque, Miranda Greenwalt, Nicole

Hopwood, Sadie Jensen, Nora

Lawless, Elaina Manalac, Morgan

McKee, Sophia Pamphilis, and

Annmarie Youtt for their arts entries,

and Anna Moise for three writing

entries. Seniors Mollie Hanna and

Mary Helen Kennedy were each

awarded two Silver Keys for works

submitted in the arts categories.

Hexagon Yearbook

Named One of

Nation's Best

In March, the American yearbook

manufacturer Jostens announced that

the 2016 ‐ 2017 Hexagon will be featured

in the Jostens Look Book.

The largest publication of its type,

Jostens' Look Book features 296 pages

of design, coverage, photojournalism,

and themes reproduced from

outstanding yearbooks created by

Jostens customers. The Hexagon made

the cut for outstanding design.

"Of all the honors The Hexagon and its

staffs have received over the years, this

one is the most special," says yearbook

faculty sponsor David Framel. "With

our appearance in such an exclusive

publication like the Jostens Look

Book, graphic artists and yearbook

professionals recognize our team as

unique innovators. This is a big pat

on the back for every student in the

publications program."

Congrats to those awarded Honorable

Mention: Sam Birdwell, Holt Johnson,

Blair Lovoi, Judy Roberts, Keith

Sill, Sarah Vanderbloemen, and

Sam Wilson for their arts entries, and

Catherine Andrews, Ellie Gilchrist,

Rachel Hallett, and Claire Kardesch

for their writing entries. Two arts

submissions by Catherine Cohn and

three by Mary Helen Kennedy were

also awarded Honorable Mention.



EHS Office of


Strikes Gold

California Dreaming: A Knight

on the Golden Coast Made

Our Dreams Come True

The Episcopal High School

Communications team recently earned

six awards at the CASE District IV

conference in Fort Worth. CASE

District IV includes universities and

independent schools from a five‐state

region that includes Texas, Louisiana,

Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

Advancement departments and

communications offices submit their

best brochures, magazines, websites,

and photography for the competition

each year. EHS is proud to compete

against some of the largest universities

in the United States and be judged the

best of the best.

The EHS Office of Communications

received the following awards this

year: Gold in the Website Homepage

category; Gold in Viewbook Design;

Gold in Admission, Recruitment, and

Promotional Literature Design; and

Silver in the Design Improvement


Additionally, Graphic Designer and

Communications Associate Ashleigh

Teel was awarded Silver in the Athletics

Photography category, and Webmaster

Mauro Gomez took home Bronze

in the Digital or Computer Enhanced

Images category.

On Friday, February 23, 2018, the EHS community headed to "Palm Springs" to

celebrate and support Episcopal High School at California Dreaming: A Knight

on the Golden Coast in our new Hildebrand Athletic Center. Co‐chairs Tammy

Barringer and Molly Shaffer, along with countless volunteers and generous

donors, raised an astounding $1.3 million for the School's operating budget.

Decorations Chairs Allyson Connelly and Gretchen Hilyard worked with

Swift + Company to transform Alkek Gym into an unforgettable evening in California.

Upon arrival, guests were greeted by two classic retro vehicles, palm trees, and

a replica of the iconic Parker Hotel breeze bricks. Frank Sinatra played in the

background as attendees sipped on California sparklers and bid on silent auction

items. After a gourmet dinner, guests raised their paddles high for the outstanding

Live Auction. We finished the evening with brandy freezes and a throwback DJ at

the after‐party—all while "dreaming big" for EHS.

During the Paddles Up portion of the Live Auction, EHS alumnus Devon Cash '14

discussed the impact EHS and the financial aid program had on his life. "Because

I was fortunate enough to study at such a great high school without financial

impediments, I was able to focus all of my efforts on simply being a student. The

ultimate result is that eight years after starting my journey here, I have been

positioned to embark on a career that has already allowed me to begin paying it

forward. Talent and intelligence are universal, opportunities and resources are not."

Devon's heartfelt testimony combined with the generous donations of the EHS

community raised over $200,000 for the financial aid program at Episcopal.

With our California road trip complete, the

EHS is gearing up for Auction 2019

"Derby Knight." Co‐chairs Sabrina

Espinoza, Patricia Hammond,

and Lyria O'Brien promise

an unforgettable evening

at "Churchill Downs" that

can't be missed!

For the latest "Derby

Knight" news and

updates, check the

School's website

and weekly Windows

eNewsletter. If you

would like to get involved,

contact Debbie Kelley at

or Kendall McCord '03 at


Bright Knights



An Eye for Design

Mary Helen Kennedy has always been interested in art, but through EHS's robust Arts Pillar she's learned

that she also likes design. "I never really thought my artistic abilities would translate into a career, but through

knowledge and encouragement I found I was interested in architecture," she says, and now she's looking to

further her study of architecture in college.

What she appreciates most about Episcopal is how the school is such a tight‐knit community, with each

of the Four Pillars working in sync to develop the whole person. "A lot of times in math I've looked at

proportions, how the eye moves, and I try to figure out how that relates to what I'm learning in physics or

biology," says Kennedy. "Even learning about history can help my research in art projects. This school really

lends itself to relating my different classes together."

The faculty and structure of the arts program have made Kennedy the artist she is today. Arts teacher

Sharon Wilcutts has been an inspiration to her during her four years at EHS and helped broaden her artistic

interests. "We did a project together called 'Color Theory Matching' that really interested me. Mrs. Willcutts

is good at encouraging me to keep exploring new things." Kennedy appreciates how Episcopal weaves

arts electives into the schedule and makes creativity a priority. "We have so many opportunities within the

Arts Pillar. We're encouraged to take a class every semester, not just once in four years," she explains. "The

variety of options, not to mention after‐school opportunities and workshops, allows you to explore many

areas. Even if you're not in a class, you're always welcome in the Art Wing of the Convent."

The turning point for her, where art became not just a hobby or a pastime but something she would explore

the rest of her life, was a project called "Grief and Relief." "I was working with more design in painting. That

was the moment where I solidified my interest in design. It wasn't so much the actual painting but the

experience that led to it. Although it was a simple piece with bubbles and cloth, I was working with shapes

and placement and contrast, incorporating all these concepts that I'd never used before," she explains. "The

prompt was about the Seven Deadly Sins. I made it relatable to my life at that time—stress—and ended up

winning a citywide competition."

The EHS arts program focuses a lot on the creative process, and Kennedy has not only improved her artistic

skills but also the ability to take risks and problem solve. "We've worked on projects that are challenging and

call us to do more than what's expected in a typical art class. These courses incorporate the students' ideas,

not just, 'I'll show you what to do, now do it,' but 'we'll figure out which process to take, and how we are

going to formulate that together.'"


—Emma Tsai



Bright Knights


The Power of Patience

August 2005. That's when 5‐year‐old TayJon Martin began to comprehend the grace and power of patience.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed his family's New Orleans home and pitched him, his mom, brothers, and sister

into a nomad's life of bunking with relatives, starting new schools, and bouncing from Oklahoma to Georgia,

before landing in Houston in 2007. The moves were tough, but Martin taught himself to be patient and to

believe that things happen for a reason. He knew he would do better than simply survive in life—he would


During middle school in the Cy‐Fair district, Martin's athletic prowess lit up the football field and basketball

court, and he quickly realized that those talents could lead to a college scholarship.

To reach his full potential as a scholar‐athlete, Martin researched area coaches and high schools. "Coach

Jones and Coach Leisz are known for bringing out the best in their athletes," he explains. "My goal was to

transfer to Episcopal, so I could achieve my full potential both athletically and academically."

Martin left the 3,600‐student Cy‐Falls High School after sophomore year to transfer to EHS. His instincts

were spot‐on. "I love a small school where you know almost everyone in your grade. The teachers here listen,

and I have been fortunate to build relationships with coaches and faculty like Ms. Nancy Eisenberg and

Mr. Eric Lerch. I also appreciate daily Chapel," he continues, "because it provides a break from the rigor of

classes. Hearing personal stories of student homilists helped me build connections and make friends here."

The qualities of patience and good instincts made Martin a standout cornerback in the SPC. "I'm fast, but

the key is to not act too soon or a receiver can fake a route," he says. "I wait, read the route, then go for the

burst and tackle." Coach Leisz concurs, adding, "TayJon stays with a play better than any athlete I've seen.

He never gives up, and in every game he makes a touchdown‐saving tackle on the other side of the field."

When college scouts came calling, Martin evaluated his opportunities and trusted his gut to determine which

program would be the best fit. "I'd like a chance at both a stint in the NFL and a career on Wall Street," he

asserts. "I want to play Division I, but have the support of a small school environment." With that wish list in

mind, he signed with the Lafayette Leopards in Pennsylvania, where he will play in the Patriot League.

Lafayette's Head Football Coach John Garrett told Martin he will start freshman year, and so he heads to

Pennsylvania for practice and conditioning in June. "I'm not eager to leave home, but at the same time I am

excited to join the Leopards, start college, and see what the future brings."

Equipped with patience, self‐awareness, and faith in the future, it's a good bet that Martin will not only

survive his next steps, he will thrive.

—Claire C. Fletcher



Fairy tale characters came to life when EHS Onstage

journeyed "Into the Woods" for a spectacular

spring musical. Photo by Ashleigh Teel.





EHS Food Service Dishes

"Awesomeness" Every Day

From the first shift at 5:00 a.m. to after‐hours concessions or campus events,

the Episcopal High School Food Service team delivers the fuel that powers the

Four Pillars.

As the school expands and the new Underwood Student Center undergoes

construction, a determined team of cooks and crew presses forward, rolling

steaming trays of scratch‐made meals from the kitchen, across the sidewalk,

to the temporary dining hall in Crum Gym. This daily choreography unfolds with

dedication, cheer, and a commitment to excellence.

But the team's mission incorporates more than lunch. Because the students

interact with Food Service every day for four years, many Knights develop

friendships with the staff. Class of 2003's Sonny Reil makes a point to visit

the group every time he returns to campus for meetings or athletics. "The

friendship with the cafeteria staff is just one more example of the unique

connections students make during their time at EHS," explains Reil.

Junior Mia Carrabba concurs. "I look forward to lunch because I'm hungry,"

she says, "but more importantly because I get to interact with people like Ms.

Darlene, Ms. Karen, and the staff. Every one of them has genuine care and

concern for the students."

Macy Miller '19 says, "I love coming to get a

sandwich and visit with the staff. They are always so

happy and funny, and it brightens my day."

Food Service Director Susana Borges‐Pasini leads with a combination of

precision, unparalleled work ethic, and compassion that brings out the best

in her team, and her respect for them is clear. "This group puts their heart

and soul into getting here at the crack of dawn, preparing meals, transporting

food back and forth from the kitchen to Crum, delivering catered meals to the

Trustee Room or Alumni Center, catering special events like Knight Celebration

and Open House, and going above and beyond to better serve everyone

seamlessly," she states.


"With the challenges a temporary dining facility brings, this year has been tough

for our department," she adds, "but I am so proud of our team."

Besides providing a wholesome rotation of menus, Borges‐Pasini and her

team are intentional about ambiance and information, decorating the serving

areas with seasonal themes or spirit swag, and labeling gluten‐free and vegan

options. Each month, Borges‐Pasini sends a monthly nutrition newsletter to

students and faculty that highlights fun trivia about vegetables such as snow

peas or cuisine from countries like Venezuela.

Next school year, Food Service moves to the re‐imagined Underwood Student

Center, complete with plenty of natural light, seating for 500, and a coffee

bar. While stunning architecture and amenities will certainly elevate the dining

experience, senior Denman Kane says the camaraderie among students and

cafeteria staff is the tradition that endures. "I will be sure to come back and

visit the Food Service staff after I graduate," he promises. "They have meant so

much to me and to EHS."

—Claire C. Fletcher

More Than Lunch: Beloved Food Service

Team Impacts Students' Daily Lives

"They not only provide great food, they are also hospitable and funny," Mia

Carrabba '19 shares. "The staff never fails to put a smile on my face, no matter

how stressed or tired I am."

Senior Denman Kane '18 is a long-time fan of EHS Food Service. "The Food

Staff is awesome. I've been coming to the cafeteria since I was a little kid when

my brothers were in school here. They know exactly what I want each day and

that means a lot. I will be sad to leave them, but I will make sure to come back

and visit because they have meant so much to me and to EHS."

"Whenever I am on campus, I make an effort to visit the Food Service team,

many who have worked here since I was in school," says alum Sonny Reil '03.

"Not only is the food delicious, it gives the students the fuel necessary to

participate in all the extracurricular activities available throughout the Four


"Mrs. Maria and Ms. Karen are two of happiest faces on campus," adds Jordan

Lang '18. "Every day I get the same sandwich, and now they know my order

by heart. When I walk up to the serving line, they greet me with smiles on their

faces, which puts a smile on mine!"


Meet the Team

Darlene Alexander

Entrée line and catering

Maria Arias

Sandwiches, salads, and fruit

Gvahn, Nancy, Karen, Maria, and Darlene.

Olga Benavides

Prep and dish room

Silvia, Olga, Adrian, Blanca, and Susana.

Susana Borges‐Pasini

Director of Food Service

Karen Rogers Broussard

Sandwiches and entrée sides

Nancy Hastings

Grill and prep

Gvahn Nelson

Main cook

Adrian Rodriguez

Catering, prep, and dish room

Blanca Villescaz

Entrée line and prep

Silvia Warren

Desserts, bakery, and dish room





Interim Term, a two‐week period at the

start of each spring semester, gives students

the opportunity to broaden their high school

experience through courses not offered in the

standard curriculum. Diverse topics range

from fashion to film, and magic to med

school. Three travel opportunities

were also available this year,

featuring trips to Costa Rica,

Walt Disney World, and

Washington, D.C.



Calling Doogie Howser, MD! Mini Med School, taught by Erin

Russe and Cade Slepitza, introduced the basics of terminology

and testing skills needed to help students formally diagnose a

fictitious patient and present their findings. Students completed

CPR and First Aid certification, met with doctors and medical

school students, analyzed popular medical TV shows for their

accuracy, and experienced a taste of life as a med student.

This course opened my eyes about the stamina and

perseverance needed to pursue a career in medicine.

I really enjoyed the hands‐on experiences. We visited

the UT McGovern campus, practiced suturing

techniques, learned CPR, and even worked with a

laparoscopy machine.

—Clayton Butler '19



Travelers to this verdant

destination returned with

tales of exotic adventures and

attitudes of pura vida. Led

by faculty chaperones Krystal

Davis, Kerry Hofmeister, and

Amira Kamal, students explored

Costa Rica's culture, history,

and way of life.

We immersed ourselves in the style of pura vida, the

"live and let live" philosophy of Costa Rica. We enjoyed

so many amazing experiences: zip‐lining, hiking through

national parks, seeing monkeys swing in trees, watching

sea turtles hatch and crawl in to the ocean. I can't wait

to go back!

—Brooke Braniff '19


Interim Term




Created by science teacher Justin Hickey,

this course fostered an appreciation,

understanding, and ongoing curiosity

about the mysterious, intense, and

magnificent Universe. Students learned

about astronomy in a historical

context, understanding its relevance

in ancient and modern times alike,

and hypothesized about what

impact astronomy will have on

the future of the human race.

I loved this class, especially learning about

constellations and black holes. We each made

constellation spheres and mapped out our

favorites like Orion, Ursa Major, and Cygna.

You could say my experience with this course

was... out of this world!

—Catherine Andrews '20


Interim Term





Via Disney movies and other popular media, English

teacher Emily Barron led students to examine the messages

that entertainment conveys about the norms and cultural

expectations of women in modern American society.

Why was Snow White cleaning

up after the Seven Dwarves?

This Interim Term class taught

us to spot cues about how

women are represented in all

forms of media. I consider

myself a passionate feminist and

enjoyed hearing other students'

perspectives about the changing

roles of women in society.

—Rachel Koch '19


Interim Term


Interim Term



From "breaking" to "krumping," dance instructor Kristina Burgess

and her Interim Term students choreographed urban dance

styles, investigated the evolution of hip‐hop, and performed body

movements to improve balance and coordination.

Hip‐hop is all about expressing feelings. Though the

moves are the same, each choreographer's style is

unique. It's amazing that this 1970s dance genre began

on the streets and is so mainstream today.

—Noah Prophet '19



In Yugoslavia, brothers and basketball teammates are torn apart as

they find themselves on opposites side of a war. In India, Cricket

is a matter of life or death. In Columbia, drugs and soccer prove

to be a fatal mix. Guided by documentaries, students and history

teacher Travis Smith examined how sports explain the political

and social makeup of a country.

People all over the world connect

their identities with their sports

teams. If a World Cup team loses

in Italy, some fans can hardly

crawl out of bed the next day.

Documentaries about a famous

cricket player and other superstars

showed us both the joy and the

burden young athletes feel when

the stakes are so high.

—Connor Baily '21


Interim Term



Julia Jiao '08: Telling Stories in 3D

"Nothing beats a design that tells a story," declares Julia

Jiao '08. After leaving the Rhode Island School of Design

in 2012 with a degree in Industrial Design, Jiao landed an

internship at Puma. Within a few months she became a

major player on the All‐Star design team at Converse. Jiao

felt happy and inspired at Converse, creating the next line

of women's footwear, but something was missing. Jiao, a

typical creative, admits she is always antsy and seeking

innovation. She explored other areas of product design

to further her visual language and started experimenting

with 3D modeling and printing. Jiao joined a design team

building prototypes, proofs, and concepts for start‐ups,

where she gained valuable business skills, but the team was

small and the opportunities were limited.

Via networking, Jiao met two engineers, Wombi Rose and

John Wise, who launched Lovepop out of the Harvard

Innovation Lab in late 2014. The two were named to the

2015 Techstars class, nominated for "50 on Fire" by BostInno,

and gained the confidence of investors all over the world

by building custom‐made, 3D greeting cards. After meeting

the Lovepop founders, Julia joined the fledgling firm of 15

to become their 16th card builder, creating intricately cut

3D paper sculptures that are engineered on software and

handcrafted in the "kirigami" art form.

Jiao says she has found her niche at Lovepop, where she can

combine her knowledge of business with 3D modeling. Now

two years into the gig, she is the lead designer of the wedding

products team, working alongside sales and production,

and helping to build one of the fastest‐growing start‐ups in

the industry. Recently, the team worked with HBO to create

"Game of Thrones" cards, and the five‐piece set is just the

beginning of what Lovepop calls "an intriguing relationship we

are building in the mysterious continent of Westeros."

Jiao plans to stay in Boston for a few more years. "I love the

company and team I'm with and can see myself growing


it," she

explains. "At

the same time, I would like to give back to the communities

that helped me along the way. One of my interests concerns

young designers or those invested in a creative field. Creative

fields include the most empathic and versatile groups of

people, important to many organizations, but they are often

light on resources and tools. I am interested in learning how I

can help young designers navigate the industry."

Reflecting on her high school years, Julia says her passion for

design was ignited by the variety of art classes she was able

to take at Episcopal. "The classes were relevant to the trends

of the time and taught collaboration and risk‐taking—two

qualities important in creative fields. And the digital programs

boosted me a few years ahead of my peers in college," she

says. "The benefits gained at EHS keep bubbling up in my

career and personal life in so many amazing ways."

—Sharon Willcutts

Ben Estus '09: Enjoying Every Step

"Giving life to stories and characters—that's what I love to

do," says actor Ben Estus '09. He gets to share that passion

almost daily, as he continues his fifth season in Broadway's

"The Book of Mormon," written by television "South Park"

creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Estus, one of EHS

Onstage's high‐profile alumni, brings his trifecta of acting,

singing, and dancing skills to the musical satire, playing a

wholesome Mormon who travels door to door to recruit

converts. The show is a rare box office smash, and Estus

feels blessed to have a steady job and perform with top

talent—a dream for most actors.

Besides delivering memorable leads in "Dracula" and "Pippin"

while at Episcopal, Estus won a prestigious Tommy Tune


Award for his role as Tommy in the musical "Urinetown." Estus

says that citywide accolade helped him gain auditions during

the first years of his career.

After graduating from Episcopal, Estus headed to

Northwestern University to complete his B.A. in Theatre, with

a Musical Theatre Certificate. At Northwestern he balanced

rigorous academics and performed in many productions,

such as "Rent," "The Pajama Game," and "42nd Street."

While EHS Onstage prepared him for his dream career, he

says that joining the Knights wrestling team—where he was

named State Champion and All‐American—provided equal

benefits. "Wrestling re‐defined hard work and taught me

teamwork and discipline," he explains. "George Brock and

Steve Leisz toiled tirelessly with my schedule to ensure I

could participate in both theatre and wrestling in high school,

and I think that kind of collaboration is pretty rare."

As with most live theatre productions, his role in "Book"

requires eight performances a week. "You have to be healthy

and in great shape, so a background in athletics is terrific."

Besides Broadway, Estus has performed in regional theatre,

film, and movies—and at only age 26, his future looks bright.

"If students love acting

and know it's something

they want to do, they

just have to go for

it," he advises. "As in

every field, there are

plenty of naysayers,

but the ability to handle

rejection is especially

important in theater. You

have to love auditioning—

see it as your chance to perform

for the day. There's a lot of nonsense

that comes along with the 'business' but if you still love the

acting and the art it encompasses, it's worth it," he says.

"Read a lot, do good work in class, don't be afraid to fail, and

find ways to enjoy every step of the process. Everyone's road

to success in this field is completely different. Keep hustling

down your own road and don't pay attention or compare

yourself to anyone else. If you work hard, know your lines,

and show up on time, good things will always happen. And

when they do—it's so awesome!"

—Claire C. Fletcher

Marlo Cobb Saucedo '87: Distance, Up Close

Marlo Cobb Saucedo '87 was introduced to art long before

high school through summer classes at MFAH's Glassell

School. Art was a passion, but not a career goal. After

graduating from EHS, Saucedo attended Davidson College,

writing for The Davidsonian and majoring in psychology with a

concentration in Spanish and French.

Her first job took her to Washington, D.C., where she assisted

with the resettlement of Vietnamese‐American

war babies in her work for the International

Catholic Migration Commission. She

left that position to earn an M.B.A. in

entrepreneurship from the University

of Texas, all the while taking art

classes in Austin. When creative

friends began dropping out of

the M.B.A. program at a fast

clip, she was inspired to create

a handwriting‐to‐line visual

diary of the experience called


Returning to Houston with her

M.B.A. and working as an HTML

coder, Saucedo continued to feel

pulled toward visual art. After she and

her husband, Alex, bought their first home

in Bayou Lofts among the storied buildings of Houston's early

downtown, Saucedo developed an interest in the architecture

and history of Houston. She revisited handwriting‐to‐line

techniques in depictions of the Houston skyline. Each work

noted the building's height, architect, address, and year

completed, and she sold the pieces to lawyers and architects

with downtown offices.

Today her medium extends to collage on canvas and

board, using acrylic mixed with high‐end latex. The works

feature words in English, Spanish, or French that allude to

history, poetry, and opinion. Saucedo calls her style "visual

art narrative." She's interested in exploring the internal and

external, mind and matter, and presenting interiors at a close

distance, "like the stories we hold within ourselves," she says.

Having a studio in The Silos on Sawyer since 2016 has

escalated her productivity and focus. "You never want to be

the smartest person in the room," she says. "I'm fortunate to

have talent all around me at Sawyer Yards. We collaborate,

discuss our work, and bounce ideas off each other."

As for the future, "I'll keep focusing on what I enjoy—color,

shape, writing, and collaboration," she says. "Thinking bigger

is better," she believes, "and failure is better than never trying."

—Margaret Young




Old and New Friendships

Shine at "Stars at Knight"

Knights from far and wide returned to campus for Alumni Weekend

2018, eager to revisit the familiar and take in the new. A packed

weekend of events provided alumni an opportunity to be on campus,

explore the city of Houston, and even hit the golf course.

In Friday's Chapel service, our EHS students were able to hear from

both of the Alumni Weekend award recipients. Katheryn Shaffer

Ray '89 and Eric Avera, gave heartfelt talks regarding their years at

EHS and how they continue to look forward to each new school year,

their students, and the many a‐ha moments that occur each year.

The highlight of Friday's "Stars at Knight" celebration saw Ray and

Avera both receiving their Alumni Weekend awards. In addition,

the evening featured a special tribute and toast to retiring history

instructor Ray Balch. Alumni from decades of class years joined

in the festivities and enjoyed fabulous spirits and food pairings

hosted by Nick Adair '05 and his latest bistro‐style restaurant, Eloise

Nichols Bar and Grill.

Saturday brought campus tours, a Kid's Zone for alumni children,

lunch in the new Alkek Gym, and not‐to‐be‐missed class reunions.

Capping a fun‐filled weekend was Monday's Dads Club and Alumni

Golf Tournament.

This year's host committee did a stellar job coordinating all the

details and preparations. Attendees look forward to next year's

party and reunions.

—Margaret Young

Save the date for Alumni Weekend 2019, on April 5‐6!


Photos by Chris Bailey Photography.



Helping Students Find the Best Fit

SAT and ACT scores, extracurricular activities, service hours,

honors and AP classes, rigorous academic courses—it's no

wonder that the college selection process can be stressful.

"The college counseling program at EHS not only takes some

of the guesswork out of college preparation but uses a

comprehensive method to find the best fit for each student,"

says Director of College Counseling Julie Rollins.

"We really get to know our kids," adds Patricia Houser, college

counselor, "and that not only helps identify meaningful ways

for students to get involved and pursue their passions, but it

also leads to them discovering themselves."

Ultimately, what the Episcopal High

School College Counseling office seeks

to accomplish for each student is a great

college match socially, academically, and


EHS college counselors go beyond helping students build

a resumé or complete a college application. Instead, they

create a comprehensive persona for each student that gives

them the space to fail or grow out of certain activities and

interests. "We have an open‐door policy that's unique," says

Rachel Lopez, college counselor. "A ninth grader can roll

in and talk to us any time, however briefly. We make time

to touch base, and it alleviates some of that anxiety around

going to college."

EHS has a holistic college selection process that takes into

account the unique qualities of each individual student. "The

end game is not to get into the most prestigious school,"

Houser says, "but for the student to know him or herself well

enough to identify and thrive and grow." Lopez adds, "We

really have the freedom to find the option that's best for the

student. Our program uses a collaborative approach that's

unique and draws upon the knowledge of five people, not just

one individual counselor."

"Because of the size of our team, we carry a workable student

load, and that frees up time to travel and network with

colleges, so they know what an Episcopal student is and

what that will add to a campus," Houser adds. "To get better

acquainted with the students, I often pick up projects on

campus, such as getting involved in the annual chili cook‐off

or attending arts and athletic events."

A Four‐Year Journey

What differentiates the EHS college counseling

program is the extent to which our counselors

help students develop self‐awareness and

confidence. The process begins freshman

year, when the college counselors meet with

students in large groups. Individual meetings

are welcome but not required. A foundation

is built as counselors discuss academic rigor,

GPA trajectory, extracurricular involvement,

and areas of interest. Sophomore year, the

College Counseling Department strongly

encourages an individual conference with

a particular counselor, which parents are

welcome to attend. That conference digs into

details about the rigor of a student's schedule,

extracurricular activities, testing (PSAT), and

leadership opportunities. Though the counselors

do not pull a college list together at this point, their

goal is to ensure that students will have multiple college

options down the road.


Course selection guidance is a priority for sophomore

year as students look ahead to 11th grade,

arguably one of the most important years in

the application and selection process. Junior

year, following Interim Term, each student

schedules a formal conference with a

college counselor. A parent or guardian

is required to attend, during which the

counselor discusses potential areas of

study, the student's course curriculum,

and standardized test scores. EHS

counselors meet the students where

they are—whether the family has

an initial list they're working toward

or they are open and flexible. This

conference begins the conversation

that will work toward a balanced list

of college options. During senior year,

each student has a conference with his

or her individual counselor to finalize that

list. The counselor helps with everything

from the college essay to the resumé,

reaching out to college reps, and exploring

financial aid and scholarships.

Counselor Mark Carter enjoys the breadth of the

relationship that begins with students freshman year. "I

watch them grow throughout the process, from when they

were younger high school students until they become seniors.

I can see a really big change." A number of programs help

support families during the college selection process, such

as advice on teacher recommendation letters, visits from

college representatives, and conversational programs for all


parents. In addition, the counselors host Junior and Senior

Parent Nights, with guest speakers that address topics such

as admission trends and the transition to college life.

College Counseling Advocates for Students

The College Counseling Department's frequent networking

with college representatives benefits the students and can

change the trajectory of people's lives. Reps from more than

200 colleges visit Episcopal each year, resulting in close

relationships with our students and counselors.

Ultimately, what the EHS College Counseling office seeks to

accomplish for each student is a great college match socially,

academically, and financially. "We give our families personal

attention and treat each child as an individual. There's not a

hidden agenda that we have to include certain colleges on

the lists that we report. We have the kids look at places that

will truly work for them," Rollins explains. The collaborative

approach allows the counselors to work off each other, and a

student can consult with a counselor that best fits his or her

personality. "When we go into a junior conference, we'll get

feedback from one another," says Rollins, "and we check to

see if we're missing anything or there's something we should

be looking for."

A large part of the extraordinary work the counselors do is, in

fact, counseling. "It can be disappointing for both the student

and the parent when a student doesn't get into his or her

top choice. On the other hand, most students realize there

are many great options for an excellent college education—a

place where they can grow both academically and socially,"

Rollins explains. A close relationship with their counselor that

includes trust, face‐to‐face meetings, and a bond that begins

freshman year helps students cope with the mixed emotions

of the application process.

"Getting to know our students, helping them discover new

passions, and encouraging them through rigorous academics

and tedious applications brings positive results—and a

college that's a great fit," says Rollins.

—Emma Tsai


Inner genius is the spark inside that allows us to become our

best selves. When I'm in the dance studio, pushing myself

as hard as I can, or in my classes where I'm challenged

by my teachers to further my knowledge, that's where I


—Elyse Pedrick '19, Dance and College Counseling Ambassador

Inner Genius is being able to thrive in an environment

that is constantly forcing you to find creative solutions

to complicated problems. EHS challenges us in every

aspect of the Four Pillars, so whether it's on the court

or in the classroom, students are compelled to


—Amiri Scrutchin '19, Boys Volleyball


you discover your passion. My passion is musical theatre, and

I love to step out on stage and shine with the people I have

come to call my family.

—Gwendalyn Diaz '21, EHS Onstage and Student Senate



by facilitating those a-ha moments in their writing, in their

connection to the world, and in themselves. Inner genius

is also revealed when students seize new opportunities on

campus, leading them to discover a little bit more of who

they are and how they want to leave an impact on the world.

—Courtney Goldberg, English Instructor and Director of

Student Activities


have to believe in yourself. We all have special talents

and skills that are unique to us. Even if the skill doesn't

feel unique, the way that you do it will be.

—Preston Witt '19, Baseball and Boys Volleyball


by allowing our hearts and minds to be shaped by the truest,

most beautiful, and best of things. Thus, we study Einstein, are

moved by Bach, and seek to emulate Mother Teresa.

—Joshua Smith, Religion Instructor



with EHS


Pop Quiz turns the table on teachers and asks them

to respond to 11 quick questions. Their enthusiastic

responses reveal the values, quirks, and interests that

make them so effective in leading EHS students.



Computer Science Teacher and Coach

Alan Duncan is wrapping up his sixth year at

Episcopal High School but his 20th year as a

full‐time educator. His roles at Episcopal

include teaching computer science,

coaching freshman boys basketball,

and sponsoring the Computer

Science Club.

A proud native Houstonian,

Duncan is a graduate of Lamar

High School. He has been

married to his wife, Tanya, for

five years and they have two

children, Jazzmin and Jacob.

Duncan earned a B.S. in

Applied Mathematics from

Texas A&M University and his

M.S. in Management, Computing,

and Systems from Houston

Baptist University. After graduating

from A&M, he worked for eight years

in the oil and gas industry as a systems

programmer and database administrator.

"My teaching experience began in 1997 when

one of my professors in graduate school offered

me an opportunity to teach courses at the University of

Houston‐Downtown," says Duncan.

He found inspiration and purpose as a teacher and later worked at two HISD high schools and at Strake

Jesuit College Preparatory. Besides teaching, he is passionate about music and plays the trombone. A

career highlight was the chance to combine interests on a mission trip to Jamaica where he and his

student‐volunteers donated more than 75 band instruments, sheet music, and instructional booklets and

held five days of tutorials to start a student band at a Jesuit high school in Kingston.

What's on your playlist right now? Jonathan Batiste, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Brian Blade Fellowship.

What was the first concert you attended? Superfest starring Frankie Beverly and Maze, Guy, Kool

Moe Dee, and MC Hammer. If you weren't a teacher, what would you pick for a career? I would be

a disc jockey. I am fascinated with the various roles music plays in our lives. What is your proudest

accomplishment? Being a parent, husband, and a first generation college graduate. Do you have a

favorite app or tech gadget? My smart watch and Voice AIY (do‐it‐yourself artificial intelligence) that has

me entertaining the idea of artificial intelligence on campus. Did you have a mentor growing up who

inspired your career? My parents were my biggest supporters and mentors. Even though my parents

have not been with me for 20 years, their guidance continues to be most inspirational and enlightening. If

you could travel back in time, what period of history would you choose? Back to the future. What

trait do you most admire in your colleagues? The ability to communicate and share positive, optimistic,

and organized visions with and to young people. What trait do you most admire in your students? The

confidence that comes from practice and preparation. Read any good books recently? The 7 Habits of

Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. If you could eat only one meal this week, what would it be?

My dad's BBQ and any one of my mother's homemade cakes.



English Teacher and Coach

Mark Mitchell grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and taught

high school in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also

taught a first‐year writing course at the University

of Texas while attending grad school. Now in

his fourth year at Episcopal, Mitchell teaches

English and debate and coaches the JV

baseball team.

Mitchell took a break from teaching

after grad school to work as a

legislative aide at the Texas Capitol,

both in the House and the Senate.

After that he went to law school

and worked as an attorney. "Once I

realized how much I really hated being

a lawyer," he explains, "I came back to

teaching and joined EHS."

Mark and his wife, Brandie, stay busy

keeping up with their two little girls,

5‐year‐old Ella and 2‐year‐old Kate. But in

those rare moments of spare time, "I still manage

to get to the gym a lot and see a fair number of

concerts in town," he shares.

What's on your playlist right now? Audiobooks! Right now I'm listening to the last book in a trilogy called

The Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin. If you like science fiction‐ish books, they're worth a read (or a listen).

What was the first concert you attended? I was lucky enough to see Stevie Ray Vaughn the year before

he died. It's still the best show I've ever been to. That guy was electric. If you weren't a teacher, what

would you pick for a career? I'd probably still be a fairly miserable lawyer or staffer at the Capitol. Not

miserable in the sense of being bad at those jobs—they just did not agree with my personality. What is your

proudest accomplishment? I don't have a proudest accomplishment. Once something is done for me, it's

done, and I'm on to the next thing. I try not to spend too much time thinking about the past or resting on

the things I've done. Do you have a favorite app or tech gadget? The Netflix app. When I was a little kid,

I dreamed of someday having a magic television that would have all my favorite shows. Having Netflix on

all my screens pretty much meets that definition. Did you have a mentor growing up who inspired your

career? My geometry teacher really inspired me. No matter how many times I'd go to her for help, she was

always patient, always kind. She never made me feel bad about how truly awful I was at any kind of math.

She was always intentional about identifying our strengths and encouraging us to grow. If you could travel

back in time, what period of history would you choose? I'd probably go back to my 9th grade year to tell

myself it's going to be OK. No matter how weird high school, college, and your early 20s get, it's going to

be OK. I'd probably also tell myself to place a substantial bet on the Atlanta Braves to win the 1991 pennant.

What trait do you most admire in your colleagues? Despite how incredibly busy everyone is, they all

come together whenever help is needed. Whether it's covering for a sick teacher or sharing resources,

everyone has a commitment not just to their students but also to each other. What trait do you most

admire in your students? The sense of humor my students show nearly every day. If I had a job like theirs—

seven different bosses with seven different sets of expectations—I'm not sure I'd show as much grace and

humor as they do. Read any good books recently? Ever since my senior year in college, I re‐read Moby

Dick every winter. I got a late start this year, and finished it in March. If you could eat only one meal this

week, what would it be? Whatever the taco of the month is at Torchy's. That place can do no wrong.



History Teacher and Coach

"Field hockey shaped me into the person I am today," says Shelly

Edmonds, history teacher and field hockey coach. Edmonds

started playing the sport when she was in 3rd grade and

continued through college at the University of Virginia.

"In high school, I played for a very competitive school

and club team. My coach didn't accept anything other

than your best. It forced me to push myself mentally

and physically—more than I ever thought I was

capable of," she explains. "As a result, I developed

discipline and resilience. Overall the sport made me

a stronger person, and I realized how much I am

capable of even in the most difficult situations."

Edmonds grew up near Philadelphia in Emmaus,

Pennsylvania, where her parents still live. She is the

third child of four, and during holiday breaks she enjoys

traveling back home or visiting her siblings who live in San

Diego and London. She does have one sibling nearby, an

older sister who lives in Houston.

And though she left Charlottesville over five years ago, Edmonds bleeds

Jefferson Blue, even through NCAA upsets. "UVA was awesome and I will always be a University of Virginia

basketball fan—through the good and the bad!"

What's on your playlist right now? A little bit of everything: Creedence Clearwater, Jack Johnson, Taylor

Swift, The Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, and Turnpike Troubadours.

What was the first concert you attended? I was a junior in high school, and I saw O.A.R. If you weren't

a teacher, what would you pick for a career? I'd be a yoga instructor on a beach in Mexico. What is your

proudest accomplishment? My junior year in college we beat University of North Carolina to go to the ACC

championship. We ended up losing the championship and later losing to UNC in the Final Four. As much of a

rivalry as I feel toward UNC, that game and that season were my proudest accomplishments. We worked so

hard to build our field hockey team from barely making the NCAA tournament my freshman year to making

it to the Final Four. Do you have a favorite app or tech gadget? I recently made a Pinterest account. Now

I understand what people mean when they say they love and hate Pinterest at the same time. I downloaded

the app for some ideas on how to decorate my apartment for Christmas, and it ended with me trying to

make DIY projects for 10 hours! It was a huge time sucker, but my apartment looked fantastic! Did you have

a mentor growing up who inspired your career? My high school AP U.S. teacher, Mr. Haja. He loved

U.S. history. He made it seem like a story but challenged us to think about how that day's lesson affected or

shaped our lives. I had never worked so hard in a class in my life, and it felt good to put effort in and gain so

much from it. If you could travel back in time, what period of history would you choose? I am interested

in many eras. I would either travel back in time to West Africa during the rise of the trans‐Saharan trade

route in the 1000s‐1200s, or land in Ancient Egypt. What trait do you most admire in your colleagues?

Their willingness to collaborate. If I am looking for a new way to approach an event or time period, there is

always someone willing to share their unique strategy. What trait do you most admire in your students?

Their curiosity. Our students always want to know more about a specific topic or how an event shaped

a current topic. Read any good books recently? Right now I am reading Nudge by Richard Thaler and

Cass Sunstein. It is not a history book, but it is a great book about decision‐making. If you could eat only

one meal this week, what would it be? I am not Polish, but I am Pennsylvania Dutch, and I used to eat

pierogies all the time growing up. If I could have one meal for a whole week, it would probably be homemade

pierogies sautéed with onions.



Send your updates to Director of Alumni and Annual Giving

Margaret Young at so that you can be

featured here in the next issue of Pillars magazine!


Tiny Marshall married Sarah

Hartsough Callahan on November

25, 2017, in Naples, Florida. Mark

Williams and Mark Chehlaoui were in

attendance. Tiny is the owner of Mac in

a Snap, a Kentucky‐based IT services

company focusing on Macintosh

computer repair and support. The

company was recently recognized

as Louisville's most trusted on‐site

computer repair company for Apple


Marlo Cobb Saucedo was featured

in the "Villager Vignette" section of the

Houston Chronicle for her work as a

local artist.


Artist Libbie Masterson (pictured

above with Amanda Whitehead

Johnson '87) recently hosted an open

house at her beautiful Houston studio.

Clint Miller is a software architect

working for Convey in Austin, Texas.

This spring, he will complete eight years

as a youth baseball and soccer coach.


Katherine Alexander recently

became the morning briefer to Dana

White, Assistant to the Secretary of

Defense for Public Affairs. Katherine

is responsible for briefing Dana, a key

member of Secretary of Defense James

Mattis' staff, on crucial international

defense issues. Katherine has served

a variety of assignments during her

20 years with the U.S. Department of

Defense, including deployments to

Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, as well

as temporary assignments in Florida,

Hawaii, Europe, and the Middle East.

On July 22, 2017, Jennifer and Brad

Tashenberg (pictured below with fellow

alum DJ Johnson) announced the

arrival of Colette Christine.


Ken Blair recently took a job as

the lead systems administrator for

Memorial Hermann Health System.

Ken's job ensures that new technology

is implemented according to the

company's technical, legal, and security


Josh Roman and Andrew

Hawthorn '91 (pictured below)

both serve as volunteer firefighters.

After learning about the impact of

Hurricane Harvey on their respective

fire departments, Andrew and his

team donated two brush trucks and a

Ford Excursion to the Meyersville Fire

Department, where Josh serves, in the

greater Brenham area.


Natalie Cronfel Aide and husband

Michael welcomed daughter Elizabeth

Grace Vivian on October 24, 2017.

Chadrick Cross (pictured right with

son James) returned to campus to film

a video about his time at EHS and his

path to becoming a cardiothoracic

surgeon. Look for the video on the

alumni page of the Episcopal High

School website.

Research from neuroscientist Dena

Dubal was highlighted in a recent

San Francisco Chronicle article titled

"Scientists Aim to Wipe Out Dementia

and Other Diseases of Aging." Dena

treats patients with strokes, seizures,

dementia, and other cognitive problems.


Hillary Brooks Houle and EHS physics

instructor Eric Avera participated

in Brazos Bookstore's "Writers on

Remembrance" reading. Hillary's work

has been featured in USA Today and

Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry


While working at the same hospital,

fellow Knights Heather Schwab

Sambilay and Chidi Achilefu '04

(pictured above) discovered that they

are both EHS graduates!

Eric Santamaria (pictured right

with EHS science instructor Beverly

Rutledge) returned to campus to kick

off Alumni Leadership Day with a

Chapel talk. He shared what it's like

working at the Tesla headquarters and

the importance of believing in yourself.


Arden O'Donnell is living outside of

Boston with her partner, Liz Berges,

and three beautiful daughters. She

works as a palliative care social worker

and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in

social work at Boston University.


Michael Eisenberg was the lead

author of a recent report on paternal

age. He serves as the director of male

reproductive medicine and surgery

as well as the associate professor of

urology at Stanford University Medical

Center. A New York Times article, "New

Fathers Are Older Than Ever," features

Michael's research.

Brad Kirklin and wife Natalie

welcomed Bradley "Mac" McMahon

Kirklin II on December 19, 2016.

Rachel Rosen Wyatt now serves

as the creative director for Elisabeth

Christian Public Relations. Rachel's

business, Wyatt Brand, was recently

acquired by the PR company.


On October 24, 2017, Jenny Harris

Kelly and husband Chris welcomed

new addition Quinn McIver.

Kara and David Kirsten welcomed twin

girls Bayla Sarah and Shoshanna Ruth

on June 2, 2017.

Dominique Newton Kohl recently

received a grant to start her nonprofit,

Upside Down Paper Crown, which

focuses on empowering students in the

learning process by connecting their

mind, body, and spirit. Dominique's

work was featured in The Huffington

Post, and she recently presented at the

We Are Girls Conference in Houston,

Texas. Alexandra Ortiz '05 was the

volunteer assigned to Dominique's

conference workshop.

Megan McGraw MacIntyre '03 and

Shaw MacIntyre proudly announced

the arrival of Robert "Robbie" Shaw

MacIntyre IV on November 13, 2017.

For the past seven years, Marshall

Pengra has served as the gospel

community pastor at Sojourn Heights

Church. He recently accepted a new

role within the church as the pastor of

care and counseling.


Jarred King joined the EHS community

for daily Chapel where he gave a

heartfelt talk about the medical

volunteer group Faith in Practice and

their missions in Guatemala.

Elizabeth and Brett Monroe became

the proud parents of a baby boy,

George Theodore, born May 9, 2017.


Marcia and Michael Laas announced

the arrival of their son, Jake Martinez,

on November 2, 2017.

On October 9, 2017, Louise Plumb

Paez and husband Gabe welcomed a

baby girl, Stella Thomas.

Lauren Blaylock Teare and husband

Sean welcomed their fourth child, Sadie,

on November 18, 2017.

Jamie Eidman Waldrep and husband

Jordan are the proud parents of Parker

Cayce, born January 22, 2018.


Christina Pickett Blackwell and

husband Bart welcomed daughter

Vivian on November 1, 2017.


Class Notes

Ollison and husband Christopher

announced the arrival of Theodore

"Theo" Fitzgerald.

Megan and Jay Cohen welcomed baby

girl Caroline Lila on October 31, 2017.

Sarah and B.W. Crain had a baby boy,

Bluford "Ford" Walter V, on May 9, 2017.

Sarah Lodowski Kitchen and husband

Benjamin announced the birth of

Frederick Cameron (pictured left with

older brother Benjamin) on July 22,


Jenny Jackson Miller and husband

Steve had a baby boy, Bodhi Sai, on

May 27, 2017.

Suzanne Burdett Howley and

husband Justin welcomed baby boy

Harrison on August 24, 2017.

Kasey Morton Marshall and husband

Chad became the proud parents of Ali

Grace on January 27, 2017.

On August 23, 2017, Kittie and Wilson

Mayfield proudly announced the birth

of Ralph "Will" Wilson Jr.

Riley Sharman started a new job

with Marcus & Millichap as a retail

investment sales associate.

Sandra and Ryan Mendez announced

the birth of their daughter, Ava Delilah,

on March 24, 2018.

On August 12, 2016, Nealey Levi

Stapleton and husband John had a

baby boy, Mason Wild.

Beth Stockwell Vanderkolk and

husband Ryan have two beautiful

children. Their son, Reed, was born

on June 11, 2015, and the couple

welcomed their second child, Skye, on

April 21, 2017 (pictured below).

On May 24, 2017, Allison Holmes

Spayd and husband Mike welcomed

new addition Scott Morgan into the



John Baker serves as design director,

founding member, and board member

of the Houston‐based Dirt Dogs

Theatre Company.

Courtney and Wells Brown became

the proud parents of Avery Rose on

January 22, 2018.

Shenna and Jeffrey Brown welcomed

a baby girl, Shannon Giselle, on May

23, 2017.

Collier Crouch moved to Washington,

D.C., from Yokohama, Japan. He is

currently a lieutenant commander in the

U.S. Navy and is part of the Joint Staff

at the Pentagon.

Philip Storey recently completed

an ophthalmology residency at the

University of Southern California. He

is currently at Wills Eye Hospital in

Philadelphia for a fellowship in retina


Melanie and Anthony Thomas became

the proud parents of Malcolm Davon on

December 10, 2017.


On November 10, 2016, Emma

Simmons Anselmi and husband

Michael became the proud parents to a

baby boy, Elias Simmons.

Christine and Hunter Blackwell had a

baby girl, Margaret "Margot" Rose, on

May 18, 2017.

Kristina and Houston Braly welcomed

daughter Harper Lee into the world on

November 9, 2017.

Caroline Wray married Daniel Fox on

August 19, 2017. They currently reside

in Winston‐Salem, North Carolina,

where she works as a patent litigation

associate at Kilpatrick Townsend &

Stockton LLP.


Lindsay Evans Black and husband

Jeremy announced the arrival of

Charles Douglas on February 1, 2018.

Melissa and Logan Moncrief became

the proud parents of Charlotte Elise on

November 6, 2017.


On January 16, 2018, Amanda Sirota

On June 10, 2016, Gina von Sternberg

Free and husband Collins proudly

announced the birth of William


Courtney Evans Henke and husband

Andrew welcomed Adeline Patricia on

January 4, 2018.

Anne Louise Conway married

Brett Blanchard (pictured right) on

September 30, 2017. Caroline Conway

Lipscomb '05 served as matron of

honor. Bridesmaids included Diana

Dunlap Bridger, Kendall Buckalew

McCord, Elizabeth Schlotzhauer

Putnam, and Ashley Forgason Willis.


Caroline Dudley Bean and Megan

McGraw MacIntyre were in the house

party. Tim Conway '09 served as a


Kappler '05, Katie Lucia Rottet,

Megan McGraw MacIntyre, Ariel

Reed Spagnoletti '02, and Annina

Stefanelli Emmott '04.

Throckmorton Jackson and Jeff

Jackson welcomed a son, Charlton

Henry (pictured below).

Becca Heilman Davison and husband

Daniel had a baby girl, Hadley Gray, on

September 24, 2017.

Tobin Summers married Michael

Moeller on April 29, 2017, in Brooklyn,

New York.

Caroline Keeland Harrison and

husband Andy Harrison welcomed

Hunter Watts on May 14, 2017.

On July 8, 2017, Kendall Buckalew

McCord and husband Trey became

the proud parents of James Richard

McCord IV (pictured above).

Kate McLean was featured in the

Houston Chronicle with her article, "The

#MeToo Movement and the Restaurant


Jose Molina started at South Texas

College of Law in Houston.

Adriana Banks married Mark

Monroe on March 25, 2017. Honorary

attendants included Liz Webster

Hunter Wakefield married Elizabeth

Cleveland on September 9, 2017, in

Fort Worth, Texas. Ralph Abenshein,

Stephen Fox, and Lloyd French were

groomsmen, and Rogers Crain '05

served as an usher.


Julie von Sternberg Andrews and

husband Will welcomed a baby boy,

Charlie Sackett, into the world on

August 17, 2016.

Jessica Ahrens Bingaman and

husband Conor welcomed twins, Phillip

Wright and May Towns, on May 18,


Liz McCormick obtained her Master

of Science in Architecture Studies

from the Massachusetts Institute

of Technology. She will be serving a

fellowship in building technology with

a New Orleans architectural firm and

acting as a guest lecturer at Tulane



On July 18, 2017, Elizabeth Matthews

Dickson and husband Colin became

the proud parents of daughter Riley


Amanda and Juan Martinez welcomed

daughter Ava Marie into the world on

July 3, 2017.

On October 23, 2017, Maggie Rose

Loper Page and husband Corey

became the proud parents of Jack


Joe Sharman married Whitney

Easterling on November 11, 2017.

Groomsmen included Cooper

Morris, Jeff Jackson, Justin Dzik,

Price Monroe, Nick Adair, Rogers

Crain, and Jeff Williams. Simon

Feinsilver '06 served as an usher.

On January 9, 2018, Leigh Owens

Fitzgerald and husband Nicholas

announced the arrival of their son,

Michael Charles Fitzgerald (pictured


On July 27, 2017, Tany and Chaz Klaes

had a baby boy, Charles "Charlie"


On October 19, 2017, Taylor


JohnPaul Colello received awards

at the South Texas College of Law's

Appellate Advocacy Moot Court

competition. He was awarded

Outstanding Advocate and placed first

for his brief.


Class Notes

On October 30, 2017, Lauren Bricker

Hodge and husband Jeffrey welcomed

a baby boy, George Henry.

On September 30, 2017, John

Kerns wed Sydney Mafrige in Aspen,

Colorado. Emily Vidor '08 served as

maid of honor. Simon Feinsilver, Eric

Jaschke, and Tolar Hamblen were

best men, and Mitchell Malone was a


Gina and Vu Nguyen proudly

announced the birth of their son,

Maddox Kai Moore, on June 29, 2017.

In 2016, sisters Sarina Rapini

Peterson and Brianna Rapini created

a science curriculum around their

YouTube channel, the "Amoeba Sisters."

Last year, they earned enough revenue

to leave their day jobs and pursue the

business full‐time.

William Turner married Kathleen Long

on November 4, 2017. Harrison Glover

and Walton Leavell were groomsmen.


Molly and Travis Adams welcomed

their son Phillip William into the world

on December 5, 2017.

William Baker is a professional tennis

player who works for former University

of Houston and nationally‐ranked player,

Jim Rombeau.

On September 12, 2017, Katelin and

Binford Halverson welcomed their

baby girl, Walker Kate (pictured below).

On November 18, 2017, Caroline and

Peter McLean welcomed their son,

James Johnson.

On December 22, 2016, Kristen

Winship Ross and husband John

welcomed baby girl Alaina Ann.


In October 2017, Katia Mazzone

Basley and her catering company, La

Petite Dominique, were featured in the

"Inspiring Stories" section of Voyage

Houston magazine.

On January 29, 2018, Maria Tapia

Cavanaugh and husband John

welcomed daughter Julieta Avery.

Vivian Heard wed Byron Langford in

Houston on April 22, 2016. Catherine

Heard Riewoldt '06 served as matron

of honor. Bridesmaids included Anne

Giles Langford '10, Laura Murphy,

Meagan O'Shaughnessy, Emily

Briansky Tamlyn, and Linden Utt.

Jordan Jones '10 was in the house

party, and Denman Heard '12 served

as a groomsman.

Amy Engler and her colleagues

(pictured left) recently presented their

research, "Empowering Underserved

Youth: An Adolescent Mental Health

Initiative Serving Urban Middle

Schoolers," at a Baylor College of

Medicine symposium. Their research

centered on an educational intervention

at Navarro Middle School.

Last fall, Jay Magness joined the EHS

community for Chapel where he shared

his poignant story of recovery.

John Wooldridge received awards

at the South Texas College of Law's

Appellate Advocacy Moot Court

competition. He was awarded

Outstanding Advocate and placed third

for his brief.


David Gow's production "Where Has

Tommy Flowers Gone?" had an exciting

run at New York City's WorkShop

Theater last winter. The production

met with positive reviews. Broadway

Radio's Peter Filichia said of David, "He

is astonishing. For an actor to memorize

this would be so difficult, but he does it.

It's a showcase for him."

Christian Lane is working at,

one of Chicago's first tech start‐ups. He

was recently promoted to senior sales

consultant and asked to manage their

largest market in New York City. He will

be moving to NYC in May 2018 to join

the team.

Sarah Thomas Merritt and husband

Chance welcomed a baby girl, Peyton

Mary Elizabeth, on July 18, 2017.


Andrew Sterling recently moved

to Nashville to pursue his MBA at

Vanderbilt University.


At an Astros game in June 2016,

James Burke threw out the first pitch

representing the Epilepsy Foundation

of Texas.

Charlie Strauss joined HFF as a

real estate analyst on the investment

advisory team.

Stephanie Styles will appear as a

regular on the sitcom "Three Rivers."

Stephanie returned to campus last fall

to serve as an Alumni Leadership Day

Arts and Entertainment panelist. When

asked to give career advice, the actress

impressed upon EHS seniors the

importance of being genuine and the

power of a good reputation.

On February 3, 2018, Katherine Egner

married Trevor Brown '11 (pictured

below). The couple wed in Benitez

Chapel on the Episcopal High School



Devon Cash (pictured right) recently

returned to campus to kick off the

Paddles Up portion of the EHS Auction

in support of our financial aid program.

After he graduates from Stanford

University in May 2018, Devon will move

to New York City and begin his job with

Goldman Sachs.


On February 16, 2018, Travis Ryan

(pictured below) completed pilot

training with the U.S. Air Force. He will

be moving to Dover, Delaware, to fly the

C‐17 Globemaster III.


In May 2017, Claremont‐Mudd‐Scripps

lacrosse midfielder Cara Cancelmo

earned a place on the All‐SCIAC First

Team. She was also named to the

IWLCA All‐West Region First Team.

In May 2017, Olivia Landry graduated

from the University of Texas at Austin

with a Bachelor of Arts in English and

a minor in dance. She is now enrolled

as a student at the University of Texas

School of Law.

The University of Missouri honors 39

seniors every year for their academic

achievement, leadership, and service

to the school and the community. Out

of thousands of nominees, Falyn Page

(pictured below) has been selected for

the 2018 Class of Mizzou '39.


Hayley Donnelly, a lacrosse player at

Southwestern University, was named to

the All‐IWLS Second Team.


In June 2017, Trei Cruz was drafted in

the 35th round by the Houston Astros.

Walker Little was named Co‐Freshman

Offensive Player of the Year in the

Pac 12. He was the first freshman at

Stanford to start on the offensive line in

over 18 years. He was also selected for

ESPN's All‐America Freshman Team.

In September 2017, Jordan Pytosh, a

freshman at Northwestern University,

had his editorial published in The Daily

Northwestern. Jordan will continue to

be a contributing writer for the student


Jackson Henry was published in the

February 2018 issue of the Journal of

Applied Physics.

On April 7, 2018, Kendall Plank and the

Texas A&M University Women's Polo

Team rode away with the title at the

National Intercollegiate Championship

Finals, held at the Santa Barbara Polo

Club in Carpinteria, California. The

team won 14‐5 over former champs

University of Virginia, garnering their

third national title after a 23‐year dry

spell. Kendall was also named a 2018

NIC Women's All‐Star player.

Maggie Rippeto, who plays lacrosse

at Rhodes University in Tennessee,

was named to the SAA All‐Conference

Second Team.





by Johnny Motley

In the glaring blast of the equatorial sun, I waited

outside an obscure outpost of the Brazilian Bureau of

Indian Affairs for my name to be called by the office's

director. I had been in the Amazon for months—evinced

by my emaciated frame, heavy beard, and darkly‐tanned

skin. A week‐long voyage in a hammock slung up in a cargo

ship—a journey through majestic corridors of towering forest,

mysterious waters populated with pink river dolphins, and

stretches of river so wide that they appeared as actual seas—

had taken me from the Amazonian city of Manaus to the last

non‐indigenous settlement in Brazil, a military base known

as São Gabriel da Cachoeira. Indigenous people consider

this region, straddling the tri‐border of Brazil, Colombia, and

Venezuela, the heart of the Amazon Rainforest.

Those waiting with me outside the outpost reflected the

dazzling ethnic diversity of this region. Among others, I

identified Yanomami, known as the "fierce people" and

isolated to the mountains near Venezuela; Tukano, the

most populous and dominant tribe in the Upper Amazon;

Nadahup, pygmy hunter‐gatherers who were considered the

"Grandfathers of the Forest;" and Quilomberos, descendants

of fugitive enslaved Africans who had established colonies

in the Amazon during the colonial era. Those waiting with

me had likely traveled from their reservations to renew

government documents, and they stared at me with silent

curiosity. As I mentally prepared my pitch to gain permission

to visit the protected indigenous communities further up the

river, I was summoned by the director's secretary.

He was Tukano, but his paunch and doughy face betrayed

the fact that he had lived outside of the traditional villages for

many years. He eyeballed me with suspicion. "So, you're the

gringo who wants to visit the communities?" he asked as he

fished for a proposal I had submitted to his office days earlier.

The proposal spoke to my religious studies course at Harvard

University and my desire to observe traditional rituals among

the Upper Amazon's indigenous groups.

I affirmed that I was the foreigner in question, and he cut me

off before I could finish. "You can forget about these plans. I

won't authorize you even a single day in the protected villages.

What's more, if I find out that you go there anyway, I will send

the military police after you."


I sat with a local friend later that evening on the bank of the

Amazon. He was a Tukano, and we had become fast friends

on the boat ride to São Gabriel da Cachoeira.

He chuckled as he leveled with me. "He wanted a bribe,

brother." Then reassuringly, "Listen, my mother is his cousin,

and I will go to the Indian Bureau tomorrow morning to talk

to him. Vai dar certo—it will all work out." He grinned and

added, "In fact, you'll get along famously with the indigenous

folks on the reservations—you speak the same funny, broken

Portuguese that they do."

The following day, the surly director summoned me back to

his office. When I arrived, he shoved an official document

in my hands: "I'll authorize you one week in the Tukano

reservation. Don't even think about staying a day more. I've

radioed their Captain and they are expecting you."

I trekked to the port in São Gabriel where cargo ships

unloaded their wares and tribes bought supplies to take back

to their reservations. By a stroke of luck, I met a man who

was from the village where I was headed. He agreed to ferry

me on his tiny motorized canoe if I purchased the gasoline.

About an hour after departing São Gabriel, we diverged from

the main trunk of the tea‐colored Amazon and skirted up

a small, serpentine tributary, so narrow that sunlight could

barely reach us through the thick canopy above. We plied

several miles up the tributary until we reached a small, almost

imperceptible clearing on its bank. As we got closer, I realized

there were earthen steps leading up to the forest above. My

guide announced proudly that we had arrived in Comunidade

São Jorge.


The Last Word

At the top of the steep river bank, a large clearing in the

forest appeared, containing dozens of thatched‐roofed huts

arranged roughly in a circular formation. The Captain of Sao

Jorge, a solemn Tukano man aged about 50, greeted me

with several elders. He accepted the gifts I had brought of

foodstuffs and tools from São Gabriel and directed me to

a communal meeting building, known as a maloca, where I

was to sling up my hammock. As I walked to the maloca, a

herd of wide‐eyed children followed me, and they shrieked

and scrambled to hide whenever I turned to look at them. I

had been advised to bring a bag of chocolates for the kids,

and as soon as the first treats were distributed, they were

glued to me like my own shadow for the rest of my sojourn

in São Jorge (one even woke me up on a daily basis to get

the first bonbon of the day). An elderly woman, the mother

of the Captain, approached me. "Be welcome here in our

community. We embrace outsiders, as long as they have

something to teach the children."

That week, I rose every day at 5:00 a.m. to join the

community for Mass. Salesian missionaries had established

a presence in the Alto Rio Negro several decades prior, and

although traditional Tukano beliefs and rituals still existed in

Comunidade São Jorge, they were ostensibly Catholic. About

midmorning, I would join the Captain and the other adults

for a breakfast of tapioca‐starch cakes and fish and then

sit in on their daily deliberations, in which they discussed

communal issues in Tukano and patiently translated for me

into Portuguese.

A particularly vocal participant in the morning meetings

was the village medicine man, Seu José. Jose lived in a

hut with his family outside the village, deeper into the forest

and relatively cut off from the other families. His hut was

the simplest of all, merely a thatched roof upheld with poles

and without walls. He had a small garden of chili peppers,

tubers, and medicinal herbs, but the totality of his family's

possessions could have fit into a backpack. José was in his

40s, and he had a twinkling, mischievous smile that bloomed

from beneath a pile of deep wrinkles and scars. The creases

and scars testified to a hard life—he and his kin had been

persecuted by the Colombian guerrilla, and he had lost many

friends and relatives in conflicts. He had fled Colombia for

Brazil, and although he had learned Tukano and Portuguese,

his native language and ethnicity were distinct from the others

in São Jorge. José loved to tell jokes and stories, and we

quickly recognized each other as kindred spirits.

A week after I departed São Jorge, José's youngest child, a

toddler, died tragically when he tipped over a boiling pot of

water onto himself. The child might have survived, but they

were unable to get him to the hospital in São Gabriel quickly

enough. These heart‐wrenching events motivated me to

return to São Jorge a year later with funds for the community

to purchase a motorboat, an acquisition that would allow

them to reach São Gabriel in about half the time in the event

of another emergency.

The young men in the village about my own age took me

hunting for monkeys and to see sacred sites further up the

river. They had a deep knowledge of Tukano mythology

and shamanic practices, and we had fascinating religious

discussions. They explained that Tukano mythology held that

the Great Creator had in fact sent a son to teach their distant

ancestors. What's more, they believed that this mythological

Son of the Great Creator had, in fact, been Christ incarnated

as an indigenous Amazonian.

The young Tukano were curious about my own land, and

they marveled at the pictures of the snow and the ocean

that I showed them. They expressed their desires to learn

about the wider world, but also their concerns that in the

wake of increasing development in the Upper Amazon their

indigenous traditions and languages would not survive for

their children. They told me of the romances, dramas, and

courtships that were unfolding within São Jorge, as well

as crushes and longings for certain young ladies in other

indigenous villages.

What amazed me most during my days in São Jorge was

the amount of common ground that I discovered with its

residents. Many of them, especially the older generation, had

no conception of a city or even life outside of the Amazon.

Some had never seen a person of European ancestry, and

light skin and blonde hair shocked them as much as man

with a third eyeball might shock us. Despite our differences,

we laughed together and managed to cultivate deep and

meaningful conversations in Portuguese, a second language

for both them and me. I realized that our deepest concerns

and dreams were essentially identical: the well‐being of family,

the desire to live responsibly and honorably, and yearnings

for meaning, love, and beauty. They demonstrated to me,

in a similar manner, that Brazilians I had met in favelas and

rustic fishing villages did, that profound richness of life can

be achieved with very few—indeed almost zero—material


Most importantly, what I affirmed in São Jorge is that the

human heart is the same across cultures, languages, and

ethnicities. Whether one is born deep in the Amazon or in a

modern, industrialized city, we all seek the same goals, ask

the same questions, and are all created in God's image.

Johnny Motley joined EHS this year to teach in the

Department of Religion and assist with coaching the wrestling

team. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

and a Master in Theology from Harvard. Motley is fluent in

Spanish and Portuguese and has traveled extensively in

Brazil. In his spare time, Motley is working on a proposal to

record the stories and history of the Nadahup, one of the

last remaining hunter‐gatherer tribes in the Amazon. Motley

and his collaborator, a photographer for National Geographic,

hope to produce a photo essay on the Nadahup over the

summer recess.



Photo by Ashleigh Teel.

2017 ‐ 2018



The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle

Executive Chair

Randa Duncan Williams

Henrietta K. Alexander, Matthew K. Baird, Shelley Torian Barineau, J. Craig Chandler, W. Craig Childers, Gregory S. Curran,

Rod Cutsinger, Julie G. Donaldson, William A. Edens Sr., J. Todd Frazier '88, Susan C. Garwood † , Gregory R. Geib,

The Rev. James M. L. Grace '94, Melinda Budinger Hildebrand, George V. Kane III, George O. McDaniel III, Jeffrey J. McParland,

Dis Netland, Townes G. Pressler Jr., Joe Pyne, A. Haag Sherman, Ned Smith, Trey Snider, Duncan K. Underwood '89

Life Trustees

John F. Austin III, Edward C. Becker, The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez † , W. Craig Childers, Lacy Crain, The Rev. Laurens A. Hall,

Victor A. Kormeier Jr., Frederick R. McCord † , Laurence B. Neuhaus, The Rt. Rev. Claude E. Payne, Joel I. Shannon, Lynda

Knapp Underwood, The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly

Executive Committee

The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Julie G. Donaldson, William F. Galtney Jr., Melinda Budinger Hildebrand, Victor A. Kormeier Jr.,

George O. McDaniel III, Jeffrey J. McParland, Dis Netland, Ned Smith, Lynda Knapp Underwood, Randa Duncan Williams,

Thomas M. Wright


Head of School

Ned Smith

Assistant Head of

School and Principal

Nancy Laufe Eisenberg

Director of Finance

and Operations

Evelyn Cambria

Dean of Faculty

Nguyet Xuan Pham

Director of Advancement

Peggy Haney

Dean of Spiritual Life

The Rev. Beth Holden

Dean of Arts

Jay Berckley

Director of Athletics

Jason Grove


Director of Communications

Claire Fletcher

Graphic Design

Ashleigh Teel


Chris Bailey Photography, Jason Grove, Kendall Buckalew

McCord '03, Johnny Motley, Emma Tsai, Sharon Willcutts,

Margaret Young


Claire Fletcher, Mauro Gomez, Ashleigh Teel


4650 Bissonnet • Bellaire, Texas 77401 • 713‐512‐3400 • 713‐512‐3606 •

Non Profit Org.

U.S. Postage


Houston, TX

Permit No.


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