Faculty & Student News

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Faculty & Student News

Faculty-Student News Winter 2023

Student Leaders Chosen

Students Selected to 81st Round Table

The 15 members of Baylor’s Class of 2023 who have been selected for the school’s 81st Round Table are (front row, left to right) Lucy Good, Claire Holtzclaw, Sophia Baleeiro, Ally Creswell, Addison Johnson (secretary), Nora Redding, Shriyaa Srihari (president), Amanda Chen, (back row) Catherine Campbell, Owen McDaniel, Evelyn Stein, Kaan Volkan, Penelope Kwun, Madisen Williams, and Alia Sherrow (vice president). Founded in 1942, the prestigious literary discussion group emphasizes independent thought and lively debate. Selection to Round Table is among Baylor’s highest honors. English instructor Heather Ott serves as the group’s faculty adviser.

Honor Council Elected

Honor Council members elected by the student body for the 2022-23 school year are (front row, left to right) seniors Zachary Ubamadu, Marguerite Pippenger (chair), Mallory Alling (vice chair), Tony Zhang, and Jeb Martin (clerk); (back row) juniors Parker Tipps, Thomas Tipps, and Carter Garrett; sophomores Abigail Angel and Addi Greene; junior Ella Marks (secretary); sophomore Johnny Sutter, and freshmen William Hubbard and Henry Wang. Baylor’s Honor Code was adopted by the student body in May of 1916 and is a cornerstone of the school’s mission and values.

Student Leadership Board Elected

Congratulations to Upper School students who have been elected to the 2022-23 Student Leadership Board. Pictured are (front row, left to right) seniors Cullen Roberts, Helen Webb, KD Hill, Penelope Kwun, Noah Gravel, and Anne Russell Kibbe; (back row) juniors Mae Mae Powe, Julia McCracken, Olivia Cranford, and Sydney Harris; freshman Kate Haney; sophomores Avery Listen, Aly Sohani, and Tyler Rice; and freshman Mary Holmes Phillips. Not pictured are seniors Myers McLennan, Odin Phillips, and Porter Stinson, and juniors Blake Bogo and Elliott Surface.

Student Awards and Trips

Nine Seniors Earn National Merit Honors

Baylor senior Michael Xing has been named a National Merit semifinalist and is joined by eight classmates who have also been named award winners as commended students in the 68th National Merit Scholarship Program. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Shriyaa Srihari, Nora Redding, Penelope Kwun, Mimi Masson, Xing, (back row) Timothy George, Tony Zhang, Lucy Good, and Catherine Campbell.

India Trip Back on Course

The tradition of a Walkabout trip to India is back on course after global travel disruptions due to Covid-19 caused several canceled efforts. Making the trip in December were (front row, left to right) seniors Nora Redding, Jamie Butt, Taylor Butts, and junior Sophia Glover; (back row) seniors Evan Eubanks, Reese Skiles, Madisen Williams, and Lucy Good; and freshman Brody Brooks. Accompanied by faculty members Donna Marie Siegel ’14, Chris Watkins, and Tim Williams, the group visited the girls home operated by the Taraloka Foundation in Gangtok, Sikkim, did a Himalayan trek to the Tholung monastery in the Dzonghu region near the Tibetan border, and visited the tea fields and factories of Darjeeling.

John Harrison Award Winner

Congratulations to Mohammed Wumpini ’23 who is this year’s recipient of the John Harrison ’84 Magnanimitas Award presented on Nov. 18. Wumpini was nominated by peers and faculty and chosen by a committee of faculty members, “as one who embodies Harrison’s qualities of resilience, grace, kindness, dignity, and compassion.” Harrison was Baylor’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award recipient and was Baylor’s director of institutional advancement at the time of his passing in 2020. Pictured (above left to right) are Kerrie Harrison, Beth Harrison ’19, Wumpini, Betty Harrison, and Ponder Harrison.

Fine Arts News

Baylor Players Present Letters to Sala 

More than 30 Upper School students were involved as cast and crew members in The Baylor Players production of Letters to Sala in October. Written by Arlene Hutton and adapted from the novel Sala’s Gift by Ann Kirschner, the play is based on the true story of a young woman who volunteers to take her sister’s place in a Nazi labor camp. The play was directed by Beth Gumnick, with set design by Garrett Walsh, and costumes by Laura Smith. Prior to the production, the students met the playwright and author in a special Zoom session.

Dancers in the News

Seniors Cate Fisher, Maggie Smith, Lacy Creswell, and Ally Creswell (above) performed a piece choreographed by Vervé company director Elizabeth Roemer ’05 in Chattanooga Dances at the Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts in October. The show featured dance companies from the Chattanooga area as well as the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company of New Jersey.

Baylor’s Upper School dancers participated in the first annual Tennessee Youth Dance Festival Oct. 22-23 at The Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts. The dancers attended a variety of master classes and performed in the Student Choreography Showcase. Their piece was choreographed and performed by seniors Ally Creswell, Lacy Creswell, Cate Fisher, Maggie Smith, and Evelyn Stein; junior Cecilia Yuan; sophomores Laura Kathryn Anderson and Maggie Tansor; and freshman Riley Mauldin. Dance instructor and Vervé artistic director Jenison Eduave served as one of the master faculty at the festival.

Concert Choir Members Earn All-East Honors

Ten Concert Choir members earned spots, by competitive audition, in the East Tennessee Vocal Association All-East Honor Choirs and represented Baylor at the ETVA honors event at Maryville College in November. Pictured (left to right) are sophomores Kate Cuthbertson and Julian Ramirez de Arellano; junior Mae Bender, senior Sidney Kiner, seventh graders Nina Lail, Samantha George, Zach Ledford, and Brecken McKenna; eighth grader Owen McKenna, and (not pictured) seventh grader Kate Womack.

Baylor Students in The Nutcracker

Congratulations to Baylor students (pictured above, left to right) eighth grader Ashley Yim, seventh grader Nico Costilow, sophomore Isabella Moore, and sixth graders Audrey Ruth, Yagmur Volkan, and Barrett Kinzler for their roles in the Chattanooga Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

Student Art Featured

The talented Baylor students enrolled in visual art classes are seeing some of their work spotlighted in various campus locations. With the expertise of art instructor Greta Mountain and the support of The Baylor Parent Alliance, student-created art is being curated for installations throughout campus, including a new display featuring current Middle School art in Barks Hall and ongoing displays in the Roddy Theater lobby.


More Student Kudos

Fall Ball King and Queen Crowned

Congratulations to seniors Mohammed Wumpini and Evie Culbreath who were crowned king and queen of the 2022 Fall Ball on Saturday, Nov. 5. In addition to Wumpini and Culbreath, the senior court included Noah Gravel, Evan Haynie, Rhet Johnson, Conner Sharp, Zachary Ubamadu, Kylie Henderson, Reese Hullander, Anne Russell Kibbe, Mary Alice Lane, and Baker Young; junior representatives were Rylie Martinez and Crawford Higdon; sophomore representatives were Avery Listen and Nolan Witt; and freshmen representatives were Mary Holmes Phillips and George Coyle.

Christopoulos in the Spotlight

Baylor senior Paraskevi “Vivi” Christopoulos, a boarding student from Knoxville, Tenn., has been in the spotlight recently on two different occasions. In October she attended the Washington Institute of Peace gala, where she was recognized for her first-place essay in the 2022 Philotimo Scholarship Competition presented by the Oxi Day Foundation. At the gala, the Oxi Day Courage Award recipients included Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (via satellite) and Iranian-American journalist, Masih Alinejad (pictured above left with Christopoulos), an advocate for the rights of women and girls in Iran and against gender genocide.

In June, the Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians announced that Christopoulos was among the 2022 Girls Scout Gold Award recipients for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and making sustainable changes in their communities. Nationally, only six percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award, which is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.

More Than 180 Turkeys Donated in Annual Drive

Baylor’s Middle School donated more than 180 turkeys to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank on Nov. 11. The annual Turkey Drive has been a Middle School tradition for more than 20 years and was organized by the Middle School Advisory Council. Pictured are (front row, left to right) eighth graders Gaby Glover, Riley Swinford, Matilda Joels, and Mia Kinney; and seventh graders Caroline Young and Anton Pruenster.

Faculty-Student Sidebar Winter 2023

Baylor Welcomes New Faculty

Joining the Baylor School community this year are (front row, left to right) Lacey Jumpp (Middle School Learning Center), Chris Elsey (Upper School science), Macie Holcomb (cheerleading coach), Gabby Kessler (P.E., soccer, basketball), Jenison Eduave (Middle School dance, Vervé creative director), Allison Gallimore (residential life administrative assistant), Julia Howarth (girls’ head crew coach), Catherine Mangonès (Upper School German, English), Jenny Wang (Middle School Chinese, admissions, dorm parent), Sarah Arvidson (Upper and Middle School French, Walkabout), Mary Oehmig (day admission counselor), and Molly Glascock Smith ’12 (social media specialist in communications); (middle row) Daniel Bush (Upper School English, cross country), Nick Amendolare (Upper School science substitute), Meg Conner (college counselor), Jennifer Warnack (college counselor), Anna Glascock ’11 (boarding admission counselor, dorm parent), Julia Steck ’18 (boarding admission counselor, dorm parent), Caroline Armbruster (Upper School history), Maria Gil González (Middle and Upper School Spanish), Micah O’Hara (Middle School history, volleyball), Louie Elliott (Upper School science, engineering, robotics), and Mario Alba (Upper School Spanish); (back row) Angelo Coclanis (Upper School history), Noah McIndoo (Upper School Learning Center), Chris Brown (football, P.E.), Josh Willoughby (football), Brandon Weaver (Middle School history, basketball, baseball), Brian Burrage (director of boarding admissions, dorm parent), Ben Swakopf (Middle School German, community service), Daxton Bacalman (Middle School Walkabout, transportation), Erik Kimrey (head football coach, dorm parent), and McClain Kessler (head tennis coach); (not pictured) Rheagan Hall (athletic director assistant, golf, dorm parent), Donna Marie Siegel ’14 (multi-media specialist in communications), and Lena Welpton (transportation).

Bernard Fertal Retires After 18 Years

When Bernard Fertal arrived at Baylor in 2004 as director of interactive media, the internet was still in the early stages of becoming a premier marketing tool and Baylor – like most schools – was maintaining a rudimentary website.

“I was hired to strategize the best use of what was becoming a central and dynamic marketing tool for Baylor,” explains Fertal. “It was important to look at the big picture and choose the best tools and strategic partners to implement a web strategy reflective of what an amazing place Baylor is.”

Fertal led the development of a website that would become central to the school’s overall marketing strategy, while garnering a Webby award as the gold standard of independent school sites. Over the years, prospective students and faculty alike have become interested in attending or working at Baylor just by seeing the beauty of the campus and program offerings found on the website. “[Director of External Affairs] Barbara Kennedy and I presented at conferences and became well known among schools as a place that was doing interesting and creative things that reflected overall on the brand.”

It turned out to be an ideal career fit for someone interested in combining media and design with modern communications and technology, and whose professional roots reached back to San Francisco and the early days of the interactive media industry. In the 18 years since coming to Baylor, Fertal has seen dramatic shifts in technology, media, and communications. “The industry is always evolving and the kinds of tools we use to create and communicate are constantly shifting and evolving,” he notes. “Keeping track of it all has been both challenging and rewarding.”

Before coming to Baylor, Fertal worked in corporate communications in a number of settings, including ad agencies, video production studios, and Fortune 500 companies. At Baylor he found an ideal place to apply his varied skills.

“In many ways working at Baylor has been a dream job. In my core, I am an artist and musician first. Add to that my passion for strategic thinking and interest in new communication paradigms, and it is hard to imagine a better fit than my career at Baylor.”

At the end of his tenure this December, Fertal worked on creating a new state-of-the-art website for Baylor, which will be launched this summer.

Keelah Jackson Art Featured

Keelah Jackson, Middle School Learning Center specialist and assistant community service director, was the featured artist in residence in November at the Creative Discovery Museum. Jackson’s work is titled “We Are All Superstars Working Together (To Make the World a Better Place)” and focused on constellations.

Nader Mohyuddin Third in Photo Contest

Math instructor and photography hobbyist Nader Mohyuddin placed third in the Photographic Society of Chattanooga’s quarterly contest. Nearly 100 entries were submitted for the wildlife theme. His prize photo was titled “Land Iguana on Seymour Island.”

Portera Commissioned to Create Award

Fine Arts instructor Mary Lynn Portera (above right) was selected by ArtsBuild to create the award for the 2022 Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award recipients. The annual Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts in Chattanooga and who are actively engaged in the cultural life of our community.

Other Faculty Kudos

Chief Technology Officer Shawn Arrington was selected to be a member of the 2021-22 National Business Officers Association (NBOA) Leadership Academy Cohort and presented their final project at the NBOA Annual conference titled “Increased Wellness in Schools Through Operational Changes.” The work was also featured in NBOA magazine NetAssets. The NBOA Leadership Academy, in conjunction with Vanderbilt University, develops current and future leaders in independent schools to help schools face their most pressing challenges.

Fine Arts instructor and Baylor Players Director Beth Gumnick is directing Kate Hamill’s stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre Jan. 27-Feb. 12.

Baylor Walkabout director and English instructor, Ashlee O’Steen ’00, competed in the Lula Lake Land Trust 5 Points 50/25 Mountain Bike Race on Oct. 8, placing second in her age group on the 25-mile course. She also attended the Wilderness Risk Management Conference in Burlington, Vt., Oct. 19-21.

Science instructor Erin Woodrow was recently appointed to serve as secretary in her role as an elected member of the Signal Mountain Planning Commission.

Middle School science instructor and indie music artist Nancy Seiters and orchestra director Ben Sposet performed original music to open a one-actor play based on Macbeth called “A Mind Full of Scorpions: Macbeth in the Utterance,” in October at The Kingdom Center in downtown Chattanooga.

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Volume 35
Issue 1