Faculty & Student News

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Faculty & Student News

Student Leadership Trips

The following leadership experiences are fully funded trips that provide the opportunity for self-discovery in a challenging environment. While this year’s trips were altered or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the honor of being chosen is noteworthy.

David M. Abshire Civic Leadership Trip

Fourteen rising seniors were selected to travel to Washington, D.C., this summer on the David M. Abshire Civic Leadership trip for an intensive eight-day experiential course of study on national leadership, ethics, honor, and service. The group is hoping to enjoy a shortened version of the program in the fall if possible.

The program was created in partnership with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and the late Dr. David Abshire ’44, who served as president and CEO of that organization. Selected for this year’s award were Rosa Anderson-Barrera, Creighton Arrington, Orly Berke, Lydia Bohannon, Eli Bowen, Frances Brantley, Grant Burks, Ashleigh Huang, Alexa McCarren, Sophie Peirano, Janie Pippenger, Margaret Webb, Callie West, and Harrison Williams.

Joe Key Award

Twelve rising seniors were selected for the Joe Key Award, a July trip that involves seven days of sea-kayaking, hiking, and camping on the islands of Acadia National Park. The trip honors the late oe Key, who worked at Baylor from 1961 to 1988 as a military instructor and study hall supervisor and was affectionally known as “Sarge.” The trip recognizes students of admirable character whose selfless efforts might otherwise go unrecognized by the school or their peers. Selected for this year’s award were Rosa Anderson-Barrera, Creighton Arrington, Frances Brantley, Carson Chaplin, Sam Christiansen, Ellis Coffelt, Ava Echard, Starr Hinton, Ashleigh Huang, Jackson Powell, Steven Yao, and Lauren Yim.

Jamaica Servant Leadership Trip

Ten Baylor students were slated to travel to Jamaica for the 23rd annual Spring Break Jamaica Servant Leadership Trip, which was canceled in March. The group included seniors Taniya Barot, Ridley Browder, Julia Fisher, Julia Hartman, and Laura Kate May, and juniors Carson Chaplin, Ashleigh Huang, Harper Huckabay, Evelyn Ludwick, and Lauren Yim.

Twelve Students Chosen for International Exchange 

Twelve Baylor students were selected to participate in exchange trips with schools in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and Spain. The outgoing portion of the exchanges were canceled for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions about Baylor students hosting international students were pending when this issue of Baylor magazine was published. Pictured (front row, left to right) are sophomores Jack Smith and Olivia Hankins (Otto-Hahn Gymnasium, Germany), sophomores Ellie Smith (Durban Girls College, Durban, South Africa) and Maren Johnson (Dio, Hamilton, New Zealand), junior Ada Cruikshank (Saint-Denis, Loches, France), (back row) sophomores Caleb Nunes (San Fernando, Aviles, Spain), Ella Webb (Sacred Heart, Pamplona, Spain), Couriyah Stegall (St. Hilda’s, Gold Coast, Australia), Maddie Perry (Dio, Hamilton, New Zealand), and Nick McKenney (Clifton School, Durban, South Africa). Not available for the photo were sophomores May Bankston (Saint-Denis, Loches, France) and Sophie Steck (Herschel School, Cape Town, South Africa).

Students Selected for India Trip

Nine students were chosen to participate in the annual Walkabout trip to India; however, the trip was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Selected for the trip were seniors Caroline Barker, Max Berube, Connor Duffy, Anika Iqbal, Leah Kessler, Kate King, Caroline Moon, and Sophie Workinger, and junior Ava Echard.

Duffy and Sparkman Invited to Present at IEEE

Seniors Connor Duffy (left) and Ben Sparkman (right) were invited to present results of their research, conducted in Baylor’s engineering lab, to engineers and other scientists at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers SoutheastCon in Raleigh, N.C., scheduled for March 12-15 but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization.

Their work centered on improving the communication between wireless sensors within a large network. “Usually these kinds of conferences have student tracks and technical tracks,” said Dr. Mary Loveless, who leads the engineering wing of the Baylor Research program. “This is pretty exciting for high school students to present to the technical session. I’m not sure they were recognized as high school students by their paper. Even submitting to these conferences is rare for high school students, but to be asked to give an oral presentation is really something.”

Katy Waddell Receives Morehead-Cain Scholarship

Senior Katy Waddell has been named a recipient of a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, the oldest merit scholarship in the U.S., covering all expenses for four years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Waddell, a four-year boarding student from Acworth, Ga., served as a dormitory prefect, a member of the Honor Council, and an editor of The Baylor Notes and Periaktoi. She was an All-Region lacrosse player and rowed for the varsity crew team, was chosen for a student exchange to New Zealand, and was a recipient of the Joe Key Award. A Harris-Stanford Honors student, Waddell was enrolled in Baylor’s Advanced Science and Engineering Research program for two years.

Waddell is the 51st Baylor student to receive the prestigious scholarship since UNC selected the first recipients in 1951. “I am ready to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity,” said Waddell. “I’m so thankful to my family, friends, mentors, teachers, and the Baylor community for the foundation they have provided, enabling me to achieve this success. I know that without Baylor and the amazing life lessons I’ve learned here, none of this would have been possible.”

Seven Awarded at Harvard Model Congress

Twenty Baylor students attended Harvard Model Congress in San Francisco in January with seven earning awards for their work. Pictured (front row, left to right) are sophomores Olivia Hankins and Maddie Kim, and freshmen Connie Ni and Sophia Baleeiro (Best Delegate – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee); (second row) sophomores Fatima Sohani and Gillian Radpour, junior Paige Ryan; (third row) junior Rhiannon von Klar, sophomores Ibi Esho and Caleb Nunes (Best Delegate – Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee), junior Julia Flack (Honorable Mention – Senate Environment and Public Works Committee); (fourth row) seniors Ridley Browder (Best Delegate – Presidential Cabinet, Secretary of State), Lucy Townsend, and Grace Hill; (top row) faculty members Judy Millener and Anne Stover, junior Klaus Li (Honorable Mention – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee), seniors Jade Liu and John Liu, sophomore Jenny Liu, and seniors Caroline Moon (Honorable Mention – House Foreign Affairs Committee) and Max Montague (Honorable Mention – Senate Environment and Public Works Committee).

Rutledge Leads Winners at International Science & Engineering Fair

Senior Sarah Rutledge (pictured at the 2019 Baylor Science and Engineering Symposium) took second place in the International Science and Engineering Fair
sweepstakes competition at the 2020 Chattanooga Regional Science and Engineering Fair, hosted by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on March 10-11. She was one of 1,800 high school students qualified to compete for nearly $5 million in awards at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) scheduled for May but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior Nathan Webb was third in the ISEF competition, and seniors Katy Waddell and Will Tippett combined for fourth place.

In addition, senior Dakota Wagner was the winner of the Yale Science and Engineering Award, given to the student with the most outstanding exhibit in computer science, engineering, physics, or chemistry.

Seven Baylor students won first place divisional awards including Rutledge (Translational Medicine Science Division), freshman Michael Xing (Robotics and Intelligent Machines), Webb (Cellular and Molecular Biology), Waddell and Tippett (Biomedical Engineering), and sophomores Maddie Kim and Caleb Nunes (Biomedical Health Science). Second place divisional awards went to junior Julia Flack (Earth and Environmental Science); sophomore Aiden Shaw, and seniors Zoe Xie and Mary Ma (Cellular and Molecular Biology); and Wagner (Biomedical Engineering). A third place award in Environmental Engineering went to freshman Timothy George.

Ohm Raiders Take Awards in Two State Competitions

The Baylor Robotics team competed in two different state championships, Tennessee and Alabama, during February. Both events were part of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) season, sponsored by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST).

At the Tennessee competition, the Ohm Raiders earned a first place Design Award, which recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. The team also received third place in the quest for the Inspire Award, which goes to the team that best embodies the challenge of FTC. For their performance at the Alabama competition, the Ohm Raiders received a second place Think Award, given to the team that experienced the best journey throughout the design process and the build season.

Pictured (left to right) are juniors Leo Xu, Ethan Thomas, Dake Peng, Karina Quinn, senior Jade Liu, junior Sophie Covert, sophomore Michael Curcio, senior Kenny Zheng, freshman Katelyn Evans, sophomore Dan Pham, juniors Chloe Crooks and Catherine Bryant, and freshmen Sergio Sergiyenko and Mimi Masson. Team members not pictured are senior Garrett Shaffer, freshman Kaan Volkan, and junior Rhiannon von Klar.

English Department Crowns Winners

Molly Stanfield finished first, Rosa Anderson Barrera was second, and Holland Moss was third in the junior class Poetry Out Loud competition this winter. Eleven juniors took part in the competition. Pictured (front row, left to right) are Hope Fowler, Mary Alex Bachus, Ava Echard, Anderson-Barrera, Stanfield, Will Cromie; (back row) Christopher Young, Moss, Aidan Sims, Carson Steele, and Erin Kanavos.

The senior class held its annual Shakespeare Contest with Grant Johnson taking first, Leah Kessler coming in second, and Abbie Holloway third.

The top three in the freshman “This I Believe” contest were Penelope Kwun, Sidney Kiner, and Kevin Yu.

Alisha Chandra is Baylor's Bee Queen

Seventh grader Alisha Chandra was the winner at the regional level of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and had qualified for the national bee that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chandra qualified for the regional bee by winning the Baylor competition and the zone level bee. Other Baylor qualifiers for the zone bee were seventh grader Julia Gardner and sixth grader William Hubbard, second and third respectively at the Baylor bee.

Chandra was also a semifinalist in the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee state competition, which was also canceled. This year, an estimated 2.4 million students, grades 4-8, competed in the GeoBee, with 8,661 students becoming school champions. School champions took an online qualifying test to earn spots in the state GeoBee.


Fine Arts

Life Imitates Art in Baylor Class

Inspired by a social media meme, art instructor Heath Montgomery ’99 gave his painting and digital design students the challenge of finding a famous painting and recreating it as closely as possible in a photograph. Pictured above (clockwise from top left) are the works of freshman Asher Skyles (American Gothic by Grant Wood), sophomore Hannah Lane Ford (The Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci), senior Mary Lee Schaerer (The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer), and senior Lake Watson (Maid Sweeping Under the Carpet Mural by Banksy). For more examples of Life Imitates Art, click here.

Vervé Presents Annual Program

Baylor’s dance troupe, Vervé, presented its 28th annual performance in January. The show featured 28 Upper School dancers and 14 Middle School dancers performing works by choreographers including junior Mary Alex Bachus, seniors Zoe Ubamadu and Maxime Werk, dance instructors Margaret Harman ’14 and Elizabeth Roemer ’05, and guest artists Dani Clark, Louie Marin-Howard, and Morgan Forster.

Harman and Roemer teamed up this fall as the new instructors for the after-school dance program at Baylor, replacing Karen Smith, who recently retired. Roemer is the company director of Vervé, along with teaching Upper School dance electives, and Harman is the artistic director for Vervé and teaches dance in the Middle School.

Winter Players Perform

The Winter Players, Baylor’s traveling drama troupe, performed for the scholars at Carver and Westside community service sites and for the wider Baylor community. The performances of the children’s programs at Baylor on January 26 were accompanied by cookies and hot chocolate, courtesy of the Baylor Backers. The troupe presented three short plays – Nathan the Nervous, Charming Princes, and a reading of an original play, To the Moon, written by Baylor junior Zoe Xu. The Winter Players are directed by fine arts instructor Beth Gumnick.

Baylor Students Selected for All-East and All-State Orchestras

Baylor students were chosen to play in the Tennessee All-East Orchestra. Of those six, two qualified for the All-State Orchestra. In addition, two others were named alternates for the All-East Orchestra. These students joined other top musicians from East Tennessee and a guest conductor at the All-East performance in February. The Baylor orchestra is conducted by fine arts instructors Tom Schow and Christine Lau ’14.

Pictured (left to right) are sophomores Katherine Chen (All-East, violin) and Ibi Esho (All-East, viola), junior Elisabeth Lau (All-East, All-State, viola), sophomore Jenny Liu (All-East, viola), juniors Barry Yang (All-East alternate, violin), Alyssa Kim (All-East, violin), Zoë Hardnett (All-East alternate, cello), and senior Gracen Ford (All-East, All-State, violin).

Baylor Concert Choir Garners Awards

The Baylor Concert Choir received marks of “1/Superior” from all judges in the performance and sight-reading categories at the J.B. Lyle regional adjudication choral festival at First Baptist Church in Chattanooga in March. The Concert Choir is directed by fine arts department chair Vic Oakes.

Middle School Students Present Macbeth Adapation

The Middle School Players presented Macbeth: A Kid’s Cautionary Tale Concerning Greed, Power, Mayhem, and other Current Events in Roddy Theater in January. A dramatic adaptation written by Nancy Linehan Charles, the play retells Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy with comedic commentary in a lively and humorous setting complete with witches, sword fights, and audience participation. The Middle School Players are directed by Middle School instructors Allison Lamb and Carlene West.

Awards Day 2020

Baylor honored seven of its outstanding student leaders, including valedictorian Thomas Latimer (left) and salutatorian Ben Sparkman (right) with awards that are the highest the school bestows at the annual Awards Day. View the video here or click here to read all the award winners.

Middle School Awards and Graduation

Academic and leadership awards were presented to Baylor Middle School students during a virtual ceremony on May 28. Ellie Smith (left) was named valedictorian and Corinne Hessler (right) was salutatorian. View the video here or click here for all the awards.

Upper School Head David Padilla to Lead Christ Episcopal

David Padilla was named the ninth head of school for Christ Episcopal School in Greenville, S.C., following a seven-month, international search process in a highly competitive field. Padilla joined Baylor’s faculty as an English instructor in 2001 and quickly became a leader in multiple areas of the school. He lived on campus as a member of Baylor’s residential life faculty, served as department chair from 2008-2010, was dean of students from 2010-14, and was named head of the Upper School in 2014. While at Baylor, he received his Master of Education in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University in New York City. His wife, Karen, is a 1991 graduate of Baylor. Their daughters, Hayley ’17 and Kate ’19, also alums.

Athletic Director Thad Lepcio Takes Position at Peddie School

Thad Lepcio will become the athletic director at The Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J. Lepcio came to Baylor in 2003 as a Latin instructor and later led the school’s outreach and auxiliary programs for two years. He was named athletic director in 2006 and has held that position for the last 14 years. During his tenure, Baylor teams won 111 state championships, and the program earned state, regional, and national recognition for academic achievement and sportsmanship. In addition to his athletic department responsibilities, Lepcio has served as director of student leadership, faculty adviser to the school’s Honor Council, and lived on campus as a member of Baylor’s residential life faculty. His wife, Lynn, is a 1992 graduate, and their son, Teddy, is a member of the class of 2018.

Upper School Administration Promotions and Announcements

Dean of Students Sharon Wang (above, left) has been named head of Upper Schoolmand Garrison Conner ’05 (right), dean of residential life, has been named the assistant head of Upper School.

A graduate of Loyola University, Wang began her Baylor career 15 years ago as a volunteer in the residential life office and quickly moved up to associate dean of residential life. She and her family lived on the campus for six years. Wang was later appointed dean of the ninth and tenth grades before being named dean of students.

Conner has served as the director of residential life since 2017 and teaches economics in the Upper School. He received his B.A. with a double major in English and finance from Wofford College; he also worked with summer programs and served as a teaching intern at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. Prior to returning to Baylor, Conner served as director of admission and as a member of the senior administrative team at Christ School in Arden, N.C.

Ingram Carpenter, Upper School English instructor and dorm parent for Hunter Hall, will also serve as dean of student academics for the ninth and tenth grades. Ann Katherine Taylor, who will continue to serve as a dorm parent in Riverfront and in her role as associate director of college counseling, has been appointed dean of student academics for eleventh and twelfth grades. The residential life office has been restructured with Takisha Haynie serving as dean of residential life for ninth and tenth grades and Steve Margio ’91 stepping into the new role of dean of residential life for eleventh and twelfth grades.

Emmie Treadwell was appointed in 2006 as a Middle School instructor and has worked in numerous leadership positions throughout her career at Baylor. Most recently she has served as an Upper School instructor and the director of strategic initiatives. She will take over the additional responsibilities of overseeing student leadership training and opportunities and will also lead the Civic Scholars Program.

Natalee Hindman ’10 has been promoted to director of student activities in charge of planning and coordinating activities on and off campus for all Upper School students, including weekend activities for boarding students. She also serves as faculty sponsor for The Tower yearbook and is a dorm head in Hunter Hall. Hindman joined Baylor in 2018 as the assistant director of student activities.

Two Department Chairs Named

Heather Biebel has been named chair of the history department, and Elizabeth Burnette ’99 is taking over as chair of the science department.

Biebel was appointed in 1998 and has taught World History I and II, U.S. History, and economics. She has most recently taught AP Human Geography after introducing and writing the curriculum for the course in 2005. Biebel has also developed and expanded the Student Exchange Program since 2009, and she has served as a faculty Walkabout instructor since 2000.

Burnette, appointed in 2009, taught science in the seventh and eighth grades and pioneered the new Middle School robotics curriculum. Moving to the Upper School, Burnette has taught chemistry, biology, Honors Biology, forensic science, environmental science, and AP Environmental Science. She earned a B.S. in chemistry and molecular biology from UTC and an M.S. in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Burnette will also serve as the director of studies, coordinating the master academic schedule and faculty sectioning.

Midwinter Night's Blast Benefits Jamaica Education Fund

The annual Midwinter Night’s Blast benefit concert, featuring The Nighthawks, was presented Feb. 5 and 6 in Roddy Theater. The Nighthawks are (pictured, left to right) Baylor seniors Cannon Hunt and Sam Crouse (backup vocals), community band member Burnard Tate (drums), Baylor faculty members Bernard Fertal (bass, vocals) and Takisha Haynie (lead vocals), retired faculty member Pete Robinson (guitar, vocals), faculty members Kenneth Parks (keyboards, vocals) and Chase Waller (lead guitar, vocals), and Baylor seniors John Gilbert and Skylar Taylor (backup vocals). Not pictured is saxophonist Frank Bumpass. All proceeds of the concert go to the Jamaica Education Fund, which supports educational needs for children in Kingston, Jamaica. View a video of the concert here.

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Volume 32
Issue 2