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Faculty & Student News

Student Leadership Trips

David M. Abshire Civic Leadership Trip

Eleven rising seniors were selected to travel to Washington, D.C., for the David M. Abshire Civic Leadership trip, an intensive, experiential course of study on national leadership, ethics, honor, and service. The program is 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. The trip, usually scheduled for June, has been rescheduled for November 2021. Students meet a variety of leaders and participate in a myriad of activities while also enjoying tours of federal buildings and national landmarks. They also participate in leadership seminars with government officials and Baylor alumni in the area.

Selected for the honor are (seated, left to right) Spratt Allison, Caleb Nuñes, Brett Cooper, Nick McKenney, (standing) Maddie Kim, Adelle Pritchard, Emily Dotson, Maren Johnson, Ellie Smith, Connie Ni, and Fatima Sohani.

Jamaica Servant Leadership Trip

For 24 years, being chosen for the Jamaica Servant Leadership Trip has been the highest honor for students in the Baylor community service program. It is awarded to those who demonstrate the utmost passion and commitment to serving others without regard for praise or notoriety. These students work together for an entire year to raise money for the Jamaica Education Fund before serving in Kingston, Jamaica, over Spring Break. Although this group was not able to travel to Jamaica due to COVID concerns, their sincere devotion to making the world a better place is admirable and worthy of thanks.

These 10 servant leaders, all members of the Class of ’21, are recognized by a donation in their honor to the Jamaica Education Fund. Pictured are (seated, left to right) Alexa McCarren, Lauren Yim, Julia Flack, Ashleigh Huang, (standing) Alyssa Kim, Steven Yao, Evelyn Ludwick, Harper Huckabay, Olivia Diamond, and (not pictured) Carson Chaplin.

Joe Key Award 2021

Twelve rising seniors have been selected for the Joe Key Award, a trip that recognizes selfless character and involves seven days of sea kayaking, hiking, and camping on the islands of Acadia National Park in Maine in July 2021.

Chosen for 2021 are (seated, left to right) are Nicholas Bajestani, Caleb Nuñes, Alex Coley, Spratt Allison, (standing) Tina Zheng, Ibiola Esho, Kara Anne Smith, Couriyah Stegall, Maren Johnson, Connie Ni, and (not pictured) Emily Dotson and Kate Rogers.

The trip honors the late Joe Key, who worked at Baylor from 1961 to 1988 as a military instructor and study hall supervisor and was affectionately known as “Sarge.” The trip is offered to students of admirable character whose selfless efforts might otherwise go unrecognized by the school or their peers.

Joe Key Award 2020

Twelve members of the Class of 2021 were named Joe Key Award recipients as rising seniors last spring. The group will travel to Maine this summer for the much-anticipated opportunity that was missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pictured (front, left to right) are Ava Echard, Carson Chaplin, Starr Hinton, Frances Brantley, Lauren Yim, Ashleigh Huang, Rosa Anderson-Barrera, Ellis Coffelt, (back) Steven Yao, Jackson Powell, Creighton Arrington, and Sam Christensen.


(left to right) Rhiannon von Klar, Leo Xu, Sophie Covert, Ethan Thomas, and Peyson Pearce

Baylor Research Students Honored

Senior Rhiannon von Klar took overall first place for presentation and project titled, “3D Printing Microfluidic Devices” at the Fifth Annual Science and Engineering Symposium. The overall runner-up was sophomore Michael Xing for his research in “Variable Geometry Suspension with Active Toe Control.” Best presentation went to sophomore Kaan Volkan for “Porous Media Air Bearing for Cube Satellite Attitude Testing” and to junior Maddie Kim for “What are COVID-19 Variants and How Do They Affect Us?” Seniors Peyson Pearce and Ethan Thomas won first place in the high school division at the UTC Tech Symposium for their work in “Concussion Therapy with Virtual Reality.” The Baylor Robotics team, the Ohm Raiders, honored Sophie Covert and Leo Xu with MVP awards. Click here to view the 2021 symposium.


Kim, Zheng Win NCTE Awards

Baylor juniors Maddie Kim (left) and Tina Zheng (right) were two of the three Tennessee students who received Certificates of Superior Writing as part of the 2021 Achievement Awards in Writing program, sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The Certificate of Superior Writing is the highest designation in the awards program.

The awards program was created to encourage high school juniors to write and to publicly recognize the best student writing. Accredited schools in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands and American Schools Abroad are eligible to nominate 11th grade students for the awards. This year, schools nominated 285 students to participate. Of those, 136 were selected to receive Certificates of Superior Writing, and 148 received Certificates of Nomination.


Yim Wins Citizen of the World Award

O.J. Morgan, head of Bright School, presented the school’s 2021 Citizen of the World award to Baylor senior Lauren Yim. The award recognizes young alumni from Bright who are fulfilling the school’s mission.


Shakespeare Contest Winners

Caroline Chapman (left) was the winner of the Baylor senior class annual Shakespeare recitation contest on February 23. Nick Skonberg (center) was second and Elisabeth Lau (right) was third.


Chandra Qualifies for National Bee for Second Year 

After 27 rounds of spelling in the Middle School spelling bee on Jan. 20, Baylor eighth grader Alisha Chandra prevailed as champion for the third year in a row. Seventh grader Piper Ryan was runner-up, and sixth grader Jacob Tate was second runner-up. Sixth graders Eva O’Kelley and Frank Treadwell finished in fourth and fifth place respectively. Chandra went on to repeat as a qualifier for the Scripps National Spelling Bee by winning the regional bee, sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Chandra qualified for the national competition last year, but the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She made it to the quarterfinals in this year’s competition.


Fine Arts

Cast members of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: (left to right) Abagail Bailey ’23, Molly Stanfield ’21, Nick Skonberg ’21, Will Cromie ’21, Rosa Anderson-Barrera ’21, Elisabeth Lau ’21, Jack Smith ’22, and May Bankston ’22.

Baylor Players Perform The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Baylor Players presented an outdoor spring production of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes May 1-2 (view video below).

Based on four Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted for the stage by Jon Jory, the cast included Elisabeth Lau ’21, Nick Skonberg ’21, Jack Smith ’22, and Molly Stanfield ’21 as Holmes; and Abagail Bailey ’23, May Bankston ’22, Rosa Anderson-Barrera ’21, and Will Cromie ’21 as Watson. Other cast members were Mary Margaret Bender ’24, Colby Hawk ’22, Melissa Perez ’21, Adelle Pritchard ’22, Patrick Russell ’22, Nathaniel Smart ’23, Kara Anne Smith ’22, and Hannah Winchester ’23. Crew members were Olivia Hankins ’22, stage manager; Natalie Hankins ’24, assistant stage manager; and Catherine Bryant ’21, Frankie Chamberlain ’21, Kye Hamilton ’22, Karina Quinn ’21, Carson Steele ’21, Ryne Williams ’21, Barry Yang ’21, and Meya Yangzhen ’23.

Beth Gumnick directed the play, Garrett Walsh provided set and technical direction, and Laura Smith was costume designer. Allison Lamb coordinated an additional crew of Middle School students who assisted with the set, costumes, and props. They included Russell Boyd ’27, Benjamin Daniel ’25, Parker Frierson ’25, Gabby Goldstein ’26, James Grantham ’26, Harper Kelly ’25, Ellie Lydon ’25, Braylee Newell ’26, Eva O’Kelley ’27, Katherine Pipes ’27, Nathan Plavich ’26, Adela Sewell ’27, and Jayla Simpkins ’25.


Film Version of Vervé Showcases Talent

Baylor dancers have showcased their talents at the annual Vervé production since 1992, and this year was no exception.

Although the live production was on pause due to COVID-19, the 23 students involved in the Middle School and Upper School dance program created two dance film projects that were shared on social media the week of Jan. 25, the date when Vervé was originally scheduled.

In April, the Upper School film was selected for the Idaho Screendance Festival in the “pre-professional category.” Titled “Within,” the film was choreographed, filmed, and edited by Elizabeth Roemer ’05, company director; and Margaret Harman ’14, artistic director.

“The shift in how we approached showcasing our dancers this year has allowed us to explore different ways one is able to perform. Creating a dance film is a completely different process than putting on a live performance, so it was a true silver lining that our dancers were able to experience and navigate this new avenue of dance-making,” explained Roemer.

Harman added that the project was a great learning experience for everyone involved. “The dancers had to learn and execute choreography in a much different manner than usual, and Elizabeth and I had to envision movement in a different way while learning
to direct and edit a film.”

A total of 142 films submitted from around the world were adjudicated by five professional filmmakers, and 54 were selected for a screening that took place May 12-14 at the Special Events Center Theater at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. The films were also featured in the 2021 virtual Chattanooga Dances! concert, which typically takes place in October and brings together many local school and non-profit dance organizations.

The Spring Dance Collective was held on April 27 and featured 12 Upper School and Middle School dancers. The performance took place in the quad and included dances choreographed by seniors Mary Alex Bachus and Frances Brantley, sophomore Lacy Creswell, and eighth grader Maggie Tansor, as well as faculty dance directors Elizabeth Roemer ’05 and Margaret Harman ’14. Other dancers included senior Megha Chanamolu; sophomores Caroline Dart, Cate Fisher, Mimi Masson, and Maggie Smith; seventh grader Madeline Claire Stefaniuk; and sixth graders Hollyn Blair and Mary Eliot Long.


Eleven Audition for All East Orchestra; Four Qualify for All-State

Even though the traditional All-East orchestra clinic was canceled due to the pandemic, students practiced advanced excerpts and scales, recorded themselves, and sent in their recordings to compete against other students from eastern Tennessee.

Students who auditioned for All-East and then qualified for All-State were seniors Alyssa Kim, violin; and Barry Yang, violin; and juniors Katherine Chen, violin; and Jenny Liu, viola. Other students who were selected for All-East were seniors Zoë Hardnett, cello; Alyssa Kim, violin; and Elisabeth Lau, viola; juniors Ibi Esho, viola; and Connie Ni, violin; and sophomore Georgia Johnson, viola. In addition, freshman Valerie Davis, violin, ranked near the top of the alternates for All-East.

Awards Day 2021

Baylor honored 11 of its outstanding student leaders, including co-valedictorians Matthew An (left) and salutatorian Alyssa Kim (right) with awards that are the highest the school bestows at the annual Awards Day ceremony. Click here for all the news from Awards Day 2021.


Middle School Awards 

Academic and leadership awards were presented to Baylor Middle School students during a ceremony on May 27. Alisha Chandra (left) was named valedictorian and Avery Listen (right) was salutatorian. Click here for all the Middle School awards.


Weaver Named Ireland Chair

Mathematics department chair and Lowrance dorm parent Adam Weaver has been named this year’s Glenn and Mallie Ireland Chair. The award recognizes exemplary teaching and other significant contributions in support of the mission of the school. Honorees are selected annually through a nomination process, and appointments are for three years. Recipients receive an annual stipend and a medallion worn at graduation and other school ceremonies. Recipients retain the medal and the title of Ireland Chair for the remainder of their tenure at Baylor. Previously named Ireland Chairs are Joli Anderson, Betsy Carmichael, Floyd Celapino, Amy Cohen, Dr. David Conwell, Perry Key, Judy Millener, Jean Lau, Vic Oakes, Heather Ott, Dr. Dawn Richards, Lorraine Stewart, and Chris Watkins.


Ryan Armstrong, Scotty Smith ’89 Take on New Roles at Baylor

Ryan Armstrong (left) has been named director of admission and enrollment, and Scotty Smith ’89 (right) has been named director of residential life.

Arriving at Baylor in 2012, Armstrong has served Baylor as an admission counselor, a dormitory parent, and as a Middle School football and baseball coach. A native of the Boston area, Armstrong earned a degree in American Studies from Middlebury College, while playing both football and baseball for the Panthers. He is married to the former Alisha Williams, a 1999 Baylor graduate. The couple has two sons, Cannon and Cruz.

Smith takes the reins of the residential life department joining Takisha Haynie, dean of residential life for ninth and 10th grades, Steve Margio ’91, dean of residential life for 11th and 12th grades, and administrative assistant Anne Stover, who have shepherded the residential program and Baylor boarding students through the challenges of COVID-19. Smith has previously served Baylor as an admission counselor, a dormitory parent and head, a major gifts officer, and most recently the director of alumni affairs. Smith is a member of the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame and played college baseball while earning a degree at the University of Kentucky. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1993 and played professional baseball for four years. He is married to the former Katherine Price, who graduated from Baylor in 1990 and served as Baylor’s head girls’ tennis coach from 1999-2007. The couple has two sons, Christopher ’28 and Andrew.


Middle School Announces New Grade Deans

Middle School Head Jenn Lindsay has announced new appointments in the administration for grades 6-8. Matt Matoh (center) has been named eighth grade dean of students; Mae Weiss (right) will serve as seventh grade dean of students; and Austin Williams (left) is now the sixth grade dean of students.

Matoh joined Baylor in 2018 and has served as a Middle School P.E teacher and director of Middle School basketball. He is also a dorm parent and adviser in Harrison Hall. Weiss joined Baylor in 2019 and has served as the band director, band teacher, and seventh grade adviser. She has also served as an off-campus dorm parent and adviser. Williams joined Baylor in 2019 and has served as the sixth grade Global Studies teacher, eighth grade civics teacher, a sixth grade adviser, and a dorm parent and adviser in Probasco Hall.


New Developments in Advancement Office

The Baylor advancement office announced the appointment of Anna Hall as advancement officer.

An experienced fundraiser for non-profit organizations, Hall will seek to strengthen the impact of giving to Baylor by stewarding major gifts, planned giving, endowment donations, and other special giving projects.

Hall is a 2002 graduate of Princeton University, where she captained the Tiger squash team as a senior. Most recently she raised funds for the St. Simons Land Trust before transitioning to a role in communications, fund development, and donor services with the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation. Prior to that, she worked with the Baltimore Urban Debate League.


Vic Oakes Recognized by Tennessee Holocaust Commission

The Tennessee Holocaust Commission has recognized Baylor choir director, Vic Oakes, as one of four recipients of the Belz-Lipman Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education.

Oakes was nominated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga for his collaborative work with the JFGC and the Chattanooga Boys Choir in their commemoration of Yom HaShoah as well as for his use of the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum, The Sound of Hope, and other resources when teaching about poetic, musical, and artistic expression from the Holocaust in his work here at Baylor.


More Student Kudos

2021-22 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Board Named

Congratulations to the following seniors who have been named to the 2021-22 community service R.E.S.P.E.C.T. board: Fatima Sohani and Kate Rogers, board student leaders; Marshall McGahey, Harper Huckabay, and Lucy Sutter, site leaders; Amelia Langston, reading leader; Tine Latimer, reading monitor; Connie Ni and Ibilola Esho, communications; and Alia Sherrow, Maddi Yother, and Lily Monen, holiday party leaders.

Global Scholars Participate in Virtual Symposium

While travel is a cornerstone of Baylor’s Global Scholars Program, students had to find creative ways to stay engaged with the wider world. On May 5, the work of eight global scholars was featured in a virtual symposium that captured their hard work and versatility. They were seniors Ava Echard and Rosa Anderson-Barrera, “Expanding Community Service RESPECT Program, and Study of Eastern Religions”; Steven Yao, “An International Student’s Journey Going Home During COVID-19”; and juniors Olivia Hankins, “Model United Nations”; Couriyah Stegall, “Middle School Inclusivity Group”; Connie Ni, “Red Cross International Humanitarian Law and Digital Presentation on Culture”; and Ellie Smith and Maren Johnson, “Virtual Exchange Program.”

Debate Club Takes Home Awards in YMCA Youth in Government Conference

Baylor’s Debate Club had a strong showing in the YMCA’s Youth in Government Conference April 15 -18 with 16 Upper School students receiving awards.

In the category of Outstanding Statesperson, winners included juniors Ibilola Esho, Olivia Hankins, Maddie Kim, Patrick Russell, and Tina Zheng; sophomores Sophia Baleeiro, Ally Creswell, and Owen McDaniel; and freshman Mary Evelyn Pearce.

In the Outstanding Bill category, winners were juniors Maddie Kim and Fatima Sohani; seniors Sophie Peirano and Paige Ryan; and sophomores Timothy George, Owen McDaniel, Amelia Langston, and Katelyn Evans.

Sohani and Pearce were also voted into officer positions for the 2022 Youth in Government conference. Sohani will hold the position of Blue Speaker Pro-Temp and Pearce will serve as the Blue Floor Leader.

In addition, the YMCA Southeastern High School Model United Nations Conference (SHSMUN) took place in November with Zheng taking home the “Best Delegate” prize in the Model U.N. Introductory Committee and Kim earning the World Health Organization “Best Delegate” honor. Honorable mentions went to Russell and Ryan.

Middle School Debate Club Has Strong Showing

The annual Middle School Tennessee Youth in Government Conference took place virtually on March 24 with delegates raising their hands on Zoom.

“Best Delegate” award recipients were eighth graders Alisha Chandra, Benjamin Daniel, and Julia Gardner; and seventh graders Shanina Dong, Matilda Joels, Carlos Keates-Baleeiro, Owen McKenna, and Piper Ryan. The award is given to students who exhibit a “cooperative and respectful approach to legislation and peers, use of proper parliamentary procedure, a positive attitude, excellent communication, leadership by example with regard to conference rules and regulations, bill submitted by conference deadline, and behavior in keeping with the YMCA core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility.”

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Volume 33
Issue 2