EDS celebrates its 60th academic school year

By By Kara Carrier / American Press

What started with a handful of

kindergartners from the families of Church of the Good Shepherd

parishioners has, after more

than a half-century, grown to become a highly regarded school that

serves 370 students, age 2 to grade 8, from more than two

dozen countries, and of different faiths.

Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School, founded in 1953 at the behest of parishioners, is celebrating its 60th academic school

year. The Rev. Deacon Frances “Boo” Kay, head of EDS, said the school’s religiously diverse student body makes it unique.

Only 14 percent of EDS students are Episcopalian, she said.

“We have students from many different religions,” Kay said. “We are a Christian school, but we foster the faith that students

come with, and we don’t try to convert them. We even have Jewish and Muslim students.”

During its last assessment, the school

found that it had students from 27 countries. EDS uses this as a

teaching tool to study

different countries and to educate students on other cultures’

traditions and beliefs, such as the Chinese New Year, Kay said.

EDS students attend chapel two times a

week and Eucharist, and the school’s curriculum focuses heavily on areas

such as character

development and community service.

The school recently added a Franklin

Covey program called the Leader in Me, which focuses on seven habits to

help students

be productive citizens and find their individual leadership

skills. Another component that EDS focuses on is service learning

and outreach, including recycling initiatives, food drives and

fundraisers for various charities.

“What makes our school so unique and

special is our ability to educate the whole child,” Kay said. “While our

students are

high achievers academically, we also work with each child

individually to become a well-rounded individual ready to take on

the world.

“The reason that we are able to focus

on each child is because we ensure our class sizes are some of the

smallest in our region.”

To celebrate its anniversary, EDS has scheduled a week of festivities, which began Friday with a golf tournament, in conjunction

with National Episcopal Schools Week.

Other events will include a 5k run today with a picnic afterward for alumni, family and friends of the school. The EDS choir

will perform on Sunday during a special service at the church.

At 8 a.m. Monday, the school will host

one of the students’ favorite annual events — the Blessing of the Pets

service, where

students can bring pets to school to be blessed. According to Kay,

it won’t be only cats and dogs. In the past, turtles, snakes,

horses, goats and even pigs have shown up to receive a blessing.

The celebration will continue Monday

with a fundraiser 5-7 p.m. at Izzo’s on Prien Lake Road; 20 percent of

all sales will

be donated to the school. There will be a special lunch for

students and their grandparents on Tuesday and a reunion for past

librarians and former Library Club members.

Wednesday will be 1950s Day, and the students will wear ’50s-inspired clothing and eat a ’50s-inspired lunch. The celebration

will end Thursday with the annual New Parent Dinner, hosted by the EDS Parent Guild.

Online: www.episcopaldayschool.org.