Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian was filled with worship, reverence, joy, and happy-yet-bittersweet tears on Thursday, May 25, when Coast Episcopal School honored its sixth grade graduating class for academic excellence, creativity and spiritual growth.
In addition to honoring the 13 graduating students, Head of School Jake Winter presented the school’s chaplain, the Reverend Clélie McCandless, with the prestigious “Head of School Award”.
Reverend McCandless, affectionately known as Mother Clélie, has served the independent school in Long Beach for nearly 20 years. Originally a lay chaplain, Mother Clélie returned to serve as the school’s ordained Chaplain seven years ago after earning a M. Div. Degree in 2011 from the University of the South, School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Winter recognized Reverend McCandless by saying, “ No matter who walks through her door – whether it is a student having a hard time or a tired teacher who just needs someone to talk to for a moment, Mother Clélie, you keep this place rolling. Coast is not a person, it’s an idea, and Mother Clélie, I want to thank you for keeping that idea alive.”
Following the service, Mother Clélie remarked, “ “My day starts with holy joy each morning in CES Chapel. It is my awesome delight to lead our beautiful children in worship and prayer. Receiving this award from Jake, who loves this school with his whole heart, is more meaningful than I can express.”
As always, however, the beloved Chaplain’s thoughts focused on the students for whom the service was held, “Our students are nurtured and prepared for academic and spiritual success beyond our doors.”
During the commencement, each of the students shared their most precious memory of CES, from Camp McDowell and Appalachian Trail field trips to the school’s kindergarten/fifth grade buddy program to preschool popsicles and chocolate water slides.
Retired Preschool Director Yvonne Williams and current Director Marcie Power presented eight of the graduates with Alpha-Omega Crosses for attending Coast Episcopal from preschool through sixth grade.
The CES Character Cup, voted upon each year by the sixth grade, all faculty, resulting in a tie this year. Alexis Lambert, daughter of Hutson and Anita Lambert, and William Gunn, son of William and Elizabeth Gunn received their cups from Sixth Grade Homeroom Teacher Angela Colegrove.
Piper Miller, daughter of Martin and Whitney Miller, received the Seidule Award for achieving the highest academic average from Dean of Elementary Kim McWilliams. In place since 2010, the award is named in honor of Jim Seidule, who was CES Interim Head of School in the years immediately following Hurricane Katrina.
Sixth Grade Faculty Angela Colegrove and Summer Dorcik presented diplomas to each graduate: Anderson Grace Bates, Avery Grace Genin, William Corban Gunn, Dax John-Ski Hansell, Alexis Lee Lambert, Hadley Cole Mayfield, Piper Diane Miller, Charles Adam Thompson, London Grace Ulmer, Arden Olivia Van Cleave, Owen Patrick Vorrath, Elias James Wetzel, Grayson Samuel Wood.
Coast Episcopal School has been dedicated to a life-long love of learning by developing the whole child – mind, body and spirit – and providing a joyful, unique and nurturing Judeo-Christian Community that inspires its students to imagine and create a better world.
Founded in 1950, CES is a member of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). For information: Coast Episcopal School, 5065 Espy Avenue, Long Beach, MS, 39560. 228-452-9442. Coastepiscopalschool.org