Gazebo Gazette

Each of the fifteen sixth grade Coast Episcopal School students honored at commencement services held at St Peters-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Gulfport on Thursday, May 23 shared with the more than 100 family, friends, faculty and staff the memories they cherish from their time at the Long Beach, Mississippi independent school.

Several spoke of the school’s week-long Appalachian Trail trip.  One shared a humorous story about the school principal climbing through a window to fix a malfunctioning door lock; another, of how blessed he was that the school’s music teacher is also his “mom.” All of the presentations reflected the students’ understanding that their formative years had been spent in a loving and unique academic community.

Seven of the graduating students became Coast Episcopal School mates at the age of three, and they received an Alpha-Omega cross from their Preschool teacher, Yvonne Williams.  Now retired, Mrs.Yvonne’s daughter, Marcie Power, currently serves as the school’s Early Childhood Director.

Both educators shared in the presentation, with Miss Yvonne whispering a special memory into the ear of each student as she placed the cross around the necks of Sam Burnett, Bennett Cain, Fischer Hartl, Francis Martinez, Anna Nobile, Asher Sanders and Ava Grace Varner.

Head of School Jake Winter presided over the ceremonies.  In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of the graduates, he also presented a Head of School Award to a valued member of the CES Community, Business Manager Julie Scialdone.  The award is not presented every year but at the discretion of the school’s leader, and the recipient of the honor is a closely-held secret until the time of the ceremony.

In announcing the award, Winter stated his belief that the 70 year old school fiscal situation has never been as sound as it is today for which he credits to the skills and focus of Scialdone, who has spent 12 years ensuring the school’s smooth financial processes.  In accepting her award, Scialdone commented, “CES is very special to me.  It feeds my soul to watch our children learn and grow in such a nurturing environment.”

Additional awards at the commencement service included the CES Character Cup and the Seidule Award.

Voted upon each year by the sixth grade and all faculty, the Character Cup results were a tie this year.    resulting in a tie this year.  Sixth Grade Homeroom Teacher Jessica Greene announced winners Victoria Faith Mossy, daughter of Owen and Vanessa Mossy, and Fischer James Hartle, son of Jacob and Tara Hartl.

Fischer Hartl also received the Seidule Award for achieving the highest academic average announced by Elementary Principal 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.

In addition to the students named above, Head of School Winter presented diplomas to Olivia Anzelde, Samuel (Sam) Burnett, Bennett Cain, Corwith (Mike) Davis, Francisco (Francis) Martinez, Anna Nobile, Leila Pitcovich, Timothy (Asher) Sanders, Robert (Robbie) Smith, William (Liam) Toepfer, and Jacob (Jake) Winter, son of Head of School Jake Winter.

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

(Front Photo: Julie Scialdone, CES Business Manager, received the Head of School Award from Jake Winter for her outstanding skills, commitment and loyalty to the independent school.  Inside Photo: Fischer Hartl received the Seidule Award for achieving the highest academic average of the 2024 Sixth Grade graduating class.  The award is names in honor of Jim Seidule, interim CES Head of School in the years immediately following Hurricane Katrina.)