All School Convocation

Alyssa Wilson, Staff Writer

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1959. Eisenhower was president, the space race was in full force, Hawaii and Alaska were recognized as states, and most importantly, Ascension Episcopal School was founded. All of these facts and more were shared by new Head of School Mr. Jeff Plunk with the faculty and student body during the All School Convocation. On August 23, 2019, all kindergarten through twelfth grade students gathered at the downtown campus in celebration of sixty years of Ascension Episcopal School.

The convocation began with a warm welcome and prayer, followed by a popular song anyone who has attended the preschool is sure to recognize: the “Ascension School” song. This song was led by the kindergarten class and the senior Alpha Omegas (those who have attended Ascension since kindergarten). Senior Katherine Crochet said, “being a newer student, I thought it was really sweet that all the Alpha Omegas got together and did the dance with the little kids.” As this song ended with “welcome everybody to Ascension school…Hallelujah,” it was a fitting and wholesome way to begin the celebration. 

Next, Mr. Plunk called the unsuspecting prefects up to the stage to compete against several lower school students for a game of trivia. Keeping with the theme of the day, the trivia was based upon facts concerning the year 1959. They went up two at a time, first with the prefect answering, then the lower schooler.  Much to the surprise of the audience, the lower school got every single question correct, while only one highschooler, Virginia Vascocou, answered a question correctly. After watching the prefects get utterly shown up by the lower school students, senior Emmie Gage light-heartedly says, “It was rigged, the upper school got cheated.” Whether this is true or those downtown campus teachers have stepped up their game since the high schoolers have left, this undoubtedly taught everyone gathered there quite a bit more about the year that Ascension was founded. 

After this, a slideshow full of photos of Ascension, both past and present, was presented. These photos showedhow the school has grown from small classes, one campus, and a wooden playground to a graduating class of almost eighty people, three campuses, and a large modernized playground loved by all. However, some things have thankfully not changed, such as the much loved “May Day” celebration, River Ranch Mardi Gras Parade, and the fifth grade Washington DC trip. This slideshow was proof that Ascension has aged with grace.  

Speaking of aging with grace, photos of faculty and staff made their way onto the presentation. Those who have been with Ascension for a significant amount of time had their current photos, as well as their photos from their earlier Ascension days, projected for all to see. Students’ laughter filled the room as pictures of the notoriously bald PE coach, Larry Sciambra, flashed across the screen, proving that he did, in fact, once have hair. Laughter was the main response to this portion of the slideshow and was a fun way of commemorating the faculty who have contributed so much to Ascension for copious amounts of years.

At one point during the convocation, the Ascension Upper School choir, led by Mr. Sanford, performed the song “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin with junior Meredith Trahan as the soloist. It was wonderful that students were incorporated in the event in such a way.

The attention was then turned to Dr. Jeannette Parker, the founder of Ascension Episcopal School. This was no doubt a treat to the faculty and students who so luckily were able to hear from the lady whose vision started it all. A common Ascension tradition is to donate a book to the library and dedicate it to someone on their birthday. As per tradition, a book was dedicated to Dr. Jeannette Parker in honor of Ascension’s sixtieth birthday. This was a small way for Ascension to express gratitude for all of her hard work in making the school what it is today.

The entire convocation was a way of uniting the Ascension community and seeing firsthand how much Ascension has grown. The overall celebration seemed to be well-received; upper-school counselor Ms. Neal-Jones said of the event: “It gave me a sense of belonging to something greater than myself and it made me feel like the impact I have now will carry forward to future generations.” Undoubtedly, those who attended were all left with similar feelings of being a part of something. This was a great way to start off Ascension’s year long celebration of its sixtieth anniversary. Happy birthday Ascension!

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