Stories by ESGN Students

New Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Courtney Flerlage

By Julia Sessions ‘18

Ms. Flerlage is an exciting addition to the English Department and Episcopal community. She says that her professors at Hollins University showed her “firsthand how much a teacher can change the way you interact with the world (for the better!).” Ms. Flerlage earned a Master of Fine Arts, in creative writing, at the University of Virginia, where she also taught undergraduate English courses for two years. “I came to love watching my students grow as readers–all the while I was learning and making discoveries alongside them,” Ms. Flerlage said. She added, “It became apparent that this was the ‘job’ I always wanted to have–to share reading and writing with others.”

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Would your younger self be surprised you are a teacher?

“When I was growing up, I always thought I’d end up as some sort of scientist or veterinarian. My mother was a cellular immunologist, and examining the natural world under a microscope–leaves, pond water, mud–was a common recreational activity. I think my younger self would be a bit surprised that I didn’t end up in a career that had to do with animals, but considering how much I’ve always loved reading, I think it wouldn’t be too unexpected.”

What do you like to do for fun?

“I play several instruments–piano, flute, and ukulele (sort of)–so I spend a good bit of free time playing or just listening to music. I also consider poetry an essential part of who I am and how I relate to the world, so in my free time, I’m often reading–and if I’m reading, it’s likely a book of poems.”

What is something interesting about yourself?

“In college, I learned how to taxidermy birds and to pin insects. I’ve still kept up the insect pinning as a hobby.”

What is your favorite place to eat in Jacksonville and why?
“Right now, I’d have to say I’ve spent the most time at Bold Bean (though it’s technically a coffee shop). While I’m still searching for my go-to restaurant, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, and so far, Bold Bean is my favorite!”


New Seminars Offer Seniors Chance to Dig Deeper

by Sara Himebauch ’18

Many students often find themselves interested in one or more subjects but cannot seem to fit them all into their schedules. In an effort to give the seniors an opportunity to better prepare for college and in an effort to provide them with more subjects to study, two new English senior seminars, Psychology in Literature and Philosophy in Literature, were created.

Psychology in Literature

Instructor’s Perspective: Mr. Pat Crandall

Q: What would you say characterizes this course best, and why should prospective students take this course?

A: “In addition to learning much of the same material as AP Psych, we read fiction and nonfiction so that we can use our new knowledge to shed light on the characters presented. The papers we write and stories we read will allow students to explore the mind from a new, and hopefully broader perspective, giving them insight into the behavior and cognitive processes of other as well as our own.”

Student’s Perspective: Katie McQuiddy ‘18

Q: What were your expectations coming into this class?

A: “I was hopeful to learn more about the brain because I am debating studying psychology in college and hoped to get some insight beforehand.”

Philosophy in Literature:

Instructor’s Perspective: Mr. Pat Crandall

Q: What would you say characterizes this course best, and why should prospective students take this course?

A: “Philosophy involves a rigorous examination and analysis of our consciousness. It asks all the hard questions about the purpose of life, and allows the students to come up with their own answers to those questions. We will learn about the greatest philosophers in history and stand on their shoulders to look even further over the horizon.”

Student’s Perspective: Liza Bishop ‘18

Q: “What are your expectations going into this class?

A: “I am really looking forward to debating on the big questions in life. I think Philosophy will be a very engaging and interesting seminar where I can really ponder what the word actually means.”


New Teacher Spotlight: Elizabeth Hartman ’07

by Bailey Schram ‘19

Ms. Hartman is  one of the new teachers on campus this year, specializing in Middle School mathematics. She’s loved learning and teaching for a long as she can remember. When she was younger, she would even pretend to be a teacher with her friends.  Since her mother and sister are teachers as well, it’s no surprise that after working with kids at a camp her freshman year of college, she decided she wanted to pursue teaching.

Ms. Hartman attended ESJ, during high school, and even had some of the teachers that are still with us today, such as Ms. Edwards and Mr. Brozowski. They are just a few of the individuals who gave her the encouragement and passion to guide her to where she is now. When she was younger, she wanted to be a veterinarian because of her love of dogs but that soon changed due to her love of kids and teaching, which led her to attend Wheaton College, in Illinois. This is where she majored in Elementary Education, with a minor in mathematics., It was a perfect fit for her.

“I was able to view education through a Christian worldview, and it gave me the best foundation to be the teacher I am today”, she said.

Something you may not know about her is that she loves to travel; she’s been to Spain, France, Italy  and Iceland (all just this summer).

Ms. Hartman explains that Iceland was “absolutely magnificent” because of the amazing activities and places she went with her friends. She also loves being outdoors and loves going to the beach, her happy place. She is the assistant coach for girls’ cross country team this fall and is excited to be coaching such “an awesome group of young ladies”. She is excited to be back here teaching and is already a great addition to the ESJ faculty and staff.


First Look At A New Lunch

by Jacob Sessions ’18

A time of change has dawned upon Episcopal. The old schedule has been retired, and a new block schedule has risen in its place. Our class schedule is not the only thing to have changed this year though; lunch has completely changed as well. The days of completely separated middle and upper school lunches are over, and in their place now stands one supersized lunch period that now holds both middle and upper school divisions. This particular period has gone from 45 minutes to 55 minutes. During this time, middle school eats for the first 25 and upper school has the last 30 minutes to eat. The block of time before and after lunch is a tutorial period, where students can go see teachers, do homework or just hang out until class starts.

With anything new, there is going to be an adjustment period and Episcopal is in the process of that now. Students aren’t completely sure how they feel about this change.

Kevin Pina ’20, still believes “there should be two lunch periods” and says that “as of now I’m not used to the change and am not yet a fan.”

Zeke Charron ’23, further believes that “we need more time.”

On the contrary, Charlie Podvia ’18 asserts that “with this new lunch, I have more time to go off campus, and I do not feel as rushed.”

Dean David Hess says that “this is a learning curve for everyone” and that “new changes always have bumps in the road.” It’s important to keep in mind the main purpose of this lunch period. “The goal is to give the students as much time in the tutorial period as possible so, they can do their work, see teachers or relax,” said Dean Hess.

Change in an established system will always bring about uncertainty, but over time, everything is sure to come together.