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Baton Rouge Academy Ribbon Cutting Unwraps a New Chapter

Great Hearts Harveston November 20, 2023 -

Sam Heisman and key partners cutting ribbon at Great Hearts Harveston

Great Hearts Harveston celebrated a special milestone when Head of School Sam Heisman walked up to the portable podium set in front of the entrance of the school to open the ribbon cutting ceremony. The school has completed the first term of its inaugural school year and with the first phase of construction on the campus complete, it was time to celebrate the occasion together as a community. It had been a particularly dark and rainy week in Baton Rouge, enough for organizers to make a backup plan to move the event indoors, but blue skies and sunshine made an appearance just in time.

“A little over a year ago we broke ground and had a similar ceremony here where we committed to the mission and vision of the school and what it would take to be a successful school here in Baton Rouge,” said Heisman. “And now here we are again in a lot of ways doing a very similar thing. We’ve started school. We’re committed to that, but we also are recommitting ourselves to that mission and vision in front of you all here and our doing so by cutting a ribbon and making sure everybody knows that we are making good on the promise to bring this classical liberal arts education, this warm loving education, to everybody in the community.”

Dan Scoggin at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Great Hearts Co-Founder Dan Scoggin offered special gratitude to the dedicated faculty, the Great Hearts Lousiana Board of Directors, EBR Schools, and NSBR (New Schools for Baton Rouge), to name just a few of the key partners that made this day possible.

The event continued as Chief Development Officer Genevieve Peterson came to the microphone to make a special presentation. “It is an honor to recognize a dear friend to Great Hearts today and wonderful community partner, Mr. Mike Wampold,” announced Peterson. “Because of his generous gift you now see sitting here on this 14-acre lot of land, beautiful Great Hearts Harveston.” Wampold and his family were honored in the naming of the school library, located at the top of the grand staircase and adorned with towering arched windows. “Thank you from our deepest place of gratitude for providing the land for us to bring this into fruition,” continued Peterson to Wampold before handing the microphone over to him.

Genevieve Peterson presenting plaque to Mike Wompold

Mr. Wampold declared to the attendees, “On behalf of myself and the Harvest Development Team, welcome Great Hearts to Harveston. We are so glad you’re here!”

Plaque naming The Wampold Library

This, the first Louisiana Great Heart academy, is the home of the Hawks. To commemorate the mascot, Great Hearts Harveston scholar, Natalie Marino, who embodied the poise and thoughtfulness of the academy, beautifully recited the poem, Evening Hawk by Robert Penn Warren.

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

The ceremony concluded with the cutting of the ribbon, complete with larger-than-life scissors and the flashes of several cameras, followed by refreshments in the multipurpose room and tours of the facility. It was a monumental time for all and a great reminder of what has been accomplished on the previously vacant roadside land in the last couple of years. It is fitting that the event also welcomed the Thanksgiving break for the school. It served as a reminder of all the community has to be thankful for this year. Congratulations Harveston faculty, students, and families.

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