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Think Critically. Live Biblically. Lead Courageously.

A Christ-centered, caring community achieving educational excellence in pre-kindergarten 3 through grade 12. 

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Sounds of Springtime

This year's spring concerts showcased the incredible talents of our arts students with iconic pieces and standout solos, reflecting the dedication and talent that define the  Second Baptist School Arts Department.

Join us as we look back on our incredible spring instrumental and choral concerts, celebrating the outstanding achievements of our students! Middle and upper school students brought their carefully rehearsed songs from the classroom to the main stage. Every note and voice blend together beautifully, creating a single seamless sound that reverberates throughout the room. 

The spring instrumental music concert featured iconic American classics such as “Linus and Lucy” by the sixth grade band and “Smoke on the Water” by the seventh through twelfth grade bands. As tunes rang through the trumpets and trombones and percussionists held the beat, the audience found themselves toe-tapping and clapping along! Our upper school feature displayed the incredible talent of sophomore Ethan Chan, who stole the show with his performances of three classics by Johann Sebastian Bach. The talent of each developing musician wowed the entire audience.

This year, the Second Baptist School choir delivered a spectacular performance, revitalizing pieces that have become beloved staples of our annual spring concert. The choir's fresh and unique blend of voices captivated an audience that included both first-time listeners and long-time attendees, making the evening a memorable experience for all. 

Featuring the 2021 hit song “Memories” performed by our freshmen choir, as well as classic pieces including “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” by the middle school choir and “Blessing” performed by the Vision and Reflection choirs alongside alumni, the spring choir concert proved itself again to be a well-loved tradition. The evening concluded with a series of outstanding solos by our seniors, each of which highlighted the individual talent and hard work that define our choir and the SBS Arts Department. 

The sentiment and uniqueness of this year's spring choir concert will be remembered for years as we honor the departure of many cherished leaders and contributors to the arts program at Second Baptist School. Among these dedicated individuals is Debbie Wylie, who delivered her final performance with the choir during this year’s concert. “Debbie Wylie is a great friend and a wonderful accompanist,” expressed Choir Director Rebekah Martin. “She has been supportive and generous with her time, and we are so thankful for her dedication to this program.” 

Furthermore, as the seniors of the Class of 2024 prepare to conclude their journey, Ms. Martin acknowledges their exemplary leadership. "The seniors have led by example and have been instrumental in motivating underclassmen," she affirmed. “Seniors Jayden Lundy and Connor Kelley proved to be invaluable assets, mastering extremely challenging parts, while Samuel and Isaac Konuma demonstrated humility in their leadership, readily undertaking any task asked of them.” Many of these seniors have been part of the choir since their freshman or middle school years, and their exceptional talents and leadership will be greatly missed! 

Thank you to all of our SBS families, dedicated parents, Arts Patrons members and board for their continued support of the arts at SBS this year.

 

Spring Concert Photos

Four Decades of Dedication

Congratulations to Bible teacher Jeannene Simonton, who retires after forty years of service at Second Baptist School.

It is rare to see someone commit to one place and one mission for 40 years, but Bible teacher Jeannene Simonton is an exception. Her unwavering commitment to Christian education and instilling the Word of God in the hearts of young people is worthy of recognition. After forty years of service, Jeannene Simonton will retire from teaching this academic year. We are grateful for her impact at Second Baptist School.

“Jeannene Simonton leaves behind a legacy of love for scripture, commitment to students and a genuine love for Second Baptist School,” said Head of Upper School Jon Konzelman. 

Ms. Simonton, affectionately known as “Simo,” shared her own thoughts on the experience of teaching Bible at SBS. “It has been the greatest privilege and honor to teach these students over the past 40 years. There are only two things that are eternal: people and the Word of God. I have invested my life in these two things, and I am hopeful that God has been honored and glorified.”

“My favorite part of teaching,” shared Ms. Simonton, “has been walking with SBS seniors on the ‘holy ground’ of their lives as they make decisions about their futures. I hope they have grasped the extent to which they are loved by God and how He, along with the Son and the Holy Spirit, are the only sources of truth, beauty and goodness.”  

Former student and current SBS Bible teacher Emma (Prestage) Box ‘15 said, “It has been a gift to have been a student of Ms. Simonton’s and now one year as her colleague. Jeanenne Simonton's class was always a space where I knew I could feel safe. It is so important to know that your teacher is for you and has grace for you in the busy season of senior year. She showed us this consistently.”

“For the past four decades, Jeannene Simonton has dedicated her life to the spiritual growth and biblical education of students at Second Baptist School,” emphasized Head of School Dr. Don Davis. “She has instilled the gospel and cultivated a biblical worldview in the hearts and minds of countless students. Her passion for studying God's Word and genuine care for her students have left an indelible mark, impacting thousands of lives for eternity. SBS is profoundly grateful for her faithful teaching legacy.”

Young Readers Soar to New Heights as Millionaires

Lower school students excel in reading and set new records.

Each year, the Millionaire Readers Contest serves as a shining example of Second Baptist School, celebrating not only our pursuit of excellence but also fostering a caring community that values every student’s unique talents. This year, 31 students reached the coveted "millionaire" status by reading over a million words each. The competition, which spanned from August 16, 2023, to May 3, 2024, culminated in remarkable achievements among our second, third and fourth grade readers. These accomplishments not only highlight our students' dedication and passion for reading but also reflect their God-given talents and perseverance.

Among these exceptional scholars is Tess ‘32, this year’s Top Reader, who not only met but far surpassed expectations. Tess read an extraordinary 9,910,123 words, breaking her previous Accelerated Reader (AR) record of 9,708,648 words and setting a new standard of excellence. Embracing her God-given talents, Tess has set a new benchmark for future participants in the contest. Congratulations to Tess; we are proud of her enthusiasm for reading and her persistence throughout the school year. 

The collective efforts of our young readers were also remarkable.  With three second grade students, six third grade students and twenty two fourth grade students reaching millionaire status, they cumulatively read 98,646,702 words this school year! Fourth graders led the way, showcasing an exceptional commitment to reading and significantly boosting the overall word count by reading over 68 million words. The records set year after year by our second through fourth grade students encourage our faculty and staff to know that these students desire and pursue excellence daily.

The Millionaire Reader's Contest is more than a competition; it’s a testament to how nurturing God-given talents and persistent effort can lead to extraordinary achievements. Join us in applauding these young readers, who, through their impressive accomplishments, inspire us all to continue nurturing a love for reading and a dedication to lifelong learning!

Schools of Distinction: Opportunities and Possibilities

Look back at the inaugural year of Second Baptist School’s School of Business and hear about the exciting future plans for the Schools of distinction.

The first School of Distinction at Second Baptist School opened in the fall of 2023, with over 65 students in our upper school enrolling in the new School of Business classes.

We spoke with Upper School Head Jon Konzelman and Rice University Professor of Finance Dr. Jill Foote about the school's most notable accomplishments this year and its promising future plans. 

Thinking Critically: An Innovative and Immersive Curriculum

“Our students engaged through significant experiential learning across many business, leadership and finance topics,” described Dr. Foote, who led the school of business this year. The courses were challenging, incorporating dynamic real-world learning and critical thinking that are required to analyze reports, complete valuation models and discuss the ethical and moral obligations of business endeavors.

According to Jon Konzelman, students learned to apply critical thinking skills to specific areas of interest, to use quantitative reasoning to analyze financial models, and to enhance communication skills to articulate themselves in challenging situations. “We pushed students hard,” said Dr. Foote, “and they excelled all along the way, growing immensely.”

Business with a Biblical Worldview

“Students are exposed to future career interests in the context of a biblical worldview,” said Mr. Konzelman. Dr. Foote explained that each business school topic engaged and encouraged students by discussing relevant scripture from a spiritual, secular and practical perspective. Students were challenged to critically analyze difficult questions such as "How do Christians maintain their faith in the face of significant financial loss?" and "How can you be a biblical leader in a secular work setting?"

Community Involvement: Professionals, Networking and Alumni Involvement

Frequent interaction with professionals, many of whom are SBS alumni or parents, was one of the most impactful aspects of the School of Business and will remain an integral part of the Schools of Distinction. Speakers included CEOs from Crown Castle and Axiom Strategies, as well as recent post-MBA alumni working in investment banking, consulting and private equity.  

“Interacting with these professionals gave our students sophisticated tools, techniques, and knowledge applicable to many business situations. Additionally, our speakers opened our students’ eyes to new career possibilities and helped kick-start their life-long journey of business networking, an area we expect to expand in the future,” emphasized Dr. Foote.

Building upon connections within our SBS community, the SBS Dads Club recently launched the Eagle Career Network for our alumni, with plans to extend to our current student body in the 2025–2026 school year. 

What’s Next? 

Following a successful inaugural year, the Schools of Distinction will continue to grow and expand, providing increasingly robust opportunities for our students. Dr. Foote will join the SBS faculty full-time as dean of the Schools of Distinction in the fall of 2024. She will continue to teach in the business school while also enhancing future schools and developing an internship program aimed at "promoting deeper engagement of SBS alumni and families as we fulfill our mission of developing students who think critically, live biblically, and lead courageously."

School of Sciences

In addition, the School of Sciences will open this fall, with Dr. Robert Wegner, M.D., serving as an educational consultant. Dr. Wegner, a committed member of Second Baptist Church, is currently an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He will assist in the planning and review of the medical curriculum for SBS students, serve as a guest speaker and provide a biblical perspective on the medical field

Continued Growth: State-of-the-Art Facilities 

The state-of-the-art renovation of the sixth floor of E Building will provide our students and faculty with optimal spaces to enhance learning and development. “Providing our students with spaces to flourish in their God-given talents and gifts is at the heart of our pursuit of excellence,” shared Konzelman. “A high-quality facility, combined with cutting-edge technology and modern amenities, will advance our mission in the hearts and minds of our students.”

SBS Upper School | E Building Renovations
 

Inside AP English: Class of 2025 TedTalks

Lillian Baker '25 offers a glimpse into the annual TedTalk in Mrs. Shannon Brooks' AP English Language and Composition class, where the juniors showcase their passion and expertise through engaging presentations.

Written by Lillian Baker '25 

Anticipation rises as junior Taylor Stensgaard approaches the front of the classroom. With notecards and clicker in hand, she silently rehearses specific lines from her TedTalk as Mrs. Brooks prepares the slideshow. The audience goes silent and all eyes turn to the screen. Taking a deep breath, she begins. 

Every year during the fourth quarter, each junior taking Mrs. Shannon Brooks’ AP English Language and Composition class must give a “TedTalk,” or an engaging presentation, on the topic of his or her choosing. This multi-step project requires juniors to take deep dives into their subjects, write detailed essays and memorize speeches, incorporating images, statistics, and peer engagement. Due to the high anticipation surrounding these presentations, students and faculty alike gather to listen and learn. 

This year, students’ presentations spanned various topics, such as the controversy around electric cars, the benefits of Korean skincare, and government corruption. “I talked about the ethics of social media and new marketing tactics within the internet,” Stensgaard said. Her TedTalk was especially notable because she chose to present first. “Standing up there was very nerve-racking, but once I started talking, it became easier to rely on what I had already practiced.” The long hours of preparation paid off - Stensgaard’s TedTalk was a success. 

Another TedTalk presenter, junior Ella Allen, addressed the rising presence of human trafficking in Houston and left the audience pondering the relevance of such an inhumane yet unseen market. “I am very passionate about this subject, so whenever I began to write my presentation, I became more excited to share what I had learned with others,” Allen said. She also shared that although she initially felt nervous, her decision to present a topic so near to her heart outweighed any hesitancy. “I ended up really enjoying the TedTalk because it challenged me to grow in my research abilities and as a public speaker.” 

TedTalks gave the junior class a unique opportunity to discover what they are passionate about and educate others around them. The annual tradition, anticipated by both students and faculty, encourages and challenges students on many different levels, and the class of 2025 exceeded all expectations.