ESLA Family Newsletter, February 19, 2019

We’re back from the break, supremely refreshed and ready to crush these next four days.


As always, your agenda from today until the end of time is embedded below. Remember, you can always check the ESLA Agenda on this site by navigating to “My ESLA” > “ESLA Agenda” or simply plugging into your navigation bar.

A Heads Up on "No After-School Program Days": After-school activities (with the exception of any scheduled musical and athletics practices) will be adjusted on two days this month, as follows:

  • THIS Thursday, February 21 (no activities for Middle School)

Commons Talk this Thursday: Babatunde Akinboboye!

This Thursday, February 21 we are hosting our Black History Month Commons talk with Baritone Babatunde Akinboboyeand Maya Hill (19') as our moderator. This will be at the usual time: 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. in Mears.

A singer of diverse talents, Nigerian American Baritone, Babatunde Akinboboye is known for his enthralling stage presence. He has performed with the Los Angeles Opera, Opera San Jose, Opera Santa Barbara, Long Beach Opera, and Center Stage Opera, and has sung the roles of Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Horace Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Henry Davis in Street Scene, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods. Babatunde has also debuted the roles of Drew in the Opera Works’Arts for Social Awareness Project’s world premiere production of The Discord Opera, and Zanni in the world premiere of Gloria Coates’ Stolen Identity. His most recent performances include Daggoo in LA Opera’s Moby Dick, Escamillo in Pacific Opera Project’s production of Carmen, and Lucha’s Father in The Industry’s production of Hopscotch.

As an advocate for the performance of art song and operatic works written by African, and African American composers, Mr. Akinboboye has headlined the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry awards in Lagos, Nigeria performing a fusion of opera and traditional African music and has been a featured performer at both the National Association of Negro Musicians Annual Conference, as well as the African American Art Song Alliance Conference. 

Babatunde’s honors include Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition, and finalist in the International Eisteddfod Vocal Solo Competition in Llangollen, Wales.

Parents and friends are welcome to attend these conversations. We request that parents and friends who would like to attend RSVP by emailing Ms. Aguiniga: 

Upcoming Commons Talks at ESLA:

  1. Thursday, March 7, 2019: Keith Veradi, Jeopardy! researcher 

  2. Thursday, April 25, 2019: Miguel Ordeñana, community science coordinator at Natural History Museum who discovered P-22!

  3. Thursday, May 16, 2019: One Archive Foundation researcher speaks about the history of pride in the United States

Black Voices

From the ESLA Black History Month Committee:

This February, the Black History Month Committee at ESLA will be sharing a variety of ways to engage with Black History through curated lists that highlight Black voices. From museum exhibitions, to movers and shakers in the Twitter-sphere, our hope is to enhance your weekend plans and social media feeds.

This is an incredible resource, and we hope you’ll use it to incorporate Black voices further into your lives and celebrate Black history every month. Huge thanks to Erin Bagley for all the work she put in designing these documents!

Stay tuned next week for Buy Black recommendations!



To honor Black History Month, the ESLA English and History departments will be facilitating weekly evening discussions of Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, for the month of February. Our aim here is to examine Obama’s story within personal, literary, and historical contexts.

The second meeting is TOMORROW, Wednesday, February 20, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. We will meet in the main room of Mears Hall. Please bring along your copy of Michelle Obama's Becoming, and please arrive having read the second section, “Becoming Us.” If you have any questions, please email

ESLA Holy Eucharist Service this Sunday

A Service of Holy Eucharist
Sunday, February 24, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Wylie Chapel at The First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood
1760 N Gower St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

You are invited to join the ESLA chaplaincy for the second ever Sunday evening celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist is the service in which Episcopalians, and many other Christian traditions, gather to remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in stories, songs, prayers, bread, and wine. It is 100% optional.

This service will be a bit more traditional than chapel or our school feasts, but you are welcome, regardless of your background or faith tradition, to attend and participate in the service at any level at which you feel comfortable. 

We hope to see you Sunday, February 24, 5:30–6:30 p.m. Please RSVP using this link!

(Also, please save the date of the final scheduled Eucharist of this school year, Sunday, May 5, 6:00–7:00 p.m.)

8th Grade Concert: Music of the 2010s!

TOMORROW, Wednesday, Feb. 20!
5:00 to 5:45 p.m., Wiley Chapel

Join us for exciting performances featuring songs by Portugal, The Man, The Lumineers, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Fun, and Spoon.

ESLA’s Second Annual Visit to the Saban Research Institute

On Tuesday, February 12, a group of ESLA juniors and seniors attended the Saban Research Institute Annual Symposium. Students learned about cutting-edge research in science and medicine from world-renowned investigators. Speakers at this conference included Sara Van Driest, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University; Ed Lein, Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington; and Elaine Mardis, co-Executive Director of the Institute of Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Some of the topics discussed included gene expression in neurons and the brain, the use of pharmacogenomic signals for determining patient medication dosage, and use of large data sets to identify genetic risk factors for cancer.

Thanks to all those who attended! 

The Tijuana Service Trip

A message from Amanda Valenzuela and Ilyana Contreras:

This Spring Break, La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica and the Service Council will be attending the annual ESLA multi-day service trip to the US-Mexico border cities of San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, which departs April 3, 2019. During this service learning and cultural immersion trip, students will talk with an active California Border Patrol agent at Borderfields State Park, perform service at Casa del Migrante Tijuana, provide tech and database support at the Deported Vets and Dreamer Moms Support Bunker, experience the local culture at the Mercado Hidalgo and the Centro Cultural Tijuana, take in the beauty of the iconic Playas de Tijuana, and more! It is an exciting trip, and all of the ESLA community is invited to help contribute with donations that will be distributed to Casa Del Migrante & Deported Veterans and Dreamer Moms.

Donations sought for Casa Del Migrante: non-perishable food items (i.e. canned food, boxed food, etc.)

Donations sought for Deported Veterans and Dreamer moms: personal hygiene items, a flatbed scanner, used PCs, Chromebooks, or laptops.

If you would like to help contribute items to the Tijuana service trip, please reach out to trips leaders, Ilyana Contreras or Amanda Valenzuela We will be gathering resources until the morning of April 3, 2019.

Sixth graders (and chickens) being adorable:

ESLA Annual Fund 2018-2019!

A message from Marcia Berman, Director of Development:

ESLA's Annual Fund drive is in full swing! Thank you to everyone who made a gift or pledge. For those who haven’t participated yet, we hope you will support this very important campaign which benefits all students throughout the year. Contributions to the Annual Fund are tax-deductible and go directly to the school's highest priorities.

Our goal is 100% parent participation and we are just over halfway there with 53% participation. Make a gift today to get us one step closer to reaching our goal! 

Athletics Update!

From Mark Zalin, Athletic Director, and Janie Hannon, who flat out loves to run:

Upper School track starts this week! Practice will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Open to all! Following practice on Thursday, there will be a quick meeting for all interested runners and parents.

With the FPCH gym more available to ESLA, we are now able to get in after school for a variety of athletic practices:

On Mondays, Middle School Basketball will be in the gym from 3:15 to 5:00 p.m.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Upper School Track team, in anticipation of their upcoming season, will have training in the gym from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m., followed by Upper School Basketball open gym.

On Wednesdays, Open Gym Volleyball returns from 3:15 to 5:00 p.m.

Middle School Boys Basketball has two games this week:

  1. Thursday vs. Resolute @ Aspire. Game time: 6:00 p.m.

  2. Friday vs. Downtown Value @ Everest. Game time: 5:00 p.m.

Sincere thanks to our parent drivers!

We are looking forward to our Spring Middle School sports at the conclusion of Middle School Basketball playoffs in Mid March. We are excited to offer both Middle School Co-ed Soccer and Co-ed Track and Field.

Our ESLA student-athletes prove on a daily basis that a pursuit of excellence in athletics is fully compatible with a pursuit of excellence in academics, the arts, and co-curricular activities, and that a combination of these endeavors makes for a more complete educational experience.

Go Coyotes!


Intro to the ESLA Capstone

From Jane McCarron, Capstone Coordinator:

Dear Parents of the Class of 2020,

You are cordially invited to attend a brief info session on the ESLA Capstone Project, the extended research project completed by our senior students. Although the info session is not mandatory, we will be going over the nuts and bolts of the capstone project as well as how parents can best support their students. If you are unable to attend but would like set up a time to go over the material, please reach out via email to set up an appointment. We look forward to including you in the incredible work your students are doing at ESLA.

The meeting is Wednesday, February 27 from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in Mears Auditorium at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.

Sixth-grade playdate in the rain!

Eighth Grade Roads to Respect

A message from Laura Spencer and Jay Johnson:

To Parents of Eighth Grade Students: During the week of March 4, ESLA will offer Roads to Respect, a program designed and facilitated by the UCLA–Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center to prevent peer sexual harassment. You may read more about the program here, or contact Jay Johnson or Laura Spencer if you have any questions.

Questions, comments, or submissions? Send them my way:

Until next week,
—Will Litton