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Parish Episcopal Celebrates Founders' Day
Posted 11/20/2015 02:33PM

Parish Episcopal School paid tribute to the founders of our school during chapel at the Hillcrest Campus and with a special luncheon on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. The annual event honors those who have built the solid reputation of Parish over the years. (Founders' Day Photo Gallery by Wiley Williams)

“Would you build a house on sand or a rock?” Rev. Casey Shobe asked Lower School students during the service.

“Rock,” they shouted.

The lesson - told in Jesus’ parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders - was applied to the history of our school.  
Parish Day School - founded by Mary Loving Blair in 1972 - started as an elementary school at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration. Mrs. Gloria Snyder served as head of school from 1980 to 2009 and helped build PDS into Parish Episcopal School. Dave Monaco joined Parish as the third head of school in 2009. The hard work of these pioneers, teachers, students and parents turned the little church school on the corner into one of the leading independent schools in Dallas.

“We are part of a school that’s been built on something strong,” noted Shobe “Not sand, but like rock, so that it stands strong even during rain,” he added.

Shobe asked former Parish parents, teachers, administrators and students to stand.

“This is part of the house that God built,” continued Shobe.
He also asked current students, teachers, parents, board members and administrators to stand, leaving no one sitting. It was a clear message that the Parish community remains strong thanks to the dedication of everyone, not just the founders alone.

Following chapel, attendees enjoyed a special luncheon and awards ceremony at Prestonwood Country Club. The honorees included David Fisk, PDS ’92, as Distinguished Alumni; Dr. Frederick Hotz, Upper School Faculty, for Outstanding Service; Rachelle Prater accepted the Special Recognition Award on behalf of the David Prater Family. All of the honorees have used their time and talents to help Parish.

Fisk is a 1992, 6th grade graduate of Parish Day School. He also attended the University of Texas and St. Mary’s Law School. He’s currently an attorney at the law firm of Kane, Russell, Coleman & Logan in Dallas. Fisk has been active with the Parish Alumni Association the past four years and helped draft the bylaws which created the Alumni Board.

"Wisdom, Honor and Service are the values that Parish instills in its students. As the number of Parish alumni increases, their ability to use these values to impact our communities in positive ways will increase exponentially,” said David Fisk. 

Fisk also volunteers as the co-chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Home Project Committee which partners with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.

“David is a man of character, integrity and service, and well-deserving of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Bart Freeman, Alumni Board Member and Parish parent. “He exemplifies the Parish ideal of leading a successful career and life while volunteering and giving his time to worthwhile endeavors at Parish and the community-at-large,” he added.  

Dr. Hotz was an architect before he turned his focus to education 23 years ago. He has been with Parish Episcopal for 13 years and is the only remaining Upper School founding teacher. He currently teaches Upper School History and is the Director of Academy of Global Studies. Dr. Hotz says he’s proud to teach alongside the talented and well-educated faculty at Parish because they possess the ability to keep their students interested in class subjects.

“As a result, our students are never alone along the path of their educational journey,” said Dr. Hotz. 

Recently, he traveled with seniors to the George W. Bush Presidential Library to take part in a pilot program called the Situation Room Experience. (Read the full story.) Dr. Hotz’ dedication to his students and profession make him an obvious choice to receive the Outstanding Service Award.

“This award locates for me a place on the roadmap of my intellectual life and its mastery,” said Dr. Hotz.

“It is the journey that has captivated and inspired both my mind and spirit with a particular sense of reverence.  I am very proud that Parish recognizes the dedication required of its teachers,” he added.

Rachelle Prater accepted the Special Recognition award on behalf of the David Prater Family. The Prater’s have been a part of the Parish family for the past 17 years. Rachelle and David Prater have three boys: Hunter (class of ’13), Connor (class of ’17) and Cole (classs of ’25). The family has volunteered for numerous school events and class projects over the years. 

“This award reminds us of having the opportunity to watch Parish Lifers grow from children into young adults, with lifelong bonds, which is extremely rewarding,” said Prater.

“We value the close knit community, strong academics and opportunities for student involvement,” she added.

The luncheon also honored another long-time member of the Parish community with the launch of a special in-memoriam fund – The Wesley Salley Fund. Established by the Salley family in memory of their son, alumni Wesley “Wes” Salley (Class of ’10), the fund is to provide the financial aid and additional financial support (based on demonstrated need) to qualifying student athletes for such things as tutoring, textbooks, letter jackets, tickets to prom and other items that would not otherwise be affordable for the student.

Wes’s life was cut short in 2013 and his memory lives on in the foundation that carries his name. His mother, Susan Salley, announced the new fund at the luncheon and shared memories of Wes with the attendees.

The fund is another example of the rock solid support within the Parish Community; through triumphs and tragedies our school’s foundation remains strong.

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