“Experiences at Episcopal shaped who I became down the road. It didn't happen immediately, but as time went on, I became more aware of the significance of what we accomplished while there. I realized the trials those first classes went through paved the way for hundreds more students to have the brilliant education, experiences, and opportunities at Episcopal. We were just the first of many.”
A Foundation for Athletic Success for the Benefit of Future Generations
Jacob Coleman ‘04 remembers his Episcopal experience as one dedicated to laying the athletic groundwork for classmates as well as the students who would come after him. With only 29 students in the first graduating class, Coleman and other members of the Class of 2004 joined multiple athletic teams, sometimes regardless of their own athletic prowess or particular interests. Without their participation, many of the athletic teams wouldn’t have had enough athletes to compete. In fact, in those first few years, the soccer team played co-ed, and often, teachers and volunteers from the community also stepped up to coach not one, but several sports teams.
“Like a lot of the things we did, it was all hands on deck, and you did what you had to do to make sure what was coming behind you and what the future was going to look like,” Coleman said. “Somebody has to lay the foundation.”
Lettering in six sports during his high school career--football, golf, basketball, baseball, track, and soccer--Coleman was always willing to step up to the plate...or on the court, course, and field. Looking back, Coleman confesses that sometimes he didn’t want to go to a practice, game, or match, but from this experience, he learned what it meant to make sacrifices to ensure others have similar opportunities in the future.
“My last year, I played golf. They needed a fifth [player],” Coleman said. “I wasn’t any good, but I played. I didn’t belong out there. The next year, the guys that were good, a year behind me, [won] two state titles in their careers. So somebody had to shoot 110 in a regional match to let them come in and play.”
Coleman said he and his parents took the risk of going to a brand new school because they trusted in the teachers and the education the school could provide. Many of those trusted teachers are still teaching at Episcopal, today: Lisa Conyer, Michelle Dowell, Charles Compton, Ashley Honeywell, and Jo Stoltz. Sixteen years later, Coleman said he’s proud of how Episcopal continued to grow from the experience of the Class of 2004.
Academic Dean Jo Stoltz remembered a similar feeling of community in the first years of the school and credits this to the first few groups of students. “We had to all work together because we were building something that hadn’t been there,” she said. “It was a community and feeling that we were all in it together. Everyone had to do their part to make it work,” and that’s exactly what Coleman did, by getting involved in many areas of the school and athletics. Stoltz said he didn’t shy away from doing what he was asked.
Ultimately, Coleman said his experience as a student in the first graduating class taught him what it meant to be selfless and pushed him to think about the bigger picture rather than just how something would affect him personally.
“Experiences at Episcopal shaped who I became down the road,” Coleman said. “It didn't happen immediately, but as time went on, I became more aware of the significance of what we accomplished while there. I realized the trials those first classes went through paved the way for hundreds more students to have the brilliant education, experiences, and opportunities at Episcopal. We were just the first of many.”
After Episcopal Collegiate, Coleman continued his studies at the University of Arkansas, majoring in Finance and graduating in 2008. He then worked in the nonprofit industry for seven years, four of which he attended Bowen School of Law, graduating in 2015.
Coleman now works as an underwriter at Bank Ozk and lives in Little Rock with his wife Lindsay and his two little girls Charlie (3) and Caroline (8 weeks).