Spicer Emge ’14, now an architect at Dibello Architects in New Braunfels, Texas, can chart his trajectory from a CH high school student interested in the visual arts to his current career. As a student in Lissa Schairer’s photography class, Spicer was inspired by her passion for this creative pursuit which, as a former math teacher, she married with an analytical approach. From learning about composition to gaining an understanding about the aesthetic makeup of what makes a “good photo” to developing rolls of film in the darkroom, Spicer was hooked. Photography was a gateway to further exploration in the visual arts at Campbell Hall such as painting, drawing, digital artmaking, and photoshop.
These skills served Spicer well once he discovered the field of architecture which combines the science of design with pure artistry. As a student at the University of Notre Dame in the classical five-year architecture program, Spicer lived in Rome for a year studying his craft and, as a graduate, won the Andrew F. Kervick Award for Hand Drawing of Highest Merit over the entire course of study.
Even as a teenager, Spicer had an intuitive appreciation for architecture. With their indoor/outdoor flow and characteristic mid-century modern details, Spicer was enamored with Campbell Hall’s elementary school buildings (now considered historical landmarks) designed by renowned architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons. “I loved all the quads too,” Spicer explained, “just sitting with my friends and enjoying the space that Campbell Hall has to offer. I think of everything in architectural terms and back then there was a subconscious comfort level with having such spaces.”
Starting at age five, Spicer began fencing and, when he was older, was part of the Junior and Senior teams of the Los Angeles International Fencing Club. By the time he was in middle school, he was competing at the national and international levels, traveling the world to participate in tournaments. As a two-time recipient of Campbell Hall’s Thomas G. Clarke Alumni Scholarship, Spicer was able to use the funds he was awarded for some of the countless fencing tournaments and international travel that was required in order to compete at the highest level. “Fencing is an extremely expensive sport,” Spicer noted. “The scholarships gave me some piece of mind knowing that some of that financial burden on my mom was alleviated.” During his fencing career, Spicer was ranked fourth nationally in the under 17 category, was in the top ten in the under 19 category, placed third at the cadet level in the Junior Olympics, and came in second at the Junior World Cup, all of which helped propel him to sign with the Division 1 fencing team at the University of Notre Dame.
Spicer grew up in the Episcopalean tradition, regularly attending church. Before joining Campbell Hall in 7th grade, he attended St. James Episcopal school for Kindergarten through 6th grade, all of which he attributes to a strong moral foundation that was laid for him. “I see that the things I value as an adult were formed by the experiences I had growing up in that environment. At Campbell Hall, I was able to explore so many interests, but the growth I had was more than just academic. My friends and I felt we had a greater sense of responsibility. Whatever faith you belong to, Campbell Hall is really invested in creating people who are thoughtful and empathetic. They put that care into every student.”
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Campbell Hall is an independent, Episcopal, K-12 all gender day school. We are a community of inquiry committed to academic excellence and to the nurturing of decent, loving, and responsible human beings.
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