Alumni Spotlight: Gracie Biggs

Gracie Biggs, a 2017 alumna of ESK, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer. She received a prestigious nomination from the Headmaster of St. Timothy’s School and his wife, to spend a week in Auburn, Maine at the workshop of renowned furniture maker and woodworker Thomas Moser.

Outstanding Member of the School Community

According to the invitation Gracie received via email, she was invited to travel with other students from St. Timothy’s because she was identified as an outstanding member of the community.  After checking her schedule, Gracie confirmed she could go and boarded a plane to Baltimore, where she met up with the rest of the group traveling together to Maine.


The Thomas Moser Studio has long provided quality, American-made furniture to St. Timothy’s School. As the school plans to open a new fine arts center this fall decorated with beautiful, handcrafted furniture from the studio, the school decided to send a small group of students north to learn more about the process behind each piece.


Learn to appreciate a lesser-known art form


Gracie learned how to build a table, which she made from cherry wood. It will be shipped to her along with the rest of the furniture later on, but she said that the trip, “wasn’t necessarily to build furniture, but to get an appreciate of the furniture.” She’ll be expected to set an example to the rest of the student body as to how to act around the invaluable furniture now students are back on campus for the fall semester.


“Students can’t eat or drink {on the furniture}, and they wonder why. But now I understand that it is pretty unique and special, these all-American wood handmade pieces.”


While in Maine, students met Thomas Moser’s wife, who discussed her role in the company, and how she overcame challenges as a woman in business. Students also spent three days building their own table, visited the lumber mill, and designed their own piece of furniture. Gracie’s team drafted a vanity, which won the week’s design competition. The Moser Studio is now considering building vanities after the success of Gracie’s design.

Another highlight of the trip for Gracie was witnessing the last living Shaker community, the culture from which the Moser furniture draws inspiration.


Biggs embodies the curiosity for learning and character we value at ESK

At Episcopal School of Knoxville, we’re always excited to hear about the successes of our alumni. Gracie embodies the curiosity for learning the we instill in our students, as she embraced an opportunity to learn about an art she previously knew little about. She also demonstrates the strength of character that we strive to equip our students with by being recognized as an outstanding member of the St. Timothy’s community, even before her sophomore year at school had begun. ESK students leave ESK ready to lead and serve in their high school communities and beyond, no matter where they go.

As for Gracie, she’s a proud member of St. Tim’s, but still loves to come home to ESK, too. She spent time this summer working at the JK summer camps, and we loved having her upbeat spirit back among us for a few short weeks. She’s rooted at St. Tim’s now, too, and says she loves the all-girls student body, which is low-key. In her words, as far as the community of strong, like-minded young women goes, “What you see is what you get!”


Gracie, you’re an inspiration to us. Keep up the hard work in the classroom, as a leader, and on the softball field. We can’t wait to have you back for a visit again sometime soon!