In January, St. Martin’s Episcopal School welcomed Upper School Social Studies Teacher Arthur “West” Wendel Stout IV to the community, where he teaches World History.
As a 5th or 6th generation New Orleanian, Stout attended St. George’s Episcopal School. After his friends heard his mom call Stout “little Wendel,” he adopted the nickname “West.”
“‘West’ was originally a kind of acronym: ‘We’ from Wendel, ‘st’ from Stout,” Stout said. “It seemed to fit, and it stuck.”
As a child, Stout believed he wanted to be a journalist, even applying to the University of Missouri's journalism program. However, he instead attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, known for its historic roots as the third oldest college in the United States and its Great Books curriculum in which students submerge themselves in literary classics.
“Math and science components of the program go in chronological order […] beginning with Euclid and ending with calculus and non-Euclidean geometries,” Stout said.
In the Great Books program, freshmen study Ancient Greece, sophomores Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages, juniors the Enlightenment, and seniors modern works. Students must also fulfill two years of Ancient Greek studies and two years of French courses. Stout believes these diverse narratives allow students to arrive at a deeper comprehension of the world around them.
“As students read classical texts of the Western canon they weave understanding of language together with the content,” Stout said.
It was this exposure to the origins of different cultures that drove Stout to pursue a career in teaching. He went to Louisiana State University to complete a Ph.D. in history with a focus on the South after the Civil War.
Stout’s other interests include film photography, a passion he describes as a living art. Stout recalled one incident that nearly landed him in hot water.
“I almost got arrested by the Navy for spying after 9/11,” Stout said. “I was taking a lot of pictures around the Naval Academy in Annapolis after 9/11, and an officer tried to send the Marines after me. An intense argument among the Marines ensued and I got away in the confusion.”
Having previously taught Louisiana and American history at LSU, Stout is now excited to join the St. Martin’s community and make an impact on its students.
“My favorite thing about St. Martin’s is the students,” Stout said. “I've seen other schools, and StM has the kindest, best-mannered students around.”