On March 4, 2020, the Louisiana Department of Education released the names of over 20 students who are selected to be regional finalists in Louisiana state’s Student of the Year competition. The students selected were a component of one fifth, eighth, and twelfth grader for each of the seven regions, and were created to represent both public and private elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Louisiana.
Students will be evaluated on their academic success, as well as their leadership skills, characters, and their career and technical achievements.
State Superintendent John White states “These 21 regional finalists are among the top students in Louisiana and we are proud of their commitment to learning and leadership.”
“We are also proud to, for the first time, add a career and technical education supervisor to our selection panel and to update the selection criteria to include career-focused credentials and coursework to ensure all students, regardless of whether they are bound for college or career after graduation, are considered for the prize.” he added.
There are multiple steps to this annual competition.
First, all schools are asked to choose one student from their student body. Then, the students compete with their peers within their school system, and the winner then advances to regionals.
Once they make it to the regional level, students are then evaluated based on academic success, leadership skills, character, and service in their community, among other things. The selection committee also evaluates student portfolios, writing samples, and interviews to consider problem-thinking skills amongst the candidates.
Before selecting the overall winners, which there are three of, a state selection committee comprised of K-12 teachers, higher education leaders, and community members to review each students’ portfolios and writing samples, and they also conduct interviews with each student.
This year’s finalists include:
Ellah Sanzalone, A. C. Steere Elementary School, Caddo Parish
Case Abrams, Columbia Elementary School, Caldwell Parish
Vivian Furman, Grand Lake High School, Cameron Parish
Piper Cangelosi,LSU Laboratory School, Louisiana State University
Isabella Held, Joseph J. Davies Elementary School, St. Bernard Parish
Jonah Waguespack, St. Genevieve Catholic Elementary, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Sierra Lester, Delhi Charter School, Delhi Charter Management Organization
Zachary Cryer, Benton Middle School, Bossier Parish
Emily Boudreaux, East Ouachita Middle School, Ouachita Parish
Ava Grace Fruge’, Kinder Middle School, Allen Parish
Reese Kennedy, Denham Springs Junior High School, Livingston Parish
Trenton Mitchell, Harry Hurst Middle School, St. Charles Parish
Madelyn Grace Wilson, Saint George Catholic School, Diocese of Baton Rouge
Nikki Leali, Lusher Elementary, Advocates for Arts-Base Education Corporation
Antavion Moore, Ringgold High School, Bienville Parish
John-Garrett Patrick, Concordia Parish Academy of Math, Science, & Technology, Concordia Parish
William Romero, Lafayette High School, Lafayette Parish
Bridget Seghers, Covington High School, St. Tammany Parish
Kevin Kim, Haynes Academy of Science and Technology, Jefferson Parish
Anna Claire Blanchard, St. Joseph’s Academy, Diocese of Baton Rouge
Allison Lee, Benjamin Franklin High School, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education
At the time this article was written the department of education said the finalists of the Student of the Year competition will meet at the Louisiana State Museum for an awards ceremony and for the announcement of the winner from each grade level. For updates on student of the year events please check the Louisiana Believes website.
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