Each year Louisiana recognizes extraordinary students through the Student of the Year awards program, and today the Louisiana Department of Education released the names of the 18 regional finalists who will compete for the state title. The 18 regional finalists include one 5th grade, 8th grade, and 12th grade student from six regions and represent public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools across Louisiana.
"We want to congratulate these exemplary students, as well as their families, teachers, principals, and districts," State Superintendent of Education John White said. "These students once again prove that our schools are effectively educating Louisiana's youth. They are the best evidence of the promise of our next generation and reinforce the critical work that is taking place in our schools and classrooms each day. We're looking forward to honoring them in April."
Students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. All public schools, as well as approved non-public schools, were asked to submit one candidate from their student body to compete at the district level. District-level winners advance to the regional competitions. Regional selection committees also use portfolios of accomplishments created by each student, along with student writing samples and interviews, to assess the communication and critical-thinking skills of each candidate. Prior to selecting the three state winners, the state selection committee will conduct interviews and review a writing sample from each of the regional finalists.
"These finalists are great examples of what our students are capable of, and their success reaffirms the high expectations we are setting in schools across Louisiana," said Chas Roemer, president of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "We commend these students on their academic and personal achievements."
The regional finalists are as follows:
Ceara Johnson, South Highlands Magnet Elementary School, Caddo Parish
Abbie McCann, Union Central Elementary School, Caldwell Parish
Alana Fournet, LeBleu Settlement Elementary School, Calcasieu Parish
Anthony Dupont, Central Intermediate School, Central Community Schools
Megan Chiasson, Golden Meadow Upper Elementary School, Lafourche Parish
Christopher De Lara, St. Bernadette School, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Safa Michigan, Caddo Middle Magnet School, Caddo Parish
Mason Nichols, West Ridge Middle School, Ouachita Parish
Sarah Cagle, Edgar Martin Middle School, Lafayette Parish
Chase LeMaire, Fontainebleau Junior High School, St. Tammany Parish
Injee Hong, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
Brooke Badeaux, Sts. Leo-Seton School, Diocese of Lafayette
Madeline Wagnon, Captain Shreve High School, Caddo Parish
Margaret Manning, Neville High School, Monroe City Schools
Brandon Rogers, Beau Chene High School, St. Landry Parish
Jon Mitchell, Pearl River High School, St. Tammany Parish
William McGrew, Benjamin Franklin High School, Orleans Parish
Tristan Bagala, Vandebilt Catholic High School, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux