BATON ROUGE: The Louisiana Department of Education today released the names of 21 students selected as regional finalists in the state's annual Students of the Year competition. The 21 students selected include one 5th, 8th, and 12th grader from each of the state's seven regions and represent public, non-public, and charter elementary, middle, and high schools across Louisiana. The finalists will convene at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge on April 5, 2017, for an awards ceremony and the announcement of the state Students of the Year winners from each grade level.
"The Department of Education applauds these 21 regional finalists for being recognized as some of the top students in Louisiana," said State Superintendent John White. "This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are proud of the hard work and leadership these students have contributed to their classrooms, schools, communities and state."
The annual competition has multiple steps. First, all public schools, including charter schools, and non-public schools are asked to submit one candidate from their student body. Students then compete with their peers at the school system level, and winners advance to the regional competitions.
At the regional level, students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. Regional selection committees also use student-made portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews, to assess the communications and critical-thinking skills of each candidate.
Prior to selecting the three overall state winners, the State Student Achievement Selection Committee conducts interviews and reviews writing samples from each of the finalists.
This year's finalists, by grade, include:
Zachary Cryer, Kingston Elementary School, Bossier Parish
Nojo Turner, Winnsboro Elementary School, Franklin Parish
Samuel "Reece" Patterson, Dolby Elementary School, Calcasieu Parish
Fuller Stevens, Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, East Baton Rouge Parish
Kylie Bordelon, Joseph J. Davies Elementary School, St. Bernard Parish
Katherine Motichek, St. Bernadette Catholic School, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Heinrich Gayle, Delhi Charter School, Delhi Charter Management Organization
Emilee Davis, Donnie Bickham Middle School, Caddo Parish
Madison Nelson, Ouachita Junior High School, Ouachita Parish
Carina Chargois, Rene A. Rost Middle School, Vermilion Parish
Mathilde Fox-Smith, West Feliciana Junior High School, West Feliciana Parish
Aubrey Green, Dutchtown Middle School, Ascension Parish
Kathleen Rush, Archbishop Hannan High School, Archdiocese of New Orleans
Liam Cooper, Belle Chasse Academy, Belle Chasse Academy, Inc.
Erin Bullock, Airline High School, Bossier Parish
Mitchell Thomas II, West Ouachita Parish High School, Ouachita Parish
Tyler Welch, A. M. Barbe High School, Calcasieu Parish
Elisabeth McLaughlin, Mandeville High School, St. Tammany Parish
Nicholas Levergne, Berwick High School, St. Mary Parish
Yehia Elkersh, St. Paul's School, Archdiocese of New Orleans
Numan Joseph, L.B. Landry-O.P. Walker College and Career Prep High School, Algiers Charter Schools Association