La. Department of Education announces regional finalists in academic competition
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Education has released the names of 21 students selected as regional finalists in the state’s annual Students of the Year 2019 Competition.
The annual competition has multiple steps, according to the education department. First, all public 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.
Then at the regional level, students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, and more. The 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."
"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 their hard work and leadership."
Before the three overall state winners are selected, a state selection committee also reviews the students' portfolios and writing samples and conducts interviews with them. The finalists will meet at the Louisiana State Museum on April 10 for an awards ceremony where the winners of each grade level will be announced.
This year's finalists, by grade, include:
Mallory Byrd, Hayden R. Lawrence Upper Elementary School, Rapides Parish
Olivia Malmay, Mangham Elementary School, Richland Parish
Brenna Bernhardt, T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School, Calcasieu Parish
Collin Sprouse, South Walker Elementary School, Livingston Parish
Sriram Srigiri, Airline Park Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
Matthew Plaisance, St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Richard "Ben" Blevins, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, Orleans Parish
Ava LaCour, Rapides Academy for Advanced Academics and Virtual Learning, Rapides Parish
Breanna McDowell, Louisiana School for Agricultural Sciences, Avoyelles Parish
Nelly Chan, Grand Lake High School, Cameron Parish
Madeline Temple, West Feliciana Middle School, West Feliciana Parish
Kavia Mllik, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
Ashley Green, Houma Christian School, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Abigail Brown, Belle Chasse Academy, Belle Chasse Academy, Inc.
Hannah Berry, C.E. Byrd High School, Caddo Parish
Graham Grunsky, Sterlington High School, Ouachita Parish
David Spicer, Sulphur High School, Calcasieu Parish
Mary Barrow, West Feliciana High School, West Feliciana Parish
Kaylee Bourgeois, Lutcher High School, St. James Parish
Jacob Duplantis, E.D. White Catholic High School, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Keyana Zahiri, Benjamin Franklin High School, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, Inc., Orleans Parish