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Louisiana Dept. Of Education announces state Students of the Year finalists

BATON ROUGE, La. – Today the Louisiana Department of Education released the names of 21 students selected as finalists in the state’s annual Students of the Year competition. The 21 students selected include one elementary, middle and high school student from each of the state’s seven regions. The finalists represent traditional public, public charter, and nonpublic schools. The finalists will participate in an awards ceremony on April 13, when the winners will be announced for each grade level.

“I’m proud of each of these students and honored to have them represent us as Louisiana Student of the Year finalists,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley.

Public and nonpublic schools were asked to submit one candidate from their student body.

Students compete with their peers at the school system level and may advance to the regional competitions. Students are selected based on academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. Regional selection committees also use electronic portfolios of accomplishments, 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 portfolios and writing samples from each finalist.

The finalists’ names, schools and parishes are as follows.

Elementary School (Grade 5)

  • Eden Trainor, Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary Magnet School, Caddo Parish
  • Ellen Semmes, Kiroli Elementary, Ouachita Parish
  • Steely Jordan, South Beauregard Upper Elementary, Beauregard Parish
  • Adeline Guidry, Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Ramy Dali, Lacoste Elementary School, St. Bernard Parish
  • Harrison Tarver, Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Jayden Gardere, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools

Middle School (Grade 8)

  • Melissa Le, A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, Lincoln Parish
  • Elliana Sheppard, East Ouachita Middle School, Ouachita Parish
  • Jeremy Diaz, Belle Place Middle School, Iberia Parish
  • Ava Guillory, Monteleone Junior High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Hannah Wen, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
  • Elizabeth “Ellie” Franks, Saint Joseph Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Richard “Ben” Blevins, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools

High School (Grade 12)

  • Olutunmike Adeleye, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts
  • Zachary Johnson, West Monroe High School, Ouachita Parish
  • Alonnie Celestine, Alfred M. Barbe High School, Calcasieu Parish
  • Elise Strain, Fontainebleau High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Allie Johnson, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy, Jefferson Parish
  • Lorraine Steigner, Mount Carmel Academy, Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Anita Zahiri, Benjamin Franklin High School, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, NOLA Public Schools