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March 06, 2024

Varnado High Student Among Student of the Year Finalists

The Louisiana Department of Education today named its 24 finalists for the 2024 Louisiana Students of the Year competition. The honorees include one 5th, 8th, and 12th grader from each of the state’s eight BESE regions. Finalists will convene April 10 at the River Center Branch Library in Baton Rouge for an awards ceremony and the announcement of the Louisiana Students of the Year winners from each grade.

Among those named as Finalists is Lauryn Smith, a 12th Grader at Varnado High School. | 

“Congratulations to each of these young leaders. This honor is a testament to their commitment to academic excellence,” said Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. "As we celebrate the achievement of these remarkable students, we also recognize the unwavering support of their parents and educators.” 

Finalists for 2024 Louisiana Students of the Year are:

Grade 5

Region 1: Elise Federico | Tchefuncte Middle | St. Tammany Parish

Region 2: Dylan Graffeo | John L. Ory Communication Art Magnet | St. John Parish

Region 3: Qiaoya “Georgie” Wang | Bayou Community Academy | Lafourche Parish

Region 4: Bhavik Kondala | Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary Magnet | Caddo Parish

Region 5: Ansley Elder | Cherokee Elementary | Rapides Parish

Region 6: Kendall Vaughn | South Fork Elementary | Livingston Parish

Region 7: Adeline Reddit | South Beauregard Upper Elementary | Beauregard Parish

Region 8: Dean Cicero | Brusly Upper Elementary |West Baton Rouge Parish

Grade 8:

Region 1: Alvin Su | Hynes Charter School | Jefferson Parish

Region 2: Sasha Mardon | The Willow School | Advocates for Arts-based Education, NOLA Public Schools

Region 3: Tyren Austin | B. Edward Boudreaux Middle | St. Mary Parish

Region 4: Luka Mikaberidze | Caddo Magnet Middle | Caddo Parish

Region 5: Lillianna Rose | East Ouachita Middle | Ouachita Parish

Region 6: Madilyn Whitmore | Westdale Middle | East Baton Rouge Parish

Region 7: Hyacinth Williamson | Welsh-Roanoke Jr. High | Jefferson Davis Parish

Region 8: Helen Lavassuer | West Feliciana Middle | West Feliciana Parish            

Grade 12:

Region 1:  Jaelyn Graham | Northshore High | St. Tammany Parish

Region 2 : Sean Baltazar | Destrehan High | St. Charles Parish

Region 3: Evan Louviere | South Lafourche High | Lafourche Parish

Region 4: Zachary Cryer | Benton High | Bossier Parish

Region 5: Hannah Buckley |Ouachita Parish High | Ouachita Parish 

Region 6: Lauryn Smith | Varnado High | Washington Parish

Region 7: Ali Habib | Lafayette High | Lafayette Parish

Region 8:  Josi Lemelle | Eunice High | St. Landry Parish

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 electronic portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews to assess the communications and critical thinking skills of each candidate.

Finalists were selected among student of the year winners from schools across the state. All Louisiana schools were eligible to submit one candidate. Students compete with their peers at the school system level and may advance to the zone and regional competitions. Prior to selecting the three state winners, the state selection committee will conduct interviews and review a writing sample from each of the finalists as well as their portfolios.

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