Kara Tucker, a Norco resident and student at Sacred Heart of Jesus School, was named the Archdiocesan 8th-grade student of the year.
The award honors Kara, 14, for outstanding academic achievement, leadership, citizenship and extracurricular involvement.
She currently has a 4.0 GPA, is the president of the Student Council, captain of the Quiz Bowl team and a member of the Junior Beta Club, Drama Club, Chess Club, choir. She also plays piano and dances ballet and jazz.
After consideration with her parents, Michael and Kathleen Tucker, Kara has decided to attend St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace next year.
As a child, Kara said that she would often "play school" with her dolls.
"Although I never got much feedback from my 'class,' I know I surely must have had the smartest toys around," Kara joked.
Now that she has begun thinking about college and her future, she still sees teaching as something she would enjoy.
"Not surprisingly, Catholic education figures into my future plans, as well," Kara said. "I decided long ago, after being inspired by my teachers at Sacred Heart, that I wanted a career in education."
While Kara said that her entire family has been a major influence and inspiration to her, a few members stand out.
She said that her grandmother, Judy Casey, was a major influence to her religious life.
"She was, as a devout Catholic, fiercely pro-life. Even as she fought her own battle with cancer, she challenged her children and grandchildren to take up the cause of the unborn," Kara said.
Also an influence to Kara's success is her 4-year-old cousin, Luc. Luc has autism and visits Kara's family each week for behavioral therapy.
"Even though he comes to learn, he is teaching me more than I ever thought possible," Kara said.
Kara went on to interview for the regional student of the year and although she did not win, she said that it was a great experience.