Students of the Year from each school in St. Charles Parish took to the red carpet on Dec. 2 to be recognized for their achievements.
The event to formally recognize the students is usually held at the school district’s building in Hahnville, but this year the school board decided to change it up and hold the event at the AMC Elmwood movie theater in New Orleans.
The students dressed for the occasion and strutted to the front of the theater to receive their award, an acrylic movie poster plaque with their name and picture, from Superintendent Rodney Lafon.
The students included Daysha Johnson (Luling Elementary), Matthew Lewis (Ethel Schoeffner Elementary), Lauren Savery (Norco Elementary 4-6), Ricco Wheat (St. Rose Elementary), Johnathan Zeringue (R.J. Vial Elementary), Claire Picou (Lakewood Elementary), Jade Berfect (Albert Cammon Middle), Alexa Daigle (R. K. Smith Middle), Haley Morgan (J.B. Martin Middle), Allison Wray (Harry Hurst Middle), James Michael Bell (Hahnville High) and Courtney Rome (Destrehan High).
At the beginning of the ceremony, a video was shown of an interview with each student asking how it felt to be the winner from their school.
Jade Berfect said her first thought when she heard her named announced as the winner was “Again?”
Berfect was also selected as Student of the Year when she was in the 5th grade.
Ricco Wheat said he credits his victory to the fact that he “likes to lead the pack.”
For Allison Wray, winning the honor from Hurst Middle was validation she had been looking for.
“I have a stuttering problem. One day I thought, I just can’t let that overpower my life. I took charge and worked on it,” she said. “I achieved it.”
Each student was in the running to be named Student of the Year for the entire school district.
In order to be selected as a Student of the Year for the district, the kids had to be in grades 5, 8 or 12, maintain a 3.5 GPA, compile a portfolio, write a biographical sketch and be interviewed by the Student Achievement Committee.
Chosen for the district-level award were James Michael Bell for high school, Haley Morgan for middle school and Matthew Lewis for elementary school.
Bell said that he was excited to win and credited it, in part, to his ability to lead.
“I felt this sense of accomplishment because all the things I had done in high school sort of culminated in this title,” Bell said. “I am definitely Type-A all the way. I have a tendency to take charge in situations and generally use my reasoning ability to create solutions to problems that exist.”
Morgan was “overjoyed” to win. She doesn’t feel like she needs to lead all of the time, she also thinks it is important to follow.
“I’m not afraid to take charge and do what needs to be done, but I still work well with others,” Morgan said. “But if I’m not the leader, I’m itching to get there in that position.”
Lewis, the elementary winner, said that he was shocked not only by the win, but also by the support he got from his classmates.
“Even my friends that were nominees for Student of the Year congratulated me,” Lewis said.
Superintendent Lafon said that the students’ success was a credit to the entire community.
“It takes a good community to make it happen for these kids,” Lafon said. “Without a good school board, you can’t have a good school district, and we do.”