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Advisory group celebrates achievements

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 13, 1998

GARYVILLE – Committee members reminisced over the last three years and anticipated the exciting future of the Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and ScienceMagnet School Thursday morning at the last magnet school advisory council meeting.

Several committee members who have been involved for the three years the school has existed were present to receive recognition.

“It’s basically a thank you to them for sticking with it,” Nora Pierre, facilitator, said.

Awards were presented by the three principals who were in charge of the school during it’s three years of existence. They are Pierre, who wasprincipal the first year; Brenda Butler, second-year principal; and Mike Coburn, current principal.

“It’s good to look at it three years later and see what we have accomplished and what you have accomplished,” Coburn said.

“We want to say thank you for allowing our dream to become a reality,” Pierre said.

Felix “Pappy” LeBouef, a St. John School Board member who is oftenreferred to as “the driving force” behind the school, was one receiving recognition.

“I am very, very proud to see what has happened to bring this school here,” he said.

“Besides Mr. LeBouef, I’m probably the happiest one here,” SuperintendentCleveland Farlough said. “The main spark behind this was Mr. LeBouef. Hewanted to get something going in this area to serve the children of St.

John Parish.”Farlough hopes the school will continue to excel even without federal magnet school grants. “We want it to be the flagship school of St. JohnParish and eventually the state,” he said. “And we are still workingtoward that.”He encouraged business and industry members present to stay with the magnet school and continue to support it.

Besides an awards presentation, Wilbert Ocmond, director of elementary education, updated committee members on the school’s enrollment, which is stabilizing, he said. He added that many of the resident students areentering the magnet program because they are being encouraged by a wonderful staff.

“Our intentions are to make this school an entire magnet school,” Coburn said. “Resident students need to bump up their standards and studyharder.”Coburn added that he would like to keep three members of the special magnet school staff on board in the fall, even though the three are paid by federal grants. Those staff members are Finessa Parsons, secretary; MaytaSamuel, math specialist; and Kathy McWaters, science specialist.

“These three ladies hung in there the whole time,” Coburn said. “They aretruly the backbone of this school.”

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