Former Saint motivates LEAP testers at Watkins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011



LAPLACE – With the help of a former member of the Black and Gold, fourth-graders at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School in LaPlace received some much-needed motivation prior to LEAP testing this week.

Retired New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister came to the school Monday afternoon as part of the school’s annual pre-LEAP test pep rally, which included speeches from counselors, teachers and principal Antoinette Robinet.

“With the first day of testing Tuesday, we regularly do something special the Monday before to motivate the kids to do their best,” said Dr. Iman Ennabut, a counselor at Watkins. “This year’s theme is ‘Teaming up to beat the LEAP,’ and we have had the kids working together to prepare for testing.”

McAllister spoke for a few minutes about the importance of the test and how each person in the room has a team counting on them to do their best and do well.

“We all have parents, moms, dads and grandparents who believe in us,” McAllister said. “It is our job not to let them down. The key is to say to yourself ‘I can I will succeed.’ If you believe in yourself there is no stopping you.”

McAllister spoke of the importance of avoiding temptations and making good decisions. He encouraged the students to eat healthy and do some exercise every day. He also asked them to have focus during testing time.

“All of you here can pass it, but you have to think clearly and pay attention to what you are doing,” McAllister said.

McAllister said he tries to schedule appearances with children at least four times a month in areas all over Louisiana and Mississippi. He never talks for long because he knows how quickly attention spans wander.

“I try to focus my message on what they can understand and make it quick,” McAllister said. “I never want to bore them, so I only ask them for a few minutes of quiet listening time. After that, we interact and have fun.”

The writing portion of the LEAP test was administered Tuesday, and and the second phase of the test will be taken the week of April 11-14 by all of the St. John the Baptist Parish school district’s fourth- and eighth-graders.