Success no LEAP of faith

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011



LAPLACE – Public schools throughout St. John the Baptist Parish continued their motivation tactics this week to get students prepared for the all-important LEAP testing.

Guest speakers that included football stars and NBA mascots visited students in Garyville, Reserve and LaPlace this week to discuss focus, drive, concentration and respect.

On Monday, students from Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet were paid a visit by New Orleans Hornets mascot Hugo and a pair of Honeybees cheerleaders. Hugo and the Honeybees engaged the students in a spelling bee and various basketball skills games before a brief talk about the importance of schoolwork focus prior to the LEAP test.

On Wednesday and Thursday, students enrolled at Leon Godchaux Accelerated Program were treated to a pair of speeches from former East St. John football greats trying to make their way in the professional arena.

Former East St. John High and LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux spoke to students Wednesday about listening to teachers and staying focused on schoolwork. He also talked about potential pitfalls on the road to success by using himself as an example.

Perrilloux was the starting quarterback on LSU’s football team, but a series of infractions off the field led to his dismissal from the program. He continued his college career at Jacksonville State University and is now a reserve quarterback for the New York Giants.

“You are going to have obstacles, and there will be distractions,” Perrilloux said. “The key is surrounding yourself with the right people and keeping the support of family and friends close. I would have never made it if it weren’t for the support from family.”

Perrilloux encouraged the students to prepare themselves outside of the classroom by sticking to a study schedule and staying in control of what can be controlled.

On Thursday, former East St. John High wide receiver Kerry Watkins visited Leon Godchaux with a similar message for the students. In between talks about preparing for the LEAP, Watkins discussed his journey, which has led him to a starting role on the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

The LEAP programs concluded Friday, when New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston visited students at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School in LaPlace.