School Board honors Lady Rams basketball team

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board met Thursday evening when it congratulated West St. John High School’s Lady Rams basketball team for making history.
For the first time in the school’s history, the basketball team was able to advance to the Class 1A State Finals. As a result, they have received multiple recognitions and were named District Champs for the District 9-1A. They also achieved an undefeated district record, with an exceptional 30-2 overall. St. John School District Superintendent Herbert Smith gave a special congratulations to Coach Lester Smith, who was named Class 9-1A Coach of the Year, Jaylyn Gordon, named Class IA MVP and Class IA All-State First Team, and Maya Trench, who was named Class IA All-State Second Team.
“This team had a significant impact on this program. As of 2009, this program had never won a playoff game or a district title. Fast forward to today, and they’re a three-time district champion and have two trips to the top 28 to their name,” said Smith.
The rest of the meeting was dedicated to discussion concerning the possible purchase of propane or natural gas-powered school buses.
The school board is currently looking to replace five buses lost during Hurricane Isaac and will soon solicit bids for the purchase. Board member Russ Wise recommended that the board include a solicitation for an alternative fuel-powered bus along with the standard diesel-fueled bus. Wise went on to say that, according to his personal research, it would be a good idea since Louisiana is covered with natural gas deposits and that it was at the lowest price ever in the history of the industry. Wise said that these “green” buses would cost less and get better gas mileage with fewer repairs.
Tyrone Lennox, a fleet mechanic for the St. John Parish school district, came to the podium to say that he had already worked with a brand new green bus, and that there were still a couple of kinks to work out of the new style — Lennox said that he had run into problems with the bus’s fuel gauge. After fixing the gauge, the mechanic was not even able to get the propane into the engine for the bus to run. Lennox suggested that the school board wait before purchasing or trying the buses.
Wise replied that the bugs “were already worked out,” citing that 15,000 of the buses were being used all over the country. Wise suggested that it was more an issue of training and not an issue with the bus itself.
“I’ve had a little training already, and I’m willing to get more, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m saying is, how many propane buses do they have down here? They do have bugs in them right now, and I think that we ought to wait to work the bugs out of them before we put them down here,” said Lennox.
Board member Keith Jones said, “I would like this board to definitely listen to the quality recommendation of our bus mechanic. We’re all professionals, but we’re not professional mechanics. He’s not totally against it. He’s just stating that we need to wait and work the bugs out.”
Ultimately, the motion passed without incident since it was only for the solicitation of both types of buses rather than the actual purchase of the buses. The next school board meeting will take place on Thursday, May 2, in Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria at 6 p.m.