Lutcher High student starts youth commission

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

By Monique Roth

CONVENT – The crea tion of the St. James Youth Commission, the brainchild of Lutcher High School student Rache’l Oatis, was ap  proved Wednesday night at the St. James Parish Council meeting.

Oatis, a senior and the Student Council president at LHS, first addressed the council about the commission at the Jan. 8 meeting.

At that meeting, Parish President Timmy Roussel said Oatis approached him about the commission, which would allow St. James Parish youth to learn about civil and governmental procedures with a hands-on approach.

The Council was enthusiastic about Oatis’ idea, and a public hearing regarding a vote was scheduled for Feb. 5.

Oatis, who brought four student supporters with her, told the council she held an informational meeting about the commission at the St. James Parish Library in Lutcher for any students interested in learning more about the group.

Oatis provided council members with copies of the sign-in sheet from the event, which eight students besides Oatis attended. She told the council the youth commission had three goals: to bridge the gap between youth and parish government; to plan community outreach activities for youth of the parish; and to allow youth to job shadow parish government officials.

The ordinance to create the youth commission passed unanimously, with all council members present.

Oatis thanked the council and her supporters, specifically Karen Poirrer.

Poirrer, a former superintendent of St. James Parish public schools, is Oatis’ neighbor and mentor.

Poirrier said she has the utmost confidence that Oatis will do a beautiful job and that she has all of the energy and enthusiasm to succeed.

At the close of this week’s meeting, Roussel complimented Oatis for her hard work and dedication.

“Normally actions speak louder than words, but your words had lots of action in them,” said Roussel. “I hope we see a very successful youth commission in St. James Parish.”