Classrooms’ best honored in St. John

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

LAPLACE — The academic achievements of St. John the Baptist Parish’s brightest students were lauded Friday as they gathered as guests at the 2015 Academic Celebratory Luncheon.

The annual luncheon gathers the valedictorians, salutatorians and top performing teachers and students of all public and private schools in the parish for a program that includes lunch and motivational messages.

Artis Williams, plant manager of Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in Reserve, was the keynote speaker.

Williams, the first in his household to graduate from high school, told students he achieved success with God’s guidance, a strong foundation laid by his parents and great teachers who inspired him.

“I had a number of people along the way who saw in me potential I hadn’t yet seen in myself,” Williams said. “You guys have a lot of potential you may not yet see in yourself, but others will see it in you and will spur you on to greatness.”

Williams told them they were “the best and brightest … future business owners, managers, politicians, pastors, educators and more. Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and have fun even as you work hard to accomplish your goals.”

Williams encouraged the teachers in the crowd as well.

“Continue to remind yourself that even greater rewards will come later as students you teach today will develop into successful, contributing citizens of St. John the Baptist Parish in the future,” he said. “Your legacy will last for generations as the impact you make on students are multiplied 1,000 fold. Your impact will be both lasting and immeasurable.”

Jeffrey Millet, St. Charles Catholic High School’s 2015 valedictorian, led the prayer at the luncheon and said he was impressed by the event.

“I’m very appreciative to live in a parish that takes education so seriously,” Millet said.

Hosted by Parish President Natalie Robottom and her administrative staff, the annual luncheons began in 2011.

“I began the Academic Luncheon to support students and educators who excelled during the school year,” she said. “As an educator for many years, I often participated in athletic celebrations and felt it was important to recognize academic successes as well. Educational achievement is vital to the health of our community.”

Parish Chief Administrative Officer Michael Coburn, St. John Parish School Board President Keith Jones and parish Councilman Lucien Gauff also addressed the crowd and congratulated the students on all of their accomplishments.