Looks Bright: Olivia tops LEAP with perfect score

Published 12:14 am Saturday, December 17, 2016

LAPLACE — When Olivia Reeves’ mom, Natalie, pulled her daughter aside to have a chat one day, little Olivia wasn’t sure what to expect.

She certainly wasn’t expecting her mom to tell her she had earned a perfect score of 850 on the Language Arts section of the LEAP test.

“I was really excited because I didn’t really know how well I did because you can’t find out right when you take the test,” said Olivia, a fourth grader at John L. Ory Communications Arts Magnet School. “I don’t know about the other parts yet, but I hope I find out soon.”

Olivia Reeves says Engligh and reading are her best subjects, the fourth grader adding that she likes to write about the books she reads.

Olivia Reeves says Engligh and reading are her best subjects, the fourth grader adding that she likes to write about the books she reads.

Olivia’s proficiency at language arts should come as no surprise to anyone who has a conversation with her.

“It’s easier coming to work each day knowing I have a student like Olivia in my class,” said Alicia Mender, Olivia’s teacher.

Olivia was also named her school’s student of the year.

The precocious 10-year-old said she loves to read and write and to write about the books she has read.

“English and reading are my strongest subjects,” she said.

She has a particular fondness for the Judy Moody series of books, but her recent favorite is titled “Somebody On This Bus is Going to Be Famous.”

“It’s very long, by the way,” Olivia said. “Each chapter was a different person’s life and they all rode the same bus and all went to the same school and at the end of the story, a very big storm knocked the bus off the highway and a bunch of people got hurt. It was heart-taking.”

When she’s not reading, Olivia, the daughter of Natalie and Mike Reeves, might be drawing, writing poetry, taking dance or acrobatic classes, singing in her school choir or acting in local productions. She also is a Girl Scout.

“I do a lot of things,” she said. “Like, a lot.”

Christal Sylvain, the principal at Ory, said Olivia excels in everything she is involved in.

“Not only does she exhibit academic excellence in the classroom in all subject areas, but she is also a standout in the arts,” Sylvain said.

“She is a scholar artist that can sing, dance and act. She is also a very humble young lady that has a great deal of care and compassion for others. You can find her after school helping others with homework and volunteering her assistance to anyone who needs a hand.”

As a second grader, Olivia wrote a poem she performed in a oratorical contest. She got a second place.

“It was about nature and what would happen if we went without nature,” she said. “The ending part was funny, because I said everybody would get fat from junk food.”

Her favorite thing to do, though, is read, especially right before she goes to sleep.

“Sometimes I fall asleep,” she said.

There was no sleeping during her LEAP testing, though, and Olivia said she was very confident while taking the test. If she did tense up, she had some tips on what to do.

“Our counselor tells us, if we find a part that’s hard, we can just breathe in and out and do a little exercise to make sure we stay focused,” she said. “And before I took the test in the morning, I, like, stretched my brain and stuff.”

Since she got her Language Arts score, Olivia has had many proud moments.

“I’m so happy and excited because we had an assembly in the auditorium and I was introduced,” she said. “A bunch of the other grades were there and I got to go up in front of everybody and take a picture.”

Olivia also sets herself apart in other ways. When asked if she was hoping for something special for Christmas, she just shook her head.

“I’m not hoping for anything,” she said. “I’m hoping to give to everybody. I don’t really need anything this year. I’m all filled up with everything I need.”