LOOKS BRIGHT: Student gets right to the point during 1st meeting with SJA principal

Published 12:13 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

Jeff Montz was just getting settled in as the new principal at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School when one of his students approached him with a concern.

Giancarlo Lara, then a fifth grader at the school, basically wanted to know what Montz’s intentions were.

“He came right up to the new principal and was inquiring about honors for next year,” Montz recalled. “That caught my attention.”

Giancarlo said it was important to him.

“I asked him about the honors program,” the now-seventh grader said. “I was really concerned about that. He said he would think about it.”

Seventh grader Giancarlo Lara said he enjoys reading, playing video games and trying to set the bar high for his little sister.

Now two years later Giancarlo — or just “G” to most of his teachers and friends — is an honor student at the school.

“He’s very strong academically, very conscientious,” Montz said. “He’s very academic conscious as he showed that day. For a fifth grader to do that was just amazing.”

Giancarlo, 12, the son of Juan Carlos and Fatima Lara of LaPlace, takes his education seriously.

“It’s important to my parents as well,” he said. “I feel like it’s good to have a good education. With a good education you can get a good job. I think in today’s society, that’s very important.”

Giancarlo said he’s not quite sure what he wants to do with his education — other than probably attend LSU.

He does like English and reading (but not writing so much), largely thanks to his teacher, Angelle DeLaneuville.

“Right now we’re reading ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ so it’s my favorite,” Giancarlo said recently. “We’re getting to the part of him going to court and I can tell it’s probably going to get pretty intense. I think it’s a good book to read. There are a lot of lessons.”

His class also read, ‘The Hiding Place,’ which tells the story of a family caught up in the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

After the class completed the book, DeLaneuville took them to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans for some hands-on learning.

“Our teacher wanted us to learn more about the Holocaust and get sort of an idea of what the Jews were going through,” he said.

When he’s not reading, Giancarlo says he’s mostly doing homework — because he has to.

“If I had the choice I wouldn’t do homework,” he said. “When I’m finally done with that, I usually watch TV or play a little bit of video games.”

He also is setting an example for his younger sister, Natalia, who is a second grader at the school.

“You set the bar high and then she has to try to live up,” Montz said to Giancarlo.

To which he replied, “She tries.”