Looks Bright: John L. Ory students’ perfect scores tell larger success story

Published 12:15 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

LAPLACE — Three self-motivated John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School students achieved perfect scores on portions of the standardized LEAP test administered last spring, a feat that Principal Cristal Sylvain attributed to preparation in the classroom and a dedication to academic success.

Adison Cooper attained a perfect score in math, Donovan Green-Lewis excelled in science and Mary Grace Connor answered all questions correctly in the English language arts portion of the test.

Though it isn’t uncommon for students to achieve mastery or advanced on LEAP, very few attain perfect scores, according to Sylvain.

“This didn’t happen by accident,” Sylvain said. “This level of excellence is what you see from these three students on a day-to-day basis.”

She sees their LEAP achievements as a reflection of the hard work they continuously put into their classes and extracurricular activities.

Adison, a current eighth grader, said she went into the LEAP test aiming for an advanced score.

She attributed her success to her love for problem solving, but her interests extend into other areas. She previously attained a perfect score in English language arts, and is eager to absorb as much knowledge as she can from all subject areas.

“I work hard because I know my education will lead to success in the future,” Adison said. “I’m not sure yet what I want to do for a career, but I’m a wide-ranged person, and for now I’m trying a little bit of everything to figure out what I like.”

Aside from consistently earning good grades, Adison is heavily involved in extracurricular activities. She’s a tested gifted and talented student, currently vying for an officer position in Junior Beta Club.

Through Beta, she completes service hours, which sometimes involve using her academic skills to tutor younger students.

However, much of Adison’s free time is dedicated to sports. She plays on school and travel softball teams in addition to participating in basketball and volleyball.

“She’s an all-around good kid, very self-motivated and driven for her age,” Sylvain said. “That’s very impressive to see in a middle school student because a lot of kids lose focus thinking graduation is so far away.”

Sylvain also described Donovan as self-motivated and academically gifted.

“Donovan is almost like family to me,” Sylvain said. “He’s an extremely bright young man, so grounded and sure of himself. When he tells you something, it’s not what he thinks; it’s a fact.”

Donovan’s perfect score on the science portion of the LEAP came as no surprise to her or his teachers because he’s cultivated an interest in the subject and won the Tamara Holland Outstanding Science Achievement Award.

In addition to being a STEM Club member, Donovan also participates in Jr. Beta Club as one of the group’s few fifth grade members, serves as a Quiz Bowl alternate and was part of drum line last year.

Donovan, who has tested gifted, said he is also an excellent gamer and a voracious reader. Wherever he goes, he is sure to have a book with him.

He relies on prayer to motivate and help him push through tough situations, and generally tries to keep a positive outlook.

“A lot of people in history, like Benjamin Franklin, didn’t have the opportunity to get a good education,” Donovan said. “I want to do this for people who don’t have those opportunities, and for people who get put down and bullied.”

Fourth grade student Mary Grace scored perfect on the English language arts portion of LEAP, an impressive feat considering it was her first time taking the standardized test.

Though her favorite subject is science, Mary Grace also enjoys reading and was able to implement testing strategies she learned in class. She enjoys learning in a calm, quiet classroom environment.

Outside of class, she plays soccer. She has previously participated in Chess Club, which her father spearheads, and hopes to make it into talented art.

Mary Grace’s other hobbies include helping teach younger children and spending time with animals. She plans to attend LSU and become a veterinarian.

“I want to do well in school so I can get a good job and be able to teach my future children,” Mary Grace said.

She urges other students preparing to take the LEAP to try their best, stay calm and avoid stress.

Mary Grace is loved by teachers and peers, according to Sylvain, who has known her since she started kindergarten.

“She’s a very intelligent little girl, but the best part is she’s so humble,” Sylvain said. “She never brags or boasts even though there’s so much she could brag about.”

— By Brooke Robichaux