Standard of Excellence: Riverside’s top students share success stories

Published 12:13 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

Being a good student means using your God-given ability to be as active as you can in the time you’re given, according to Riverside Academy senior Mason Scioneaux, the only student in the history of the school to win Student of the Year three times.

For eighth grade Student of the Year Jaycee Bennett, excellence is defined by achieving goals in school and sports, representing her class with dignity and staying out of trouble.

Riley Ellis, the fifth grade Student of the Year winner, believes outstanding work comes from always giving a complete effort and not forgetting to smile.

Varying in size and interests, Mason, Jaycee and Riley are connected by character, each striving to reach their full potential without cutting down others.

Assistant Elementary Principal Cheree Gomez described Riley as bubbly in personality and consistently willing to help students and staff.

Riley Ellis

“Riley has the respect of all her teachers and all her friends here at Riverside, and everyone loves her,” Gomez said. “She’s always smiling and asking if there’s anything she can help us with.”

With top-notch grades, superior test scores and a history of community service setting her apart from most fifth graders, it’s no surprise Riley was chosen for Student of the Year, Gomez said.

Gathering socks for veterans, donating bags of supplies to the homeless and holding a wellness expo at church are among the service initiatives Riley has taken part in.

The recipient of five year’s worth of top student awards, Riley enjoys staying active in dance, cheerleading and Riverside’s junior basketball team.

Recently, she’s taken to learning the violin.

However, Riley said her favorite part about coming to school is attending math class.

“When you’re doing math, it’s like you’re on a rollercoaster having the best time of your life,” Riley said.

Her mother, Michelle Cole of LaPlace, inspires her to do her best.

Jaycee also finds support from her family, notably her parents, Desiree and David Bennett of Garyville. She strives to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Riverside Academy alumna Baylee Bennett.

Jaycee Bennett

With a 4.0 GPA, Jaycee is a conscientious student and president of Junior Beta.

Riverside Academy counselor Kristen Roussel reviewed Jaycee’s Student of the Year portfolio and was impressed by her test scores and achievements.

“She’s a straight ‘A’ student with a lot of extracurricular activities, and her character is top-notch,” Roussel said.” She is very respectful and dedicated to school.”

Roussel said Jaycee’s involvement in sports and band is a testament to her well-rounded accomplishments. Aside from staying active in soccer and track and field, Jaycee has participated in Drama Club. She’s a two-year member of the Marching Pride of Riverside, her favorite school activity.

“I enjoy band the most because the environment is really supportive,” Jaycee said, adding she plays the clarinet, competes in competitions around Louisiana and performs at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home.

While Jaycee enjoys band and Riley prefers math, Mason found his place at Riverside Academy on the football team.

Mason Scioneaux

A four-year varsity football team captain and 2016 state champion, Mason said the boys on the team have become family.

“Football was like a first love for me,” Mason said. “You spend your time and effort trying to be the best you can be, and you grow into a brotherhood.”

Mason’s high school resume is divided between academics and athletics.

A four-year track and field member and two-year golf team member, Mason serves as president of Senior Beta and Student Council.

He also holds a vice president position in Riverside Academy’s political science club and has been named to the 30+ Club for an outstanding ACT score.

Having grown up serving the church, faith is an inspiration for Mason. His parents, Chris and Karen Scioneaux of Vacherie, push him to succeed.

Roussel said Mason has been accepted to more than 20 colleges thus far and has a high probability of securing a full scholarship.

“Mason was already filling out applications Aug. 1,” Roussel said. “He’s ranked first in his class with a 4.0 GPA, and he’s respected by his peers and his teachers.”

Mason is regarded as a team player, according to Roussel.

“His football coach called him ‘a man of other’ because he’s always willing to help his fellow students,” she said.