LaPlace Elementary student of the year credits hard-working mother; eyes engineering future

Published 12:15 am Saturday, April 7, 2018

LAPLACE — LaPlace Elementary School eighth grade student of the year Brent York is warm and open, always aiming to make people laugh.

With honor roll ribbons, sports trophies and a longing for freedom, Brent is focused on building his own high achieving path rather than fitting into archetypes associated with successful students.

If he were principal for the day, his decree would be for everyone to forego schoolwork and have fun with friends.

That was the response Brent gave during his Student of the Year interview, which also included a review of his portfolio of achievements.

“That made them laugh, and I think my interview helped me win,” Brent said, adding he was one of several eighth graders nominated for the coveted Student of the Year title. “I was so surprised when I won.”

Other questions addressed Brent’s school involvement and personal motivations.

Mother Lacria Martin of LaPlace has always pushed Brent and his older sister toward success.

“My motivation is definitely my mom because she does it all on her own,” he said. “She takes care of me and my sister, and she gives us everything we need and most of the stuff that we want.”

Brent looks forward to attending high school next year alongside older sister Breia so she can drive him wherever he wants to go. Academically, he plans to earn as many credits as possible to jumpstart his future.

“I want to take extra classes so I can hurry up and get out, get a car and be free while I go to college,” Brent said.

“When I get older, I want to do something involving math. I’ve been looking into computer engineering, but there are so many options. I’m not sure yet what I want to be.”

Brent said math is his favorite at LaPlace Elementary because it makes him feel good to answer questions correctly.

He said his seventh grade math teacher Asha Meadows provided a good foundation to get ahead. Though not in her class anymore, Brent said he regularly talks to her and competes with a friend over who can greet her first each morning.

This year, math teacher Kala Poche has been instrumental to his learning.

Poche said Brent is a wonderful student geared toward critical thinking.

“He’s an innovative thinker and a great problem solver,” Poche said.

“If he doesn’t get it the first time, he’ll try again and tackle it. He’s just an all-around good kid who inspires others.”

According to Poche, Brent doesn’t let his intelligence outweigh him still being a kid.

“Some kids are very intelligent, but they don’t know how to be humble and social,” Poche said. “He’s very well balanced in that regard.”

From the time he was young, Brent has enjoyed playing sports and has collected awards for football, track and field, basketball and baseball.

He focused on football and track this school year, though he plans to try out for basketball in high school.

Brent serves as vice president of Junior Beta Club, requiring him to lead the group with questions and start conversations among members.

He and other members are planning to construct a baseball field near the back of the school to accompany batting cages already in place.