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Meet Brian Russell, the “pulse” of East St. John Preparatory

LAPLACE — Anyone who passes by Brian Russell in the hallways of East St. John Preparatory Academy is bound to receive a warm hug or a fist bump.

Brian, a sixth grader, is known to tackle each day with a friendly smile and a positive mentality, qualities Principal Johnika Gayden-Gaines said are noticed by his peers.

She described Brian as the pulse of the school.

“Everyone knows Brian on this campus,” Gayden-Gaines said.

“He greets everyone, no matter whether it’s a student, cafeteria worker, an administrator or a teacher. Everyone expects that, and it usually comes at the right time of your day when you’re busy and need that energy.”

Science instructor Jennifer Knight, right, said Brian Russell’s lively spirit transfers over to STEM curricula.

Brian said his goal is to make sure his school family is happy and “not dragging through the day.” He especially enjoys greeting teachers, considering it a thank you for the smiles and encouragement they offer students.

Science instructor Jennifer Knight said Brian’s lively spirit transfers over to STEM curricula.

“It’s a joy to teach a kid like him who has a real enthusiasm for learning science,” Knight said. “He’s knowledgeable about the scientific method, and he’s always willing to help other kids understand the experiments we do in class. He’s excited, ready to learn, and he always wants to participate and do more.”

As an active member of STEM Club, Brian has designed and displayed projects in St. John the Baptist Parish and beyond.

He ran a booth at last year’s Community STEM Fest. Held at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center, the event raised funds to promote STEM education.

“I’m really excited to learn about new experiments,” Brian said.

“The booth I ran last year was a water bottle lava lamp. You put food coloring inside of the water and an Alka-Seltzer tablet to make bubbles rise.”

Though Brian’s favorite subject is math, he dreams of working in science and traveling the depths of the ocean.

“Marine biologists get to explore underwater,” Brian said.

“If I find a new creature, I can take it back with me and study the creature on my own.”

Brian also represents the school in 4-H, and his excellent academic and disciplinary records recently earned him a spot in Junior BETA Club.

School educators nominated him “hardest worker” last year, recognizing his diligence to maintaining honor roll.

Gayden-Gaines said Brian also obtained a “Best of the Bobcats” student of the month award in his first year at the school.

“Brian is an outstanding campus leader,” Gayden-Gaines said. “He’s an all around good kid.”

Outside of school, Brian enjoys gaming and playing with his 12 cousins. He’s guided by his mother, Cristan Diggs, and his stepfather, Eric Leduke, of Reserve.