‘3 impeccable girls’: RA announces Students of the Year

Published 9:40 am Saturday, February 1, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


RESERVE — Riverside Academy 2019-2020 Students of the Year Jenna Necaise, Giovanna Godchaux and Kalaia Lacy have demonstrated excellent academic achievement, leadership ability and citizenship, according to school officials.

Principal Michael Coburn said all three are “impeccable girls” who represent everything he could ask for in a Student of the Year.

The Louisiana State Superintendent sponsors the awards through the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. All three girls will compete at the regional level.

Throughout the years, 12th grade Student of the Year Jenna Necaise has been a self-motivated worker with dreams of attending a prestigious college. Those dreams are coming true as Jenna prepares to attend Washington University in St. Louis to study biomedical engineering on the pre-med track.

“At first I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, and then I wanted to be a doctor,” Jenna said. “I want to combine them both to be a biomedical engineer and help people who are disabled. What I really want to go into is organ transplants and finding ways to preserve organs longer.”

Jenna is Senior Class President, president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, president of Student Council, treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta and Beta Club, and a member of the ACT 30+ Club. She was awarded 2019 Homecoming Queen, and she’s received a Key to the City for her reign as the 2018 Teen Andouille Queen.

Jenna has also served as the Teen Miss Fisherman’s Festival.

“The pageant world is more about giving back to the community and representing your parish instead of being just a beauty pageant,” she said. “We did a lot of volunteer work with organizations like Very Special Miss Louisiana and Trinity Outdoors Disabled Adventures. We did a lot with the veterans.”

As Class President, Jenna has instituted new traditions including painted parking spots and senior sunrise/sunset. At Riverside Academy, she’s participated in volleyball, soccer and cheerleading.

“I’m a hard-working, success driven student who strives to be the best I can be and balance as many things as I can do, while still giving back to the community that I owe all of my accomplishments to,” Jenna said.

Eighth grader Giovanna Godchaux was surprised to find out she’d won Student of the Year when another student congratulated her during P.E.

It’s an honor she takes seriously as she strives to be a role model for younger kids at her school. According to Giovanna, leadership, intelligence, determination and a strong work ethic are the key qualities of a successful student.

“All the hard work I’ve done, all I’ve accomplished and all the tests I’ve taken have paid off to have that Student of the Year title,” Giovanna said.

The accomplishment she’s most proud of is being named vice president for Riverside Academy’s Beta Club.

“It’s my responsibility to model to the younger kids that they can do it as well if they just keep working and stay determined.”

Through Beta, students have a chance to attend District Day in the River Parishes and enter in annual state competitions in Lafayette. Giovanna looks forward to taking more field trips with Beta Club. In two weeks, she will assist in packaging food for Second Harvest Food Bank.

Giovanna is an honor roll student who is known to be caring, kind and always willing to help others. Her family has been the greatest inspiration in her life.

“My parents modeled how important education is and how it will pay off when you get older,” Giovanna said.

Her mother is a social worker with three degrees who is starting her own business. Her father has followed his passions by becoming a history professor and a chef.

Giovanna can see herself working in the medical field as a surgeon. She has what it takes to stay calm and help people navigate emergencies.

Fifth grade Student of the Year Kalaia Lacy has maintained all ‘A’s since first grade. When she isn’t serving as treasurer in Beta Club, she’s the first chair percussionist in the school band. Outside of school, she loves to travel and visit local theaters.

Kalaia has received many awards over the years, including the Principal’s Award in fourth grade. However, Student of the Year is the achievement she is most proud of.

“My family is not from this area, but I am glad that we moved here,” she said. “I have met people at school and in the community that are like family now.”

Math is Kalaia’s favorite subject, but history is a strong second. Her dreams for the future have shifted rapidly between becoming a chef, an artist, a musician, an inventor and a basketball player.

“(My parents) say that I will probably change my mind a thousand times, but when the time is right, I will know,” Kalaia said. “That seems weird, but I guess they know. I hope that I figure it out before I go to college.”

Sometimes, Kalaia feels inspired to become a doctor. Her grandmother has had two strokes, and she watches her communicate by writing and talking on her tablet.

“Everyday someone is inventing something new, and technology is always getting better,” Kalaia said. “Maybe one day I will invent something to cure all sickness.”

Kalaia’s parents said they are proud of their daughter’s work ethic, mental fortitude and ability to learn quickly. They described her as a great kid who prioritizes loyalty, leadership and accountability.