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Senior to Senior: West St. John Class of 2021 gives back

EDGARD — Before leaving high school and starting a new chapter in life, West St. John’s Class of 2021 took the opportunity to give back to the community that has supported them throughout their journey.

The high school seniors put together 40 beautifully wrapped gift baskets for senior citizens in the community. Of the 40, 35 went to the St. John the Baptist Parish Council on Aging in Edgard, while the remaining five baskets went to teachers on campus.

Each basket contained food and a variety of comfort items. These items included red beans and rice, orange juice, sweet potato pie, fruit, canned peas, peppermints, crossword puzzle books, hand sanitizer, lotion, socks, towels and reusable tumbler cups.

Class vice president L’mijah Lumar and secretary Ja’Rae Roussell wanted to find a way to give back, and they hope the senior baskets mark the start of a new tradition at their school.

“We are seniors, so we thought it would be a nice thing to give from seniors to seniors,” Lumar said.

Other participating students were Tyrin Anderson, Trinity Age, Jahmal Bailey, Jared Bernard, Deval Ceaser, Jordan Coleman, Carvente Favorite, Dyrin Cook, Asia Fiffie, Jaydon Hamilton, Alayla Hilaire, Troy Jasmine, Kaejean Kindrick, Marjani Lewis, Dasha Lewis, Jakobe Lewis, Mikayla Lewis, Jakira Mitchell, Blaine Morris, Jailynn Roussell, Ja’Rae Roussell Khristian Rousseve, J’Niyah Sorapuru, Amiyah Williams, Ronde Wilson, Kyli Vontoure and Ferdinand Young.

Sheronda Pierre picked up the baskets on behalf of the St. John Parish Council on Aging last week. As she watched the students carry baskets down the hallway and load them into her car, she became emotional thinking about how much the gesture would mean to the senior citizens who have missed out on so much since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said crossword puzzles and other items in the baskets give them tools to occupy their time at home.

“We deliver to the seniors. Normally the seniors and kids would be able to come together to the center, but for now we are going to distribute the baskets,” Pierre said.

May is National Older Americans Month, and it’s the perfect time to show seniors that they are appreciated. While seniors would typically be on the move and attending day trips with friends through the Council on Aging, the celebration will be a little different this year.

“We’re going to try to get them together in the park, spaced out, just to show that they are appreciated and give them a chance to see their friends,” Pierre said.