Published 7:41 am Friday, March 3, 2023

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Finalists include 24 students from each of the state’s eight BESE regions

(BATON ROUGE, LA ) – The Louisiana Department of Education today named 24 students as finalists in the state’s annual Students of the Year competition. The honorees include one 5th, 8th, and 12th grader from each of the state’s eight BESE regions. The annual competition includes students from traditional public, charter, and non-public schools across. Finalists will convene at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge on April 19 for an awards ceremony and the announcement of the Louisiana Students of the Year winners.

“These young people have worked hard and put in the sacrifices necessary to achieve at the highest levels,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “Louisiana is proud to reward excellence. Congratulations to our finalists and their families on this well-deserved honor.”

Students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. Regional selection committees also use student-made portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews to assess the communications and critical thinking skills of each candidate.

Finalists were selected among student of the year winners from schools across the state. All Louisiana schools were eligible to submit one candidate. Students compete with their peers at the school system level and may advance to the zone and regional competitions. Prior to selecting the three state winners, the state selection committee will conduct interviews and review writing samples and a portfolio from each finalist.

The finalists for the 2023 Louisiana Students of the Year are:

Grade 5:

  • Region 1: Andrew Caswell | Little Oak Middle | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2: Eleanor Zafirau | Ethel Schoeffner Elementary | St. Charles Parish
  • Region 3: Jack McMullin | Joseph J. Davies Elementary | St. Bernard Parish
  • Region 4: Parker Cram | Eden Gardens Elementary Magnet | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Adyline Tinsley | Haynesville Junior/Senior High | Claiborne Parish
  • Region 6: Barrett Petite | Sorrento Primary | Ascension Parish
  • Region 7: Sydney Mouton | Rene A. Rost Middle | Vermillion Parish
  • Region 8: Gannon Ford | Bains Elementary | West Feliciana Parish

Grade 8:

  • Region 1: Owen Este’ | Fontainebleau Junior High | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2: Smaran Tamidela | Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy | Jefferson Parish
  • Region 3: Blakely Falgout | Lockport Middle | Lafourche Parish
  • Region 4: Esha Pingili | Caddo Magnet Middle | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Locksley Lowery | Good Hope Middle | Ouachita Parish
  • Region 6: Shrey Shah | Dutchtown Middle | Ascension Parish
  • Region 7: Carlee Pitre | Fairview High | Allen Parish
  • Region 8: Anna Bordelon | Central Middle | Central Community Schools

Grade 12:

  • Region 1: Austin VanDerwood | Pearl River High | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2 : William Xi | The Willow School | Advocates for Arts-Based Education | NOLA Public  Schools
  • Region 3: Kate Clement | Thibodaux High | Lafourche Parish
  • Region 4: Raj Letchuman | Caddo Parish Magnet High | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Colden Russell |Caldwell Parish High | Caldwell Parish
  • Region 6: Ephraim Craddock | St. Amant High | Ascension Parish
  • Region 7: Braydin Clostio | North Vermillion High | Vermillion Parish
  • Region 8: Kaiden Lang | Central High | Central Community Schools