Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
Welcome to  Friday Focus , our weekly e-newsletter from Head of School Marcia Mackay.

A profound and grateful thank you goes to those who have already contributed to this year's Annual Giving Campaign. We also have our first three  Diamond Donor families,  Gina and Michael Golda, Timothy and Sherry Mockler, and Robert Parker and Wendy Holden-Parker. Their names will be added to the donor plaque in the foyer of the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre at the conclusion of the fundraiser.   

Please support our school by making a gift to this important campaign. A donation of $250 or more by Oct. 15 entitles you to the option of becoming a member of Runnels Schools, Inc., also known as the "Corporation," for one year. This includes invitations for two to the annual Corporation Dinner Meeting coming up in November. See full details in the  2017 Ever Forward Annual Giving brochure.

In focus this week: Fifty States Mystery Hangout in Social Studies; Field Trip Into Louisiana's Past; Guest Violinist Offers Tips; Community Helpers Visit Preschool; Kudos and Thank Yous; Friendly Reminders and Sports.

Through the magic of the Internet, a fifth period 4th-grade social studies class "drops in" on another elementary class in an undisclosed location to participate in a 50 States Mystery Hangout.
Does Your State Border the Mississippi River?
Fourth graders in Christine Pousson's fifth period social studies class had a mystery to solve. Last week they were "recruited" by Mrs. Pousson to be "contestants" in the 50 States Mystery Hangout. For the session, they "Skyped" with another elementary social studies class in an undisclosed location.  The object of the exercise was for each class to pinpoint the mystery location of the other by asking questions about U.S. geography.  The first class to figure out the other's location was the winner. 

In Twenty-Question style, the queries had to be carefully posed so they could be answered with a simple "yes" or "no."  The questions were pointed and direct. They included: "Does your state touch a coast?" and "Does your state cover a large area?"  The Runnels students were on a fast track to finding the mystery location early in the game. Our digital detectives had a marvelous time working with their new "Skype" friends and were able to solve the mystery first (California)!

"The kids thoroughly enjoyed the 50 States Mystery Hangout," said Mrs. Pousson. "They said that the best part of the visit was asking students in the other class questions about their state and finding commonalities."

The oak lined alley on Whitney Plantation, which is located along the historic River Road in St. John the Baptist Parish near Wallace, LA. (Photo by junior Avery Hamachek.) 
Field Trip into the Past
To understand the day-to-day life of a slave prior to emancipation, students in Samantha Chaisson's Social Justice and American History classes went on a field trip to Whitney Plantation this week. Built in the mid-1700s along the historic River Road, the property was recently restored and opened as a plantation museum with a focus on slavery in 2014.  

Our students toured the extensive grounds, which include slave quarters, an outdoor kitchen, the main house -- one of the first raised Creole cottages in the state -- plus several slave memorials. Among the memorials were first-person slave narratives taken from interviews gathered through the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s.  

Beginning strings students and their instructors, Jennifer (back row, middle) and Dan Cassin, with guest violinist (back row, far left) Soyeon Rachel Seo.
Violinist from South Korea Visits with  Strings Students 
Violinist and LSU doctoral candidate Soyeon Rachel Seo, originally from South Korea, made a stop on our campus last week to share her passion for music and all things strings with students in Jennifer and Dan Cassin's classes. 

Ms. Seo worked with students individually as they performed short pieces for her, offering suggestions for developing their techniques.  In the beginning strings class, she showed students how to hold their bows in a "puppy dog bite grip" with "jellyfish wrists." The class also performed "Mary Had a Little Lamb," with Ms. Seo conducting. We sincerely thank the classical violinist for sharing her love of the violin and her extensive knowledge with our students.

Pre-K students visit with human and equine members of the Baton Rouge Police Mounted Patrol during Community Helpers' Week.
Preschool Students Connect with Community Helpers
This week, our preschoolers learned all about community helpers, with the generous assistance of a cavalcade of guests, including representatives from the Acadian Ambulance service, Baton Rouge firefighters from Engine Company No. 7, and the Baton Rouge Police Mounted Patrol. 

On campus today to give a rundown on services that DEMCO (Dixie Electric Member Corporation) provides to our community was Runnels dad David Latona, who is the Manager, Member and Public Relations, at the utility company. Mr. Latona brought along two DEMCO linemen and their huge truck, which featured a cherry picker. Many thanks to the DEMCO crew and all of the community helpers who shared their time and information with our young students this week at the preschool. 

Kudos and Thank Yous

Math Mission  Accomplished!
In keeping with a longstanding Runnels tradition, students in Mark Landry's Calculus BC AP class put on fancy duds and enjoyed an ice cream party to celebrate a monumental mathematical accomplishment. They recently mastered the "Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus." According to Mr. Landry, "This allows us to evaluate definite integrals without using the definition for Riemann Sums." Neatly whittling this information down, senior Austin Stansbury added: "We learned to do it (evaluate definite integrals) the easy way."

Kudos To...
... Gavin Foley, grade 4, for appearing in the premiere broadcast of "Seal Team," a new drama series on CBS, which started this week. Gavin plays the godson of a character portrayed by actor David Boreannaz. ( Photo: Gavin with David Boreannaz in a scene from the show.)

Art Faculty Exhibit Coming
Up at Firehouse Gallery 
Starting Oct. 2, "Those Who Teach CAN," an exhibit of original artwork by members of the Runnels art faculty -- both past and present -- will be on display at the Arts Council of Baton Rouge's Firehouse Gallery. The show, which runs through Oct. 28, includes a reception on Friday, Oct. 13 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. 

Art Department Head Lee Brandt Randall and art teacher Sydney McGraw were interviewed about the exhibit and their artwork on the Arts Council's radio show. 

Raider Relief...
Please consider donating an Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Visa gift card to our "Raider Relief" program to assist schools damaged in the recent hurricanes. Collection jars are located in all administrative offices. 
For more information, contact:
We Sincerely Thank ...
...  Bailey Hyatt, grade 10, for making and donating the new burlap "I'm a Raider Star" sign outside Elementary Assistant Principal Beth Golden's office. Bailey also painted the huge blue metal "Raider Star" above the sign.  

... We sincerely thank everyone who donated blood this week when the OLOL bloodmobile visited our campus for the annual Runnels Fall Blood Drive. We also thank our nursing staff, with a shout-out to elementary nurse Beth Williams for organizing the drive. She reports that we were able to contribute 14 pints of blood to the blood bank. 
Message from a Playwright
Next week's elementary dramas  include 2nd and 3rd grade performances of The Journey of the Noble Gnarble by Denver Casado. Elementary drama teacher Julie Horridge received a charming message from Mr. Casado this week to share with her cast. We thought we'd pass it on to you:   

Denver here, one of the writers of 'Journey of the Noble Gnarble.' Just wanted to send a quick note to you and your cast saying "break a leg!" on  your upcoming performance. We're so thankful for all the work you've put in to bring the show to life.  Please know that we are thinking of all of you as you take your bows.... 

Students in Mrs. Krul's science class look for sand crystals (crushed quartz) in soil samples, with the help of magnifying glasses.

In this week's album: Planting Pumpkins, Calculus BC AP, Kindergarten Art, Cow Relay Races,  Preschool and Candids.   (Special thanks to the teachers who have shared their photos via ClassDojo; we often include these in our photo albums.)

Friendly Reminders

October 2
Josten's Ordering Meetings for Juniors (10:10 am) and Seniors (11:00 am)

October 2-28
Those Who Teach, CAN!  2017 Runnels Art Faculty Show at  the Baton Rouge Arts Council's Firehouse Gallery, 427 Laurel Street. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public.   more information...
October 4 
Preschool Picture Day - 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., Preschool Activity Building

October 5 
Elementary Drama Performances - Grades 4-6, first-hour class will present
Pete the Pint Sized Pirate; second and third hour classes will present  Peggy the Pint Sized Pirate. Grades 2 and 3 (2B and 2C and 3A, 3B and 3C) will present  The Journey of the Noble Gnarble

October 6
Sixth-Grade Trip to Poverty Point, 6:00 am - 6:00 pm

October 6
Raider Star Drawings, Elementary Drama Room (grades 1-3, 8:40 am; grades 4-6, 10:10 am)
Elementary Chorus Concert, Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, 8:45 am

October 6-13
Preschool Scholastic Book Fair, Molly Hightower Activity Building, Preschool Campus

October 9
Columbus Day Holiday (no school)

October 10
Math-A-Thon Kick-Off, Elementary Drama Room

October 11
PSAT for Grades 10 and 11, 8 am - 12 pm

October 13
Pres-K Story Book Character Parade, 10:30 am, Preschool Campus, 

October 13 and 15
Giants in the Sky , Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students, and $12 for all at the door.  
purchase  online tickets...

Spread the Word about Runnels Open House Events!

Our school is hosting three public Open House events in October for families interested in seeing what Runnels has to offer. As members of our school family, you are in a unique position to spread the good word about the benefits of a Runnels education. Please take a minute to share the Open House flier below on social media and invite your friends, neighbors, relatives and business associates to join us at Runnels for one, two, or all three of our Open House events. For more information, call Admissions Director Sarah Haase at 225-215-5706 or visit

All Runnels parents are invited to participate in the Runnels Booster Club.  The first quarterly meeting is set for Oct. 5 in the Catalano Gym from 7:15-8:15 pm following the volleyball game. Come early and cheer the Lady Raiders on as they face-off against Baker at 5 pm. It's not too late to join the Booster Club. To become a member, complete the Booster Club form (link below) and submit your member payment (link below). Please follow through on both links to complete your application.

Cross Country Battlefield t-shirt recipients.  
Fan Photo courtesy of Monique Howe.
The Running Raiders charged ahead at the Port Hudson Battlefield, claiming awards and PRs. Six runners placed in the top 20 of each division and were awarded the coveted Battlefield t-shirts. Earning the prize were Ryan Roper, Sydney Worsham, Annie Fink, Kaylen Howe, Dawson Latona, and Sam Matthews.
New PRs were set in the two- mile race by Estelle Abel, Mira Badawi, Sela Basso, Alyssa Oubre, Ryan Roper and Jossy Stegall. Coach Julie Fink attributes their success to the hard work put in at practice. 

At home last night, the JV and varsity volleyball teams claimed victory in a double header against Family Christian. The varsity team won 3 of the 5 sets in an exciting back-and-forth battle. The Lady Raiders were led by Rachel Wehbe with 6 kills and 4 aces, while Maddy Sutton got 6 digs. Karli Hebert had 10 assists, and Natalie Justus got 5 aces. The JV team took 2 of its 3 sets to win.

Last Saturday, the Runnels Swim Team competed in a Crawfish Aquatics meet, earning 4th place overall for the varsity boys team and posting many  individual achievements. Individual finalists from the boys team included: Michael Stevenson for the 100 Yard Freestyle and 100 Yard Butterfly, Parker Rhinehart for the 200 Yard Freestyle, Spencer Spivak, 100 Yard Freestyle and 100 Yard Breaststroke, and Hudson Hillman for the 500 Yard Freestyle and the 100 Yard Breaststroke. Preliminary finalists were: Parker Rhinehart for the 50 Yard Freestyle, Steven Spivak for the 100 Yard Backstroke, and Barrett Couvillion for the 50 Yard and 100 Yard Freestyle.  Both Seth Miller and Luke Bellue set personal records in their events.

From the varsity girls team, Kate Oehrle placed 3rd in the 50 Yard Freestyle with a time of 28.48 and the 100 Yard Breaststroke with a 1:22.35.  Erin Oehrle placed 4th in the 100 Yard Backstroke and 6th in the 100 Yard Freestyle. The sisters racked up a combined score of 60 points for the Runnels team.

The junior high softball team is 2-1 so far this season. This week the Lady Raiders crushed Episcopal 5-0. Chloe Bueche got the win by striking out nine and walking three. Ramsey Rodgers had 2 RBIs. Lauren Tolson had 1 RBI. Hope and Alyssa Oubre each scored a run.
Last night, the Raiders lost 2-1 to U-High. Chloe Bueche was hit in by Meredith Taliaferro, scoring the only run for the night.

The Lady Raiders play St. Luke's on Monday at 4:30 pm in an away game. On Wednesday, they play a double header against U-High at 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm at home.
Junior High Tennis Program participants. 
With 21 eager 6-8th graders enrolled, the Junior High Tennis Program is thriving, with the largest group of participants to date! Coach Kathrin Sieberth and Assistant Coach Keenan Ruff lead the program, teaching the basic skills of the game. This eight week session meets every Saturday through October at Forest Park. The session will close with a Halloween tennis festival.
Participating this season are: Chloe Bueche, Allie Bethea, Katherine Campbell, Cooper Coates, Arthur Donaldson, Aidan Dooley, Ali Guerin, Summer Guerin, Nathan Hall, Lily Hayden, Alan Lam, Alex Lam, Samantha Marino, Meredith Taliferro, Hope Oubre, Brooke Parsons, Poppy Pellissier, Caroline Pousson, Zeena Shammout, Gareth Oram and Gavin Oram.
For the junior varsity swimmers, individual preliminary finalists include: Natalie Fairley for the 50 Yard Butterfly, Mikalyn Shay for the 100 Yard Individual Medley, and Michael Hillman for the 100 Yard Individual Medley and the 50 Yard Freestyle.  
Saturday, Sept. 30  
Varsity Cross Country at ESA Invite in Cade, Louisiana - 8:30 am
Junior High Cross Country Meet at Highland Park - 9:30 am
Varsity Swim Meet at Crawfish Aquatics - 8:00 am
Select "Athletics" and hit "Submit" to view the current s ports schedules. 
Show us your Raider Spirit by sending in your fan photos to be included in our Weekly Photo Album or featured in the Friday Focus. Email photos to
Please include the date and location of the event and the students pictured.   

Lets Go Raiders!
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 17255 South Harrell's Ferry Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70816