February 9, 2018
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.

In this week's Friday Focus : Mary Poppins, Take a Bow; Mardi Gras Merriment; Stepping Off the Page at Biography "Wax Museum"; "Taste of Louisiana"; Valentines for Service Men and Women; Parade of Pets at Preschool; Thank Yous and Kudos; Friendly Reminders; Weekly Photo Album; and Athletic Corner.

Happy Mardi Gras!
Mary Poppins at Runnels, "Practically Perfect in Every Way"
Congratulations to the cast and crew of our theater department's dazzling production of Disney and Cameron Macintosh's Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical . The show played to packed houses for three performances in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre Feb. 2-4.

Contributing to the show's success was a stellar ensemble and support team of more than 90 actors, singers, dancers, musicians, artists, set designers, production crew members, teachers, parents and friends of our school.

Leading the grand production was K-12 Theatre Program Chair Neena McLain. Music was provided by Aaron Turnipseed on piano, Jesse White on clarinet, Runnels 4th- and 5th-Grade Band Director Shanna Drescher on piccolo and flute, 7th grader Meredith Taliaferro, on flute, senior Sam Day and freshman Caleb Reid on trombone, and elementary teacher John Baird on the upright bass and electric guitar. Runnels 6th-12th-Grade Band Director Jill Swetnam conducted the band, and Aaron Turnipseed provided vocal assistance to the performers. Runnels dance instructor and alumna (Class of 2009) Rachel Hart was the choreographer.

We sincerely thank everyone who helped bring this confection of a musical, which reminds us to cherish the child that lives within us all, to life so beautifully on our stage. (Photo: Leading the ensemble in the 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' production number are, from left, Evan Shaneyfelt as Michael Banks, Madisan Milam as Jane Banks, Kayla Evans as Mary Poppins, and Alex Morgan as Bert. )

Mardi Gras Merriment Abounds
The good times were rolling on both Runnels campuses today as Mardi Gras celebrations got underway. A large crowd assembled on the Jefferson Hwy. campus for the annual Preschool Mardi Gras Parades this morning. Draped with beads, the two-, three-, and four-year-olds moved along the on-campus parade route riding in decorated wagons or pulling miniature shoebox floats as families, teachers, and friends cheered and waved. On hand to assist the little revelers again this year were members of the Sr. Beta Club and sponsor Michele Stanfield.
At the elementary school, Mardi Gras was in full swing when the "Runnels Marching Jazz Band,” directed by Jill Swetnam, paraded through the campus gathering up students in a traditional second line and leading them into the theater for the Coronation of the Krewe of Runnels Royale. Of course, the krewes (a Petite Court for grades 1-3 and a Grande Court for grades 4-6) are always chosen by drawing names so that the selection is completely fair, exciting, and rich with suspense. Following the coronation and parade of royalty, each elementary class and, for the first time ever, the senior class, performed a musical number on stage.

On the Petite Court were Queen Alaina White and King Arthur Ullo, grade 3, Adleigh Watts and Awad Khalil, grade 1, and Trinity Perkins and Jackson Phillips, grade 2. On the Grande Court were Queen Poppy Pellissier and King Cooper Coates, grade 6, Dru Hairford and Limmie Bailery, grade 4, and Morgan McCloud and Carter Parsons, grade 5.

Merci beaucoup to our Ball Captain, Ashley Stevens, for organizing the celebration and sharing emcee duties with John Baird. Thanks also go to Laura Roark, the members of the "Runnels Marching Jazz Band" and director Jill Swetnam, Neena McLain, Renee Miller, the Technical Theatre classes, and grade performance coordinators Paula Naquin (K), Julie Horridge (1st), Ashley Stevens (2nd and 4th), April Wilkinson (3rd), Cheyenne Davis (5th), and Gina Golda (6th).

(Photo: Members of the Krewe of Runnels Royale include, back row, from left, Queen Alaina White and King Arthur Ullo, Carter Parsons, Morgan McCloud, Grande King Cooper Coates and Grande Queen Poppy Pellissier; front row, from left, Adleigh Watts, Awad Khalil, Trinity Perkins, Jackson Phillips, Dru Hairford and Limmie Bailey.)

Stepping Off the Page at Biography "Wax Museum "
As part of a biography book report, students in Rachele Smith's 5th-grade reading classes hosted a "Wax Museum" in the Elementary Library on Feb. 6. Students "dressed up" as the subject of the biography and pretended to be that person giving a short report about his or her life.

For the activity, students read a biography on a person of their choice, wrote a short composition about why they chose that figure, and created a poster with facts about the person's life and accomplishments. At the museum, students posed as a wax figure of the character, which "came to life" to tell his or her story when a pretend button was pushed.

It was a unique and exciting way for students to share what they had learned from their reading with students from other classes visiting the Biography Book Report "Wax Museum." (Photo: Sofia Dodd, grade 5, pretends to be Amelia Earhart at the "Wax Museum" on Tuesday.)
Kindergartners Get a "Taste of Louisiana"
In kindergarten this week, students enjoyed their annual “Taste of Louisiana” luncheon, with parents and teachers serving up some of our state's most iconic foods. The children’s plates were piled high with jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, fried catfish, sweet potatoes, Zapps chips, beignets and Louisiana strawberries.

The food complemented the students’ recent lessons on Louisiana and its abundant resources, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. They worked on resource maps of our state on which they traced the route of the Mississippi River and marked areas that produced some natural resources. Students also created alligator paper collages and individual books entitled "Louisiana, Louisiana, What Do You See?"

The "Taste of Louisiana" luncheon, which also ushered in Mardi Gras, concluded with a traditional “Fais do-do” featuring zydeco music and dancing. (Photo: Kindergartner Ellie Vagi dines on local cuisine at the "Taste of Louisiana" luncheon Feb. 8.)
Buddies Come Together for Heartfelt Writing Project
The kindergartners and their 6th-grade buddies teamed up to make Valentine's Day cards for our troops this week. In conjunction with the Valentines for Veterans program sponsored by the Soldiers' Angels project, they made cards and drew pictures for service men and women deployed overseas or in VA Hospitals.

At the afternoon get-together, the children also played Fitness Tic Tac Toe. Many thanks to project coordinators Mary Winnett and Sheri Allen. (Photo: Sixth graders Yaseen Pirzadah, at left, and Malek Badawi, at right, help kindergartner Taylor Ezell draw a Valentine picture for a soldier.)
Parade of Pets at Preschool This Week
Several fuzzy visitors and a few feathered friends stopped by the preschool with their humans this week. On Monday, John Runnels, husband of Preschool Co-Director Karen Runnels, brought their Golden Retrievers, KT, age 4, and Khayenne, age 13, for a visit. KT demonstrated her understanding of hand signals and the verbal commands for "heel," "sit," "stand," "down" and "come." Khayenne greeted the children with a bark to introduce herself. Both dogs also enjoyed allowing the children to learn how to greet dogs safely and properly.

In addition, preschool teacher Danielle Banquer brought in some chickens and her dog, Daisy, and her cat, Benatar; and preschool nurse Vallerie Myer showed the children her guinea pigs and parrot.

We sincerely thank everyone who shared their critters with our preschoolers during Pet Week. (Photo: Pre-K student Dulcie Malone practices greeting KT, John and Karen Runnels' Golden Retriever during Pet Week at the preschool.)
Thank Yous and Kudos...
We Sincerely Thank ... Guest Cellist Daniel Lelchuk for visiting our campus on Thursday to work with and perform for string students in Jennifer and Dan Cassin's classes. Mr. Lelchuk, assistant principal cellist of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, has performed throughout North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Runnels hosted a luncheon for Mr. Lelchuk attended by Founding Headmaster and President of Runnels Schools, Inc., Dr. L.K. Runnels, and long-time school administrator and Vice-President of Runnels Schools, Inc., Gladys Runnels, in the Performing Arts Building. (Photo: Back row, from left, George Forgey, grade 6, Jennifer Cassin, Dan Cassin, Daniel Lelchuk, and Isabelle Kennedy, grade 5; front row, Camus Wright, grade 5, Zeb Tate, grade 5, Sarah Ortlieb, grade 5, and Sam Kennedy, grade 5. )
Kudos To ... Our high school's 2018 National Shakespeare Competition winners, Fatima Ahmad, 1st place, Madisan Milam, 2nd place, and Kaylee Caillouet 3rd place . The annual contest, sponsored by The English Speaking Union, was held yesterday in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre. As the school winner, Fatima qualifies to represent Runnels at the branch competition coming up at Tulane University in New Orleans on March 4. Branch winners advance to the nationals in New York City and become eligible to win the top prize, a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Young Actors' Summer School in London. ( Photo: Shakespeare Competition participants, from left, Fatima Ahmad, Ansley Brown, Madisan Milam, Caroline Collins, Daniel Mayeaux, and, reclining on stage in back, Kaylee Caillouet.)
We Sincerely Thank ... The Student Ambassadors Club for sponsoring the first annual Raider Dodgeball tournament during lunch hour this month. More than 50 junior and senior high students participated in the event.

"The friendly competition provided much entertainment to the student body," said club sponsor and Admissions Director Sarah Haase." In the final match, The Ridiculous Six stood victorious, beating the Fireballs to clinch the championship and the giant Hershey Bar prizes.

(Photo: Dodgeball tournament champs, The Ridiculous Six, front row, from left, Parker Rhinehart and Justin Reeves; back row, Max Sager, Charlie Garrison and Collin Coates.)
Kudos To ... Junior Tyler Robbins for being accepted to an intensive three-week musical theatre summer program for high school students at Oklahoma City University's (OCU) Bass School of Music and Theater. At OCU, Tyler will be taking intensive courses and master classes taught by college faculty and guest artists in subjects such as voice, acting, audition preparation, dance, and music theory. He'll also be rehearsing for the program's summer musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying . A veteran of many Runnels productions, Tyler also has participated in NOCAA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts), Playmakers of Baton Rouge, Center Stage, and the Young Actors Program at Theatre Baton Rouge. He said he plans to work toward earning a bachelor's degree in fine arts when he graduates from Runnels, with an eye toward having a career in musical theater. Most recently, Tyler portrayed Mr. Banks in the Runnels production of Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical. (Photo: Tyler Robbins as Mr. Banks.)
Congratulations To ... Leyna Huynh , grade 5, for winning the honor of representing Runnels at the Regional Spelling Bee in Hammond on Feb. 24. The runner-up was 5th grader Gibby Guay . According to Spelling Club co-sponsor Colleen LeBlanc, the club has been holding practice spelling bees and tallying points. Members also took a written spelling test. "Based on the results that we gathered," said Ms. LeBlanc, "Leyna was selected to represent Runnels at the Regional Spelling Bee."

(Photo: Leyna Huynh.)
Friendly Reminders
Feb. 12-16 / Mardi Gras Holiday ; School Resumes Feb. 19

Feb. 21-23 /  Junior Beta State Convention , Lafayette, LA

Feb. 24 / Louisiana High School District Rally , Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA
Feb. 26, 28 and April 2 /  Teacher Appreciation

Mar. 8 /  Junior Class Ring Ceremony , Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, 11:20 am

March 16 /  Raider Rally , Elementary Playground, 5:30 pm 
Above: "The Runnels Marching Jazz Band" kicks off the Mardi Gras festivities at the Coronation of the Krewe of Runnels Royale in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre this afternoon.

In this week's album: 4th Grade Commercials, 5th Grade Wax Museum, LSU Art Club Field Trip, Runnels Art at Baton Rouge Garden Club's Tablescape Flower Show, Physical Science, Kindergarten and 6th Grade Buddy Valentines for Service Men and Women, Kindergarten "Taste of Louisiana," Preschool Pet Week, and Candids.
Athletic Corner
In last week's issue, we incorrectly identified senior Parker Rhinehart in a photo from Varsity Boys Soccer Senior Night. We apologize for the error, which was inadvertent. We've re-posted the photo with the correct caption.

( Photo: Seniors, from left, Stephen Worsham, Bruce Huynh, Ryan Carrier, Max Sager and Parker Rhinehart celebrate Varsity Boys Soccer Senior Night.)

On Wednesday, the bowling team celebrated Senior Night with a cookie cake and big win over Tara, 22-5. Senior Alex Matthews, who has been with the team since 7th grade, bowled the high game of the day, 161. Other high scores were Seth Miller with a 143 and Karli Hebert with a 142. In honor of Senior Night, the Seniors were grateful to receive a basket of treats prepared by Vice Principal Dana Schlotterer and their teammates.

On Monday, the Raiders bowled against Madison Prep. High games included those of Alex Matthews scoring a 158, Karli Hebert with a 137 and Seth Miller a 129.

Improving their averages again this week were Janie Schlotterer and Karli Hebert. Karli remains on the leader board with the 3rd highest game of the season for all girl bowlers in their division.

(Photo: Karli Hebert, Alex Matthews, Jenna Carballo, Janie Schlotterer, Sarah Stanfield and Seth Miller.)

The Varsity Tennis Team played its first dual match of the season against Central High, claiming a 7-2 victory.

Eric Huygues won his match at the No. 1 singles position, and Kyle Sieberth won his at the No. 2 singles position.
Ryan Lam and Ian Duke worked well together to score a win in their doubles match. New team members, Evan Beoubay and Austin Stansbury, won a close, hard-fought doubles match. Veteran players, Ian Lansing and Daniel Mayeaux, also scored a win against Central High School in their doubles match.

The Lady Raiders also played well at the dual match. Catherine Bonaventure battled courageously at the No.1 singles position but came up short.

New players Kalyee Freiberger and Anna Kadi scored an amazing win in doubles over two seasoned players. Amelia Jennings played her first singles match.

Next up, the team will battle Opelousas on Feb. 19 at Forest Park. (Photo: Anna Kadi, Kalyee Freiberger, Amelia Jennings, and Austin Stansbury.)

The junior high boys basketball teams have been tearing up the courts. On Wednesday, the 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams made a clean sweep, dominating St. Theresa’s. The 6th graders scored the first win, 38-24, and the 7th grade won 42-20. In an exciting overtime time game, the 8th grade won 36-35, with Alex Lam hitting a 3 pointer only, with 35 seconds left.

Last Saturday, the 7th grade scored a big win against Episcopal, 38-16. (Photo: Sixth grader Rossie Harrison sinks a free throw.)


On Friday
Varsity Basketball District Tournament @ Runnels - games TBD
Email photos to  n.latiolais@runnels.org
Please include the date and location of the event and the students pictured .