December 13, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
Are you aware of all the fabulous opportunities our elementary students have for after-school enrichment activities? We have four robotics clubs, a Spanish class, and art classes. In January, we hope to add Yoga and Mandarin Chinese classes. For more information, check out our "Friendly Reminders" section.

Please support our school by re-enrolling for next year as soon as you possibly can. It’s the most important thing you can do right now to help Runnels.

A donation in any amount to the Runnels High School Support Fund is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support. 
In this week's Focus: Perfect PSAT and ACT Scores; Multi-District Honor Band; Making Gingerbread Houses in Kindergarten; Soaring in Science; Joyful Noise; Snowflakes, Elves and Reindeer Featured in Elementary Plays; Kudos and Notable Events; Thank Yous; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner, and Friendly Reminders.
Junior Earns Perfect Score on PSAT/NMSQT ... Connor Porthouse, a junior at Runnels, has earned the highest possible score of 1520 on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) that he took this fall. Amazingly, this isn't the first college readiness test Connor has aced. Last year as a sophomore, he made a perfect score of 36 on the ACT.

The PSAT/NMSQT is a standardized test administered by the College Board and cosponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. It's a practice test for the SAT and for high school juniors, it is the qualifying test for entry to the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Some of the highest scorers may qualify to become National Merit Semi-Finalists and National Merit Commended Students and eventually go on to earn college scholarships.

To prepare for the test, which he took in October, Connor said he used a PSAT study guide. Though he didn't receive any special tutoring or sign up for a preparatory course, he did take practice tests.

Overall, he thought the ACT was more difficult than the PSAT/NMSQT. "The ACT was the harder test in my opinion because it was slightly longer and had a separate science section."

Connor doesn't know where he will attend college, but he does know what he wants to study: aerospace engineering. On upcoming breaks from school and over summer vacation, he plans to start college visits.

Outside of classwork, he plays cello and participated in the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in New York City. At Runnels he is active in the Robotics Club and Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society.

Connor is the son of Kristina and Jon Porthouse.

(Photo: Connor Porthouse)
Multi-District Orchestra Honors ... Seven Runnels students have been chosen as members of the Multi-District Honor Orchestra. Congratulations to 6th graders Sadie Edwards and Rebecca Ortlieb, 7th graders Isabelle Kennedy, Sarah Ortlieb, and Krina Patel; and 8th graders Olivia Chaisson, and Emma Felton.

Their performance will be at Baton Rouge Magnet High School on Jan. 18 at 2:00 p.m.

(Photo: From left are Emma Felton, Olivia Chaisson, Isabelle Kennedy, Sarah Ortlieb, Krina Patel, Rebecca Ortlieb, and Sadie Edwards.)
Snowflakes, Elves, and Reindeer Feature in Elementary Plays ... Kudos to our elementary drama students and their teachers for presenting three sparkling holiday plays in the Drama Room this week. Under the direction of Sonya Blanchard, the 4th-6th grade classes performed the comedy The Head Elf. When Santa's head elf leaves unexpectedly, a desperate search is on for a replacement. The candidates, from Rudolph's bodyguard to a green Grinch, line up but the interviews prove, shall we say, difficult -- but certainly hilarious!

Students in Julie Horridge's lower elementary drama classes exhibited their singing and dancing skills in the musicals Flakes (2A and 3B) and The Littlest Reindeer (2B and 3A). Congratulations to the actors and directors! MORE PHOTOS...
In a scene from the comedy "Head Elf" are Alex Griffin, 6A, as Buckles the elf, Ethan Ly, 5A, as Santa Claus, and Elise Parrish, 6A, as Mrs. Claus.
Second graders, from left, Matthew Faust, Lainee Wingate, and Ellie Vagi share a song in the musical "Flakes."
Members of the 3A cast of "The Littlest Reindeer" hop on a sleigh and set off on an adventure.
Kudos and Notable Events
After-School Art on Display ... Original artwork created by students in Sydney McGraw's fall 7 Elements of Art after-school class is on display in the Elementary Library now through next week. The exhibit features 2-D and 3-D pieces created by elementary students Eli Burks, Lily Downing, Reese Downing, Isabella Haselden-Dispenza, Kael Johnson, Sophie LeBlanc, Alyssa Lee, Leo Morgan, Bryce Ritter, and Mohammad Zaid.

Contact Sydney at if you're interested in signing up your elementary student for her January after-school art class.
Making Music ... Upper elementary students showcased skills they've acquired this semester in Shanna Drescher's General Music class for their parents at a special performance in their classroom on Monday. Working as an ensemble, students sang a medley of songs from Peter Pan. They also demonstrated their growing piano skills by playing solos of "Jingle Bells," Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," or "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

(Photo: At the General Music Watch Day performance, Lorelei Welch, 4B, and her teacher, Shanna Drescher, play "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.")
Louisiana Youth Orchestra ... Five of our students participated in the Louisiana Youth Orchestra (LYO) this year. They are Ethan Ly, Dax Jones, Kendall Eastman-Stuart, Ali Guerin, and Sarah Ortlieb. The school recently received a letter from the LSU School of Music complimenting these musicians and their teachers. It read: "We truly enjoyed having your students on campus...." The note also thanked their music instructors at Runnels for their hard work in preparing the students to participate in LYO.

 (Photo: Among the LYO participants at Runnels this year are, from left, Ethan Ly, Sarah Ortlieb, and Dax Jones.)
High School Honor Band Recruits ... Kudos to the five Runnels students recently selected to the East Baton Rouge High School Honor Band. Joining the Symphonic Band are junior Chris Yura, 2nd chair, alto saxophone, and sophomore Reagan Kyle, 3rd chair, clarinet.

Picked for the Concert Band are sophomore Ramsey Rogers, 1st chair, alto saxophone; freshman Tate Smith, 2nd chair, trombone; and freshman Mason Pentes, 2nd chair, trumpet.

Their concert will be held at Broadmoor High School on Friday, Jan. 24 at 7:00 p.m.

(Photo: From left are Ramsey Rogers, Chris Yura, Reagan Kyle, Mason Pentes, and Tate Smith.)
We Sincerely Thank...
PAR Holiday Luncheon ... The Parent Association of Runnels (PAR) orchestrated a holiday luncheon for faculty and staff in our teachers' lounges on the main campus this Wednesday. The spread was fabulous and the appointments gorgeous, right down to the invitations, napkins, table settings, and decor.

We sincerely thank the many parents who contributed to making this a lovely event. Special thanks go to PAR President Blake Stevenson, PAR Jr./Sr. High Teacher Appreciation Chair Brooke Yura, Elementary Teacher Appreciation Chair Shasta Felton, PAR Treasurer Wendy Dolan, Kasia Baranska, the National Honor Society, and the Sr. Beta Club. Catering was provided by Rice & Roux, Franks in Prairieville, and Ambrosia Bakery.

(Photo: Decorating the Jr./Sr. High Teachers' Lounge for the PAR Holiday Luncheon on Wednesday are, from left, Brooke Yura and NHS seniors Annie Fink and Eric Ho.)

Sweet Treat for Seniors ... Hot chocolate and desserts were on the lunch menu for our seniors Wednesday, compliments of senior moms Colleen Spillane, Janice Lansing, and Nicole Latiolais, and grandmother Penny Earle . The students paired their hot chocolate, apple cider, iced coffee or lemonade with bread pudding, mini key lime pies, Oreo cookie cake balls, pecan pie bars, brownie bars, lemon squares, assorted cookies, cakes, pies, and/or fruit salad.
Winter Dance Showcase -- Even after performing in the 2019 Winter Showcase presented Dec. 11 in our Theatre, senior Jaidyn Procell seems to soar effortlessly across the stage while Natalia Tooraen, also a senior, looks on. Congratulations to all of our junior and senior high dance students and their instructor and choreographer Rachel Harper on an exceptional performance.

In this week's album: Modeling Layers of the Earth in Physical Science, Aerodynamics in 5th-Grade Science, General Music Watch Day, Jr./Sr. High Dance Showcase, Beginning and 5th-Grade Band Concert, Physics Egg Drop, Library Makers Project, Kindergarten Gingerbread Houses, Preschool, and Candids.
Athletic Corner
Get your winter spirit apparel at the Booster Club’s Spirit Store!

Click below to enter store.

From Left: Annie Fink, Dawson Latona and Blaiklee Guillot
Kudos to Runnels Cross Country team members selected for The Advocate’s All-Metro Cross Country Team. Senior Annie Fink was selected to the 2019 All-Metro Cross Country Team. Annie was also named the Most Outstanding/Valuable Female Runner. Sophomores Dawson Latona and Blaiklee Guillot were selected as honorable mentions. Members are selected by area Cross Country coaches.
The Runnels varsity boys soccer team had an exciting game versus West Feliciana this week. Charlie Garrison scored on a penalty kick in the second half to pull the Raiders level at 1-1, which is how the game finished.
The Raiders varsity basketball team lost a tough one against Episcopal last Friday 50-47. Ben Holliday led the way with 27 points and he hit 7 three pointers in the game. It was a back and forth game with several lead changes, but the Raiders couldn't hold on to the lead.  
Monday, the Raiders blew out Springfield 76-43. Wesley Stevenson scored 21 points in the game. The Raiders lost to Catholic Pointe Coupee 55-53 with Stevenson scoring another 21 points. Last night, the Raiders suffered another upset against St. Michael the Archangel High School. The Raiders will continue to play in the Episcopal tournament this weekend.
Last weekend, the Runnels junior high basketball team played in the 21st annual St. Theresa Brett and Brett Tournament. The 8th Grade Boys team claimed 1st place in the tournament defeating Dutchtown 42-28, Episcopal 35-22 and Prairieville 39-26. Cooper Coates led the way averaging 19 points a game and was 27-29 at the free throw line for the tournament. Rossie Harrison averaged 12 points and Tyler Thibodeaux averaged 8. The Runnels 7th grade boys team won the consolation bracket by beating St. Theresa 25-22 with Harrison Whittemore hitting a three pointer to break the tie with 15 seconds left.

The Runnels Girls teams each scored a win. The White Team beat Central Middle 33-6 with Gracie Coates scoring 19 points and Leyna Huynh scoring 10 points. The Blue Team beat Central Private 26-6 with Lilly Hayden scoring 10 and Ashlynn Harper scoring 9.

On Tuesday, the junior high basketball teams took on Frost Middle School. The 8th grade boys won 24-12 with Kareem Badawi scoring 19 points. The 8th grade boys kept the lead, winning 26-8, with Preston Treadway scoring 11 points. The 8th grade girls lost 26-15, with Ashlynn Harper scoring 8 points. The 7th grade girls defeated Frost 25-16. Annie Garrison and Gracie Coates each scored 8 points.

(Photo: The 8th grade boys basketball team celebrates after winning first place at the 21st annual St. Theresa Brett and Brett Tournament. Photo courtesy of Rich Harrison.)
Jr. High Basketball MBS Tournament
Varsity Basketball Episcopal Tournament

Girls Soccer a t Zachary – 2:00 p.m.
Jr. High Basketball – Runnels White vs. Central Private 11:00 a.m., Runnels Blue vs. Copper Mill 12:00 p.m.
Varsity Basketball Episcopal Tournament

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS FOR THE FOCUS Email photos to Please include the date and location of the event and the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
Dec. 16 / Jr./Sr. High Annual Tacky Holiday Sweater Contest and Winter Holiday Dress Day in the Elementary School!

Dec. 16 / Jr./Sr. High Snack Provided by PAR / 11:50 a.m.

Dec. 17 / Elementary Dance Class Watch Day / During Class Times

Dec. 17 - 20 / Jr./Sr. High Mid-Term Exams / CLICK HERE FOR MID-TERM EXAM SCHEDULE

Dec. 18 / Last Day to Donate to "Toys for Tots" at Runnels Elementary !

Dec. 19 / Elem. Snack Provided by PAR / Afternoon Recess

Dec. 23 - Jan. 3 / Winter Break

Jan. 6 / School Resumes


Yoga Path : Kate Suchanek is offering yoga lessons to students in grades K-6 starting Jan. 6 and running through April 27 after school on the main campus. Classes will be held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. at a cost of $40 per month. To learn about the benefits of yoga for kids, contact her at

Chinese Mandarin : Maggie Yuan of Geaux Mandarin will teach Mandarin Chinese lessons after school to students in grades K-6. For kindergartners, once per week 30-minute classes are $35 per month. Separate hour-long weekly sessions for students in grades 1-6 are $60 per month. Classes are also available at our preschool. Contact Maggie Yuan for more information at .

7 Elements of Art : Art teacher Sydney McGraw will be teaching an after-school art class for students in grades 2-6 again next semester. It runs from Jan. 14 through May 12 on Tuesdays from 3:15 - 4:15 p.m. Contact her at  for more information. Better hurry, though, there is already a waiting list!