Feb. 1, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.

In focus this week: Senior Named 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar Program Candidate; Alumnus Named Executive Director of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority; Junior Beta Club Holds Induction Ceremony; Leukemia & Lymphoma "Pasta for Pennies" Drive Kicks Off; Sixth Graders and Kindergarten Buddies Send Valentine Cards to Soldiers; A Game Plan for Studying Science; Kudos and Notable Events; We Sincerely Thank; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner; Friendly Reminders.

Senior Named 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate    
Anna Kadi, a senior at Runnels High School, has been named a candidate in the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Only 4,500 students were chosen for the program from the pool of nearly 3.6 million seniors expected to graduate from U.S. high schools this year.

Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 54th year, is one of the highest honors granted to high school seniors. Presidential Scholars are primarily selected on the basis of superior academic achievement, leadership ability, character, and involvement in service and school activities.

In May, approximately 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be chosen by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. All will be invited to Washington D.C. in June for the National Recognition Program and the presentation of the Presidential Scholars Medallion. 

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors in the areas of scholarship; visual, creative and performing arts talent; and accomplishment in career and technical fields. 

Anna, who earned the maximum score of 36 on the ACT college entrance exam, is a 2019 National Merit Semifinalist and a 2018 AP (Advanced Placement) Scholar. A Runnels student since kindergarten, she is the daughter of Lisa and Joe Kadi. ( Photo: Anna Kadi)
Alumnus Named Executive Director of CPRA
Runnels alumnus (‘89) and Board of Trustees member Bren Haase was appointed Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) this week by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

“Bren is unquestionably an individual with a distinguished conservation record, in both his professional body of work and personal passion for coastal protection and conservation in Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards in the Jan. 29 announcement naming Bren to the post. “Bren has my complete confidence, my utmost respect, and my full support.”

On the staff of CPRA since its creation in 2005 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Bren most recently served as Deputy Executive Director. Prior to that, he was Chief of the Planning and Research Division, where he played a key role in developing and advocating Louisiana’s $50,000,000 Coastal Master Plan in 2017, which was unanimously adopted by the state legislature. 

In news closer to home, Bren is the newest member of our Board of Trustees. Following a close run-off election in January, he was named an Alternate Board Member. 

Bren is the father of Sam, grade 11, and Jake, grade 9, and the husband of Admissions Director Sarah Haase. Congratulations to him and his family. ( Photo: Bren Haase)
Runnels Junior Beta Club Welcomes New Members
The Jr. Beta Club inducted 33 new members at a formal ceremony held in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre on Jan. 31. Presenting the inductees with their club credentials and pins were 2019 officers Alan Lam, president; Selo Basso, vice president; Christian Caillouet, secretary; and Jenna Sheikha, treasurer.

The students inducted into the service and scholastic organization were ( Grade 6) Paige Ashley, Rowen Basso, Olivia Brunner, Christian Caillouet, Jake Carey, Lina Derzi, Sofia Dodd, Jack Ezell, Annie Garrison, Gibson Guay, Chloe Hall, Ashlynn Harper, Luke Hillman, Wyatt Horridge, Danyel Howell, Leyna Huynh, Alexa Laplace, Addison Latona, Morgan McCloud, Sadie Miller, Sarah Ortlieb, Jordynn Osborne, Mason Pizzalato, Carli Shay, Jenna Sheikha, John Tate, Lilah Wartelle, and Parker Wright; ( Grade 7) Grayson Bonfils, Aidan Dooley, and Harrison White; ( Grade 8) Madison Cummins and Michael Hillman.

A reception with cake and punch was held in the foyer of the theatre following the ceremony. The club's faculty sponsors are Christine Pousson, John Baird, and Caroline Hader. ( Photo: Newly installed Jr. Beta Club members at the induction ceremony on Jan. 31.)

Be Part of "Pasta for Pennies" Hero Squad
Elementary students are once again joining the fight against blood cancers by sponsoring a "Pasta for Pennies" drive at Runnels in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). This year's campaign starts Monday and runs through Feb. 22.

Students in grades 1-6 are invited to participate by collecting donations in coin boxes that will be sent home in backpacks Monday or asking for online contributions. Coin box donations will be collected in lunchroom classes. To make online donations, please visit the Runnels Fundraising Page on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's website. Donations may be credited to a particular lunch class. Some students are also setting up personal online fundraising pages that roll up to their classroom donation page and sharing their link with family and friends on email and social media.

In a little friendly competition, the lunch class raising the highest amount for the charity will be treated to a pasta lunch by Olive Garden, a national sponsor of the campaign. In addition, any class that raises $150 in donations will receive an ice cream party.
Teaming Up to Support Our Troops on Valentine's Day
The 6th-graders and their kindergarten buddies got together this week to make Valentine's Day cards for our troops. Their handmade cards, which included drawings, decorated hearts, thank you notes and Happy Valentine's Day wishes, will be included in care packages sent to both overseas and stateside troops by Operation Gratitude. Many thanks to project coordinator Sherri Allen for organizing and leading this activity. ( Photo: Zeb Tate, 6C, and Nathan Pevey, K, confer on the writing of their thank you note to a soldier.)
A Game Plan for Studying Science
Students in John Baird’s fifth-grade science classes recently put their ingenuity and creativity to work inventing board games as part of their studies on astronomy.

For the project, they were asked to imagine they were executives working for an educational toy company. Their mission was to invent a new and exciting astronomy-themed board game for children aged 10-12. The game had to include a colorful board featuring astronomy-related images, at least 20 question cards (based on a study guide for an upcoming astronomy test), rules for playing, objectives for winning, and items necessary for game playing procedures such as spinners or tokens. In class on Wednesday, they rolled out their new games and had fun playing them with classmates. (Photo: Nico Morgan and Maeve Donlan try out Nico's game, Space Trap.)
Open Enrollment for New Families Begins Today
Runnels is now accepting limited enrollments for the 2019-2020 school year. To arrange a personal tour or get more information, contact Runnels Admissions Director Sarah Haase at admissions@runnels.org.

Every Day Is Open House at Runnels!
Kudos and Notable Events ...
Art from the Heart ... In honor of national "Inspire Your Heart with Art Day" on Jan. 31, original artwork by students in Sydney McGraw's classes went on display in the Jr./Sr. High Library. Junior high perspective landscape paintings, high school self-portrait drawings, and plaster sculptures by 7th and 8th graders will be on exhibit through next week. Congrats to artists Beau Blanchard, Ella Brigman, Katie Brigman, Aidan Dooley, Alex Frederic, Michael Hillman , and Phoebe Koontz and 9th-12th graders Ava Comeaux, Josh Freeman, Eric Ho, Minna Ismail, Kayleigh Nicholson, Blake Siewert, Sarah Stanfield , and Madison Sutton.  ( Photo: Drawing by Sarah Stanfield. )
DEMCO Essay Finalists ... Juniors Eric Ho and Ryan Ly are among the 12 finalists in this year's DEMCO Rural Electric Co-Op Youth Tour Essay Contest. For the competition, which is open to all 11th graders in DEMCO's service area, students wrote a letter to a public official about an issue of concern. At Runnels, all juniors in Colleen LeBlanc's AP English Language and Composition class were invited to write an essay for the contest. At a special DEMCO banquet on Feb. 26, finalists will read their essays and take a short test on rural electrification. Four winners will be named. Their prize is an all-expense paid, week-long trip to Washington, D.C. this summer. ( Photo: From left, Ryan Li and Eric Ho. )
Honor Orchestra Concerts ... Three Runnels students held first chairs in the Multi-Parish Middle School Honor Orchestra concert on Jan. 26 at Baton Rouge High. Congratulations to Sarah Ortlieb, 1st chair, 1st violin (concert master); Ali Guerin, 1st chair, 2nd violin; and Hannah Landry, 1st chair, viola. Congratulations to them, their string teachers, Dan and Jennifer Cassin, and the 14 other Runnels students (See Dec. 14 Friday Focus ) performing in the Multi-Parish Middle School and High School Honor Orchestra concerts that day. ( Photo: Rehearsing for the Multi-Parish Middle School Honor Orchestra concert are, from left, Madeleine Reonas, Sarah Ortlieb, and George Forgey. )
Publishing Movie Reviews ... Aides in the Jr./Sr. High Library recently exercised their writing talents by reviewing some of their favorite films. Librarian Wendy Herumin collected the reviews and published them as a large format, one-sheet "newspaper," available in the Jr./Sr. High Library. "I was looking for ways to engage the library aides and encourage them to make meaningful contributions to the learning community (like they would do in the public library)," said Mrs. Herumin. The films they reviewed ranged from old favorites like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to the 2019 Oscar nominated Incredibles 2 and A Star Is Born. Congratulations to newly published movie critics Seth Chiasson, Carlie Aucoin, Jackie Hinkle, Ryan Lam, Angele Lansing, Phillip Lukinovich, Daniel Mayeaux, Steven Spivak, Rachel Wehbe , and Mickey Kaiser.
Shakespeare Contest ... Bravo to freshman Emily Schacht for placing first in the English Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at Runnels this week. She won the contest and a medall by performing a 20-line monologue from King Lear . Emily advances to branch competition at Tulane on Feb. 10. Placing in the contest were Abby Robbins , 2nd; Kayla Evans , 3rd; and Hailey Lester and Emma Tooraen , honorable mention.
( Photo: Among the participants were, from left, Lunn Hitchcock, Mary Lutrell, Natalie Fairley, Jacob Tate, Emily Schacht, Abby Robbins, and Mark Blaze. )
Math Awards ... Kudos to the Runnels team that competed at the Mu Alpha Theta Math Tournament held Jan. 26 at Baton Rouge High. In the Advanced Math Individual competition, Marshall Pentes and Carson Badinger earned honorable mentions. In addition, they brought home a 4th place trophy in the Potpourri event. Also competing were Alex Morgan , Joseph Ismail and Mason Pentes . Quarterbacking the team was alumni sponsor Anna Morgan ('16), now a junior at LSU majoring in math. Anna plans to take 13 Runnels students into competition at the state Mu Alpha Theta convention in April. ( Photo: Carson Badinger and Marshall Pentes. )
We Sincerely Thank
Preschool Music Week ... Local artists have been generously sharing their love of music and movement with our preschool students through a variety of performances and activities this week. Dulcimer player Jak Stallings kicked off events on Monday . Preschool Co-Director Karen Runnels said the students enjoyed his music. " We learned new songs, discovered that the word dulcimer means sweet music and found out that the dulcimer is an American instrument." Later in the week, local music teacher and alum Sarah Burke (‘12) presented a demonstration on music and movement, afternoon preschool teacher Megan Bordelo n shared her piano expertise, and Shamira Arita , owner of For the Love of Dance, presented a ballet demonstration. We sincerely thank these guest stars for sharing their musical know-how with our students. ( Photo: Meg Bordelon shows preschool students a piano keyboard.)
Kilts and Kisses ... Dr. Leonard Ezell ( Jack, 6B, and Taylor, K) paid a visit to our kindergarten on Tuesday wearing traditional Scottish Highland dress, which included a tartan kilt, tuxedo tailcoat, a kilt pouch and hose (knee socks). It's the outfit he wears in the Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day Parade as a member of the Kilt and Kisses Almost Irish Marching Club. Dr. Ezell was in class to help the students learn about Scottish dress for their upcoming spring musical, The Travel Hour , which "takes" them to the Scottish Isles.

Before his visit, the students had seen a video showing how Scotsmen traditionally get into their kilts. It involves folding and pleating the tartan and laying down on top of it to put it on. Dr. Ezell explained that his approach to kilts is much simpler. He orders them pre-pleated and ready to wear from www.sportkilt.com. ( Photo: The kindergartners welcome Dr. Ezell in full Scottish dress to their classroom.)
In this week's photo album: 1st Grade P.E. (flag football), Kindergarten Kilts and Kisses Visitor, 5th Grade Board Games, Library Puzzles, Physics Roller Coasters, 1st Grade Science Heat Experiment, High School Shakespeare Competition, Kindergarten and 6th Grade Buddies Make Valentine Cards for Soldiers, Preschool Music Week, Kindergarten Fitness, and Candids.
Athletic Corner

Our spring sports season sign-up deadline is Feb. 8 for the following sports: Boys Baseball, Girls Volleyball and Boys/Girls Track and Field. Complete and submit a separate Sign-Up Form for each individual sport. Once your (required) physical form and/or Physician Order/Airway Action Plan (asthma) are complete, bring a copy to the Jr./Sr. High Office. Please address questions to Junior High Athletic Director Sam Coates, s.coates@runnels.org .


The Runnels varsity basketball team defeated Kenner Discovery Tuesday night 89-58. Cade Tate led the scoring with 33 points, while fellow seniors Griffin Kennedy and Collin Bueche added 21 points and 10 points, respectively. The Raiders got out to a big lead early and cruised to the 30 point win.

Last Friday, the Raiders lost a tough fought game against Holden on the road. Runnels was up 12 points late in the second quarter, but could not hold on to the lead and eventually fell 58-51. There were 11 three- pointers hit in the game, but it wasn't enough.

The Raiders are 23-13 on the season. Tonight the team will celebrate Senior Night against Maurepas. The JV game is at 5 p.m. and the varsity game at 6 p.m. Next week the Raiders will participate in the district tournament at Holden.
 Saturday, the the Runnels Powerlifting team brought home 3 medals and set a record at the Panther Invitational meet at Woodlawn. The 17 lifters, 5 girls and 12 boys, faced fierce competition with some 200 lifters registered.

Numerous personal bests were recorded. Senior Aaron Taliaferro set a new Panther Meet record in the 181 pound weight class with a 460 pound squat! Aaron also took 3rd place in the boys 181 weight class. In the boys 198 weight class, senior Justin Taliaferro earned 2nd place. Junior Julia Sager won 3rd place in the ladies 123 weight class.

Competing for the boys team were Joshua Freeman, Jacob Folse, Seth Chiasson, Hudson Hillman, Cole Latiolais, Eli Latiolais, John Latona, Caleb Reid, Spencer Spivak, Steven Spivak, Aaron Taliaferro and Justin Taliaferro. Lifters representing the girls team were Natalie Fairley, Erin Oehrle, Julia Sager, Emma Schlotterer and Reilly Wilks.

The team will compete next in the East Regional Championship meet at Denham Springs High School on Feb. 22 and 23.

(PHOTO: Powerlifting team members participating in the meet strike a pose at the Panther Invitational meet on Jan. 26 at Woodlawn High School.)

The boys varsity soccer team celebrated Senior Night on Monday at Burbank. Although, the team fell to Houma Christian, the boys rallied to pay tribute to their senior players Ryan Lam and Alex Morgan. Head soccer coach Chris Stewart and assistant coach Grant Fink spoke about the skills the boys brought to the team. Lam and Morgan were each presented with a keepsake soccer ball signed by their teammates and coaches.

(PHOTO: From left, varsity soccer seniors Alex Morgan and Ryan Lam.)

The girls of the varsity soccer team played their last home game of the season on Saturday as they competed for the district title. Although, the Lady Raiders fell to Episcopal, they did earn the 2nd place district title. Seniors AnnaClaire Courville, Anna Kadi and Avery Hamachek and their teammates celebrated with cookie cakes and treats after the game. These seniors were celebrated and honored by their coach, families, and teammates with a festive dinner at Las Palmas on Jan. 13.

(PHOTO: The varsity girl soccer team with Coach Estuardo Silva.)

Indoor Track and Field team members Annie Fink and Micah Roper competed in races at McNeese last Saturday. Fink sets a new school record of 5:31 in the 1600m and finished in 2nd place. Roper improved her 3200m time and division 2 ranking with a time of 12:51. Fink, Roper and the girls 4x800m relay team are in good positions to qualify for the Indoor State Championship that will be held at LSU on Feb. 16.

On Tuesday Feb. 5, there will be a Volleyball Clinic for enrolled players with completed paperwork. All forms must be completed and turned in prior to practice. If you are uncertain of the status of your athlete's paperwork, please contact volleyball coach Jean Martinez at j.martinez@runnels.org

Don’t delay, it’s not too late to sign up! Practices begin soon and the season will begin in late February or early March. Regular season practices will be held after school beginning at 3:30 p.m. or 4:30 to 6 p.m. depending on the status of the basketball play-offs.


The varsity tennis season will begin Feb. 18 at Forest Park. The team will compete against Parkview Baptist at 3:30 p.m.

Last weekend, the Runnels junior high boys basketball teams competed in the St. Thomas More Tournament. T he 8th grade won the consolation bracket. Afterward, the Raiders suffered a tough loss to St. Jude, 34-30, and then went on to beat both St. George, 42-24, and Parkview, 42-16. The 7th grade finished 4th in the tournament. After beating. St George, 32-22, the boys lost both games to St. Jude, 20-16, and St. Aloyolous, 28-24. The 6th grade team lost to St. Thomas Moore, 34-12, and St. Jude, 26-8.
(PHOTO: The 8th grade team with Coach Sam Coates and their trophy.)

This week t he Lady Raiders junior high girls basketball teams played in the post-season tournament at Parkview. The Lady Raiders White team beat Parkview and Dunham, advancing to the championship game. The Ladies faced off against U-High but ultimately lost. The Blue team upset the defending champs, Copper Mill, in overtime but fell in the semi-finals to U-High.

The White team finished the year 7-4-1 and came in 2nd in the league, while the blue team finished 6-6 ending up in 3rd.
(PHOTO: The White team with the 2nd place trophy.)

Last week, the junior high girls soccer team beat U-High, 2-0. Chelsea Holden led the team with 2 goals advancing the Lady Raiders to the finals. Ultimately, the team fell to the undefeated Sherwood team. The Ladies finished the season as the tournament runners-up!
(PHOTO: The junior high girls soccer team.)

The junior high boys soccer team made it to the semi-finals; however illness and injuries prevented the boys from fielding a full team for the semi-final game, resulting in a loss by forfeiture.
Boys Basketball "Senior Night" vs. Maurepas at Home – JV at 5 pm & Varsity at 6 pm
Jr. High Boys Basketball at St. Jean Vianney Tournament – 8th grade at 5:45 p.m.

On Saturday
Jr. High Boys Basketball at St. Jean Vianney Tournament – TBA

On Monday
Varsity Bowling vs. Brighton – 3:30 p.m. at All Star Lanes


Email game and fan photos to  n.latiolais@runnels.org . Please include the event and the name of the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
Feb. 4 - 22 / Pasta for Pennies

Feb. 9 / Mini-Cheer Clinic for Grades K-5 / Catalano Gym, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Feb. 13 / Advanced String Orchestra Performs at the Senior Adult Second Wednesday Lunch at the First United Methodist Church / 11:00 a.m.

Feb. 13 / PAR's Teacher Appreciation Catered Luncheon / Catalano Gym, 11:00 a.m.

Feb. 15 - 17 / Disney's Beauty and the Beast / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets: $10 for students, $12 for adults in advance and $15 for all at the door. Click here to purchase tickets .