February 21, 2020
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.

In Focus this week: Mardi Gras Fun Reigns at Runnels; Sound of Music Wins Acclaim; Earning Eagle Scout Rank; Kindergartners "Taste of Louisiana"; New Clubs Debut in Elementary School; Kudos and Notable Events; We Sincerely Thank; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner; Friendly Reminders.

Have a Safe and Happy Mardi Gras!
Mardi Gras Fun Reigns at Runnels

Carnival season was in full swing at Runnels today as we celebrated Mardi Gras with gala parades, a marching jazz band, and the Coronation of the Krewe of Runnels Royale.

At the preschool, individual parades rolled for the 2s, 3s, and Pre-K students, with beads, tri-colored umbrellas, decorated floats (wagons), throws, and an appreciative audience of family and friends.

On the main campus in a departure from tradition, students in grades 7-11 were invited to the Coronation of the Krewe of Runnels Royale in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre. To get the "party" started, the "Runnels Marching Jazz Band," under the direction of Jill Swetnam, led a second line of elementary revelers through the campus to the main event in the Theatre. At the coronation, the members of the royal court were chosen from grades 1-6 in a random drawing. Wearing crowns, beads, and royal blue and purple robes, the krewe promenaded through the auditorium to the applause of the crowd. To entertain the kings, queens, princes, and princesses, each elementary grade along with the kindergarten and the senior class performed a lively dance on stage.

We sincerely thank coronation emcees John Baird, April Wilkinson, and Julie Horridge. We also thank stage assistant Sheri Allen and class performance coordinators Paula Naquin, kindergarten; Julie Horridge, grades 1 and 2; Alice Aucoin, grade 3; April Wilkinson, grade 4; Cheyenne Davis, grade 5; Gina Golda, grade 6; and Dana Schlotterer, grade 12. At the preschool, thank yous are extended to Preschool Co-Directors Janice Leger and Karen Runnels and members of the Sr. Beta Club and sponsor Michele Stanfield for assisting with the toddler parades.

( Photo: The members of the 2020 Mardi Gras Court are, front row, from left, 2nd grade prince Archer Carkuff, 2nd grade princess Natalie White, Petite King Rayan Shah, Petite Queen Adleigh Watts, 1st grade princess Birdie Ward, 1st grade prince Taylor Ezell; back row, 4th grade princess Sophie LeBlanc, 4th grade prince Nathan D'Gerolamo, Grande King Sammy Ismail, Grande Queen Madelyn Sandifer, and 5th grade prince Henry Daughety, and 5th grade princess Lauren Ly.) 

Ending an Era on a High Note ... The Sound of Music Wins Acclaim and Applause

Congratulations to the amazing cast and crew of The Sound of Music, which played to packed houses for both performances last week in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre. This production marks the end of an era of Broadway musicals at Runnels, which started in 2005 with Oklahoma! Interestingly, both shows were by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and The Sound of Music was their final collaboration.

The Runnels version of The Sound of Music, which featured students in grades 3-12 and a sprinkling of teachers to fill out the nun's ensemble, garnered thunderous applause and multiple curtain calls.

Directing and choreographing the production was Sonya Blanchard. Elizabeth Olah provided musical direction and Kendall Krebsbach was the technical director and stage manager. The assistant stage managers were seniors Karli Hebert and Janie Schlotterer. Kenny Copsey and the high school Technical Theater class did the set construction.

We extend our deepest thanks to everyone who helped bring this charming and inspirational story, which celebrates music, love, family, and courage, to life on our stage.

(Photo: Portraying the Von Trapp children in "So Long, Farewell" from 'The Sound of Music' are, from left, Ethan Ly, Lauren Ly, Conner Joubert, Sophia Horridge, Madisan Milam, Harper Guay, and Brooke Drescher.)

Earning Eagle Scout Rank

Runnels seniors Ricky Harrison and Sam Haase of Troop 203 have earned the rank of Eagle, the highest award attainable in American Boy Scouting. They received their Eagle medals and were honored for their achievements at a ceremony held Feb. 16 at the St. Patrick's Church Family Center. Since the first Eagle Award was presented in 1912, only 2.01 percent of eligible Scouts have earned this distinction.

To become an Eagle, candidates must complete a long checklist of requirements, including demonstrating their ability to plan, organize, and lead a service project of benefit to the community. For his Eagle project, Sam organized an effort to build three dozen Prothonotary Warbler (previously known as Golden Swamp Warblers) nest boxes for Audubon Louisiana. Ricky led a group of volunteer Scouts and parents in restriping half of the parking lot, fire lanes, and handicap zones at St. Patrick's Church, which sponsors Troop 203.

Ricky and Sam are both Runnels "lifers" and have been in Scouting for 12 years. Sam, who plays baseball for the Raiders, is active in the National Honor Society and the Student Ambassador's Club. Ricky pitches and plays center field for the varsity Raiders and has hopes of being recruited by a college baseball team.

With the addition of Sam and Ricky, there are now four Eagle Scouts in the Class of 2020. Cole Latiolais and John Spillane became Eagles in November of 2019.

Sam is the son of Sarah and Bren Haase, and Ricky is the son of Cynthia Harrison and Dr. Richard Harrison. Congratulations to Sam, Ricky, and their families!

( Photo: At their Eagle Honor Court on Feb. 16 are, from left, Ricky Harrison and Sam Haase.)
Kindergartners "Pass a Good Time" and Sample a "Taste of Louisiana"

From drawing blue herons in the style of John James Audubon to mapping resources and products from our state, it was all about Louisiana all week long in the Runnels kindergarten. The youngsters read Gator Gumbo and The Runaway Beignet, made Alligator Pie, wrote their own "Louisiana, Louisiana, What Do You See?" books, and danced to zydeco music.

They also "passed a good time" at the annual "Taste of Louisiana" luncheon on Thursday. Wearing Mardi Gras crowns and masks, they dined on local fare including jambalaya, catfish, red beans and rice, sweet potatoes, french bread, strawberries, and beignets. After lunch, came dancing!

A huge "merci beaucoup" goes to all the parents and teachers who helped with the "Taste of Louisiana" feast. Some of the Louisiana dishes came from Rice and Roux. We also extend special thanks to Erin Gutierrez for reading The Cajun Cornbread Boy by local author Dianne de las Casas to the children and making cornbread for them to sample after reading the book.

( Photo: Toasting each other with lemonade at the kindergarten "Taste of Louisiana" luncheon are, from left, Emma Grace Salisbury and Miles Murphy.
New Clubs Debut in Elementary School

If your upper elementary student is a fan of books and reading, we may have a new club to excite his or her interest. The 6th-Grade Book Club, launched by Nico Morgan, 6C, meets on Wednesdays at recess in Amanda Albin's classroom. Members have selected Save Me a Sea t by Gita Varadarajan and Sarah Weeks for their first book. All 6th graders are welcome to join.

The new Harry Potter Club, started by Matthew Campbell, 6A, is open to students in grades 4-6. The club, which met for the first time this month, has already attracted 20 members! So far, they've had a sorting ceremony and a "potions" lesson, with root beer floats. This week, they made wands. The club meets on Thursdays at recess in Mrs. Albin's classroom.

Mrs. Albin and the members of the Harry Potter Club send a special Hagrid-sized thank you to Annalee and Thomas Campbell for providing supplies for club activities.

(Photo: Brewing up root beer floats in a cauldron are Harry Potter Club members, clockwise from left, Emerson Corder, Lucas Holden, Matthew Campbell, Maeve Dolan, and Laura Golda.)
Kudos and Notable Events
Battle of the Books Update ... Kudos to the Reading Raiders, the 7th-grade team representing Runnels at the regional Battle of the Books at the Main Library Monday. Though our delegation placed 3rd among the four schools competing (Central Middle won), Jr./Sr. High Librarian Wendy Herumin, who helped bring Runnels into the competition, said it went well: "We had so much fun!" After the contest, students enjoyed a Skype session with Jo Watson Hackl, author of Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe," one of the 10 titles on the reading list. They also met John Cavalier of Cavalier House Books, who passed out free copies of his publications. Many thanks to Battle of the Books co-sponsors Wendy Herumin, Kylie Harbin, and Sherry Wilks.

(Photo: The Reading Raiders at the Main Library for the regional Battle of the Books.)
Shaping the Eiffel Tower ... To practice what they have been learning about basic geometric shapes, students in Madeleine Timpa’s 1st-grade math students looked to the Eiffel Tower. They watched a children’s video about the history and construction of the famous structure and discussed how buildings, including the Eiffel Tower, are all made out of the same basic shapes such as rectangles, triangles, squares, and semicircles. After watching the video, they set to work with templates of these shapes, black construction paper, scissors, and glue to construct their own 2D versions of the Eiffel Tower, which they mounted on white paper and displayed on a bulletin board in their classroom. 

(Photo: First graders with their Eiffel Tower art made from geometric shapes mounted on the bulletin board.)
Doing the Planet Rap ... Kudos to April Wilkinson's 4th-grade science students for presenting raps they learned about the solar system to students in kindergarten through 2nd grade last week. Representing planets, stars, moons, or the sun, each fourth grader presented a section of the rap to teach the younger students interesting facts about the solar system. "The students enjoyed performing the rap," said Mrs. Wilkinson, "and the younger students look forward to sharing this activity with others when they reach the fourth grade.

( Photo: A group of fourth-grade science students display props they made for their Planet Rap.)

DeBose Showcase … Kudos to the members of the Runnels Elementary and Advanced String Orchestras and their directors, Dan and Jennifer Cassin, for a successful appearance at the DeBose Visual and Performing Arts Showcase at BRCC’s Magnolia Theater last week. As guest performers, the elementary musicians performed “Toccatina” by Hofeldt and the Advanced String Orchestra played “Waltz #2” by Demitri Schostakovich. The piano accompanist was senior Bailey Hyatt. 
We Sincerely Thank ...
Keeping Smiles Bright ... We extend our thanks to dental educator Paige Landry and restorative assistant Amanda Till of Associates in Pediatric Dentistry for visiting with our lower elementary P.E. students in Tish Tooraen’s and Brent Lax’s classes this week in the Drama Room to share information about the importance of oral hygiene.

Along with a friend, "Henrietta the Dinosaur," these professionals reminded students to floss once a day, brush twice a day for two minutes, avoid candy, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to help keep their smiles healthy and bright.

(Photo: Guest speakers Page Landry and Amanda Till of Associates in Pediatric Dentistry demonstrate proper brushing technique.)
Meeting an Author ... C.R. Stewart, author of the award-winning children's book Britfield and the Lost Crown made a stop at Runnels on Wednesday to share his insights on the power of creativity and storytelling with our 4th-6th graders. With his interactive multimedia presentation, Mr. Stewart suggested ways that students might tap into their own creativity. "Start from where you are," he said. "You don't need resources and experience to be creative." The next book in the adventure series, Britfield and the Rise of the Lion, is due to be released in the fall. Many thanks to elementary librarians Leah Pizzalato and Michelle Thibodeaux for arranging the book talk for our students.

( Photo: Upper elementary students attend the presentation by author C.R. Stewart in the Drama Room Feb. 19.)
Army War College ... Runnels hosted representatives of the U.S. Army War College Eisenhower Lecture Series in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre Feb. 20. Attending the presentation were members of the junior and senior classes. The discussion, which took a Q and A format, covered a wide range of current events topics such as cybersecurity and China, Russia and U.S. relations, and roles for women in the military.

We thank Army War College speakers Colonel Silas Martinez, Director of Leader Development in the Department of Command, Leadership, and Management at the United States Army War College, and Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Sadusky, currently a resident student at the United States Army War College working on a strategic research project on Chinese foreign policy in times of crisis.

(Photo: At the U.S. Army War College Eisenhower Lecture Series on Feb. 20 at Runnels are, from left, Sophie Edwards, Christopher Ortego, LTC Aaron Sadusky, COL Silas Martinez, Erin Oehrle, and Barrett Couvillon.)

Used Book Sale News ... We send our grateful thanks to Elementary Library Spring Used Book Sale volunteers Rachel Power, Galia Betech, Kristin Morgan, and Mary Crowson for helping with set up and organization throughout the week. "We made $473 at the sale," said Elementary Librarian Leah Pizzalato. The proceeds will be used to purchase new books for the collection.

Preschool Staff Birthdays Honored ... We extend a huge thank you to all the preschool parents who helped supply, organize, and host a fabulous Louisiana style luncheon on Feb. 14 in honor of preschool faculty and staff birthdays. A special thank you goes to Jennifer Kinberger for organizing the event.

Playtime Fire Station ... An enormous thank you goes to preschool parents Laura and Tim Daigle for donating a play fire station complete with furnishings, equipment, truck, helicopter, fire fighters, and a fire dog to the preschool. "The set up is enough to make every preschoolers' heart race with excitement," said Preschool Co-Director Karen Runnels.

In this week's photo album: 4th Grade Planet Rap, Solo and Ensemble Festival Rehearsal, Army War College Presentation, Used Book Sale, Dental Visit, Kindergarten "Taste of Louisiana," Author Visit, Harry Potter Club, Basketball Senior Night, and Candids.

( Photo: Mardi Gras beads, necklaces, and throws appeared in bulk at the preschool parades this morning.)
Athletic Corner
G et your Raider spirit apparel at the Booster Club's Spirit Store !
With Coach Ben Young are senior basketball players, from left, Jack Kahn, Ben Holliday and Phillip Lukinovich,
Senior cheerleader Kissa Nicholas-Whitt, center, with her parents, Linda and Christopher Benson.
Raider #1 fans, center, Matthew Alphonso, Ryan Ly and Catherine Bonaventure, were honored for attending all of the home games this season.
On Tuesday, the Raiders defeated Family Christian Academy for the last regular season home game, 70-58. The Raiders were propelled by a big second quarter, scoring 31 points. The Raiders then held on to the lead the entire second half. Four players scored in double digits: Collin Coates, 18 points, Jack Kahn 16 points, and Phillip Lukinovich and Ben Holliday with 14 points each. Senior basketball team members Ben Holliday, Jack Kahn and Phillip Lukinovich and cheerleader Kissa Nicholas-Whitt were honored with a presentation before the game.
Tonight, the Raiders will travel to French Settlement for the last regular season game. The playoff brackets will come out on Monday and Runnels is looking like it will be the 2nd seed.


The Coates family has basketball in their DNA. In 1985, Runnels School completed construction on the gym. Junior High Athletic Director and Runnels alum (‘90) Sam Coates was in 8th grade playing on the Runnels Varsity Basketball team. Sam made school history scoring the very first basket for the Runnels varsity team in a game against Bethany. Sam went on to score another 3,628 points at Runnels and was a High School All American. After playing college ball for Spring Hill, Sam earned degrees in Social Science and Education.
Tuesday, the Raiders played their last home game for the season. Sam and Aislynn Coates' son Cooper Coates, an 8th grader at Runnels, scored the final goal for the game, which our team won, 70-58. Cooper's older brother, Collin Coates, is a sophomore and fellow teammate. Collin scored his 1,000th career point last week for the team. The youngest Coates, Gracie, is a 6th grader at Runnels. She’s following in the family tradition as a member of the Runnels girls basketball team.

(Photo: Junior High Athletic Director and Junior High Basketball Coach Sam Coates, left, with son Cooper.)
The Junior High basketball season ended Monday night. The 7th grade team lost to Parkview 36-26. Harrison Whitmore led the team, scoring 12 points. The 8th grade team defeated Parkview 42-34, with Rossie Harrison and Tyler Thibodeaux scoring 10 points each and Cooper Coates blocking 6 shots.
Junior High Athletic Director and basketball coach Sam Coates said, “It was a very special year and a true joy coaching these boys.”
The Runnels 8th grade team finished the season 34-9 with victories over U High, Dunham, Episcopal, Parkview, St. George, Prairieville, Dutchtown, Galvez, Denham Springs, Live Oak, Juban Parc, Southside, Frost, St. Jude, St. Luke, St. Theresa, St. Thomas Moore, Most Blessed Sacrament, St. Jean Vianney, St. Alphonsus, Holy Family, Victory Academy, Glen Oaks, Hosanna, and Holden to name a few.
The Raiders also won first place in both the St. Theresa and St. Jean Vianney tournaments and finished second in the St. Thomas Moore, St. Alphonsus and St. George tournaments.

(Photo: The Runnels 8th grade basketball team with Coach Sam Coates in the Catalano Gym.)
The Indoor Track & Field Championship Meet is this Saturday at LSU. Annie Fink qualified in both the 1600m and 3200m. At the Last Chance Qualifier, new PRs were set by Mason Pentes in the 1600m and 800m, John Spillane in the 60m and Ryan Ly in the 60m and 60mh. 

The Outdoor Track & Field season has begun. The team will compete in the first meet of the season at the Brusly Invitational on March 4.

On Monday, the Runnels Bowling team was victorious over St. James, 19-8. Jacob Tate scored a personal best with a 186. Wednesday evening, the team emerged victorious over Glen Oaks with a score of 21-3. Scoring personal best were Karli Hebert with a 190 and Beau Blanchard with 145.

Baseball season is kicking off next week. The team’s first game will be at Doyle on Monday at 3:30 p.m.  
On Saturday, Feb. 28, the Runnels Powerlifting team will compete in the District meet at Woodlawn High School. Go, Raiders!

Baseball at Doyle – 3:00 p.m.
Send in your fan pics to n.latiolais@runnels.org
Friendly Reminders

Feb. 24-28 / Mardi Gras Break
March 2 / School Resumes

March 6 / Jr. Class Ring Ceremony / Theatre, 11:20 a.m. 
March 7 / District Literary Rally / Southeastern
March 12 / Elementary Drama Performances / Drama Room During Regular Class Times
March 13-15 / JCL State Convention 
March 13 / High School Talent Show / Theatre, 2:00 p.m.
March 16-20 / Elementary Standardized Testing

March 17 / Grades 7 and 8 Standardized Testing
March 18 / Grades 9 and 10 Standardized Testing