January 31, 2020
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.

In Focus this week: Annie Fink Named Louisiana Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year; Meet Homecoming 2020 Royals; "Battle of the Books" Champions Announced; Elementary Teachers Attend Workshops in NOLA; Teacher's Treasure: Lost and Found; Kudos and Notable Events; We Sincerely Thank; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner; Friendly Reminders.
Annie Fink Named Louisiana Gatorade Runner of the Year

It's not exactly the Heisman Trophy, but for a high school athlete a Gatorade Player of the Year award is about as close as you can get, and this year our own Annie Fink is one of this year's recipients.

Now in its 35th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, the Gatorade Company this week announced Runnels senior Annie Fink as its 2019-2020 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year! She is the second Running Raider to earn this honor, following in the footsteps of Matt Rice, a 2010-11 winner.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character, distinguishes Annie as Louisiana's best high school girls cross country runner and makes her a finalist for the super-prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country of the Year Award to be announced next month.

Annie has had a phenomenal senior season. She won the 2019 LHSAA Class B State Championship in Natchitoches, posting the fastest all-class time of the day and setting a new course record with a time of 18:25 to finish 1:04 ahead of her next closest competitor. This past season, she nailed five first-place finishes and placed second in two of her races. Annie was named to the Advocate's All-Metro Girls Cross Country Team as a junior and senior, and this year was selected as the team's Most Outstanding/Valuable Female Runner of the Year.

As a 2019 LHSAA All-Academic Composite Cross Country Scholar, Annie truly represents the tradition of the scholar-athlete at Runnels. Active in the Student Ambassador Club and the National Honor Society at school, she volunteers extensively as a member of the National Charity League, helping the homeless, the elderly, and underserved children. A three-year member of the Louisiana Youth Orchestra, she also serves as the concertmaster (first chair, violin) of the Runnels String Orchestra. In the fall, she will run cross country and track for LSU as a preferred walk-on.

Annie is the daughter of Julie and Linn Fink.

(Photo: Annie Fink)

2020 Homecoming Court: Front row from left - Emma Collett, Blaiklee Guillot, Brooke Sandefur, Catherine Bonaventure, Gracie Smith, Queen Anna Manning, Jenna Carballo, Mollybeth Wilkinson, Hailey Lester, Lucy Reeves; back row: Baron Stevenson, Joshua Freeman, Jacob Folse, Ben Holliday, Ryan Ly, King Brandon Hall, Eli Todaro, Evan Beoubay, Joel Pena, and Eli Latiolais.
King and Queen of HOCO 2020 Crowned

Seniors Anna Manning and Brandon Hall were declared the queen and king of HOCO 2020 at the presentation of the homecoming court this afternoon in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre. On hand to present their crowns was last year's queen, Emma Tooraen, now a freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

At the assembly, the maids and escorts for each class were presented and introduced. Congratulations to freshmen Emma Collett, Lucy Reeves, Eli Latiolais and Baron Stevenson; sophomores Blaiklee Guillot, Hailey Lester, Josh Freeman and Joel Pena; juniors Brooke Sandefur, Mollybeth Wilkinson, Evan Beoubay, and Jacob Folse; and seniors Catherine Bonaventure, Jenna Carballo, Anna Manning, Grace Smith, Brandon Hall, Ben Holliday, Ryan Ly, and Eli Todaro. All members of the court and the king and queen are elected by the student body.

The Spirit Banner Award was presented to the sophomore class, and extra-effort prizes for Spirit Week participation went to seniors Aubri Watts and Brandon Hall and junior Garrett Rhinehart. Medals for the best class participation in themed Spirit Days were presented to the junior class for Marvel Monday, TikTok Tuesday, and Fairy Tale Friday, and the senior class for Wacky Wednesday and Throwback Thursday. Members of the boys varsity basketball team were also recognized.

We sincerely thank the sophomore class and sponsors Sarah Haase and Laurin Fairley for planning, organizing, and running HOCO 2020, with special shout-outs to class officers Ryan Roper and Sydney Worsham for performing MC duties. Thank yous also go to the Runnels cheer squad for performing at the assembly and to their sponsor/coach Sherry Wilks.

HOCO 2020 continues tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the gym as the Raiders take on Mt. Hermon. We'll have an encore presentation of the HOCO court during halftime at the varsity game. Homecoming week concludes with the Enchanted Evening junior and senior high dance at the Lake House Saturday night.
(Photo: HOCO 2020 royalty, Brandon Hall and Anna Manning.)

"Battle of the Books" Champions!

Congratulations to the nine junior high teams that competed in the first ever "Battle of the Books" at Runnels. The voluntary reading competition, which pits teams against each other to answer factual and comprehension questions about previously assigned books, was held this week in our Theatre.

Emerging victorious after five rounds of tense competition that involved Kahoot! quizzes, written responses, and a social media puzzle were the Reading Raiders, a 7th grade team of voracious readers that led the pack with 70,124 points. Two eighth-grade teams were right behind: the McNuggets, with 64,320 points, finished second, and the Funny Silly Pirates, with 58,120 points, came in third.

The Reading Raiders -- Dylan Evans, Jack Ezell, Annie Garrison, Gibby Guay, Chloe Hall, Danyel Howell, Leyna Huynh, Isabelle Kennedy, Brendan Levins, Krina Patel, and Jenna Sheika -- won a trophy, a pizza party, and the honor of representing our school in a regional "Battle of the Books" at the main library this spring. They'll compete against championship teams from Episcopal, Central Middle School, and Denham Springs Junior High.

Although each team member was required to read only one book out of the 10 titles assigned, seven of the Reading Raiders read at least three. Some finished even more. Brendan Levins read eight books. "He was our secret weapon," exclaimed Gibby Guay, who added that she read her assigned book 15 times because she loved it.

Special thanks go to Jr./Sr. High Librarian Wendy Herumin, who spearheaded the event and helped bring it to Runnels. She also worked with librarians from the three schools we'll meet at regionals to write the questions for the school "Battle of the Books" events. Huge thank yous also go to junior high English teachers Kylie Harbin and Sherry Wilks, who helped plan, organize, and run the "Battle of the Books."

(Photo: The Reading Raiders savor their victory.)
Elementary Teachers Attend Workshops in NOLA

To extend their expertise in the classroom, four of our elementary teachers participated in professional development conferences in New Orleans recently.

Fifth-grade reading teacher Rachele Smith attended "Maximizing the Power of Guided Reading To Help All Students Attain Dramatic Achievement Gains" sponsored by the Washington-based Bureau of Education and Research. The seminar offered innovative strategies and techniques to boost the effectiveness of guided reading instruction (teaching reading in a small group format). The conference also focused on the relationship between reading comprehension and writing. "I'm looking forward to incorporating several of the writing strategies as a way to help my students dig deeper into our texts and enjoy reading that much more," said Mrs. Smith.

Elementary math teachers Renee Miller, Cheyenne Davis, and Kari Calhoun went to a Mathodology workshop titled "Three-Dimensions to Differentiating Mathematics" Jan. 27-28 at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. The sessions, designed for elementary math teachers, offered the latest in developing instructional methods to better engage students during lessons.

"We went into detail about how we, as math teachers, can explore with our students various methods for solving math problems rather than focusing on a single method," explained Mrs. Calhoun. "Finding the answer isn't always the most important aspect of math; rather, discovering the various methods of arriving at the answer is important to developing thinkers and building math fluency and better number sense."

( Photo: From left are elementary teachers Kari Calhoun, Cheyenne Davis, Renee Miller, and Rachele Smith.)
Teacher's Treasure: Lost and Found

On Monday, as she was rushing out the door to get to school, elementary teacher Julie Fink grabbed the gold hoop earrings her husband had given her as a special birthday gift. She planned to wear them but didn’t have time to put them on, so she did what most of us have done in those circumstances and shoved them into a pocket.

Later, in her classroom during lunch, she decided to put on the earrings. She reached into her pocket to pull them out and was very upset to find only one. The students in her 6th-grade lunch group picked up on her mood shift and kindly asked what was wrong. Mrs. Fink explained what had happened and that the earrings were of great sentimental value to her. The youngsters immediately wanted to help and many swung into action, searching everywhere for the gold hoop earring.

Later that night, 6th grader Riley Whittemore was still on the hunt. While attending her brother’s basketball game in the gym, she poked around but didn't spot it. When she walked out to the dark parking lot, however, an object glinting on the ground caught her eye. She moved closer and was thrilled to find Mrs. Fink’s treasured earring. Riley snatched it up and kept it safe until lunchtime the next day when she returned it to a delighted and relieved Mrs. Fink, who thanked her with a special gift -- an angel’s wing pendant necklace. “She deserves it,” said Mrs. Fink. “Riley is my angel for finding my earring.”

(Photo: Riley Whittemore and her very relieved and happy, two earring wearing teacher, Julie Fink.)
Kudos and Notable Events
Quiz Kids ... Congrats to the Runnels Quiz Bowl team for winning third place in the sixth annual ESA (Episcopal School of Acadiana) Cade Cane Classic Tournament Jan. 26. Competing in the varsity division, the team of Joseph Ismail, Marshall Pentes, and Chris Ortego, all juniors, won 8 out of 10 rounds to capture third place honors.

Also on the team are freshman Alex Frederic and sophomores Jensen Holliday and Reagan Kyle. Their sponsors are high school teachers Colleen LeBlanc and Ann Ostrom. Our quiz bowl team competes next at the State Tournament March 21 at Southside High School in Youngsville.

(Photo: From left are Marshall Pentes, Chris Ortego, and Joseph Ismail.) *Photo by Ann Ostrom.
Washington Mardi Gras Princess ... Kudos to senior Kyra Reeves for being selected by Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins as a princess in the 72nd Annual Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras held Jan. 22-25 at the Washington Hilton. Hosted by the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians and attended by more than 5,000 people, the event brings a slice of our unique celebration to the nation's capital.

As one of 30 princesses at the Mardi Gras event, Kyra said she was presented at balls and events every night. She also met Sen. Bill Cassidy and served as his representative for the week.

“It was the best experience of my life," Kyra said, "and I am so grateful to have been selected to represent Louisiana as a princess this year!”    

(Photo: Princess Kyra Reeves and her dad Brandon Reeves at the Washington D.C. Mardi Gras.)
On Stage ... Congratulations to sophomore Emily Schacht and 7th grader Brendan Levins for being cast in CYT's (Christian Youth Theater) upcoming production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Emily portrays one of Cinderella's stepsisters and Brendan takes on the roles of a palace guest and villager. The musical will run Feb. 20 - 23 at LSU's Claude L. Shaver Theatre. MORE INFORMATION ...
Teaching Fitness by Example ... Kindergarten Fitness teacher Mary Winnett will run in her 16th marathon this year! "I'm running for the kids of St. Jude," she said. "It's a cause near and dear to my heart. One of my daughter Lily's (Class of '10) classmates at Runnels was treated at St. Jude's."

Mary, who normally stays in shape by running 40 miles per week, has signed up to participate in the 2020 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend on Dec. 5. She'll be doing the full marathon, a grueling 26.2 mile run that takes marathoners through the hilly St. Jude campus. This will be the sixth time she's run in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.

"It's an amazing experience," said Mary. "The staff and the families of St. Jude line the roads of the campus to support the runners. If the weather is cooperative, the patients come out and watch too. My eyes well up with tears when I see them and I think to myself that running a marathon is nothing compared to what they go through. St. Jude has helped so many kids and touched the lives of so many."

( Photo: Mary Winnett and a Kindergarten Fitness class get out the scooters on a warm winter's day.)
We Sincerely Thank ...
Serving Up Snacks and a Smile ... Thank you so much to the PAR parents who volunteered their time to help pass out homecoming snacks to our students this week. They include PAR President Blake Stevenson, PAR Treasurer Wendy Dolan, Mercedes Dooley, Chris Griffin, Melodie Rinaudo, Randa Elkurdi, Michelle Hanks, Patricia LeBlanc, Violet Tremblay, and Katrina Ray.

( Photo: On hand to help serve king cake, cupcakes, and fruit to students Monday are PAR volunteers, from left, Chris Griffin, Blake Stevenson, Wendy Dolan, Melodie Rinaudo, Patricia LeBlanc, and Randa Elkurdi.)
Go, Big Blue! The cheer squad ramps up Raider Spirit at this afternoon's presentation of the 2020 Homecoming Court in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theater.
In this week's photo album: "Battle of the Books," Kindergarten Fitness, Biology AP Lab, Basketball, Preschool and Candids.

*Special thanks to Brynn Myles and Aidan Dooley for taking pictures at the pep rally Monday.
*See above article about homecoming for a special homecoming photo album.
Athletic Corner
G et your Raider spirit apparel at the Booster Club's Spirit Store !
The junior high spring sports season is just around the corner and it’s time to sign up for the following sports: Boys Baseball, Girls Volleyball and Boys/Girls Track and Field . If your athlete is playing more than one sport, simply fill out the below form twice. 

Practice for Boys Baseball and Track and Field will begin the first week of March, and Girls Volleyball will begin the third week of February.

You must turn a hard copy of the Physical Form in to the office; please save a copy for your records. If you have any questions please contact Junior High Athletic Director Sam Coates at s.coates@runnels.org
The Runnels Powerlifting team competed in its first meet of the year at Woodlawn High School on Saturday, Jan. 25. Julia Sager medaled, earning second in the 123 weight class with a PR of 285 in deadlift. Many PRs were achieved this weekend including Emma Schlotterer in bench and deadlift, Natalie Fairley in squat and bench, Reilly Wilks in squat and bench, Hudson Hillman in deadlift, John Latona in squat, bench, and deadlift, Cole Latiolais in squat, bench, and deadlift, and Eli Latiolais in bench and deadlift. Two new lifters, Michael Hillman and Jenna Carbollo, performed well in their first ever meet, and Erin Oehrle also had a strong showing after just a few weeks of workouts. Special thanks to Runnels powerlifting alum Justin Taliaferro (‘19) for assisting the team with warmups.

(Photo: Senior Julia Sager displays her 2nd place medal from the Woodlawn Panther Invitational.)
Last Saturday, the Runnels Track & Field team competed at the #2 LSU High School Indoor Qualifier. Annie Fink hit the podium with a 3rd place finish in the 3200m. Both Fink and Ryan Ly earned qualifying marks for Division 2. Fink qualified for the 1600m, 800m and 3200m while Ly qualified for the 60m hurdles. Setting new PRs were Fink in the 3200m and Mason Pentes for the 1600m.
On Monday, the Runnels Bowling team dominated Istrouma Baptist 23-4. Young players are making great progress. Although the team lost to Lee High on Wednesday, some bowlers scored new PRs. Josh Freeman scored 174 while Alex Frederic had 121 and Joel Pena finished at 103.
The Raiders defeated Holden 81-65 last Friday night. Four players scored in double figures, Ben Holliday, Collin Coates, Ben Stafford, and Wesley Stevenson.  Sunday, the Raiders traveled to New Orleans to play in the Smoothie King Center. Unfortunately, the team lost 46-57 to Southern Lab. On Tuesday, Runnels lost to Episcopal 67-56, in a hard fought game.  The game was back and forth, but the Knights pulled away at the end. 

Tonight, the Raiders basketball teams celebrate Homecoming. The boys will take on Mt. Hermon with the JV team playing and 5:30 p.m. and the Varsity at 6:30 p.m.

Come out to the Catalano Gym and cheer on the boys. Go Raiders!
Last weekend, the Runnels 8th grade boys basketball team finished 2nd in the St. Thomas More tournament. The Raiders beat Most Blessed Sacrament 36-20. Cooper Coates scored 16 and Tyler Thibodeaux had 10. The Raiders went on to defeat Parkview 38-26. Coates led the team with 14 points while Thibodeaux and Rossie Harrison each scored 10. Runnels lost the final game 38-30, with Coates scoring 22 points. On Monday, the Runnels 8th grade boys beat Hosanna Christian 50-36. Coates scored 18 with Thibodeaux adding 12 and Harrison 10. 

This week, the junior high girls team lost to Hosanna 32-20 with Ashlynn Harper scoring 10 and Annie Garrison adding 8. On Wednesday, the Lady Raiders beat Episcopal 24-7, but were defeated by Copper Mill 36-20 with Annie Garrison leading the team with 14 points. The Runnels Girls finished in second place in the league.

(Photo: Rossie Harrison scores another for the Raiders. Photo courtesy of Rich Harrison.)
HOMECOMING - Basketball vs. Mt. Hermon – JV 5:30 p.m., Varsity 6:30 p.m. SPIRIT EVENT
Boys Soccer at Ascension Christian – 6:00 p.m.
Jr. High Basketball St. Jean Vianney Tournament – 7th and 8th Grade Boys - TBD

Girls Soccer vs. Catholic PC – 11:00 p.m. – Burbank Field 21
Bowling Invitation Tournament – All Star Lanes
Jr. High Basketball St. Jean Vianney Tournament – 7th and 8th Grade Boys – TBD

Send in your fan pics to n.latiolais@runnels.org
Friendly Reminders
Jan. 31 / Homecoming Game and Encore Court Presentation / Catalano Gym, 7:00 p.m.

Feb. 1 / Enchanted Evening High School Homecoming Dance / Lake House, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Feb. 3-5 / Jr. Beta State Convention / Lafa yette

Feb. 10-11 / Youth Legislature - Grade 7 and 8 / Old State Capitol

Feb. 14 & 15 / The Sound of Music / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, 7:00 p.m. ( See below for tickets .)

Feb. 16 - 20 / Spring Used Book Fair / Elementary Library ( See below for hours .)

Feb. 19 / Band Solo and Ensemble Festival
Feb. 20 / Strings Solo & Ensemble Festival

Feb. 20 / Quiz Bowl Trivia Night / Jr./Sr. High Library, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m., Tickets are $10 at the Door
Feb. 20 / Army War College Presentation / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, 8:30 a.m.
Feb. 21 / Elementary Mardi Gras Celebration / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, 1:30 p.m.
Feb. 24-28 / Mardi Gras Break
March 2 / School Resumes 

Runnels Theatre presents

The Sound of Music
February 14 & 15 | 7 PM

Get Your Tickets today!

Elementary Library Spring Used Book Sale Feb. 16-20

The Elementary Library will hold a Spring Used Book Sale -- with both adult and children's titles -- from Sunday, Feb. 16 through Thursday, Feb. 20. Sunday hours will be 12 - 3 p.m.; Monday through Wednesday hours will be 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.; and on Thursday, the sale will be open from 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Your donations of adult or children's books to the sale are welcome. Please bring your used book donations to the Elementary Library during school hours.