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

In Focus this week: DEMCO Essay Contest Winner; 20 Qualify for State Literary Rally; Fifth Grader Represents Runnels at Regional Spelling Bee; Mardi Gras Merriment, Runnels Style; Kindergartners Host "Taste of Louisiana" Luncheon; Pet Week at Preschool; Band Solo and Ensemble Ratings for Grades 6-8 Participants; Kudos and Notable Events; We Sincerely Thank; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner; Friendly Reminders.

Have a Safe and Happy Mardi Gras!

Junior Named Winner in DEMCO Essay Contest

Congratulations to Runnels junior Eric Ho for making it into the winner's circle in the 2019 DEMCO Rural Electric Youth Tour Essay Contest! He is one of only four essayists in the annual competition to win an all-expense paid week-long trip to Washington, D.C. this summer.

The four winners were selected from a pool of 12 finalists during a banquet held Feb. 26 at White Oak Plantation. The finalists gave oral presentations of their essays before a panel of judges and took a test on the history of rural electrification.

When his name was announced as a winner, Eric said his reaction was "pure joy and excitement." His advice to students interested in following in his footsteps is to take the opportunity seriously. "Put your effort into it and work hard to achieve it."

Also making it into the group of finalists was Runnels junior Ryan Ly. Named honorable mentions were juniors Natalie Tooraen and Erin Oehrle.

Eric's essay was written as an assignment in Colleen LeBlanc's English Language and Composition AP class. Mrs. LeBlanc and Eric's parents and brothers were with him at the banquet to see him win.

He is the son of Nguyen Le and Brian Ho. ( Photo: At White Oak Plantation on Feb. 26 are DEMCO Essay Contest winners, from left, Eric Ho, Runnels High School; Lindsay Miller, Woodlawn High; Rhianna San Soucie, St. Joseph's Academy; and Ethan Savario, Zachary High.)

Runnels Excels at District Literary Rally: 20 Students Advance to State

Runnels had strong representation at the District Literary Rally at Southeastern on Feb. 23. Twenty of our students qualified for the upcoming State Literary Rally at LSU and nine earned first place in their subjects.

Advancing to State were Collin Bueche, Civics; Camille Doucet, Environmental Science; Kayla Evans, Calculus II; Alex Frederic, French I; Jensen Holliday, World Geography; Joseph Ismail, English II; Mickey Kaiser, French III; Preston Kyle, World History; Reagan Kyle, Biology I; Dawson Latona, Algebra II; Daniel Mayeaux, Physics; Madisan Milam, Spanish III; Marshall Pentes, Chemistry; Mason Pentes, Geometry; Wilks Pittman, Business Computer Applications; Connor Porthouse, Advanced Math – Pre Calculus; Lucy Reeves, Spanish I; Natalia Tooraen, Calculus I; Aubri Watts, English III; and Thomas Worsham, Advanced Math – Functions and Statistics. 

( Photo: Among those qualifying for the State Literary Rally are, front row, from left, Preston Kyle, Madisan Milam, Aubri Watts, Natalia Tooraen, Wilks Pittman, Lucy Reeves, Reagan Kyle; back row, Collin Bueche, Connor Porthouse, Joseph Ismail, Marshall Pentes, Mason Pentes, Dawson Latona, and Jensen Holliday.) 

Fifth Grader Participates in Regional Spelling Bee

Maeve Dolan, 5A, a member of the Spelling Club, was selected to represent our school at the Regional Spelling Bee held at the First United Methodist Church in Hammond on Feb. 23. She was one of 38 students from 38 different schools in grades 3-8 competing in the event, which was sponsored by the Louisiana Children's Discovery Center.

"Maeve did extremely well," said Spelling Club co-sponsor Colleen LeBlanc, who attended the regional bee.

After successfully making it through multiple rounds by correctly spelling challenging words such as "foist" and "langustas" (a spiny lobster) and many others, she missed the word "autobahn," to finish in seventh place.

Maeve said she enjoyed participating in the spelling bee and was happy with her performance. "It was fun," she added. ( Photo: Maeve Dolan.)
Parades, Coronation Stir Up Mardi Gras Merriment at Runnels

Carnival season was in the air on both campuses today as we celebrated Mardi Gras, Runnels style. At the preschool, we held the annual Toddler Parade with the assistance of members of the Sr. Beta Club and on the main campus, we celebrated the Coronation of the Krewe of Runnels Royale in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.

( Photo: The members of our 2019 Mardi Gras Court are, front row, from left, 1st grade prince Eli Burks, 1st grade princess Karmyn Jackson, Petite Queen Lily Downing, Petite King Mohammad Zaid, 2nd grade princess Naya Amin, 2nd grade prince Connor Stewart; back row, 4th grade prince Lucas Holden, 4th grade princess Alyssa Lee, Grand King Preston Treadaway, Grand Queen Rowen Basso, and 5th grade prince Adam Chittom, and 5th grade princess Dru Hairford.) 

Kindergartners Host Annual "Taste of Louisiana" Luncheon and Fais Do-Do

In kindergarten this week, students "passed a good time" at the annual "Taste of Louisiana" luncheon held in connection with their studies of our state.

At lunchtime on Thursday, the children heaped their plates with South Louisiana specialties provided by their parents and teachers. On the menu were jambalaya, catfish, red beans and rice, sweet potatoes, french bread, locally grown strawberries, and, of course, beignets. After lunch, came a Cajun fais do-do, with zydeco and dancing. ( Photo: The good times roll in kindergarten with a fais do-do.
Preschool Welcomes Creatures, "Great and Small"

Pets were on parade at the preschool this week as students made the acquaintance of an assortment of fuzzy, feathery, and even slithery critters.

Among the special guests were prize-winning golden retrievers, KT and Cayenne, brought in by their owner and trainer, John Runnels; Valeka the parrot and her owner, preschool nurse Vallerie Myer; Ted, a Ruby Red Netherland Dwarf Rabbit accompanied by Runnels alumnae Dr. Jenny Liford Sones (Class of 2000) and Dr. Clare Scully of the LSU Vet School; Kevin the bearded dragon and his owners, Rebekah Owens and her daughter, CeCe, accompanied by Runnels assistant swim coach Leighanne Kiggans; and Emma the chicken with her owner, preschool teacher Dawn Pittman.

In keeping with the Pet Week theme, Daisy the dog, owned by Ms. Danielle, proudly served as the grand marshall of this morning's Preschool Mardi Gras Parade. ( Photo: Preschool teacher Danielle Banquer introduces "Cat Benatar" to Emma Grace Salisbury and Audrey Caruso.)
Writing Center Announces Contest Winners

The Jr./Sr. High Library Writing Center has announced the winners of this quarter's writing contests. Entries were submitted in three categories: A Poem: "If Only I Had..." or "If Only I Had Not..."; a Children's Story; and a Persuasive Essay.

Congratulations to the winners -- Gold Level: Carson Badinger, Lunn Hitchcock, and Maddie Reonas; Silver Level: Hannah Barback, Dawson Latona, Jacob Schmidt, Alan Lam, Piper Davis, and Michal Gawronski; and Honorable Mention: Emily Schacht, Ryan Roper, Sydney Worsham, Amelia Breeden, Emma Collett, and Robby Harrison.
6th-12th Grade Band Solo & Ensemble Scores

This week, many of our band and string students participated in the Solo and Ensemble Festival in the performing arts classroom building. Playing as soloists, members of ensembles, or both, they appeared before judges not affiliated with Runnels and were rated on their level of accomplishment.

The results are in for band students in grades 6-12 and their scores are music to our ears. Congratulations to the participants and their band director, Jill Swetnam. ( Photo: Preparing for their turns in front of the judges are, from left, 6th graders Amelia Guess, Lilah Wartelle, Sadie Miller, Carli Shay, and Carter Parsons.)

Kudos and Notable Events ...
Music Scholarship ... Senior Anna Claire Pousson, a violinist in the Runnels Advanced String Orchestra, was recently invited to participate in Strings Day for area students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. While on campus, she auditioned for their collegiate symphony orchestra and was offered a scholarship to play with the symphony next fall as a freshman. Congratulations to Anna Claire, her strings instructors, Dan and Jennifer Cassin, and her parents, Christine and Marty Pousson. ( Photo: Anna Claire Pousson)
Jr. Beta State Convention Awards ... With a delegation of 39, Runnels had a powerful presence at the 2019 Jr. Beta State Convention held Feb. 21-22 at the Cajundome in Lafayette. In addition to Ben Hader's successful bid to become the new Jr. Beta State President ( reported in last week's Friday Focus. ), our school won other honors. The club placed third in the Skit contest, and Sarah Golda, grade 8, was awarded fourth place in the Photography competition for her black and white picture. Congratulations to our entire club and sponsors Christine Pousson, John Baird, and Caroline Hader. ( Photo: Sarah Golda)
Reflections on Schindler's List ... In connection with their studies of World War II, high school students in Samantha Chaisson's American History classes recently viewed the film Schindler's List. Afterward they participated in a Socratic seminar to reflect on their responses to the movie. For the seminar, each student prepared open-ended questions to prompt discussion and later put their greatest "takeaways" from the film and seminar in writing. Among the responses was Jackie Hinkle's:

"My greatest takeaway from the film is that people can change. In the beginning, Schindler could care less if he saved anyone. As the film goes on, he starts to help a little. He later spent all of his money to save them. At the end, he said he could have saved more."

( At the Socratic seminar, (from left) Brandon Hall makes a point as Jackie Hinkle, Jaidyn Procell, Annie Fink and Ms. Chaisson listen attentively.)

STEM Library Activity ... In the Elementary Library this week, students in grades 1-3 and 6 took on a STEM challenge. After reading Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, they worked in teams to create a structure out of 15 toothpicks and 15 large marshmallows that would hold a tennis ball . "I was so impressed with how the students collaborated on their teams," said Elementary Librarian Amanda Albin. (At work on their STEM project in the Elementary Library this week are, from left, sixth graders Yaseen Zaid, Carli Shay, Lina Derzi, Nathan Coxe. )

"Pasta for Patients" Update ... Thank you to everyone who contributed to the "Pasta for Patients" drive for LLS. Our school raised $4,300 for the charity, with Gina Golda's lunch class earning the Pasta Party with a contribution of $1,500. Runnels also won the Online Giving Challenge and received a $50 Wal-Mart gift card. Lunch classes earning ice cream parties were first grade (Mrs.Tate), all second, third, and fifth grade lunch classes, and Mrs. Golda's sixth grade class. Our online giving page will remain active through April.
We Sincerely Thank...
Disney Inspired Teacher Appreciation at Preschool ... A series of "Disney" themed Teacher Appreciation events at the preschool in February turned the preschool into a magical place, reports Preschool Co-Director Janice Leger. "We loved our t-shirts, food supplied by parents, catered lunch, gifts, and just being treated like princesses and a prince," she added. Special thank yous go to Teacher Appreciation parent volunteer coordinators Haleigh Wingate and Christy Carpenter. ( Photo: Haleigh Wingate and Janice Leger. )

"Good" Bugs and "Bad" Bugs ... Many thanks to the owner of Arrow Pest Control and alumni mom Lori Cohn (Natalie, '02, Joseph, '06, and Jacob, '07) for stopping by the preschool Feb. 21 to help our students learn about "good" and "bad" bugs. "In our lawn, the fire ant is a bad bug," she explained, "but out in the forest, it is a good bug because it helps clean up."
( Above Photo: We sincerely thank Dr. Sumeet Dua of Louisiana Tech University for presenting a fascinating talk to Kathy Judd's junior and senior high school computer science students this week. His presentation, "From Video Gaming to Designing Drugs: Pursuing a Career in Computer Science and Preparing for the Next Revolution" outlined many reasons why, in his words, "It's a great time to be a computer scientist." Dr. Dua is a Professor of Computer Science and Cyber Engineering at LA Tech University where he holds the Max P. and Robert L. Watson Eminent Scholar Chair. His talk was sponsored by Speaking of Science, which sends Louisiana researchers into classrooms to talk about STEM subjects.)
In this week's photo album: American History, Preschool Teacher Appreciation, Preschool Pet Week, English Music Research Papers, Chemistry, Solo & Ensemble, Kindergarten Taste of Louisiana, Preschool and Candids.
Athletic Corner
Boys Powerlifting medalists, from left, Justin Taliaferro, Seth Chiasson and Aaron Taliaferro following the East Regional meet on Feb. 22.
Girls Powerlifting medalists, from left, Micah Roper, Ryan Roper, Julia Sager and Emma Schlotterer.

At the East Regional Championship meet, the Runnels powerlifting team took home seven medals and four titles, with 16 lifters qualifying for State. The meet was held at Denham Springs High School on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22.

Senior Justin Taliaferro won first place in the competition and claimed the East Region Champion title for Division B in the boys 198 lb. weight class. Seniors Aaron Taliaferro placed second in the 165 lb. weight class and Seth Chiasson grabbed third place in the 148 lb. weight class.

In the girls 105 lb. weight class, senior Micah Roper placed first and won the East Region Champion title for Division B. In the same weight class, her sister Ryan Roper placed second and earned the second place title in the East Region. The sisters had actually tied for first place by lifting the same composite weight; however, in the event of a tie, the lifter weighing least takes first place. During the presentation of the medals, the judges announced Ryan as the first- place winner. Ryan, realizing their error, switched places and gave the medal to Micah, who weighs a half pound less.

Junior Julia Sager earned a first-place medal in the 123 lb. weight class and won the East Region Champion title for Division B. Sophomore Emma Schlotterer placed third in the 132 lb. weight class and was in the top 5 in the East Region. Also finishing in the top 5 in the East Region were Mia Alfonso in the 123 lb. weight class and Meredith Taliaferro in the 114 lb. weight class.

Sixteen members of the Runnels team qualified for the State meet by scoring in the top 10 in Division B. Qualifying from the girls team were Mia Alfonso, Erin Oehrle, Micah Roper, Ryan Roper, Julia Sager, Emma Schlotterer and Meredith Taliaferro. Seth Chiasson, Josh Freeman, Hudson Hillman, Eli Latiolais, Cole Latiolais, Caleb Reid, Spencer Spivak, Aaron Taliaferro and Justin Taliaferro qualified from the boys team.

Natalie Fairley, John Latona, Steven Spivak and Reilly Wilks also lifted, and while gaining several personal records, finished just out of the running this year.

“The coaches are very proud of the effort put forth by all the lifters,” said Head Coach Mitch Reeves. Assisting the direction of the the team are assistant coaches Tom Babcock, Greg Taliaferro, Lonnie Leger, and Dr. Mike Day.

The LA State Championship Meet will be held on March 15 and 16 in Alexandra.

The Raiders basketball team is headed to the State Semifinals! Runnels defeated Episcopal School of Acadiana 58-46 in a home quarterfinal playoff game. In the first quarter, the Raiders ran out to a 17-4 lead, and never gave it up. The first half ended 32-16, and the Raiders came out to extend the lead 37-16 in the early third. ESA responded with a run and cut the lead to 50-46 with about a minute to go in the game. Free throws from Collin Coates and Cade Tate sealed the victory. Cade Tate finished the game with 25 points, and Collin Coates had 19 points. Griffin Kennedy had 7 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Next week, the Raiders will head out to Lake Charles to take on Crescent City in the Semifinals. This marks the first trip to the State Tournament since 2008. Date and time are yet to be determined. Stay posted for more details. Way to go, Raiders!

( Photo: Senior Griffin Kennedy cuts down the game net after the last home game of the season. The net was cut into pieces and shared with the team players .)

Kudos to the members of the Lady Raiders soccer team for their selection to the All-District team. Selected for First Team All-District were senior Anna Claire Courville, freshman Blaiklee Guillot, senior Avery Hamachek and junior Angele Lansing. Blaiklee Guillot also received the All District Defensive MVP Award, while, Avery Hamachek was also selected for First Team All-District - Goal Keeper.
Selected for Second Team All-District were senior Anna Kadi, junior Bailey Hyatt and freshman Sydney Worsham.

Congratulations to senior Anna Kadi for making the 2018-2019 LHSAA Composite All-Academic Girls Soccer Team and LHSAA Class All-Academic Girls Soccer Team, Div. IV. Anna Claire Courville also made the LHSAA Class All-Academic Team. Athletes selected for "Composite" need 6 semesters of a 4.0 GPA and for the "Class" need 6 semesters of 3.5-3.9 GPA.
Coach Estuardo Silva also gave recognition to the team members. Captain Awards were given to Anna Claire Courville, Avery Hamachek, Anna Kadi and Angele Lansing. Ryan Roper was named Lady Raider of the Year. Chelsea Holden was named Offensive Lady Raider while Meredith Taliaferro was named Defensive Lady Raider.

(Photo: F ront row, from left, Natalie Fairley, Meredith Taliaferro, Chloe Bueche, Zeena Shammout, Blaiklee Guillot, Anna Kadi and Avery Hamachek. Back row, from left, Anna Claire Courville, Ryan Roper, Sydney Worsham, Angele Lansing, Bailey Hyatt, Chelsea Holden, and Coach Estuardo Silva.)

Varsity Volleyball Coach Jean Martinez and Junior High Volleyball Coach Zoe Craig will be holding a Mardi Gras Mambo Volleyball Camp March 6 - 8 from 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. The camp is open to all Runnels students in grades 5-8. Camp fees are $75 made payable to Jean Martinez. Please submit completed and signed Liability Waiver with payment.

The Bowling Team won its match against Donaldsonville on Monday in almost a complete shut out -- a stunning victory while celebrating Senior Night with senior Seth Miller who had an awesome high score of 164. Karli Hebert and Mitchell Egger had an impressive night also with a tie high score of 154. Janie Schlotterer broke her personal record with 130.
TONIGHT Varsity Softball - Tara Tournament at Home - TBA

Happening During Mardi Gras Break
March 2— Baseball vs. St. James in Thibodaux – 9:30 a.m.
Softball - Tara Tournament at Home - TBA
March 4 — Baseball vs. Lee High at Home – 3:30 p.m.
March 5 — Softball vs. Holden at Home – 4:00 p.m.
March 7 — Track & Field at Baton Rouge High Meet
Baseball vs. SU Lab in Plaquemine – 6:45 p.m.
Softball vs. Kenner Discovery at Home – 4:00 p.m.
March 8 — Baseball vs. Plaquemine at Plaquemine – 4:30 p.m.
Baseball vs. Scotlandville at Plaquemine – 6:45 p.m.
March 9 — Softball vs. Woodlawn at Home – 11:00 a.m.
Softball vs. Episcopal at Home – 2:00 p.m.

Email game and fan photos to . Please include the event and the name of the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
Mar. 2 - March 10 / Mardi Gras School Holiday

Through Mar. 6 / Register for After-School ACT Prep Workshops at Runnels / Click here to register .

Mar. 11 / School Resumes

Mar. 18 / Practice ACT at Runnels for all juniors / Theatre, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon