May 13, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
We hope you'll enjoy reading this weather delayed issue of last week's regular Friday Focus. We've freshened up the stories and pictures and included the latest news in sports. We sincerely hope you enjoyed a very Happy Mother's Day on Sunday.

In Focus this week: Spring Art Show Winners Announced; Festival of Arts Features String of Concerts; "Cereal Box" Book Reports A Celebration of Dance; Colonial Days; Solo and Ensemble Festival for Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Band Students; We Sincerely Thank; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner; and Friendly Reminders.

Correction: In our special mid-week May 8 issue, we wrote that valedictorian selection is based on four components. That is incorrect. It is based on two: cumulative GPA and strength of schedule. Also, the first name of Madison Sutton's father was listed incorrectly. His name is Kevin Sutton. We apologize for the errors, which were inadvertent.
Spring Art Show Winners Announced

Original artwork created by students in all four divisions of our school went on exhibit at the annual Spring Art Show as part of the Runnels Festival of Arts on May 5. For the show, which featured hundreds of spectacular paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, and digitally designed and mixed media pieces, the Catalano Gym was styled as an upscale art gallery, with live music, light refreshments, and art activities for the youngest visitors.

Prior to the opening, students viewed the art and filled in ballots for Student's Choice awards in grades 1-12. Also recognized at the show were winners in the categories of Judge's, Librarian's, Principal's, Assistant Principal's, and Vice Principal's Choice. Artwork (2-D only) receiving Judge's Choice awards in grades 7-12 will go on display in the foyer of the Theatre for one year. Principal's and Elementary Librarian's Choice award winners will be on permanent display in school offices and libraries.

We extend a huge thank you to art department head Lee Brandt Randall and art teachers Sydney McGraw, Nicole Latiolais, Burgundy Brumfield, Jennifer Leeper, Lauren Downing, Laura Russell, Amy Sandifer, and Katrina Ray for organizing and mounting this enormous art show. We also thank the Jazz Souls for providing live music for the event.

( Photo: With his painting "Red Dog," which won a Principal's Choice Award at the School-wide Spring Art Show at the Festival of Arts on May 5, is third grader Jordan Bergeron. )
Festival of Arts Features String of Sparkling Concerts
Our harp, strings, and band departments delivered a series of dazzling end-of-the-year concerts as part of the Runnels Festival of Arts on May 5.

Harp Choir ... Leading off the chain of performances was the Runnels Harp Choir under the direction of Dr. Gabriela Werries. One by one, the harp students stepped on stage, introduced themselves and their music and performed solos of traditional, folk, and classical pieces showcasing their musical accomplishments during the school year.

( Photo: Taking a bow after the concert are harpists, from left, Riley Whittemore, Kelly Messenger, Wesleigh Doughty, Gracie Doughty, Sarah Golda, Kiera Slaton, Kyra Reeves, Dr. Werries, and Annie Leake.)
String Orchestra ... The Runnels String Orchestra, directed by Jennifer and Dan Cassin, presented a vibrant concert of standard and classical pieces with an injection of South of the Border flavor in honor of Cinco de Mayo on May 5.

Seniors Anna Claire Pousson and Micah Roper were recognized for their contributions to the strings program and were presented with gifts.

( Photo: String Orchestra members Adam Chittom, Rebecca Ortlieb, Madelyn Sandifer, Clara Huxen, Isabelle Kennedy, Zeb Tate, Sarah Ortlieb, Parker Wright, Brooke Parsons, and Hannah Landry gather backstage before the Runnels String Orchestra Concert on May 5 at the Festival of Arts.)
6th-12th-Grade Band ... The sounds of jazz and improv headlined the 6th-12th-Grade Band Concert at the Festival of Arts. Directed by Jill Swetnam, the show featured individual performances by the 6th-Grade, 7th-Grade, and 7th-12th-Grade Bands, with a finale showcasing the "big band sound" of the combined bands -- 73 students strong -- performing "Sweet Caroline," "Land of 1000 Dances," and "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Senior tuba player Ian Duke was honored for his many years with the band. He said he has plans to attend Louisiana Tech as a freshman next year.

The trio of concerts proved a great way to close the curtain on a great season of music by our harp, strings, and 6th-12th grade band programs.

( Photo: The combined 6th-12th-Grade Band takes a bow after wowing the audience with their swingin' version of "When the Saints Go Marching In.")
"Cereal Box" Book Reports Nourish Minds of Young Readers

The fourth graders in Michele Barnett's reading classes recently created “cereal box” book reports based on classic novels they had read. The cereal boxes, with one long side cut away, served as dioramas in which created small-scale, three-dimensional pictorial representations of elements from the book.

The "cereal box" book reports included the title and author of the book, its main characters, a summary of the story, and an important scene.

Among the books students read for their reports were Dracula, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, and The Jungle Book .

( Photo: A group of fourth graders display their "cereal box" book reports.)
A Celebration of Dance

Members of the Jr.-Sr. High Modern Dance, Jazz-Contemporary-Lyrical Dance, and Intermediate/Advanced Ballet classes performed their Spring Dance Program May 3 in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.

The program featured 11 dances performed primarily to contemporary vocal music. The dances were choreographed by the students and their instructor, Rachel Harper Hart.

Seniors Madaleine Alessi and Sarah Soileau danced solos and were presented with bouquets of flowers at the end of the performance.

( Photo: Intermediate/Advanced Ballet students dance to "Symphony" a song by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson. Rachel Harper Hart was the choreographer.)
Colonial Days Come to Runnels

To mark the completion of their studies of the 13 Colonies, the fifth graders enjoyed games, foods, and crafts that would have been familiar to children living in 18th century America.

Students designed quilt squares, made whirligigs and rag dolls, played Nine Men’s Morris (a cross between checkers and tic-tac-toe), "churned" butter, and gobbled up Johnny Cakes slathered with butter and genuine maple syrup.

Our sincere thanks are extended to event organizer Cheyenne Davis and parent volunteers Carrie Griffin, Sarah Sheikha-Khalil, Julie Tinsley, Wendy Dolan, Aislynn Coates, and Darlene Rostow. 

( Photo: Mixing Johnny Cake batter at the fifth grade's Colonial Days celebration on May 10.)
Hitting High Marks at Solo and Ensemble Festival

Many 4th- and 5th-Grade Band students participated in the Solo and Ensemble Festival in the Performing Arts Classroom Building in May. They played alone or in groups before judges not affiliated with Runnels and were ranked according to their performances. Congratulations to 4th- and 5th-Grade Band Director Shanna Drescher and the following students:

Superior Ratings - Adin Brunner, Luke Aucoin, Molly Banquer, Lila Brumfield, Gracie Coates, Emerson Corder, Maeve Dolan, Eddie Eeds, Tyler Felton, James Gawronski, Laura Golda, Alex Griffin, Harper Guay, Madden Guidry, Ethan Harbin, Noah Hebert, Evan Ho, Lucas Holden, Lexie Matens, Alaina Milam, Shaylen Patel, Olive Pittman, Enzo Rovai, Will Reonas, William Shain, Sawyer Suchanek. Excellent Ratings -Paige Ashley, Bryant Aucoin, Limmie Bailey, Andrew Harbin, Alex Hayden, Derek Houk, Sammy Ismail, Nicolas Morgan, Brody Osbourne, Daniel Tate, Damien Tinsley, Ethan Vagi, and John Harper Wilkinson.

( Photo: Fourth-graders, from left, Ethan Harbin, William Shain, and Adin Brunner wait for their turn before judges at the Solo and Ensemble Festival.)
Kudos and Notable Events
ACLU Essay Contest Award Winner ... Senior Hannah Barback has won second place in the 2019 Joe Cook Memorial Essay Contest sponsored by the ACLU Foundation of Louisiana. In addition to receiving the honor, she was awarded a prize of $400. Hannah will be presented with her award at the ACLU of Louisiana’s 42nd Annual Ben Smith Fete, to be held at the Felicity Church in New Orleans on May 23.

In a letter from the ACLU Foundation, Hannah's essay, which addresses the prompt “What does patriotism mean to you in the context of the First Amendment?” was described as “thought-provoking and perceptive.”

( Photo: Hannah Barback)
Writing Center Contest Results ... The Jr.-Sr. High Writing Center’s final writing contest of the school year asked students to submit original poems. To score the submissions, judges used the national Scholastic merit-based criteria of “originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal voice,” said Jr.-Sr. High Librarian Wendy Herumin. Congratulations to the winners. Gold Hannah Barback, Emily Schacht, Natalie Fairley, Emma Collett, Philip Lukinovich, Kaylee Caillouet, Madison Milam, Ryan Roper, Marcus Glaze, and Dawson Latona . Silver - Kayla Evans, Lunn Hitchcock, Cooper Smither, Reagan Kyle, Jacob Folse, Mia Alfonso, and Evan Beoubay. Bronze - Amelia Breeden, Blaine Nicholson, Omar Badawi and Jake Haase . Their work is on display in the Jr.-Sr. High Library.
Letters and Laughter Highlight Elementary Dramas ... Kudos to our elementary drama students and their teachers for staging two sensational plays in the Drama Room last Thursday (for students) and today for parents and guests. The 4th-6th graders presented the delightful comedy To The Letter, which concerned a secret society of silent consonants and a detective agency that specialized in untangling jumbled letters. Sonja Blanchard directed the shows.

Students in 1B and 2A charmed audiences with their musical comedy Squirm directed by Julie Horridge. ( Photo: The 2A cast in a scene from "Squirm.")
We Sincerely Thank...
... Rhonda and Parker Tucker for donating 12 office chairs for teachers on behalf of NOVA Chemicals Olefins LLC .

... Audra Collett for managing and submitting Box Tops and Community Coffee labels for the Elementary Library.

... The parent volunteers who helped staff the Elementary Library’s Spring Scholastic Book Fair and the many families that supported the event by shopping there! “We had an incredibly successful event and raised more than $1,200 for the library to purchase books and supplies,” said Elementary Librarian Amanda Albin.

... EBR Parish librarian Ginger Lemon for visiting with students in grades 3-5 in the Elementary Library last week to discuss summer reading activities available at the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library.

In this week's photo album: Elementary Drama Performances, Fourth Grade "cereal box" Book Reports, Fifth Grade Colonial Day, and Candids.

(Photo: Students in Sonya Blanchard's second hour drama class dance to "ABC" during their performance on Monday.)

Athletic Corner

We're sad to report that in today's game at the LHSAA state baseball tournament in Sulphur, the Raiders were edged out 2-1 by Northside Christian.

Below is Head Coach Ben Young's take on the action at the semifinal game against Claiborne Christian last week in Sulphur:

The Raiders Varsity Baseball team defeated the No. 1 seed and defending state champions, Claiborne Christian, in the semifinals 7-2 in Sulphur last week. The Raiders fell behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but then came back with 3 runs of their own in the 3rd inning. Ricky Harrison had a hard hit double in the left field gap to score Grayson Gulley and Robby Harrison. Jake Best followed up with an RBI single. The Raiders added some insurance runs in the 5th and 6th inning. Robby had a clutch single in the sixth to score a run and then Ricky followed with another hit to score his brother, Robby. Runnels pounded out 10 hits on the day, and Ricky through a complete game, only surrendering the two runs in the first inning. Grayson Gulley led the Raiders with 3 hits, Collin Bueche had a double, Blaine Nicholson had an RBI single, and Aaron Taliaferro had a hit.

(Photo: Above: Raider baseball players and fans strike a pose after winning the semifinals game at the state playoffs in Sulphur. Upper Right: Ricky Harrison)

The Runnels junior high baseball team played three games last week with one win and two losses. At last Tuesday’s double header, the Raiders defeated the Astors 6-4. Later that evening the boys suffered upsets to the Dodges and to the Tigers on Wednesday.
Rossie Harrison was the winning pitcher in one of the games, striking out four. Tate Smith had 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Harrison White added a double.

This week, the boys play on Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. and Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Cedar Ridge Park. Playoffs are the following week.
Varsity Baseball State Final Championship game in Sulphur – 12:00 p.m.

Jr. High Baseball at Cedar Ridge Park – 7:20 p.m.

Jr. High Baseball at Cedar Ridge Park – 5:45 p.m.

Email game and fan photos to . Please include the event and the name of the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
May 13 / 4th and 5th Grade Band Concert / 7:00 p.m., Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre

May 7 / Dance Watch Day / during class times, Ballet Room

May 16 / Senior Sunset / 7:00 p.m., Raider Park

May 17 / Senior Stroll / 10:45 am, from the Theatre to the Elementary Playground

May 18 / High School Commencement / 4:00 p.m., Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre

May 21 - 24 / Final Exams for Grades 7-11 ( See AP and Final Exam Schedule below.)