May 3, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
It is with great pleasure that I invite you to the first annual Festival of Arts at Runnels this Sunday, May 5 on the main campus.

The festival includes the school-wide Spring Art Show in the gym, which will feature original artwork by students in preschool through high school. Immediately preceding the art show, we'll have an awards ceremony for winners in grades 7-12 in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.

A series of concerts showcasing the talents of our young music students will also headline the afternoon. The Harp Choir performs at 2:00 p.m., the String Orchestra at 3:30 and the 6th-12th-Grade Band at 5:00.

I hope you will be able to join us. The festival is sure to be a stellar event!

In Focus this week: Senior Receives Credit Union Scholarship; Winning Writers in Holocaust Essay Contest; Third Grade "Trip Around the World" Expands Reading Horizons; Let's Hear It for Almost, Maine ; Achieving Top Honors at State Literary Rally; "R"-Factor Talent Show Results; Inventors and Inventions in Life Science; Kudos and Notable Events; We Sincerely Thank; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner; and Friendly Reminders.

Watch for a special Academic Awards issue (grades 7-12) of the Focus next Wednesday.
Runnels Senior Awarded Credit Union Scholarship

Ryan Lam was recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Jefferson Financial Credit Union. He is one of only 12 graduating seniors in south Louisiana to receive the Peter C. Bertucci Scholarship.    

On Tuesday, Carl Duplessis and Vicky Gaudet of Jefferson Financial Credit Union were on campus to present him with the check. As part of the award, Ryan's sponsoring educator, high school English teacher Colleen LeBlanc, received a check for $100 and the school was given $300. Ryan, a member of both the soccer and tennis teams, requested that the school award be donated to the athletic department. READ MORE...

( Photo: Senior Ryan Lam, third from left, is presented with a $1,000 Peter C. Bertucci Scholarship by Carl Duplessis, far left, and Vicky Gaudet, far right of the Jefferson Financial Credit Union. Ryan's sponsoring educator, Colleen LeBlanc, second from left, also received an award of $100.)
Winning Writers in Holocaust Essay Contest

Two Runnels students won first-place and another came in second in the 2019 Holocaust Writing Contest sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge. 

Senior Julia Sager was awarded first place in the high school division, and 7th grader George Forgey took first-place honors in the middle school division. Arthur Donaldson, also a 7th grader, achieved second place.

The winners were recognized at a special Holocaust Memorial Service held April 28 at Congregation B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge. Julia and George received $50 gift certificates to Barnes & Noble and $50 in cash, and Arthur was presented with a $35 gift certificate and $25 in cash.

( Photo: Winners of the 2019 Holocaust Essay Contest, from left, Julia Sager, Arthur Donaldson, and George Forgey.)
Third Grade "Trip Around the World" Expands Reading Experience

To enhance and expand their reading experiences, the third graders participated in the annual "Trip Around the World" this week, with "stops" in "Japan," "Norway," "France," "Chile," "Italy" and "Mexico." Students learned about the culture, history, geography, climate, landmarks, traditions, and cuisine of each country. Guiding the "tours," which took place in courtyard classrooms decorated to represent the five nations, were parent and grandparent volunteer "country hosts."

Highlights in "Norway" included making troll dolls, wearing Viking helmets, and sampling vaflers (waffles with jelly and whipped cream eaten as a mid-day treat). In "France" there were tasty macarons, Brie, and French bread, a sample ballet lesson, and a chance to paint in the style of the French Impressionists.

The "visit" to “Mexico ” featured information about jaguars and the Aztec culture, learning the Mexican Hat Dance, and munching on nachos. In “Japan,” students practiced saying good morning in Japanese and found out that Children’s Day is a national holiday celebrated every May 5. Because koi streamers are flown outside homes in honor of Children’s Day, the students made their own, using construction paper and other crafting materials. Also under discussion were samurai, Mt. Fuji, Godzilla, and anime. The children entered “Japan” through a red ceremonial "Torii gate." 

"Tourists" in “Italy" built a miniature Leaning Tower of Pisa out of Styrofoam blocks, examined Euros, and tasted spaghetti, lasagna, caprese salad, and tiramisu. In “Chile,” students explored the country’s diverse climate, which ranges from hot and dry in the north to subtropical on Easter Island off the coast to icy blue glacial in the south. A practical lesson about currency had students figuring out how many Chilean Pesos it would take to purchase a $40 video game ($27,000!). The "visitors" also sampled grapes, which is a leading Chilean export, and dressed up as huasos, Chilean style cowboys.
Many thanks to third-grade reading teacher Alice Aucoin for orchestrating the "tour." We also extend our thanks to volunteer “country hosts” Haleigh Wingate and her mom (Norway), Camilla Fuentes Wilcher, Sylvia Nicolai, and Felipe Fuentes (Chile), Katheryn Dispenza and her mom (Italy), Melanie Johnson and her mom (Japan), Lauren Funk and Angie Dunn (France), and Erin Sandefur and Anne Brown (Mexico). Shout-outs also go to Beth Alfonso for helping with the International lunch and Rachel Power-Erikson for assisting with the decorations. ( Photo: While in "Chile," third graders Sophie LeBlanc and Emma Hazel Wingate look at jewelry made from copper and lapis lazuli, products mined in that nation, as country co-hosts, from left, Felipe Fuentes, Camilla Fuentes Wiltcher, and Sylvia Nicolai offer more information.)

Let's Hear It for Almost, Maine Cast & Crew

A round of applause goes to our Drama III and IV students for staging a production of the contemporary drama Almost, Maine by John Cariani in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre on Tuesday. The play, set in the mythical town of Almost, Maine, is comprised of a series of short scenes examining various facets of love and loss. The performers included seniors Tyler Robbins, Landon Simpson, Peter Lukinovich, Madaleine Alessi, Sophia Torres and Camille Doucet and juniors Jackie Hinkle, Haley Brassard, Anna Manning, and Jaidyn Procell. Camille Doucet designed the sets and K-12 Theatre Program Chair Neena McLaine directed the production. MORE PHOTOS...

( Photo: In a scene from "Almost, Maine" are junior Jackie Hinkle and senior Tyler Robbins.)
Achieving Top Honors at State Literary Rally

Ten Runnels students collected high honors at the State Literary Rally held April 6 at LSU. Five placed first in their subjects -- with one named an overall winner -- and five more finished second.

Eighth grader Lucy Reeves earned the highest score among all divisions in Spanish 1 to become the overall winner in her subject. She was awarded a medal and certificate of achievement and is eligible for a $500 scholarship that can be used at any accredited Louisiana-based public or private college or university.

Bringing home first-place honors were senior Kayla Evans in Calculus 2; freshman Ryan Roper in Latin 2; and junior Aubri Watts in English 3. Eighth grader Zeena Shammout received a Superior rating in Spanish 1: Interpretive Reading.

Earning second place laurels were freshman Reagan Kyle in Biology; sophomore Marshall Pentes in Chemistry; sophomore Connor Porthouse in Advanced Math 1; and senior Thomas Worsham in Advanced Math 2 - Functions and Statistics. Sophie Edwards, also a sophomore, earned an Excellent rating in Spanish II: Interpretive Reading.

In addition, senior Collin Bueche placed third in Civics, and freshman Jensen Holliday, senior Daniel Mayeaux, and freshman Dawson Latona placed fourth, respectively, in World Geography, Physics, and Algebra 2. ( Photo: Lucy Reeves)
Louisiana Law Requires Meningitis Boosters Starting July 1, 2019

The Louisiana State Department of Health/Office of Public Health requires a Meningococcal vaccine booster at age 16, according to a new law effective July 1, 2019. Therefore, a student who is entering the eleventh grade or who is 16 years old entering a grade other than eleventh grade shall provide satisfactory evidence of current immunization against meningococcal disease. ( Click here for the law.)

If your child is presently 16 years old, approaching 16, or older than 16, this is the time he/she needs this booster vaccine. Please make an appointment with your physician soon to obtain the vaccination. When your child has received the required vaccination, please ask your physician to provide an updated Louisiana "Universal Certificate of Immunization" for our school records. A copy can be sent directly to me at

To clarify, if your child will be 16 years old at the start of school (no matter the grade), you must provide proof of immunization compliance by the first day of school. I will do an audit prior to the start of school in August then periodic checks throughout the school year and send reminders as your child approaches age 16.

Thank you for your attention to this important health issue. If you desire to provide an exemption from this vaccine for personal, religious or medical reasons, please contact me for the exemption form. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at or by phone: 225-215-5706 x005 or fax: 225-756-5837.
"R"-Factor Talent Show Results ... A dynamic lineup of contestants stepped into the spotlight in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre April 17 to compete in the annual “R”-Factor High School Talent Show. Students vied for awards in the categories of Judge's and Student's Choice.

Winning first place in both divisions was senior Hannah Page for her “Baby Shark” dance. Other Student's Choice winners were Kyra Reeves (“Mosaic” vocal) in 2nd place and Abby and Tyler Robbins (“Bop to the Top” dance and vocal) in 3rd. With their brother-and-sister act, Abby and Tyler finished 2nd in Judge's Choice, and sophomore Caroline Collins (“9-5” dance) placed 3rd.

Huge thank yous go to the Class of 2021 and its officers, Madisan Milam, Mollybeth Wilkinson, Sophie Edwards and Ansley Brown, and sponsor April Wilkinson for organizing the show, to Landon Simpson and Peter Lukinovich for taking on emcee duties, and to judges Rachel Hart, Jean Martinez, Johnice Thoms and Rhonda Tucker.

( Photo: A lineup of "R"-Factor Talent Show contestants.)
Inventions and Inventors ... Famous inventors and their life-changing inventions were the subject of a very hands-on research project in Mrs. Gant's Life Science classes recently.

In addition to digging into the life and work of a particular inventor, students exercised their own creativity by making small 3-D models representing their inventor's original invention.

They used easily sourced supplies like boxes, construction paper, cardboard tubes and crafting supplies to make creatively inspired models of amazing inventions such as pointe ballet shoes (Anna Pavlova), a portable X-Ray machine (Marie Curie), an elevator (Elisha Otis), a dishwasher (Josephine Cochrane), a Barbie doll (Ruth Handler), a telescope (Hans Lippershey), a nuclear reactor (Enrico Fermi), a roller coaster (LaMarcus Thompson), a zipline (Donald Perry), a gas mask (Garrett Morgan), a drum set (William F. Ludwig), and a traffic light (John Peake Knight).

( Photo: First hour Life Science students display their 3-D models of life-changing inventions.)
Kudos and Notable Events
National Beta Scholar ... Senior Amelia Jennings has been named a 2019 National Beta Scholar. She is one of only 247 Beta Club seniors chosen to receive the scholarship, which carries a $1,000 cash award.

Selection is based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, commendable character, school and community service, and participation in Beta activities. This year's winners came from 39 states, the District of Columbia, China, Hungary, Puerto Rico, and Russia.

Amelia is the daughter of Vallerie Myer and the late Lee Jennings.

( Photo: Amelia Jennings )
We Sincerely Thank...
Sweet Teacher Appreciation Finale ... Our heartfelt thanks goes to the wonderful PAR (Parent Association of Runnels ) for showering the faculty and staff with sweet and thoughtful Teacher Appreciation treats this week. We loved the scrumptious desserts, precious school t-shirts, kind notes and generous cash gifts. Special thank yous go to PAR president Blake Stevenson and Teacher Appreciation Chairs Brooke Yura and Shasta Felton for all of their hard work throughout the school year and to the parents who provided this week's desserts including Amanda Gustavson, Debbie Schacht, Mercedes Dooley, Julie Martin, Alecia Tate, Wendy Dolan, Tara King, Stephanie Frederic, Colleen Spillane, Emily DiStefano, Jean Martinez, Marcy Faust, and Leslie Sheffield . ( Photo: This year's PAR Teacher Appreciation celebrations concluded with a festive dessert course beautifully presented in the teachers' lounges on Thursday. )

Sharing Talent ... Many thanks to senior Tyler Robbins for singing the National Anthem at the Track and Field District 7B Championship meet at Broadmoor on April 10.
In this week's photo album: Enjoying Sno-ball treats in Elementary, Jr. Beta Bag Project, Holocaust Essay Contest Winners; Athletic Awards Ceremony, Peter C. Bertucci Scholarship; Science Inventions, Spring Scholastic Book Fair, Art Show Voting; 4th- and 5th-Grade Band Solo & Ensemble Festival Rehearsals; and Raider Star Drawings.

(Photo: Students in Julie Stevenson's first-grade math class work together on the the new whiteboard to fill in fractions with smiley faces. "Several of us can now use our fingers at once," said Mrs. Stevenson.)
Athletic Corner

Last night, the Track and Field Raiders rocked the State Championship at LSU, bringing home 6 medals and setting new personal bests. Junior Annie Fink was runner up in both the girls 800m and 1600m, taking home two 2nd-place medals. Annie also set 2 new PRs and 2 new school records: 5:20 in the 1600m and 2:25 in the 800m. Senior Micah Roper grabbed 2nd in the girls 3200m while freshman Dawson Latona placed 2nd in the boys 3200m. In the boys 200m, junior John Spillane placed 2nd and set a new PR and new school record in the 200mm (23.41). Senior London Deshotel placed 3rd in the high jump. The girls finished 4th out of 24 teams and the boys placed 8th out of 27 teams to tie with Grace Christian. 

Congratulations to senior Micah Roper for receiving a scholarship from the Louisiana Track and Field Coaches Association! The award was presented at the State Championship Meet last night.

To qualify for the state championship, Annie, Micah, Dawson, John and London finished in the top 3 at t he Regional meet held on April 22 at McNeese. They earned 6 medals in all. Annie earned two 1st-place medals -- in the 800m and 1600m. Dawson placed 1st in the 3200m and 2nd in the 1600m. John Spillane brought home 2 medals, placing 2nd in both the 100m and the 200m. London Deshotel earned 2nd in the high jump while Micah placed 3rd in the 3200m. The boys team placed 5th out of 10 teams and the girls 4th out of 11 teams, with each team member scoring points. Earning points were Anna Claire Courville, Blaiklee Guillot, Eric Ho, Ben Holliday, Angele Lansing, Ian Lansing, Ryan Ly, Ryan Roper and Sydney Worsham.

Track and Field Head Coach Julie Fink said, "Coming  to the meet to support our athletes really does makes a difference." Fink said she is grateful for all of the support the team received from parents and friends.

(Photos: On left, from left, medalists Dawson Latona, Annie Fink, London Deshotel and John Spillane. On right, Coach Julie Fink and Micah Roper.)

The varsity baseball team finished second in district and earned a 5 seed going into the playoffs after completing the regular season with 13-13. The team racked up several district awards, with Ricky Harrison, Robby Harrison, Grayson Gulley, Collin Bueche and Jake Best all earning 1st Team All-District Honors. Earning 2nd Team All-District honors were Sam Haase, Blaine Nicholson, Trent King, Aaron Taliaferro, and Justin Taliaferro.

Tonight, the Raiders take on Grace Christian in the quarterfinals game at 5:30 p.m. at England Air Park Merrill Blackburn Field in Alexandria.

The junior high baseball team played an exciting game on Tuesday that concluded with a 7-6 loss to the Raptors. Ben Hader pitched 3 innings, only allowing 1 earned run.

On Thursday, the boys came back, defeating the Thunder 13-3. Preston Treadaway went 2-3 with 2 RBIs. Michael Hillman was 1-3 with 3 RBIs while Rossie Harrison earned the win, striking out 4. The boys play a double-header on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. and at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at Cedar Ridge Park.
Varsity Baseball Quarterfinals in Alexandria – 5:00 p.m.

Email game and fan photos to . Please include the event and the name of the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
May 4 / Kelly Awards / 4:00 p.m., Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre

May 5 / Festival of Arts /1:30 - 5:00 p.m., Spring Art Show Awards for Grades 7-12 and Reception , 1:30 p.m., Theatre; Spring Art Show Viewing , Runnels Catalano Gym, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.; Harp Choir Concert , 2:00 p.m., Theatre; String Orchestra Concert , Theatre, 3:30 p.m.; 6th-12th-Grade Band Concert , Theatre, 5:00 p.m; Elementary Library Scholastic Book Fair, 1:30 - 5:00 p.m.; Jr ./Sr. High Library -- Summer Reading Preview and Book Orders through Barnes & Noble, and Writing Center Display, 1:30 - 5:00 p.m.

May 6 - 17 / AP Exams ( See AP and Final Exam Schedule below. ) All AP Exams are off campus at Broadmoor United Methodist Church. Students will need to arrange for transportation to and from their exams.

May 7 / Last Day of School for Seniors

May 8 / General Music Parent Day / 10:15 a.m., Chorus Room

May 8 - 10 / Senior Exams ( See AP and Final Exam Schedule below.)

May 10 / Elementary Drama Performances / during class times, Elementary Drama Room

May 10 / Junior Beta Dance / 7:00 p.m., Catalano Gym

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.)