November 22, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
On behalf of the faculty and staff at Runnels, I send you warm wishes for a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you and the opportunity to participate in the growth and development of your children and grateful to be part of our remarkable school family.

Thank you to those who have re-enrolled early. If you have not yet re-enrolled, we urge you to complete the process as soon as possible.

Please consider making a donation to the Runnels High School Support Fund . A voluntary donation in any amount is welcome and greatly appreciated.

In this week's Focus: Two Seniors Attain Rank of Eagle; Coming to Elementary: After-School Classes in Mandarin and Yoga; Hunt for Victory Pep Rally; Kindergartners Working and Feasting Together; Preschoolers Celebrate Turkey Day; Activities Involving Turkeys Abound in Elementary This Week; Kudos and Notable Events; Thank Yous; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner, and Friendly Reminders.

Have a Very Happy Thanksgiving!
Seniors Elevated to Eagle Scout Rank
Congratulations to seniors Cole Latiolais and John Spillane of Boy Scout Troop 203 for earning the rank of Eagle, the highest award attainable in American Boy Scouting. Both received their Eagle medals and were honored for their achievement at a ceremony held Nov. 17 at the St. Patrick's Church Family Center. According to Scouting Magazine , since the first Eagle Award was presented in 1912, only 2.01 percent of eligible Scouts have achieved this honor.

To qualify as an Eagle, candidates must check off a lengthy list of requirements including the completion of a service project that demonstrates their ability to plan, develop, organize, and lead a worthwhile endeavor in the community.

For his Eagle project, Cole planned and implemented a conservation project to build and install nine trash receptacles around City Park Lakes in Baton Rouge. John quarterbacked a project to restripe the parking lot, fire lanes and handicapped zones at St. Patrick's Church, which sponsors his Scout troop.

In addition to scouting, Cole, who has attended Runnels since his preschool days, participates in the Student Ambassadors Club, National Honor Society, and has been a member of the Runnels Powerlifting team for two years. John is active in the Student Ambassadors Club and the National Honor Society and has been a member of the Runnels track team since 8th grade.

Cole is the son of Nicole and Everett Latiolais and John is the son of Colleen and Phillip Spillane.
Coming to Elementary: After-School Classes in Mandarin and Yoga
Starting in January, you can add Mandarin Chinese and yoga to the growing list of after-school learning opportunities available at Runnels Elementary. The sessions, which will be conducted on the S. Harrell’s Ferry Rd. campus, will be fun, educational, and interactive.

Geaux Mandarin! Full-immersion language lessons will be provided by Geaux Mandarin, a company founded and directed by Runnels parent Maggie Yuan. She will teach the new language and its culture to students in grades K-6 in a joyful, engaging way, incorporating Chinese stories, songs, animal puppets, and interactive games. Thirty minute weekly lessons for kindergartners are $35 per month, and separate hour long sessions provided weekly to students in grades 1-6 are $60 per month. Days and times are still to be determined. Interested parents are invited to attend an informational meeting with Maggie Yuan on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Drama Room. If you are unable to attend or would like more information, please reach out to Maggie at .

Yoga Path at Runnels: Kate Suchanek, owner and operator of Yoga Path, will offer yoga lessons to students in grades K-6 from Jan. 6 through April 27 in the Elementary Drama Room. Classes will be held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. The cost is $40 per month. Kate Suchanek, a Runnels parent, has been studying and teaching yoga for 20 years and she's eager to share her love of yoga with youngsters at Runnels. To learn about the benefits of yoga for kids, contact her at
Hunt for Victory Pep Rally Revs Up Crowd for Basketball and Soccer
Decked out in camouflage and deer antlers, students in grades 6-12 gathered for the "Hunt for Victory" pep rally in the Catalano Gym Nov. 21.

Emcee Sherry Wilks introduced the members of the basketball team and the girls and boys soccer teams. The crowd also cheered for the members of the cross country and swim teams who participated in state tournaments this week.

At the pep rally, slightly wild games with a "hunters" theme were played, the varsity cheerleaders and Raiderettes performed, and the "Pep Band," under the direction of Jill Swetnam, supplied the music. Many thanks to Mrs. Wilks, who sponsors and coaches the varsity cheer team, for hosting the event, the varsity cheer squad for planning and organizing the event, the Raiderettes and sponsor Rachel Hart for spirited performances.

(Photo Caption: Dressed up as hunters and the hunted for today's Jr./Sr. High pep rally are, from left, seventh graders Amelia Guess, Jenna Sheikha, Luke Kennedy, Gibby Guay, Lina Derzi, Isabelle Kennedy, Addison Latona, and Brendan Levin.) 
Kindergartners Working and Feasting Together
The kindergartners celebrated Thanksgiving by working and feasting together. They all pitched in to make their own paint by mashing and straining cherries, blueberries and blackberries and later created lovely pictures with their products. For lunch today, they chopped up a bounty of fresh vegetables including cabbage, carrots, celery, and green beans for a pot of delicious Friendship Soup (which was cooked in an Instapot). They enjoyed the dish together in the spirit of being thankful.

The students also popped popcorn the old-fashioned way and played with corncob flyers they made themselves. Earlier in the week, they enjoyed a visit from Chief Strong Buffalo, a local historian, who gave a hands-on presentation about the history, culture and lore of Louisiana Native American tribes.

(Photo: Kindergartner Emma Vagi mashes berries for a Thanksgiving art project.)
Celebrating Turkey Day at Preschool with Parade, Fun, and Food
The preschoolers had plenty of fun this week working on Thanksgiving themed activities. Students in the three-year-olds' class and the Pre-Ks made their own Native American vests and feathered headbands. The vests were actually brown paper bags their teachers had cut into vest shapes.

The students decorated their vests with autumn leaves they had painted in watercolor and with other assorted artwork they created. They also made their own headbands from cardboard strips and brightly colored feathers. Students in the two-year-olds' classes wore fringed t-shirts they decorated with stamps themselves.

The children wore their Native American gear for today's Thanksgiving festivities. Students in the two-year-olds' class enjoyed a Thanksgiving Parade, making “music” with shakers loaded with dried, colored rice as they rolled through the campus.

Students in the three-year olds’ class talked about things they were thankful for during their Morning Meeting, such as their families, teachers, and "flying horses." The Pre-Ks made their own Mexican Cornbread and decorated cookies with frosting and sprinkles.

For lunch, all the students enjoyed a Thanksgiving Feast of chicken nuggets, fruit salad, peas, and macaroni and cheese, with cookies for dessert. Many thanks to the preschool parents who helped supply items and prepared dishes for the feast. A big thank you also goes to preschool campus facilitator Michael Bordelon for arranging the teepee area (photo) where the children played and had their pictures taken. 

Activities Involving Turkeys Abound in Elementary Classes This Week
Turkey Tales ... "Disguise the Turkey" stories were on the agenda in Leah Pizzalato’s fourth-grade English classes this week. Students honed their creative writing skills by trying to convince everybody not to eat turkey. The stories were written on the back of a turkey picture, which students colored to go with the theme of their "Disguise the Turkey" tales. (Photo: From left are fourth graders Sam Messenger, Isabella Haselden, Lily Downing, and Eyden Castaneda.)
Counting Turkeys ... In Madeleine Timpa’s first-grade class, turkeys helped spice up practicing to count by tens. The students pasted a paper turkey feather on their turkeys for every increment of 10 up to 100. In another project, they made a list of things they were grateful for such as friends, flowers, and family. Every day, they added another turkey feather to their turkeys to show what they were grateful for. (Photo: First graders Mirabelle Williams and Lucy Williams with their counting turkeys.)
Compound Turkeys ... To officially start their study of compound words, the students in Julie Stevenson's first grade class turned to turkeys, "Compound Turkeys," that is! They wrote a compound word of their choice on a paper turkey’s tummy and then wrote the two independent words on each of its two tail feathers. They also played a "Gobble Sight Word Game" to practice reading. (Photo: Russell Bergeron works on writing compound words in Mrs. Stevenson's first grade class.)
Kudos and Notable Events
Art Teacher and Illustrator ... Congratulations to art department head Lee Brandt Randall on the publication of her most recent children's book, Thibodeaux Turtle and Boudreaux Bunny, The Tortoise and the Hare with a Louisiana Twist. In this charming and gentle retelling of Aesop's familiar tale, the race takes place along the scenic River Road populated by creatures indigenous to South Louisiana.

 Ms. Randall's magical illustrations capture the look and flavor of our unique region, and there's even a recipe for "Picou Pelican's Pecan Pralines" at the end of the book. Thibodeaux Turtle and Boudreaux Bunny, written by Todd-Michael St. Pierre and illustrated by Lee Brandt Randall, is now available for purchase at the usual places including . If you select Runnels as your charitable organization, 0.5% of the purchase price will be donated to our school.
World Peace Day Poets ... Original poems written by six Runnels freshmen were on display at the State Capitol Building from Sept. 29 through Oct. 31 as part of a World Peace Day exhibit. The poets are Emma Collett, Madison Cummins, Ali Guerin, Jonathan Harper, Alan Lam, and Meredith Taliaferro. All of the poets are in Michele Stanfield's freshman English classes.

(Photo: World Peace Day poets are, from left, Madison Cummins, Jonathan Harper, Alan Lam, Emma Collett, Ali Guerin, and Meredith Taliaferro.)
We Sincerely Thank...
Thanksgiving with a Cajun Flavor ... The seniors sat down to a scrumptious Cajun Thanksgiving meal in the gym today. Hosted by senior parents Vickie Hall and Lisa Le , the lunch featured gumbo, rice, potato salad and cookie cake. Pitching in to help were Melanie Hyatt, Penny Earle (grandmother of Mitchell Egger), Janice Lansing, gumbo chef Michael Ly , and senior co-sponsor Nicole Latiolais

(Photo: Lisa Le and Michael Ly at today's senior luncheon in the gym.)

Scholastic Book Fair Update ... Thank you to all who supported the Elementary School's Fall Scholastic Book Fair ! According to Elementary Librarian Amanda Albin, "We were able to purchase books from the book fair to add to the library collection valued at approximately $300, and we'll also receive over $1,500 in cash to purchase additional library books and supplies."

Special thanks goes to everyone who provided muffins for "Muffins in the Morning," PAR President Blake Stevenson and the PAR for supplying donuts for "Donuts with Grownups," and the volunteers who worked at the event including Wendy Dolan, Amanda Francois, Nikki Roton, Galia Minkin, Becky Hillman, Shasta Felton, Rachel Stewart, and Mary Crowson. We also thank the sixth graders for helping their kindergarten buddies with their wish lists and the students in Kylie Harbin's eighth grade English classes for helping the first graders with theirs.

Bountiful Food Drive ... We send our grateful thanks to everyone who donated food items or cash to the Sr. Beta Club's annual Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank . In addition to donating the abundance of canned and boxed food items collected through the drive to the Food Bank, the club was able to donate $300 to help the charity. Kudos to the freshman class for bringing in the most contributions. As a thank you, they will enjoy a donut treat compliments of the Sr. Beta Club when school resumes in December.
Photo above: Senior class on a visit to the Renaissance Festival last week.

In this week's album: Seniors at Renaissance Festival, Jr. High Basketball, Swimming, Elementary Computer Lab, First-Grade Turkeys, Book Fair Candids, Fourth-Grade Disguised Turkeys, Kindergarten Third Grade Making Slime and Ice Cream, Senior Thanksgiving Lunch and Candids.
*Special thanks to Brynn Myles and Aidan Dooley for taking pictures at the pep rally.
Athletic Corner
Get your winter spirit apparel at the Booster Club’s Spirit Store!

Click below to enter store.


Runnels brought home the gold, silver, and bronze from the 2019 Class B LHSAA Cross Country State Championship Meet held at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches on Nov. 18. Star runner Annie Fink, grade 12, won the state title and a gold medal for the second year in a row, this time shattering a course record. Also for the second consecutive year, the Lady Raiders placed second, scooping up silver as the State Runner-Up Team. Standout sophomore distance runner Dawson Latona was awarded a bronze medal for his third-place finish in the boys individual competition.

In retaining her state crown, Annie set a new course record at the Walter Ledet track complex by completing her three-mile run in 18 minutes, 25.1 seconds beating the record by 30 seconds. She also crossed the finish line more than 60 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The Lady Raiders placed second among the 14 girls teams competing at the meet, and the Runnels boys team finished fourth in a field of 20 teams.

Receiving awards as top ten finishers were Annie Fink, Dawson Latona, and sophomore Blaiklee Guillot, who took 10th place. Annie had the best times for the girls on both days of the two-day meet, and Dawson had the fastest time for the boys on day one of the meet. 

Congratulations to the cross country team, head coach Julie Fink and assistant coach Linn Fink on their outstanding success!

Seniors Ryan Ly, Erik Ho, and Annie Fink were recognized for having grade point averages of 4.0 and being selected to the 2019 Cross Country All-State Academic Team.

(Photo: From left, Annie Fink, Lady Raiders Cross Country Team,and Dawson Latona . )
The Swimming Raiders competed at the State Championship this week at the SPAR Recreation and Aquatics Center in Sulphur. Senior and team co-captain Erin Oehrle placed 3rd in the 50 Yard Freestyle earning her place as an All-State Swimmer and placing 5th in the 100 Yard Freestyle. Co-Captain Kate Oehrle placed 5th in the100 Yard Breaststroke and 6th in the 200 Yard Individual Medley. Junior Barret Couvilon took 5th in the 500 Yard Freestyle and 7th in the 200 Yard Freestyle. The boys Team Captain Hudson Hillman swam his personal best in the 50 Yard Freestyle. Congrats to our swimming Raiders for an awesome season.

(Above: Senior Erin Oehrle wins 3rd place at the State Championship and earns her place as an All-State Swimmer.
Below: Swim Coach Matthew Kiggans, Kate Oehrle, Barrett Couvillon, Erin Oehrle, Hudson HIllman and Coach Leighanne Kiggans.)
On Nov. 12, Runnels Basketball got its first win against Episcopal of Acadiana.The final score was 75-43. The Raiders led 28-11 after the first quarter and never looked back. There were four players in double figures. Collin Coates led the way with 25 points, Ben Holliday and Wesley Stevenson added 12 points each, and Jack Kahn contributed 10 points.  

The Raiders defeated JS Clark last Friday 59-52. Ben Stafford had 18 points and 8 rebounds and Ben Holliday added 16 points along with 4 threes. Phillip Lukinovich added 12 points and Grant Treadaway contributed 8 points. The Raiders had tough losses on Monday against Parkview Baptist and Thursday against St. Michael. It was a close game the first two and a half quarters, and then they pulled away. Ben Stafford led the way with 18 points and Collin Coates added 16 points. St. Michael defeated Runnels 74-47. Ben Holliday led the Raiders with 14 points, and Collin Coates and Ben Stafford added 11 points each.

Tuesday evening, the Runnels junior high basketball teams played Southside Middle School. The girls team lost 34-31 in this nail bitter. Leyna Huynh scored 12 points while Gracie Coates and Lilly Hayden each had 8. Southside scored the go ahead basket with 27 seconds left and the Lady Raiders could not answer. The 7th grade boys team won 24-21 with Preston Treadway scoring 12 points. The 8th grade boys scored a big win, 36-18, with Cooper Coates scoring 12 points.

Calling all junior and senior high students interested in joining the Boys and Girls Tennis Teams. A meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 9 at lunch in the gym.

Come meet Coach Keenan to get information for the spring season. Be sure to meet with Mrs. Babcock to get the proper paperwork completed by your parents/guardians.
The Bowling team is looking for 7th-12th bowlers! Please see Mrs. Stanfield in #59 Novak for details.
Basketball Runnels Tournament – Runnels vs. Destrehan 12:30 p.m. SPIRIT EVENT

Basketball vs. St. John – JV 5:00 p.m., V 6:00 p.m.
Girls Soccer vs. Opelousas – 5:30 p.m. – Burbank

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS FOR THE FOCUS Email photos to Please include the date and location of the event and the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
Nov. 20 - Dec. 18 / Marine "Toys for Tots" Drive at Runnels

Nov. 20 - Dec. 2 / Thanksgiving Break

Dec. 3 / School Resumes

Dec. 3 / Strings Concert / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre / 9:00 a.m.

Dec. 4 / Informational Meeting on After-School Mandarin Chinese Class / Drama Room / 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 / 6th- and 7th-Grade Band Concert / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre / 11:00 a.m.

Dec. 6 / Sr. Beta Salvation Angel Tree Donations Due / Bring donations to Theatre Dressing Room during 0 Hour.

Dec. 5 / 8th - 12th Grade Band Concert / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre / 7:00 p.m.

Dec. 6 / Harp Concert / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre / 10:15 a.m.

Dec. 9 / Beginning and Intermediate Band Concert / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre / 7:00 p.m.

Dec. 10 / Parent Watch Day for General Music Class / During Class Times

Dec. 11 / Jr./Sr. High Dance Performance / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre / 9:00 a.m.

Dec. 13 / Elementary Drama Performances / During Class Times / Elementary Drama Room

Dec. 16 / Jr./Sr. High Snack Provided by PAR / 11:50 a.m.

Dec. 17 / Elementary Dance Class Watch Day / During Class Times

Dec. 17 - 20 / Jr./Sr. High Mid-Term Exams / CLICK HERE FOR MID-TERM EXAM SCHEDULE

Dec. 19 / Elem. Snack Provided by PAR / Afternoon Recess

Dec. 23 - Jan. 3 / Winter Break

Jan. 6 / School Resumes