November 8, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
We encourage you to look over the enrollment packet that was mailed to you last week and complete the enrollment process early. Enrolling early is the most significant way you can show support for our school right now. You can also help by telling other parents about Runnels and what makes it so incredibly, irreplaceably special. Ask them to consider choosing a Runnels education for their children.

In this week's Focus : Original Music Written for Runnels to Debut at Veterans Day Program; Town Hall Meeting Invitation; Book Fair Poster Contest Winners; Jr. Beta Club Member Advances to Talent Competition at State Convention; Renowned Violinist Shares Expertise with String Students; Balloon Racer Challenge; Raider Rally Draws Crowd; Kudos and Notable Events; Thank Yous; Weekly Photo Album; Athletic Corner, and Friendly Reminders.
Music Written for Runnels to Debut at Veterans Day Program
An original musical composition written expressly for Runnels by the Rev. Dr. Julius “Tip” Tipton will have its world premiere at the Jr./Sr. High “Musical Tribute to Veterans” on Nov. 11 at 11:20 a.m. in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.

"Prayer for Runnels" will be performed by an ensemble of 7th-12th Grade Band and Advanced String Orchestra students. They are clarinetists Evan Beoubay, Reagan Kyle, Addison Watson, Harrison White, Lily Hayden, Kareem Badawi, Alaysia Mandujano, and Allie Alessi, alto sax player Christopher Yura, and violist Andrew Schacht.

Rev. Tipton, a retired Presbyterian minister, had two of his compositions performed by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra last year. He said that his "dear friends Gladys and Kelly Runnels had asked him to keep them and Runnels School in mind for a future musical composition."

Rev. Tipton was called back into action as a minister in 2008 when the First Presbyterian Church of Scotlandville needed a supply pastor (one who fills in at a church that does not have a full-time pastor). He "filled in" for 10 years. Now officially retired once again, he devotes much of his time to composing music like “Prayer for Runnels.”

( Photo: The "Prayer for Runnels" ensemble rehearses for the Veterans Day program in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.)
Book Fair Poster Contest Winners Announced
Though the weather outside may be frightful, the Elementary Library's Fall Scholastic Book Fair, which runs Nov. 15 - Nov. 20, will be delightful! To help us get ready for the big event, the Elementary Library sponsored a poster competition for students in grades 1-6.

The contest, which promoted reading as well as the "Arctic Adventure Book Fair," was a success. "There were so many great posters," said Elementary Librarian Leah Pizzalato, "that we chose two winners in each category (grades 1-3 and 4-6)!" Congratulations to 3rd graders Brayden Marks and Connor Stewart, 5th grader Emma Smith, and 6th grader Lizzie Castille. Each won a $15.00 gift certificate to the book fair.

Book Fair Volunteers Needed ... If you would like to volunteer to help at the book fair, please email Elementary Librarians Amanda Albin or Leah Pizzalato at

(Photo: With their winning book fair posters are, from left, Connor Stewart, Brayden Marks, Emma Smith, and Lizzie Castille.)

Jr. Beta Member Qualifies for Talent Competition at State Convention
At Jr. Beta District Day held at St. Amant High School Nov. 2, 8th grader Cooper Coates placed second in the Solo/Duo/Trio Special Talent competition. He performed a composition that included music from Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano. Cooper now advances to competition at the Jr. Beta State Convention coming up in Lafayette Feb. 3-7.

Also representing Runnels at District Day were Malek Badawi, Laura Golda, Clara Huxen, Ali Ismail, Alexa LaPlace, Gavin Oram, and Stuart Roark. They participated in Quiz Bowl, Design (t-shirt), and Banner competitions.

Next up for Jr. Beta is the Cookies for Heroes project. After school today, club members will be visiting first responders in our area to thank them for all they do for our community with gifts of homemade cookies and cards.

(Photo: Cooper Coates)
Renowned Violinist Shares Expertise with String Students
Violinist Dr. Lin He was on campus last Friday to work with string students in Dan and Jennifer Cassin's classes. He guided the Advanced String Orchestra through a rehearsal of Pachelbel's Canon, in advance of a Veterans Day performance Nov. 11.

Dr. He, who is an associate professor of violin at LSU and the Associate Concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Symphony, congratulated the students on being so well prepared for the session.

He offered suggestions on how to add more meaning and emotion to their music with more precise phrasing and better control of dynamics, and vibrato. "Through your playing," he told the orchestra members, "say something special. Music is from the heart."

(Photo: Lin He conducts the Advanced String Orchestra last Friday in a rehearsal of Pachelbel's Canon.)
Physical Science Students Accept Balloon Racer Challenge
As part of their studies of motion and forces, students in Marcy Faust's physical science classes worked in teams recently to build balloon powered cars demonstrating Newton's laws of motion. "The goal was to design and build a car that can travel a full 5 meters powered only by balloons," said Mrs. Faust.

Once the cars were built, they were put to the test in three categories. The challenges and winners include: Longest Distance - Reed Miller and George Forgey (with a distance of 9.52 meters); Fastest Car in the First 5 Meters - T yler Thibodeaux and Quin Dukaric (with a speed of 0.88 meters per second); and Best Looking Car - Ava McCann and Brynn Miles. "The winners in this category were determined by student vote," said Mrs. Faust. "Ava and Brynn won with a car they lovingly named Carl."

(Photo: Balloon racer champs Quin Dukaric and Tyler Thibodeaux with their model that won in the category of "Fastest Car in the First 5 Meters.")
Raider Rally Draws Large Crowd

The 19th annual Raider Rally, held Nov. 1 on the main campus and sponsored by the Booster Club, was a solid success. The event raised $4,055 for participating school clubs, classes, teams, and programs.

Proving extremely popular this year were Booster Club concessions, Gaga Ball sponsored by the Class of 2021, the 6th grade's Bucket Toss, the Junior Classical League Ring Toss, and the Cotton Candy/Pie in the Face booth sponsored by the Theatre Club. Special thanks go to extra-good sports Brent Lax, Julie Fink, and Sherry Wilks for taking a pie in the face for a good cause.

Thank yous are also extended to the Booster Club and its officers, Julie Stevenson, Marc and Ellen Sager, Charles Bueche, and Doug Gulley, for sponsoring the event, with special thanks to Amy Taliaferro for coordinating the booths, Mike and Stacey Smith for grilling burgers and donating supplies, and Shawn and Wendy Worsham for donating and cooking hot fries. In addition, we warmly thank the many students, parents, and club and class sponsors for running the booths and games at the Rally and all the Runnels families who came out to join us on such a frosty night! ( See additional "Thank Yous" below.)

(Photo: It's a wind up and pitch for Carter Parsons, grade 7, at the cross country team's Sock-It-To Me game at the Rally.)
Kudos and Notable Events
EBR Parish Middle School Honor Band ... Congratulations to 7th grader Christian Caillouet for being selected to the 2019 Middle School Honor Band. He was named 2nd chair, tuba, after only studying the instrument for two months! (See the Oct. 25 Friday Focus for other Runnels students named to the Honor Band). The EBR Parish Middle School Honor Band Concert will be held at McKinley Middle Magnet on Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m.

(Photo: Christian Caillouet)
It's Hufflepuff! ... Laura Roark has been reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to her second grade lunch group. This week, the Sorting Hat stopped by to tell her students which Hogwarts House they belong in -- Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin!

"I've already read two books from the How to Train Your Dragon series and the students enjoyed those," said Mrs. Roark, "but Harry Potter has them mesmerized!"

Cheers erupted in the classroom as the Sorting Hat announced each new member of a Hogwarts House. "We ended up with 4 Ravenclaws, 4 Slytherins, 2 Hufflepuffs, and 2 Gryffindors," said Mrs. Roark, who boldly took her own turn with the hat. "I'm a Ravenclaw, too!" she cried. Many thanks to Jr./Sr. High Assistant Principal Pamela Babcock for loaning her Sorting Hat to the class.

(Photo: Flynn Wilson, 2B, is delighted to be named to Ravenclaw by the Harry Potter Sorting Hat.)
Quiz Bowl Update ... The Runnels quiz bowl team competed in the LSU SpoOoOoOktacular tournament Nov. 2. The field consisted of 31 teams from around the state. "Team members Chris Ortego (captain), Joseph Ismail, Marshall Pentes, Jensen Holliday, Reagan Kyle, and Alex Frederic won 5 of their 7 preliminary rounds before moving to the playoff bracket as 10th seed," said Quiz Bowl co-sponsor Colleen LeBlanc. "Among approximately 123 players, Chris was recognized as the 6th highest individual scoring player," she added.

(Photo: Representing Runnels at the Nov. 2 Quiz Bowl at LSU are, from left, sponsors Colleen LeBlanc and Ann Ostrom, Marshall Pentes, Joseph Ismail, Chris Ortego, Reagan Kyle, Alex Frederic, and Jensen Holliday. Photo courtesy of Paul Kyle.)

Dancin' Man ... Runnels alum Dylan Cole Passman ('11) hasn't quite made it to Broadway yet but he's close. He recently choreographed the St. Bart's Players' (the oldest community theatre group in New York) production of The Drowsy Chaperone running Nov. 5-10 at the Off-Broadway John Cullum Theatre in New York.
Spanish Club Project ... To celebrate Día de los Muertos and let their classmates know about this traditional Mexican holiday, the Spanish Club created an "ofrenda" (or collection of objects placed on display) honoring TV celebrity artist Bob Ross in the Jr./Sr. High Library last week.

"Club members brought various items to represent the popular artist/art teacher as well as items traditionally seen on a Día de los Muertos ofrenda such as candles, marigolds and fruit," explained Spanish Club sponsor Rachel Laich.

"Some members helped create the cut-paper banners known as papel picado. Thank you to all of the members who participated and helped make this display possible," said Ms. Laiche.

(Photo: Ansley Brown and Emma Schlotterer with the ofrenda to Bob Ross.)
We Sincerely Thank...
Funnel Cake Thank Yous ... We extend sincere thanks to Troy and Amanda Francois, Lucas Banquer, Laurin and Tommy Fairley, Sarah Sheikha, Nichole Mena-Rovai, Brittany Osborne, Heather Shay, Shasta Felton, Stacey Rosenbrook and Gloria Howell for all their help with the preschool's Funnel Cake booth last Friday night at the Raider Rally. We also thank Heather Shay, Katina Ray and Violet Tremblay for helping Laurin and Shasta make the funnel cake dough on Friday afternoon.

( Photo: Serving up funnel cake at the Rally are, from left, Preschool Co-Director Karen Runnels, and preschool teachers Amanda Francois, Gloria Howell, Sarah Sheikha, and Stacey Rosenbrook.)

Music and Cheers ... Many thanks to the "Pep Band" directed by Jill Swetnam and the c heerleaders coached by Sherry Wilks for providing first-class entertainment at the Raider Rally. Thank yous also go to the high school softball, volleyball, baseball, and basketball teams and members of the Jr. Beta Club for helping with vital set up and clean up chores.

In Gratitude for Donations ... Thank you to all of the families who brought their leftover Halloween candy to the Elementary Library for Operation Gratitude. "We collected 146 lbs. of candy," said Elementary Librarian Amanda Albin. "The candy and 142 letters written by students in grades 1-6 will be sent to Operation Gratitude for distribution to troops and veterans."
Photo: Volleyball Team Gets Spirited Send Off! Elementary students rally around members of the Lady Raiders volleyball team as they head to a state playoff game in New Orleans Oct. 31.

The elementary students and their teachers showed support for the players by cheering them on and holding up good luck posters they had made. The team members and their coach, Jean Martinez, got off the bus to shake hands with the crowd. Though the team didn't win the game ( See Athletic Corner) , the players had a great season!

In this week's album: Raider Rally, Lin He Visits Strings, 6th Grade Tug of War, 5th Grade Planes, Junior High One Word Plays, 2nd Grade Sorting Hat, Volleyball Send Off, Balloon Car Winners, and Candids.
Athletic Corner
Get your winter spirit apparel at the Booster Club’s Spirit Store!

Click below to enter store.


The Lady Raiders Volleyball team made a valiant effort at the District Championship game against McGehee High School on Thursday. However, the Ladies ultimately lost to McGehee, which is currently ranked 5th in the state. 
Volleyball coach Jean Martinez said she was proud of her girls. "They played the best game they could.” Martinez would like to thank the elementary teachers and students who sent the team off with signs and high fives. “Y’all know how to make a team feel good,” she said.
Congratulations to the Lady Raiders Volleyball team members for receiving district honors. Senior Karli Hebert was named MVP and Jean Martinez has been named Coach of the Year for Division V, District 4. Named to the First Team was Rachel Hargrove. Second Team members are Jenna Carballo and Lindsey Huynh. Honorable Mention went to Emma Schlotterer, Summer Guerin and Caroline Pousson.

(Photo: Volleyball team members honored by Division V, District 4 are pictured from left, Caroline Pousson, Summer Guerin, Lindsey Huynh, Coach Jean Martinez, Emma Schlotterer, Jenna Carballo, and Karli Hebert. )

Last weekend, the Running Raiders competed in the Cross Country Baton Rouge Metro Championship at Highland Road Park. Senior Annie Fink earned first place as the East Baton Rouge Metro Champion. It was a battle to the finish line and Annie prevailed. Sophomore Dawson Latona led the boys varsity team to a 12 of 20 finish. From the junior high teams, Annie Garrison, grade 7, led the girls team to a 9 of 20 finish and Evan Ho, grade 6, led the boys 17 of 23. Achieving new Personal Records were: Piper Davis, Blaiklee Guillot, Dawson Latona, Eric Ho, Tyler Thibodeaux, Jacob Folse, Olivia Brunner, Ashlynn Harper, Nico Morgan, Tyler Felton and Alex Hayden. 
Cross Country Head Coach Julie Fink extends “a big thank you to the Runnels Athletic Booster Club for their help securing our team bus to the state championship on November 18.”

(Photo: Senior Annie Fink . )

Thursday evening, the Runnels Junior High boys and girls basketball teams took on North Corbin Junior High. The girls team lost a close game, 17-14. Annie Garrison scored 8 points, with Gracie Coates adding 6. The 7th Grade boys suffered a 27-19 loss. Preston Treadway led the team scoring 11 points. The boys 8th Grade team lost 33-28. Cooper Coates scored 18 points and Rossie Harrison had 10.

(Photo: Cooper Coates, grade 8, sets up his shot. Photo courtesy of Rich Harrison.)

The Junior High Raiders basketball team will play Juban Park Junior High next Monday. Juban Park is having a canned food drive in conjunction with Mighty Moms, a Livingston Parish organization that helps families in need of food, clothing and other necessities. Admission to the game is $2 with 2 canned goods or $5 without.

Basketball vs. JS Clark – Varsity 6:00 p.m. SPIRIT EVENT

HS XC Warrior Run and MS XC Championship – Highland Road Park – HS Girls 1:45, HS Boys 2:25, MS Girls 3:40, MS Boys 4:10


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. 11 - Nov. 21 ( corrected starting date ) / Sr. Beta Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Baton Rouge Food Bank / Collection barrels located in Elementary and Jr./Sr. High Offices.

Nov. 8 / Once Upon a Pandora's Box / Drama Room, 7:00 p.m. Tickets: $5 each at the door.

Nov. 11 / Veterans Day Programs / Theatre, Reception for Veterans and Guests, 8:00 a.m.; Elementary Musical Tribute to Veterans, 9:00 a.m.; Reception for Jr./Sr. High Program, 10:30; Jr./Sr. High Program 11:20 a.m.

Nov. 15-20 / Elementary Fall Scholastic Book Fair / Drama Room

Nov. 25-29 / Thanksgiving Holiday / School Resumes Monday, Dec. 2