October 4, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.
I'm looking forward to seeing many of our K-6th grade families this weekend at the Elementary School's first "Sunday Funday." The event will be held on the main campus Oct. 6 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. It's fun, it's casual, and there will be plenty of activities for the entire family. We'll have ninja snowballs, yoga sessions, gaga ball, and a bounce house. It's a wonderful opportunity to get to know more elementary parents, kids, and teachers. See you there!

In this week's Focus : "Pink Out" Pep Rally Supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month; On the Ballot at Youth Legislature; Vintage Car Showcases Evolution of Automotive Technology; Practicing Math to Solve a Mystery; First Grade Social Studies Students Become Deputies for a Day; So, What Are You Reading; Kudos and Notable Events; Thank Yous; Friendly Reminders; Weekly Photo Album; and Athletic Corner.
"Pink Out" Pep Rally Supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The junior and senior high students and faculty rallied behind Breast Cancer Awareness Spirit Day by wearing pink -- in every imaginable color and combination -- to school today. The special event culminated in a "Pink Out" pep rally in the Catalano Gym.

The varsity cheer squad performed cheers and stunts for the crowd, members of the cross country, swim, and volleyball teams were introduced, and the "Pep Band," freshly returned from a field trip to LSU's Tigerama, played several selections. Directing the band was Jill Swetnam.

Since the "Pink Out" was a Spirit event, Assistant Principal Dana Schlotterer announced the day's Spirit Point winners. First place was a tie (for the first time ever) between the sophomore and junior classes. They both participated at 100%! The eighth grade was right behind with 97%, and the seventh grade followed with a very respectable 94%. So far, the overall race for the Spirit Cup is close, with the seniors in first place, sophomores in second, and freshmen in third.

Special thanks go to cheer sponsor and pep rally emcee Sherry Wilks and cheerleaders Emma Felton, Alaysia Mandujano, Ava McCann, Jordynn Osborne, Lucy Reeves, Madelyn Sandifer, Reide Walker, and Kissa Nicholas-Whitt for organizing and hosting the event. ( Watch for Pink Out pep rally photos in next week's Focus. )
On the Ballot at Youth Legislature
As part of their preparations for attending a two-day Youth Legislature session at the Old State Capitol in February, the eighth grade Louisiana Studies students recently held elections to pick candidates to run for three important leadership roles at the event: Governor, Speaker of the House, and President of the Senate. Each school participating in a Youth Leg session (as many as eight schools) is required to elect three candidates to run for these offices.

Last week, Runnels students interested in throwing their hats in the ring at Youth Leg presented formal speeches to the eighth grade class during activity time in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre. An election followed. Congratulations to the students who will represent our school as candidates for leadership positions at Youth Leg in February: Governor - Landree Clark, Gibby Guay, and Reed Miller; Speaker of the House - Jake Carey, Annabelle Pepitone, and Brendan Levins; President of the Senate - Stuart Roark, Ben Hader, and Olivia Chaisson.
( Photo: Youth Legislature gubernatorial candidate Gibby Guay gives a speech in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.)
Vintage Car Showcases Evolution of Automotive Technology
The second graders in Katherine Phillippe's science classes have been learning about changes in technology through the years. To show how automotive technology has moved forward, she invited her students to look back -- at a 1963 Citroen Safari Break Station Wagon.

On Tuesday, her husband, Wayne Phillippe, owner of Wayne's Collision and Restoration, and his mechanic CJ Todd, drove the vintage French car, which they had restored to mint condition, to campus, traveling a stately 56 miles per hour on expressways.

"This car was very advanced for its time," Mrs. Phillippe told her students as they flocked around to see the mint green mid-century ride. "Back in its day, this car was like the Batmobile!"

Among its innovations were a push button starter (most cars of that era had key entry) and a brake button instead of a brake pedal. "The brakes have a button to press that senses how much pressure to apply by the speed you are going so there's no need for a brake pedal," she explained.

The car also showcased typical mid-century automotive technology such as crank windows, individual locks on all of the doors, and outside mirrors you have to move with your hands. "You had to use a key to get in the doors," said Mrs. Phillippe. "And you couldn't push one button to lock all the doors at the same time."

( Photo: Inspecting the 1963 Citroen are, from left, Katherine Phillippe, Wilson Whittemore, Archer Carkuff, Ian Parrish, Matthew Faust, Anderson Smith, Dean Smith and car mechanic CJ Todd. )
Practicing Math to Solve a Mystery
Math practice in Cynthia Harrison's pre-algebra classes was styled like a game of Clue last week as students worked in teams to solve 10 practice problems that would lead to the solution of a mystery.

"I placed the 'clues,' which increased in difficulty, at various locations in the outside pavilion area where the students had room to move around and discuss them," said Mrs. Harrison.

Similar to the popular board game Clue, there was a fictional "murder" involved. The goal was to determine the "killer," the scene of the crime, and the method by which the victim was dispatched.

After solving each 'clue' (math problem) the group received another, but there was a catch. "If the problem was solved incorrectly, the group received an incorrect clue (a red herring), which kept it interesting," said Mrs. Harrison.

"The students really do enjoy it. I like to find games that present math in a new and interesting way," she added. 

( Photo: Pre-algebra students Shaylen Patel and Luke Hillman.)
First Grade Social Studies Students Become Deputies for a Day
Corporal Amy Genola of the EBR Sheriff's Office had a mission: How to explain her job to a group of Runnels first graders? Their social studies teacher, Jessica Carkuff, had asked her to describe for the students what a police officer does as part of their studies about community helpers. Though Cpl. Amy was anxious about explaining the concept at a level the children would understand, she came through loud and clear.

"The police help people stay safe," she told the class during her visit this week. A 20 year veteran of the force, Cpl. Amy has served in corrections, on uniform patrol, as an undercover officer, and in forensics. To explain what she did in corrections, she said that jail was like a time out for adults where grown ups are held accountable for their behavior. For uniform patrol, she explained that police cars are called when somebody has a really bad day and that it's best to stay away from the area where they are until you're told it's safe. She said that undercover work was sort of like dress up to get people who do really bad things get arrested, and of course, forensics was easy to explain with a reference to CSI.

Cpl. Amy appointed the children Deputies for the Day and read them the book Dear Dragon Goes to the Police Station. She also invited them to stop by at any police station just to say hello at any time. "They love it when y'all come by. They love to meet kids."

When a student asked her what happens when a bad guy escapes from jail, Cpl. Amy, who serves as our new fifth-grade D.A.R.E. officer, quickly responded, "We catch them!"

( Photo: Cpl. Amy Genola passes out 'My Friend the Sheriff' activity books to first graders.)
So, What Are You Reading?
As his current free reader, sixth grader Adam Chittom chose I Funny: A Middle School Story by blockbuster author James Patterson. He said he picked it because of the title. "It looked interesting and Mrs. Allen recommended it. It's funny and if you want to grow up to be a comedian, it has some good ideas in it."

Adam said his next book is Superfudge by Judy Blume (He's actually reading them simultaneously).

His favorite book ever is Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which he finished over the summer. He said he liked it because each chapter is from somebody else's point of view.

All three titles are available in the Elementary Library, along with several other books in the I Funny series.

( Photo: Adam Chittom)
Kudos and Notable Events
Gaby Werries at Carnegie Hall ... Runnels harp instructor Gaby Werries was in New York to play at Carnegie Hall on Sept. 30. She was among a group of LSU School of Music faculty members to perform a concert devoted to the works of Greek composer and LSU Boyd Professor Dinos Constantinides. The group
also performed the concert on Sept. 20 in Constanta, Romania. READ MORE...

( Photo: On stage at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City are, from left, flutist Ester Waite and harpist Gaby Werries.)

Book Release ... Kudos to alumna Lindsey Duga (Class of '08) whose second YA novel was published this week. Glow of Fireflies follows the adventures of young Briony as she searches for her missing mother in the magical world of Firefly Valley deep in the Smoky Mountains . READ MORE...

President Irene Lewis ... Runnels graduate Irene Lewis (Class of '16), now a senior at Southern University majoring in Agricultural Sciences, has been elected the national undergraduate president of MANRRS (Minorities in Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences). The organization, which provides leadership training and networking to positively promote the fields of agricultural, natural resources, and related sciences among minorities, has more than 8,000 student and professional members. Congratulations to Irene! READ MORE...

Date Change ... Performance dates have been changed for our sixth-grade play Once Upon a Pandora's Box . The show will be presented in the Elementary Drama Room on Nov. 7 and 8 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5 each.

Stylish Sustainability ... Runnels grad Lauren Strain (Class of '08) has combined her passion for art and conservation to create a line of hand-painted, kiln-fired ceramic candles in seasonal colors and fragrances. Her brand, Pollumination, donates a portion of sales to the Pollination Partnership, a non-profit dedicated to the protection of pollinators and their ecosystems. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE ...
Binary Bracelets ... After learning about binary code and how it operates computers, students in Sheri Allen’s elementary Introduction to Computer Science classes practiced spelling out their own names using the binary alphabet. Once they had accomplished that, the students made binary code bracelets with beads representing the binary code for their initials.
( Working on their binary code bracelets in the Elementary Computer Lab are Anna Salisbury, 5A, and Brandon Yan, 6A.)
Charred Wood Reliefs ... We found sculpture students Jack Desporte and Amelia Breeden and their teacher, Sydney McGraw, outside recently hunched over a flickering flame.They were charring the surface of blocks of wood. Their purpose was to create a blackened surface on one side onto which they would transfer drawings. They would carve through the blackened surface to reveal white wood, creating a relief surface with a black and white image, neatly combining 2D and 3D forms of art.
Runnels Bands at Tigerama ... Members of all the Runnels Bands, from fourth through twelfth grade, were invited to the 38th annual Tigerama at LSU today. This truly big event featured the Golden Band from Tigerland, LSU Wind Ensemble, LSU Symphonic Winds, Golden Girls and a Colorguard. Many thank to Runnels Band Directors Jill Swetnam and Shanna Drescher for arranging this outing for our students.
(Wearing gold and greeting Runnels Band students at Tigerama today is Runnels alumnus from the Class of '16 and Tiger Band musician Alex Benson.)
Fake News and Swamp Creatures ... Congratulations to our elementary drama students and their teachers, Julie Horridge and Sonya Blanchard, for two successful productions that were performed in the Drama Room for students and parents this week.

Our second and third grade students produced the musical Swamped featuring a cast of critters who find friendship and encouragement despite being "swamped" with conflicting duties and interests. Mrs. Horridge directed the show.

The fourth- through sixth-grade drama students, under the direction of Mrs. Blanchard, offered the comedy Fake News , presenting interviews with an unfrozen caveman and a gold prospector, an expose of the illuminati, and a confused weather forecaster who claims it's 97 degrees in mid-January. Did we mention the massive alien invasion in the broadcast? The snappy repartee of the anchors, interviewees, reporters, crew, and aliens kept the audience laughing.
Photo: In a scene from 'Swamped' are Grant Watson, Eli Burks, Natalie White, Ayla Lee, and Adleigh Watts.)

ACT Prep Workshops ... Today, Oct. 4 is the last day to register for the national ACT exam in October (with a late fee). Here's the workshop schedule on campus:

Saturday, Oct. 5, 8:00 a.m. - 12 noon - Diagnostic Test
Oct. 8, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - English
Oct. 10, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Reading
Oct. 15, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Math
Oct. 17, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Science
Saturday, Oct. 19, 8:00 a.m. - 12 noon - Post Workshop Test
We Sincerely Thank...
On the Forensics Front ... We extend our thanks to Howard Pentes (Marshall, 11th, and Mason, 9th), Forensics Manager at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, for sharing his expertise with students in Nicole Reid's forensics class last week.

( Photo: Forensics students with guest speaker Howard Pentes, far right.)

Hurricane Dorian Drive Update ... We extend a huge thank you to all who supported the Hurricane Dorian Relief Drive. The Sr. Beta Club reports donations in the amount of $150 in cash and a total of 344 items (food and non-perishable supplies). In a little friendly competition, the junior and senior high classes competed to win an ice cream party for bringing in the most donations for the drive. Congrats to the freshmen for coming in first. They were followed by the seniors and the eighth graders.

In this week's album: First Grade Community Helpers, Class of 2023 Bake Sale, Quiz bowl Meeting, Youth Legislature Speeches, Second Grade Car Technology, Art Candids, Preschool, Cross Country Meet, Binary Bracelets, "Pink Out" Day, Tigerama, and Candids.

( Photo: Cooperative Play ... Working together on the playground to bounce a ball in a parachute are members of our 3s class at the preschool.)
Athletic Corner
Visit the Booster Club’s Spirit Store for Runnels Apparel Year Round!

Click below to enter store.


Runnels athletes Annie Fink, Grayson Gulley, and Ricky Harrison were interviewed Wednesday afternoon by an WVLA NBC Local 33 reporter about their reactions to the newly passed California law allowing college athletes to sign endorsement deals without losing eligibility. Many thanks to Annie, Grayson, and Ricky for representing our school with outstanding clarity, excellence and grace! 

(Photo: From left, seniors Grayson Gulley, Annie Fink and Ricky Harrison lend their thoughts on the new endorsement laws for college athletes in California.)

The Running Raiders busted out at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede last weekend, with senior Annie Fink lassoing 2nd place. Dawson Latona and Blaiklee Guillot wrangled 8th and 13th, respectively, along with the varsity boys team branding a 12th place finish.

(Photo: Sophomores Dawson Latona, left, and Blaiklee Guillot, right, at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede last Saturday.)

Next Thursday, the Raiders varsity basketball team is set to scrimmage the Holden Rockets in a home game beginning at 6:00 p.m. Go, Raiders!


Saturdays: Oct. 12, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 | 9-10 am
All 5th-8th grade boys are invited to join us on these three Saturdays for fall open gym.

Participants will have the opportunity to work on skills and play competitive games coached by Runnels High School Basketball Coach Ben Young assisted by varsity basketball players. All participants should be dressed in athletic clothing and wear basketball shoes (or gym shoes). 


The Runnels High School Basketball Program is excited to announce the 2019-2020 shot challenge for 5th-8th graders. Every student who completes the 15-week challenge will be awarded a Runnels Basketball T-Shirt and be recognized at halftime at the varsity basketball game on Tuesday, February 18 at 6 p.m. If you are interested, please see Coach Ben at school or send an email to b.young2@runnels.org.


On Saturday
Cross Country KSA Universal Event
High School Swim Meet – 7:55 a.m. at Crawfish Aquatics

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS FOR THE FOCUS Email photos to  n.latiolais@runnels.org. Please include the date and location of the event and the students pictured .  
Friendly Reminders
Oct. 6 / " Sunday Funday" for K-6th Grade Runnels Families / Main Campus, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Oct. 8 / Preschool Pizza Night

Oct. 9-11 / Preschool Scholastic Book Fair

Oct. 11 / Preschool Storybook Parade / Preschool Campus, 10:30 a.m.

Oct. 11 / 6th Grade Field Trip / Poverty Point

Oct. 14 / School Holiday / Columbus Day

Oct. 15 / Honors Art, Tech Theatre, and Media Art Field Trip / 13th Gate

Oct. 16 / PSAT for 10th & 11th Grade Students / 8:30 a.m.

Oct. 18 / St. Jude's Math-A-Thon Kickoff

Oct. 18 / Popsicle Friday

Oct. 18 / Jr. Beta Field Trip / Corn Maze

Oct. 25 & 26 / And Then There Were None / Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for adults if purchased in advance. At the door, tickets are $12 for all. (Online sales close 12 hours prior to each performance.) CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS...

Nov. 1 ... / Raider Rally / 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.