September 27, 2019
Runnels has always been the school for all races, religions, and national origins.

In this week's Focus : " Sunday Funday" in the Works for K-6th Grade Families; Preschool Welcomes Community Helpers; New and Improved LEGO Shaker Declared Success; Senior Participates in Area Health Education Program; Students Ponder Ethical Considerations of Medical Testing on Animals; Sixth Graders and Kindergartners Buddy Up for Metric Olympics; Kudos and Notable Events; Thank Yous; Friendly Reminders; Weekly Photo Album; and Athletic Corner.
"Sunday Funday" in the Works for K-6th Grade Families
Our Elementary School will host its first ever "Sunday Funday" on the main campus Oct. 6 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. It's an afternoon get-together with a block-party vibe for our K-6th grade families.

Attractions include a Ninja Snowball Truck, a Bounce House, Yoga Path sessions, Gaga Ball and much more! It's a free event for all Runnels Elementary families, faculty and staff.

Throw the whole family -- and a few lawn chairs -- in the car and join us for this sparkling, fun-filled event. It's a great opportunity to meet new friends and get to know your school family.
Preschool Welcomes Cavalcade of Community Helpers
Preschoolers learned about the contributions of many important community helpers this week as they hosted a series of visitors, which included representatives from DEMCO, the fire department, and the state police motorcycle unit, as well as a local physician.

Runnels dad David Latona ( Addison, 7th, John Morgan, 9th, and Dawson, 10th ) of DEMCO (Dixie Electric Member Corporation) stopped by Monday with linemen Jonathan Vann and Romeo Arnold. They explained what a utility company does and demonstrated how the cherry picker on their utility truck worked. Students also got to try on some of their gear.

On Tuesday, firefighters from Engine Co. 7 and their pump truck came to the rescue when another fire truck couldn't get onto our campus. "The ladder truck (Aerial No. 4 from Wooddale) we had scheduled for the visit could not make it up our steep driveway because of the power lines," explained Preschool Co-Director Janice Leger. "The pump truck and firefighters from Claycut E. No. 7 were here within 10 minutes of calling them. They are our heroes!"

Runnels dad James Pittman ( Chase, 1C, Olive, 5C, and Calvin, 8th ) of the Louisiana State Police Motorcycle Unit, visited Wednesday, and Dr. James Runnels ( Gabriella, '12) was Friday's guest. We sincerely thank all of our community helpers for sharing their time and information with our young students. 

( Photo: Pre-K student Kamille Abadie tries Louisiana State Motorcycle officer James Pittman's ride and helmet on for size during Community Helpers Week at the Preschool. )
New and Improved LEGO Shaker Declared a Success!
With style and panache, the third graders hosted a five-star event in the Drama Room Wednesday to introduce the new and improved prototype of their LEGO Shaker. After testing the device by pouring avalanches of mismatched LEGOs through its three detachable cylinders, it was pronounced a success! CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE STEM LEGO SHAKER DESIGN PROJECT...

Runnels dad Brandt Ray ( Paislee, 3B and Slade, Preschool 2 s) of Ferguson Enterprises, the guest of honor, delivered the prototype that was made from PVC piping supplied by his company. "The kids made the first prototype out of cardboard boxes themselves," he said. "We mimicked their design so it matched what they came up with. It's really neat," he added. As a special shout out to Mr. Ray, who played baseball for the Ragin' Cajuns of USL, the students wore baseball caps displaying his uniform number -- 10!

At the event, the third graders served their guests doughnuts, cold beverages, and microwave popcorn -- a nod to fellow inventor Percy Spencer, who came up with the idea for the microwave. Earlier in class, they had written essays about Spencer in connection with their "LEGO Shaker" project.

A huge thank you goes to third-grade science teacher Candice Ortlieb for guiding the students through the STEM project and organizing the prototype testing event in the Drama Room. We also extend special thanks to Mr. Ray and Ferguson Enterprises for their generous help in building the LEGO Shaker. (Watch for coverage of the event in Monday's Baton Rouge Advocate .)

( Photo: Preparing to test the LEGO Shaker are, from left, Bonnie Banquer, Alex Murphey, Luke Calhoun, Dessa Tremblay, Connor Stewart, Mr. Brandt Ray, Paislee Ray, and Adleigh Watts. )
Senior Participates in Area Health Education Program
Catherine Bonaventure, a senior at Runnels, learned how to do sutures and put in an IV this summer. As a participant in the AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Summer Program, she also observed the correct way a baby is delivered, with the help of a sophisticated robot "mother," an iPod, and a batch of controls.

During the three-week program at Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, she shadowed medical professionals as they went about their regular duties in various departments, including the NICU, the lab, radiology and pathology. "We did different rotations every morning, and in the afternoon we took classes for half a high school credit," Catherine explained.

With plans for a career in pediatrics, cardiology, or neurology, Catherine was recommended for the program by Jr./Sr. High Assistant Principal Dana Schlotterer. AHEC offers students a chance to learn about patient care, current health issues, and college requirements for various health professions.

Catherine said her favorite rotation was in the NICU. "There were tiny preemies and lots of machines," she said.

Though the suture practice was done on rubbery fake skin and she learned to do an IV on a robotic arm with artificial blood, the AHEC experience ratcheted up her enthusiasm for the medical profession. "I was pretty good at sutures," she noted. Apparently her fellow scrub-wearing students and the faculty agreed. She came away with two impressive awards. Catherine was named the "Most Likely to be a Surgeon" by the students, and the "Most Outstanding Student" by her AHEC teachers.

( Photo: Catherine Bonaventure)
Pondering Ethical Considerations of Using Animals for Medical Testing
Surrounded by wagging tails and wet noses, members of Marcella Babcock's psychology class considered the question of whether it's right to use animals in medical, psychological, and biological research.
Though opinions vary on this gnarly question, one thing became clear to the students, from a psychological point of view. The cuter an animal is and the more we build a personal connection to it, the more compassion we feel toward it. 

"Why are we more comfortable with seeing a slug used in an experiment rather than a puppy?" Mrs. Babcock asked. The more we identify with an animal, the greater our empathy toward it.

Many thanks to Dana Kahn ( Jack, 12th, and Lauren, '15 ) of Bark and Roll Rescue Companions for bringing five dogs and puppies to the classroom for this lesson.

( Photo: Holding furry friends from Bark and Roll Rescue Companions are psychology students, from left, Piper Davis, Janie Schlotterer, Clayton Couvillon, and Connor Porthouse.)
Nature Walk ... First grade science students in Jessica Carkuff's classes took their studies about living vs. non-living things into the great outdoors this week. They went on a Nature Walk across the playground to find, identify, and sketch three living things and three non-living things.

Later, in the classroom, they shared and discussed their findings. Top choices for living things were acorns, trees, bees, and ants, and, for non-living things, a cup, a fence, a cone, and some trash. 
Opportunities in Agriculture ... We sincerely thank members of the Les Voyageurs student ambassadors group representing the LSU College of Agriculture for visiting with Dave Marschall's Biology II and Environmental Science AP classes this week to provide information on the degree programs and scholarship options available at the college to graduating high school seniors. Our students learned about opportunities to study agriculture business, animal science, environmental management, natural resources management, textiles, and food and nutrition sciences.
Hercules Doodles ... Students in Ann Ostrom's Latin III class are using Hercules Doodles to interact with their reading in a creative way. After reading stories about Hercules in their Latin textbook, they are responding to the reading by writing down their thoughts and reflections about it in Latin along with illustrations (the doodle part). Each sentence and vocabulary word they write on the Hercules Doodle page has an accompanying illustration. "It's a great technique for reviewing any kind of reading in any language," said Mrs. Ostrom. 
Sixth Graders and Kindergartners Buddy Up for STEM Learning
The sixth graders teamed up with their kindergarten buddies on the playground Thursday for the annual Metric Olympics, a STEM activity that provides hands-on practice with metric measurements and conversions, which the older students have been working on in science class.

"The older kids show the kindergartners how to use some measurement tools -- graduated cylinders, triple beam balances, and rulers -- and teach them the different base units in the metric system -- meters, liters, and grams," explained sixth-grade science teacher Julie Fink.

Working together in small groups, the kindergartners did the physical part of each Metric Olympic event, and the sixth graders measured the results and converted them to smaller or larger metric units. The events included the paper plate discus, left-handed sponge squeeze, hammer throw, standing long jump, bean grab, javelin straw throw, and the cotton ball shot put.

( Photo: Measuring the precise amount of water Xander Ducote squeezed out of a sponge in milliliters at the Metric Olympics are, from left, Xander Ducote and Conner Joubert.)
Kudos and Notable Events
Newly Appointed Library Aides ... Kudos to our new fifth-grade Elementary Library Aides, Emerson Corder, Harper Guay, Andrew Hart, Alex Hayden, Lauren Ly, Ethan Ly, and Emma Smith. Their duties will include checking books in and out, shelving books, helping younger students use the library, and keeping the library tidy.

"Though we have always had students helping in the library," said Elementary Librarian Amanda Albin, "this year we're making it official." Each of the seven applicants submitted essays about why they wanted to help in the library and got a recommendation from a parent or teacher," Ms. Albin added. This week they received training during lunch recess and received special lanyards and name tags identifying them as Library Aides. They will take turns being on duty before school in the library to check in and check out books on the computer. They also will receive the perk of being allowed to check out a fourth library book when other fifth graders are limited to three.

( Photo: Our new Elementary Library Aides are, from left, Lauren Ly, Ethan Ly, Harper Guay, Emma Smith, Andrew Hart, Alex Hayden and Emerson Corder.)
Dodgeball Champs ... Emerging as champions of our immensely popular junior and senior high Dodgeball Tournament this year was the team that dubbed itself the Knoybulchvogherts. Congratulations to the victors, Jake Haase, Josh Freeman, Charlie Garrison, Blaine Nicholson, and Ben Stafford. Their triumph was recognized with a celebratory breakfast of Chicken Minis on Wednesday. The Student Ambassadors Club and sponsor Sarah Haase hosted the event.

Photo: Dodgeball Tournament winners, from left, Collin Coates, Blaine Nicholson, Charlie Garrison, Josh Freeman, Jake Haase, and Ben Stafford. )
ACT Prep Workshops ... Today, Sept. 27 is the last day to register for fall ACT workshop at Runnels, and 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
Winning Writers ... Congratulations to the winners of the World Peace Day writing contest sponsored by the Jr./Sr. High Library's Writing Center. The winning writers are - Gold Level: Madison Cummins, Ali Guerin, and Jensen Holliday; Silver Level: Emma Collett and Emily Schacht; and Bronze Level: Robby Harrison, Lunn Hitchcock, Lindsey Huynh, Alan Lam and Meredith Taliaferro.

( Photo: From left are World Peace Writing Contest winners Madison Cummins, Ali Guerin, and Jensen Holiday.)
We Sincerely Thank...
Senior Fiesta Luncheon ... Muchas Gracias to senior parents Sarah Haase, Lynn Oehrle , and Dana Schlotterer for hosting Wednesday's fiesta lunch in the gym for the senior class. They served up nachos, fajitas, condiments, drinks, and dessert to the hungry and spirited crowd.

( Photo: At the fiesta luncheon are co-host Lynn Oehrle and her daughter Erin, a Runnels senior.)

Physics Demo ... Special thanks goes to Bill Gregg , retired LSU physics instructor, for sharing his expertise with students in Marcy Faust's physical science classes on Thursday. "Mr. Gregg helped make some pretty difficult concepts simple and easy to understand," said Mrs. Faust. The students have been learning about Newton's three laws of motion and momentum and impulse.

Bahamas Relief Effort Update ... Many thanks to Sr. Beta treasurer Jacob Schmidt and club members Omar Badawi, Mira Badawi, Thomas Betancur, Lunn Hitchcock, Jacob Tate, and Fatima Ahmad for helping to box up the mountains of supplies last Sunday that were donated to local firefighter Jehu Poitier's supply drive for Dorian victims in the Bahamas. Special thanks also goes to Jacob's mom, Christy Schmidt , for her tremendous help with the Sr. Beta Club's Hurricane Dorian Relief Drive, which ends today.

In this week's album: First Grade Nature Walk, Third Grade Lego Project, Sixth Grade and Kindergarten Buddy Metric Olympics, Preschool Community Helpers, Senior Lunch, Sixth Grade Owl Pellet Dissection, and Candids.

( Basketball Thank You ... The high school basketball team and Coach Ben Young send a special thank you to the Runnels Booster Club for contributing to the purchase of a new basketball shooting machine and rebound tool for the gym. Called "The Gun," it sits under the net so that when a ball drops in, it is shot right back to the player so he or she can quickly shoot again.)

Athletic Corner
Visit the Booster Club’s Spirit Store for Runnels Apparel Year Round!

Click below to enter store.

(Photo: Senor Annie Fink taking first place at the Dominican/Holy Cross Invitational last Saturday.)


Last Saturday, the Running Raiders participated in the Dominican/Holy Cross Invitational at City Park in New Orleans. Senior Annie Fink took 1st place with a 1:06 lead against her competitor and set a new school record for 3-miles with a time of 18:45 and a new personal record. Tyler Thibodeaux clocked the fastest 3-mile time for an 8th grader, contributing to the varsity boys team achieving a 9th place position in a field of 26 teams. The middle school girls team finished 11th out of 17, while the boys were 17th out of 22. Setting new PRs were Olivia Brunner, Gracie Coates, Nico Morgan and Mason Pizzalato.

The Varsity Cross Country team will race at McNeese this Saturday. Geaux, Running 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, and 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


Monday, the varsity volleyball team earned its first district win of the season and second win of the year against Thrive. The team played Christ Episcopal on Tuesday and lost in 4 games. For their second district match, the Lady Raiders played Family Christian on Thursday, losing five sets, 23-25, 14-25, 25-14, 25-19, 9-15. Team Leaders were Lindsey Huynh with 10 kills, Emma Collett with 6 aces and 4 kills, and Karli Hebert with 22 assists and 3 aces.  

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the Ladies will take on Brighton Academy in an away game. Brighton, currently ranked first in the district, is located at 12108 Parkmeadow off Coursey Blvd. and Stumberg. Fans are welcome! On Thursday, Oct. 3, the Ladies play W. Feliciana at home with Freshmen at 4 p.m., JV at 5 p.m. and Varsity at 6 p.m.
On Friday
Volleyball Rumble in the Jungle at Woodlawn – 4:00 p.m. vs. Madison Prep, 6:00 p.m. vs. W. Monroe

On Saturday
Volleyball Rumble in the Jungle at Woodlawn – 8:00 a.m. vs. Ponchatoula, 9:00 a.m. vs. West Feliciana

Cross Country McNeese Cowboy Stampede – Girls 9:45 a.m., Boys 10:15 a.m.

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
Sept. 28 / Sadie's High School Dance (Disco Party) / Catalano Gym, 7:00 p.m. (Photo: Senior and Art Club President Sarah Stanfield at work last Friday creating a backdrop for photos at the Disco Dance.)

Oct. 3 / Elementary Drama Performances / Elementary Drama Room, during class times.

Oct. 3 / Pre-K Vision Screening

Oct. 4 / Band Field Trip / Tigerama

Oct. 4 / Pep Rally / Catalano Gym / 2:10 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. 11 / Preschool Storybook Character Parade / 10:30 a.m.