Runnels has always been the school for all races, religion, and national origins.
Welcome to Friday Focus , our weekly e-newsletter from Head of School Marcia Mackay. 

We hope you enjoyed our earlier mid-week special edition devoted to our high school graduates, which is still available at This issue is devoted mainly to our kindergarten through fifth-grade end-of-the-year awards ceremonies and Sixth-Grade Graduation. 

In focus this week are "Raider Stars of the Year"; Grades 2-6 Honor Roll Announced; Sixth Graders Move Up To Jr. High; Presidential Scholars (Grade 6); Kindergarten Recognition Ceremony; First-Grade Finale; Music Awards;  Fifth-Grade Elections; and Kudos and Thank Yous. 

Have a safe and happy summer!

Sixth grade "Raider Stars of the Year," from left, Megan Shaneyfelt, Addison Watson, and Ben Hader.
"Raider Stars of the Year"

Throughout the school year, students in grades 1-6 are awarded "Raider Pride" tickets for acts of kindness, courtesy, service to others, cooperation, and many other positive behaviors we encourage and celebrate.  At the end of the school year, we ask teachers to choose just one student from each section who has consistently exhibited these traits to become a "Raider Star of the Year." To receive the award is quite an honor.   (See more photos in Weekly Album.)

On the Honor Roll 

Students in grades 2-6 earning top grades were recognized by having their names placed on the Honor Roll. These students earned all "A's" and "B's" in all subjects, including conduct, this school year with no more than one "B" each quarter. Congratulations to our Honor Roll students! (See more photos in Weekly Album.)

Sixth Graders Advance to Jr. High

The 54 students in the sixth-grade class celebrated moving up to junior high school with a graduation ceremony in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre on May 24. 

Guiding the students through the graduation exercises was Head of School Marcia Mackay, Assistant Head of School Conchetta Foshee, and Elementary Assistant Principal Beth Golden. On hand to offer the Invocation was longtime school leader and retired Elementary Principal Gladys Runnels.

Honoring Sixth-Grade Presidential Scholars  

More than half of the sixth grade qualified for the prestigious President's Education Award this year! The honor recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement and effort by students in exit grades (6th, 8th and 12th at Runnels).  The awards were presented at the Sixth-Grade Graduation Ceremony on May 23 in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre. (See more photos in Weekly Album.)    

Bells Were Ringing at Kindergarten Recognition Ceremony 

Our youngest elementary students concluded the school year with a Kindergarten Recognition Ceremony in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre on May 21. 

The students played the hand bells, sang about friendship and rainbows, and received their kindergarten portfolios. The audience also was treated to a PowerPoint presentation with photos of the children in action at Runnels all throughout the school year. 

First-Grade "All-Stars" Shine

On May 22, the first graders celebrated the completion of their inaugural year in elementary school by holding their own unique awards assembly -- the "First Grade Finale." 

At the ceremony, which took place in our Theatre, this year's "Raider Stars of the Year" for first grade were recognized and the entire class performed several songs including "God Bless America" and "Life's a Happy Song." Each student also was individually presented with his or her "Special Envelope" and "All-Star" medal.   

Awards Presented To Young Musicians

Students in grades 4-6 received awards for outstanding contributions to the Band, Strings and Harp programs from Band Directors Jill Swetnam and Shanna Drescher, String Orchestra Director Jennifer Cassin, String Instructor Dan Cassin, and Harp Choir Director Gabi Werries. Awards were presented this week at the Sixth-Grade Graduation Ceremony and the End-of-the-Year Awards Assembly for grades 2-5. Both events were held in the Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.

5th-Grade Elects Officers

The fifth-graders recently took part in a series of lessons and activities designed to teach them about the American political system. 

Earlier this month, they hit the campaign trail to elect class officers for the upcoming school year.  The students formed political parties, nominated candidates, developed platforms, designed and distributed campaign posters, presented political speeches, and organized and conducted an election. When it came time to vote, the "Ferocious Felines Party" carried the day. Congratulations to the officers of next year's sixth-grade class, Jake Carey, president; Annie Garrison, vice president; and Taylor Valentine, treasurer.

Kudos and Thank Yous
Jeopardy Champions
On Wednesday, the third graders participated in the annual Academic Jeopardy Challenge. The "questions" -- posed in the form of an answer -- were designed as a review of this year's school work. Congratulations to Grand Champion Molly Banquer, first runner up James Gawronski, second runner up Lila Brumfield, and 3rd runner up Brody Osborne. (See more photos in Weekly Album.)

Top Kahoot Contestants
The second graders put their brains and reflexes to work in a Kahoot competition this week, which served as a review of some of the material they covered in class during the school year. Congratulations to the top Kahoot contestants, Ryan Funk, 1st place;Lauren Wheeler, 2nd place; and Kalleigh Brown, 3rd place. 
( See more photos in Weekly Album.) 

Super Spellers  
This week, the fourth graders competed in the annual States and Capitals Spelling Bee. The initial rounds were held in class sections, where two finalists were selected to compete in the final round. Congratulations to Grand Spelling Master Laura Golda, who won first place, Conner Joubert, the second place winner, and Lexie Matens, who finished third. 
( See more photos in Weekly Album.) 

Top Choice Athletics Features Runnels Graduate as Athlete of the Month 

Runnels 2018 graduate Jourdan Milton is currently featured as the May 2018 Spotlight Athlete of the Month on the Top Choice Athletics website. A varsity cheerleader, AP Scholar and honors graduate, Jourdan is also a competitive cheerleader with Louisiana Cheer Force and has won more than 40 medals! ( Click on the link below to find out more about Jourdan's outstanding accomplishments.)

Teachers' Work Chosen for Arts Council Exhibit

Runnels art teachers Lee Randall, Sydney McGraw, and Burgundy Brumfield have pieces on exhibit at the Firehouse Gallery in a show entitled "Artists in the Classroom: A Celebration of Arts Education." Jointly sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and School Aids, the show will run through June 1. It is free and open to the public. 

Junior To Attend "Code Black" Medical Program at Stanford University

Junior Kayla Evans will participate in the Advanced Emergency Medical program, also known as "Code Black," at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California this summer. She'll spend 10 days with the staff of the Stanford University Department of Emergency Medicine learning about life-saving ER medical procedures, disaster and wilderness medicine, and gross anatomy. She'll also get a taste of campus life by staying in a Stanford dorm while she's attending the session. Kayla, who said she is interested in becoming a surgeon, has already completed Envision's Medicine and Advanced Medicine programs.  The "Code Black" program, which offers the latest in facilities, labs, and equipment, is open to high school students in grades 10-12. 

Canines on Campus 

... We sincerely thank  Dana Kahn of FOTA (Friends of the Animals Baton Rouge) and mother of Jack, grade 10, and Lauren (Class of 2015), and Burgundy Brumfield , mother of Cana, grade 10, Wren, grade 8, and Lila, grade 3, for sharing their fur babies with our junior and senior high students this week. 

Between final exams, many students had a chance to pet, hug and cuddle the pups to relieve any test anxiety they might be feeling.  Studies have shown that pet therapy helps some students de-stress when they need a break from the pressure of school and exams. Many colleges and universities including LSU have adopted the practice. Mrs. Kahn brought her pet dog Brulee and fosters Mack and Tilly on Tuesday and Thursday, and Mrs. Brumfield brought her dogs, Lulu, Cricket, and Dexter on Wednesday. We also thank art department head Lee Randall for organizing the "therapy dog sessions" and introducing Runnels to the concept. 

Sixth-Grade Graduates

In this week's album:  6th-Grade Bridges, Technical Theatre Recycled Costumes, Kindergarten Rainforest Animal Search, Juicing with Coach Coates, Canines on Campus, 4th-Grade Bowling, Preschool Candids, 5th-Grade Inauguration/Speeches, 6th-Grade Trip to Honey Island, Kahoot, Academic Jeopardy, 2nd through 5th-Grade Awards Ceremony (Raider Stars of the Year, Honor Roll, Music Awards, Special Awards, and Candids).  

School resumes on Monday, August 13. See you then!
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 17255 South Harrell's Ferry Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70816