The Louisiana Department of Education has named 24 students as finalists in the state's annual Students of the Year competition. Two of those students attend school in Vermilion Parish.

The honorees include one 5th, 8th, and 12th grader from each of the state's eight BESE regions. (BESE is the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.)

Who is eligible to compete?

The annual competition includes students from traditional public, charter, and non-public schools.

“These young people have worked hard and put in the sacrifices necessary to achieve at the highest levels,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “Louisiana is proud to reward excellence. Congratulations to our finalists and their families on this well-deserved honor.”

When is the awards ceremony?

The awards ceremony to announce the winners and honor the finalists will be held on April 19 at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge.

What are the criteria for selection?

Students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. There are regional selection committees that also use student-made portfolios of accomplishments, in addition to student writing samples and interviews to assess the communications and critical thinking skills of each candidate.

Finalists were selected among the student of the year winners from schools across the state. Every Louisiana school was eligible to submit one candidate.

How are the three state winners decided?

The state selection committee will conduct interviews and review writing samples and a portfolio from each finalist.

The finalists for the 2023 Louisiana Students of the Year are:

Grade 5:

  • Region 1: Andrew Caswell | Little Oak Middle | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2: Eleanor Zafirau | Ethel Schoeffner Elementary | St. Charles Parish
  • Region 3: Jack McMullin | Joseph J. Davies Elementary | St. Bernard Parish
  • Region 4: Parker Cram | Eden Gardens Elementary Magnet | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Adyline Tinsley | Haynesville Junior/Senior High | Claiborne Parish
  • Region 6: Barrett Petite | Sorrento Primary | Ascension Parish
  • Region 7: Sydney Mouton | Rene A. Rost Middle | Vermillion Parish
  • Region 8: Gannon Ford | Bains Elementary | West Feliciana Parish

Grade 8:

  • Region 1: Owen Este’ | Fontainebleau Junior High | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2: Smaran Tamidela | Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy | Jefferson  Parish
  • Region 3: Blakely Falgout | Lockport Middle | Lafourche Parish
  • Region 4: Esha Pingili | Caddo Magnet Middle | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Locksley Lowery | Good Hope Middle | Ouachita Parish
  • Region 6: Shrey Shah | Dutchtown Middle | Ascension Parish
  • Region 7: Carlee Pitre | Fairview High | Allen Parish
  • Region 8: Anna Bordelon | Central Middle | Central Community Schools

Grade 12:

  • Region 1: Austin VanDerwood | Pearl River High | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2: William Xi | The Willow School | Advocates for Arts-Based Education | NOLA Public Schools
  • Region 3: Kate Clement | Thibodaux High | Lafourche Parish
  • Region 4: Raj Letchuman | Caddo Parish Magnet High | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Colden Russell |Caldwell Parish High | Caldwell Parish
  • Region 6: Ephraim Craddock | St. Amant High | Ascension Parish
  • Region 7: Braydin Clostio | North Vermillion High | Vermillion Parish
  • Region 8:  Kaiden Lang | Central High | Central Community Schools

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