The Vernon Parish School Board recently recognized its district and school-level Students of the Year for 2019 at its regular meeting Feb. 12 in Leesville, Louisiana.
Students were selected in the following categories: fifth grade, eighth grade and high school. Vernon Parish district-level Students of the Year were Sydnee Sturm of Vernon Middle School, Evan Shelton of Leesville Junior High School and Faith Sauer of Pitkin High School.
Carolyn Bosely, who oversees the Student of the Year process for VPSB, explained that fifth and eighth grade Students of the Year were required to have a grade point average of 3.2 or higher in the first semester of their current grade and two years prior. High School Students of the Year had to have a cumulative GPS of 3.2 or higher for grade 9-11 as well as the first semester of their senior year.
Students also needed to present an academic portfolio and go through an interview process. Points were tallied to determine the school-level winners.
To be selected on the district level, students had to write essays, and present their portfolios and undergo an interview process again in addition to meeting the school-level Student of the Year requirements.
"Thank you, students for your hard work and parents for sharing your kids with us every day. It is a blessing that we have to be able to educate your students," Bosely said. "It's very strenuous work on them. It was really tough for our judges to make those selections."
District-level awardees will advance to the regional-level Student of the Year competition.
Sturm, Vernon Parish School District fifth grade Student of the Year, is looking forward to representing her school as she moves on to the regional level.
"I hope I can represent our district in a good way and show that even though it's a tiny place that great things can come from this town," Sturm said. "I work hard all the time and I don't always get recognized for it and so to be recognized for putting in the hard work feels good!"
VPSD eighth grade Student of the Year Shelton, who is also military-connected student from Fort Polk, said it's a great honor to represent his district and fellow military students.
"Since I've worked hard for this position, I feel like I've earned it and can keep going to represent my district further and maybe even win the regional title," Shelton said. "I try to keep a humble faith and keep working hard to get the next achievement."
Sauer, VPSD High School Student of the Year, said she is glad to have the opportunity to represent her school and the district.
"I'm very grateful to be recognized for all the hard work I've put in high school and for all the different things that I've done," Sauer said. "It's a very great honor."
Parents of the district-level Students of the Year expressed how proud they were of their children.
"She's put a lot of time and effort into her studies," Sauer's mom, Julie, said of her daughter's accomplishments. "It feels really good that she's progressing to that next level in life with going on to college."
The students' parents were also happy that VPSB took the time to recognize the students for their achievements.
"This really is a culmination and product of all the hard work they've put in," said Willie, Shelton's father-who is a military retiree from Fort Polk. "This is just a stepping stone and building block to help them pursue their goals. It's good they're being recognized."
"It really is a lot of hard work and long nights and dedication that they put into doing their best in everything," said Shirlee, Sturm's mother. "It's nice to see them publicly recognized."
VPSB Superintendent James Williams said both the school and district-level Students of the Year are deserving of the recognition.
"These students work very hard to achieve this status of student of the year. They work hard to achieve this," Williams said. "We encourage all our students to work for this achievement next year."
Fort Polk Progress President Michael Reese congratulated the students on their achievements, and expressed his gratitude to VPSB for honoring them.
"These students really give their all on a daily basis at their schools-with some even excelling while facing the challenges of being a military student, like the deployment of a parent or transitioning to a new community and school system," Reese said. "They deserve this recognition."
The full list of school-level 2019 Students of the Year at Vernon Parish Schools is as follows:
* Anacoco Elementary School fifth grade Student of the Year-Noah Evans
* Anacoco High School eighth grade Student of the Year-Yassef Santiago
* Anacoco High School Student of the Year-Ellie Macdonald
* Evans High School fifth grade Student of the Year-Stormy Jeane
* Evans High School eighth grade Student of the Year-Libby Craft
* Evans High School Student of the Year-Coral Jeane
* Hicks High School fifth grade Student of the Year-Jayde Wilbanks
* Hicks High School eighth grade Student of the Year -Madeline Hagan
* Hornbeck High School fifth grade Student of the Year-Cannon Haymon
* Hornbeck High School eighth grade Student of the Year-Tristen Welch
* Hornbeck High School Student of the Year-Madison Smith
* Vernon Middle School fifth grade Student of the Year-Sydnee Sturm
* Leesville Junior High School eighth grade Student of the Year-Evan Shelton
* Leesville High School Student of the Year-Sarah Stafford
* Pickering Elementary School fifth grade Student of the Year--Kyler Slaughter
* Pickering High School eighth grade Student of the Year--Clarence Woods
* Pickering High School Student of the Year--Connor Donaldson
* Pitkin High School fifth grade Student of the Year--Blake Berry
* Pitkin High School eighth grade Student of the Year--Shae Wetzel
* Pitkin High School Student of the Year--Faith Sauer
* Rosepine Elementary School fifth grade Student of the Year--Allie Johnson
* Rosepine High School eighth grade Student of the Year--Jacob Hong
* Rosepine High School Student of the Year--Puahina Shiver
* Simpson High School fifth grade Student of the Year--Madelynn Weatherford
* Simpson High School eighth grade Student of the Year--Madalyn Edwards