The Louisiana Department of Education has announced the names of 21 students selected as finalists in the state’s annual Students of the Year competition. Of the group, two attend Shreveport schools. Those include Eden Trainor, a fifth grader at Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary Magnet School and Elizabeth “Ellie” Franks, in the 8th grade at Saint Joseph Catholic School.

Who are These Great Kids?

The 21 students selected include one elementary, middle and high school student from each of the state’s seven regions. The finalists represent traditional public, public charter, and nonpublic schools. The finalists will participate in an awards ceremony on April 13, when the winners will be announced for each grade level.

How Were They Selected?

Students are selected based on academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. Regional selection committees review students resumes and portfolios, along with writing samples and interviews to assess the communication and critical thinking skills.

Prior to selecting the three statewide winners, the selection committee will conduct interviews and again review the finalist's portfolios and writing samples.

Here are the State Finalists

Elementary School (Grade 5)
  • Eden Trainor, Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary Magnet School, Caddo Parish
  • Ellen Semmes, Kiroli Elementary, Ouachita Parish
  • Steely Jordan, South Beauregard Upper Elementary, Beauregard Parish
  • Adeline Guidry, Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Ramy Dali, Lacoste Elementary School, St. Bernard Parish
  • Harrison Tarver, Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Jayden Gardere, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools
Middle School (Grade 8)
  • Melissa Le, A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, Lincoln Parish
  • Elliana Sheppard, East Ouachita Middle School, Ouachita Parish
  • Jeremy Diaz, Belle Place Middle School, Iberia Parish
  • Ava Guillory, Monteleone Junior High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Hannah Wen, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
  • Elizabeth “Ellie” Franks, Saint Joseph Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Richard “Ben” Blevins, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools
High School (Grade 12)
  • Olutunmike Adeleye, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts
  • Zachary Johnson, West Monroe High School, Ouachita Parish
  • Alonnie Celestine, Alfred M. Barbe High School, Calcasieu Parish
  • Elise Strain, Fontainebleau High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Allie Johnson, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy, Jefferson Parish
  • Lorraine Steigner, Mount Carmel Academy, Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Anita Zahiri, Benjamin Franklin High School, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, NOLA Public Schools

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