Reese Kennedy

Reese Kennedy, a student at Denham Springs Junior High and the Livingston Parish Public Schools 2019-20 Middle School Student of the Year, was among the 21 students selected as regional finalists for the state’s annual Student of the Year competition, according to the Louisiana Department of Education.

BATON ROUGE -- A Denham Springs student was among the 21 regional finalists announced for the state’s annual Student of the Year competition, according to the Louisiana Department of Education.

Reese Kennedy, a student at Denham Springs Junior High and the Livingston Parish Public Schools 2019-20 Middle School Student of the Year, was one of seven students who are now in the running for the state’s 8th grade Student of the Year award. 

The Louisiana Department of Education released the names of all the regional finalists on Wednesday, March 4. The students selected include one 5th, 8th and 12th grader from each of the state’s seven regions, and they represent public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools across Louisiana, the Department of Education said.

In addition to evaluations on their academic success, leadership skills, and character, students were also evaluated for their career and technical education achievements, a first for the statewide competition.

State Superintendent John White said the updated selection criteria ensures that “all students, regardless of whether they are bound for college or career after graduation, are considered for the prize.”

“These 21 regional finalists are among the top students in Louisiana,” said State Superintendent John White, “and we are proud of their commitment to learning and leadership.”

The annual competition is broken into multiple steps. First, all public schools and non-public schools are asked to submit one candidate from their student body. Students then compete with their peers at the school system level, and winners advance to the regional competitions.

At the regional level, students are selected based on criteria that measure academic success, career and technical achievements, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities.

Regional selection committees also use student-made portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews, to assess the communications and critical-thinking skills of each candidate.

Prior to selecting the three overall state winners, a state selection committee made up of K-12, higher education and community leaders also reviews the students’ portfolios and writing samples and conducts interviews with them.

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