ELTON, LA (KPLC) - Select students from across the state will head to Baton Rouge this month with hopes to win Louisiana's student of the year.
For Marcus Shallow, this is not his first trip to the state capital.
"When my brother was in the 8th grade, I went there and made myself a promise that one day I would be back there, but this time I'll be competing," said Shallow.
Now an 8th grader himself at Elton High School, Marcus is preparing to win Louisiana's student of the year.
"Marcus is hoping to exceed his brother, because he was not named student of the year so he's hoping to exceed his brother's reign or so and they actually laugh about that," said Elton High School Principal, Danielle Simien.
Students are selected based on excelling in the classroom and serving as a role model for others.
"He pushes himself to the next level and I think that's a quality a student of the year should have, but he's a very diligent student," said Simien.
Finalists will submit writing samples and be interviewed. When asking Shallow what interview topic he hopes to get, he chose the controversial Common Core.
"Well I'm prepping on Common Core," said Shallow. "How it affects me and how I learn and ways I could possibly make it better for my peers to learn."
And Marcus said he's always thinking of his peers first. He has dreams of helping people in the medical field or being a teacher.
"Being a teacher you get to make a difference in someone's life and I think that's my purpose, to make a difference in people's lives," said Shallow.
But until then, Marcus will settle with trying to take home the state student of the year title.
"It just felt so surreal that I was able to be recognized and not just by my teachers, parents, or school, but by my parish and the region," said Marcus.
But win or not, Shallow said he's just happy to make Southwest Louisiana proud.
The finalists will be honored April 16th in Baton Rouge. Winners will also be chosen that day.
Another student from Kinder Middle School is also in the running.