Stellar Students in SWLA

April 26, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

There are 650,000 students in the state of Louisiana, and each year, the Louisiana Department of Education names an elementary, middle school and high school student to the title of "Student of the Year."  With only three awards available for the entire state, the awarding of two of those titles to students right here in Southwest Louisiana has been a very exciting accomplishment.

When there are more than a half-million students in the state, it's easy for some students to slip through their classes with just the minimum requirements.  But, that's not the case with two young ladies in Beauregard and Calcasieu Parishes who are definitely making the grades.

It's not just pencils being sharpened in one fifth grade classroom at Pinewood Elementary in DeRidder.  Young minds are at work...and one that seems to never rest is that of Aimee Bennett.  "I work hard and I study and prepare for tests...then I do my best," says Aimee.

Aimee's hard work has paid off, as she has been named the top elementary student in Louisiana.  "I was really excited," says Aimee, "I worked really hard and it was just a great opportunity to happen to me."

Although Aimee is the first elementary student from Beauregard Parish to clinch this prestigious state title in her division, the award did not come as a surprise to her principal, Stan Levy.  "Aimee has been a tremendous example for all of our students," says Levy.

With perfect grades, outstanding test scores and community involvement - you might not think that there are many other super students like Aimee, but allow me to introduce you to Barbe High senior, Allison Post.

"I've always enjoyed taking some of the more difficult classes and working on assignments," says Allison, who plans to study biomedical engineering upon graduation.  Allison's hard work has also paid off with a 34 on her ACT and scholarship offers from Duke, Rice and possibly Stanford.

Allison says with a little dedication, the bad reputation Louisiana receives academically could be transformed.  "All you have to do," says Allison, "is take it in, work hard and remember that education is one of the most important things in your life."

It's a lesson that Allison and Aimee know well.  Kari Ifland is the Region III Student of the Year Coordinator and she says that both girls blew their competition out of the water.  "Both Allison and Aimee are remarkable young women, excellent students and they exemplify what this program is all about."

Each young lady received a savings bond as part of the award, and just in case you were wondering where the third "steller student" is from: her name is Carley Furlan and she is an eighth grader from Saint Tammany Parish who recently moved back to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina forced her family to relocate.