November 2020


More than 20 girls attended the kick-off event for the Girls Who Code Club at the Denham Springs High School STEM and Robotics Center on Nov. 3. The Girls Who Code Club focuses on educating, equipping and inspiring girls to pursue careers in technology.

More than 20 girls from across Livingston Parish attended the Nov. 3 inaugural event for the Girls Who Code Club, which introduced them to educational options and high-paying career opportunities that are available to women with strong computing skills.

The Denham Springs High School STEM and Robotics Center hosted the event, which was sponsored by the local Raising Canes, Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks, with hopes of attracting female students to pursue more technology-based learning.

“The girls were informed about opportunities and introduced to other girls who share their interests and desires to pursue a career in computer technology,” said Michael Simmons, director of the STEM and Robotics Center.  He said the Girls Who Code Club is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that focuses on educating, equipping and inspiring girls to actively seek out careers in technology.

Simmons said the club will meet on Monday nights at the DSHS STEM and Robotics Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.



Gabryel Duncan

Matt Rotolo

Two Walker High School students, senior Gabryel Duncan and junior Matt Rotolo, are among a select class of 18 public, private and online charter school students who are participating in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge.

As part of the academy, the students attend weekly classes at LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business.  Each student is tasked with generating a business idea, writing a business plan, pitching that plan to a panel of investors, and then launching their own companies.  At the end of the program, the students will be able to register their own LLCs with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.  The student with the winning concept will advance to a national pitch competition in New York next year.

Duncan’s business idea is to expand the product market for people with disabilities, resulting in greater awareness and inclusion for the community.  Rotolo’s business idea is to provide a service that helps students at Walker High School have a fully functional and working cellphone at their disposal.



Livingston Parish Public Schools continues to operate under Phase 3 of its Start Strong attendance plan, as determined by the governor’s declared Phase 3 recovery status for the state.  At the same time, the district is subject to guidelines set by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) related to mandatory quarantines for positive cases and close contacts.

Under those guidelines, if a student or employee tests positive for the virus, there is a mandatory 10-day quarantine period.  When a student or employee is determined to have been in close contact of a positive case, there is a 14-day mandatory quarantine period for that person.  The BESE guidelines do not allow for close contacts to “test out” of quarantine, but rather, they must adhere to the full 14-day waiting period.

Failure by the district to adhere to BESE policies could jeopardize funding, place schools in opposition of other governmental agencies, and possibly lead to the closing of schools.