September 2019


U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy made a special visit to the Denham Springs High School STEM & Robotics Center during his visit to Livingston Parish this month. During the tour, Cassidy spoke with students in a digital storytelling class.  The students were unboxing new cameras and tripods and learning the basics of video photography equipment.



More than 500 students on 20 teams from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas recently competed in the Dow Red Stick Rumble at Denham Springs High School.  The event is an off-season FIRST Robotics Competition and General Robotics Festival.

Teams were tasked with designing robots that could fill rockets and cargo ships while combating unpredictable terrain and weather patterns.  The robots were judged on their ability to manage the task in a timely and efficient manner.  Each team was given a six-week time period to work with mentors and coaches from their communities to design and build the robots.

The mission of the Red Stick Rumble is to provide robotics teams with a high-quality, off-season competitive event that allows teams of all strengths to develop their skills, recruit new members and network with friends.  It also provides the community with an opportunity to see the benefits of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) that is brought to local schools and communities by robotics programs.



The Albany Hornet Mascot helped to lead the large crowd into a cheer during the Open House Pep Rally that was held Aug. 24.

Members of the Albany community gathered on Aug. 24 to tour the four local campuses – Albany High School, Albany Middle School, Albany Upper Elementary and Albany Lower Elementary.

The open house included a first glance at two 16-classroom buildings that were completed during the summer at Albany High and Albany Lower Elementary.

Participants and guests were provided a free fried catfish lunch, prepared by a local restaurant and served by Albany High’s ProStart students.  The catfish was donated by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, in conjunction with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser’s Office.  Door prizes from local businesses were also handed out during a pep rally that featured entertainment by the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams.



Amanda Jones, Live Oak Middle School Librarian

Live Oak Middle School Librarian Amanda Jones is getting national attention for her efforts to use social media to garner support and awareness of literacy projects she has created for her students.

Jones was recently awarded two top national honors from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) during the group’s conference in Washington, D.C.  She received the group’s 2019 Social Media Superstar Program Pioneer Award and was awarded a 2019 Inspire Special Event Grant.  The grant includes a cash award of up to $2,000 for Jones to invest in her school’s social media project.

She has been featured on season two of the School Librarians United podcast to discuss a presentation she gave in Philadelphia last summer called “Put Your Self(ie) Out There: Using Social Media to Advocate for Your School Library Program.”  The national podcast is heard in all 50 states and was recently featured in the School Library Journal as the top podcast among school librarians.  Jones will also make that same presentation at the National AASL Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in November later this year.



Members of Cox Charities presented Juban Parc Elementary with a $500 grant to create a sensory room at the school.  Pictured with those representatives are: (standing) Adapted PE Teacher Lisa Dugas, Principal Lauren Kennedy, and Assistant Principal Pam Masters; (seated) Brock Galloway, Breanna Meche, Carson Tullier, Raimi Boudreaux, and Landon Chung.

Adapted Physical Education Teacher Lisa Dugas was recently awarded a $500 grant from Cox Communication, through its Cox Charities Foundation, to create a sensory room at Juban Parc Elementary.

While the sensory room is available to all students, research shows it can be especially helpful to calm and stimulate the senses in children with special needs.  Sensory issues can be common among children with special needs.  Sensory issues include sensitivity to smells, touch, texture, taste, light and sound.

“This room provides all our students and their teachers with a place where they can take a ‘brain break,’” Dugas said.  “Our students often need a place to go to just calm down, and this room will give them that special place and provide them with various items that can impact all the senses,” she said.



Walker High School students Anthony David, left, and Kataj Darden help organize donations for the Wildcat We Care pantry.  Photo courtesy of The Advocate.)

Students at Walker High School have transformed an old book hallway closet into a “We Care” pantry filled with hygiene items and food for students in need.  On any given day, the closet is stacked with items like shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, snacks and uniforms that kids in need might be too shy to ask for or buy for themselves.

“I’m seeing a lot of kids lately who just need that extra help and as a community we’re here to help them, to make sure they have everything they need,” said Katelyn Easlick, a baking and pastry instructor in the school’s Pro-Start Culinary program.  She and School Librarian Tessi Meaux help to oversee the project.

Easlick said student volunteers or teachers take much effort to be discreet about helping students.  They package the requested items in a plain black drawstring bag for students to pick up or have delivered to their classroom, so the bag doesn’t look out of place with other book bags.