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Ouachita Parish students selected as finalists for Louisiana Student of the Year

Posted Date: 03/06/2024

Ouachita Parish students selected as finalists for Louisiana Student of the Year

The Ouachita Parish School District is proud to announce that two of its students have moved on as finalists for the Louisiana Student of the Year competition.

Ouachita Parish High School Senior Hannah Buckley and East Ouachita Middle School 8th grader Lillianna Rose won the Regional Competition in their respective categories and will now compete against the other 7 BESE Regions that make up the state of Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Education announced the finalists on Wednesday.

“I was just as shocked as everybody else,” Buckley said. “I didn’t expect to hear back this soon, but it truly is such a great honor to be chosen for this prestigious award.”

Buckley is a 4.0 student and the President of the Spanish Club, Chaplain of the National Honor Society and Vice President of Student Government at Ouachita Parish High School. She is also the captain of the Tennis Team and a founding member of Literary Lion and Medical Professionals of Our Future.

“I wanted to point out just what I’ve been doing with the school,” Buckley said about the message she tried to convey to the judges panel during the Regional Round. “That’s something that I’m really proud of that I am able to impact my school in some way.

“I wanted them to know that I truly care about my school and my community, and I want to just spread that love to everybody across the entire state if I can.”

Rose is also a 4.0 student and participates in Student Government, Band, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Cheerleading and Captain of the Soccer Team at East Ouachita Middle School.

“It’s kind of crazy because I didn’t think I was going to make it this far,” Rose said. “In one word, it’s like everything because it’s just crazy. I spent all my life and my hard work went toward this.”

Students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. Regional selection committees also use electronic portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews to assess the communications and critical thinking skills of each candidate.

Finalists were selected among student of the year winners from schools across the state. All Louisiana schools were eligible to submit one candidate. Students compete with their peers at the school system level and may advance to the zone and regional competitions. Prior to selecting the three state winners, the state selection committee will conduct interviews and review a writing sample from each of the finalists as well as their portfolios.

Finalists will then convene on April 10 at the River Center Branch Library in Baton Rouge for an awards ceremony and the announcement of the Louisiana Students of the Year winners from each grade.

Congratulations to each of these young leaders. This honor is a testament to their commitment to academic excellence,” said Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. "As we celebrate the achievement of these remarkable students, we also recognize the unwavering support of their parents and educators.” 


Complete List of Finalists for 2024 Louisiana Students of the Year:

Grade 5:

  • Region 1: Elise Federico | Tchefuncte Middle | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2: Dylan Graffeo | John L. Ory Communication Art Magnet | St. John Parish
  • Region 3: Qiaoya “Georgie” Wang | Bayou Community Academy | Lafourche Parish
  • Region 4: Bhavik Kondala | Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary Magnet | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Ansley Elder | Cherokee Elementary | Rapides Parish
  • Region 6: Kendall Vaughn | South Fork Elementary | Livingston Parish
  • Region 7: Adeline Reddit | South Beauregard Upper Elementary | Beauregard Parish
  • Region 8: Dean Cicero | Brusly Upper Elementary |West Baton Rouge Parish

Grade 8:

  • Region 1: Alvin Su | Hynes Charter School | Jefferson Parish
  • Region 2: Sasha Mardon | The Willow School | Advocates for Arts-based Education, NOLA Public Schools
  • Region 3: Tyren Austin | B. Edward Boudreaux Middle | St. Mary Parish
  • Region 4: Luka Mikaberidze | Caddo Magnet Middle | Caddo Parish
  • Region 5: Lillianna Rose | East Ouachita Middle | Ouachita Parish
  • Region 6: Madilyn Whitmore | Westdale Middle | East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Region 7: Hyacinth Williamson | Welsh-Roanoke Jr. High | Jefferson Davis Parish
  • Region 8: Helen Lavassuer | West Feliciana Middle | West Feliciana Parish            

Grade 12:

  • Region 1:  Jaelyn Graham | Northshore High | St. Tammany Parish
  • Region 2 : Sean Baltazar | Destrehan High | St. Charles Parish
  • Region 3: Evan Louviere | South Lafourche High | Lafourche Parish
  • Region 4: Zachary Cryer | Benton High | Bossier Parish
  • Region 5: Hannah Buckley |Ouachita Parish High | Ouachita Parish 
  • Region 6: Lauryn Smith | Varnado High | Washington Parish
  • Region 7: Ali Habib | Lafayette High | Lafayette Parish
  • Region 8:  Josi Lemelle | Eunice High | St. Landry Parish