Saturday, June 18, 2016
Raquel Baker// L’Observateur Newspaper
LAPLACE — Some of the brightest students and most accomplished administrators and staff in St. John the Baptist Parish were treated to a special meal in their honor Wednesday through an academic celebratory luncheon put on by the St. John Government and Parish Council.
While it’s always a good thing to highlight people for athletic achievements, Parish President Natalie Robottom feels those that excelled academically should also be recognized.
Students of the year, along with valedictorians and salutatorians, were among those in attendance this week.
“We also wanted to extend the invitation to our teachers and principals of the year,” Robottom said.
“Without them, the schools wouldn’t be what they are. Having been an educator I do feel that it’s extremely important to recognize, acknowledge and encourage students to continue their education.”
Everyone was all smiles as they enjoyed lunch, took photos with Robottom and mingled with students and staff from schools throughout the parish.
One student, Jenna Necaise, seemed to have a good time.
Necaise, 14, just completed eighth grade at John L. Ory Communications Arts Magnet School was sitting at a table with Riverside Academy students. The rising ninth grader was excited because she plans to attend Riverside Academy in the fall.
Not only was Necaise the eighth grade student of the year for her school, she also won the district title. The young student said the title made her feel accomplished.
“After working hard for nine years at one school, I can say that it finally paid off,” she said. “Hard work included studying a lot. I’m one of those types of people that turns in projects early. I get stressed if I don’t have it done a week in advance. Along with studying, I also had to balance sports and extracurricular actives. It was kind of stressful.”
With a smile, Necaise said she is ready for the next chapter in her education at Riverside.
“I’m also a little nervous at the same time,” she said. “It’s a new school, and I don’t know what the classes will be like. I’m looking forward to a new environment. I’ve been with the same people for nine years and I’m ready to meet new people.”
Karen Dottolo said that Necaise is one of her favorite students, adding she is a blessing.
“Jenna is the kind of student that makes our job easy,” Dottolo said. “She is so self-motivated and always interested no matter what she is being taught. She is always anxious and ready to go.”
Dottolo, who has been teaching for more than 30 year, was recognized at the lunch for being the St. John Public School District teacher of the year. Dottolo teaches fourth grade English language arts and social studies.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized, and this has been a very humbling experience,” she said.
Dottolo said she is proud to be part of the school system, especially with the public school district earning a B rating this academic year.
“I’m so proud of our district and all the hard work everyone has been doing,” she said.
“I know everyone has been digging in, and we’ve been pushing to do better. I don’t think we’ll stop until we get to the A.”
Academic Lunch Attendees
Students and teachers: Lela Hill, Kelly Campbell, Jaime Triche, Cobi Smith, Emma Meneses, Dominic Joseph, Jordan Deloch, Lori Chen, Carlo Travis, Jenna Necaise, Emani Payne, Tobore Takpor, Madison Duhe, Myles Gauthier, Mai’Ron Carter, Ravyn Bazile, Chantell Walker, Lyndell Jackson and Karen Dottol
School District: Kevin George, Dr. Quentina Timoll- Speaker, Russel Jack Jr. and Keith Jones
Parish Council: Marvin Perrilloux, Larry Sorapuru, Jaclyn Hotard