Students of the year

The Students of the Year at Catholic - Pointe Coupee Elementary and High School were all finalists for the non-public Students of the Year in the greater Baton Rouge area, the first time for the schools. From left are Amelia Chauvin, fifth grade; Jenna Guidry, 12th grade; and Anna Jean Eaves, eighth grade.

Catholic - Pointe Coupee students credit teachers as school system marks Catholic Schools Week

At first, Joe LeBlanc admits he didn’t know what the excitement was about.

“This is my first year here; I didn’t know what to expect,” said LeBlanc, Catholic High of Pointe Coupee principal.

What he didn’t expect, but Catholic of Pointe Coupee Elementary and High School found out, was all three of its Student of the Year nominees were finalists for the non-public school award in Baton Rouge. It was the first time the fifth grade, eighth grade and high school students from the New Roads school made the finals at the same time.

Recognized as finalists were Amelia Chauvin, fifth grade; Anna Jean Eaves, eighth grade; and Jenna Guidry, 12th grade.

And as the schools celebrate Catholic Schools Week, the top administrators say it reflects more than just academics.

“Everyone here is very excited. Naturally, it’s a thrill for the kids and the school,” LeBlanc said. “It’s not because of me; it shows what the school has done for the children and what the children have done for the school.”

A different activity is held each day during Catholic Schools Week. So far, an elementary prayer service was held Monday, a school Mass on Tuesday and clergy appreciation and Diocesan Mass on Wednesday. Scheduled Thursday is Parent Appreciation Day, and Friday is a canned food drive.

The goal of the school is to prepare students for the next level in their education, said Jason Chauvin, principal of the Catholic elementary school.

But grades are not the only measure. “The search committee looks for well-rounded students,” Chauvin said of the panel that selected the elementary student of the year.

“All three of the students are proud to say they go to Catholic-Pointe Coupee,” Chauvin added. “They’re not just students in a class.”

“It was awesome being named student the year,” Amelia Chauvin said about being named the top fifth-grader.

Besides maintaining A’s in her classes, Amelia is involved in the Drama Club, 4-H Club, choir and Quiz Bowl.

Amelia said she credits her five teachers with her success.

“They’ve helped me and taught me the stuff to become a better student and person,” she said.

 “I wasn’t expecting it. It’s all very exciting,” said Anna Jean Eaves, the eighth-grade winner. “I was honored.”

Anna Jean was named school student of the Year in fifth grade but did not reach the finals. She is active with the Beta and 4-H clubs and is a member of the cross country and track teams.

“I’ve had great teachers,” Anna Jean said. “They’ve also acted as a parent, giving good guidance, teaching me to be a better student and have a better relationship with God.”

While she has not decided on a career, Anna Jean said she wants to go to LSU and thinking about majoring in psychology or becoming a forensic scientist.

She also is considering going into the military. Both of her parents have served in the military, her father in the Army and Marine Corps and in Operation Desert Storm and her mom in the Navy.

“I want to help those with PTSD,” she said.

High school student Jenna Guidry was not at school the day LeBlanc discussed the student the year achievement.

The 12th grader was at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., he said.

She has been an all-district selection in volleyball and member of the track team, while also serving as a eucharistic minister.

“Jenna was the homecoming queen voted by her class,” LeBlanc said. “Now the student of the year is voted on by the faculty and staff, so she has the respect of everybody in the school.”

In addition to its core of academic classes, the school system is expanding its offerings in electives and clubs that can motivate students, according to Chauvin.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” so he can’t predict what topic will inspire a student, Chauvin said.

But offering a variety of classes, clubs and educational tools will allow a student “to make a decision for themselves and decide what they want to do in life.”

The only rule to start a club is to have a faculty sponsor and 10 students interested in the club’s goal.

In his second year as principal, five new clubs have been started, Chauvin said, including a Garden Club for students in first through third grades.

Anna Jean Eaves had a few words for her classmates.

“I would tell them to cherish their moments here, they go by so quickly. In the blink of an eye, they have passed, and you move on from the people who care for you,” she said.

The high school principal said the type of accomplishments of the students of the year are not confined just to them nor only linked to their schools.

“It’s tremendous people doing tremendous things,” LeBlanc said.

“Parents must be doing something right.”