BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Three 2022 Students of the Year were celebrated at a ceremony hosted by the Louisiana Department of Education Wednesday night.

Twenty-one regional finalists were also honored during the ceremony.

Students of the Year announced by LDOE:

Elementary School (5th Grade) — Ellen Kate Semmes; daughter of Robert and Catherine Semmes. Ellen is a student at Kiroli Elementary School in Ouachita Parish where Ms. Carolyn Norris serves as the principal. Dr. Don Coker serves as the Superintendent of Ouachita Parish Schools. 

Middle School (8th Grade) — Melissa An Le; daughter of Son and Van Le. Melissa is a student at A. E. Phillips Laboratory School in Lincoln Parish where Ms. Jenny Blalock serves as the principal. Mr. Rickey Durrett serves as the Lincoln Parish School System Superintendent.

High School (12th Grade) — Anita Rose Zahiri; daughter of Monsour Zahiri and Mojgan Meamarian. Anita is a senior at Benjamin Franklin High School where Dr. Patrick Widhalm serves as the Head of School. Ms. Alea Cot serves as the Board President for the Advocates for Excellence in Education, Inc., the governing board for Benjamin Franklin High School, and Dr. Henderson Lewis serves as the Superintendent of NOLA Public Schools.

“The annual Louisiana Students of the Year competition would not be possible without cooperation and dedication from schools and school systems,” said Dr. Ernise Singleton, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Career and College Readiness. 

“We recognize the finalists for their demonstrated success and look forward to great things from them in the future,” said State Superintendent Cade Brumley. “It is an honor to celebrate alongside our honorees and their families, teachers principals and school system leaders.”

Regional finalists announced by LDOE:

Elementary School (Grade 5)

  • Eden Trainor, Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary Magnet School, Caddo Parish
  • Ellen Semmes, Kiroli Elementary, Ouachita Parish
  • Steely Jordan, South Beauregard Upper Elementary, Beauregard Parish
  • Adeline Guidry, Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Ramy Dali, Lacoste Elementary School, St. Bernard Parish
  • Harrison Tarver, Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Jayden Gardere, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools

Middle School (Grade 8)

  • Melissa Le, A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, Lincoln Parish
  • Elliana Sheppard, East Ouachita Middle School, Ouachita Parish
  • Jeremy Diaz, Belle Place Middle School, Iberia Parish
  • Ava Guillory, Monteleone Junior High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Hannah Wen, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
  • Elizabeth “Ellie” Franks, Saint Joseph Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Richard “Ben” Blevins, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools

High School (Grade 12)

  • Olutunmike Adeleye, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts
  • Zachary Johnson, West Monroe High School, Ouachita Parish
  • Alonnie Celestine, Alfred M. Barbe High School, Calcasieu Parish
  • Elise Strain, Fontainebleau High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Allie Johnson, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy, Jefferson Parish
  • Lorraine Steigner, Mount Carmel Academy, Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Anita Zahiri, Benjamin Franklin High School, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, NOLA Public Schools