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LSMSA’s 35th graduating class honored at Commencement Ceremony

One hundred and thirteen seniors were honored as the school's newest alumni.
The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) honored 113 graduating seniors at the school’s 35th Commencement Ceremony, which took place in Northwestern State University’s (NSU) Prather Coliseum on Saturday, May 18.

The ceremony was led by Executive Director Dr. Steven G. Horton, who expressed great pride in the Class of 2019.

“Every one of you are heading to college,” said Horton. “Fifty-six percent of you are staying in Louisiana and will attend 24 colleges and universities throughout the state. Forty-four percent of you are headed to 36 different universities throughout the United States. One of you is headed to Quebec, Canada, one of you is participating in a youth exchange program in Germany, and another is enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. You have been awarded $36,062,909 in merit-based scholarships. This award is the highest award in the school’s history.”

Joining Horton were featured speakers and vocalists from the senior class. Brynlee Daigle performed the National Anthem, Cydnie Andrepont delivered the Pledge of Allegiance and Daniel Metzger gave the Senior Address to the Class of 2019.

“And now, we scatter across the country, ready to do great things and start new adventures” said Metzger. “Graduating seniors: the dance we do at LSMSA is over, but the friends and the memories we made are timeless. Moving into the rest of your lives, never forget to enjoy the present.”

The ceremony incorporated several time-honored traditions. At the beginning of the event, LSMSA faculty and staff entered the auditorium in full graduate regalia and were joined by Gonfalonieres, or “flag bearers,” who carried Gonfalons that represented each of the school’s major disciplines. The Creative and Performing Arts Department gonfalon was held by Christopher Comeaux, the Humanities Department was represented by Lily Orgeron, the Languages Department gonfalon was held by Senior Class President Rachel Judson, the Math and Computer Science gonfalon was brought in by Jordan Byrd, and Colt Crain represented the Sciences Department. Following, the rest of the graduating class filed into the auditorium to excited applause.

The school was honored to have First Lady Donna Edwards serve as the ceremony’s Commencement Speaker.
“To the 35th graduating class of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, congratulations,” said Edwards. “I am so honored that you have asked me to share this special day with you. You have worked incredibly hard to get to this moment, and I hope you feel a true sense of accomplishment.”
Edwards expressed how proud she was of her former student and graduating senior Jada Bezue, who recently received an award from the Educational Talent Search program. In conclusion, Edwards quoted a passage from the renowned children’s book “Oh, the Places You Will Go” by Dr. Seuss.
“‘Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!’ Graduates, I am confident that each of you will move mountains and help to make the world, our state and the community, a better place.”
After her speech, Sharon Gahagan, chair of LSMSA’s Board of Directors, gifted Edwards with an architectural rendering of the school’s future residence hall, of which Gov. John Bel Edwards helped secure funding for last September.

Director of Academic Services Dr. Kristi Pope Key and Director of Enrollment and Student Services Emily Shumate recited the names of each graduate as they received diplomas from Dr. Horton.

After the last student crossed the stage and returned to their seat, Horton conferred their diplomas as graduates moved their ceremonial tassels from right to left. He then gave one final address to graduates.

“We’re proud of you individually and collectively as the Class of 2019,” said Horton. “You’ve earned your place in the LSMSA tradition. Eagles, it is time for you to leave the nest. Soar, and make us proud.”

At the end of the program, senior Juan Cecchini led the auditorium in the school’s Alma Mater, followed by the time-honored tradition of the cap toss. As the last graduating class member exited the auditorium, the junior and sophomore classes took the seats of their predecessors, honoring them as the new official seniors and juniors of LSMSA.

The following students graduated from LSMSA:

Acadia Parish
– Cyndie Andrepont of Crowley, Emma Istre of Crowley

Allen Parish
– Martel Papillion of Oberlin, Mason Seymour of Oberlin, Halie Thielepape of Elizabeth

Ascension Parish
– Grace Fields of Prairieville, Nihal Gopalam of Prairieville, Jordan Smith of Geismar

Beauregard Parish
– Jaiden Stark of DeRidder

Bossier Parish
– Esther Seo of Bossier City, Shivam Shah of Bossier City, Casey Tonnies* of Bossier City, Christopher Tonnies of Bossier City

Caddo Parish
– Caroline Adkins of Shreveport, Donavan Dowden of Shreveport, Joshua Lewis of Shreveport, Oluwatobi “Tobi” Ojemakinde of Shreveport, Ryleigh “Mei” Scott      of Shreveport, Annie Tyler of Vivian

Calcasieu Parish
– Ashlyn Beaty of Sulphur, Ian Cooley of Lake Charles, Brynlee Marie Daigle of Iowa, Camren Hohn of Iowa, Rachel Judson of Lake Charles, Harkiran “Kiran” Kaur of Lake Charles, Zachary Schleter of Lake Charles, Kynedi Stevens of Lake Charles

DeSoto Parish
– Calissa Miller of Keatchie, Garrett Pattison of Grand Cane

East Baton Rouge Parish
– William Casey of Baton Rouge, Colt Crain* of Zachary, Elyse Duplantier of Zachary, Orlando Edwards of Baton Rouge, Myles Fabre of Baton Rouge, Danielle Gonzalez of Baton Rouge, William Heitman of Baton Rouge, Anne-Marie Higginbotham of Baton Rouge, Hadley Hines of Baton Rouge, Caroline Koonce of Baton Rouge, Morgan Phelps of Baton Rouge, Austin Schulenberg of Baton Rouge, Dakota Trim of Baker

Franklin Parish
– Jeralyn “Reeci” Foy of Winnsboro

Iberia Parish
– Ian Crochet of New Iberia, Caitlynn “Kai” Sengchiam of New Iberia, Kameron Kayu Southichark of New Iberia

Jefferson Parish
– Andrew Bagert of Kenner, Keanu Bartolome of Terrytown, Song Le Jeune of Metairie

Lafayette Parish
– Destina “Tina” Boupapanh of Broussard, Jameson Connor Harrington of Youngsville, Manjistha Lakhotia of Lafayette, Riley Louviere of Lafayette, Sydney Schroedter of Lafayette

Lafourche Parish
– Destiny Beal of Raceland, Collin Serigne* of Cut Off, Jada Boyd of Thibodaux, Bradley Hyatt of Thibodaux, William Powell of Thibodaux, Lily Orgeron* of Lockport

Lincoln Parish
– Alexis Nestrud of Dubach

Livingston Parish
– Jordan Byrd of Denham Springs, Juan Cecchini of Denham Springs, Keaton Dicapo of Denham Springs, Brielle Dunn of Denham Springs, Brooke Ellzey of Livingston, Abigail Fischer of Livingston, Hannah Hauptman of Denham Springs, Brandon Logan of Denham Springs, Jonas Truax of Denham Springs

Natchitoches Parish
– Jayaditya “Jojo” Deep* of Natchitoches, Emma Gruesbeck of Natchitoches, Jansen Jones of Natchitoches, Vrat Joshi of Natchitoches, Caleb Martinez of Robeline, John Cooper Miller of Natchitoches, Harlan Picht of Natchitoches, Diamond Wilson of Natchitoches, Amaya Young of Natchitoches, Raymond Zheng of Natchitoches

Ouachita Parish
– David Hermann of Monroe

Pointe Coupee Parish
– Abigail LeBlanc of Fordoche

Rapides Parish
– Chavonne Fields of Alexandria

Sabine Parish
– Ishika Patel of Many

St. Landry Parish
– Kaleb Ray of Opelousas

St. Martin Parish
– Emily Cormier of St. Martinville, Madison Latiolais* of Breaux Bridge

St. Mary
– Colby Alexander of Franklin

St. Tammany
– Madeline Bolin of Slidell, Luke Boston of Covington, Marlies Carter of Madisonville, Christopher Comeaux of Covington, Juliet Flanagan* of Pearl River, Coleman Guidry of Covington, Lucien Maloney of Mandeville, Daniel Metzger of Slidell, Jessica Rabalais of Slidell, Benjamin Walker of Mandeville

Tangipahoa Parish
– Jada Bezue of Hammond, Isabella Hood of Hammond, Rachel Schnadelbach of Hammond

Terrebonne Parish
– Kailin LeBlanc of Schriever

Vermillion Parish
– Noah Broussard of Abbeville

Vernon Parish
– Sameer Karmali of Leesville, Kyle Michalk of Simpson, Dalaijsa Payton of Leesville, Cynthia Russell of Pitkin, Joan Sporer of Leesville, Arthur Stein of New Llano, Eric Stein of New Llano

Webster Parish
– Victoria “Arden” Miller of Shongaloo

West Baton Rouge Parish
– Chancellor “Chance” Lester of Brusly, Avaion Ruth of Brusly        

(*Graduated with Distinction)
The event is available to view in its entirety at www.livestream.com/LSMSA/2019Commencement.