Apr 13, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education tonight named the 2016 Students of the Year winners and honored all 18 regional finalists for the coveted award. The annual awards ceremony was held at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge. The winners, one student from the elementary, middle, and high school grades, were selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and community.
"These are the best of the best, Louisiana's future leaders," said State Superintendent John White. "I want to congratulate each and every one of them, including the finalists. Being chosen student of the year, speaks volumes to the character of these individuals, they are shining examples of what all students should strive to be."
The 2016 Students of the Year are:
Elementary School - 5th Grade
Samuel Joseph Korn of Harold Keller Elementary School in Jefferson Parish - Samuel is not just an outstanding student, he is also a talented musician and disciplined in the martial arts, achieving his black belt in 2014. At Harold Keller Elementary School, Samuel is a member of the school band and the Mega Five Band, playing the recorder and the saxophone. He performed at the French Quarter Festival last year with the Red Wolf Brass Band. Additionally, Samuel is a member of the National Honor Society, National Junior Beta Club, and the Student Council, serving as president this school year. In his community, he has helped raise money and collect snack donations for under-privileged students at United Methodist Church.
Middle School - 8th Grade
Hiba Azeem Hasan of Dutchtown Middle School in Ascension Parish - In addition to her awards for robotics, chemistry, and band, Hiba exhibits leadership qualities at Dutchtown Middle School. She served as vice president of the Beta Club last year, vice president of the 4-H Club in 2014 and president in 2015, and vice president of the Student Council in 2014 and president in 2015. Hiba is also talented in the arts both as a visual artist and musician, playing flute and piccolo in the school band. She is a member of the National Junior Beta Club, 4-H Club, Science Club, and the Robotics Team - where she programmed an EV3 robot and created a language app and online database. Hiba says her dream is to one day work in the journalism field as a reporter.
High School - 12th Grade
Cole Joseph Grieshop of Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish - Cole is an academically and athletically accomplished student at Destrehan High School. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, Cole scored a 33 on the ACT, earning a perfect score of 36 on the writing portion, and a perfect score on his American History End-of-Course test. On the soccer pitch, he is the starting defensive back for Destrehan High School, helping lead the Wildcats to a division championship. Cole's leadership at school can be seen through his involvement in the National Honor Society, where he serves as president, a creator and instructor of the school's Advanced Placement Preparation Tutoring program, and captain of the Gifted Debate Team. After graduation, Cole plans to attend Tulane University to earn a Bio-Medical Engineering degree and become a neurologist.
The process of selecting winners begins at the school level. All public and approved non-public elementary, middle, and high schools across the state are asked to submit one candidate from 5th, 8th, and 12th grade, depending on the grade configuration of the school. These students then compete with their peers at the district level and may advance to the regional competitions, where Regional Finalists are chosen.
Each finalist then submits a portfolio and completes a written composition the day of the award ceremony. An independent selection committee also interviews the finalists to evaluate their communication and critical thinking skills before selecting the winners at each grade level.

For a complete list of the 2016 Regional Finalists, please click here.

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