Three local students advance to finals in state Student of the Year competition

Standout Students

Caddo Parish Elementary School Student of the year, Luka Mikaberdize (left), a 5th grade student at South Highlands Elementary Magnet School; Bossier Middle School Student of the Year Kylie Smith (center), an 8th grade student at Haughton Middle School; and Diocese of Shreveport’s Middle School Student of the Year, Carter Doyle (right), an 8th grade student at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, have advanced to Regional Student of the Year honors and are among 21 elementary, middle and high school students who are finalists in their divisions for Louisiana State Student of the Year. The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on April 21, 2021.

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Education announced that two Shreveport students and one Haughton student have advanced to the Louisiana Student of the Year state finals.

In February, the three local students competed against Student-of-the Year winners in 15 other school districts across Louisiana, representing traditional public, public charter and nonpublic schools.

Local finalists are Luka Mikaberdize, a fifth grader at South Highlands Elementary Magnet School, Caddo Parish Schools’ Elementary School Student of the year; Kylie Small, an eighth grader at Haughton Middle School, Bossier Parish Schools’ Middle School Student of the Year; and Carter Doyal, an eighth grader at St. Joseph Catholic School, the Diocese of Shreveport’s Middle School Student of the Year.

Doyle, who has been a straight-A student since first grade is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, is a Duke TIP participant, serves as treasurer on his school’s student council, is a Religious Scholars Delegate, is captain of St. Joseph’s Jets football team, plays on his school’s tennis team, was winner of St. Joseph’s Catholic School’s Student Award winner and serves as an usher and lector in is school’s Masses.

Smith attained perfect scores in math and English language arts on the LEAP test, performs in Bossier Schools’ Talented Theater program, is a district winner in cross country, serves her school as vice president of student council, is a Red Jacket ambassador for her school and is captain of the school’s cheerleading team and was selected as an NCA All-American Cheerleader.

In addition to one another, Doyle and Smith will compete against students who attend schools from Monroe City Schools, Calcasieu Parish Schools, St, Charles Parish Schools and NOLA Public Schools.

Mikaberdize, who credits his well-rounded success to his parents, younger brother and his teachers at South Highlands, is fluent in two languages and currently learning two more. His long list of hobbies include knitting hats and gloves for the homeless; playing the Ukulele, violin and the piano; making competitive, historical board games; and learning anything and everything about space and the solar system, planning to one day become an astronaut.  

Mikaberdize will face elementary school regional students from Ouachita Parish, Beauregard Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, Ascension Parish, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and NOLA Public Schools.

Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana Superintendent of Education said, “I’m proud of each of these finalists and would be honored to have any of them represent us as a Louisiana Student of the Year. Their achievements and hard work are proof that Louisiana’s children are as capable as any in the nation.”  

Students compete with their peers at the school system level and may advance to the regional competitions. Students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character and service to their schools and communities.

Regional selection committees also use electronic portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews to assess the communications and critical thinking skills of each candidate.  Prior to selecting the three state winners, the state selection committee will conduct interviews and review a writing sample from each of the finalists.

The total list of finalists from each of the three divisions is below:

Elementary School (Grade 5):

  • Luca Mikaberdize, South Highlands Elementary Magnet School CaddoParish
  • Addison Liles, Pine Wood Elementary, Beauregard Parish
  • Dev Iyer, Buchanan Elementary, East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Reese Geraci, Prairieville Primary, Ascension Parish
  • Anthony Amadeo, III, Our Lady of Prompt Succor School, Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Quincy Shariff, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools

Middle School (Grade 8):

  • Kylie Small, Haughton Middle School, Bossier Parish
  • David Anderson, Neville Junior High School, Monroe City Schools
  • Emma Vinson, S.P. Arnett Middle School, Calcasieu Parish
  • Zoe Dieringer, Madisonville Junior High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Saniya Abbas, Albert Cammon Middle School, St. Charles Parish
  • Carter Doyal, Saint Joseph Catholic School, Diocese of Shreveport
  • Marbella Maristany, Lusher Charter School, Advocates for Arts-Based Education Corporation, NOLA Public Schools

High School (Grade 12):

  • Hana Le, Ruston High School, Lincoln Parish
  • Emma Agan, Sterlington High School, Ouachita Parish
  • Kaleb LeMoine, Elton High School, Jefferson Davis Parish
  • Raedon Stephens, Mandeville High School, St. Tammany Parish
  • Rachel Guan, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
  • Kathleen Rush, Archbishop Hannan High School, Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Ava Wilkes, Benjamin Franklin High School, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, NOLA Public Schools

The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on April 21.

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