Caddo Parish student named Louisiana’s 2021 Elementary Student of the Year

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A Caddo Parish student has been named Louisiana’s 2021 Student of the Year.

On Wednesday the Louisiana Department of Education announced this year’s state winners which included Luka George Mikaberidze who attends South Highlands Elementary.

The fifth-grader said he has many aspirations and hopes to make a difference and help people when he grows up. Luka, who has his family roots in Soviet George and is fluent in Georgian and English, is currently learning French and Mandarin Chinese.

Luka has earned a 4.0 GPA while collecting multiple academic achievement awards. He is a leader on his soccer and karate demonstration teams. This certified Junior Park Ranger also wants to be an astronaut.

The other 2021 Students of the Year are:

  • Zoe Alessandra Dieringer – 8th grade – Madisonville Junior High – St. Tammany Parish Schools
  • Raedan Daniel Stephens – 12th grade – Mandeville High – St. Tammany Parish Schools

Luka, Zoe, and Raedan along with the 21 regional finalists for the prestigious award were honored during a virtual ceremony.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley said, “Congratulations to Luka, Zoe and Raedan for being named Louisiana Students of the Year. I’m proud to have them represent our state. These young leaders have excelled at the highest levels among their peers and are an example of the level of education available in Louisiana.”

The overall winners, one student from the elementary, middle and high school grades, were selected based on criteria that measure academic and career and technical education achievement, leadership skills and character.

The annual Louisiana Student of the Year competition has multiple steps. First, all public and nonpublic schools are asked to submit one candidate from their student body. Students then compete with their peers at the school system level, and winners advance to the regional competitions.

At the regional level, students are selected based on criteria that measure academic success, career and technical achievements, leadership skills, character and service to their schools and communities. Regional selection committees also use student-made portfolios of accomplishments, along with student writing samples and interviews, to assess the communications and critical-thinking skills of each candidate.

View a list of all 2021 regional finalists.

Prior to selecting the three overall state winners, a state selection committee made up of K-12, higher education and community leaders also review the students’ portfolios and writing samples, and conduct interviews with them. This year, as a result of the ongoing public health crisis, student interviews were conducted online.

Find out more about the annual competition here.

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