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Niles Babin and Riley Rosenfeld Named National Merit Semifinalists

Riley and NilesSeptember 2020

Riley Rosenfeld and Niles Babin have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists. 

Riley has been a member of the UHS Varsity Cheer Team since her freshman year and currently leads the team as a captain. She is president of ULS Beta Club and secretary of National Spanish Honor Society. She is a member of National Honor Society and Student Council. Riley is also a full International Baccalaureate Programme student. 

Niles, a former member of the ULS Class of 2022, matriculated to Harvey Mudd College, the nation’s top liberal arts College of Engineering, Science and Mathematics, this past summer where he is currently studying to earn dual degrees in Computer Science and Math. While a student at ULS, he was a member of Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, Beta Club, Robotics Club and Quiz Bowl. He also performed in the school's theater productions of Beauty and the Beast (2016) and Into the Woods (2019). Among his high school awards and honors were First Place Overall in Advanced Math at the 2019 State Literary Rally and earning a national ranking in the top 2.5 percent on the American Mathematical Competition 10 test, thereby securing an invitation to participate in the 2020 American Invitational Mathematics Examination. 

Johnson Earns 1,000th Career Win 

Coach Johnson

September 2020

UHS Volleyball and Girls' Basketball Head Coach Bonita Johnson recorded her 1,000th career victory as a coach earlier this fall when the Cubs notched a 3-0 volleyball victory over Zachary. UHS won by scores of 25-10, 25-15 and 25-23. Read the full story from The Advocate. 

BSU@UHSULS Black Student Union Holds First Meeting

September 2020

The ULS Chapter of the Black Student Union, the high school division's newest club, held its first meeting Friday, September 25. Led by President Alexandra Henderson and Vice President Camryn Jackson, BSU is open to all ULS high school students. Sponsors are faculty members Jennifer Bevill, Shannon Gregoire, Corey Reimonenq and Aimee Welch-James. 

The Union's goals for its inaugural year include increasing cultural awareness at ULS and providing a safe space for Black people, other people of color and their allies to hold conversations and join together within the school setting.The organization's mission statement reads as follows:

"We, the students of University Laboratory School, believing that students have the right as well as the responsibility to identify and represent student interests; to promote student participation in the overall student life and environment of the school, and to play a significant role in guiding our school to incorporate the values and the concerns of its African American students and believing that a representative student organization is the best means by which this goal can and will be met, we do hereby establish this constitution of the Black Student Union."

Along with Jackson and Henderson, other BSU officers include Secretary Dylan Davis, PR Co-chairs Elise Doomes and Sydney Broome, Outreach Co-directors Dennis Blunt and Jabari Johnson and Social Media Chair Megan Abraham, 

ULS Selected for First Cohort of Knock Knock Children's Museum's Making Spaces Initiative

TeachersAugust 2020

University Laboratory School has been selected to be in the first cohort of Knock Knock Children’s Museum’s Making Spaces Initiative. This initiative is a two-year journey designed to develop local leadership around maker-centered learning and to build a foundation in early STEM education while emphasizing sustainability and growth. ULS was one of nine schools selected to participate in the cohort in the Baton Rouge region. 

Representing ULS in the cohort are Elementary Instructors (left to right) Paige Zittrauer, Michelle Blanchard, Amy Martin and Rebecca Goodner. Knock Knock Children's Museum is in its first year as a Regional Hub for the 4th Cohort of the country's Making Spaces: Expanding Maker Education Across the Nation Initiative. 

As part of this innovative ecosystem model,  Knock Knock will provide support to jumpstart and sustain STEM-rich, maker-centered approaches in learning environments through professional development, tools and resources and community engagement. 

This national initiative is a partnership between MakerEd, Google, Cognizant, and Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The Making Spaces national program currently engages 31 Regional Hubs and almost 200 schools and educational sites.

Funding for ULS's cohort site partner membership fees is provided by the ULS Foundation.

Three in Class of 2020 Earn National Merit ScholarshipsNational Merit Finalists

August 2020

ULS is pleased to announce that 2019-2020 ULS National Merit Finalists David Winstead, Nils Newhauser and Hannah Traylor have been named as winners of National Merit college scholarships.

Winstead received the National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship. Newhauser earned the National Merit Louisiana State University Scholarship, and Traylor received the National Merit Harding University Scholarship.

These academic stars are among 7,600 high school seniors total from throughout the United States to receive National Merit Scholarship awards this year. The winners were originally selected from a pool of around 1.5 million students who took the PSAT during their junior year in high school.

From that group, semifinalists and then finalists were selected. Scholarship winners were selected based upon academic record, scores on standardized tests, leadership in school and community activities, student essays and recommendations from high school officials.

Sixteen Graduates Earn IB Diploma

IB Graduates

August 2020

Sixteen 2020 University Laboratory School International Baccalaureate candidates (left to right beginning with top row) – Madelynn Bonvillain, Luke Braun, Hannah Butler, Isabelle Cashe, Lanie Everett, Julia Flake, Joy Fu, Hadley Greene, Elise Gutierrez, Zacharia Ismaio,  Eryn Kennedy, Andrew Moncada, Brandon Moncada, Clyne Peak, Jenna VanHoogstraten and David Winstead- learned in July that they achieved the scores necessary to earn their full IB diploma. 

Currently there are 5,284 schools in more than 150 countries that offer IB programmes recognized throughout the world as both comprehensive and challenging. ULS was accepted into the IB family in 2001, making it the first high school in Louisiana to offer the IB Diploma Program.

This rigorous course of study is designed to meet the needs of highly motivated secondary students and to promote international understanding. Unlike other honors programs, the IB Program requires each student to take courses in six academic areas. To qualify for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, students must also take examinations in those selected six subject areas, participate in community service through IB's Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) program and write an extended essay. Diploma candidates must also successfully complete the Theory of Knowledge course during which students explore the connections and similarities between various subjects and learn to think and apply interrelated concepts.

Many students earning the IB Diploma are awarded advanced college credit at prestigious universities around the world.

Cangelosi Named Louisiana Elementary Student of the Year

Piper CangelosiJuly 2020

ULS 5th grade student Piper Cangelosi has been named the 2020 Louisiana Department of Education Elementary Student of the Year. 

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

Cangelosi says "faith, family and goals" have motivated her to overcome obstacles and achieve at high levels. She's twice earned perfect scores on the ELA portion of her state assessments and has a 4.0 GPA. Her teachers say she is an inquisitive, engaged student who motivates her peers and has a contagious appetite for learning. Cangelosi is a leader on her school's basketball team, a talented pianist, has earned featured roles on stage and volunteers in the community through the Girl Scouts and her church. 

The annual 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.

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

"It takes dedication, sacrifice and talent to excel at the levels of these young people. I'm proud to have them represent what's possible for students in Louisiana," said State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley.

Temple Receives Honorary ESPY

Colleen Temple with TrophyJuly 2020

UHS rising senior Colleen Temple was awarded an Honorary ESPY this summer for her athletic and community service accomplishments.

Honorary ESPYS are awarded annually via ESPN local radio stations, and just like ESPN's national event, feature stories of perseverance, leadership and philanthropy.

An honor student, Temple is also an athletic leader at U-High, already having earned spots on the All-District and All-Metro teams for volleyball as well as honorable mention for the All-District team in basketball.

Additionally, she is an active member of the Baton Rouge community who regularly volunteers her time for holiday food giveaways, the city's Walls Project, and upkeep at the historic Magnolia Cemetery. Most recently, Colleen has been featured prominently in local and regional media for her coordination, along with two other area teens, of peaceful marches for social justice held in downtown Baton Rouge and at the state capitol building.

ULS Achieves STEM Certification

March 2020

Full STEAM Ahead

University Laboratory School is the first public school in the state of Louisiana to earn STEM certification.

The school’s two-year STEM certification journey began in the fall of 2018. On March 12, 2020, Cognia (formerly AdvancEd) representatives completed a two-day site visit, the final step in the process, and awarded ULS with full STEM certification.

The acronym STEM represents the subject areas of science, technology, engineering and math; but at ULS, student investigations of scientific concepts also include inquiry and problem-based learning in the creative process (the Arts) and opportunities for social, physical and leadership growth and development through extracurricular Activities and Athletics, adding an “A” to the acronym.

High School Instructor Aimee Welch-James and Elementary Instructor Rebecca Svensson were co-coordinators of ULS STEM certification efforts.

“STEM certification was the end goal, but the journey to STEM certification is where the real transformation took place. Throughout the process, our teachers worked very hard to see their content through the STEAM lens resulting in more authentic, meaningful, and creative ways to engage their students in learning,” said Welch-James.

Svensson added that because “inquiry-based and interdisciplinary learning have always played a central role in our instruction,” incorporating the engineering design process on which STEM is based into the school’s elementary and secondary curriculums was a natural next step.

“As a result, we are already seeing that our students are becoming even better at collaborating and problem solving,” noted Welch-James. “Overall, the journey to STEM certification enhanced our school’s proficiency to prepare our students for the ever-changing world.”

In addition to STEM certification, ULS is nationally recognized as a Blue Ribbon School and earned renewed AdvancEd accreditation in 2017.

The two-day Cognia site visit was hosted by the ULS Foundation.

Work of ULS Artists Featured in Numerous Prestigious Exhibits

(April 2020)

art students with awardsMore than 30 ULS student artists, elementary through high school, had work selected for display in prestigious art shows throughout the Baton Rouge area in Spring 2020.

Among the high honors earned was that by 2020 ULS senior Allison Parker for her sculpture "With Age Comes."  Parker’s art was selected as the winning entry of high school category of Art Flow Junior 2020, sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. It was one of only 10 selected from an 11-parish region for the show.

The work of ULS student artists was also featured in two notable local art shows in February, again with many earning honors.

The DeBose Visual Arts Festival is a parish-wide competition of student-created 2D and 3D art. Twenty ULS high school students and 10 middle school students were selected for the competition. Avery Papania placed third and Ainslee Newsom earned honorable mention in the middle school 2D category. ULS high school had nine winners. They swept the 3D category with senior Allison Parker and sophomore Blythe Elderd placing first. Junior Sutton Calahan, sophomore WIll Catton and senior Mia Hau placed second. Juniors Hannah Kaplan and Mya Gravois placed third. Senior Charlie Schimmel earned honorable mention. Senior Joy Fu placed second in the 2D division.

The LSU School of Art along with the LSU College of Art & Design hosted the 6th annual statewide juried art exhibition for high school artists showcasing selected works from students from all public, private and home-schooled high schools throughout the state. The juried exhibition is designed to inspire young artists by providing a platform for their work to be displayed in a professional, artistic venue and thus giving them a taste of a professional artist experience. ULS senior Allison Parker took home first place and a prize of $500 for her sculpture. Junior Cole Clark also had a 3D piece selected for the show.

Arts education is an important component of the ULS curriculum from Kindergarten through senior year and provides opportunities for students to develop skills in written and oral expression, teamwork and critical thinking. On a daily basis, students engage with and develop an understanding of both visual and performing arts through painting, sculpture and mixed-media projects, writing and vocal and instrumental music. The results are showcased in more than 50 performances and more than 20 art shows annually.

U-High Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer and Sibling Coaches Win State Championships and Make History

February 2020

Soccer team holding trophyThe 2020 U-High soccer seasons for both the boys’ and girls’ teams, had fairy tale endings with two sibling coaches making history.

Brother and sister duo, Girls’ Coach Melissa Ramsey and Boys’ Coach Chris Mitchell, both led their respective teams to Division III titles at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Soccer Championships in Hammond.

Together, Ramsey and Mitchell have earned 5 total titles with the Cubs. This year, both teams won their title by a 1-0 margin in overtime — the UHS girls over Loyola and the boys over Vandebilt Catholic.

In an article in The Advocate newspaper, Mitchell was quoted immediately after the boys’ win. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot and how special it is. I know it’s never been done in Baton Rouge with two siblings winning soccer titles in the same day. I don’t think it’s ever happened before in Louisiana.”

U-High Girls’ Soccer has three championships with Ramsey – 2015, 2018 and 2020. Boys’ Soccer has two back-to-back championships – 2019 and 2020 – with Mitchell.

Read the full story in The Advocate.

Two Class of 2020 Seniors Named U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidates

January 2020

Scholar StudentsTwo members of the ULS Class of 2020, Andrew Moncada and Isabelle Cashe, were named candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million U.S. high school seniors.

Moncada’s academic achievements include the National Speech and Debate Degree of Excellence and recognition in the National Commended Scholar and the National Hispanic Recognition programs. Moncada also scored a perfect 36 on the November 2019 ACT test. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and is an active member of the ULS Speech and Debate and Quiz Bowl teams and the Youth Legislature and Model United Nations and Robotics clubs. Moncada is also an Eagle Scout. 

Cashe is an active member in ULS's National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl team and Youth and Government, French, Robotics and Speech and Debate clubs. She is also earned a full International Baccalaureate diploma. Her academic awards include the Tulane Book Award and Superior Award for English. She is a National Merit Semifinalist and earned a perfect 36 on the ACT during her junior year.

A 1964 Executive Order of the President established the Presidential Scholar program to recognize graduating seniors from across the nation. Seniors are chosen based on their superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.