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A L O U I S I A N A S C H O O L F O R M AT H , S C I E N C E , A N D T H E A R T S F O U N DAT I O N P U B L I C AT I O N   |   S P R I N G 2 0 1 8


“Our doors are open with a spirit of gratitude and fortune that does not go unnoticed.”

Cover art by Marcus Journey


Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “Be an opener of doors” is a most appropriate statement to begin my welcome to you, LSMSA family! In the past 18 months, I’ve heard from so many of you about your experiences at LSMSA. During the early years, the LSMSA presence was a new one for the Natchitoches community, but over the past 35 years, LSMSA has become an institution in Natchitoches and in Louisiana for the state’s “gifties.” That is such an endearing term that touches so many hearts. So many in Natchitoches and around the state do not have any idea of what happens behind the doors of the High School Building, Prudhomme, Caddo, the MAB (or Annex, or Old Trade School) or the CPT. Few fully understand the depths of our programs — that our courses are not collegepreparatory courses; they are college-level courses. Or that our faculty are all college-credentialed. Or that our professional and residential life staffs hold many national licensures and certifications. Or that we are a very special family of more than 5,500 graduates, students, faculty and staff who celebrate each other’s accomplishments. One of my visions for the school involves allowing our supporters to have a look inside LSMSA. So many have expressed interest in learning more about LSMSA — our daily happenings, our celebrations, our students, our faculty and staff. So we’ve opened our doors. We’ve hosted local, regional and state organization meetings. We’ve welcomed several graduating classes from Natchitoches High School and Natchitoches Central High School back to their hallowed grounds to reminisce. Our faculty and our student organizations have offered ACT preparation courses to the Natchitoches community. Students volunteer at our local Food Pantry and sponsor 5K races for philanthropic causes. In November, we honored local veterans and first responders as part of our Veterans Day Program and invited the public to attend. There are dozens of examples of the special things we do for the community, state and for each other. Our doors are open with a spirit of gratitude and fortune that does not go unnoticed. We often are the headlines of our local media outlets, whether it be school accomplishments or just updates about what’s going on at LSMSA. We are included on community committees and in community events. Our flags fly proudly on Front Street during formal LSMSA events. We are an integral part of Natchitoches, and we are loved. Taking the lead and being the opener of doors has ultimately benefited the LSMSA community. And now, as a result, doors continue to open for LSMSA. And I’m so proud of that. Take time to read every article in this edition of The Gift and you’ll quickly feel the energy we experience on campus daily. It’s contagious! Dr. Steve Horton LSMSA executive director

Gov. John Bel Edwards places the star atop the holiday tree in Caddo Hall.

Students, faculty and staff with first lady Donna Edwards, Gov. John Bel Edwards and state Sen. Jay Luneau.

From left, Dr. Steve Horton, Chris King, first lady Donna Edwards, Sen. Jay Luneau and Gov. John Bel Edwards discuss art in the MAB.

First lady Donna Edwards is reunited with former student Jada Bezue (’19).


First lady Donna Edwards, left, visits the dorm room of Sofia Rivera (’18).

Gov. John Bel Edwards, first lady Donna Edwards and state Sen. Jay Luneau visited LSMSA on December 1. They toured the campus, visited classes and enjoyed musical performances before meeting students at Caddo Hall, where Caddo’s holiday tree.


the governor placed the star atop


Veronica Sturman (’19) practices one-on-one pad work with Sgt. Jonathan Roberts.

Sgt. Jonathan Roberts and Deputy Kelvin Samuel provide Ben Walker (’19) tips on using the punching bag for jabs and hooks.

Sofia Rivera (’18) is directed by Deputy Kelvin Samuel on effective stance and footwork and its impact on effective boxing.




Sgt. Jonathan Roberts, a Natchitoches Parish Sheriff ’s Office narcotics investigator, and patrol officer Deputy Kelvin Samuel worked with LSMSA to create a course that would offer students a chance to build self-esteem and get in shape. More than 30 students signed up to learn boxing. “Sgt. Roberts and Deputy Samuel quickly earned the respect of their students not only because of their skillset in boxing, but most importantly because of the positions they hold with NPSO,” said Dr. Steve Horton, executive director. “We’ve never had the opportunity to have law enforcement officers on campus as part of our teaching faculty.” Horton said students see Roberts and Samuels as role models and mentors. “We are very pleased and blessed to have Coach Jonathan and Coach Kelvin teaching the class,” said Dale

Clingerman, coordinator of athletics and recreation. “Both of them bring a strong desire to teach our students and inspire them to work hard and get better every class.” According to Roberts and Samuel, boxing is a fun way to relieve stress; gain self-confidence; and get stronger, leaner and faster while developing a sense of ethics. “My favorite aspect of boxing is getting to learn a beneficial skill in a fun and safe environment,” said Abigail Fischer, a junior from Livingston. “The instructors teaching the class are great. They explain everything perfectly and are willing to work one-on-one with a student if they are struggling.” The LSMSA Foundation’s Student Enrichment Fund provided support for the majority of the class’s equipment purchases.

Right: Dr. Jason Anderson and Coach Jacob Spielbauer talk game strategy with the LSMSA flag football team during a timeout. LSMSA students are all smiles after winning SLAMT.

Members of the ultimate frisbee team enjoy a laugh during SLAMT competition.

LSMSA fans cheer for the Eagles from the sideline.

SLAMT TROPHY RETURNS TO NATCHITOCHES The beauty of any competition lies not in quantifiable results, but rather in its ability to push participants beyond what they may accomplish without the challenge of an adversary. This is, perhaps, never more evident than during SLAMT, the annual team sport tournament held between LSMSA and its sister schools. March 2–4 saw LSMSA students pushing themselves to their fullest on the field and the court, playing sports like ultimate frisbee, flag football, soccer, tennis, volleyball and basketball. This year’s tournament began with the arrival of the Arkansas School for Math, Science, and the Arts and the Texas Academy of Math and Science on Friday night, jumping immediately into individual tournaments in chess, billiards and pingpong, as well as a spirited pep rally led by LSMSA cheerleaders.

On Saturday morning, LSMSA began a day of dominance in the gym, where the Eagles volleyball and basketball teams combined to win five out of six contests. Meanwhile, LSMSA went an even 3–3 on Eagle Field, led by the soccer team after impressive wins over both opponents. At the same time, the tennis courts saw a hotly contested second-place finish by the Eagles who were narrowly defeated by TAMS in its only first-place finish of the day. The drama was at its highest at the end of the day, when the LSMSA boys’ basketball team battled TAMS. The game came down to the final 30 seconds, when the Eagles hit two free throws to tie the game and a lay-up to take the lead with less than five seconds remaining. The win locked the Eagles into first place, bringing the trophy home to nest for the first time in three years.

PROJECT POLIO HOSTS 5K RACE TO RAISE MONEY “It served many purposes, and because of the positive feedback

a 5K race hosted by members of Project Polio, a nonprofit that

we received, we plan to make this an annual event.”

fights polio around the world.

clinics in rural areas.

“A 5K was a great way to bring the LSMSA community to-

Members raised more than $3,000 to support international

gether and a fantastic way to raise funding for our nonprofit,” said

Vrat Joshi, a junior from Natchitoches and organizer of the event.

they will be provided to families immediately,” Joshi said.


More than 50 LSMSA students, faculty and staff participated in

“All the funds will be used to buy oral polio vaccinations, and


Pictured are, from left, Dr. Chris Hynes, Grayce Mores (’18), Angela Fang (’18), Kerry Doyle (’18), Ruby Kharod (’18) and Nathaniel Campbell (’18).



Five seniors competed against college students at the 9th annual LSU Undergraduate Research Conference held Nov. 17 at LSU. The conference, whose theme for 2017 was “Excite/ Explore/Experiment,” provides a forum for undergraduate students to present their research, interact with faculty, and develop collaboration with their peers.

Members of the athletic teams at LSMSA raised money for the Radio MASH (Make A Smile Happen) toy drive held by the Natchitoches Jaycees to help underprivileged children in Natchitoches Parish. This year, student athletes raised more than $1,600. Participants included Alison Key, Rachel Key, Samantha Hernandez (’18), Danielle Gonzalez (’19), Alvaro Carvajal (’18), D’Andre Goodley (’20), Rachel Judson (’19), John Luke Heying (’20), Dr. Jason Anderson, Randy Key, Dr. Kristi Key, Dr. Steve Horton, Michael Sumner and Dale Clingerman.

From left, front row, Andre Bourque (’20); Jordan Byrd (’19); second row, Ben Walker (’19); Albert Chen (’18); Jojo Deep (’19); and back row, Brad Burkman.

Six students from LSMSA were the only high school students to compete in a two-day undergraduate competition hosted by the Math-


ematical Association of America. LSMSA students competed against



math majors from thirteen colleges and universities in Louisiana and Mississippi, including LSU, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana Tech University and the Univer­sity of Southern Mississippi. LSMSA sophomore Andre Bourque, of Gretna, won first in the Integration Bee; and Jordan Byrd, a junior from Denham Springs, placed third. A fourman team from LSMSA finished first in the team competition.

Jeralyn Foy (’19) practices writing characters on the board.

Leo Eisenlohr helps Kiara Padilla (’18) with writing characters during Chinese class.

EISENLOHR INSPIRES STUDENTS IN NEW CHINESE COURSE Leading the class is Leo Eisenlohr, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Chinese and Arabic from the Ohio State University, his master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Chicago and is enrolled in a doctoral program in east Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. Eisenlohr says he does not want any student to be afraid to take Chinese because he or she thinks it will be too hard. “There is an unfair mystique about the Chinese language,” he said.“It is not as hard as people think. I want to impress on students to not approach it as if it is something super difficult. Don’t come to it with the attitude that it is some impossible challenge.” Aja Becker was hesitant about enrolling in the course at first for that very reason, but is now glad that she did. “I love Chinese class, it is so much fun,” said Becker, a senior from New Orleans. “I almost did not take it because I thought it was way too different from English, but we are moving so fast, I can already recognize a lot of traditional characters if I am looking at a text.We never have busy work, the class is always interactive and Mr. Eisenlohr always makes sure each individual student understands before he moves on, so no one is left behind.”


Nothing was going to stop Kiara Padilla from enrolling in the Chinese course offered for the first time ever at LSMSA in the fall. “Last year, when I was told they would be offering Chinese, I knew I would do anything to take the class,” said Padilla, a senior from Fort Polk. “When scheduling came around I had a bunch of conflicts, but I was determined to do whatever it took to get into a section. “I emailed the teacher back and forth and completely rearranged my entire schedule. So far, it has been the highlight of my senior year. It is the one class I always look forward to.” LSMSA is one of only two or three schools in Louisiana to offer Chinese as an option to fulfill the foreign language graduation requirement. “We see the addition of the Chinese language courses as a way that our students can experience another culture, diversify their transcript and college applications, and, perhaps most importantly, pursue their academic and intellectual curiosity,” said Dr. Kristi Key, director of academic services. “Several students requested a non-Western option for language study, and our research into academic trends noted that elite programs across the nation have been adding Chinese language programs alongside of the traditional options in Romance languages.


Marcus Journey, left, speaks with Sam Konur (’20) about the project he is working on in the digital media arts class.

Marcus Journey, center, discusses a project in the class with Jessenia Ortiz (’18) and Sarah Wells (’18).




Marcus Journey had plans to become a nurse when he first began as a student at Brigham Young UniversityIdaho, but one class sent him on a completely different path. “I got a C in my anatomy and physiology class,” said Journey, who began as an instructor of visual arts at LSMSA in August. “To get into the nursing program, you can’t have a C.” During that same semester, Journey was enrolled in a photography class and believes that was part of the reason why he didn’t perform as well in the anatomy and physiology class. “I was spending so much time doing photography,” he said. “I excelled at the assignments. My teacher would pick four of the best photos from that week, and I found that every week I was getting at least one photo picked. I thought that was really cool and decided to change my major.” After earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Journey and his wife moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he worked as a photo editor for Tom Mangelsen, one of the foremost authorities on wildlife photography. The Journeys found themselves in Louisiana when his wife was admitted to graduate school at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.

“When we got here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to make art,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily know if I wanted to teach, but I knew I wanted to continue with photography. I liked the idea of making fine art.” He met Chris King, lecturer of visual arts at LSMSA, when he applied to be in a juried show presented by King. “Chris showed three of my pieces,” said Journey. “I came, met Chris, and he gave me a tour. I thought this was a cool program.” When the opportunity presented itself to join the faculty, he agreed and now teaches intro to visual arts and digital media. “I would say that in the digital media class I am at home and more relaxed,” said Journey. “It is more of a free-flowing class. I encourage students to write a project proposal about something that is important to them. I find that I learn about what the students care about and what is important to them. A lot of it is related to their family and how they were raised and how they were brought up. It’s nice to see that.”

DR. CHRIS HYNES VISITS LOCAL SCHOOL Dr. Chris Hynes, senior lecturer of chemistry and student research adviser, visited with students at the Northwestern State University Middle Lab School in October. He led a demonstration about the properties of hydrogen and oxygen, and performed a flame test.

BIOLOGY INSTRUCTOR DEMONSTRATES VARIOUS EXPERIMENTS AT DIGIEXPO 2017 Hundreds of students from northwest Louisiana were able to participate in hands-on science experiments when they visited with LSMSA’s Dr. Allison Landry at the DigiExpo in Bossier City on Oct. 18. Dr. Landry led five different activities, including heart rate monitoring, hand grip strength, light absorption by pigments, skin temperature and carbon dioxide production and/or release from leaves. “The students were very much engaged with the experiments,” said Landry. “They enjoyed the handson activities, and most were eager to try out at least one of the activities.” “The event provided Shreveport and Bossier area students who are interested in STEAM an opportunity to learn about the opportunities we offer at LSMSA,” said Emily Shumate, director of enrollment and student services. SPRING 2018


FOUNDATION WELCOMES ALUMNA AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Angela Robinson is the new executive director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts Foundation.   Robinson, an LSMSA alumna, was named to the position by the LSMSA Foundation’s Board of Trustees after a nationwide search. She began her new role on Jan. 1.   A native of Mangham, Robinson graduated from LSMSA in 1993 before continuing her studies at Northwestern State University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science education in 1997 and Master of Education in gifted education from Northeast Louisiana University in 1998. Prior to joining the foundation staff as assistant director of development and external relations in 2016, Robinson served as the coordinator of advising support at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she was instrumental in the creation of the memorandum of understanding that allows LSMSA students to earn the associate degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe using their LSMSA coursework. Robinson acknowledged the hard work and success of previous foundation board members and employees. “I have been so proud of the LSMSA community as I have watched support for our school grow over the last three decades,” said Robinson. “I am excited to see what we will accomplish together in the future.”

FOUNDATION CELEBRATES DONORS, PRESENTS WINGSPAN AWARD More than 40 donors, volunteers and representatives of LSMSA attended the Foundation’s seventh annual 1983 Society celebration on Oct. 28 at Juban’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge. The evening also included the presentation of the 1983 Society Wingspan Award for Dedication to Barbara Bourgoyne of Baton Rouge. For more than eight years, Bourgoyne has generously donated her professional design services to LSMSA, creating publications such as The Gift, the LSMSA Foundation’s annual report, school business cards and more. Her work received statewide attention last summer when she designed the infographic that LSMSA’s stakeholders shared with lawmakers in Baton Rouge during a legislative controversy over the proposed renaming of the school. A member of the LSMSA Class of 1988, Bourgoyne is actively involved in the LSMSA Alumni Association, attending reunions, tailgating events at LSU and Social Service Weekend. The Wingspan Award was created to celebrate the dedication of individuals and organizations who demonstrate meaningful and extraordinary support for LSMSA through financial


support within the 1983 Society, volunteer time, advocacy


and other avenues of engagement to go above and beyond.

Angel Marchante assists Karan Baker (’20) and Brandon Logan (’19) with their project.

From left, Jada Bezue (’19), Autumn Downen (’18) and Tomas Parker (’18) work on their projects with Angel Marchante.

PRAECELLEMUS FUND BRINGS ARCHAEOLOGIST TO CAMPUS who approached the group and asked if they had any questions. “I began asking him questions about the geometrical patterns of the different seals and the stamps,” said Peters. “It was fascinating to me because I was able to see fractals in their patterns.” Their conversation that day led to Marchante traveling to Natchitoches for Special Projects Week in January. Financial support for Marchante’s travel was provided by the LSMSA Foundation through the Praecellemus Fund. The Praecellemus Fund draws its name from LSMSA’s motto, which means “We shall excel.” The fund brings scholars, artists and researchers to the LSMSA campus for presentations and shortterm residencies.


Angel Marchante, an archaeologist from the University of Las Palmas, co-led “Hunting for Fractals in Archaeological Artifacts” with Sanjeetha Peters during Special Projects Week at LSMSA, helping students to decode petroglyphs and terra-cotta pintaderas using mathematical fractals, photogrammetry and 3-D reconstruction. “I was in the Canary Islands this summer staying with a host family, and they asked me what I wanted to do for our week there,” said Peters, senior lecturer of mathematics and computer science. “I didn’t want to go to the beaches, I wanted to learn about the culture and about the people of the island.” Peters and her hosts visited a museum and observed a team from the University of Las Palmas excavating a dig site. The group was led by Marchante,


YOUR DONATIONS IN ACTION Your donations to the LSMSA Foundation helped make these unique educational opportunities possible for our students.




A visiting artist from Washburn University, with support from the LSMSA Foundation, offered a customizing apparel workshop at LSMSA during the week of Feb. 5–9. “I would like to thank the LSMSA Foundation for providing funding for bringing visiting artists and lecturers to our campus to work with our amazing students,” said Chris King, lecturer of visual arts. John Sebelius is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker who holds a master’s in drawing and painting from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s with honors in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design.

His work has been featured in Harper’s Magazine, Express, Details, Review Magazine, on CNN, in the Aspen Daily News, in The Washington Post and on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “He has shown in our gallery before and worked with our students in the past,” said Dr. Kristi Key, director of academic services at LSMSA. “His return to LSMSA was a great opportunity for our students to learn new techniques and skills. “The LSMSA Foundation’s generosity allowed us to host him and to support his work with our students.”

LSMSA students enjoyed a two-day Weekend Business Academy led by two students from Harvard University.

STUDENT ENRICHMENT FUND SUPPORTS STUDENTS IN WEEKEND BUSINESS ACADEMY designed to teach high school students the essentials of business leadership, the fundamentals of business and the pathway to entrepreneurship. After attending that academy, Liu and Joshi had the opportunity to apply to become a Harvard Student Agencies intern to set up a Weekend Business Academy for those who wish to pursue business and entrepreneurship. “We believed that presenting Weekend Business Academy provided students interested in business and entrepreneurship the opportunity to not only gain business skills, but the opportunity to showcase their knowledge,” Liu said. Students received financial support through the Student Enrichment Fund to assist with tuition for the weekend event.


Twenty-three students learned how to pitch business ideas, perform market research and generate investment during the Harvard Weekend Business Academy held Nov. 4–5 at LSMSA. “I chose to attend the Weekend Business Academy to learn more about the logistics of business and learn more about Harvard Business School,” said Samantha Wright, a senior from Crowley. “The weekend focused a lot on how to construct business ideas and market analysis.” Wright added that she has always looked more toward the marketing, so she was happy to break out of her bubble and explore the entrepreneurial and analytic side. “This definitely has me feeling more prepared for college and graduate school, as I plan on pursuing a career in business,” she said. Jordan Byrd, a junior from Denham Springs, chose to attend the academy due to his interest in economics. “During the weekend activities, I learned interesting startup techniques such as using a SWOT diagram and how to make a pitch,” said Byrd. “I found this information beneficial primarily because it is similar to what I would want to do in my future.” Amy Liu, a senior from Alexandria, and Vrat Joshi, a junior from Natchitoches, both attended the Summer Business Academy at Harvard this summer. The Summer Business Academy was a week-long course

Bryson Landry (’18), Samantha Wright (’18), David Peters and Alvaro Carvajal (’18) work on a project during the Harvard Weekend Business Academy.


The LSMSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible. • Mail a check payable to LSMSA Foundation to: 715 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA  71457 • Online at • Set up a monthly auto pay through your bank

Phonathon callers are all smiles at the end of another record-breaking week.

• Volunteer — email

EVERYDAY GIVING The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5 percent of qualifying purchases to the LSMSA Foundation when you begin your shopping at and select LSMSA as your preferred charity. Bookmark to support LSMSA every time you shop! Alena Noakes (’18) calls friends of LSMSA during the annual Phonathon.

Add LSMSA to your Kroger Rewards Card. Link LSMSA’s NPO number 66870 to the Community Rewards section of your Kroger account page and support LSMSA each time you shop. Save your Community Coffee UPCs and mail them to the Foundation for use in the Cash for Schools Program. LSMSA license plates: Show your support for LSMSA every time you get in the car. The LSMSA license plate is available for vehicles registered in Louisiana. A portion of each registration goes directly back to LSMSA.

Note: The LSMSA Foundation is not eligible for Box Tops for Education. For more ways to give visit




Ask your employer if they have a matching gift policy and you can double, even triple, the impact of your gift to LSMSA at no additional cost to you.

Kerry Doyle (’18), Caroline Adkins (’19) and Matthew Couvillion (’93) update the social media posts during the Phonathon.

FOUNDATION RAISES RECORD AMOUNT DURING NINTH ANNUAL PHONATHON LSMSA’s ninth annual Phonathon raised more than $108,000, the most ever. More than 450 donors pledged to support LSMSA during the week of Jan. 29–Feb. 1, as 52 student volunteers completed nearly 2,200 phone calls to parents, alumni and other friends of LSMSA. Additionally, alumni volunteers in Houston, Austin and Washington, D.C., made coordinated phone calls to alumni friends. Many of the student callers volunteered because they recognize the important role the LSMSA Foundation plays in the school community. “Once I graduate, I will most likely donate to Phonathon every year,” said Kaleb Ray, a junior from Opelousas. “It contributes so much to the entire student body and affects the LSMSA experience in many ways.” When asked about her most memorable phonathon moment, Dakota Trim, a junior from Baton Rouge, said it was receiving a $500 donation from one of the LSMSA supporters she called. Gifts from the Phonathon are intended for the Foundation’s annual fund, which provides support to LSMSA where and when it needs it most. Examples of recent annual fund support to LSMSA include new textbooks, athletic equipment, costumes and set materials for theatrical and dance productions, scientific equipment and mathematics supplies.

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE My first goal as alumni association president was to get more alumni connected to the school. As a member of the fourth graduating class, the alumni body wasn’t very large or professionally accomplished at the time of my graduation. Over the past few decades, our alma mater continued to remain a special place for many of us, but active interaction between alumni has been sporadic at best. My how times have changed! The LSMSA Alumni Association is more engaged and active now than it has ever been. Social Service Weekend has grown from a small gathering of a few alums to an event that brings more than a hundred people to campus. This year, we will have our fifth annual alumni tailgate hosted by the Baton Rouge chapter and our first out-of-state tailgate in the Dallas area. Last year, we held our inaugural alumni cruise, and a second voyage is already being planned. Many people have worked hard to organize events to connect alumni. However, the moments that draw people together and form the tightest bonds often aren’t scripted. The Louisiana legislative session last year brought out strong emotions from our LSMSA family and connected people at an unprecedented level. Two floods in separate states a year apart brought alumni together to help each other during a time of need. Many people from different generations formed bonds that will last a lifetime. Alumni that span a period of more than 30 years are connecting with each other to enjoy old friends and make new ones. Your officers are working with the school and the foundation to ensure that the alumni association will continue to grow and strengthen in the years to come. I hope that those of you that are already active alumni association participants will reach out to your classmates and friends that may not be aware of all of these opportunities and encourage them to reconnect. Jamie G. Smith LSMSA Alumni Association president Class of 1988

LSMSA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Jamie G. Smith (’88), president Kirby Hopkins (’94), vice president Rachel Hughes Stanley (’88), secretary Tesia Albarado (’97), treasurer Matthew Couvillion (’93),   Natchitoches liaison

ALUMNI UPDATES Have good news to share? We want to hear about births, marriages, new jobs, and anything else exciting that’s happening in your life. Send your updates (including photos) to News may be shared in myLSMSA, upcoming issues of The Gift, and in LSMSA social networks.

myLSMSA The LSMSA website includes a new database that provides a unified user experience for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents of students. myLSMSA has replaced Alumni Central 2.0 as the place for alumni to update contact information. It is also your source for information, including registration for events. Log in today at to update your profile and set your notification preferences. Alumni who experience difficulty logging in to myLSMSA should contact Angela Robinson at SPRING 2018


LSMSA alumni aboard Carnival Triumph for the inaugural LSMSA alumni cruise.





I’ve never been on a cruise, so I did not know what to expect when I registered for the inaugural LSMSA alumni cruise. What I learned is that when you get on a ship with 72 alumni and family from LSMSA, it doesn’t matter where you go. You will have a pretty memorable adventure. The cruise began with uncertainty and a series of emails. The night before our departure, we received an alert from Carnival explaining that they were monitoring Hurricane Nate in the Gulf of Mexico, but we could still plan to board the Carnival Triumph in New Orleans as scheduled. The next morning, we received another message from Carnival, explaining that our original destination, Cozumel, was in the path of the storm, so the ship would simply sail around the Gulf for three days. Though given the option of cancelling for a full refund, my companions and I all decided that the trip promised an escape we all needed, and headed to the ship.

Once on board, it was great to reconnect with all the alumni I already knew and meet some new members of our tribe as we handed out goodie bags that included a custom beach towel, a T-shirt, and other LSMSA swag. That afternoon as we waited on the lido deck for our staterooms, I consumed a few of the fruity rum drinks the Triumph crew offered. It was great to catch up with friends I met 26 years ago at LSMSA or folks I just met at Social Service Weekend in the last couple of years. Dinner in the Paris dining room that night was the first chance we had to gather as a group. The food was great and the friendly waitstaff was happy to deal with our shenanigans. The next morning at about 3 a.m., we got into the Gulf of Mexico, which I could tell because my bed started rocking up and down. Hurricane Nate was making his presence felt. I finally gave up trying to sleep and ordered a PB&J from room service. When the porter arrived with my early breakfast, he told me

John (’86) and Tanya (’85) Voorhees perform during a private reception on the alumni cruise.

OUR NEXT CRUISE . . . The LSMSA Alumni Association’s next cruise is scheduled for June 27–July 1, 2019. Join other LSMSA alumni as they set sail from New Orleans to Cozumel on the Carnival Valor. The rates below are per person (based on double occupancy) and include taxes, fees, and gratuities (as well as a few LSMSA goodies to take home with you!). Rates: Inside cabin: $652.00 Ocean view cabin: $725.00 Balcony cabin: $828.00 Cruise organizers are Michelle Wiltsey Smith (’88) and Janice Aylsworth Wright (’92). To reserve your place on the trip, email Janice at Initial deposit is $150 per person and must be made by 2/1/19. All final payments must be made by 4/1/19.


he heard that we may be heading to Key West to spend the day on Saturday. By noon, the captain announced to the whole ship the change in itinerary, and the ship was abuzz with excitement about the unexpected new port. I had brunch with James Rodrigue (’15) and Bekka Nichols (’16), then we all spent the day at trivia contests, or in the casino, or, my personal favorite, playing bingo with Cher Kelley. No winners in our group, but we sure had a good time. Before dinner Friday, we were treated to a private reception with entertainment provided by Tanya Voorhees (’85) and John Voorhees (’86). What a treat! Saturday morning we docked in Key West and took on the town. Key West is like New Orleans on a beach, so everyone in our group felt really at home. Some folks took the chance to visit Ernest Hemingway’s house and his six-toed cats. I skipped the house and went to his favorite bar, where I had the best rum punch I’ve ever tasted. I also had lunch with Henri Stein McCartney (’88) and Misty Wright (’97), where we sampled the local cocktails, reminisced about life at LSMSA, and solved many of the world’s problems. What a fun day! That evening, we saw a hypnotist show where Jessica Lenoir (’94) and her husband Frank (’93) were convinced to do very silly things on stage for our entertainment. My night ended with a high-stakes Cards Against Humanity game with 20 or so alumni. Sunday evening we had another private reception where John and Tanya performed. That night at dinner, I joined the waitstaff as they entertained the patrons with dancing. I think I may have a career on the high seas one day! Sunday was also the time for us to say goodbye to our old and new friends, as we would return to New Orleans early Monday morning. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. I left the ship both exhausted and refreshed. I am grateful to Michelle Smith (’88) and Janice Wright (’92), the organizers of this great adventure. I hope you can all join us when we sail again in summer 2019. Editor’s Note: Matthew J. Couvillion (’93) is Natchitoches liaison of the LSMSA Alumni Association.




Fourteen alumni returned to LSMSA on Oct. 13–14 for Connections Weekend to discuss their experiences at the school and to provide insight on what students need to know to prepare for their future.   Speakers were Jeff Carollo (’01), Matthew Claiborne (’07), Dr. John B. Cole (’90), Misty Millen Cole (’92),



Melissa Guilbeau (’97), Rachael Hebert (’03), Rance Johnson (’02), Dr. Benjamin Mabry (’01), Ashley Cespiva Martin (’91), Tom Matuschka (’90), Brett Ray (’93), Amy Swickheimer (’99), Zendra White (’98), and Erick Yellott (’08).

Alumni, make plans to join us in Natchitoches on May 18–20 for Reunion Weekend. The Classes of ’88, ’93, ’98, and ’08 will be celebrating their reunions with special events on Saturday night, but the weekend schedule includes events for all classes, including a welcome back party on Friday night, a crawfish boil on Saturday afternoon, and a brunch on Sunday. Tickets are on sale now at

PARENTS HOST MATRICULATION RECEPTION DURING CONNECTIONS WEEKEND In a twist on the traditional Connections Weekend Picnic, the LSMSA Parents’ Council hosted a reception for students and their families following Matriculation Ceremony on Oct. 14. “When Matriculation Ceremony had to be rescheduled because of Hurricane Harvey, we decided to turn our Saturday picnic into a reception for the entire LSMSA community so that families could enjoy celebrating together after Matriculation,” said Patrice Moulton, Parents’ Council president. The courtyard near the HSB was filled with autumn decorations, and parents from all over the state provided bundt cakes for the more than 500 guests. Students also got to enjoy one of the newest Parents’ Council traditions, a free T-shirt to celebrate Connections Weekend.

Parents pause for a group photo while setting up for the Matriculation Reception.

Kelly Miller, mother of Emma Miller (’18), serves cake to students at the Matriculation Ceremony reception.

Song Le Jeune (’19), Marcus Shallow (’18), McKenzie Davis (’18), and Adreanna Queen (’18) enjoy the festive atmosphere in the courtyard during the reception.


Crystal Evans, Shirley Dobson, Bonnie Rutledge, Annie Mitchell, and Pam Moore enjoy lunch together at the NCPTT.

LSMSA parents provide breakfast in the teachers lounge during Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week.

Tommie Durr and Mark Judson visit with Dr. Charlie Jones during the luncheon on Friday.


The Parents’ Council sponsored its annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week at LSMSA in early February. Faculty and staff arrived on campus on Monday morning to find that parents spruced up the teachers’ lounge, restocked coffee and snacks, and provided breakfast. Local merchants sponsored breakfast throughout the rest of the week, and, on Thursday, students delivered gifts to faculty and staff in their offices. The highlight of the week was the Friday luncheon held at the National Center for Preservation Technology Training. Faculty and staff enjoyed an opportunity to get off LSMSA’s campus for lunch and were showered with door prizes donated by parents and local businesses.


Louisiana School School Louisiana for Math, Science, and the Arts

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage


for Math, F o u Science, n d aand t the i Arts o n

Baton Rouge, LA Permit No. 70

715 University Parkway, N atc hitoc he s, L A 71 45 7

The LSMSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Consider donating today to support quality education in Louisiana through LSMSA! The LSMSA Foundation develops and manages resources to enhance the work of LSMSA, a preeminent, state-supported, residential high school for Louisiana’s high-achieving sophomores, juniors and seniors. Your input is always welcome. Contact Angela Robinson, executive director 318.357.2578

In Memoriam Daisy Jackson

Richard Stallings (’93) Fr. Sheldon Roy A’Tiffa Ronique Wilson (’00)

Know a student that is right for LSMSA? Tell us! referastudent





May 19





July 6–8

November 17

The Gift, Spring 2018 issue  

The Gift, Spring 2018 issue