Three students have been selected as the Morehouse Parish School System's Students of the Year. Bastrop High senior Rachael Lara, Morehouse Magnet eighth grader Mollie Blondin and Delta Jr. High fifth grader Corey Atkins.

Atkins, a Mer Rouge resident and daughter of Ronnie and Dewanna Atkins, spoke with the Enterprise Thursday about why she felt she'd been chosen to represent the parish at the fifth grade level. At first, she modestly claimed she was unaware of any outstanding qualities that set her apart from the rest. But after she was questioned about her notable traits, she smiled and confessed that she did in fact demonstrate every attribute required to be a Student of the Year candidate.

“I think I made Student of the Year because of my grades and conduct,” she said. “I make mostly As, but I do make a few Bs sometimes. I'm in the 4-H Club and the Community Service Club.”

At first glance, Atkins appears to be the average fifth grader. But after a closer look, she exemplifies above and beyond qualities. Her likes include fishing, hunting, swimming and playing softball. She also likes the things that a typical fifth grader would despise.

“I love reading and math,” she said. “I love all fruits and vegetables. I don't just like them because they're good for me, I love the taste of them.”

Atkins has also won two additional awards this school year. She won second place in the Literacy Contest, which was a parish wide effort to encourage students to read more. And last week she won third place in the Black History Month contest at Delta.

“I made my Black History project on Ruby Bridges,” Atkins said. “She was the first African American girl to go to an all white school.”

Atkins said the quality she likes most in school is that it will help her to get a good education, therefore a better job. After high school graduation, she wants to attend the University of Louisiana at Monroe and study to become a nurse practitioner.

“My mom told me they make as much as doctors, but without the long hours,” she said. “I could work regular hours and not have to be on call.”

Atkins' fifth grade teacher at Delta, Priscilla Deanes, said Atkins could be a surgeon if she desired.

“She is very thorough when it comes to classwork,” Deanes said. “Everything she does, she does to perfection. She is an excellent student.”

Atkins said when she found out she'd won SOY, she was in her homeroom class, listening to the principal make the daily announcements.

“I had no idea I'd been chosen until Mrs. [Cynthia] Clark announced it over the intercom,” she said. “I was very excited and the class cheered for me. My parents are pretty excited and proud, too.”

Atkins, along with Blondin and Lara, went on to be judged at the Regional level Wednesday, which the Morehouse Parish School System was chosen to host this year for Region 2 by the Louisiana Department of Education. The other school districts that make up Region 2 are LaSalle, Caldwell, Richland, Monroe City, Ouachita, Morehouse, Concordia, Catahoula, Tensas, East Carroll, Franklin, and West Carroll.

All of the students that compete at any level in the competition, are required to submit a personal portfolio. They are then evaluated on activities, service, citizenship, leadership, awards and recognition, grade point average, standardized test scores, writing sample and personal interview.

Blondin and Lara will be highlighted in upcoming issues for their achievements.

The LDE will announce the regional winners after March 26. Regional winners will compete at the state level on April 15 and 16.