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Airline Park & Haynes Academy Students Named Regional Finalists for Louisiana Student of the Year

A special school year just got even more remarkable for a pair of Jefferson Parish Schools Students. Airline Park Academy fifth grader Sriram Srigiri and Haynes Academy eighth grader Kavia Mallik were named regional finalists for Louisiana Student of the Year.

The Louisiana Department of Education released the names of 21 students selected as regional finalists in the state’s annual Students of the Year competition. The 21 students selected include one 5th, 8th and 12th grader from each of the state’s seven regions and represent public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools across Louisiana.

Airline Park Academy fifth grade student Sriram Srigiri is the JP Schools Elementary School Student of the Year. Srigiri has made straight A’s since kindergarten and has received the Superintendent’s Award every semester since 1st grade. Srigiri has wanted to be a scientist ever since he learned about cancer as a third grader during his school’s donation drive for children at St. Jude.

“When I grow up, I would like to become a scientist and invent medicine to cure cancer,” said Srigiri. “I do realize that searching for a new path might seem like hoping for a miracle. I strongly believe that we human beings are distinguished from other species by our ability to work towards miracles.”

Haynes Academy eighth grade student Kavia Mallik is the JP Schools Middle School Student of the Year. Along with her academic gifts, Mallik has also found success in the arts. She’s played the violin since she was three, the cello since she was six, and also plays the piano, double upright bass, and oboe. It was her involvement with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra that led to “probably the most rewarding experience” of her young music career. Mallik was part of a five city concert tour that ended with a performance at Carnegie Hall.

“I learned so much on this trip,” said Mallik, “lifelong lessons that I will cherish forever, the importance of teamwork and perseverance, appreciation for my own life and family, and the impact I can have on a community through music.”

The annual Louisiana Student of the Year competition has multiple steps. First, all public schools and non-public 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 achievement, 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.

The finalists will convene at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge on April 10 for an awards ceremony and the announcement of the state Students of the Year winners from each grade level.