Get to Know the JPPSS Students of the Year

The 2018 JPPSS Student of the Year winners are Hannah Poynter, Anita Zahiri, and Jada Jones.

The 2018 JPPSS Student of the Year winners are (from left) Hannah Poynter, Anita Zahiri, and Jada Jones.

The Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) named its district winners for the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2018 Louisiana Student of the Year.

The winners are:
Airline Park Academy 5th grader Hannah Poynter
Haynes Academy 8th grader Anita Zahiri
John Ehret High 12th grader Jada Jones

“Congratulations to our elementary, middle, and high school students of the year,” said JPPSS Superintendent Isaac G. Joseph. “Not only do their accomplishments put them on par with the top students in Louisiana, but they are among some of the best young leaders you will find anywhere in the nation.”

These three students are now eligible to become 2018 Louisiana Student of the Year. The Louisiana Department of Education, in conjunction with the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, annually honors one incredible fifth, eighth, and twelfth grade student based on their leadership, academic performance, achievements, citizenship, and service to the school and community.

Students are selected by their school and submitted to the local education agency. Nominees are then forwarded to a Regional Selection Committee. The resulting eighteen finalists then compete at the state level. The winner of the three grade levels are announced on the evening of the final day of competition.

Airline Park Academy's Hannah Poynter posing for one of many family photos after being named JPPSS Student of the Year.

Airline Park Academy’s Hannah Poynter posing for one of many family photos after being named JPPSS Student of the Year.

Airline Park Academy fifth grade student Hannah Poynter is an honor roll student who’s accomplished in academics, athletics, and the arts. Poynter placed in the Louisiana state swim meet last year and has been selected to all-star softball and volleyball teams. Her skill on the piano earned a superior rating from the National Federation of Music Clubs. She also developed a love for nature during her time in the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program. Poynter credits her parents with being the greatest influence in her life.

“The main thing I have learned from them is how to make the right choices and become successful,” said Poynter. “They have helped me greatly in becoming responsible and independent.”

Haynes Academy’s Anita Zahiri is greeted by her parents after being surprised with the big news.

Haynes Academy eighth grade student Anita Zahiri finds success and meaning in her many different activities. Zahiri is a straight A student who is motivated by the real life application of her STEM classes (science, technology, engineering, and math). She aspires to be a cardiologist so she can help combat heart disease. Zahiri practices traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate and has placed in national and regional competitions. As an accomplished swimmer, she also teaches children with development disabilities how to swim through her involvement with JoJo’s Hope Swin Team. Zahiri constantly motivates herself through new challenges.

“I always push myself out of my comfort zone and strive to reach my full potential in every little thing I do,” said Zahiri, “since I feel so privileged to be living a safe and healthy life with limitless opportunities.”

John Ehret High’s Jada Jones learned about her honor during class.

John Ehret High senior Jada Jones recently earned a full scholarship to Tulane University through the Posse Foundation. Jones is president of the Student Government Association and a member of National Honor Society. She became part of the International Baccalaureate program as a student at Marrero Middle. She’s dedicated her time to tutor her peers and volunteer for community organizations like Toys for Tots and the Special Olympics. Jones credits her mother for motivating her to overcome challenges and pursue her dream of becoming a clinical pathologist.

“She encouraged me to challenge the status quo,” said Jones, “and pursue my dreams as one of the top students at John Ehret.”