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JPPSS Awards Elementary, Middle, and High School Students of the Year

The Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) named its district winners for the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2016 Student of the Year.

Keller Elementary fifth grader Samuel Korn, Haynes Academy eighth grader Prokkawn Majumdar, and Grace King High senior Maria Heredia received this prestigious honor. These three remarkable students are now eligible to become 2016 Louisiana Student of the Year.

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Keller Elementary fifth grader Samuel Korn poses for photographs with his family and school board member Marion Bonura. Korn’s father, who had to be out of town, made sure he attended the event virtually through the help of technology.

Keller Elementary fifth grader Samuel Korn serves as the school’s student council president and is a member of the National Junior Beta Club and the National Elementary Honor Society. Along with a host of other academic honors, Korn has been recognized for his artistic talents and his skills in martial arts. This young pianist and saxophonist was one of the few elementary students selected to perform at the French Quarter Festival with the Red Wolf Brass Band. He also earned his black belt in Tang Soo Do in 2014 after four years of hard work. These are just some of the accomplishments of this driven young man.

“This year has been truly special for me. I have had a lot of support from my family, my friends, and my teachers with my goals,” said Korn. “In addition to meeting my goals of studying hard, being the best student possible, and helping other people in and out of school, I did something I had never done before and ran for student council office and was elected the student council president of Harold Keller. It is with pride that I serve in this position and it is with honor that I am named Student of the Year for Harold Keller Elementary.”

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Haynes Academy eighth grader Prokkawn Majumdar celebrated being named student of the year with his fellow classmates.

Haynes Academy eighth grader Prokkawn Majumdar possesses a diverse range of talents. This Scholastic Achievement Award recipient has won local and national academic games. Majumdar was one of the top 100 chess players in his age group for several years. He also led fundraising efforts at Haynes to aid earthquake victims in Nepal. Along with helping the Haynes Academy robotics team compete on an international stage, he also mentors his younger peers on the Metairie Academy robotics team. Much of his strong work ethic can be credited to his family.

“All of my grandparents came from small villages, some of which don’t have running water and barely any electricity even today,” said Majumdar. “My Dadus, Thamma, and Didas show me that you can become something even with those humble beginnings. I have so much more than they ever had, so this inspires me to do something good. I can see that if they have progressed this much, I can do even better if I work as hard as they did to do well in life.”

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Grace King senior Maria Heredia was overcome with emotion when surprised with the good news of being named student of the year.

Grace King High School senior Maria Heredia serves the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as Academics and Improvement Committee Student Ambassador. She’s on the Louisiana Student Council Association Executive Board and is the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council District One Representative. A leader on and off campus, it was her involvement in the Ochsner STAR summer internship that caused her to take an interest in the medical field. Heredia said medicine combines her love of service and science into one package. It’s just one more challenge this outstanding student looks forward to embracing.

“I am always looking to push my boundaries to help me grow and improve,” said Heredia. “I like to ask questions to make sure I am exploring a situation from many different perspectives. My goal is to always push my intellectual or physical boundaries. Whether it was in the classroom, in the pool, musically, or personally, I take every obstacle and try to overcome it. If I fail, I know that I have tomorrow to try again and again.”

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.