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2015-2016 STPPS Students of the Year Announced
The three Students of the Year selected recently to represent the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for the 2015-2016 School Year are 5th grader Sofia Smith from Lake Harbor Middle School, 8th grader Matthew Larsen from Mandeville Junior High School, and 12th grader Justin Sutton from Covington High School.

The students were selected based on their outstanding academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. They were chosen Students of the Year at the school level first before being chosen at the district level by a panel of judges. The three district winners advance to the regional competitions in February.

“We are proud of everything these outstanding students have accomplished inside and outside of the classroom and know they will be excellent representatives of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System,” said Superintendent W. L. "Trey" Folse, III.

Sofia Smith is a highly motivated student who excels academically and serves as a leader and role model for her peers. She has served as a Student Council Representative, is a member of the Robotics Club and plays recreational softball. She is a talented musician who loves to bring joy to people through music. She plays the clarinet in the school band and piano in the school jazz band. She has played piano for almost five years, has taken voice lessons and was selected to attend the Don “Moose” Heritage School of Music. Her original music composition earned her awards of excellence in the district and state PTA Reflections contests. Her mission in life is to change the world for the good of other people, and she likes to donate to causes at school, church and the community. She dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer or teacher.

Matthew Larsen has a passion for excellence in academics, swimming and serving his school and community. He is active at school as a member of the National Jr. Honor Society, Robotics Team and track team. Outside of school he is a competitive swimmer who has competed and won at the state and national levels. He gives back to the community through outreach activities such as clothing drives and food drives, as well as volunteering at his church and teaching younger children about water safety. He has won numerous academic awards including 1st place in the Louisiana History Day contest, spelling bee finalist, first place and grand prize in the regional social studies fair and state recognition for his score on the ACT through the Duke TIPS program. Matthew hopes to use his passion for working with his hands in his future career as a neurosurgeon.

Justin Sutton excels academically while taking advanced courses in all core subjects. He has earned the Award of Excellence for three consecutive years, Physical Science Department Award, was selected to compete in the District Literary Rally and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is a four-year member of the varsity soccer team and currently serves as captain. He received the Heart of the Lion Award, was named Offensive MVP and honored as an All-District Honorable Mention. Outside of school, he plays on a recreational soccer team and has been team captain for six years. Justin has been a standout musician and leader during his four years as a member of the CHS Marching Lions where he currently serves as a drum major. He plays multiple instruments including alto saxophone, baritone saxophone and melophone, and has won numerous honors including holding first chair in the CHS Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Wind Symphony and Parish Honor Band. He is also a three year member of Tri-M Music Honor Society. He serves his community through various organizations and activities including serving as an altar server and mentor at his church and volunteering with Toys for Tots, Covington Food Bank and Next Generation. He also worked as an LSA soccer referee, lifeguard at the YMCA and was involved with the CLAPS theater program. Justin plans to become a mechanical engineer.

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St. Tammany Parish Public School System
321 N. Theard Street, Covington, LA 70433
985-892-2276 (Telephone) • 985-898-3267 (Fax)
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STPPS adheres to the equal opportunity provisions of federal and civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability.

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