Three St. Tammany Parish Public School System scholars have been selected as the district’s 2017-2018 Students of the Year. The students chosen to represent STPPS at the regional competition level are 5th grader Zoë Dieringer of Lancaster Elementary, 8th grader Louis Cohn of Boyet Junior High, and 12th grader Grace Dragna of Mandeville High.
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.
“Zoë, Louis, and Grace are outstanding representatives of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System,” said Superintendent Trey Folse. “They are determined students with extraordinary dedication to academics, community involvement, and making a difference for others. They truly are role models in their schools and our community. We are proud of how they represent STPPS.”
Zoë Dieringer, Lancaster Elementary
Zoë Dieringer is the quintessential example of a well-rounded student. She was recognized for her LEAP test results by the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) in 2017. Dieringer has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her first six quarters at Lancaster Elementary, while receiving Academic Achievement honors in reading, science and social studies. She was a Student Council Representative, volunteers in the library, serves as a tutor for other students, is a member of the Nutritional Advisory Club, and plays flute in the school band.
Not only is Zoë strong academically, she is also an accomplished ballet dancer. She is a member of the Hammond Ballet Youth Ensemble and she accepted an invitation to attend the American Ballet Theatre Youth Dancer Summer Workshop in New York City. She has been invited to compete at the Youth America Grand Prix and the American Dance and International Ballet Competitions. Zoë is a member of the A Touch of Class competition dance team and has won numerous overall awards for solo and group dances. Zoë hopes to become a professional dancer and later become an astrophysicist and an author.
Louis Cohn, Boyet Junior High
Louis Cohn defines what it means to be a true ‘student-athlete’. He was a two-year member of the Boyet Junior High football team, earning the starting spot at left offensive tackle as an eighth grader. He balanced his athletics schedule with his academic requirements as he has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA. Louis was named Boyet’s Outstanding Student in American history, life sciences and reading. Additionally, he participated in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) where he was recognized with a seventh grade ACT Award.
An accomplished Boy Scout, he earned the Boy Scouts Kayaking Award at Camp Rainey Mountain and was bestowed The Arrow of Light, the highest Cub Scouting award. Through the scouts, he participates in extensive community service activities and assists with Eagle projects. The National Junior Honor Society member also gives his time as an after-school tutor and a community service volunteer. Louis aspires to become a microbiologist.
Grace Dragna, Mandeville High
Grace Dragna is a leader inside and outside the classroom with dreams of becoming a leader in the healthcare industry. A straight ‘A’ student, she is the president of Mandeville Youth and Government Club, an executive board member for Mandeville High’s Student Council, the vice president of the Political Thinkers Club, and the senate floor leader of the Louisiana Youth Legislature. She is a National Merit Semifinalist and was chosen as one of Louisiana’s two delegates to the 2018 United States Senate Youth Program. Grace was invited to attend the 2017 Trent Lott Leadership Institute in Mississippi and was a two-time delegate to the YMCA Youth and Government’s Conference on National Affairs where she was a roundtable session chair.
Grace excels in the classroom, earning a 4.56 cumulative GPA. She was named Mandeville High’s Outstanding Student in AP U.S. History, AP English III, Anatomy & Physiology, and Algebra II. In the community, Grace donates her time to those less fortunate, volunteering for Feeding the Needy (Covington Rotary Club), So Others Might Eat Soup Kitchen (Washington, D.C.), Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and the Samaritan Center. She has also volunteered to pick up trash for Keep Mandeville Beautiful and served as a volunteer coach for the Beau Chene Swim Team. Grace, a licensed EMS/EMR practitioner, hopes to help reform healthcare and become an expert in the field while actively working to affect government policy change.