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June, 2013


Teachers Meet For
Summer Literacy Workshop


Three hundred teachers from throughout the parish got their summers off to a good start this week by attending a professional development workshop on literacy on the first day of their vacation. Tim Shanahan was the presenter for the 2013 St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Literacy Institute, which ran for seven hours at Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville.





May, 2013


Soccer Team Standouts

Four Fontainebleau Girls Soccer team members were selected to the 2013 District 1 All-State soccer team. They were presented with their awards at the annual soccer banquet. From left to right are Kristin Guidotti, Mackenna Richardson, Cristina Pando, and Somer Jones.


April, 2013


Avalon Project Drafts
A Future City

Students in drafting classes at Fontainebleau High recently presented their designs for a futuristic city complete with shopping malls, hospitals, office buildings and stadium, all part of the annual “Avalon Project.” Each student of Teacher Clifford Hinkle decided what part of the city they wanted to design, researched possible solutions, and used high-end computers and design software to create photo-realistic posters illustrating their ideas.

The main focus of Avalon, however, was to create a city with renewable energy systems, minimal environmental impacts, stable energy costs, and energy efficient housing and transportation.

The green community concept was taken a step further this year, however, with the addition of a “space port” to Avalon, with some students choosing to design space telescopes and interplanetary spacecraft. Still, many components are centered around community activities, from go cart race tracks and miniature golf courses to hydroponic greenhouses and energy-generating windmills and tidal turbines.

“Avalon is much larger this year, with more students submitting more designs for the renewable energy community,” said Hinkle. “No one else is doing this kind of thing with students in drafting classes. We are the only ones who have this kind of project. I am proud of our students and what they have accomplished.”

Avalon, the virtual city, is home to about 330,000 people, he explained. A new feature this year is the addition of “plantation homes,” designs tapping into past architecture themes with modern energy-saving updates. While the entire city may be futuristic in design, it could actually be built today, Hinkle stated.

The Avalon Project lasts all year long, with students spending many hours on the “project based learning” exercise. “Project based learning calls upon the student to dream up a concept, then learn the skills necessary to bring it to the final design,” he said. While the students use high-powered computers and photo-quality printers to produce their designs, they first learn manual drafting skills using pencils, triangles and T-squares. “Only after they learn manual drafting techniques do we let them get on the computers,” Hinkle commented.

The designs created by the students were showcased in a special presentation on April 19 in the Fontainebleau High library, with a number of volunteers from the professional community looking over the designs. The jurors offered comments and feedback on each design. Among the jurors were Shell Oil engineers and the head of a local blueprint service company.
Each student presented their design in front of the group, and answered questions from onlookers.

Hinkle came up with the Avalon Project idea a few years ago, seeking a long-range project that would capture the imagination of his students, offer a multitude of design options, be modern and relevant, increase the student’s technical skills and teach them how to work collaboratively. “The process demands continuous improvement, and each group develops common goals and objectives,” he explained.

The city of Avalon has its own planning and zoning maps, and data from CLECO helped design the capabilities of wind power and solar energy panels. Students researched the latest innovations in green communities and then applied real engineering data to meet the needs of the city and its inhabitants.

Software used during the work includes industry-standard Autodesk products and Solid Works, but Google Sketch-Up has also proved useful.

Hinkle, who worked for Shell Oil for many years, names several of his drafting students who have gone to college with advanced skills that are helping them in their own engineering efforts. “Some of them get apprentice draftsman jobs with local companies, coming in with a full set of drafting capabilities,” he said. “They learn how to visualize projects in their mind, utilizing high-level thinking and come out with pretty interesting visions. This is really about dreams, the opportunity to think big with no limits. And then by putting it on paper they have some sense of reality,” he said.


Jazz Ensemble
Wins Top State Honors

The Fontainebleau High School Jazz Ensemble won top honors for their outstanding performance recently at the Louisiana Association for Jazz Education State Jazz Festival. The jazz ensemble was named State Grand Champion for the fifth consecutive year.

The jazz ensemble also won all four outstanding section awards for Outstanding Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, and Rhythm sections. Two individual awards were awarded to FHS Students, Robert Boese was named the Outstanding Saxophone soloist and Willie Richardson was named the Outstanding Drum soloist.

Ralph Lee Hicks, Jr. is Director of Bands at Fontainebleau High School, and his group has entertained at School Board receptions several times as well as in concerts throughout the community. Hicks went on to say that it’s a great honor to make a contribution to the legacy of jazz in the New Orleans area by teaching these young musicians the only art form created in America. The ensemble has won awards and has been invited to play at numerous state, regional, and national music competitions over the past several years.


School Board Honors
Substitute of the Year

Hugh Warren of Fontainebleau High, at right, was recently named District Substitute of the Year for the School System. At the April 11 School Board meeting in Slidell, he was honored for the accomplishment by the St. Tammany School Board and congratulated by Superintendent W. L. "Trey" Folse, III, at left.


March, 2013


State Jazz Champions

Congratulations to the FHS Jazz Ensemble for their outstanding performance this weekend at the Louisiana Association for Jazz Education State Jazz Festival. The jazz ensemble was named State Grand Champion for the 5th consecutive year. The jazz ensemble also won all four outstanding section awards for Outstanding Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, and Rhythm sections.

Two individual awards were awarded to FHS Students, Robert Boese was named the Outstanding Saxophone soloist and Willie Richardson was named the Outstanding Drum soloist.


Special Olympics

The annual Special Olympics Area Track and Field Meet for Senior High Schools was held under sunny skies at Fontainebleau High School on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, with more than 100 high school athletes with special needs from throughout St. Tammany Parish taking part in a variety of activities.

Participants were from Covington High, Fontainebleau High, Lakeshore High, Mandeville High, Northshore High, Pearl River High, Salmen High and Slidell High. Student athletes competed in the 50 and 100 meter walk/run, 25 meter wheel chair race, shot put, softball throw, standing long jump, and a variety of developmental games.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, welcomed parents, student volunteers, and School System adaptive physical education staff members to the event, saying everyone had a huge smile on their face, and he had already heard students bragging about how their school was going to be the best.

“It’s a great day, and I’ve been looking forward to it all year,” Superintendent Folse stated. “It doesn’t matter what your exceptionality is or what your ability is, everybody is here to compete and have fun. The community support makes it a special day for everyone.”

Folse thanked Fontainebleau High for hosting the event, and noted that it had fostered so many great community connections with area organizations and businesses in supporting the special needs athletes. “They all come out and compete and cheer each other on,” he said. “We are so very proud of these athletes, and I wish you the very best of luck. Have a good time, and let the games begin!”

The meet began with a parade of athletes grouped according to each school marching by the home-side stadium bleachers, followed by the passing of a torch from one school representative to the next.

Students taking part in the passing of the torch were David Kephart of Covington High School, Stephen Mount of Fontainebleau High School, Adam Trust of Lakeshore High School, Ali Evans of Mandeville High School, Christopher McDonald of Northshore High School, Brianna Vinson of Pearl River High School, Steven Thornton of Salmen High School, and Ericka Pelas of Slidell High School.

The Fontainebleau High JROTC presented the colors for the opening ceremony, Christopher Leach of Mandeville High led the Pledge of Allegiance, Monica Gonzales of Fontainebleau High sang the National Anthem, and Paula Semel of Fontainebleau led the Special Olympics Oath.

The Fontainebleau High Bulldog Buddies student organization once again helped coordinate the wide range of activities, and each group of athletes was accompanied by peer helpers from their own high school. The award-winning Bulldog Buddies student group brings regular students and special needs students together for mutual activities and special assistance throughout the year.

Sharon Hosch, Supervisor of Special Education, said, “All eight high schools are participating today, and on March 20 the junior high school students will have their own Special Olympics at Mandeville High School. That’s a change from last year. We look forward to this event all year, and students have been in training for it in their Adaptive Physical Education classes.”

Renae Wallace, Coordinator of Adaptive Physical Education with the School System, is director of the Special Olympics track meet. She said the Special Olympics have been held locally for the past twenty years. Prior to 1994 they took students to Hammond where the program was held.

“We got so big, we decided to branch out on our own,” she noted. “And the community support has been amazing. We are so thankful for the cooperation and support that have enabled us to do this for our students. The community has come together, and it’s a great opportunity for the students, parents, and the teachers to show the results of their work,” she said. Her department had 18 Adaptive Physical Education coaches from throughout the parish on the field at the event.

Johnny Vitrano, principal of the host school Fontainebleau High, said the event got off to a great start. “We have a lot of help, especially with the Bulldog Buddies making it so much easier. There are a lot of great students involved with these special needs students, and Ms. Monique Hebert does a great job organizing it all.” He thanked Superintendent Folse for his support of the project, saying it ties in with the School System theme of “Every Child, Every Day.” Fontainebleau has hosted the event for six years.

“These kids need to be recognized for their accomplishments, and our regular students also get a lot out of it,” Vitrano commented. “They see the response and enjoyment they get from their effort.” He also appreciated the many community sponsors. “When we reach out to the community, businesses are eager to help with this event. It is a wonderful school and community connection. There are also many parents who volunteer their time and talents for these Special Olympics.”

In his opening remarks, Vitrano said, “Our teachers know how great these students are, and the parents, friends and family know how truly wonderful these young people are. It is a privilege for all of us to work with them. These young athletes stretch their limits and give their all not just in the pursuit of excellence, but in pursuit of achieving new heights and bringing honor to their schools.”

School Board member Roanne Tipton was on the field taking photographs of the students and their achievements. “I like going to the school sports events and taking whatever pictures I can,” she said. “They appreciate the photos, and it really helps them remember the day.”

Charles “Tiger” Edwards of Channel 13 emceed the program, announcing the winners of each competition as the event ended.




January, 2013


Band Concert Feb. 21

The Crimson Band Booster Club is presenting a Glenn Miller Orchestra Concert as a fund raiser event on Feb. 21, 2013. The concert will take place at the Church of the King in Mandeville, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at

November, 2012



Cross Country Team
Earns State Runner Up Title

The girls Cross Country team from Fontainebleau High School won state runner up honors recently. From left to right on the back row are Olivia Hunt, Whitney McHugh, Caitlin Moroney, Courtney Musgrove, Nicole Durham, Katherine Patin, and Courtney Smith. In front are Leonard Tridico, left, and Kenny Henderson, Executive Director of the LHSSA, holding the plaque. During the competition, Ms. Durham won her third consecutive individual state championship. The Fontainebleau High girls volleyball team also won runner up title in state competition this past week.

September, 2012


STEM Lab Celebrated

The grand opening of the new science, technology, engineering and math lab at Fontainebleau High School was held Tuesday, September 25, with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by top School System officials, Chevron representatives and New Orleans Hornets team members. Fontainebleau High School won a $10,000 Chevron and New Orleans Hornets Math and Science Resource Center Grant in April to build the special laboratory for student research and presentation.

The specific purpose of the Fontainebleau High lab is to increase student achievement in math and science as well as to increase interest in other STEM courses and careers by offering more engaging, project-based and inquiry-based learning into the school’s instructional efforts.

From left to right are Teachers Karen Mathews and Tracy Hoffman, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III , Principal Johnny Vitrano , Karen Rawls with Chevron, students Alex Martinez and Marcus Kety, Administrative Assistant Melissa Strata-Burger, Hornets Honeybee Tamera and Hornets player Jason Smith.

Among those attending were School Board Member Roanne Tipton, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, Hornets player Jason Smith, Hornets play-by-play announcer Sean Kelley, and Jean-Paul Dardenne and Karen Rawls with Chevron.

“The new opportunities provided by this classroom will insure our students a powerful and close-up experience with STEM research, helping them make career choices, have fun learning, and work together as teams on a wide variety of projects,” said Superintendent Folse. “We certainly appreciate Chevron and the New Orleans Hornets connecting with our public school community in this way, extending our reach in this important area of our childrens’ futures.”

Kelly said Chevron and the Hornets have partnered on many different projects throughout the New Orleans area, and the academic enhancing programs on the Northshore have been key accomplishments. Bringing the STEM Lab state-of-the-art technology and career-enhancing learning experiences to Fontainebleau will be one of the most positive impacts on the community, he said.

Principal Johhny Vitrano thanked Chevron and the Hornets for their vision and resources provided to the school that will help students conduct high-level research in a number of areas.

Click here for more photographs from the event.


Four National Merit Semifinalists Named

National Merit Scholarship program semi-finalists for 2012-2013 from Fontainebleau High School are, from left to right, Justin Magrath, Catilyn Maroney, John Deeble and Robert Boesse. There were among 16,000 students nationwide to earn the status of semi-finalists. St. Tammany Parish Public Schools have a total of fourteen.



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