DOWNING RECEIVES SCHOLASTIC AWARD: Miriam Elaina Downing, of Zachary, was honored with the Senior Scholastic Award during fall commencement ceremonies on Dec. 17 at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. Downing earned a bachelor of science in elementary education and American Sign Language.

MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE GRADUATIONS: The following area students received degrees from Mississippi College on Dec. 14 in Clinton, Miss.

Baton Rouge: Andrew Paul Bourgeois, master of science, Covington;Elizabeth-Lee Charlton Cossich, bachelor of science cum laude, Ferriday;William Davis Corbett Jr., master of business administration, Independence;Dana Michelle Bruno, master of science, Kenner;Hannah Michelle Hess, bachelor of arts summa cum laude, and Usman Mohammed Zaheer, master of science, Mandeville;Jennifer Lynn Esquinance, master of science, Metairie;Kimberly Ann Watts, bachelor of science in nursing, New Orleans;Akinbolaji Akintunde Akingbola, master of science, Rayne;Laura Lucille Locker Melancon, master of business administration, Slidell;Melissa Eddyand Farah Raza, both master of science.


LEINDECKER IN SNOWBOARD PROGRAM: Calob Leindecker, a 21-year-old below-the-knee amputee from Prairieville, has been accepted into an elite snowboard training program in Copper Mountain, Colo. The program, operated by nonprofit Adaptive Action Sports, is designed to prepare Leindecker to compete for a spot on the 2014 U.S. Para-snowboard Team.

Leindecker was a Parkview Baptist School football player who lost his leg while helping a friend free his pickup truck from a muddy bog. In 2009, his senior year, he was back on the field to hold kicks.

For his effort and determination, he was awarded the first Rudy Ruettiger Award for the Most Inspirational High School Football Player in the United States.

Leindecker began snowboarding last snow season. At the invitation of Adaptive Action Sports, he spent part of last snow season learning the basics of adaptive boarderX racing. He is now the U.S. National Champion in Adaptive BoarderX Snowboarding.

A fund has been set up through the AAS website at to help Leindecker finance his training. Enter his name in the “Note” box on Paypal or in the “Instructions to Seller” box if using a credit card.


DAVID COMPLETES BASIC: Navy Seaman Alex J. David, son of Gwendolyn and Joseph N. David, of Denham Springs, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. David is a 2012 graduate of Live Oak High School.

“Neighbors Notes” is published every Tuesday in the People section. Send items — including military graduations, reunions and promotions; university and college academic achievements; and neighborhood association events — to “Neighbors Notes,” The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or fax information to (225) 388-0351 or email to Deadline is Tuesday at noon of each week for the following Tuesday.