St. Michael High School presents alumni awards

Dr. Steve Ragusa received the 2016 Alumni of the Year Award at St. Michael High School’s annual Warrior Awards Dinner May 25 at Ashley Manor.

Principal Ellen Lee welcomed guests. Alumni Coordinator Sarah Edwards presented the award to Ragusa, a 1989 graduate who has served as president of the school’s advisory board and volunteers his time to assist student athletes with their annual physicals.

Dr. Adrianne Netterville Edmundson was selected as a 2016 Wall of Honor athlete. A 2001 graduate, she helped lead the softball team to the 1999 state semifinals. She was named first-team All-District 1998 through 2001, All-District MVP in 1998, 1999 and 2001, and received All-State honorable mention in 2001. Edmundson was awarded the Warrior Tradition Award and Captain Award in 2001.

The 2002 boys golf team was also named to the 2016 Wall of Honor. This team won the school’s first state golf championship in 2002. Cameron Gunville was head coach, and Francis Richard was assistant coach. Team members were Travis Coxe, Ron Laborde, James Richard, Donny Schmitt, John Lensing and Randy Bouquet.

Long-time St. Michael volunteer Holly Wilson received a 2016 Warrior Sword Award. Wilson has been a member of St. Michael’s Home and School Association since 2004, serving as president and vice president for two years and was on the board for the past nine years. Wilson has served on the school’s auction committee, capital campaign committee and has volunteered with numerous clubs and sports.

The Rev. Matthew McCaughey also received a Warrior Sword Award. He has served as chaplain for St. Michael since 2013. During this time, he has been an enthusiastic supporter of the school, attending many sports and arts events. McCaughey will be leaving to serve St. James, St. Philip and Our Lady of Peace cluster parishes.

Ikebana Chapter 42 installs slate of officers

Ikebana International Chapter 42 installed 2016-17 officers May 23 at Judy Nielson’s home.

Outgoing President Aleta Lester read duties and responsibilities to incoming officers: Madeline Breidenbach, president; Terri Lamb, vice president; Kay Callander, treasurer; and Denise Akers, historian. Diane Williams, who was not present, is secretary.

Also attending the luncheon were Sylvia Blanchard, Brenda Baudin, Larry Jonas, Diane Saye, Margaret Hawkins, Catherine Rossi, Carolyn Stutts and Karen Zobrist.

The chapter studies the ancient Ikebana discipline of Japanese floral arrangement with naturally occurring elements. For information, visit the club’s Facebook page.

LSU Kiwanis honors several at awards event

The Kiwanis Club of LSU presented awards to several local people at its annual awards luncheon.

William H. Daly, emeritus alumni professor, received the LSU Distinguished Leadership Award for his 50-year career in polymer chemistry. Charles F. Fryling Jr., associate professor in landscape architecture, received the LSU Distinguished Service Award for his long-time contributions to the environment.

Pam Morgan, of the Cortana Kiwanis Club, received the Ralph L.W. Schmidt Baton Rouge Area Outstanding Kiwanian Award for long-time service in the community and district. Jessica F. Johnson, of the Kiwanis Club of South Baton Rouge, was selected as the Olin K. Dart Jr., Baton Rouge Area Kiwanian of the Year Award. She is founder of Jess’ Bra Closet, which gives gently used or new bras to area women and girls who cannot afford them.

LSU scholarships of $1,000 each were presented to Henrique Cheng Jr., a junior in marketing and son of Henrique Cheng, associate professor in veterinary medicine, and George Kennedy-Stone, a freshman in geography and son of George Stone, professor in French studies.

Receiving plaques were Shu Li and Zhitao Zheng, outgoing co-presidents of the Key Club at Christian Life Academy, which the Kiwanis Club of LSU sponsors.

Kiwanis District Gov. Gary Graham presented Walter E. Zeller Fellowships to LSU club members Roger Hinson and Jeff Gillespie related to the club’s contributions to the Kiwanis worldwide project to eliminate maternal and neo-natal tetanus.

Jean Leyda wins top Torchbearer award

For the second year in a row, Jean Leyda has been named Torchbearer Beta’s Woman of the Year. A luncheon in her honor was held June 4 at Ichiban.

Leyda has been a Beta Sigma Phi member for 42 years and has perfect attendance for all of those years. She has served as president and held all chapter offices except treasurer and has chaired all of the chapter committees. Attending were Verlyne LeBlanc, Virginia Huffman, Dixie Gregory, Polly Williams, Suzanne Itchier, Linda Musso, Gail Keller, Karen Griffith, Page Meyer, Juanita Coutee and Sandy Bailey.

Gregory presented a program on special days in June, such as National Rocky Road Day, National Donut Day and Oscar the Grouch Day at the chapter’s June 7 meeting at Whealdon Estates, hosted by Meyer. The chapter’s service projects for this month are the Baton Rouge Food Bank and assisting with activities at Flannery Oaks and Regency Nursing Homes.

Iota Master installs officers for new year

Iota Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi installed officers May 26 at Lynda Smith’s home: President Grace Burley, Vice President Claudette Hill, Recording Secretary Pat Buturla, Corresponding Secretary Virginia Wagner, Treasurer Pat Tennyson, Extension Officer Darlene Poindexter and City Council Representative Jane Haupt. Poindexter was co-hostess.

The month’s service project was donating clothes to the First Baptist Church Clothes Closet. Perfect Attendance awards were given to Haupt, 44 years; Ruth McNease, 34 years; Poindexter, 23 years; Cheryl Foster, seven years; Essie Mongeau, two years; Janet Doucet and Burley, one year. Doucet gave a program on the meaning of Beta Sigma Phi.

The chapter held a luncheon May 21 at Zea Rotisserie Grill honoring Foster as Woman of the Year.

Black Journalists to send students to D.C.

The Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists has awarded four scholarships to area college students to attend the National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair in August in Washington, D.C.

The recipients, who are mass communications students at their respective schools, are Ward Colin, who is working on his master’s degree at LSU; Paige Vaughn, a 2016 spring LSU graduate; Daris Schneider-Bray, a senior at Southern University; and Danita Winfrey, a junior at Southeastern Louisiana University. The scholarships will cover the convention registration, airfare and hotel.

At the convention, students will be able to meet thousands of journalists and potential employers from across the country and attend numerous professional workshops. It will be held Aug. 3-7.

The scholarships are funded by money raised at the BRAABJ Fourth Annual Scholarship Luncheon in April. This will be the third consecutive year that BRAABJ has sponsored students.

For information, visit or

Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate eatplaylive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.