Advocate staff photo by ELLYN COUVILLION - Introduced as the Ascension Parish Students of the Year during a Jan. 20 Ascension Parish School Board meeting in Gonzales, from left, are, Matthew Lass, fifth-grade winner, Prairieville Primary School; Lillian Lambert, eighth-grade, Central Middle School; and Parker Vige, 12th-grade, East Ascension High School.

High achievers both inside and outside the classroom were named Students of the Year at Tuesday’s meeting of the Ascension Parish School Board.

For the primary school division, Matthew Lass, a fifth-grader at Prairieville Primary, received the honor.

Lass has held a 4.0 grade-point average every school year since kindergarten. He was second-grade class president and has been president of the school’s 4-H club, in addition to actively participating in fundraisers for a number of charitable causes, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association and the ALS Association.

In the middle school division, the Student of the Year honor went to Lillian Lambert, an eighth-grader at Central Middle.

Lambert, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, scored 21 on the ACT, with a 24 in reading, out of a composite high of 36. A member of the school band, Lambert has served as president of the Junior Beta Club, the dance team and the soccer team, in addition to serving as a sixth-grade mentor and participating in a number of community fundraisers.

Parker Vige, a senior at East Ascension High, is the high school Student of the Year.

With a 4.7 grade-point average, Vige scored a 31 on the ACT. He is president of the Fellowship of Christian Students and senior mentor of the high school’s Freshman Academy. Vige is also an oncology volunteer at Baton Rogue General Medical Center and has done mission work in Puerto Rico and Nicaragua.

Also on Tuesday, Mike Schexnayder, certified public accountant with Postlethwaite & Netterville, of Baton Rouge, said the School Board’s finances were in full compliance with accounting standards and noted that the school district is in good financial shape.

In his 2013-14 financial report, Schexnayder said general fund revenues for the district were more than $220 million, with expenses of approximately $201 million, leaving an excess of revenues over expenses of $18.95 million.

The board transferred $37.5 million out of its general fund for major construction projects, saving the $9.5 million in interest it would have paid if it had borrowed money for the projects, Schexnayer said.

The district’s approximately $66.6 million general fund balance is “very, very good,” he said.

The school district collected approximately $64.7 million in property taxes and approximately $64.8 million in sales taxes for 2013-14, up about $5 million in both cases over the previous fiscal year.