ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana High School cheerleaders clapped and yelled “A! … A! … A!” during Thursday night’s community celebration honoring the A grade the school district received in the state’s annual academic assessment back in October.

The West Feliciana Parish school district received the third-highest rating in the state for the second consecutive year, behind only the Zachary Community and Orleans Parish schools not included in the state’s Recovery School District.

“What I love about this community is that all of us in this room are passionate about education,” School Superintendent Hollis Milton said.

The celebration in the high school’s auditorium featured performances from each of the district’s four schools, including a satiric mock trial by West Feliciana High students and a choral recital presented by Bains Elementary School students.

Bains Lower School prepared a demonstration that featured Milton donning chef’s attire and stirring a large black cauldron while pre-K students dropped in posters honoring the school’s “ingredients of success,” such as parents, teachers, and students.

“This school system has come a long way,” said Melvin S. Harvey Jr., a parent of a fourth-grade student. Harvey said he, too, grew up attending West Feliciana schools, and added that homework assignments have grown significantly since he attended elementary school.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Harvey said, “but if we can maintain what we have here, we’ll continue to be productive.”

Victoria Ernest, who has twin fourth-grade boys in Bains Elementary School and a daughter in kindergarten at Bains Lower School, said Thursday’s event should serve as motivation for the students to continue striving for excellence.

Ernest said she also grew up attending classes in the West Feliciana school system. “Teachers are great. Atmosphere is great. Community is good, too,” she said.

Milton presented each school’s principal with a check for more than $8,400 as a reward for exceeding growth targets in the rating system, which switched from a star-based rating scale to letter-based grading two years ago.

The superintendent stressed the importance of helping every child achieve their learning potential as the school district hopes to maintain academic growth.

“The future looks very bright for our school system,” Milton said. “We are at the highest achievement levels in our history.”

West Feliciana Middle School received the Apple Distinguished School of the Year award for superior technological education in the classroom for the second consecutive year.

The assessment tests used for the ratings cover subjects including English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, and will increase in rigor each of the next three years according to a state Department of Education news release.