Three West Feliciana students named parish’s best for year _lowres

Advocate photo by HOWARD ARCENEAUX -- West Feliciana Parish's Students of the Year for 2015-16, from left, are Landry Higgins, Andrew Dantin and Ngozi Nwabueze

Ngozi Nwabueze, Landry Higgins and Andrew Dantin have been selected as West Feliciana Parish students of the year and will advance to a regional competition.

The three students each submitted portfolios for consideration and were selected by a committee at their respective schools.

Every year, the Student of the Year Awards program recognizes outstanding elementary, middle/junior high and high school students. The program is patterned after the Teacher of the Year Awards program, and students are selected based on excellent academic achievement, leadership ability and citizenship. It is sponsored by the State Superintendent’s Office through the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The three West Feliciana students advance to one of six regional competitions across the state. Once a regional finalist is selected for each category, they advance to the Student of the Year awards ceremony held in Baton Rouge where the 18 regional finalists and the three State Students of the Year are honored.

Nwabueze, 18, is a senior and National Merit finalist and National Achievement finalist. She is the daughter of Dr. Nnamdi and Stacie Nwabueze and has one brother and two sisters. She hopes to follow her father’s footsteps into the medical field, perhaps neuroscience or psychology, she said.

Nwabueze was elected Student Government president and to the homecoming court and she likes sports. She was elected Best Lawyer in Louisiana’s 2014 Mock Trial competition. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and doing volunteer work, she said.

Of the SOTY honor, “I will work hard to build the career I want to do,” said Nwabueze, who is considering attending Duke, Emory, Rice or Vanderbilt. “I want to work hard and make a difference in the world.”

Higgins, 14, is an eighth-grader who is a member of the Beta Club, Little Sisters of the Women’s Service League and the cheer team. She is the daughter of Missy and Miles Higgins and has one sister. She said she hopes to attend an Ivy League university. She enjoys horse riding and competing in equestrian events and said she likes to read.

Earlier this year, Higgins won an award for short story writing from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“The school has helped me and the teachers are very supportive,” Higgins said. “We have a great academic system and it helps to know the teachers.”

Dantin, 11, is a fifth-grader at Bains Elementary School and is the son of Chris and Christy Dantin. He has one brother, Duke.

He said Duke, who is autistic, is his best friend.

Dantin said he likes math because it comes easy to him and his hobbies are playing sports and being outside. He also likes art and video games.

“I’d like to be a lawyer because I like to ask a lot of questions,” Dantin said. “Or a doctor, because I like to help people and save lives.”

The regional winners will be announced late this month or the beginning of April.