ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish Schools recently named three of its best and brightest as Students of the Year.
To be considered, students submit a biographical binder and are interviewed by a panel of judges. Superintendents from every public school district in Louisiana nominate one candidate from fifth, eighth and 12th grades to compete at the regional level. If they are selected, regional winners then advance for statewide evaluation, where three are eventually named Louisiana Students of the Year.
“I am fortunate enough to know all three students of the year,” Superintendent Hollis Milton said. “Charles (Fox-Smith), Gabe (Jewell) and Zoe (Williamson) represent what is best about our schools. They are all top performers academically, but what truly sets them apart is their strong character and leadership.”
Williamson, 17, is a senior at West Feliciana High School and is the daughter of Kati Luke Williamson. Williamson is a member of the school’s mock trial team that recently qualified for the state competition, and she is a member of Beta Club.
She ran for vice president of the Beta Club at the state convention and spoke in front of 6,000 people. She also spoke to the Sons of the American Revolution and won a speech writing contest. She hopes to attend LSU’s Ogden Honors College and plans to study political communication.
She has a lot of extracurricular interests, including playing on the tennis team and crocheting, and she’s been playing the piano for 11 years. She also works at Grandmother’s Buttons.
“I worked really hard my whole high school career, and I prepared myself to get the highest ACT score I could,” said Williamson. “Being Student of the Year shows all my hard work has paid off.”
Gabe, 13, is an eighth-grader at West Feliciana Middle and is the son of Lacey and David Jewell.
“I’m very proud to be selected,” said Gabe. “It was very hard because we had to prepare a binder then talk to the judges, but it’s worth it to receive this honor.”
Gabe said his favorite subjects in school are anything with science, technology, engineering and math like his robotics class. He is particularly proud of the roller coaster project he recently completed. He’s also part of the Club READ and enjoys reading and talking about books and won first place in a Young Authors competition for fiction writing. At the recent Beta Club convention, he got to carry the West Feliciana banner. He also likes sports and played tight end and defensive end for his school’s football team.
When he’s not in school, Gabe said, he loves to hunt and fish or do anything as long as it’s outdoors. He likes agriculture science and has raised chickens, shown pigs, and he loves to make homemade salsa and pickles.
Charles, 11, is a fifth-grader at Bains Elementary and is the son of James and Ashley Fox-Smith.
He describes himself as an outdoorsy person, who enjoys playing with his sister, Mathilda, swimming with his family, exploring the woods and fishing with his father. He also enjoys reading and playing cards or board games and family meals. Charles also plays sports, such as basketball and soccer. He has studied the violin since he was four and is a member of the Louisiana Junior Strings Ensemble.
“I think’s it’s exciting and good to represent my school,” said Charles. “It’s an honor. I love to come to school here at Bains.”