NATIONAL POETRY WEEK: Lusher Charter School senior Madeleine LeCesne, a 2014 National Student Poet, had the honor of introducing President Obama at the opening of National Poetry Week in Washington, D.C., last month. Madeleine is one of five national student poets, chosen from more than 13,000 entrants nationwide. The student poets spend one year as literary ambassadors, each representing a different region of the country.

Video of Obama’s remarks is available at

“Lusher is so proud of Maddie and her exemplary creative and courageous way of thinking,” said Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger. “Maddie defines the importance of creativity in learning and critical thinking. She has been writing since elementary school, and we are thrilled to see her talents and hard work recognized nationally.”

LeCesne is earning a certificate of artistry from Lusher studying creative writing with teacher Brad Richard. She also received an honorable mention nationally from YoungArts for a short story and was a participant in the Kenyon Review Young Writers program.

ART AND WRITING AWARDS: The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers has presented Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recognizing the creative talents of 13 students at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

Gabrielle Cantelli, a NOCCA Academic Studio student from Luling, won a gold medal in photography.

Nicolas Ramey of Madisonville, a student at Mandeville High School, won gold and silver medals for film and animation, and a silver medal with distinction for his film portfolio.

Award-winners from Mandeville are Gavin Laiche, sculpture gold medal, Mandeville High School; Madeline Leger, printmaking gold medal, Lakeshore High School; and Marigny DeBlanc, photography silver medal, NOCCA Academic Studio.

Savana Jonau, a NOCCA Academic Studio student from Metairie, won a silver medal for drawing and illustration, and a silver medal for her art portfolio.

Award winners from New Orleans are: Grace Morse, flash fiction gold medal, NOCCA Academic Studio; Nicola Preuss, poetry gold medal, NOCCA Academic Studio; Marco Colosimo, film and animation silver medal, NOCCA Academic Studio; Adia Heisser, personal essay/memoir silver medal and writing portfolio silver medal, NOCCA Academic Studio; Kane Huynh, painting silver medal, Benjamin Franklin High School; Margot Rieth, poetry silver medal, Benjamin Franklin High School; and Eleanor Stern, flash fiction silver medal, Benjamin Franklin High School.

The Alliance collaborates with colleges across the country to leverage $3.25 million in scholarship opportunities for award recipients who demonstrate exceptional promise. Visit for more information.

Other Louisiana award winners are Ariel Baham, printmaking, silver; Andrew Bennett, short story, gold; Sophie Evans, short story, gold; Brooke Henderson, poetry, silver; Madeleine LeCesne, gold medal for personal essay or memoir, American Voices Medal for poetry and silver medals for short story and writing portfolio; Helene Lovett, writing portfolio silver medal; David McGovern, video game silver medal; Louise Olivier, gold medal for science fiction or fantasy; Robert Webster, poetry silver medal; and Poet Wolfe, short story gold medal.