River Views: River Parishes to celebrate Independence Day on July 3 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--New River Parish columnist Lori Lyons in New Orleans, La. Monday, April 20, 2015.

Now that we’ve turned the page of the calendar from August to September and the weather forecasters are starting to say things like “cool front,” it can mean only one thing: It’s football season.

The first games of the 2015 River Parishes football season are slated for this Friday night (barring some random tropical depression) and the teams, bands, cheerleaders and other support personnel have been hard at work preparing for the season.

The first week’s schedule has Destrehan at Slidell, East St. John at Shaw, Hahnville at Woodlawn, Lutcher at Dutchtown, Riverside at Ehret, St. Charles at Thibodaux and St. James at West St. John. All games begin at 7 p.m.

New bag regulations at games in St. Charles Parish

Sports fans in St. Charles Parish need to be aware of a major new policy concerning bags. The St. Charles Parish public school system has implemented a bag protocol for football, basketball, softball and baseball events. Effective with the August 2015 high school football jamborees, fans will only be able to carry see-through bags of any size, nonsee-through bags no larger than 8½ by 11 inches or small clutch bags with or without a handle or a strap.

Prohibited items include, but are not limited to coolers, backpacks and duffle bags. Exceptions will be made for medically necessary bags or diaper bags, which may be subject to inspection at the entrance gate.

All bags may be subject to search by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. Fans may still bring stadium chairs, binoculars, blankets and small pocket items, but bag sizes will be limited to the above. The complete protocol and frequently asked questions can be found at www.stcharles.k12.la.us/bagprotocol.

West St. John High School earns national recognition

Newsweek magazine has named West St. John High School in Edgard as one of the top five high schools in the nation for its success at preparing students for college. The school was ranked fifth out of 500 schools on the publication’s 2015 “Beating the Odds” list, which recognizes schools that are closing the achievement gap.

To rank the schools, Newsweek took into account such factors as the schools’ performance on state standardized tests, enrollment data, graduation rates, advanced placement and college admission test scores and counselor-to-student ratios.

West St. John High School also received the Gold Star designation, which recognized schools where economically disadvantaged students performed better than the state average for all students in reading and math.

This is the second year in a row that West St. John has been recognized by Newsweek.

In 2014, it was ranked as the 50th best school on the Beating the Odds list. The entire list can be viewed at ww.newsweek.com/high-schools/beating-odds-2015.

If you build it

The St. Charles Parish West Regional Library in Luling will host a special robotics program for children age 9 to 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, in the library’s large conference room. Participants of “Ready, Set, Robots!” will learn to build, program and play with LEGO Mindstorms EV3 and other robotics kits.

Space is limited, so please arrive on time. For information, call Destani Clement at (985) 785-8471 or destani.clement@myscpl.org.

Lori Lyons reports on the River Parishes. Send information on news, events, accomplishments and story ideas to her at sportslyons@gmail.com.