The students of the year in the St. John the Baptist Parish public school district are Cameron Cage, a senior at East St. John High School; Emani Payne, an eighth-grader in the St. John STEM Magnet Program; and Chaela Alexander, a fifth-grader at Garyville-Mount Airy Math and Science Magnet School.
Cage is a member of the National Beta Club, Gamers' Club and the Technology Student Association. He serves as a volunteer student tutor for eighth-grade students at John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School and also tutors and mentors his peers at East St. John in ACT prep. Cage was recently named one of the school district’s ACT Elite for his score of platinum on ACT WorkKeys. Cage also has maintained a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance this school year.
For the past three summers, Cage has participated in the Xavier University Summer COE Program, which introduces students to pharmacy education and pharmacy practices.
Cage’s favorite subjects are math and science. After graduation, he plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
Payne is involved in Beta Club and debate. She is the head programmer for FIRST Lego League robots on the Robotics Team. She is a straight-A student who has been on the honor roll since first grade. She placed first in the last district spelling bee and has finished in the top two in every district spelling bee in which she’s participated since kindergarten. She also was a district Christmas card contest winner this year.
Payne one day hopes to pursue a career that deals with a heavy amount of engineering, architectural design, game designing/coding or robot design.
Alexander is a 4.0 student who earned a score above 800 on her last LEAP test in both ELA and math. She is the GMMS Beta Club president, captain of the cheerleading team and participates in 4-H and theater. She is also lead programmer for the Robotics Team, which won the regional championship and qualified for state this year. During the summer, she attended Coding Camp at the University of New Orleans. She placed first at both the District Science Fair and District Social Studies Fair this school year.
She is a member of her school’s basketball and volleyball teams and serves as captain of her recreation league volleyball and basketball teams.
Outside of school, she participates in dance and has won several regional and national awards. She also enjoys baking and spending time with her family. Following the death of her godmother at the hands of domestic violence, Alexander became an advocate for the issue and has spoken at public events to encourage others to get help.