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Posted June 23, 2017 at 12:00 am

The students at Most Blessed Sacrament School in Baton Rouge celebrated the coming of the end of school with a Crazy Dress Day, sponsored by the Student Council. They wore mismatched clothes, shoes and socks. The students also put on wigs and hats. Some sprayed their hair bright colors. The students made individual donations to help support the ARC of Baton Rouge and Blessed Margaret of Castello REACH Program, the Diocese of Baton Rouge Program for Exceptional Students. The event raised in $1,000. Dressed in their zany outfits are, from left, Gabrielle Cefalu, Allie DeBarbieris, Madelyne Migliacio (facing fence), Brinley Bailey, Aliza Gary (squatting), Madeline Cox, Riley Daigle and Karson Nolan. Photo provided by Cindy Duenckel | Most Blessed Sacrament School

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    Rob Smith, left, athletic director at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge, welcomes Chris Harrell as the school’s new head varsity baseball coach. Harrell is a graduate of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas and spent the last three years as head baseball coach at St. John High School in Plaquemine. As head baseball coach, he led the school Eagles to two district championships and three playoffs, developed 16 all-district players and was named District Coach of the Year in 2015

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    Cindy Ryals, from left, principal of St. Alphonsus Liguori School in Greenwell Springs, Bruce Simmons, a Baton Rouge police officer, and Simmons’ wife, Pam, enjoy an Olympic-themed day of games and activities during the school’s annual field day event. The school honored all parents of students serving as law enforcement officers and first responders during the day. Bruce Simmons, who was one of the officers shot in the line of duty during last July’s ambush, was selected as the event’s torchbearer.

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    Technology aids students to improve Baton Rouge

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    There is “much to love” about Baton Rouge, including the LSU Tigers and Southern Jaguars, weekend festivals and galas filled with fun activities, entertainment and food (including the official state crustacean, crawish), the State Capitol, a thriving arts community and the Mississippi River.

    From left, St. Aloyisus students Katherine Winchester, Isabelle Gruner and Jensen Holliday work on their

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    Eagle Scouts in the Catholic High School of Baton Rouge graduating class of 2017 are, from left, back row, Hagan Dalton, Daniel Ourso, Taylor Fontenot, Ryan Guerin, Chris Alumbaugh, Collin Hebert, Austin Tuminello, Jake Rovira, Benton Alford, Byrne Kennedy; front row, Ezra Grant, Jacob Thornton, Andrew Schoonmaker, Collin Devillier, Ryan Devillier, Nicholas Thompson, Taylor Empson, William Martin and Alexander Van Biersel. Not pictured are Will de la Bretonne and Gabe Mengarelli. Photo provided by Richard Beaugh | Catholic High

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    Amelia Brunson, left, a preschool student at Holy Ghost School in Hammond, lays flowers at the feet of Mary as her teacher Ann Mooney helps. PreK-4 students at the school held their annual May crowning recently.  They encircled the statue of Mary in the front of the office and prayed a “Hail Mary.” Photo provided by Cindy Wagner | Holy Ghost School

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    St. Thomas More School in Baton Rouge was well represented in the Talent Identification Program sponsored by Duke University. This year, 38 percent of the school’s seventh-grade students took the ACT test as part of the program with many students qualifying for state recognition and one student for national recognition. TIP students include Alex Campbell, Patrick Day, Haylee Deshotel, Seth Drouin, Alexis Harvey, Laura Labrador, Chance Pope, Makenna Quick, William Ripple, Reagan Robinson, Mia Roppolo, Kristen Slatcoff, Parker Tatum and Nicholas Thai. Students qualifying

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    Fourth-grade students at Holy Ghost School in Hammond donned costumes to represent story characters for their annual Character Day.  Students were assigned the task of reading a book and then becoming the book’s main character as they presented an oral report for their fellow classmates.  Their creativity was abundant as they chose to be characters from a wide range of book selections including Harry Potter, Captain Underpants, Geronimo Stilton and Babe Ruth, as well as characters from popular books and series, such as the

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    Ashlyn Hazlip, an eighth grade student at St. Jean Vianney School in Baton Rouge, lays a wreath of flowers on a statue of Mary during the school’s annual May Crowning ceremony. Hazlip, who was led in procession to crown Mary by the school’s second graders, was nominated for her strong faith life, Christian values and respect for human dignity. Photo provided by Bridgette DiGerolamo | St. Jean Vianney School

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    Holy Family robotics teams excel in world competition

    By Rachele Smith

    The Catholic Commentator

    Representing the only school in the state of Louisiana at a recent robotics world championship, several young students at Holy Family School in Port Allen proved that play and learning really do go hand in hand.

    Students from Holy Family School in Port Allen invited to participate in the 2017 FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Festival Expos

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    Band, choir and musical theater students at Our Lady of Mercy School in Baton Rouge, along with choir director Eleanor Back and band director Duane LeBlanc, pose for a photo after receiving the SupportMusic Merit Award from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. OLOM is one of only one percent of schools in the nation to be recognized with the prestigious award in 2017. Photo provided by Christy Haldane | Our Lady

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    English 1 students at Holy Ghost School in Hammond participated in a traditional English tea on Tuesday, April 25 after completing a drama unit reading William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Students answered Shakespeare trivia and read articles from the newspaper they created as their final unit project titled “The Verona Times”.  Pictured from left are, Billie Guffey, Claudia Olah, Marie-Claire Honoree, Bryan Doan, Cade Garafola, Sophie Sundar, Ava Alston, Amelia Fritz and Natalie Hudspeth. Photo provided by Cindy Wagner | Holy Ghost School

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    Father Eddie Martin, parochial viccar at St. Thomas More Church in Baton Rouge, right, and his “Dancing to the Eagle Beat” dance partner, Dale Oufnac, received the Mirror Ball trophy for raising the most money at the St. Thomas More School’s third annual fundraiser, a spinoff of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” The March 18 event drew more than 450 members of the STM church and school community together in a fundraising effort to update the school’s technology program. Also participating as dancers in the

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    Cristo Rey freshman uses running to encourage struggling youth

    By Rachele Smith

    The Catholic Commentator

    Erion Davison, a student at Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School, has a message for other young adults: “Keep running.”

    Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School student Erion Davison holds a copy of her recently published book, “Keep Running: How to Endure When Life Looks Impossible.” Photo by Rachele

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    Eighth-grade students at St. Jean Vianney School in Baton Rouge presented the Living Way of the Cross to the school community on April 6. Students participating in the reenactment were Ethan Hames as Jesus; Riley Waguespack as Mary; Braxton Impson, Mason Braud, Landon O’Connor, Jacob Mougeot and Steven Reed as soldiers; Sydney Bingham, Jenny Pham, Jonathan Moya, John Paul Guidry, Sena Johnston, Allie Domino, Charlee Musso and Ben Messina as followers; and Emma Miller, Melissa

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    John Ross Downing, a third grader at Holy Ghost School in Hammond, recently won the Principal of the Day raffle.  As part of his duty as acting principal for the day, Downing led assembly and then went right to work in the school office making calls and completing paperwork. Downing  declared a Free Snack Day for all students for the following school day. Photo submitted by Cindy Wagner | Holy Ghost School

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    Mayor’s shadow

    Juniors and seniors from St. Thomas Aquinas Regional High School in Hammond participated in a two-day Job Shadowing / Career Exploration experience. Students chose one of two days in which to shadow a professional in a career field of their choice. In addition to the job shadow experience, the students also attended presentations on career choice, college planning and financial planning and had the opportunity to explore their personality traits through a Myers-Briggs type

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    St. Michael plans new building

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    A $500,000 donation from an anonymous donor that is part of a matching gift challenge has helped St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge to finish out a two-year capital campaign and move forward with groundbreaking for a multiple purpose building.

    St. Michael public relations director Kristi Watts said the donation will be used as a dollar to dollar matching gift of each donor’s contribution up to $500,000.

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    The Knights of Columbus Council 10455, of Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Baton Rouge, recently presented its annual awards for one male and one female outstanding high school senior in a scholarship competition. The two MBS winners won the diocesan competition and advanced to the state finals. Pictured, from left, are Mark Adamski, Grand Knight of KC Council 10455; winner Daniel Ourso, who is a senior at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge; winner Camryn Brouillettte, a senior at St. Joseph’s Academy in

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    Girl Scout Sunday a special day for Immaculate Conception troops

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    The atmosphere on Girl Scout Sunday March 12 at Immaculate Conception Church in Denham Springs was sweetened by cake, cupcakes and pure joy of Girl Scouts from the Denham Springs area celebrating. Their reunion was a happy moment in their ongoing journey of recovery after the bitter days of August 2016 when flood waters wreaked havoc on their homes and sense of normal lives.

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    Mater Dolorosa Church Parish in Independence held its St. Joseph Altar on March 19 at the K.C Hall. The community members, led by Cheryl Santangelo, came together to make the traditional Italian cookies, cakes, cannolis, pupukolovas (baked bread dyed with Easter eggs symbolizing the coming of Easter) and many other assorted Frittatas (vegetable dishes).  The main dish served was the traditional pasta Milanese (red gravy) cooked with finocchio and anchovies sprinkled with mudica (toasted bread crumbs and sugar to resemble saw dust).  Twelve

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    Abby Mitchell, left, and Melanie Dietrich, eighth-grade students at Our Lady of Mercy School in Baton Rouge, were the top winners selected from a field of 250 entries in the Knights of Columbus Patriotic Essay Contest. Mitchell was awarded second place and Dietrich captured first for their writing based on the question, “How can I show freedom for my country, the United States of America?” Both students were recently recognized at a banquet where they read their essays and received monetary prizes.

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    St. Michael chooses new football coach

    St. Michael the Archangel High School has chosen Justin Hutchinson as the Warriors new football coach.

    Hutchinson is a graduate of LSU and has spent the past two years at Denham Springs High School serving as the assistant coach, strength and conditioning coordinator and special teams coordinator. Prior to his time at Denham Springs, Hutchinson spent nine years at Central High School as the assistant coach and special teams coordinator and one year as head coach at Central Middle School.

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    Students bring black history to life

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    Redemptorist St. Gerard Elementary School students brought to life black “firsts” who influenced and shaped American society during a Black History Month Program, “We Come this Far by Faith: From the Slave House to the White House” Feb. 21 at St. Gerard Majella Church in Baton Rouge.

    Portraying President Barack Obama’s farewell speech, are, London Henry, back,

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    Several seventh-grade students at Holy Ghost School in Hammond qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Program based upon their standardized test scores and were invited to take the ACT or SAT, the same tests taken by high school students for college admission.  They are, front row from left, Jacob Farrell, Madison Templet, Sarah Graziano, Parker Perrilloux and Kaitlyn LeBlanc; back row from left, Jake Slaton, Braden Moore, Nathan Drummond and Nicholas Faulk. Photo provided by Cindy

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    DYC delivers strong message

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    Surpassing the grandest temples around the world is the sanctuary of the human soul. When people unite, their souls fit together like the pieces of a puzzle and show a more complete picture of the kingdom of heaven, youth learned Feb. 18 at the Diocesan Youth Conference, themed, “United: Millions of Temples of Christ and Counting.”


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    Acadian Ambulance EMT Andy LeFebvre, left, examines Thomas Brauner, right, a kindergarten student at Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Baton Rouge. LeFebvre, a 1966 graduate of the school, was on campus to discuss health and safety issues with pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students when Thomas lost a tooth.  No first aid was required. Photo provided by Lisa Cosse | Sacred Heart School

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    MBS students produce advertising campaign to help the needy

    By Rachele Smith

    The Catholic Commentator

    They cheered; they clapped; they even spelled out words: “D to the O to the N-A-T-E.”

    Briley Haydel, a third-grade student at Most Blessed Sacrament School in Baton Rouge, pours additional stock into a pot of soup during her class retreat. Haydel and her classmates were preparing vegetable beef soup and homemade bread for the men at the Bishop Ott

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    Nine Catholic High School seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship finalists for 2017. They are, kneeling from left, Nicholas Mueller, Andrew Ford, Michael Krzystowczyk and Jordan LeBas, and standing, from left, Dominic Maggio, Brian Long, Andrew Schoonmaker, Harold Miller and Matthew Berdon. The students were selected from a nationwide pool of 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. As National Merit Scholarship finalists, they have the opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $33

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    Marcus Roberts, center, an eighth-grade student in the St. Jean Vianney Parish School of Religion, placed second in mathematics in the Region VII Louisiana Science & Engineering Fair. Roberts now moves on to state competition. Photo submitted by Denise Louviere | St. Jean Vianney Church