NSU calendar

Here is a look at the week of May 29 – June 4 at Northwestern State University.

June 5-11 – Registration for summer, fall semesters

June 6 – “Ballin’ With The Ballers” – Men’s Basketball Meet ‘n Greet, Magee’s Patio Café, 6-8 p.m.

June 6-9 – NSU Creating Writing Camp, A.A. Fredericks Center for Creative and Performing Arts,  9 a.m.

June 6-9 – Art Camp 1, “Myths and Legends,” CAPA/Department of Fine and Graphic Art, 1-5 p.m.

June 11 – ACT testing, Kyser Hall, 8 a.m.

NVA Accepting Applications for the 2022-2023 School Year

The Natchitoches Virtual Academy will begin accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year from Wednesday, June 1 through Wednesday, July 20 for students in grades 6-12 who meet the following criteria and requirements.

The guidelines for the 2022-2023 admissions into the Natchitoches Virtual Academy are as follows:

  • Students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher for admission into this program. Students must also maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher while in the program.

  • Parents must have and maintain reliable internet services (a minimum bandwidth of 3 Mbps per virtual student) throughout the duration of the program.

    Parents must provide the following documents at the time of the application process. Parents may either upload the required documents listed below in the application form OR email the documents tovirtualacademy@npsb.la.

  • Proof of reliable internet services (this may be the most current bill or a letter from the internet service provider—please send the part of the bill that shows the bandwidth of services provided and the date of the bill).

  • Your child’s final report card from the 2021-2022 school year.

    All applications and supporting documents must be submitted no later than 11:59pm on Wednesday, July 20. Applications with missing documentation will be discarded after 11:59pm on Wednesday, July 20.

    To apply today please visit https://forms.gle/hAMR3Dkc7oTtbXnx9.

    Parents will receive emailed correspondence to the email provided in the application. If you have any questions regarding our enrollment criteria or process, please contact us by phone at (318) 238- 1193 or by email at virtualacademy@npsb.la.

Artist sought for 2022 Christmas Festival Poster

Artists are being sought to design the 2022 Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster.  The theme for the poster is “Christmas in Natchitoches.”  Artists who would like to enter the contest should submit a drawing or painting to the Natchitoches Arts Council using the chosen theme.  The size of the completed sketch or painting should be 18 inches wide and 24 inches tall.  If chosen, the painting will become the exclusive property of the Natchitoches Arts Council.  The chosen artist will receive a commission of $600.  

The deadline for entering the competition is Friday, August 5, 2022.  All entries should be submitted to The Office of Community Development, 420 Fourth Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457.  The Natchitoches Arts Council is not responsible for ensuring the safe or timely delivery of the artwork to the appropriate party.  We do reserve the right to refuse any submissions and to extend the deadline.    

Numbered prints in the form of a poster will be available and on sale to the public in early October.  All posters are $35 each.  The 1980-2004 collage posters are $15 each.  The small posters (3 ¾” x 5”) are $3 each or two for $4.  Special prints of the 2008 Fleur de Lis Poster (11” x 17”), the 2016 Christmas in Natchitoches Poster (11” x 14.5”) and the 2019 Sacred Crossroads (11” x 14” reprint of the 1986 poster) are $20.

The Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster has been a tradition for 43 years.  All of the original artwork can be viewed at the Natchitoches Arts Council office located at the Community Development Office (City Hall Annex), 420 Fourth Street, Natchitoches, LA.

For more information about the poster contest, please call Alicia Christophe at (318) 357-3838 or Karen Terrell at (318) 792-7234.

St. Mary’s Catholic School 2021-2022 Term 4 Honor Roll

1st Grade  –  A Honor Roll: Revill Dean, Berkeley Hall, Archer Johnson, McCall Methvin, Vivian Philen, Eleanor Picou, Charlotte Rhodes, Eli Thibodaux, Madelyn Wilkerson, and Kiptin Williams; B Honor Roll: Annah Adkins, Thomas Brunson, Ben Collins, Xzaven Colwell, Luke Dauzat, Emilee Harper, Cordell Ivy-Daniels, Ryan Lovemore, Aubree Williams, and Finley York 

2nd Grade – A Honor Roll: Roderick Braden, Jack Brewton, , Lila Campbell,  Jax Errington, Cohen Gandy, OJ Hall, Hendrix Harrington, Carter Hough, and Jaxson Norsworthy; B Honor Roll: Murphy Allison, Elizabeth Blakenbaker, Anniston Clark, Gavin Key, Murphy Linebaugh, Marilyn Mims, Sawyer Pleasant, and Noah Scarborough

3rd Grade – A Honor Roll: Sam Dean, Mackenzie Harper, Hudson Harrington, Hadley Mayeaux, Heath Methvin, Oliver Picou, Branch Smith, Annabeth Thornton, and Lillian Wilkerson; B Honor Roll: Addison Albert, Kross LaCaze, Colie Matthews, Waylon Nelson, Aubree Rachal, Peyton Vascocu, and Sutton Vandersteen

4th Grade – A Honor Roll: Lacey Boyd, Holt Cedars, Brooklyn Clark, Corbyn Gandy, Juhee Han, Anna Johnson, Weston LeGrande, and Anistyn Rhodes; B Honor Roll: Aaron Blanchard, Madden Cameron, Elise Dauzat, Raylee Hale, Layne Hunnicutt, Jayd Linebaugh, Roan McClung, Avery Katherine Sheffield, and Taelyn Thornton

5th Grade – A Honor Roll: Macie Cameron, Aaron Campbell, Kollyns Duhon, Amelia Picou, Sophia Pleasant, and Ady Rhodes; B Honor Roll: Sydney Culotta, Thomas Hardee, Tate Hebert, Elijah Huynh, Emiry Jeane, Andrew Johnson, and Brenley Metoyer

6th Grade – A Honor Roll: Lilly Boyd, Carter Jackson, Ava Knapp, Jacob Thibodaux, Tenley Thornton, Merritt Vandersteen, Fisher York, and Jackson York; B Honor Roll: Levi Aton, Winn Cedars, Beau Clark, Emme Errington, Avery Evans, Brooklyn Evans, Landri Ezernack, Madelyn Melder, Chloe Methvin, WyattNelson, Tripp Philen, and Gannon Sheffield

7th Grade – A Honor Roll: Camille Armstrong, Emma Bain, Halle Campbell, Luc Cross, Kennedy Griffin, Ethel Marie Guidry, Carter Hogg, Abram Nichols, Summer Rushing, Joelee Savell, Molly Smith, John Paul Thibodaux, and Ava Wren; B Honor Roll: Carter Burks, Cruz Jackson, Malorie LaCaze, Alayna Rachal, Preston Tilley, and Alyssa Waters

8th Grade – A Honor Roll:  Tyonnah Burton, Jillian Coleman, Chalin Gandy, Ella Hardee, A.J. Lavespere, Trey Scarborough, Jenna Sklar, Justin Vienne and Grace Wren; B Honor Roll: Cameron Ball, Lainey Bennett, Nathan Cain, Jaycie Creamer, Ava Hebert, Tucker Johnson, Mavryk LaCaze, Lila Lewis, Matthew Mayeux, Addison Price, Nick Wright, and Cole Yopp

9th Grade – A Honor Roll:  Ainsley Armstrong, Cailah Bush, Conor Jordan, Peter Kautz, Anderson Kelly, Anna Grace Mabile, Peyton Mitchell, Georgia Philen, and Destanee Stewart; B Honor Roll:  Emma Blanchard, Legend Brunson, Addison Ivy, Luke Johnson, Camden Litton, Brianna McConathy, Braylon Normand, Katelyn Smith, and Brooklyn Townson

10th Grade – A Honor Roll:  Colton Cross, Ava Errington, Andrew Kautz, Abigail Rodriguez, Alex Sukerek, and Anna Thibodaux; B Honor Roll: Ben Bienvenu, Ethan Busby, Ella Guillet, Sophia Hogg, Preston Martinez, and Payne Williams

11th Grade – A Honor Roll:  Reaves Hogg, Trent Middendorf, Adam Parker, and Clary Smiley; B Honor Roll: Olivia Gillis, Caroline Godfrey, Hunter LaGrange, Mason McCart, Anna McClung, Mason Melder, Meredith Methvin, and Anna Peluso

12th Grade – A Honor Roll:  Camille Ball, Cameron Bienvenu, Emma Broadway, John Henry Ingrish, Anna Kate Jackson, Sheridan Pesnell, Abigail Ramian, and Cal Sukerek; B Honor Roll: Sophia Brossett, Gracie Chasteen, Kadence Creamer, Cole Fisher, Abigail Guillet, Emma Haecker, Daniel Johnson, Matthew Johnson, William Mayeux, Lily Anna Sklar, and Emma Stewart

Rotary Club learns about Beyond Graduation Project

Rotarian with the Program Jimmy Berry invited Beyond Graduation Project Manager Dr. Chris Maggio to share his post-secondary work at the May 31 luncheon. Maggio is collaborating with Natchitoches, LaSalle, and Rapides high schools and Central Louisiana Technical Community College, LSU-A, NSU, and Bossier Parish Community College to support successful student pathways after high school graduation. Pictured from left are Rotary President Tommy Caldwell, Maggio, and Rotarian Joe Henry.

Photo: Dr. Ron McBride

Seniors awarded at annual recognition ceremony

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) held its annual Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 20 to honor the Class of 2022. The ceremony celebrated personal character, academic excellence, and development of skills in each academic discipline.

Senior Lecturer of Mathematics and Computer Science Dave Andersen served as Master of Ceremonies, Senior Class President Ella Abney of Slidell led the Pledge of Allegiance and Student Government Organization President Olutunmike “Tum-Tum” Adeleye of Natchitoches delivered the welcoming address to her fellow classmates.

“As a senior class, we have persevered through our fair share of trials and tribulations,” said Adeleye. “At LSMSA we learned how to become our most successful selves.”

At the end of her speech, Adeleye was given an honorary gavel plaque for her leadership and service to SGO.

Each major discipline—Creative and Performing Arts, Math and Computer Science, Humanities, Languages and Science—granted Excellence Awards to seniors who best epitomized those individual departments. Each department also introduced a chosen Gonfaloniere, or “flag bearer,” who was deemed to embody excellence in that discipline. These students were privileged to carry the Gonfalon for their respective department at the Commencement Ceremony procession.

Abney received the honor of being the Gonfaloniere for the Creative and Performing Arts Department; Jordan Hoffman of Ragley was chosen to represent the Humanities Department; Sunny Jahanara Yusufji of Shreveport was selected to hold the Languages Gonfalon; Alex Bazzelle of Livonia was chosen to represent the Math and Computer Science Department; Travis Elmore of Slidell was chosen as the Sciences Department’s Gonfaloniere; and Brandon Turner of Sulphur was selected as the school’s first Health & Physical Education Gonfaloniere. 

Graduation with Distinction was awarded to four students in the Class of 2022 who completed a program of independent academic study or artistic endeavor beyond formal course requirements. In their junior year, these students were invited to identify their potential project, then undertook an intense program of reading, research, and creative activity throughout their senior year. The students’ culminating presentations took place during the school’s Blue & Gold Week, an annual celebration of student research and artistic accomplishments. The following LSMSA seniors graduated with distinction: Madeline Core of Paulina; Travis Elmore of Slidell; Jordan Hoffman of Ragley; and Riley Leger of Slidell.

In addition to their high school diplomas, 22 seniors received their Associate’s degrees, and four graduates who are children of LSMSA alumni received legacy coins from LSMSA Alumni Association Natchitoches Liaison Matthew Couvillion (’93) of Many.

Jake Touchet of Lake Charles was the winner of the Eric Candell Excellence in Physics Award. The award, created in memory of a 1987 graduate, is granted with a $100 check gifted by the Candell family to a student who has developed considerable mastery in the subject of Physics. 

The Marvin Lockhart Work Service Award was developed in memory of one of LSMSA’s charismatic former employees and was presented to Brady Covington of Walker, Jillian McDougal of Baton Rouge, and Griffin McFarland of Natchitoches for illustrating selflessness, dedication, dependability, and an unrelenting desire to help their peers and those in their community.

HaYa Davis of Hammond received the Sharon Sturdivant Williams Praecellemus Award. Named after one of the founding members of LSMSA’s administration, students who are selected for this honor best represent the school’s motto, “We Shall Excel.”

Two students, Hailey Flynn of Pineville and Sunny Yusufji of Shreveport, received the Spirit of LSMSA award. This award recognizes students who best exemplify the pillars of LSMSA school spirit, demonstrating hard work, perseverance, service, involvement, and camaraderie.

Five seniors were inducted into the Robert Alost Hall of Fame. Named after the school’s founding director, this is considered the highest honor bestowed upon LSMSA seniors, with students being hand-picked by a committee of faculty and residential life staff members. New LSMSA Hall of Fame members are Brandon Turner of Lake Charles, Lily Blanchard of Lafourche Parish, Leah Swanstrom of Natchitoches, Thaleia Dufrene of Hammond, and Tum Tum Adeleye of Natchitoches.

Following the awards, each senior presented their college choice on stage, with 67 percent of the Class of 2022 attending universities in Louisiana, 33 percent attending schools across the country and abroad.

The ceremony concluded with a heartfelt closing speech by Livy Zachary of Youngsville titled “Nothing New.” 

“LSMSA is known for it unique ability to allow students to explore and thrive in niche areas of study, but the reason for its students’ success is not due to the difficulty of our work, but rather to the environment and professors that allow us to grow and thrive as people,” said Zachary. “…as we fly the nest, we must remember to not get too caught up in the fear of the unknown…remember the trust we found in ourselves at the little old Louisiana School.”

Provencal hosts a Take Down Tobacco Carnival

The Living Healthy Club at Provencal Junior High School hosted a Take Down Tobacco Carnival to educate students at the school about the dangers of tobacco use and vaping. Students played games and won prizes while learning ways to be healthy. The event was one of the activities under a Healthy Behaviors School District Partnership Grant funded by The Rapides Foundation.
Pictured is James Harris Punching out Tobacco. 

NCHS Chiefs Battalion earns perfect score for JROTC Accreditation

Natchitoches Central High School JROTC cadets recently briefed the Natchitoches Parish School Board regarding their accreditation results.

Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi took part in the inspection of the ROTC unit two weeks ago under Lt. Col. Malt and First Sgt. Selby.

Cadet Lt. Col. Shemaria Harris is the Battalion Commander of the NCHS Chiefs Battalion. With her was Battalion Executive Officer, Cadet Major Shakeria Metoyer; Battalion Personnel Officer, Cadet Captain Janna Garrett; Battalion Security Officer, Cadet Captain Reshaun Bayonne; Battalion Logistics Officer, Cadet Captain Preston Parker; and Battalion Public Affairs Officer, Cadet First Lt. Arianna Smith. Absent from the presentation was Cadet Command Sgt. Major Kenneth Brickhouse and Operations Officer, Cadet Major Brenden Cooper. 

To receive accreditation, the JROTC program is broken down into seven different categories in which the program receives a number of points based on the battalion’s execution. 

In the Battalion Staff Continuous Improvement Briefing and Interview Category, the NCHS JROTC Battalion received 35/35 points. In the Service Learning Briefing Category, the Battalion received 20/20 points. In the Cadet Portfolio and Interview Category, the Battalion received 20/20 points. In the Unit Report Category, the Battalion received 35/35 points. In the Drill/In Ranks Category, the Battalion received 15/15 points. In the Color Guard Category, the Battalion received 15/15 points. 

Lt. Col. Malt and First Sgt. Selby’s portfolios were also reviewed for a total of 60 points. This means that the Battalion received 200/200 points for its overall JROTC accreditation. This also means the Battalion will continue to be an Honor Unit of Distinction, displayed by a gold star cadets get to wear on their uniforms.

Demons wrap up regular season with visit to LSU


BATON ROUGE – With the Southland Conference Tournament just days away, the Northwestern State baseball team will have one final tune-up Tuesday night.

It comes in the form of state rival LSU, which hosts the Demons in NSU’s final mid-week game of the 2022 season at 6:30 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium. The game will stream live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on www.NSUDemons.com and through the Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices.

“It’s always a good trip,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “It’s a good trip to get better. It’s a good trip to play against a really good team. When you play those really good teams, the ball moves a little bit faster whether it’s on the ground or from the mound. It’s an opportunity to do that and, hopefully, get better going into the tournament.”

The Demons (25-26) have won their past two games against LSU (33-18) for the first time since taking two straight April 2-3, 1996.

In addition to facing a Power Five opponent for the first time since playing Nebraska on March 5, Tuesday’s game serves as a homecoming of sorts for several Demons, including senior center fielder Larson Fontenot and senior shortstop Cam Sibley.

Fontenot has been part of the back-to-back wins against the Tigers and was a member of the 2018 Demon team that was within two outs of eliminating the Tigers from the Corvallis Regional.

A season ago, Fontenot went 4-for-5 with a stolen base and an RBI as the Demons built a six-run lead in an eventual 7-3 win that came 28 miles from Fontenot’s hometown of St. Amant.

“It’s really nice going over there and playing at Alex Box, where you grew up watching them play,” Fontenot said. “It’s a good feeling to go play against them.”

Fontenot is not the only Demon from the Baton Rouge area who will play a short distance from home. Fellow senior shortstop Cam Sibley played his high school career at Dutchtown High School in suburban Geismar while outfielder Reese Lipoma is another St. Amant product. Pitcher Thomas Sotile (University High, Baton Rouge) and freshman infielder AJ Bailey (Zachary) also hail from greater Baton Rouge.

Sibley had to wait almost two years into his NSU career to face LSU after the Panola College transfer saw his first Demon season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. He made his debut in the series a year ago more than a year after he planned to. The Demons’ 2020 date against LSU was set for April 28 before the pandemic shuttered the season 16 games into it.

“It’s fun to go down and play them,” said Sibley, one of eight seniors and nine Demons who will play their final regular-season game Tuesday. “They have such a great facility. The atmosphere is unmatched. It’s fun to go down there and show our skills against those guys. We just have to go down and play our game. Things will work out for us and keep going.”

Northwestern State will send right-hander Dawson Flowers (0-2, 4.88) to the mound while LSU has yet to name its starting pitcher.

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


The Virtue of the Month for April was Perseverance. Students from St. Mary’s Catholic School chosen, on front row from left, are Juhee Han, Sutton Vandersteen, James Streete, Remington Poole, Ava Harper, Ansley Dranguet and Anniston Clark. On back row are Father Blake Deshautelle, Addison Ivy, Summer Rushing, Carter Burks, Atlas Hicks, Landri Ezernack, Emme Errington, Abbie Rodriguez and Kevin Albert.  Congratulations to these students!

Seven U.S. Army officers commissioned through NSU ROTC

Following spring commencement ceremonies, seven cadets of  Northwestern State University’s 72nd Demon Battalion were commissioned Thursday, May 12 as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. The cadets completed additional military training as well as their academic requirements to graduate and commission.

The seven took the Oath of Office during Northwestern’s final graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. May 12 and were commissioned in a separate ceremony that followed, joined by family and friends. LTC Joshua R. Drake, professor of Military Science, administered the oath on the commencement stage.

The new officers are 2LT Colby Hennigan, 2LT Anthony Cantrell, 2LT Kayla Graham, 2LT Tyler Iverson, 2LT Caleb Krikorian, 2LT Joseph Orchi and 2LT Seth Ozsoy.

2LT Hennigan earned a Master of Science in Homeland Security. He has been selected for service in the U.S. Army Reserve. After completion of the Transportation Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Lee, Virginia, he will serve as a Mobility Officer with the 342nd Movement Control Detachment Team in Baton Rouge.

2LT Cantrell commanded the Demon Battalion this past year and, having scored within the top 20 percent of cadets nationwide, was named a Distinguished Military Graduate. He earned a Master of Science in Homeland Security. He has been selected for active duty in the Military Intelligence Corps with a branch detail to Infantry. 2LT Cantrell’s first assignment will be determined during his Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia, later this summer.

2LT Graham graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Minor in Military Leadership. After completion of the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leader Course, Fort Lee, Virginia, she will serve in the Louisiana Army National Guard with Company A, 199th Brigade Support Battalion in Jonesboro.

2LT Iverson earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Concentration in Biomedical and a Minor in Military Leadership. He has been selected to serve on active duty. After completion of the Ordnance Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Lee, his initial duty station will be Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska.

2LT Krikorian graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies with a Concentration in Computer and Natural Science and a Minor in Military Leadership. After completion of the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, he will continue to serve in the Louisiana Army National Guard. His initial assignment is Scout Platoon Leader with A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry, in Natchitoches.

2LT Orchi graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2021 with a Bachelor of General Studies and a Minor in Social Science. He has been selected to serve on active duty and will attend the Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leader Course at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, this June. His initial duty station will be Fort Hood, Texas.     

2LT Ozsoy graduated Cum Laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. He will serve in the Louisiana Army National Guard. After completion of the Military Police Basic Officer Leader Course at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, he will serve as a Platoon Leader with the 773rd Military Police Battalion in Lake Charles.

COL Aristotle Vaseliades, Commander, Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, Fort Polk, offered remarks and encouragement to the new officers. COL Vaseliades is a 1997 graduate of Florida Southern College where he commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps.

During the ceremony, LTC Drake noted, “Today marks the beginning of a new way of life for you all. Commissioning as an officer in the United States Army is not only an honor, but a privilege. You will soon be entrusted with the lives of Soldiers who have volunteered to serve their country and fight for the freedoms of our nation.”  He added, “This responsibility may seem daunting now, but rest assured that the Army has – and will continue – to train you to be ready.”

Pictured: Seven graduates of Northwestern State University’s ROTC program took the oath of office to serve as officers in the U.S. Army during spring commencement exercises May 12.  From left are 2LT Kayla Graham, 2LT Tyler Iverson, 2LT Caleb Krikorian, 2LT Joseph Orchi, 2LT Colby Hennigan, 2LT Seth Ozsoy and 2LT Anthony Cantrell. 

NSU awards spring diplomas

Northwestern State University awarded 1,025 degrees to 991 graduates during spring commencement May 11-12.  Graduates collected diplomas for associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates and post-master’s degrees.  An honorary doctor of humanities was awarded to Baton Rouge businesswoman and 1968 NSU alumna Lela Mae Wilkes.

Graduates listed by hometown (In Natchitoches Parish) are as follows.

Campti – Alyssa Breaud, Bachelor of General Studies; Kristen Breedlove, Jaylee Riggs, Bachelor of Science;

Clarence – Jalicia Small, Bachelor of Science;

Marthaville – Madison Pleasant, Associate of General Studies; Bachelor of Science; Frank Lester, Bachelor of Science;                                                                                                                                   

Natchez – Tanner Delphin, Bachelor of General Studies; Walker Roe Jackson, Bachelor of Science; Megan Sauce, Bachelor of Science in Nursing;

Natchitoches – Lacy Byles, Taylor Presson, Tiffany Willis, Associate of Science in Nursing; Jaronda Griffin, Associate Degree; Sarah Cross, Alicia Davis, Brittany Elliott, Keri Layssard, Zacharie Lemley, Bridget Mitchell, Ontrez Shyne, Ronneicia Terrell, Charity Wamber, Associate of General Studies; Tiresa Maxie, Bachelor of Applied Science; Chloe Blank, Richard Brumbelow, Junior Charles, Cody Coleman, Abby Guillory, Bailey Perrilloux, Alexandra Robichaux, Kirsten Sonnier, Jaci Templet, Savannah Thompson, Alexus Young, Bachelor of Arts; Jose Arrieta Cuesta, Roshane Brown, Myjoycia Cezar, Victoria Gardner, Hannah Knoff, Dominic Luke, Natalia Zapata Yonoff, Bachelor of Fine Arts; Sidonia Hall, Kimberly LaCaze, Ember O’Bannon, Katelyn Steelman, Bachelor of General Studies; Dania Briceno Vasquez, Elias Castro Caballero, Julio Galvan, Ruth Garcia Rodriguez, Joshua Monaghan, Natalia Zapata Yonoff, Bachelor of Music; Natalie Aguirre, Sarah Aviles, Thomas Balthazar, Jayla Barfield, Brock Barrios, Lauren Bartels, Amanda Barter, Cassidy Blanchard, Janieya Bobb, Annemarie Broussard, Damon Carter, Elainna Casson, Kyle Courville, Jeffrey Elkins, Lucas Ellis, Corey Gallion, Joshua Garner, James Gillyard, Jaronda Griffin, Jennifer Hitt, Courtany Jackson, Travon Jones, Austin Jordan, Maya Levo, Tommi Long, Gilda Malloy, LiZhang Matuschka, Robert Mccandlish, Marshall Merritt, Joseph Mesa, Arianna Mulligan, Rochanee Myles, Matthew Nelson, Abby Nichols, Myles Nolley, Kevin Nutt, Brittany Passi, Katherine Rachal, Devin Reyes, Jacard Russell, Christopher Sanders, Emily Scott, Elizabeth Shuler, Ashton Smith, John Starks, Jamie Stewart, Jordon Thomas, Aaron Trichel, Vivian Vallery, Lauren Vienne, Thomas Wiggins, Raina Woods, Miranda Worthan, Bachelor of Science; Reagan Lee, Jaci Templet, Bachelor of Social Work; John Allen, Neeru Deep, Doctor of Education; Alexa Bernard, Educational Specialist; Trevor O’Bannon, Master of Arts; Lauren Stephens, Master of Arts in Teaching; Shalondria Rainey, Danielle Williams, Master of Education; John Floyd, Aura Hernandez Canedo, Jorge Ojeda Munoz, Juan Paternina-Paez. Master of Music; Judit Castillo Gargallo, Tyler Daigneault, Adrian Galdeano Valadez, Kenneth Henry, Natashia Jackson, Staci Maddox, Kristin McDuffie, Kevin Price, Destiny Simon, Keng Soo, Quindarrius Thompson, Master of Science; Amy Ables, Taylor Francis, Master of Science in Nursing;

Oak Grove – Victoria Spann, Bachelor of Science; Karin Bennett, Master of Arts in Teaching;

Provencal – Heather Davis, Bachelor of Science;                                                                                             

Robeline— Caleb Martinez, Bachelor of General Studies; Jeffrey Watley, Bachelor of Music; Jonathan Comeaux, Kelsy Elkins, Katelyn Miley, Bachelor of Science.                                                                                                       

Laughter, tears and celebration as NSU grads collect diplomas

Anne Fruge of Kinder, 67, left college at 18 to marry her husband of 48 years, but returned to earn a degree in general studies with a minor in social sciences to fulfill a promise she made to her father that she would finish her degree. Fruge also has Parkinson’s disease, but she said, “I have Parkinson’s, but Parkinson’s doesn’t have me!”

Fruge received a standing ovation as she crossed the stage to collect her diploma during spring commencement at Northwestern State University Thursday.  She said she was happy to share her story if it inspired one person to not quit.

“There were a lot of hard times, but it was worth going back to school, earning my degree and fulfilling my promise to my dad,” she said. 

Fruge was one of nearly 1,000 graduates to receive degrees during two days of commencement ceremonies honoring a class that overcame many challenges due to COVID and related factors that affected their academic journey. Many students excelled despite disruptions and were recognized for their impact at the university.

Two staff members of the University of Louisiana System, Erica Calais and Sandra Green, earned doctorates in Adult Leadership and Development and were hooded by ULS Board of Supervisors members Lola Dunahoe and Joe Salter.

Sarah Sargent of Lake Charles and Jessica Mullican of De Ridder, who are second cousins, were both awarded graduate fellowships from Alpha Lambda Delta honor society for the 2022-23 academic year.  They were both in the President’s Leadership Program their first year, joined Alpha Lambda Delta together and were contributing and participating members from day one.

Track and field student-athlete Natashia Jackson of Natchitoches won 19 career gold medals at the Southland Conference championships, ranking second in conference history.  Jackson ran a leg of the 4×400 relay in a preliminary race at the World Indoor Championships as Team USA ultimately finished fourth.  She owns four NSU records (400 meters indoor and outdoor, 4×100, 4×200 relays) and one SLC record (400 meters indoors). She earned a graduate degree in Homeland Security.

Nicole Lala of Kenner was lauded for her research in incorporating 3D printing into costume design, learning software to design and create realistic crowns and chainmail costume pieces tailored to each actor for an NSU theatre production. Her research and willingness to collaborate in another discipline inspired her to continue study 3D printing and its use in theatre.  After working this summer in the costume department at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, she will attend San Diego State where she received a full tuition waiver and a $10,000 scholarship in pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design.

Seven cadets in NSU’s 72nd Demon Battalion were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, taking the Oath of Office during NSU’s final commencement ceremony Thursday.  They are 2LT Anthony Cantrell of Leesville, 2LT Kayla Graham of Shreveport, 2LT Colby Hennigan of Alexandria, 2LT Tyler Iverson of Fort Polk, 2LT Caleb Krikorian of Shreveport, 2LT Joseph Orchi of Leesville and 2LT Seth Ozsoy of Many.

Some students overcame personal hardships in pursuit of their degrees.

Marilyn Brooks of Gretna, a single mom of three young children, not only completed her degree in Fine and Graphic Art, but is already working in her field of study, teaching art to children.  Brooks began her degree face-to-face at NSU after transferring to the Natchitoches campus as she and her family moved from one military base to another.  A series of life changes led her and her children to relocate to the New Orleans area to be closer to family.  Like many students, she also dealt with temporary displacement from hurricanes and COVID. 

Brooks’ faculty said, “We believe that Marilyn has helped pave the way for utilizing the best of our COVID pandemic teaching experiences.  Her graduation will certainly serve as proof of what tenacity and hard work can allow a person to achieve in spite of life’s tumult.”

Makayla Feibel of Elm Grove graduated with an associate degree in nursing.  During a tornado in April, Feibel’s home was severely damaged and she was rescued and evacuated after a 911 call.  Despite that, Feibel was in class at 8 a.m. the next morning prepared to work. 

“She made no excuses why could not give 100 percent of herself to the rest of the semester and it pushed her to do even better than she might have imagined,” according to her professor.

Kaylon Willoughby of Hammond earned a degree in performance and directing. After losing her father to COVID, she helped write the script for this past year’s Christmas Gala and dedicated it to him. This year for her senior thesis, she wrote another new play dedicated to her father.  

International student Natalia Carolina Zapata-Yonoff a double major in art and music, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  Zapata-Yonoff spent the last four years over 2,000 miles away from her home country of Colombia. While at Northwestern, Zapata-Yonoff worked as a student worker, represented the university at ULS conferences, created graphic design work for NSU and the Natchitoches community as an intern with the Design Center, served as visual editor for The Current Sauce and lead designer of The Potpourri, was lab monitor in the departmental computer lab and taught at Summer Art Camp.  

“Natalia has worked very hard to make the most of her NSU experience, part of which has included embracing a new culture,” according to the Art faculty. “For these reasons and more, Natalia has become a very beloved member of the Art Department family.”

“It is important to note that some of our graduates faced difficult circumstances throughout their academic pursuits,” NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones said. “With courage, tenacity and perseverance, these individuals earned their respective degrees, with many receiving honors distinction.”

Demons drop home finale to UNO, earn No. 5 seed in SLC Tournament

The Northwestern State baseball team fell down early Saturday afternoon in its 2022 home finale before one swing from a senior brought the Demons to life.

Unfortunately for NSU, its mid-game push was answered by New Orleans’ late-game power surge as the Privateers pulled away for an 11-4 Southland Conference victory at Brown-Stroud Field.

Northwestern State (25-26, 12-12) will be the No. 5 seed in next weekend’s Southland Conference Tournament while New Orleans (27-21, 13-11) earned a split of the six-game season series and will be the No. 3 seed.

The Demons will travel to McNeese for their half of the two-bracket tournament and will face No. 4 seed Nicholls in Thursday’s 1 p.m. first-round game.

New Orleans touched up NSU starter Drayton Brown (5-6) for two runs in the first inning, extending Brown to 31 pitches in the opening frame. That allowed NSU head coach Bobby Barbier to take Brown out early in the second inning.

“We were going to keep Drayton short anyway,” Barbier said. “We had made the decision to either close him for a game or keep him short. It worked out the way it did.”

Brown left after facing eight batters before fellow sophomore right-hander Alex Makarewich entered and turned in his best outing of the season.

Makarewich spun four shutout innings of relief, allowing just two hits while striking out three.

“Alex was fantastic, which is what he’s capable of and what he has done a few times this year for us,” Barbier said. “Hopefully, that’s something we can build on moving forward. Alex works really, really hard at what he does.”

With Makarewich quieting the Privateers, the door was open for the Demons to try to rally for the second straight game.

Senior catcher Austin Kirkpatrick did his part, drilling Khachadourian’s first pitch of the fifth inning over the left-field wall for his second home run of the season – both coming in the past 13 days.

Kirkpatrick was one of nine Demons who were honored during Senior Day ceremonies ahead of Saturday’s game.

“It was good to see Austin get that one,” Barbier said. “You always pull for those seniors to have good days on their last one here.”

Kirkpatrick’s home run was all the Demons mustered in the fifth, but NSU answered a three-run New Orleans sixth with a pair of runs in their half, cutting the lead back to three.

After senior left-hander Will Hine stranded two of three inherited runners in the eighth, designated hitter Bo Willis drilled a solo home run to left off Caleb Seroski to cap a 4-for-4 day for the sophomore.

During his career-long, seven-game hitting streak, Willis is hitting .500 (14-for-28) with four home runs and 14 RBIs.

“He’s been really good, especially the back half of the year,” Barbier said. “He’s a threat to leave the yard any time. He’s just been a really tough out later in the year. He’s worked hard at his craft and done a good job.”

The Demons return to action Tuesday when they play their final mid-week game of the season at LSU. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge.

New Orleans 11, Northwestern State 4
UNO      210 003 014 – 11 13 1
NSU       000 012 010 – 4 7 1
W – Kyle Khachadourian (5-2). L – Drayton Brown (5-6). S – Caleb Seroski (3). 2B – UNO, Tyler Bischke, Andrew Guidry. NSU, Bo Willis, Larson Fontenot. HR – UNO, Kasten Furr (3), Amani Larry (6). NSU, Bo Willis (11), Austin Kirkpatrick (2). Highlights: UNO, Furr 3-5, HR, 2 RBIs; Larry 2-4, HR, 4 RBIs; Andrew Guidry 2-5, 2B; Isaac Williams 3-5. NSU, Willis 4-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBIs.

Records: New Orleans 27-21, 13-11; Northwestern State 25-26, 12-12.

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Moore, Northwestern State throwers grab regional bids Sunday at Last Chance Meet

Northwestern State hurdler Janiel Moore started Sunday on outside looking in on the NCAA East Preliminaries 400 hurdles field, but after NSU’s Last Chance meet, Moore is in – way in. 

The senior obliterated her personal record by more than a second as she clocked a 58.59, which moves her to around 26th in the East Regionals. 

Moore started the day in the 50s with her personal best of 59.81 as she needed to crack the top 48. 

Her landmark PR is the second-fastest time in NSU history and makes her a threat to push through to the national championships. 

“It’s been a long time coming because she’s been right there,” said NSU coach Mike Heimerman. “Janiel still didn’t execute the race as well she wanted to, and she found out she still has some energy left at the end. 

“Hopefully she and (NSU sprints/hurdles coach Adam Pennington) can go back and work on a few things and run even faster. But an amazing race, and I’m really glad for Janiel because she has worked so hard for it.” 

NSU thrower Diamante Gumbs posted two personal bests that solidified his East Prelims spot in two different events while Tarajh Hudson climbed the ladder in the discus. 

Hudson bested his old mark discus by two feet, hurling 186-6.25 to close in on the top 30 in the East. 

Gumbs pushed back his old record by three feet, slinging 182-7.25 to move into the top 40. 

All three NSU discus throwers (including Demon record holder Djimon Gumbs with 193-3) have surpassed NSU’s previous program record entering this season (180-8). 

In the shot put, Diamante Gumbs saved his best for last, chunking a personal best 58-0.75. Entering the weekend, that mark would sit 47th, and the extra eight centimeters have all but assured Gumbs a spot. 

“I said before the season that we’d have three guys break the old (NSU discus) record, and now they have,” Heimerman said. “They were already in at (East Prelims) but they love throwing at home and both improved their standing. 

“Diamante was bouncing between 47th and 49th in the shot put, and he might have still got in without today based on a few scratches (hurt or ineligible throwers). But those eight centimeters will make a difference, moving him up into the mid-40s.” 

Sunday was the last day for times/marks to be recorded for East Prelims consideration, and the final list of qualifiers will be published Tuesday. 

Pole vaulter Hayden Barrios just missed a personal best, school record and a NCAA East Preliminary spot after his third attempt at 16-10 clipped the bar. Barrios hoisted himself over the obstacle but knocked the bar off on his way down. 

“Hayden has had a phenomenal year as a conference champion, and he learned a lot about himself,” Heimerman said of the sophomore. “The sky is the limit, and he’ll be an 18-foot vaulter by the time he’s through.” 

Other events like the 4×100 women’s relay, men’s javelin, and men’s and women’s 100 meters didn’t produce any additional NCAA East qualifiers. 

The NCAA East Prelims take place May 26-28 at the University of Indiana for a chance to qualify for the NCAA national championships. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Daughters of the American Revolution and American Battlefield Trust to Create “DAR Pathway of the Patriots” Memorial Grove

Dedicated, respectively, to the people and places integral to the story of our nation’s founding and independence, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the American Battlefield Trust share a commitment to find tangible and lasting ways to remember that critical period in history. The latest instance of their collaborative work will see the establishment of DAR’s 250-tree memorial grove, the DAR Pathway of the Patriots, on Trust-protected battlefield land. The two organizations are initiating this joint vision with a ceremonial tree planting on June 7 at the Old Custom House in Yorktown, Va.

The celebration will be presided over by DAR President General Denise VanBuren and Trust Vice Chair Mary Abroe. They will be joined by leadership from the Virginia DAR, the DAR Comte de Grasse Chapter and representatives of local DAR Chapters. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and it is open to the public.

“Our Society is dedicated to honoring the memory of the men and women who achieved American independence, including 250 such Patriots who will be remembered through this legacy project. We are especially pleased to plant this ceremonial tree in honor of General George Washington, a native of Virginia who served as our first Commander in Chief and was the illustrious victor here,” said VanBuren. “Just as the struggle to win our nation’s independence culminated at Yorktown, it is altogether fitting that this gift to the nation takes root here in order to pay tribute to those who ultimately endured eight long years of war to win our liberties.”

“Our two organizations are united in understanding the power of tangible links to the past,” said Abroe. “From physical landscapes to family legacy, there are ties that bind us across the centuries to the essence of the American story.”

The DAR Pathway of the Patriots was first envisioned in 2019, and DAR members rallied to the plan, with individual chapters and members enthusiastically stepping forward to sponsor trees in memory of individual Revolutionary War participants. As the relationship between the two organizations has deepened, the concept evolved to embrace the Trust’s place-based mission through a grove honoring America’s first citizen soldiers on one of the battlefields where many of them fought.

Yorktown, the place most synonymous with the Continental Army’s victory in the Revolutionary War, is an ideal location for this ceremonial planting. Not only does the Comte de Grasse Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution own the Old Custom House within the historic town, but the Trust’s most expensive Revolutionary War acquisition is located on the Yorktown battlefield.

The two organizations are collaborating in other ways, pledging to work with federal and state governments and other like minded organizations to secure the protection of an additional 2,500 acres of Revolutionary War battlefield land during the 250th anniversary period and creating an online gateway that brings to life the fascinating people and places of the Revolutionary era by showcasing the diverse viewpoints and experiences of those who witnessed the dawn of American liberty.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With nearly 190,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. 

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 54,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. 

NSU calendar for May 15-21

Here is a look at the week of May 15-21 at Northwestern State University.

May 15-21 – Registration for summer, fall semesters
May 15 – Demon Last Chance Meet, Walter P. Ledet Track Complex, 12 p.m.
May 18-19 – Freshman Connection, Natchitoches campus

Rotary Club visits with founder of Coach De’s Foundation, Boys & Girls Club unit director

Rotarian with the Program Emily Harrington introduced the Unit Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Natchitoches and Founder of Coach De’s Foundation, DeAndrea Sanders, at the May 10 Rotary luncheon. The Foundation is designed to bring resources to underserved or low-income neighborhoods. Coach De’s Closets are events that provide clothing, toys, shoes, food, and hygiene products to families.

Pictured from left are Rotary President Tommy Caldwell, Sanders, and Harrington: Photo by Dr. Ron McBride

Demons open final homestand with long-awaited ULM matchup

NATCHITOCHES – The first time ULM and Northwestern State were set to meet at Brown-Stroud Field this season, neither team knew much about itself.

After all, the originally scheduled matchup was for Feb. 22 – each team’s fourth game of the season.

Nearly three months – and three rescheduled dates later – the Demons and Warhawks finally will meet in Natchitoches, squaring off at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Free streaming audio and subscription video of the game is available on www.NSUDemons.com and through the Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices.

“It looks like we’ll finally have some decent weather when we play them,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We didn’t have a (mid-week) game scheduled this week, and we didn’t either, so it was an opportunity for both of us to make it up. With the (Southland) conference tournament the way it is, it pushed everything back, so getting games was tough.

“It will be a good challenge. It always is against them. We always seem to play tight games. I’m just glad we get it at home.”

The Demons (23-24) dropped the first game of the two-game, home-and-home season series with the Warhawks (15-30-1) in Monroe on March 9, falling 6-2. That game was the makeup date from a March 8 rainout in Monroe, which precipitated moving the return game for a third time to Tuesday.

NSU enters the game off the same situation it would have on the originally scheduled date, having won two of three games in a weekend series against a familiar opponent.

The Demons took a series win against Stephen F. Austin on opening weekend and come into Tuesday’s game with the momentum of a pivotal Southland Conference series win at McNeese this past weekend.

“We talked a lot this weekend about the 2018 team and the fact we had to go get that momentum we had and rode into the tournament,” Barbier said. “It doesn’t just happen. You can’t just turn it on tournament weekend. We did that this weekend. We went out and won those games. We had to go get them, and we did. Hopefully, it’s something we can build on earning those wins on Tuesday and into the weekend.”

The Demons will send right-hander Ethan Francis (0-1, 5.17) to the mound against ULM right-hander Cole Brady (0-0, 6.75).

In addition to a weekend in which the Demon offense homered seven times and scored 25 runs, Northwestern State also watched its pitching staff put together some impressive moments in the hitters’ haven of Joe Miller Ballpark.

“It was a tough environment to pitch in all weekend,” Barbier said. “It’s a hitters’ park. The turf is pretty fast. The wind was blowing out all weekend. Not only does that all affect the balls that are hit, but it affects you wanting to stick that ball in the strike zone. I thought our guys were really good all weekend.”

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

LANE CLOSURE: LA 494 over Cane River

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that on Thursday, May 19 from 8 AM to 3:30 PM, weather permitting, Bridge# 083508350601781 on LA 494 over CANE RIVER will be reduced to one lane for routine bridge inspection. The bridge is located 1.78 MI. N OF LA 119.

Permit/Detour section
No detour will be needed as one lane will be open at all times.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution around the construction sites and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Motorists can access the latest updates on real-time traffic and road conditions using the 511 Traveler Information System by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region on which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at www.511la.org. Additionally, you can follow the Traffic Management Center on Twitter: (@Alex Traffic). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ www.dotd.la.gov and the DOTD Facebook page.